Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC



Source: Resolucion (Revolution), 16 October 1960

Prime Minister Dr Fidel Castro made some extremely important
statements during his appearance, on Saturday, in a special "Meet the
Press" program originating in the studios of Channel 6, television, and
broadcast by all of the stations of the FIEL. The panel consisted of Ithiel
Leon, art director of Revolucion; Dr Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, managing
editor of Hoy Today; and Jose Pardo Llada, managing editor of La Palabra
The Word, with Luis Gozez Wanguemert as moderator. Here is the transcript
of this program, as taken down by the stenographers from the Office of the
Prime Minister.

Moderator: The FIEL Frente Independiente deEEmisoras Libres --
Independent Front of Freo Broadcasting Stations has the honor today of
playing host to the Prime Minister and maximum leader of the revolution, Dr
Fidel Castro, at this extraordinary "Meet the Press" show.

The circumstances surrounding his appearance here today are also
extraordinary because the revolutionary government has just promulgated two
laws that are of enormous importance to the country: the law of the urban
reform, which was approved last night by the Council of Ministers, and the
law of nationalization of banks and industry and basic commerce, which
enables the revolution to direct and put in order the country's economy in
keeping with the true interests of the people.

In addition, there are other problems, counterrevolutionary
problems, which will likewise make this "Meet the Press" program tonight
very interesting. The panel itself is also quite extraordinary; it is made
up of Professor Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, managing editor of Hoy; Jose Pardo
Llada, managing editor of La Palabra, and Ithiel Leon, from Revolucion: I
would like now to welcome all of them in the name of FIEL.

The first question tonight will be asked by Mr Ithiel Leon.

Mr Ithiel Leon: Major, during the last 2 days, the newspaper
headlines have been dealing with the two most important revolutionary laws
which the Council of Ministers has taken up very recently. However, there
is one point which has been more or less overshadowed by the importance and
the size of these headlines and that concerns the fact that the peasant
militia has wiped out the pockets of Yankee mercenaries in Escambray and
Baracoa. Could you tell us something about that?

Dr Castro: Well, first of all, I would like to explain why I am
here at this hour -- because, usually, you all meet here on Thursdays --
isn't that right? And besides, the time is different. But this is connected
with the visit of the illustrious President of the Republic of Guinea
because we have been ... besides, we have been working very hard on these
laws in recent days, so that we figured it would be necessary to hold this
panel discussion at a rather unusual hour because, furthermore, this
coincided with the beginning of the baseball championship games -- and I
had a commitment to go there and inaugurate the championship competition,
so to speak. This is why we had to meet here at this hour tonight.

A Very Important Moment

Second, it was really necessary for us to go on television because
there is a series of questions that must be explained and I am going to
take these issues up in such a way that the people over there on the ball
field will not have to wait too long.

Now, there are issues of all kinds but I think that we are going
through a very important time in the life of our country, a very important
period in the revolution. This moment, above all, is a very interesting
moment and it will require more and more effort on our part, especially in
view of all the work that we still have ahead of us.

The revolution is now fighting a battle in two fields: first of
all, in one field involving the struggle against the counterrevolution --
and we explained that in connection with the ceremonies for the congress of
Municipal Education Councils; second, we have the struggle in the area of
revolutionary work altogether.

During the first few months of the revolutionary government, all
of us made a tremendous effort -- and there is no doubt about that; but we
were at a disadvantage in that we were less organized; we were less well
prepared to push all of these tasks.

However, even though we have much work left to be done in both of
these areas, we are now much better prepared to do our job here; in other
words, the people, the revolutionary cadres, the government. This is why we
have to scatter our attention a little bit now, in other words, we have to
take care of international problems and we will have to take care of
counterrevolutionary problems, problems both outside and inside the
country; we have to take care of economic problems and we have to take care
of problems of revolutionary activities within the country as such, and
this was never as true as it is this week, in other words, these two
aspects of the struggle of the revolution have combined to a greater degree
than ever before.

Laws of Revolutionary Process

Quite some time ago we tried to explain all of these problems of
the revolution and the counterrevolution to the people. Why? Because all of
these issues are not isolated from each other, they are not sporadic facts,
nor are they anything of that nature; instead they follow the laws of the
revolutionary process and it is very important for the people to understand
these laws of the revolution and the counterrevolution. From that
viewpoint, there is no better university, as it were, than the revolution
process itself.

Everything we see happening in Cuba today, everything that we can
observe in Cuba directly, is something that has occurred in one or another
form in all of the great revolutionary processes. This happened, for
example, during the French Revolution and it happened during the Soviet
revolution. (Applause) These, for example, were two classical revolutionary
processes of recent times, even though in the French Revolution man did not
yet have as clear and as precise an awareness of the historical development
of human society. Still, it had its own theoretical base, the phase of the
writers and the philosophers who came before that revolution; but there was
no compact, over-all awareness of what the process of man down through
history really was; this awareness did exist at the time of the Soviet
revolution; at that time, man had come to understand completely the laws
that governed the evolution of mankind.

The first revolution, the French Revolution, represents the
triumph of the bourgeoisie, that is to say, the economic, commercial and
industrial classes over the nobility; this event occurred at a moment when
man did not yet have an awareness of the historical process, such as he had
it afterward, because the French Revolution forced the intellectuals and
the historians and the sociologists and economists to look for the roots of
that revolution and to try to explain that revolution.  And this led to
analysis, to a more profound study of the roots of the great historical
events and the great social developments.  When the Russian revolution
broke out in 1917, it had thus been preceded by a whole series of profound
studies which enabled the revolutionaries to understand that process, to
have a better command of it than those who made the French Revolution.

But as we study these events, we find that they contain a series
of alternatives similar to those which we find here today.  There is no
doubt for example that the Cuban revolution is likewise a historical
process and that it has taken on the outlines of a tremendous historical
revolutionary process, due to a series of circumstances.  This is the first
country in Latin America where a great social revolution has taken place.
There have been other revolutions but none of them were as profound and as
far-reaching as the Cuban revolution.  Second, this revolution is taking
place under very difficult conditions.  Why?  Because we are a country that
happens to be in a rather unfortunate position; while they, over there, are
worried about a revolution 90 miles from that imperialist country, we here
are worried about the existence of an imperialist country 90 miles away
from our revolution (applause), and an imperialist country which has
tremendous strength not only here but beyond its own frontiers, a country
whose power is established in a large part of the world, that is, in the
underdeveloped countries of the world and especially in Latin America.

The Supports of Imperialism

In Latin America, this process of power take-over and control by
imperialism has been carried out over more than a century and this is why
imperialism has had an opportunity to consolidate its power -- and,
moreover, with the support of certain social sectors. What sectors? The
most reactionary sectors in each one of the countries, the big landowners,
the big businessmen, the big exploiters. In other words, the economic
oligarchy of Latin America is the social class which, through its
newspapers, through its resources and political parties, supports the
influence of imperialism on this continent, a situation which is quite
different from the situation in Africa, for example.

Why? Because Africa is achieving its own independent life, life as
part of the international community and the world, quite abruptly, at a
moment when imperialism is decadent and at a moment before the imperialist
countries have been able to establish their forms of control. In other
words, they are now replacing their method of colonial rule, occupation by
military forces, which were of course under the government of the home
countries involved here, with a form of economic and political control in
other words, a situation in which they do not have a direct mandate, in
other words, a procedure which is quite different from the colonial method;
but basically it is the same thing because it retains political and
economic control over those countries -- although it has not been able to
create a social class in Africa which would serve to support it.

This is why the situation in Africa is much more difficult for
imperialism than the situation in Latin America, although the situation
here in Latin America is also quite difficult. But here, at least, they
have been able to develop an economic oligarchy which serves them as a
support -- this is not true in Africa. In Africa, there are minority
groups, European businessmen, European owners, who in all of these recently
independent countries have a degree of influence that cannot last much
longer because the vast masses of the African peoples will not hesitate to
eliminate the influence of those groups which will not be able to maintain
themselves there and which will likewise be unable to uphold the
colonialist interests in Africa.

But the situation in America is different. In America they have
managed to establish their control over many years, at a time when
imperialism was at its apex, not at a time of decadence, as today. The
result of this has been that we are surrounded, as it were, by imperialist
forces, by imperialist bases, by imperialist politicians or at least by
politicians who are in the service of imperialism -- all over America. This
means that the Cuban revolution is developing in a rather difficult
environment, that it must develop a tough struggle, but it also means that
this gives historical importance to the Cuban revolution because it is a
revolution that must be developed under such difficult circumstances.

Favorable Factors

But there are also circumstances which help the Cuban revolution
along. For example, we have been able to resist certain types of attacks
which, at other times in history, would have been fatal to the revolution
such as the petroleum boycott which was intended to deprive us of
petroleum, the boycott on our sugar sales, the machinery boycott. In other
words, thanks to the existence of a rather large nucleus of countries
throughout the world, a powerful group of countries, the socialist
countries, which are developing rapidly, our country -- in spite of the
fact that it is virtually surrounded by imperialist forces -- has the
possibility of getting petroleum and selling its products and procuring
machinery; and if we don't have enough boats, they will send boats and they
will bring the petroleum; if we do not have the raw material we need, if
they do not want to sell us raw material on our usual markets, well, then,
we will get these raw materials from those other countries. There is also
an important group of neutralist countries which likewise play an important
role in the world today and we certainly have close economic and friendly
relations with them. In other words, these forces which exist in the world
today certainly can be counted on as forces or as circumstances that are
rather favorable and that counteract the unfavorable circumstances which we
must contend with because we are a country that is virtually surrounded by
imperialist political forces.

However, this does not in any way detract from the merit of the
Cuban revolution -- certainly not. In other words, without the work that
the Cuban people is doing now, without the popular bases of the revolution,
without this merit, this revolutionary spirit, this patriotism and heroism,
without the virtues of the Cuban people -- none of these circumstances,
which are favorable to us, would mean anything at all. Without all that,
there would be no revolution; without the revolutionary Cuban people, there
would be no revolution under these circumstances; it is to the credit of
the Cuban revolution that it was able to maintain its position and to march
forward with its own forces during a process which now is almost 2 years
old; it is certainly to the credit of the Cuban revolution that it has been
able to advance in that process and that it has been able to achieve what
it has achieved in these 2 years.

We can proudly hail the work that we have done because it is
really tremendous -- even though we must not be the judges of what we have
accomplished and what we are doing; but if you analyze the facts
objectively, if you make a comparison of what our country has achieved in
such a short time, in other words, the kind of comparison which we
presented for instance in the United States, the kind of comparison that is
very useful in comparing what this country has achieved in such a short
time, in less than 2 years, much more so than had been achieved in almost
60 years before -- then we can certainly be extremely proud of what our
people has achieved and we can certainly say with pride that the revolution
has been consolidated.

Now, does this mean that the Cuban revolution can be accomplished
with impunity, under the circumstances in which we are carrying it out now?
No, the Cuban revolution cannot be pushed with impunity. Why? Powerful,
very powerful international interests are trying to destroy the Cuban
revolution. The entire imperialist world which surrounded us, all of the
revolutionary forces which surround us in this hemisphere, where we are
nothing but a little island, they are all conspiring against our
revolution; and how we do our job here, the job through which we defend
the revolution, how we do all this here, will determine the triumph of the
revolution, that is to say, the people of Cuba are doing a tremendous
historical job here and they will have to confront all of the efforts that
are going to be made in an attempt to destroy the revolution.

Concrete Aspirations

What is the dream of our people? What is our dream, the dream of
us revolutionaries? Well, the dream of us revolutionaries is to see the
culmination of the ideals of the revolution, the aspirations of the
revolution, and these are very specific aspirations. And we have
demonstrated that we are not just dreamers. Why? Because the facts have
demonstrated that something that looked like a dream just yesterday, many
things that in the by no means distant past looked like dreams, have now
become realities and have been accomplished in a way in which very few
things have ever been accomplished in the history of mankind, in other
words, the ideals of the revolutionaries have been carried through an
unparalleled fashion, (Applause)

We have been fortunate in this sense; more fortunate than those
who came before us in these struggles; more fortunate than those who fought
for independence and who fought so hard, such as Marti, Maceo, Agramonte,
Calixto Garcia, Cespedes, all of them. Almost all of them died before they
could see the flag of an independent Cuba going up on the flag pole; and
Maximo Gomez and others survived but they did not see the flag of an
independent Cuba raised on the flag pole. Did they fight harder than we?
Yes, they fought much more than we. Almost all of us here are relatively
young; nevertheless, we have had the good fortune of seeing the culmination
of the aspiration of several generations of Cubans, in this country here.

In other words, we were not just dreamers. Some people thought
that we were, we started out; and we had this dream of completely
accomplishing the work of the revolution. We were sure that we would see
this dream come true or, if we did not, then others would, but the people
of Cuba would in the end see the fruits of that revolution, all of the
fruits of that revolution.

What the Enemies Want

But what, on the other hand, is the dream of the enemies of this
revolution, the dream of the foreign exploiter interests, of imperialism,
and of reaction in America?  Well, their dream is to see the revolution
pulverized.  What do they want?  Do they want the Cuban people to keep on
marching forward, do they want the honest revolution and the victorious
revolution to continue, do that want to see generous and idealistic and
selfless and humble and sincere people running this country, promoting with
the help of the entire nation, a historical process that has gained
universal prestige?  No!  What they want, for example, is to see the
revolution wiped out; they want to see our country once again run by the
same abominable interests of yesterday, the same interests of corrupt men,
corrupt politicians, politicians without scruples, dishonest men,
egotistical men, exploiters, who lived at the expense of the interests of
our people; they would like to see our country run once again by the
colonels and the generals and the big evil-doers; they would like once
again to deprive the people of hundreds of millions of which the people has
every right and which the people was fully justified in taking away from
them; they would like those men once again to run our country; they would
like to see foreign functionaries here; they would like to see foreign
companies here; they would like once again the people to be ignorant and
not to have any schools, victim of all of these abuses; they would like
once again to see a mercenary army in the service of the monopolies and the
trust, the big foreign companies, the enemy of the peasants, the enemy of
the worker; once again they would like to see our country suffering under a
rent system in which rents are twice as high as what they are today; they
would like to promote the businesses of those who would for a few pesos
purchase a ranch and then turn it into an urban development and then this
same ranch would be worth 10 or 15 or 10 or even 30 and 40 pesos per sq m;
they would like to see a return of all of those interests and speculative
businesses which lived by buying produce from the peasant at a very low
price and selling it to the people at a high price, and that includes
coffee as well as fish, the basic food items; they would like once again to
see the rule of those businessmen who could buy ministers, whom they would
slip a check under the table, so that they could then split up the quotas
among themselves, quotas which enabled them to draw millions in dividends
and profits out of the country, each year; they would like once again the
rule of corruption, the rule of crime, to be returned to our country.
These countries are not so much interested in the amount they lost, in
terms of millions, as a result of this; they are worried much more about
the significance of this example to the other peoples, in other words, the
threat to the theory of those interests, to the effect that the revolution
cannot win against imperialism; that the peoples cannot rid themselves of
these chains; that the peoples cannot shake off this oppression; that the
worker cannot aspire to becoming a man with full rights in society, a man
who has esteem and respect; that the peasant could never own the fruits of
this labor; that the negro and the Indian could never feel that he is a
man; that the humble people could never feel that they were human beings;
that a peasant child could never hope to get an education.  In other words,
that the peoples cannot liberate themselves from these shackles, because
imperialism is too powerful, in other words, strong enough to prevent
revolutions from succeeding.

Imperialism Seeks Out the Worst

These are the two issues which we are debating here. We, with our
dream of advancing the revolution; the reactionary forces, international
reaction, the imperialists, the colonialists, the exploiters, with their
dream of seeing the example of the Cuban revolution destroyed. This means
that we must confront all of the attacks and all of the attempts at
destroying us.

In our country, the revolution has a very strong force, a majority
force. In our country, the counterrevolution has virtually nothing; the
counterrevolution in our country will amount to absolutely nothing. The
counterrevolution gets all of its support and all of its strength from
abroad, outside the country, and it is quite clear that it received
encouragement, publicity support, material aid, and official backing from
the very first moment; in other words, the counterrevolution is directed
from abroad.

From abroad, they are employing all methods against our country,
methods in which they have become masters; all of these are classical
methods of destroying revolutions. Here, in this country, they know
perfectly well what social groups they can fall back on, what interests
they have here and what interests they can draw support from. This means
that they are not going to go looking for the best in our country. No
sincere and honest person, no truly patriotic individual, no honorable man,
no sane and clean person would ever support those interests.

