Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Source: Revolucion, Havana, 8 March 1961

"We can announce the 614 cooperatives, the 300 people's farms, the
25,000 new peasant homes which will be built this year, and the 80,000
small farmers aided as a balance sheet of the work the revolution has done
in the rural sector," said the Prime Minister of the Revolutionary
Government, Comandante Fidel Castro, in his concluding address to the
Regional Agricultural Plantations Conference held last night in the
premises of the CTC [Central de Trabajadores de Cuba -- Central
Organization of Cuban Workers].

The first speaker, Sindulfo Silva, of the Brazilian Workers'
Federation, said:

"The workers of Latin America are jubilant because this event
which is ending today has been planned for four years. And it could be held
on this occasion because there is today in America a free territory.

"For three days here we have discussed the problems of the workers
on the agricultural plantations in Latin America. Here we have denounced
the exploitation by the imperialists and large estate owners, mainly those
of the US, from which the Latin American workers suffer.

"Our resolutions call for higher salaries and lower living
conditions for the workers, better social security, better housing and
everything which might provide better living conditions for the workers and
the peasants.

"We have also adopted a most important resolution: this afternoon
we decided that the best way of providing a solution to all these problems
is to undertake drastic and profound agrarian reform in all of the
countries of Latin America.

"We have also decided that our countries must be independent and
must free their territory of the US imperialists.

"Imperialism is our main enemy and we must concentrate all the
strength we have against it to rid our countries of it.

"The path of the Latin American countries can only be the path the
Cuban people have taken toward their liberation and through their

"We have voted support of the peoples of Cuba, the Congo, Laos and

"Imperialism, through its agents, created every possible obstacle
to the holding of this conference."

"Juan Min Wei, of the Agricultural and Forest Workers' Trade Union
of the Chinese People's Republic, began by expressing his thanks for the
opportunity to attend this event and to visit heroic Cuba.

"The Chinese delegates said that at this plantations conference,
the delegates were able to exchange experiences and make valuable
contributions to the struggle to raise the standard of living of farmers in
Latin America.

"He pointed to imperialism as the main support of the feudal
system in the world, which has encountered its greatest enemy in Cuban
agrarian reform, which has pointed the way toward the liberation of land
from the imperialist monopolies for all of Latin America.

He noted that the struggle of the peoples for their economic
liberation will always have the sympathy and the support of the 650 million

Enthusiastic applause followed this last statement by Min Wei,
who, visibly moved, shouted in Spanish: "Cuba, yes, Yankees, no!"

He said that the Cuban example is a formidable one for the
democratic peoples of Latin America and the rest of the world.

"The Chinese people resolutely support the just struggle of the
Cuban people," the speaker stressed.

"The Chinese people," he added, "liked the Cuban people and other
Latin American peoples, are suffering oppression under the imperialists,
but they have found leaders such as our Mao Tse-tung, who has waged a
prolonged and difficult revolutionary struggle against imperialism and the
internal reactionaries in order to achieve liberation of the Chinese
people. Currently, these people, headed by the Communist Party and Comrade
Mao Tse-tung, are building socialism in our vast nation." He listed the
advantages obtained in connection with the industrialization of China and
the future increase of agricultural production. He made serious charges
against the imperialists, blaming them for the bloody war being waged in
Algeria, the murder of Prime Minister Lumumba of the Congo, the situation
in Laos and other conflicts in various countries.

He described the imperialists as the most ferocious enemy of the
peoples of China, Cuba, Latin America and all of the peoples struggling for
their freedom.

He said that the days of imperialism are numbered, since it is
being conquered through the common effort of these peoples who love peace
and defend the progressive cause of mankind.

Comrade Conrado Bequer stated that the