No clean individual can be with the monopolies; no healthy
individual ... certainly not anybody who has very strongly-held
revolutionary ideals. By virtue of the mere fact that he is honest,
personally honorable, personally healthy and clean and sane, no man would
ever be with the criminals, no man would ever be with the monopolies, with
the big landowners, with the Pentagon, with that group of politicians in
the United States who -- as anybody can plainly see, even children, are
perfect or complete imbeciles. (Applause)

Imperialism is bound to look for the worst elements. What kind of
people is it looking for? Is it looking for the kind of people who had 800
caballerias and whom the revolution left with 30; it is looking for the
kind of people who were making 500,000 or 1 million pesos in rental income
per year and whom the revolution, in the beginning, left an income of 500;
now, we have reduced that a little more. It is looking for those who made 2
million or 3 million pesos a year, through the arbitrary distribution of
import quotas. Did they pay taxes? No! Many of these people never paid
income tax; but they paid bribes to the inspector from the Ministry of
Finance and the customers inspector. They are looking for contrabandists;
they are looking for the gangster who was involved in gambling and cheating
and vice; they are looking for the big interests which the revolution -

Everybody knows where those who support imperialism and the
counterrevolution are to be found. Anybody who drives through Havana in an
automobile and who can go from district to district can bee where they live
now, those counterrevolutionaries and those who support imperialism.

Distorted Mentalities

What kind of people are they looking for? They are looking for the
mercenary writer who sells his pen; they are looking for those gentlemen
who received 10,000 and even 20,000 pesos a month in subsidies and aid, in
return for defending the tyranny; they are looking for man who, in their
mentality, wrote their FBI novels, the FBI short stories and the police
stories; they are looking for men who read the paperbacks and who created
the paperbacks, in other words, man who in the final analysis were not men,
men who created cheap American paperbacks, men who could not tear
themselves away from the foreign language editions of Readers Digest, Life
magazine, Time magazine, etc, in other words, all of those instruments
which develop reactionary brains in those who read them.

They are looking for men who very often studied at their
universities and who developed the kind of mentality there which today
governs the individual conduct of the citizen of the United States, that is
to say, they inculcated in them, from the very first moment on, an ambition
for money and profit and accumulation of wealth; and they are trying to get
those who went into motion pictures -- not with the independent companies,
because there are some independent movie companies in the United States
which make good movies -- but those other big companies -- quite in
contrast to what Chaplin and other progressive movie writers in the United
States did, in other words, true artists, although the monopolies tried to
break them. The monopolies produce movies on a mass production basis which
are then shown all over the world and which help turn out twisted minds,
exalting cruelty, exalting racial hatred. Who can fail to remember all of
these Tarzan movies and all of those movies about Africa? How did they
depict the African? Ah! They did not depict men such as Sekou Toure, or
Nkruma! (Prolonged applause) They did not depict those brilliant men whom
we heard at the United Nations, men who addressed the representatives of
all peoples of the world, men of talent and precision, men of political
genius who, of course... by the way, these were men whom the world did not
know about; the world did not know about the value of that continent and
about the men of that continent. That, of course, was the continent from
which they got their slaves. Now, who had slaves? Was it the poor people,
was it the workers, for example, in Cuba or the United States, who had
slaves? No! Who brought slaves from Africa? The slave traders who sold
slaves as if they were things. Who exploited the slaves? The plantation
owners at that time, the big landowners at that time, last century; the
rich classes at that time were those which took all of the slaves from
Africa, who bought them and sold them and exploited them and thus piled up
their fortunes. And, many years after the end of slavery, a worse residue
was left in the form of prejudice and hatred; in other words, there
remained a kind of presumptuousness which was passed on from generation to
generation in those sectors.

Apologia for the Adventurer

Of course, those sectors still govern those countries; the same
interests still dominate in the political life of those countries; and this
is why the picture the men of those continents as if they were savages, for
example, in their novels and films, where they always depict the African as
a member of a group of half-naked tribes, armed with a few shields and
lances, attacking in bands, making frightening noises, and then there is
always one heroic white man, with a rifle, or maybe 3 or 4 white men, who
put up resistance and who kill many negros and in the end the negros must
bow down before the prepotent man, the invincible man, the hero of all
times: the white man, who was precisely the white imperialist, the white
colonialist, the white man who came, wearing his sun helmet, his short
trousers, with his dogs and his rifles (laughter and applause). This was
the white man who went looking for mines and treasures, who went in search
of adventure and who then came out with an apologia for adventurers, in
other words, men who seized control over those territories through crime
and pillage and treason. And those criminal conquerors had their
apologists, even in the middle of the 20th century; even at that time,
humanity was subjected to the influence of those prejudices and those false
ideas; and people's brains were developed through this apparatus which
brought out the worst in men. This, in spite of the fact that man could
have done great and positive things here.

And all of these negative things, all of this way of thinking is
today still to be found in the oligarchy which, for example, determines the
policy of the most imperialistic country, the economically most powerful
country, although it is no longer the most powerful in military terms; in
other words, the country which is economically powerful as a result of the
plunder of more than two-thirds of the world -- because even industrially
developed countries, including Germany, which have a great culture, are
countries that have been colonized by the United States.

West Germany -- and I hope the representative from West Germany
will forgive me -- is a colony of the United States because the principal
auto plants, steel mills, the most productive industries of Germany are
owned by the United States imperialists who came there like swarms of
locusts right after the end of the war. Of course, they came there in order
to put up factories. What for? Because during the war, not a single
American factory was destroyed, whereas the Nazis in the Soviet Union
destroyed millions of homes, for example, and tens of thousands of
factories which were destroyed completely, and because the Soviet people
lost between 10 and 20 million inhabitants who had to go into battle.
Nobody can deny this they went out and fought against the flower and the
full force of the Hitler forces. No, not a single United States factor lost
even one lathe.

Mangy Buzzards

After the war, Soviet industry was destroyed; United States industry
was intact. The monopolies had doubled their fortune because they were able
to do business as usual during the war, they built ships and tanks and
trucks and guns because that was their business. Just like mangy buzzards
(applause) they fed on the miseries of human beings, on human pain and
suffering, on human blood. And so they doubled their fortune and then they
wanted to invest all of this in the countries that had been defeated. They
went to invest their money in Germany and in Japan and they went to invest
their money in all of those European countries. They bought factories
because their industrial machinery was intact and because the buildings
could be repaired. The war had been fought far from their country and they
went over there to establish their complete control in terms of economics
and politics, that is to say, they colonized those countries. Then came the
bases and then they infringed upon the sovereignty of those countries;
almost all of these countries finally lost their sovereignty because they
carved out entire zones for military bases. Not only did these countries
lose their sovereignty, they were also forceably converted into an atomic
battlefield, in case of war.

But they did not colonize only the underdeveloped countries; they
even colonized the technologically most advanced countries, such as

Behind all of this, there is a philosophy; behind all of this,
there is a publicity machine; all of this shapes men, all of this
influenced us here in our own country. With what did we confront all of
this machinery? By preaching 50 years? How? By talking to the people,
constantly, by explaining these things to the people, things which had
never been explained to them before, through the opportunities which we,
the leaders have in addressing the people, on television, on radio, talking
in plain terms, telling the truth. As a matter of fact, the United States
delegation required 3 days to reply to my address which I delivered at the
United Nations (applause). To tell you quite frankly, I did not even need
30 minutes to reply to the imperialist delegation there. They replied in
writing and it took them 30 days and then they sent a document which was
supposed to be read to the assembly. They were so demoralized that they did
not even turn up for a debate there.

Convincing the People

But we counteracted this all the time, we discussed these issues
with the people and we talked to the people; and so we of course convinced
the people, a long time ago; but we have not convinced the big landowners
who used to have 900 caballerias of land. We have not convinced the
presidents of the monopoly companies; we have not convinced the big
businessmen; whom did we convince, then? Well, we convinced the people, the
farmers, the workers, the humble people, in other words, the people who
constitute the strength of the revolution and the power of the revolution.

Imperialism counts, first of all, on all of those gentlemen whom
we listed before, those gentlemen who used to make 2 million pesos or even
3 million, in business, in rent, in import quotas, in industry;
imperialism, as we said before, counts on the mentalities which it has
shaped here and then it also counts on the scum of society; it counts on
all those who lived from gambling and politics and assassination and vice
-- tens of thousands of them; this entire group of them, who very simply
and plainly, became an instrument of repression; they also included men of
the people, because they are guilty in relative terms although, to some
extent, they were also the victims of the situation which existed at that

In the future there will be no more cops and informers; the
revolution here will not crate any cops; it cannot create the type of man
who devotes himself to vice and politicking and gambling; Cuban society
produced that type of man for 50 years; that type of man is the human
material on which they count to conduct the fight here in this country;
that type of man makes up their 5th column, their forces inside the
country; and they are encouraged and economically aided from abroad; of
course, they try every trick in the book in order to stir these forces up
and get them involved in the struggle; these forces have suffered a
crushing defeat on 1 January and they have been scattered; the military and
political machine of the tyranny, which served the foreign interests here
and the big domestic interests, the big privileges and the big interests,
they also suffered a crushing defeat as a result of this. But they
regrouped, they are trying to regroup, and they are trying to return to the

In other words, the entire revolutionary process is a process of
revolutionary advance and counterrevolutionary offensive; that is to say,
this is something which wee explained here in few days ago, the same thing
that happened during the war, when we went through it stage by stage; they
would launch an offensive, they would fail, they would regroup, they would
bring up more resources, they would launch a second offensive, they would
withdraw, and that is how it went through the entire history of this war;
there were also some very difficult moments, for instance, after the defeat
of the 9 April strike. At that moment, many people lost their courage;
everybody remembers that many people, at that moment, thought that the
revolution was still very far off, if it was going to come at all. And we
faced an enormous concentration of forces of tyranny, ready to attack the
revolutionary forces at that moment. Nevertheless, at the very moment when
victory seemed furthest away, it was actually closest of all. How come?
Because a difficult moment had come for the revolution, for the
revolutionary struggle, a moment when they launched their forces; but then
they suffered a defeat and then came a difficult time for them and then,
after that, came their defeat.

Of course, this does not mean that the struggle was over; many
people thought that the struggle was over on 1 January, I remember many
people who almost cried when they remembered that they had not been in the
mountains, that they had not done anything; yes, they cried. I do not know
what these people were doing; I imagine that they were doing something,
regardless of whether they are militia men or teachers in the Sierra
Maestra. At best, there will be those who will be crying, hoping that the
Americans come to attack us. (Applause)

All of Us Have Been Learning All Along

People who had not been able to do anything felt ashamed. Why?
Because they did not understand what a revolution was. But I want to tell
you that we all learn, every day of the revolution; we did understand the
revolution, but we did not understand it as clearly as we understand it
now. All of us have been learning through the revolutionary process. But,
for example, we did know from the very beginning -- and we talked about
this from the very first day onward -- that the struggle to follow would be
a very long struggle in this revolution.

And now, the facts prove that this is indeed so. One phase has now
passed and this was the phase in which we outlined the areas that are
involved in this effort; in this phase we gained increasing clarity as to
the role of the foreign and imperialist interests in Cuba and we are now
very specifically in one of these phases of struggle.

They are on the offensive, as we said before, and we are on the
defensive; but the revolution is dangerous even when it is on the
defensive; I said before that we were going to counterattack, that the
revolution is counterattacking. And this means that the revolution is
growing stronger through this struggle and it also means that the
counterrevolution offensive is not over yet. Now, why do I say this and why
do I make a distinction between offensive and counteroffensive,, between
offensive and counterattack? Well, because the counterattack is an
operation within a broader struggle; they are on the offensive, from the
moment they rally the counterrevolutionary elements here in Cuba; and they
are rallying also mercenary elements, counterrevolutionaries, abroad; they
are rallying the reactionary politicians all over the continent; they are
maneuvering and they are preparing for an attack.

And this attack can be conceived in two possible forms; the
possibility of a direct attack and the possibility of attacks through
groups of mercenaries, including some kind of puppet government.

In the beginning, you remember, that they used Trujillo but later
on difficulties sprang up between them and Trujillo. Why? Because United
States policy began to resent its alliance with Trujillo and began to be
more interested in the type of hypocritical American political leader who
was not patterned after Trujillo; they were looking for this type of
politician on the continent and they abandoned Trujillo.

They Will Need an Out

Right now, for example, they are using Guatemala as a base of
operations, in order to train groups of invaders; and they are using Cisne
Island, in other words, they are using United States territory. The
possibility of a direct attack is the more difficult here. Why? First of
all, because the conditions for this attack would have to be justified
through a provocation; we have warned the world about that possibility.
Second, because a direct attack, after the Khrushchev declaration, can mean
only destruction for them; it is not the same thing to play a game in which
they would wipe us out as it is to fight with all their strength against a
small nation, in a struggle in which they would not only be dishing it out
but in which they would also be on the receiving end. (Applause)

Of course, they start out by speculating on the possibility that
the Soviet Union might not support Cuba if they were to attack us; they
began to speculate on that possibility and this was a dangerous thing,
because they were playing with fire; it was dangerous for them to believe
in this possibility. When we brought this problem up in the United Nations,
Khrushchev rose and said: "Yes, they are wrong, they are wrong," and he
said it with very much emphasis. (Applause)

Then, what did they do? They stepped up the effort of organizing
mercenary groups; this is because imperialism cannot rest for even one
minute; it becomes more and more hysterical and more and more agitated and
the more hysterical and the more agitated it becomes, the more crazy things
it invents. Then they launched the entire series of aggressions in the
economic area, which you are familiar with; in the international arena,
they engaged in all of the maneuvers which you are familiar with; but they
were also active in other ways, because they had officials of the United
States Embassy here conspiring quite openly. FBI agents established
contacts with revolutionary elements and we caught some of them in the act
and we expelled them from Cuba. Others had a whole string of installations
and equipment taking up a whole floor of a building, right above the
offices of the China News Agency; there they had their microphones and
listening devices, in other words, they had a complete espionage setup;
they were establishing contact with the counterrevolutionary elements,
trying to tell people to leave the country; they did this with Miro Cardona
and they did it with all of these people, with Valdespino, in other words,
with people of that kind.

The Communist Phantom

In other words, they were engaging in proselyting activities in
order to get to many of the ambassadors, whom they bought and subverted;
they offered them mansions and palaces if they would go over there; they
promised that they would indemnify them and they tried to create a
counterrevolutionary environment, they tried to plant the seeds of doubt
and they tried to create a division, they tried to create a lack of
confidence; but at the same time they were trying to organize
counterrevolutionary groups and terrorist groups and they were also trying
to organize counterrevolutionary fronts. Was that the only way in which
they were fighting? No, they also fought in the ideological arena. They
thought that their anti-Communist campaigns, the phantom of Communism which
they had been building up for so many years, would to the trick and they
talked to many people about Communism. They tried to frighten people with
that word -- although they never knew how many people were really
frightened by it. Let me give you an example of how they did this. Are you
in agreement with this law? "All right, if not, then you are a Communist."
(Laughter) And, so, many people who did not even know what Communism was,
500,000 times repeated that Communism... You know, the funny thing is that
everything was Communism; this is really very odd.

In other words, Communism is a phase which the Soviet Union today,
after 40 years of socialism, is beginning to achieve. They said that the
revolutionary government was Communist and I simply cannot figure out for
myself how we could possible have nationalized 382 big enterprises in that
short time. (Applause)

This little campaign began from the very first day; this little
campaign began when we still did not have a single revolutionary law; in
those days, they went around saying that Hart was a Communist and that Yeye
was a Communist and that Franqui was a communist; everybody was a
Communist. (Laughter) They began to put lists in all the newspapers and
they had all kinds of questions to ask. I remember that when I went to the
United States all of these questions were in the nature of an inquisition;
nobody can imagine to what extent they pry into your life; but all of this
was part of their espionage method. Of course, this campaign did influence
some people; the only way some people could feel calm was to think that not
a single revolutionary law had been promulgated. And so they demanded that
they be left in control of everything, all of the big estates of 800
caballerias, of the 10,000 caballerias of the United Fruit Company, of the
15,000 caballeria plantations, they suggested that we leave rents the way
they were, that we not put up any schools at all, that we had better not
promote industry because the best thing would be to give money to the
millionaries so that they could put up factories (laughter); in other
words, we were supposed to give them money and that was supposed to be
good; but if the government put a factory, that was bad; that was
Communism; everything was Communism.

More or Less the Same Thing

I remember that, one day, I was talking to a United States
newspaperman and I told him: I believe that you are a Communist. (Laughter)
I said to him: "Look, let me explain what I mean -- during the war, you
suppressed free enterprise; you did not let people make automobiles, not
even automobile tires; instead, you told all the factories -- you have to
make tanks and guns and aircraft and you cannot produce certain articles,
in other words, you forced a plan on private enterprise; you had government
planning and the United States government even built a factory, the Nicaro
factory at Lengua de Pajara; and so the United States government came to be
the owner of a factory, in other words, the state owned the factory. In New
York, for instance, I have seen blocks of buildings which belong to the
state of New York; the state builds apartment houses and then collects the
rent. Now, if we put up an industry, then we are supposed to be Communists;
if we draw up a plan, then we are supposed to be Communists. Of course! But
if you, for example, have a corporation with headquarters on Wall Street,
in New York, in New Jersey, in Manhattan, or in Boston, in Brooklyn or
Philadelphia, then 5,000 individuals are the owners of 10,000 caballerias
of land; and you might have one shareholder who holds a majority of the
shares; we might assume that tone shareholder might hold 3/4 of the shares
and 2,000 or 3,000 individuals would sell him their shares; when any of the
shareholders speculates with stocks, when he needed money, then he sold;
10,000 people in Brooklyn, or 5,000 maybe, or 10,000 here and 200 there and
a hundred over there -- they are the owners of 10,000 caballerias of land
belonging to the United Fruit Company. Now, that is very good! They do not
soil their shirts with sweat; they do not work; but each year, they get a
dividend. We, on the other hand, instead of having 5,000 or just a hundred
stockholders living in Brooklyn, in other words, stockholders who own that
wealth, we put 5,000 poor farmers to work here. (Applause) Instead of a
hundred United States stockholders, we have a hundred poor Cubans, farmers
who work here; these are the hundred stockholders in the cooperative, the
one hundred owners of that cooperative and they work the land and they
produce and they share the dividends; when you do this sort of thing, it is
good but when we do it it is bad. Now, when you in the United States set up
a chain of stores, a thousand or 2,000 stores, and when these stores belong
to Mr So and So, that is good! It is all right for a man to have 2,000
stores, to have a chain of stores. But when the chain is owned -- instead
of by Mr So and So -- when it is owned by the INRA -- so that the peasants
can buy cheaply and so that the peasants will not be exploited and so that
nobody can give an opportunity to exploit the peasants -- then what you do
is good and what we do is bad. And so I told him: all right, we are doing
more or less the same thing. You have stock companies and we have
cooperatives; you have chain stores belong to Mr So and So and we have
chain stores belonging to the Revolutionary Government; you plan for war
and we plan for peace. (Applause)

Confusion of Ideas

There was a tremendous and absurd confusion of ideas. In other
words, when something existed for the purpose of exploitation, it was very
good. It was all right for 10,000 stockholders to own all the land. But
this was very bad when the land was supposed to belong to the poor farmers!
That sort of thing was Communism or it was something like Communism or
whatever they wanted to call it. Yes, and when we set up chain stores, that
was supposed to be bad. When these chain stores were set up to exploit
others and when only one man got all the profits, that was good; it was
good when Mr So and So got a million pesos or 10 million pesos to put up a
factory; yes, that was supposed to be good. and so, a man could become a
factory owner with the money of the people, with the resources of the
people. But now, now that the government puts up the factories, now that
the profits no longer go to any Mr So and So, now that the money is used to
build a school or 10 schools and to hire and pay 10 teachers to give
scholarships to a thousand college students -- now that is supposed to be
bad! Exploitation was supposed to be good and justice was supposed to be

This confusion of ideas was so bad that when those
counterrevolutionaries were sentenced at Santa Clara, I said to them: "Do
you want the land to be be taken away from the peasants and do you want the
land once again to be given to the big landowners?" "No, No!" "Then, do you
want us to take the teachers away from you?" "No." "Do you want us to take
houses away from the people?" "No," "Do you want us to raise rents again"
"No." "Do you want us to convert those military barracks back into
fortresses again?" "No." "Do you want us to close the beaches and return
them to private ownership?" "No." "Now, what do you want? What is it that
the revolution has done, that you are not in agreement with?" "Ah, no, no,
nothing." And so, they agreed with everything. (Laughter) They agreed with
the agrarian reform, with lowering the rents with our industrialization
plans, with everything. And so, against whom are they? What pretext do they
want to invent and why do they come here to talk about Communism? Because,
if they do agree with the revolution and if you say that we are Communists,
then you are Communists too. (Laughter and applause).

It is a fact that we have been trying to find our way, the
solution to our problems, and we have come up with all of the measures of
the revolution which we thought would help us resolve these problems; these
are the measures which, we told the people, should resolve these problems.
Now, were we Communists because we did not shoot Carlos Rafael Rodriguez?
(Laughter) Ah! What are they going to say now? What are they going to say
now that Carlos Rafael has turned up on this television show? (Applause)

They Know What They Want

They created tremendous confusion around this problem; they
created all of this confusion of ideas because all of these
counterrevolutionaries are confused; not a one of them has a clear idea. Of
course! They do have one clear idea; everybody knows that they want. They
want to be paid -- and they all want to be generals here. The first thing
they do is to assume for themselves the rank of major. Of course, you don't
get to be a general overnight; this sort of thing is rather rare. But they
appoint themselves to the rank of major and then they begin to give orders
to everybody. And then they hope that the planes will come with the
parachutes, with guns and rifles and weapons and bazookas and all of that

We never got any of that; if we needed ammunition, we had to take
it away from the soldiers; or we had to pick up the ammunition which the
soldiers dropped by the wayside; those were the only "paradrops" that we
ever got.

In 17 months, we never got a single round of ammunition from
abroad. Seventeen months! These people know what they want; they are full
of ambition but they have no idea about social problems; they analyze these
problems in a very simple manner and they say... and they believe that the
problem can be decided by a show of force or by economic resources or
military power, coming from the United States. And they do the things which
never before occurred to anybody. But here, it would not occur to anybody
to rise up: that sort of thing would not occur to anybody. But look, there
was a chance to rise up here! (laughter) And take a look and see if there
were any abuses in the camps! And there is something else I asked them:
"Come here now. Do you know of any peasant whose house has been burned?"
"No." "Has any poor peasant been assassinated?" "No." "Has any poor peasant
been tortured?" "No." "Has anybody been tortured here?" "No." "Have you
seen anybody dead in the streets or shot down in the streets?" "No." And
with all of the things that happened here and with all of the abuses that
existed in this country, it did not occur to anybody to rise up. There were
plenty of abuses when all of these American companies were in control here,
the United Fruit, the Francisco Sugar Company, when they were the
landowners and the factory owners everywhere, they would shoot people down.
But let's not have any more campaigns against the foremen and overseers --
because that is one problem -- at least some of these foremen and
overseers! (Laughter) There are indeed some foremen who are having trouble
with their work and that... but let us think a little more of the foremen
who, in the final analysis, were employees, in the rural guards. Yes, in
the guards! The soldiers. They committed abuses of all kinds; they did not
respect the families of the peasants; they had no respect for women; they
had no respect for anybody. They did not rise up! They did not rise up
against robberies or against crimes; they did not rise against
exploitation, when they bought produce from the farmer for half the price
and when they sold it at 3 times that figure on the market; No, they did
not rise up then. How could they then rise up now? Besides, this is
absolutely impossible since the first mistake they make is to believe that
you can make a revolution with the support of the landowners, against the
poor farmers who now own the land.

Natural Allies

Of course, we know whom they ran into here: the middleman who had
been driven out of his business of exploiting the people here, the big
landowner in the particular zone, including some of those who had ranches
here even though they were not big landowners, perhaps with 20 or 30
caballerias. And so, as you analyze all of the individuals who were ready
to help them, you find a man who was involved in white slavery between here
and Manicaragua; and he participated in the uprising; then you have the PUR
mayor, from I don't know where, who supported the counterrevolutionaries;
and the middleman So and So and the landowner So and So; as you look at
them, you get the picture of what kind of people were affected by the
revolution here. They had all kinds of types here, the former lawyer, the
adventurer, the deserter, the drunkard, the people who thought that the old
days were coming back, the people who quickly put on uniforms and thought
that they could go back to gambling and robbing and making big profits. But
this was not to be. And so, all of these types, all of them Batista
supporters, met there.

The thing that really hurts is to see the shamelessness with which
these pseudorevolutionary elements, who passed themselves off as
revolutionaries, tied up with the war criminals and these types! And how
they haggled and how they placed themselves in the service of the embassy
and imperialism! This is a very shameless thing indeed. But I am not at all
surprised; I knew this would happen, with people like that.

Now, what were they trying to accomplish? They were trying to
create small groups that would rise up and they attempted this in Pinar del
Rio, they tried it in Oriente and they failed and they tried it in Las

They Offered No Resistance

We began to get some reports on these little groups consisting of
counterrevolutionary elements and others who reportedly tried to form
groups in Escambray. Of course, we had the army units, but they are in
training; besides, we think that it is best to use local people, local
peasants, to fight against small counterrevolutionary groups that try to
constitute guerrilla units. Within a month, we organized a thousand
Escambray farmers there.

Of course, the serious thing is that all of these people engaged
in some very big illusions. After the first small groups of revolutionaries
had been set up there, they were joined by Batista people, people of all
classes. What did these people believe in? Of course, to fight one of these
little groups, you have to locate it first and this takes a lot of work; it
would be easier to fight a large force. But then, again, you cannot let
them organize a large force because that would then cost more lives and
more sacrifices.

There is no denying that if they organized a large force at any
one of these points, it would be much easier for us to spot it and to wipe
it out; but we are perfectly familiar with these techniques, because, after
all, it was we who initiated this type of warfare here. (Applause) How
could any of these little groups escape us? There was no possibility at
all. But they joined these small groups out there, while the peasants were
getting some training.

Of course, they did not offer any resistance. We figured that we
had a group of about 150 out there, because they offered no resistance at
all. When we took a closer look, we found that there were 200 or 250
persons out there. But then they gave the watchword for constituting these
groups in various places throughout Cuba; they tried to create trouble in
certain rural areas, it seems, in order to prepare the situation and in
order then to send the expeditionary forces which they were training

These groups -- including the one in Havana where they tried to
constitute a little group -- these groups tried to ... well, we had
information that they tried to send former regulars, who had joined them,
to the zone of Pinar del Rio, to the zone of Oriente, to start an uprising;
and they probably also had some illusions about the zone of Las Villas,
only because sometime had passed simply due to the fact that we were
training the peasants.

And then came some peasants from Escambray and they are really
formidable fighters. They were trained in two groups of 500. As soon as the
first group had been trained, it was sent into one zone; after we had
completed training the second group, we also sent it out. But since the
problem was to capture these gentlemen and to prevent them from getting
away, we also used militia from these provinces, including militiamen from
Oriente. They took up positions, they surrounded the area and then began
the job of finding these groups out there and we did find them within a
number of days.

No Escape for Anybody

They offered very little resistance. As a matter of fact, we
captured 102 of them and their principal leaders. All of the others were
captured in the pockets into which the peasants had driven them. Within 3
or 4 days, we captured another 50 or 60 more. And this is how these
operations go; they might last 8 or 10 or 15 days; the operations are
started on the basis of reports to the effect that some of these groups are
out there. And so we have these groups out there in the mountains but the
main thing is to make sure that they do not escape.

And so it was they found it was absolutely impossible to fight
against the mountain farmers there. They ran into a thousand mountain
farmers with automatic weapons. We took these farmers and we broke them up
into small units and we put a rebel officer in charge of each of these
groups and they went out into the field. And they really are formidable
fighting men; they did not let a single one get away. We figure that the
peasants suffered two casualties in return for rounding up 102 of these
people out there, in 2 weeks. And two farmers died as a result of
accidental gunshot wounds; in operations of these types, you usually have
more casualties due to accidents than due to combat action; and we lost one
Rebel Army officer. And of course, these people out there surrendered
because they knew they were not going to be mistreated.

One really admirable example involved Felix Torres. Now, this
fellow Felix Torres had a nephew who always was his buddy during the
revolution, when they served with Camilo; he practically brought him up;
and that boy, heading a peasant patrol, was persuading a group of
counterrevolutionaries in the mountains and he was killed. Now, on the next
day, Felix Torres captured those who had assassinated his nephew; he took
the prisoner and as he himself said during the trial, he did not bother
them or mistreat them; he brought them there, to the prisoner collecting
point, and, it says in the trial record, he asked that those who killed his
nephew be punished. Of course, only a revolutionary could do that sort of
thing because everybody knows that the situation was different when the
cops and the minions of the law ran the country; everybody knows what
happened when the regulars caught a revolutionary. If any of these cops or
regulars had captured Felix Torres, they would have rubbed him out in 5

Special Agrarian Reform

This is the difference, the big difference, between the conduct of
the revolutionaries who have ideals and who have a set of ethics and who
have principles, on the one hand, and the cops and the minions of the law,
on the other hand. Here we did not use a single aircraft; we did not shoot
up a single house; we did not strike a single zone; we did not bother the
peasants in any way; we did not prevent them from going out and buying
foodstuffs; we did not take any measures against them; and still, all of
those groups were completely wiped out. All of those who scattered and who
tried to hide out in the caves, way up in the mountains, all of them are
going to be arrested, one by one. And now they are never going to try this
sort of thing in Escambray again (applause). Why? Now we have a special
500-man combat column from Escambray, which spent 7 months in the Sierra
Maestra; these are fellows between the ages of 16 and 25 whom we have been
training for some time as a special force to be assigned to that zone; and
we did not mobilize those boys who are in training and who are from there.
We mobilized the peasants.

And now we are going to institute a special agrarian reform in
Escambray, a special reform, because these counterrevolutionary groups
developed there; they were able to develop there with the help of certain
landowners and big ranchers. And so we are going to have a special reform
in Escambray; and we are going to locate 1,000 peasants in Escambray, in 50
or 60 cooperatives (applause) and they will be under arms, yes, they will
be armed. They are also going to get a loan so that they will be able to
develop the rich land there, so that they can grow coffee and cocoa and
fruit trees and so that they can develop animal husbandry; they will get a
5-year loan so that they can develop the area there, because the Escambray
zone is different from the Sierra Maestra and from the zone of Oriente,
because there we have many farmers who own 20 or 30 caballerias of land.
There, the land is not distributed the way it is, for example, in the
Sierra Maestra, among many small coffee growers and many small landowners.

And so this is the solution we have for the problem there. We are
going to have to have a trial within 8 or 10 days in order to judge those
who remain; but the principal leaders have already been sentenced and
punished. Simultaneously, another one of these "Masferreristas" groups
landed there, with some Americans, between Moa and Baracoa. At the same
time, a deserter, a sergeant, by the way, swiped 15 or 20 rifles from a
military barracks in Imias.

These two events of course were connected. The way I see it, they
were trying to form a front consisting of groups concentrated in that zone,
near the Caimanera Base. The problem was to create a zone of operations
there, a trouble zone near the base, because that is the only reason for
landing those 27 individuals there. Then, the watchword was to trigger
uprisings by groups of regulars in various parts of the country.

As you know, the other day, some of these former regulars, were
cooking a meal for themselves when a family with a child drove by in a jeep
and they fired on these people. They killed the child and they injured the
mother. Now, these fellows have been arrested and they are going to be
hauled before the revolutionary tribunal.

Completely Wiped Out

That group of 27, all of them, has been captured, all of those 27,
all of them. And we have a lot of peasant militia always ready there, when
it comes to capturing any of those ex-regulars who start trouble there. All
we have to do now is pick up the sergeant who swiped the riffles; of
course, these fellows have an advantage in that they can always try to head
for the Base. The last four of them were captured 40 km from the Base. They
were heading for the Base in order to seek refuge there.

Here is what the situation is right now: the groups which have
risen up both in Las Villas and in Oriente have been completely wiped out.
We are going to have another trial in Las Villas for those who were
captured after the first trial; and we are going to have to ... I think the
four who were captured out of the troup of 27 are probably being tried
right now. That is what the situation is as of this moment. And these are
members of the mercenary groups that are training in Guatemala.

We can be absolutely sure that they will have to send those groups
out sooner or later. Once you start this sort of playing with weapons and
once you get into all of this training, then -- since these gentlemen are
nothing but tools, since they are getting all of this training -- the only
thing left for them to do will be to start out on their mission and come
over. We must expect them to come and I am sure that they will come sooner
or later and we have to be ready for that. This is one of the variations in
the aggression of imperialism, when they use mercenary elements.

We must be prepared and we do have Rebel Army units ready to go
into action against those groups; and we already have a number of militia
units which are being equipped for this purpose and our entire effort of
training militia and army cadres is coming along very nicely.

We Will Wipe Out the Entire Offensive

We must fight this battle in the economic field, in the field of
international diplomacy, and we are going to have to fight these battle
also in military terms because this is inevitable, to put it quite plainly.
All revolutions had to go through this sort of thing and these groups are
daily becoming angrier and more full of hate and impotence and they are
inevitably headed for a confrontation with the law of revolutionary

They will come and they will be wiped out. And thus, that will be
the moment at which we will liquidate the current offensive of imperialism.
But then others will come. We are going to have to destroy many offensives
of imperialism but, just as we are absolutely sure that the revolution will
become stronger, during each phase, so do they know the fate that awaits
them, these counterrevolutionary leaders and the imperialists who land here
on our soil.

It is painful to have to face up to this circumstance but this is
our duty and it is not we who have brought those criminals here; it was
they who sent them. If the revolution must execute them by firing squad,
then they are the guilty ones. They can spare themselves the trouble of
sending those criminal and counterrevolutionary elements and then the
revolution would not have to resort to revolutionary justice.

All of this is also a part of their plan and their game, because,
around each and everyone of those individuals who is punished here in this
fashion, they develop their propaganda campaign all over the world, all
over Latin America, in other words, this is how they develop their
campaigns against the revolution. But those things are inevitable and the
thing that you cannot avoid, the thing you have to accept, is that all of
this is an inevitable part of the revolutionary process. I can certainly
tell them that in connection with the counterrevolutionary pockets which
were wiped out and in connection with the counterrevolutionary pockets
which were siped out and in connection with all of the groups that will be
wiped out, even though all of the ex-regulars may rise up. They are just
making work for us, in other words, we have to mobilize the militia and the
army and then we are going to have to capture them.

And if we have to contend with this for the next 10 years, then we
will stick with it for the next 10 years; and if we have to confront this
situation for 20 years, well, then let it be 20 years. We are not worried
about this; we know that this is a long struggle. And the people must be
prepared and know that this is going to be a habitual thing here: in other
words, this thing with the counterrevolutionary and terrorist groups, all
those people who are paid and aided by the United States.

The weapons which they sent, when they dropped 22 parachute loads
of new weapons, with American factory serial numbers, from a 4-engine
aircraft, along with communications equipment and codes and everything else
-- all of this is the sort of stuff which only the United States Army has.
They did not even bother to deny this; they did not even have to deny this
because Kennedy proclaimed this publicly, in other words, he stated
publicly that they were helping the groups which were fighting in the
mountains. But these are just "midsummer night's dreams!" Isn't that it?
(Laughter) Isn't that what Kennedy had in mind with those little groups.

Jose Pardo Llada: Major, you talked about the counteroffensive or
the counterrevolutionary offensive; I think it might perhaps be a good idea
to talk now about the counteroffensive of the revolutionary government,
especially the counteroffensive which has been launched.

They Escaped from Morro

Dr Castro: No, let's talk about the counterattack. (Laughter)

Jose Pardo Llada: All right, the counterattack, the counterattack
there which has been launched in the presidential palace.

Specifically, in connection with the latest effort here, the urban
reform law. Could we perhaps talk about that? Because here is what is
happening in this connection: all Cubans tonight have become a kind of
legal consultant or attorney or interpreter of the law; everybody in
interpreting what the law says and everybody is trying to figure out when
he is going to have a home, whether he has to wait 5 or 10 years. I would
therefore like to ask you, the first and foremost revolutionary leader, a
question in this connection, so that we may know how and when this was
conceived by you; and second, I would like to address this question to the
prime minister who promulgated this law.

Dr Castro: All right, let me say something which I had better
point out before I forget.

Hose Pardo Llada: All right.

Dr Castro: This concerns another event involving a group of
counterrevolutionary prisoners who escaped from El Morro. This was a group
of those men who had been sentenced in connection with the trial of Hubert
Matos. They had been sent to the Island of Pines for imprisonment. Now,
these fellows certainly committed a ... you might call them double
tratiros: first of all, because of the attitude they had assumed on that
occasion: and, second, because... Now, I would really like to help those
fellows because if you analyze this situation carefully, you find that men
very often are the victims of circumstances; they may have been badly
influenced or badly oriented, as these rebels were; I understand that their
guilt was relative; they had bad luck... If they had been with Raul, or
with Che, or with any other of our comrades, they certainly would have
adopted a different attitude -- you can be sure of that. And so we moved
them; we gave jobs to some of those boys who had been charged during the
trial but who were acquitted; yes, we gave them work and they were doing
quite well; these are the fellows we moved to El Morro; they were able to
see their families 3 times a week while they were there and they certainly
had all of the facilities they could want; one fine day, I inspected El
Morro and I talked to them and I explained the situation to them; we
certainly talked on the best of terms; I told them that we are going to
give them an opportunity to rejoin the revolution.

Disloyal Guards

But who was guarding them? Other gentlemen who were likewise
examples of ingratitude. Since we had been deactivating a series of
fortresses, we had to use a group of marines from the Navy to watch them.
Now, they gave us two examples that are typical of what happens very often
in this connection. But this should not fool anybody because people very
often react this way to a generous gesture.

This group of boys, in complicity with the marines who were there,
5 marines, the bunch I mentioned before; because we have too many
assignments to cover, too much work to do, and all that sort of thing...
Well, was it our fault? We had already deactivated the Casablanca Arsenal
and we deactivated the Cienfuegos Arsenal. Why? Because the Navy was the
only service that was not dissolved; the Army was dissolved, the police was
dissolved, however we were very generous with the Marines. Why were we so
generous with them? Because they had adopted a less drastic attitude than
the army, although they had men like Laurent and people like him who
committed many crimes; they did fire on us a lot, that is true, with their
frigates, and so on, in the Sierra Maestra, but we treated them, the
marines, differently from the way we treated the army.

But what happened then? Well, something very simple happened: the
spies from the embassy, the State Department, the counterrevolutionaries,
they were always trying to conspire with somebody. Who were they trying to
conspire with? Well, the people with whom they had contacts in the past,
the people with whom they had been friendly in the past; and they were
constantly conspiring in an effort to get a frigate to mutiny or in an
effort to get a garrison to mutiny: and they played this little game. We
knew that some of them were conspiring, and this is why we took a
preventive measure: we deactivated the warships, we deactivated the
fortress of Cienfuegos, and we put rebel forces there.

That was the preventive measure; we did not arrest anybody because
we had taken this preventive measure. "It is better to lock the barn before
the horse gets away." And we took this precaution, we ordered them to go
out and work -- we did not kick anybody out, absolutely nobody, because we
detest the idea of having to take measures which simply result in people
getting kicked out into the streets.

And so, there were some fellows who responded; there were some
cases of old marines, humble sons of the people, who reacted properly and
they captured some of the fellows who were trying to get away and take the
money that had been offered them; they tried to get them to desert from the
ships and there was some struggle at that time. In other words, there are
always those who react properly and then there are others who turn out to
be traitors, like those who were assigned to guard duty here and who
enabled 14 prisoners to escape, with the help of some of the old regular
marines -- and they went off with them.

Timely Warning

Of course, if we had dissolved the Navy completely and if we had
not left a single one of those marines on duty, except those who had been
captured or those who were known revolutionaries, then none of this would
have happened; if we had kept these people penned up on the Island of
Pines, none of this would have happened to us.

But many of these marines still had their weapons and I talked to
them in all sincerity at that time; some of then can go; others, at best
did what those traitors did; and still others might behave
any rate, it is best to speak out quite frankly; it is a good idea to
address those 3,000 or 4,000 marines whom we have now, many of whom still
have their weapons, we would like them to think about these events; we
would like them to think about the examples set by those who behaved well
and the examples set by those who behaved badly. We do not want to kick
anybody out into the street, we know that this is always a painful thing.
Even though they still have their weapons, we must certainly tell them that
the revolutionary government is taking all of these circumstances into
account: the negative facts which occur and the positive facts and this is
why I want to give timely warning that, if the men who are part of a
component do not respond integrally and loyally and completely, if they do
not respond to the revolution in this way and if they do not do their
duties, then we will not be responsible for the fact that we have to take
measures which will lead to the complete dissolution of the Corps.

People might think that it is tactically not a good idea to talk
this way but I have always talked that way and I have always taken these
things up in public. The same thing is happening to those marines that
happened to many officials in the Batista government, people who entered
the government service between 1952 and 1958. Now what goes on here? Many
of these people do not forgive the revolution for having been so generous
with these others; it is they who talk and act like counterrevolutionaries;
I do not know whether they confuse the generosity of the revolution with
some sort of idea that the revolution is obligated to do this sort of thing
or that this constitutes one of the weaknesses of the revolution; I do not
know whether this is how they figure this. But these are facts which we
must take into account, in other words, the elements who are left over from
the past, including in the armed forces, elements who are left over from
the past, in the various departments of the civil service.

They Had Better Understand

It does not cost us anything at all to put out a law tomorrow,
completely dissolving the Navy and the Marine Corps, releasing them all,
except for those who were taken prisoner and except for those who
distinguished themselves as revolutionaries; it does not cost anything at
all to expel from the civil service all those holdovers from the Batista
past; this does not cost us anything at all. We have done many more
difficult things in the past and we have promulgated laws much more radical
than this one.

I do not know whether, before we actually have to take measures of
this kind, it might not be a good idea to appeal to this type of person,
who is still around, to appeal to him to understand what the revolution is
trying to do and to prevail upon him to join the ranks of the people so as
to cause the least possible damage; it is our duty to defend the
revolution, to defend it against foreign and domestic enemies; we are doing
our part in this respect; and all of those Cubans had better think hard and
realize that the revolution has been generous with those people; that the
revolution has done its part and that they must now likewise to their part
because we would prefer them to go on doing their jobs, we would prefer
them to join the nation, we would prefer them to join the effort being made
by their home country, rather than having to take drastic measures in the
interest of the security of the revolution.

This is why I want to discuss these things publicly, in the hope
that there will be military men... Because they are not all the same, as
you know; I am not trying to say that all of the people who were in the
administration, in the past, are bad men; nor do I want to say that all of
those who were in the armed forces, in the past, are bad men. What actually
happens is that they are placing the revolution in a difficult situation
whenever there is a case of desertion, whenever there is a case of
disloyalty, whenever there is a case of counterrevolutionary conspiracy;
but they all have the duty not only of doing their own part but also of
contributing to the purge of all of those elements who respond with
ingratitude and treason to the generosity of the revolution toward them.
And they certainly should do their part because I certainly could not speak
any more clearly than I am doing now, nor could I discuss the situation
with more frankness, nor could I explain this problem more clearly than I
am doing now.

We would like all Cubans, who have no cause whatever for being
against their country, to join the effort made by the nation now. We do not
necessarily want them to be 100% revolutionaries but we do want them to
fall in and join the effort which the country is making.

Now that I have explained this -- because I wanted to discuss this
before I forgot it -- I can answer your question... Now, let's see, where
were we... (He looks over some of his notes). You told me that the people
had been converted into legal advisors in this case or consultants.

The Moncada Promise

Jose Pardo Llada: The people are getting into some legal
interpretations of the law in order to find out when they might be able to
own a home.

Dr Castro: Well, what is it you want to know?

Jose Pardo Llada: Now, it might perhaps be interesting, Major, for
us to talk at least for a few minutes about the headline in today's edition
of Revolution which says: "Moncada pledge redeemed." In other words, how
was this law conceived?

Dr Castro: Which one? We have three laws here.

Jose Pardo Llada: The Urban Reform Law.

Dr Castro: All right, I still have not said the most important
thing that I wanted to say here today, from the viewpoint of the general
trend of thinking in the revolutionary government...

Jose Pardo Llada: Why don't we take this up at the end of this
panel discussion, later on?

Dr Castro: No, I want to take it up now.

Jose Parto Llada: What?

Dr Castro: No, you question! (Laughter)

Now, to get back to your topic...

Look here, buddy: The Urban Reform Law was conceived after the
Moncada epoch. Besides, that was the only point that was missing from the
Moncada program. And so it had its roots in that epoch.

It was tied in with the general housing problem for which we have
been trying to find a number of solutions. The first thing we did was to
create the savings and housing institute so that we could go ahead and
build housing units with the money that was collected from the lottery.

The basic principle of this law was to make homeowners out of
people who were just renting homes. Why? Because, in reality, the person
who rents a home pays for that home over a period of 15 or 20 or 25 years;
and there are even families who pay for these homes for 30 years. By that
time they have paid for that home many times over but they never get to own
these homes.

All right, the case of a low-income family, which built a little
house and then rented it, that case was not as serious; but the serious
thing happened in cases of big apartment houses, where a big operator had
the capital necessary or got the credit from the banks and mobilized his
own credit and built an apartment house; he would buy the land and he would
then build on it and then he would collect the rent. And the apartment
tenant would pay for the land and for all of the speculation with the land
and he would pay for the value of the building and the interest on the
capital that had been loaned to the building owner. In addition, the big
operator would have a profit and he would then invest that money again
elsewhere. In other words, the apartment tenant paid for everything and in
the end he wound up with nothing. This is how the system worked; and each
day, the concentration grew because the time during which individual homes
were built in the towns in the interior was during the 30's and the 20's.
From 1940 onward, urban property was becoming increasingly concentrated.
This included many homes belonging to those families which had one or two
houses which they rented out. During the last 20 years, nobody built a
single house. Very few people built a home for the purpose of renting it
and the renting business was in the hands of companies or persons who
controlled many apartment houses or homes. For example, it was said that
the Sarra family had something like 12,000 homes. I don't know the exact
number now.

Just Basis for Law

There are apartment buildings that brought in rent amounting to
50,000 pesos. Now what was our judgement on this matter. Why did the
government not provide any support here, instead of loaning money,
mobilizing the funds of the national savings program to enable a big
operator to build an apartment house, which means that a family would be
paying rent all its life, why were these resources not mobilized toward the
purchase of a home and why could the monthly apartment rent payments not
be used to pay the home mortgage? Why not, indeed? Would that not have been
the right thing to do? Well, it certainly would. This would have been the
right thing to do and this was one of the promises that were made when we
said that we would be cutting rents 50%, as part of our proposals for the
revolution and its achievements, in other words, when we proposed the
construction of housing units on a massive scale and when we proposed that
ownership of these homes be transferred to the families.

So, in other words, we were talking about that law quite some time
ago. That law was actually conceived at that time. And then we stated a
number of problems here: what are we going to take as the index for the
number of years during which the mortgage was to be paid off? We could not
simply hand these homes over to these people; we had to find some kind of
basis. Was this the time during which these families were to live in those
homes? No, because it might happen that somebody might just have moved to a
20 or 30 year old house and they certainly were going to be paying 20 years
for this house. In the end, we took the time the house was built as the
base. We assumed that a house built in 1930 has been practically paid off,
that a house built in 1958 has not yet been paid off, or perhaps a house
built in 1955; nor would a house built in 1930 been paid off by 1950.

And so we finally established a uniform basis: the time the house
was built, in order to determine the number of years over which the current
tenant would pay the mortgage. Of course, the law would have been much
nicer if we could have said today: "All right, everybody owns their own
homes as of now. You don't have to pay anymore rent or make any other kind
of payments."

Well, that created two problems. The fact that we did not very
simply do just that is due to the fact that we could not do it for two
reasons: first of all, the large number of families whose income was
derived from the houses which they owned and from which they drew a rental
income, in other words, houses which they had rented out. These families
were not affected by the rent control law, many of them, that is, because
houses built built prior to 1940 had a lower rent or mortgage payment on
them and they were not affected by the rent law. And, above all, we have a
larger number of small home owners who own homes that were built until
1940. If we were to relieve the tenant of the obligation to pay the rent,
we would be leaving many of these families without an income, the income
which they now count on to support themselves. So much for one aspect here.

Second, we have the following: if we were to lift this rental
payment entirely, the people were going to have much more money to spend,
at a moment when we were trying to increase production, at a moment when
consumption had already increased extraordinarily; now, it would have been
inflationary to lift these rent payment obligations so that the people
would have, in this case, spent much more, several million pesos more every
month; there was a very fundamental economic reason for this and we must
realize first of all that we are in a phase of production increase and that
consumption has increased extraordinarily.

Second: because we had to consider the case of those who are
currently getting their only income from that rent and we certainly could
not deprive them of that rental income.

Third: the state, as of now, would have to assume a burden here in
continuing pension payments and starting new pension payments. So, we had a
number of reasons, three reasons, to be specific among others, of course.

Now, what formula did we figure out here. All right, we figured on
a minimum of 5 years for all houses built prior to 1940. In other words,
all houses built before 26 July 1940; in those cases, the current tenants
would become the owners of those houses within 5 years, continuing the same
payments that they are making now. So they would become the owners of these
houses in 5 years. The government would be collecting the money.

Jose Pardo Llada: In other words, they would be paying -- excuse
the interruption -- in other words, they would be paying to the Provincial
Council of the Urban Reform?

Dr. Castro: The government would collect all of these payments
from all of these houses, all of these currently rented homes. The
government would pass the money on to the owners of these homes... So that
they would  not have to bother about collecting the rent or so that they
would not have to take care of any other formality. They would get the full
payment amount deriving from the sale. (Applause)

We will deduct the city taxes, that is to say, the money which
they currently must pay to the city. And during the first month, a small
amount for the expenditures concerned with the documents involved in the
conversion of the lease into a home purchasing contract.

Now, the law says... The prices which they have to pay... No, the
number of years. Here is what it says:

The home purchase price shall be determined in accordance with the
date the house was built, as follows:

"Urban homes built before 26 July 1940 shall have, as their legal
price, the price resulting from the sum total of the monthly rent payments
in effect as of the date of publication of this law, for 5 calendar years."

In other words, what remains for them to pay would be 5 years of
rent payments in the amount they are currently paying, an equal amount
every month, in other words, what they are paying today, minus the city tax
on urban land and the amount of utilities for 5 calendar years. In other
words, we are going to credit them with these monthly amounts.

"Urban homes which were built after the above mentioned date, but
before 26 July 1950, will have as their legal price the amount resulting
from the sum total of the monthly rent payments in effect as of the date of
publication of this law, for a period of 5 calendar years plus half of the
number of years and months in the arithmetic remainder between the date of
construction of the house and the July 1940 date." Now, do you get that?
Did anybody understand this? (Laughter) Well, that explains the law.

In other words, nobody understood it because, when you run into
these problems in legal language... Well, you know that is what we lawyers
are for, to try to make this understandable. (Applause)

"Plus half of the number of years and months in the arithmetical
remainder between the year of construction and the July 1940 date." Well,
that is quite simple: suppose the house was built in 1946. How long would
you have to pay for a house that was built in 1946?

Jose Pardo Llada: Five years.

Dr Castro: Five years, plus half of the difference between the
year 1940 and the year 1946; 5 years plus half of 6, that would be 3, in
other words, 8 years.

Now, let's take the year 1948: Five, plus half of the difference
between 1940 and 1948, that's 8 years, or, in other words, 4 years. That
will mean that he would have to pay 9 years as of 1948.

Now, take a house that was built in 1942. You add 5 years plus
half of the difference between 1940 and 1942. From 1940 to 1942, it was 2
years; half of 2 years is 1 year. Five plus 1 makes 6. You get that?

So, you have to add up the years and the months. In other words, i
you have 4 years and 6 months, half of 4 years and 6 months would be... for
example between 26 July 1940 and the year the house was built, you might
have 4 years and 6 months, that is to say, he would have to pay 2 years and
3 months, plus the 5 years which we mentioned before, in other words, 7
years and 3 months. Now, everybody can figure the rest out for himself.

Now, let's take the year 1950. Now, in this case, he would have to
pay 10 years. The houses that were built from 26 July 1950 onward will have
as their legal price the price resulting from the sum total of the monthly
rental payments plus the number of years and months in the arithmetic
remainder between the date of construction and the July 1950 date. Now
what does that mean? If the house was built in 1958, he would pay 10 plus
difference between 50 and 58. Now, here this is not half, because the rule
here says that the house should be more or less considered paid off from
1940 onward, in 20 years, in other words. If the house was built in 1958,
then he would pay 10 plus the difference between 50 and 58, which is 8.
In other words, 18 years plus 2 years for which he has already paid rent
and that makes 20.

If the house was built in 1955, then he would pay 10 plus the
difference between 50 and 55, and that makes a total of 15 years. If the
house was built in 1953, he would pay 10 plus 3 or 13. If it was built in
1952: hew would pay 10 plus 2 or 12. If it was built in 1951, 10 plus 1 or
11 years. If it was built in 1960, 20 years.

That figures from 1950 onward. For the period from 1940 to 1950,
the formula would be 5, plus half of the difference. Now do you get it?

You, for example over there, what year was your home built in?

Jose Pardo Llada: Well, that house was built in 1948-1949.

Dr Castro: All right, 1939, let's suppose we work with that. You
would have 5 years to pay plus half of the difference between 40 and 49,
that is 9 years or 4-1/2 years. So you would have 9-1/2 years and then you
would own the apartment which you have there. (Laughter)

Now, what about you over there?

Carlos Rafael Rodriquez: Well, I would have 6 years to go.

Dr Castro: And what about you there?

Ithiel Leon: In my case, from 1921 onward.

President and Ministers Excluded

Dr Castro: Ah, you are in the clear: (Laughter) I want you all to
know one thing, I want you to know that the only ones who would not benefit
from this law would be the members of the Council of Ministers and the
President of the Republic, by virtue of the following article.

"4th: The benefits which, by virtue of this law, may be reserved
for the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, and the ministers
of the government shall be cancelled hereby in favor of the Cuban state."
In other words, they were only persons, the only tenants throughtout the
Republic who did not benefit from the Urban Reform Law. (Applause)


Moderator:  Dr Castro, there is a very important point connected
with mortgages which I would like you to touch on likewise.

Dr Castro:  Mortgages?  All right, this law, let me tell you, will
benefit everybody.  Everybody benefits from this, however, the interest
groups have not come out greatly harmed either.  First of all, are the
small-scale rent operators going to be greatly harmed?  No:  Why?  Any
family that owns one of these houses, any family that collects 80, 100,
120, and up to 150 pesos and does not have any other income -- in many
cases -- now, how will the law resolve that problem?  A family which has
two homes dating back to the year 1958 and which now collects 80 pesos in
rent -- that is, a house dating back to the year 1938 or the year 1927 --
will, from now on and for the next 5 years, get this amount which the state
will in turn get from the tenant of the house.  When that time passed, the
tenant will, as of that moment, acquire property rights and the only thing
he will have to pay is the monthly mortgage installments, an amount
equivalent to what he is paying today in terms of rent; but he does acquire
the property as of the moment at which the councils are constituted, as of
the moment these councils are constituted, and then they will ask him to
cede his contract to them and as of that moment they are the owners of the
house and the payments will then be made in installments.

Now, what about that family which has an income of 80 or 90 pesos
from two houses dating back to 1938?  Well that family find itself without
any income 5 years from now?  No.  When that time is up and when the rent
has been paid until then, the government will grant a lifetime pension to
all families which are getting less than 500 pesos and which do not have
any other income.  If they do have other income, then the amount will be
revised in accordance with the other income sources; for instance, a widow
who has two homes now gets 90 pesos and after 5 years those payments will
stop and she will instead get a pension.  In other words, the state will
actually give her more because she will no longer have to bother about
collecting the rent nor taking care of the house and she will be getting a
pension that will be exactly equal to what she was getting in the form of
rent payments, -- without having to worry about that house for the rest of
her life.

Lifetime Pension

In other words, the state will also concern itself with that type
of person, so that he or she will not be abandoned and it will improve that
person's situation.  Actually, a person who now has to collect his own rent
and sometimes the tenants are behind in the payments and sometimes they do
not pay at all -- that person would actually gain by getting a pension.  If
that person makes anything up to 250 pesos, then we are going to give him
150 pesos, plus half of the difference between 150 and what he used to get,
let us assume, 200 pesos, in other words, the base will be 150 pesos, plus
half of the difference between 150 and 200 pesos or 25 pesos; in other
words, the pension of that person would then be 175 pesos.

Now, for instance, a person who gets 250 pesos in rental income
would likewise not be left high and dry; he would get 150 plus 50 or a
total of 200; he would, in other words, get a pension of 200 pesos.  In
other words, any small homeowner would be guaranteed a pension, after the
payment period is over.  That was the solution which we found to be the
fairest and the most humane for those cases.  But, take a person who has
two small homes and take another fellow who has 10,000 homes or 2,000 homes
-- now, there is a big difference here.

600-Pesos Ceiling

Now, what is the solution for the fellow who has many homes?
Well, it will be the exact opposite (laughter and applause).  The man who
has many homes will not be able to draw more than 600 pesos a month.  A
landlord who used to make 40,000 will now have a deduction of 39,400 pesos
(applause), yes, that's right, 39,400 pesos, and we are going to give him
600 pesos.

Now, is a revolution which guarantees that gentleman an income of
600 pesos cruel?  No, that revolution is not cruel.  Anybody can live on
600 pesos today; there is no doubt about that, just ask any worker, ask
those who make 200 or 150 whether they could not live nicely on 600.  And
that does not include those who have their own homes, because generally
they do have their own homes.  They all have their little nest-egg stashed
away someplace.  You can be sure of that (laughter).  They have their
little bank account here and there.

All right, there might be one terrible case perhaps in which a
millionaire will wind up poor.  But here is a remedy for cases such as this
one: let him go to the revolutionary government and petition for a pension.
(Applause) And so, nobody would be abandoned; the revolutionary state is a
just state; it is not like a reactionary state, an exploiter state, a state
which serves for exploitation and which served the privileged, a state
which leaves old people without any resources, a state in which old and
poor people have to sleep under the bridges and in doorways or where they
would be picked up by the police or where they would have dogs sicced on
them and where they would die of hunger, abandoned; the revolutionary state
is so just that, if there is any millionaire without any income, the state
would give him a pension so that he can continue to live decently, because
he is a human being, and the revolutionary state will not abandon him.

The revolutionaries have a conscience and our kindness is just
about too strong and we are just about too fair-minded to abandon any human
being.  We cannot do here what the exploiters and the privileged did; they
abandoned the human individual.  We are going to let that millionaire have
his little old pension so that he can meet expenses and have a good meal.
(Applause)  And this is the way it is going to be and I don't want anybody
to have any doubts about this.

Beneficiaries of the Law

Dr Carlos Rafael Rodriguez:  Major, I can see the worried look in
the face of Captain Guerra Matos and I don't want to be a nuisance here,
taking up all of this time with my questions.  I would like to introduce

Dr Castro:  I am going to be very brief now.

Dr Carlos Rafael Rodriguez:  I would like to introduce now, in
connection with this topic and precisely because you have just begun to
explain the policy of the government with respect to various social
categories, a problem which relates to the other aspect of the
counterattack, in other words, the nationalization laws...

Dr Castro:  Wait a minute, don't get into that problem yet:

Dr Carlos Rafael Rodriguez:  No, I just want to bring this up
because the topic has already been broached.

Dr Castro:  No, no, let us conclude this here by talking about
those who will benefit from the law.

Dr Carlos Rafael Rodriguez:  Magnificent; I think that's a very
good idea.

Dr Castro:  Look here now, we have seen that all of the small
interests have been guaranteed and backed up, in other words, that they
will benefit and that this, primarily, involves all of those tenants who
today pay rent; second, the law will benefit all of the urban businessmen
and merchants and those who have small stores, small businesses, all of
them.  Why?  Because those people have for many years been fighting to keep
their businesses open and they have not been granted a permanent commercial
license or permanent opportunity to keep their stores open.  This law gives
them much more; it gives them the right to acquire the property, in
accordance with our provisions here; I have seen many people, small
businessmen, who were extremely happy because we have at least and once and
for all resolved the problem of keeping these businesses where they are,
permanently; we have solved that problem for them now.

Third, the law benefits people who had mortgaged homes.  All of
those people will benefit likewise.  Why?  Because now they do not have to
pay any interest any more; what they pay in terms of interest is converted
into capital amortization; the people who built their homes through the FHA
will benefit; these people very often approached me and told me that they
had not gotten any benefits out of this but now they do not have to pay
interest anymore.  All right, the amount they pay now is to amortize the
capital and the interest is deducted.

And so, the benefits will extend to [Unreadable text] had
mortgaged homes, persons who built on the basis of FHA credit, small
businessmen, small industrialists, all those who have stores and businesses
and all of those who rented or leased from the Republic.  Few laws have
benefited more people, all at once, than this law.

Now, these are the persons who have benefited from this.  And the
only people who do not benefit from this, as we said a little while ago,
were the people in the Council of Ministers and they are going to have to
look for a home on loan, later on, or something like that.

Right to Housing

In addition, this law establishes a basic principle, the basic
principle to the effect that the family has a right to housing.  This is a
new right which we could very well have included in the Havana Declaration;
but this is one more right which the revolution has established and which
is spelled out in the law.  The law establishes... In the last paragraph of
the introduction, it says:

"Whereas:  the Cuban revolution considers the right to housing an
indispensable and inalienable right of the human being."

This law contains something very important because this is the
first law of its type in the world and because, from this day onward and
well into the future, it contemplates the housing problem from three
different view-points, in terms of three phases.

First, we have the present phase.  Here is what the law says:
"All families have a right to decent housing."  But we cannot proclaim
rights without turning them into reality and we therefore immediately try
to figure out how we were going to turn this right into reality.  The state
will implement this law in three phases:  the present phase, the immediate
future phase, and the less immediate future phase, in other words, a more
long-range phase.

Today, what is the present phase?  This is a phase in which all of
the tenants are becoming the owners of their own homes through this law.
After that, they can swap houses or they can sell their house, just like
anybody else has their homes; I don't know exactly how this is done -- it
is not very easy to sell a home but they can do so if they want to.

Then comes the second phase, that is to say, the actual or current
phase.  The state will facilitate the amortization of the home in which
each family lives, using what the family currently pays for rent, over a
period of no less than 5 years and no more than 20 years, based on the date
of construction of the home.

Then comes the immediate future phase.  Now, the state will
collect millions of pesos each year, the difference from 600 pesos on up,
and other income, within the provisions of this law.  What is the state
going to do with this money?  Well, here is our future policy:  we have two
agencies, the INAV, which will build homes so that the family can become
the owner of what it is paying for.  But this is still a home which will
have to be paid off with the price that is the result of material and
manpower; in other words, the cost of the manpower; and so, it may cost
5,000 or 6,000 pesos, maybe 7,000 pesos, and even though no interest will
have to be paid, the family will have to pay 25, 40, 45, and so on pesos a
month and that certainly adds up; now, with the revenues derived from this
law, we are going to build the homes of the second phase, a phase in which
there will be no amortization plan but in which we will collect a rent
equivalent to 10% of the income, at least; in other words, suppose a family
earns 90 pesos, we are going to give them a home with 2 or 3 rooms, and
they are going to pay 9 pesos.  That family is not going to become the
owner because, to become the owner, it would have to pay 25, 40, and maybe
45 pesos, depending upon what the house is worth.  If the family makes 250
pesos, it pays 25 pesos for the house which the head of the family needs
for himself and his family.  If there are just a few of them in the family
they will have a small house; if there are many, they will have a good
family-sized home, even though they may pay only 9 pesos for a 3-room
house, depending upon their actual housing needs.

In other words, with the revenues we get we will launch housing
construction plans, that is, the state will, and the state will then
collect a small rental payment.  That is the second phase.

And so we will then have families which will be paying off their
own homes and we will have families which will be paying 10% less than
their rent.  This will be a transition phase leading to the third phase,
which is the future phase:  using its own resources, the state will build
housing which will then be given to each family, free of charge, and for
permanent usufruct.

Now, what does that mean?  It means that, in the future, when
national production has reached a high level of development, when the state
has sufficient resources, it will guarantee the right to free housing; but
when will this be?  Well, within 10 or 15 years.  That is what the
situation will be within 15 years.  Virtually everybody will have his home
paid for and will thus be the master of his own home.

One group that has been paying rent at the rate of 10% of the
family income will, as of that moment, no longer have to pay any home rent,
as of the second phase, in other words, the people would not be paying for
new homes; they would be getting them free of charge and the others would
be left with the property which they have now, in other words, which they
are now paying on.  But, wait a moment, there is more:  We have developed
an entire evolutionary criterion, from one phase to the next, from the
second to the third phase.  In spite of the fact that the future phase
would appear to be rather far off, we are nevertheless working on this,
right now.  In the cooperatives, the cooperative members will pay for the
homes, in other words, they will pay for the homes with their profits.
Now, there are certain model farms which the INRA is developing, with a
very high degree of technical development, in which case it is the
government that is putting up these developments; those who work there will
make the salaries specified in the law but they will also get free homes
and free electricity.  This is the system which will constitute the future
phase in the city, within 15 years; we are applying this system, however,
in the rural areas, on the model farms, in other words, farms which are
among the most highly developed which the INRA has in the interior.

Free Housing

Why is it right for us to do this in the rural areas now?  Because
incomes in the rural areas are lower than in the cities.  Now, if these
farms have a rent income, the state can perfectly well give the families
there some free homes.  There are some cases where they get even more.  For
example, in Rosario, on one of these farms, the homes have 3 rooms.  We are
now completing that development and it is certainly worth everybody's time
to inspect that development.  In other words, a little later on around
November or December.  Each house will have a room for tourists.  Now, in
addition to the income which they get, they will be able to rent a room on
Saturday and Sunday to those people who come out into the country for a
weekend and so they are going to have an additional income.

But we are going to give them their houses.  Within 15 years, by
the time the country's economy has developed tremendously, the nation will
be able, with its own resources, to guarantee the right to free housing for
every family.  And these are the principles that are proclaimed in Article
1 of the law.  The current phase, the immediate future phase, and the
longer range future phase -- that is the setup here.  And, so, in 15 years,
nobody will be paying anything.  Nobody at all, not those who live in new
homes and not those who live in old homes; nobody will be paying any rent
for these homes.

All right, those who currently want to join the INAV system will
be able to acquire a home but they will pay more because they have to pay
for the cost of the home.  That might be 30, 35, 40, or 45.  I think that's
just about the size of it.  (Laughter)

And so we are going to keep on building houses under the INRA, on
the basis of an amortization system; in other words, the homes will be made
available on the basis of rental system which in turn will be based on the
income and we are going to have 2 types here, plus the homes which are
being built in the rural areas under another system, for the cooperatives
and they will be paid for by the cooperatives or by the farms under the
INRA, for which the state pays, of course.

This is a very important point because the law already looks
forward to the future panorama here, in other words, housing is a basic
right and the law states that this right shall be given free of charge in
the future.  Now, making that kind of revolutionary law certainly couldn't
be bad.

Pardo Llada:  One point of information, Major.

Fidel:  Shoot.

Pardo Llada:  Well, to put it briefly, because we haven't got much
time left.

Fidel:  All right, they can play ball at 2200.  (Applause)

You know very well that when there is a tie, they may play extra
innings (laughter) and sometimes they have 4 or 5 or 6 extra innings; all
right, we are going to play some extra innings here before going over to
the ball field.  (Applause)

Tenement Houses and Apartment Houses

Pardo Llada:  Now, this is in reference to Articles 25 and 26 of
the law where it says that the ownership of real estate destined for the
so-called tenement houses, the apartment houses, will be transferred to the
state, without the owners getting anything at all.  Later on, Article 26
says that the councils of the urban reform will resolve the cases referred
to in the preceding paragraph, in other words, the conditions under which
these persons, that is to say, those who live in tenement homes and so on,
will provisionally remain -- or whether they will remain in the premises
which they now occupy.

Fidel:  Of course, they will stay here, they will pay the council,
but the council will accumulate the money for... (he looks at his papers)
Yes, that is what they are going to do with that...  In all of these
places, these tenement houses, it certainly was wrong to have all of these
families live in subhuman conditions and it certainly would not be right to
have them continue to pay those who have been exploiting them.  But these
people will continue to pay and the money will be accumulated for the
purpose of building new homes or housing units which will be based on the
standards which the government has determined for these buildings which it
will put up.  In other words, we must now start building housing facilities
for the indigent in the tenement houses and places like that.  This is what
that article means.  There is nothing here for those who live in a tenement
flat because those people were living under subhuman conditions and the
government will take over the construction of the required housing.  You

Pardo Llada:  The other topic, I think, can also be taken care of
easily.  This concerns the situation of the apartment house employees, the
custodial personnel, in other words, who are the employees of those people
who are now going to cease being the owners.

Fidel:  All right, that problem will be resolved by...  Well, they
are going to have to keep on working and those buildings are going to have
to be taken care of.  The reform council is going to resolve that.  We are
going to try to preserve the jobs of all of these people.  We are going to
organize this thing quickly.

Unrented Houses

Here is something important; we are now rapidly investigating all
of the apartments that have been left vacant in an attempt to frustrate the
law and to mock the law.  This is something that was done by those people
who were waiting for the counterrevolution to come and they are now trying
to let their friends have these available apartment units and in this way
they are trying to mock the law.  This is why all the neighbors should call
the following number:  7-3772.  (Voices from the background and Fidel asks:
"What's going on?").  Yes, 7-3772.  Has everybody got a pencil handy?
(Many reply:  yes.)  In the houses likewise?  Yes, 7-3772 and 7-5088.  Let
me repeat those numbers:  7-3772 and 7-5088.  That is the Public Works
Administration which ought to get all of the reports you might have on
vacant apartments, because some people already are beginning to lock these
apartments and we have heard of two cases where some people sneaked in
anyway and took over these apartments.  (Laughter)  No, let me correct
that; they did not have a lease; in other words, anybody who gets in
fraudulently does not have any right to that space.  We must prevent those
who control these apartments now from mocking the law; everybody ought to
pass on any information he has on any vacant apartments so that the Reform
Council may check into this and so that these apartments can be distributed
to other people; I know that a lot of people complained that there were
empty apartments at a time while many people are looking for apartments and
still other apartments are being rented out furnished by these people.

Problems Solved

And so, all of these problems have been solved once and for all by
the law.  And I want to ask you all to give your full cooperation to the
Ministry of Public Works so that we may properly take care of the question
of these houses and the unrented apartments.

Pardo Llada:  We have another little question here on...

Fidel:  Hey, watch out, you are making Carlos Rafael very unhappy
here.  (Laughter)

Pardo Llada:  This is still on this law; this is still on the

Pardo Llada:  All right, there is something I read here -- I don't
recall the article -- and it concerns something which may not be important
at all.

Fidel:  I think that the fellow who has become the legal
consultant here is you, buddy.  (Laughter)  You have studied the law here,
have you?

Pardo Llada:  Well, there is an article here, I don't know which
one exactly it is, but it says that you can pay the mortgage or the
amortization during the 5 years or 8 years, depending which year is
applicable, or anybody who so desires can pay off an advance.

Fidel:  All right, anybody who has the money and who wants to pay
this off quickly, can do so; that is perfectly all right and nobody will
prevent him from doing that.

Pardo Llada:  All right, Carlos Rafael, you have the floor.

Wanguemort:  All right, let's go, Dr Carlos Rafael Rodriguez.

Carlos Rafael:  All right, let us now take up the other aspect of
the counterattack.  Now, of the three laws which have made history in
recent days, two pertain to nationalization and one to the complete
nationalization of the banks.

Fidel:  All right, except for the Canadian banks, and people want
to know why, and if they want to know why, then I will explain it:  very
simply because those two banks are rendering a great service to the
government, an international service, in facilitating the commercial
operations, imports and exports, etc; in other words, these banks are
handling all of the payment transactions and they are really rendering the
revolution a service, through their home offices in Canada and this is why
we have made an exception with those two banks.  They are not covered by
the law and they are operating on the basis of agreements which we have
arrived at with those two banks, in other words, on the basis of
conversations and this is why they were excluded from the law by virtue of
the functions which they are performing through their home offices.

That is the reason why those two banks will continue to be exempt
from the law.

Law for the Defense of the Economy

In other words, we realize that we must come out with a law which
will take all of these facts into consideration so that we can develop the
entire revolutionary process and so that we can utilize all of the means
and facilities that present themselves.  This is the reason why those two
Canadian banks were not included in the law.  There are other houses which
were excluded from the nationalization law.  Some people might ask
themselves why Sears, why the Ten Cent stores.  Well, for a very simply
reason; although these are United States companies, they are subject to the
law for the defense of the national economy; this legislation is different
from the other one.  These enterprises are subject to these provisions and
they have been nationalized along with the various acts of aggression that
have been directed against us and they are subject to legislation which has
already been created in this respect, and this is the only reason why they
are not included in this particular law and this is actually a new
legislation, intended to cover cases other than those covered earlier.

This is also a law for the defense of the national economy but it
concerns enterprises which are not foreign, in other words, Cuban
enterprises.  They are not national enterprises, simply because some people
say:  how come we are nationalizing all of these national enterprises?  No,
to nationalize means to put something under the control of the nation.
They were private enterprises owned by Cuban citizens or they were Cuban
organizations, but they are not national enterprises, and this is why we
have here a law for the nationalization of enterprises which were not
national enterprises but which were owned by individuals.

These are two different things here, these are two different laws,
and we shouldn't worry too much about that.  If they keep continuing their
economic aggression against us, we are going to keep on nationalizing
United States enterprises, in accordance with that legislation.  Now, is
that all clear?

Carlos R. Rodriguez:  Perfectly.

Fidel:  All right, because people keep asking questions about
these points.

Carlos R. Rodriguez:  Now, referring to that nationalization,
Major, and to the earlier process of interventions, there are people in
Cuba, they are very well known and they have good connections, and some of
them left Cuba and they are now doing a lot of talking outside the country,
in other words, these are people who do not and did not have the courage to
say all these things here, people who have been saying that the government
is going to take everything, that the government is going to nationalize
everything, that it is going to get its hands on everything, that nobody is
going to own anything here... (Applause)

Moderator:  Ladies and gentlemen of the television audience, this
applause was intended for some individuals who have just entered the
studio, the President of Guinea, Mr Sekou Toure, accompanied by his suite,
the members of the delegation of the Republic of Guinea, who are in Havana
right now and who have just signed a cultural relations pact with the
revolutionary government.  The studio audience has given this clamorous
ovation to these men.

(The audience gives the visitors a standing ovation.)

President Sekow Toure of Guinea did not come earlier to attend
this broadcast of our "Meet the Press" program because he was indisposed.
Dr Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, please continue.

Dr Carlos Rafael Rodriguez:  As I said before, some people, who
are quite well known, have been propagating the idea that the government is
interfering in everything, that it is nationalizing everything, and that it
is intervening in everything.  Gradually, as you read this nationalization
law, you can see that this involves enterprises of a certain type and a
certain size.  Furthermore, the law itself establishes that the government
is determined to give guarantees and facilities to modest-size
entrepreneurs, something which is tied in -- and this is why I want to ask
you once again about this -- something that is tied in with the protection
which the government has just given to merchants through the law and to
certain small industrialists through the housing law.

What is the strategy here and what is the government's view on
this problem of the medium-sized entrepreneurs, whom the law covers,
however without specifying anything here in greater detail?

Fidel:  All right, look here, sometime ago we were confronted with
certain difficulties that were due precisely to those campaigns and to that
state of fear which is a consequence of some of the measures taken by the

Two Historic Days

About a month ago, in the CTC auditorium, I talked about this and
explained that we did not want to intervene in everything, that this was
done on many occasions against our will; in other words, we found ourselves
forced to intervene in some industries, as a result of production sabotage,
as a result of deliberately created conflicts; besides, in many cases we
did not have enough personnel and cadres and that forced us to adopt
certain measures quite against our will.

I remember that, the other day, some people approached me and
explained to me that it was all very well to make all these statements,
because I wanted to explain the policy of the revolutionary government in
all sincerity, in other words, the policy that we did not want to take
everything over, and that those interventions occurred many times against
our will.  But, in the matter of intervention in small, very small
businesses, as well as big businesses, the best thing is for me to explain
the line here because this is one of the points which I have to take up
here tonight.

There are two essential things here:  one, the future line of the
revolution, so that everybody will know what to expect; two, the program
which the revolution has accomplished so far.  I believe that these two
days have certainly been two historical days on the basis of what we have
accomplished in terms of the Moncada program, which has been the document
that guided the conduct of the revolutionary government and the document,
or the principles, that guide the conduct of the revolutionary government
right now.

Now, let us talk quite clearly and very frankly about this problem
of the first 20 months of the revolutionary government:  let us say that we
have made some mistakes.  Why?  Because we wanted to make them?  No:
Because we were able to avoid them?  Well, let me tell you, that we could
not have avoided them.

The government simply inherited too many problems:  a revolution
is a highly complex process, especially when that revolution has to be
accomplished against an empire as powerful as the Yankee empire, which is
only 90 miles from our coast.  In the midst of this struggle, in the midst
of all this sabotage, we had to confront extremely difficult conditions,
and the country's reserves were exhausted.  We had the task of making a
country out of nothing, of developing an underdeveloped country, of
satisfying the one thousand and one necessities of our people; and in the
midst of that struggle, we had to go on, with new men, many of them devoid
of any experience, men whom we had to train as we went along, cadres whom
we had to develop during this entire process.

And so, we could not avoid these mistakes.  Those who are angry
over some of the errors which the revolution has committed, must try to
understand that we could not avoid those errors, we could not humanly avoid
them, because we did do everything possible to avoid them.  However, we
have not been able to avoid them.  Nobody can reproach us that we have not
worked and that we have not made every effort; many of us even have
sacrificed our health through overwork which we had to do during the first
few months of the revolutionary government, the 20 months during which we
have had our revolutionary government.

Interventions Were Necessary

And so, these errors were inevitable.  But we did commit them.  We
had to give authority to a number of functionaries, on the various levels
of the public administration, in order to carry out the agrarian reform and
in order to make sure that this agrarian reform would not be mocked; it was
necessary to carry out a number of interventions involving land and
property.  There came a moment at which almost all government agencies
intervened; the Ministry of Labor intervened, on the basis of the law, in
order to resolve labor conflicts; the INRA intervened, the 30 INRA
development zone chiefs intervened; the Department of People's Stores
intervened; the Department of Housing Construction intervened; the Ministry
of Commerce intervened; the Ministry of Transportation intervened; and so,
there came a moment when intervention was a generalized attribute in all
government agencies.  And even though many interventions were justified,
there were many cases of unjustified interventions.  In some cases, a
fisherman who had 2 or 3 boats, was intervened; or a truck was intervened;
or a tractor was intervened; this is not the same as intervening 50
tractors from a United states landowner, from a big landowner company; it
is certainly not the same as intervening one tractor from one man because
the zone chief or some cooperative administrator needed that tractor in
order to do his work.

And this is how we had a series of unjustified interventions,
ill-advised interventions, which did not involve big property owners nor
big landowners, but small property owners, humble people, in other words,
and this is how these injustices were committed.  Yes, these were
injustices, these were mistakes which we could not avoid and we must be
honest enough to admit this here.

We fought against this sort of thing but it was not easy to
eliminate this.  Why?  Because, on the one hand, we were fighting against
the proliferation of interventions; on the other hand, interventions were
indispensable in other places as a result of the acts of sabotage in our
production establishment, as a result of the reactionary attitudes on the
part of businessmen and owners.  I can give you an example her:  the
Ministry of Agriculture is, for instance, responsible for large-scale crop
dusting, using air-craft; it consulted us as to whether it should take over
private crop dusting planes.  And we told them:  "No, buddy; we are going
to have to buy these, to the extent that they can be purchased, and we are
going to have to try to find some other way and we are not going to
intervene anything here."  And this is how it was done.  But in the
meantime, 4 of those crop-dusting planes were flown to Miami, along with
their owners and some pilots, old-line veteran pilots, and some other
individuals.  So, you see, that it is difficult to work out a policy here
and we did have to contend with the obstacles which the saboteurs and
counterrevolutionaries created for us.

A Principle of Fair Rectification

However, we are not going to abandon our idea here and we are
going to continue with this effort.  Now, what about the aircraft?  Well,
here it is necessary to work out some sort of agreement with the owners so
that we can settle this matter without having to take the aircraft over.
Sometimes there is an immediate need; however, we have already adopted a
policy and with these three laws we are actually closing out one phase of
the revolution; with these three laws we are closing a phase which perhaps
was a decisive and fundamental phase of the revolution and we are beginning
a new phase in the revolution now -- and this is very important to keep in

In the first phase we had to take drastic measures; this drastic
procedure in many cases led to excesses in terms of authority and duty
performance; and this excess in terms of official functions and authority
led to errors and injustices.  Now, we must begin to correct those errors.

For example you can see that the urban reform law was a law which
could be studied more thoroughly in some details; here we were able to take
into consideration the cases of small-scale owners, cases which were not
covered by the agrarian reform law; we still have many cases of small ranch
or farm owners who derived an income from their farm or ranch property.
For example, we are going to begin to correct a number of situations here,
we are going to have available half a million every 6 months to pay the
bonds which are due the poorest and most humble families which have been
covered by the agrarian reform law in those small plots of land which were
given to the farmers as their own property.  (Applause)

Now, this is a principle of fair rectification.  Why?  Because we
are the government, because the people embodies revolutionary power, and
because the people is strong.  And when the revolutionary government makes
a mistake, anybody who may be a victim of such a mistake, has no one else
to go to but the revolutionary government and this is why the revolutionary
government must be fair and when a mistake is made, when an injustice is
committed, it must be corrected -- because this is the source from which
the people always expect justice to come and we want to make sure that the
interests of a modest man of the people are properly protected through this

Indemnity Claim Bureau

The term "justice" here of course does not mean a claim by a
speculator who exploits the people, a foreign monopoly, but we always
believe that it will be only fair to take up the claim of humble people who
always expect justice to come from the revolutionary government.  There are
many cases -- perhaps there are not too many of them -- but there are cases
of people who have been affected by revolutionary measures, people who were
in rather moderate circumstances.  We are going to correct these injustices
and we are going to set up an indemnity claim bureau for persons who lost a
truck or a tractor or some small property, in other words, people who claim
indemnification, up to certain limits, of course.  We are going to set up
this office so that everybody who has been involved in this manner as a
result of any of these measures, which may have been wrong or excessive,
anybody whose interests have been affected in this way, will be able to
file a claim.

Third:  I want to declare here that the revolution has
accomplished the first phase and that it is now entering a new phase; I
want to state here that the methods of the first phase necessarily were
methods that were different from those of the second phase.  The methods of
the first phase had to be drastic; we could not go on temporizing in other
treatment of the foreign monopolies; we could not hesitate in our approach
to the big estates and the big privileges; we very simply and plainly had
to liquidate the big estates and the big privileges: we had to liquidate
the economic power of a minority which controlled the economy and the
politics of the country and which had abused this economic and political
power, which it had in its hands, and which had exploited the people
through this power.

The economic and political power of the big privileges in Cuba has
been eliminated.  The privileged minority in our country has been
liquidated as a political and economic power.  The economic and political
power of the minority has been liquidated and the people now hold these
powers; in our view, the term "people" is a very broad concept.  As this
filters down toward the most humble sectors of the people, the number will

There are many activities which are antisocial and which are
carried out by persons who are not member of the privileged minority but
who have been doing this sort of thing as part of the social system which
we had and they constitute a rather large group and we certainly have to
reckon with them too.

We feel that it is necessary to abolish the rental system; in
other words, rents such as they have been paid so far; however, we are
taking into account the interests of all those families which live on a
small income because it is our duty to take this into account and to
indemnify those interests in a fair and satisfactory manner.

During the new phase of the revolution, there will be no more
drastic measures of an economic or social nature.  Why?  Because those who
used to control the economy of the country, those who held the greatest
power, a power that was primarily of an economic nature, have been removed
from the scene by virtue of the measures taken by the revolution.  That
leaves the people as such and this still involves numerous interests.
During the second phase of the revolution, the measures are not going to be
drastic, in terms of economic and social measures, that is.  If we do find
ourselves forced to adopt a drastic method, then this will be for
revolutionary reasons, in defense of the revolution, against those who
conspire, against those who link up with imperialism, against those who
join the enemies of the fatherland; but these measures will not be taken
for reasons of an economic or social nature.  And this is why I want to
declare, right here and now, in the name of the revolutionary government,
that the first phase of the revolution has been accomplished and that the
revolution now enters a second phase whose methods will be different, in
terms of economic and social transformation.  There will be no drastic
methods and no interests will be liquidated.  Whenever any economic or
social measure that may have to be taken happens to affect some interests,
the revolution will take these interests into account, it will talk to
those interest groups, it will always try to find a fair and satisfactory
solution and it wants to see to it that anybody who, because of any
economic or social measures taken by the revolution, may be in any way
affected, will be properly satisfied.

Phase of Tranquility and Security

The revolution faces a great task; it has the task of
industrializing the country and promoting the agrarian reform program; it
must develop the country's agriculture, it must develop our educational
system and it must, in other words, promote both economic and social
development.  We have the resources, we have the means, we have the
financial power of the country, we have the financial resources of the
country -- in our hands; we have the natural resources of the country in
our hands; we have the basic and fundamental industries of the country in
the hands of the revolution; and foreign trade is in the hands of the
revolution; transportation is in the hands of the revolution; public
services are in the hands of the revolution.  The revolution now has all of
the resources with which it can rapidly and successfully develop its
programs in the economic field and in the social field and it can therefore
offer guarantees to all of the interests in the middle sectors and small
sectors in the country.

Let me state this somewhat more clearly:  for example, on the
basis of the law for the nationalization of 382 enterprises, which had to
be nationalized, we could not conclude this first phase of the revolution
without nationalizing the banks, without nationalizing the fundamental
enterprises in this respect and without promulgating the urban reform law.
After these points, which belong to the first phase of the revolution, had
been taken care of, we were able to launch a phase of tranquility and
security for everybody.  Let me give you an example here.  Take the case of
a lady who runs a beauty parlor; now when this law came out, she thought
that her beauty parlor was going to be taken away and that it was going to
be nationalized.  Many urban businesses, small businesses, now began to
worry whether small urban businesses were going to be liquidated, whether
people's stores would be set up also in the city, whether small factories
and small businesses were going to be liquidated by the revolution.  The
revolution does not have to liquidate those businesses.  Let me put it this
way:  Right now, the country is in a situation in which everybody has to
pitch in:  and that includes all of the small businessmen, all of the small
industrialists, all of the medium-sized farmers, and what they and we,
together, have to do is to see to it that everybody puts their shoulders to
the wheel in order to accomplish the great programs of economic and social
development of our country.

Intervention Policy Will Change

In other words, the lady beauty parlor operator, who was so
worried yesterday that her beauty parlor might be nationalized, today is
entitled to the benefits of the urban reform law because this law gives her
rights, possibly to the business premises for which she now pays rent; she
might also possibly benefit with respect to her home and, furthermore, she
will have the security, the feeling that she will not have to worry anymore
about her beauty parlor.

This intervention policy is going to change.  Intervention now
will be an exceptional measure and this thing is always going to have to be
approved, ahead of time, by the planning board; in other words, many of the
government officials, who had been intervening without prior consultation,
will now find their attributes cut in this respect.  We are going to
centralize these functions and we are going to set up a requirement to the
effect that the Central Planning Board will have to be consulted first of
all and, above all, this will always be an exceptional, an extraordinary

Now, everybody has to work together in this:  the people, the
workers; in other words, whenever a conflict springs up, the policy will be
to try to arrive at some reconciliation, to try to find a solution without
intervention, and that will apply to the whole country, without exception:
it will include the peasants and the workers, the people, the small
industrialists, the small businessmen, everybody, and all of them will have
to combine their efforts; and this is the wisest, the most intelligent, the
most patriotic, and the most revolutionary policy which we can promote at
this moment.  This is good for the country and this is what the country
must do.

The revolutionary government gives this guarantee in connection
with the methods to be pursued during the new phase of the revolutionary
government; it gives the guarantee that these interventions are going to
stop and that they will be instituted only as an exception, when there is
no other remedy; the revolutionary government guarantees that all
interests, which are affected by any revolutionary-type measure, will
receive satisfactory treatment and complete indemnification; the
revolutionary government guarantees that the revolution has arrived at a
point on its road, a point in its advance, a point in the development of
its power and which it does not in any way at all have to fall back on
drastic measures aimed against the interests of the medium or small sectors
of our country.

People's Stores

Now, as far as the merchants in the city are concerned, we have no
plan of establishing people's stores in the cities; I would like to explain
this situation to them:  the people's stores were initially started in the
mountains, where exploitation was really tremendous, because the small
businessmen were in turn exploited by the big outfits which sold
merchandise to them at high prices and which were making a tremendous
profit; and the small merchants in turn sold the merchandise at even higher
prices, in other words, there was a tremendous markup.  This institution
was established in an effort to protect the people in the mountain regions.
Then it was necessary to expand this to other rural sectors because the
merchants simply pulled out when the first people's stores were
established.  It was necessary to take over the distribution of merchandise
throughout the entire rural zone and we always warned these merchants not
to move to the cities.  Why?  Well, we have a large number of merchants and
businessmen in the city; in an underdeveloped country, such as ours, you
have a tremendous proliferation of all kinds of small businesses because
everybody who does not have a job or who does not find employment simply
invents something to which he can devote his time, even though it may just
be a hot dog stand or fruit stand or even though he might just sell potato
chips or something like that; there are small towns along the highways
where everybody is a merchant and where-everybody lives by selling to
everybody else; these are numerically large groups which we must take into
account here; there are many people doing this kind of work.

The introduction of the people's stores in the cities would not
only be unnecessary but would also create unemployment; it would create
social maladjustments; it would deprive numerous city merchants, small
businessmen, of their incomes.  This is why this measure is unnecessary.
We would simply be creating an obstacle to the revolution if we were to
institute that measure here in the city.

The revolution has control over foreign export trade as well as
imports; it controls the big warehouses and department stores and the
banks; the revolution is not at all interested in that distribution
machinery so long as the distribution system in the city adjusts itself to
fair and reasonable prices.  They can indeed contribute to the advance of
the revolution and the revolution can also contribute to the solution of
the problems of many of those small businessmen and small merchants.

We are not at all interested in this.  The people's stores will
not yield any income to the government, virtually none at all, because
these stores will always sell at moderate prices and this is only fair
because wages in the rural areas are much lower, much lower than in the
cities; and all of these measures which we have taken in the rural areas
will tend to prove the living conditions on the farms.

It Would Be a Mistake to Ruin Small Businesses

American commercial companies, such as "Minimax" and some other
big outfits that were nationalized by the government were not converted
into people's stores; they were continued as a commercial outfit, with the
prices they had earlier; many of them sold their merchandise in high-income
sections and there was no need to lower those prices; these price levels
were maintained ad we only try to improve the quality, we tried to keep
them well supplied with all products and we did not want to establish
prices that would wipe out small businesses in the city.  This is the
policy we have pursued.

Now, a series of department stores have been nationalized.  What
policy are we going to pursue in this respect?  Are we going to cut prices
so that all of the other stores would be wiped out?  No, we are going to
maintain those prices; those prices will serve as an income for the
government to support the economic and social development plans of the
revolution.  It would be a mistake to wipe out small businesses which
remain now, and there are quite a few of them, and at the same time we
would be renouncing incomes which should be invested in order to create
more factories, to build housing units and to build more schools -- in
other words, this would be renounced perhaps to the benefit of some of the
high-level sectors.  This is a policy which anybody can understand
perfectly well and I certainly hope that everybody will understand it.

These department stores, for example, "El Encanto," now how are we
going to handle that?  Are we going to cut prices there?  No!  "El Encanto"
carries lots of brand-name articles and it has its own price range and the
people who buy there want to walk away with the "El Encanto" label and they
pay for that label and that outfit will maintain its quality and so the
people will be able to buy all of the things they like there, all of the
things they have been buying there in the past.  This will be a department
store under government administration and the government, in administering
it, will uphold all of the characteristics of that department store.  And
the sales girls there, at "El Encanto" and at "Fin de Siglo" -- those sales
girls are very nice to look at and very lovable and I am sure they will
continue to treat everybody in style there.  (Applause)

That is the policy we are going to implement in the cities; and
nationalized establishment, any type of business which may be established
to meet the new necessities will be administered on the basis of this
criterion, in other words, we are going to have a price level here which
will not wipe out the urban businessman.

Need to Fight Against Speculation

The small urban businessman can contribute to the revolution by
fighting against speculation, by not helping in the speculative activities
of those who hoard merchandise in order to jack prices up, he can help by
adjusting himself to a reasonable profit level which will make it possible
to keep all of these places of employment open.  On the other hand, we can
do much more here.  For example, the big outfits were strangulating the
little outfits.  We have liquidated big outfits and we are not going to
strangulate anybody now.

The banks, many of the banks had stopped giving loans and the
small businessmen were left without any credit and on some occasions
without any merchandise or they sold their merchandise at high prices.  In
other words, we can and we propose to control the financial machinery of
the country:  the banks, first of all, and we want to facilitate credit for
all of the small industrialists and businessmen so that we can help them
extricate themselves out of the situation in which they are in as a result
of having lost their credit and all the other difficulties they are in,
through the biggest stores and chains which are now under the control of
the government and, furthermore, in accordance with the needs of the small
stores which remain, we are going to work out a credit policy and we are
going to enable them to get merchandise, that is to say, we are going to
liberate them from strangulation by the big interests.  Now the government
is running the banks and the government will distribute loans in accordance
with the interests of the country; we are going to give loans to industries
that need loans, we are going to give credit to small businessmen who need
it, we are going to give credit to farms that need credit.  In other words,
we are going to divide this into three branches:  one bank for foreign
trade, one bank for agricultural loans, and another branch will handle
industrial and commercial credit, and then there will be no more need for
sponsors, no more need for influence, no more need for cutthroat
competition.  Through the banks, the revolutionary government is prepared
to facilitate loans to small industries, to small businesses, it is
prepared to help them obtain merchandise and it is prepared to help them
get out of the difficulties in which they are in, because the revolutionary
government has no interest whatever and no reason whatever to liquidate
those interests.  The revolution faces a big task and we can invite
everybody who wants to join to develop this great task of the revolution --
mark my words well:  we can invite everybody who wants to join -- and those
who are dragging their feet on the road here have two alternatives:  they
can either resign themselves to the situation and go away or they can stay
here and they can even apply for a pension -- I said that earlier.

Power in the Hands of the People

Those who still have their businesses, their factories, their
industries can continue working and they should go on working.  I am
talking very clearly here now and the facts tend to demonstrate what I am
saying:  anybody who keeps pitching in today has a great chance of joining
the revolution.  Power is in the hands of the people, in the hands of the
humble sectors of the people; power is in the hands of the peasant masses,
the worker masses, the mass of humble people and it is very solidly in
their hands; but the people will not allow this power to be used
arbitrarily; it will not use it to destroy other sectors; instead, it
invites those sectors -- whose interests in no one obstruct the great
program of the revolution -- join in the effort of the people; the people,
in turn, will help those sectors purify themselves in terms of the big
exploiters, the big chain store operators, the big loan businesses, the big

But if you analyze the situation carefully, you will see that we
have liberated them also; we have given them the right to permanent status
and we have given them something more than this right to permanent
existence here:  the right to retain property of those real estate and
other holdings.  We can give them credit, we can facilitate their
operation.  In turn, they can collaborate with the revolution and add their
efforts to the effort of the revolution.

I believe that these statements are very clear and very
understandable and that they express the future policy of the revolutionary
government.  Let them not create any more obstacles on the way, let them
not believe in a return to the past; there is nobody who can throw this
machine of the revolution into reverse.  We have gotten this machine going
in such a way that nobody will ever reverse it.  (Applause)

The small businessman has no reason to make common cause with the
big chain store operator who exploits him, with the money-grabber who
exploits him, with the big loan firm that exploits him; the small
industrialist has no reason to make common cause with those who exploited
him, nor does he have any reason to be afraid; I have spoken very clearly
and I have stated what the policy of the revolution is going to be and I
have invited these businessmen and I have explained to them what the
situation is and what our reasons are behind our actions.  We want to
establish the right to security for all citizens of the country, all of
those who do not simply want to sit down on the road of revolution.

We Have Done What We Promised

The right to security means that those people who have their
interests here can continue functioning; if any of their interests are
affected in any way, they will get entirely satisfactory indemnification,
without any drastic methods, because drastic methods are the methods which
the revolution used against the big interests.  And I want to tell them
quite sincerely that this is a great opportunity for them to differentiate
themselves from the big privileges, the big interests, whom we have on one
side and the rest of the people, on the other side.  On the one hand, we
have those who join the enemies of the fatherland, those who conspire
against the fatherland; on the other hand we have all those who are
prepared to serve their country.

This is the most important thing that I want to say here today;
this is the policy to be followed by all of those interests and by the
people.  Everybody knows that I have always talked very frankly in
explaining these things and I issued an appeal to the Marine veterans to
stay, even though there are some fellows who take off with their rifles.  I
believe that anybody who talks as frankly as I do does not have to use any
tricks in making sure that everybody will be convinced as to the sincerity
of his statements.  Furthermore, we are men who have done what we promised
to do.

Nobody believes that the world will collapse because of the
revolutionary laws.  We have smashed a few empires of course.  Here, for
example, you have a family -- I am not going to mention the name because I
do not want to irritate anybody here -- well, that family had 7 sugar
refineries, one bank, 8,000 caballerias of land, railroads, a pier, and
cattle; others had thousands of homes and houses; others had 5 sugar
plantations, big apartment houses, business houses, etc, in other words,
they had fortunes of up to 200 million pesos.  Did you all know that?  It
is difficult to accumulate a fortune as big as this, honorably, by the
sweat of your brow.  It seems to me that it would take an awful lot of
brow;s sweat to accumulate 200 million or perhaps even 150 million only.
Now some of these people, some of these families, might be included among
those who are going to have to ask for a government pension.  (Laughter)
But that is not very likely either because they have money abroad.  They
all have money abroad, they all have foreign currency abroad.  And so their
world does not collapse.  But on the other hand, we have created much
justice through the revolutionary laws.

We have made some mistakes.  We will correct those mistakes; but
the revolutionary measures will remain, they are eternal!  We will correct
the mistakes because this is our duty, because the government must be just
and because, being the revolutionary government, this power must be within
the reach of anyone who believes that he has been unjustly treated; it is
the duty of this government to make sure that every citizen feels secure.
However, the revolutionary government will be very severe with those who
betray the country; it will be severe with those who conspire against the
revolution because the revolution has every intention of continuing on, it
has every intention of lasting, and it will be just toward all those
citizens of the country, all of those honest citizens who want to work and
who love their country.

Yesterday's Dreams Are Reality Today

Today, we have accomplished one phase.  In 20 months of
revolutionary government, we have accomplished the Moncada program, which
in many aspects is already outdated.  We now have a series of ideas here;
these ideas are much more precise and much clearer today.  The problems
which we were viewing at that time from a distance we can today see with
greater clarity and with greater certainty because we have more experience
and because the facts have demonstrated that the dreams of yesterday can
become realities.

This is why Marti at one time -- when they called him a dreamer --
said that "the true practical man was the man who did not try to find out
where you could live best but where his duty was and he was the only
practical man whose dreams of today will be the laws of tomorrow."

Our dreams of yesterday have been the laws of today and we have
even been able to improve on some of these ideas, we have been able to do
this, for instance, through our urban reform law, which is quite complete
in many respects; and we have carried out the ideas which we developed in
the past.  Many governments in the past have been offering programs to the
country but nothing was ever done.

Perhaps this is why nobody believed us when we launched a modest
program, without any pretense to perfection in basic conception and in
terms of the solutions we proposed.  But we did come out with our program,
a clear program.  And this is all spelled out in various documents.

Sometime ago, I said that the revolution was a revolution of the
humble people, by the humble people and for the humble people; I also
talked about the school cities in other declarations and, finally, I
discussed all of the measures which the revolution is taking.

Today I can say with satisfaction that this program has been
carried out.  Many people did not believe in this program and this is why
they are very astonished today; but they need not be astonished because we
did not make any compromise with the big landowners, nor the big
exploiters, nor the monopolies, nor the foreign interests that were
plundering the country's economy; nor did we compromise with robbery and
politicking and corruption.  We did however pledge to put an end to all of
the abuses and to fight side by side with the people; the only ones we did
not betray were the people; the only ones we did not betray were the dead
of the revolution and they were the only ones we could possibly have
betrayed because they were the only ones toward whom we had obligations; we
had pledged ourselves to the people and we had given our pledge to the
revolution and we redeemed those pledges.

Let Us Always Speak Clearly

Today, for example, I happened to be glancing over the speech to
the civic institutions, when I stated that we, in this country, had been
lied to so many times that we had become accustomed to living with
falsehood and this is why nobody listened to us when we spoke the truth.

In that speech, 2 months after the victory of the revolution, I
spoke very clearly and it is certainly worth taking another look at what I
said there, because I analyzed all of the problems in education, in the
economy, agriculture, housing, etc, problems which have been solved today.
The audience applauded and here is what I said at that time.

I talked about all topics and of course I cannot re-read that
speech here but I was at that time addressing the representatives of the
middle sectors of the population and I talked with my customary clarity;
but above all I was very clear on the date as to the start of the
revolutionary struggle, when I talked to the people, when I mentioned the
600,000 Cubans who were unemployed, the 500,000 farm workers who were
living in shacks and who had no land, the industrial workers, the small
farmers, the teachers, in other words, all of those sectors that needed the
revolution.  Here is what I said at that time:  "That is the people, the
people who suffer today and who are still capable of fighting courageously.
Now, we are not going to make any false promises to the people, we are
going to try to fool people; we are not going to tell them:  'we are going
to give you what you want'; instead, we are going to tell them:  'here you
are, and now fight with all your strength so that you will have freedom and
happiness,'"  And this is exactly what we did.

What the People Won

We did not say:  "We are going to give you something," instead, we
said:  "here you are, fight as hard as you can for your freedom and your
happiness."  And I can say this again:  here you are, you poor farmer, here
is your land; here you are, you poor peasant, here are your schools and
your hospitals; here you are, all of you people, here are the fortresses
converted into schools; here you have your houses and your beaches and your
factories, factories that used to belong to the foreign monopolies; here
you have your electric power company, your telephone company, here you have
your refinery, here are your factories, because in the old days you had
nothing and today you have these things, today you have everything we were
able to give you, today you have something worth fighting for.

In other words, these were not promises, these were realities, and
the people had something to fight for; the people now have something to
defend and we believe in this, we believe that when you give the people
something, when you give the people a chance they will respond and then the
people will be ready to defend what they have gained.

On that occasion I discussed the law which would once and for all
give property title of the land to all the small farmers, the tenant
farmers, the sharecroppers, the farm laborers, etc, who can now work these
plots of land on the basis of the title which we have freely given them.
We talked about the confiscation of the property of the wrong-doers; we
talked about the agrarian reform, the general educational reform, the
nationalization of the electric power trust and the telephone trust, the
land problem, the problem of industrialization, and here is a paragraph in
which I said this:

"The problem of land, the problem of industrialization, the
problem of housing, the problem of unemployment, the problem of education,
and the problem of public health -- here are six points whose solution we
are resolutely working toward with all our strength."

And then I said, "that perhaps all of this might be a little bit
theoretical and cold but it is important in view of the reality of the
situation."  And I said:  "today, 85% of the agricultural workers are
paying rent and they live under the constant threat of being kicked off
their land; more than half of the best farm land is in foreign hands.  In
Oriente, the smallest province, the land of the United Fruit Company and
the West Indian Company runs from the north coast to the south coast; there
are 200 peasant families who do not have a single square foot of land where
they can plant food for their children.  On the other hand, vast areas of
land are uncultivated."

The Country Cannot Live on Its Knees

I discussed the housing problem:  "we have 200,000 shacks and
hovels in Cuba; 400,000 rural families and city families live in slums,
without even the most elementary hygienic and health facilities; 2.2
million people among our urban population, pay rent that takes up one-fifth
and perhaps even one-third of the income and 2.8 million of our rural
population and our suburban population do not have electric light."

"But here, we have the same situation; if the government proposes
to lower the rents, the owners threaten to paralyze all construction; if
the government abstains, the owners build so long as they can get a high
rental income; and if this is not so, then they would not lay a single
brick, even if the rest of the people might live out in the open, exposed
to the weather."

I discussed the problem of education and here is what I said:
"the future of the nation and the solution of its problems cannot continue
to depend on the egotistical interests of a dozen big finance operators,
the cold calculations on profits which they figure out in their
airconditioned offices -- these 10 or 12 big businessmen and tycoons.  The
country cannot continue to live on its knees, praying for miracles; there
are no miracles of this kind."

"The problems of the republic can be solved only if we dedicate
ourselves to the struggle for the republic with the same energy, honesty,
and patriotism as did our liberators, in creating the republic.  And we
cannot accomplish this with statesmen such as Carlos Saladrigas whose
policy consisted in leaving everything the way it was; we cannot go on
prattling about absolute freedom of enterprise, guarantees for investment
capital, and the law of supply and demand -- as if that would solve all of
our problems."

"In one of those big mansions on 5th Avenue, those ministers can
talk all they want, but this will not solve any urgent problems."

"In the world of today," I said, "in that world of today, no
problem is ever solved spontaneously.  A revolutionary government with the
support of the people and the respect of the nation can clean out the
institutions and can throw out corrupt officials and then it can
immediately proceed to the industrialization of the country, mobilizing all
of the resources of the nation and carefully studying and managing and
planning and carrying out this tremendous task through technicians and men
of absolute competence."

"A revolutionary government can make 100,000 small farmers, who
pay rent today, the owners of this land and it can once and for all solve
the land problem.  It can do this first of all by establishing -- as
specified in the constitution -- a certain maximum area of land for each
type of agricultural enterprise -- and by acquiring any excess through
expropriation, reclaiming the land usurped from the state, draining the
swamps, planting food crops, and setting aside areas for reforestation,
distributing the rest among the peasant families, with preference being
given to the largest families here, developing agricultural cooperatives
for the joint utilization of refrigeration facilities, under the same
technical and professional leadership in terms of crop cultivation and
animal husbandry and, finally, helping these people get the necessary
resources, equipment, protection, and useful know-how."

"A revolutionary government will resolve the housing problem
resolutely cutting rents by 50%, giving tax exemptions to homeowners who
live in the houses in which they rent space, tripling the taxes on rented
houses, demolishing the infernal slums in order to build new buildings,
financing construction for housing of all kinds throughout the inland on an
unparalleled scale; this is based on the ideal concept that every family in
the rural areas should have its own piece of land and that every family in
the city should live in its own home or apartment.  We have enough stones
and enough strong arms to build a decent housing unit for each Cuban

Train the Generations

"Finally, a revolutionary government will launch a general
educational reform, in order to provide the proper education and training
for the future generations who are called upon to live in a happier

This program not only has been accomplished, it has also been
developed and further advanced.  In reality we have done many more things.
At that time, we were not yet thinking about the juvenile revolutionary
labor brigades which are a reality today, about the volunteer teachers who
are also a reality today in all of the rural areas of Cuba; we talked about
converting the city of Columbia into a big school city -- and here you have
the Columbia encampment which has become the "Liberty" school city, with
dormitories for 2,000 poor university students and with classrooms with
spaces for more than 10,000 students.  But we have not only converted the
military city of Columbia, we have also converted the barracks of all of
the regiments of the republic and a large number of other military barracks
throughout the island.

Here you have the dormitories for 4,500 university scholarship
students, two university cities which are being built, and a third one
which we are going to construct.  Here you have 10,000 classrooms created
by the revolution, 25,000 homes built, during that period of time, and 50
housing developments have already been finished all over the island; you
have your public beaches; and finally, you have many things which, at that
time, had not even entered the minds of that group of revolutionaries --
but today they are a reality in our country.

Thus the program, which has been accomplished, is being perfected
in every way possible, it has been adjusted to the realities of our
country, and we can certainly derive satisfaction from the fact that we can
step before the people today and say that we have kept our promise.

This document guided the management of the revolution during the
first stage.  Those who said that they were "disillusioned" did not tell us
why; well, we told them why (laughter); and we explained why, simply
because they did not believe in what we were saying, because they thought
that the revolution could be bogged down; they thought that they could
corrupt the men of the revolution; they believed that we were just talking
and that we did not mean it.  But when words were turned into reality, then
they claimed that they were "disappointed."  Yes, indeed, disappointed they
were!  They thought that we were just lying and this is why they were
disappointed!  They thought that there would never be an agrarian reform
and this is why they were disappointed!  They thought that there would
never be an urban reform and this is why they were disappointed!  They
believed that the army of the interests would never be destroyed and this
is why they were disappointed!  They believed that the fortresses would
never be converted into schools and this is why they were disappointed!
They believed that there would never be a people in arms but now we do have
a people in arms and this is why they are disappointed!  They believed that
no revolution could resist imperialism but the revolution does resist
imperialism and this is why they are disappointed!  This is why they call
the leaders of the revolution traitors, in other words, the men who have
made good on their promises, the men who have kept faith with the people.

Each Family Has a Right to Housing

That was the fundamental document of the revolution.

Today, the revolution has a new document, a document which was
approved by the people at the National General Assembly:  The Havana
Declaration; these are the principles of the Havana Declaration which was
not a program put out by a group of men but rather the synthesis of all of
the aspirations of an entire nation, expressed in that document, where we
proclaim the rights and the duties of the human being and of the people.
Today there is another right which we can add to that declaration:  each
family's right to decent housing.  Here is what the declaration says:  "the
right of all peasants to land; the right of the worker to the fruit of his
labor; the right of children to education; the right of the sick to medical
and hospital assistance; the right of the young to work; the right of the
students to free education, both experimental and scientific; the right of
the negroes and the Indians to full human dignity; the right of women to
civil, social, and political equality; the right of the old people to a
secure old age; the right of intellectuals, artists, and scientists to
struggle for a better world through their works; the right of the states to
the nationalization of the imperialist monopolies, thus recovering the
wealth and resources of the nation; the right of countries to free trade
with all peoples of the world; the right of nations to full sovereignty;
the right of the people to convert their military fortresses into schools
and to arm their workers, peasants, students, and intellectuals, the
negroes and Indians and the women and the youths and the old people, all of
the oppressed and exploited, so that they can by themselves defend their
rights and their destiny."  And so we have created one more right:  the
right of each family to decent housing; and so we are expanding and
developing the ideal of our revolution which has been specifically spelled
out in these rights and duties, condemning what we must condemn:

"The National General Assembly of the people of Cuba, finally,
condemns the exploitation of man by man and the exploitation of the
underdeveloped countries by imperialist finance capital.  The National
General Assembly of the people of Cuba condemns big land holdings, the
source of misery of the peasants and a backward and inhuman system of
agricultural production; it condemns starvation wages and the exploitation
of human labor by privileged interests; it condemns illiteracy, teacher
shortages, shortages of schools and doctors and hospitals; it condemns the
lack of protection for old age throughout the countries of Latin America;
it condemns discrimination against negroes and Indians; it condemns
inequality and exploitation of women; it condemns the military and
political oligarchies which keep our peoples in misery and prevent their
democratic development and their full exercise of their sovereignty; it
condemns the concessions of our natural resources in our countries to the
foreign monopolies as a policy of betrayal and sellout, a policy that
betrays the interests of the people; it condemns governments which
disregard the feeling of their peoples and listen to orders from
Washington; it condemns the systematic deception of the people by by public
information media which only respond to the interests of the oligarchies
and to the policy of oppressive imperialism; it condemns the monopoly over
news by the Yankee news agencies, the instruments of the United States
trusts and the agents of Washington; it condemns the repressive laws which
prevent the workers and peasants and students and intellectuals and the
vast majority of the people in each country from organizing themselves and
fighting for their social and patriotic demands, it condemns the monopolies
and the imperialist enterprises which continuously plunder our wealth,
exploit our workers and peasants, bleed us dry, and keep our economies
backward and subject the policy of Latin America to their designs and

This is today the program of the revolution for the new phase of
extensive work which we now face for many years to come, a phase which we
face and which also those who come after us must face; this is a tremendous
effort in the field of industrialization, economic development, education,
and programs for the complete elimination of illiteracy all over the
country, programs aimed at improving living conditions and health
conditions throughout the country.  And so we have an important role to
play in the world.

They Are Trying to Take Our Engineers Away from Us

This will not be an easy task.  We must always remember what we
can read in the Bible -- that many are called but few are chosen.  Many
were called in the beginning of the revolution but very few were chosen.

Right now, the imperialist enemy is conducting a campaign to
deprive us of our engineers; in this campaign it employs all kinds of
traitors, including men who had jobs in the revolutionary government, such
as, for example, the engineer Manuel Ray who today is one of those little
counter-revolutionary leaders and who had no scruples and simply joined up
with the former regulars who now plant bombs and who linked up with the
United States embassy in its campaign to persuade our engineers to leave by
offering them fabulous salaries in the United States and Puerto Rico; this
is the drive to deprive us of refinery engineers and doctors -- but this is
not surprising because imperialism, even in the United States, refused
medical assistance to a Cuban who had been beaten up by the cops with
absolute impunity; and so they want to leave our people without doctors by
recruiting our doctors and offering them tremendous salaries abroad; and
there are doctors who are miserable enough to sellout their country and
leave; and there are engineers who are miserable enough and cowardly enough
to sellout their country and respond to this call; and there are miserable
technicians who are cowardly and who sellout their country and who
responded to this call.  Yes, they do exist and we have to call them by
their names, because they studies at our universities which were supported
by the people, they had every consideration here and all the help they
needed and today they are selling themselves for the gold of the country's
enemies and they commit the crime of leaving their country without
technicians and without doctors.  The very least that those men deserve is
for us to refuse to allow the technicians who leave our country ever to
return to their homeland again; but let those who want to go, let them
leave, because we do not want to keep anybody here by force; and so we are
going to refuse to let them in if they ever want to return (applause); we
are going to condemn them to loss of Cuba citizenship, all of those
technicians who had government jobs or jobs in nationalized enterprises or
in government agencies and who now leave their country in order to serve
imperialist interests abroad.

But not all of them are going to leave; many of them will stay.
Not all doctors will go because -- although it is true that we are very
often short of technicians in the Sierra Maestra -- we are going to have
many doctors who will go to the Sierra Maestra.  They will not only go
there to heal and to save many lives but they will also go there to fight.
And we are always going to have good, very good people in all sectors:
engineers, doctors, and technicians who will not desert their country, who
will not betray their fatherland, who will not sell out for gold, who will
not want to live amid the humiliation of being a traitor and having
soldout, hiding from reality; and they might have the same thing happen to
them what happened to others who left Russia when the Soviet Revolution
came and went to China and who then had to leave China because the
revolution came to China and so they finally came to Cuba and then the
revolution came to Cuba and so they had to leave again -- no matter how far
they went, there was always a revolution.  This is what is likely to happen
to many of them who run from the revolution because when they least expect
it they will find themselves in the midst of a revolution, in the country
where they have decided to sell their services because the world is
changing, the world is moving faster, and there are liable to be
revolutions and big changes anywhere in the world.

The Vileness of Imperialism

One way or another, there are likely to be great changes in the
world.  And as far as those traitors are concerned, one fine day they might
not have any place to run to.

But the people must know that the enemies using all of these
weapons against the revolution; this is why we must train new technicians,
technicians who will not fall for the evil of imperialism, who will not be
a party to all of the aggression against our country, who will not use all
our resources and then leave the country.

Those men do not care whether 10 children die of an epidemic in
the mountains or whether a 100 or a thousand children die.  They do not
care that there was no doctor, the imperialists do not care, nor do those
who sell their souls to imperialism care about whether or not children die
because of a doctor shortage.  And they are trying to deprive us of as many
technicians as possible.  This is another problem which we are going to
face but we will solve it, just as we have solved all of the other problems
arising out of past aggressions and maneuvers.

I believe that that just about wraps it up.  Those who want to be
afraid can go; all who want to work and fight have an opportunity to do so
here; the Moncada program has been accomplished.  We are now entering a new
phase; the methods are different; our principles today are summarized in
the Havana Declaration and the task which we face is the task which will
occupy our time and our energy; our energy and the energy of those who will
come after us.

At any rate, we can say today what we said once before, in
addressing the civic institutions, something I want to recall here before
finishing up, something that I saw here (he looks in his papers) -- here is
what I said:

"It is not only important to make sure that the blood of those who
fell in this struggle will not have been shed in vain.  It is necessary for
us -- whom history has taught, whom events have taught to worship our
martyrs and to sing our national anthem, our apostles and our heroes -- it
is necessary for us to see to it that the blood of Maceo, the blood of
Marti, the blood of Ignacio Agramonte, the blood of all those who have
fallen to this very day has not been shed in vain; we must be sure that all
of these sacrifices were worth it so that the Cuban people can go forward."

Very few people ever have the satisfaction which we have had in
telling our people that the program has been accomplished.  (Applause)

Moderator:  In the name of FIEL, the independent front of free
broadcasting stations, I want to thank Dr Fidel Castro for appearing on
this very important program tonight and I also want to thank the comrades
on the panel.  And a very good night to our television audience -- and we
will see you next Thursday.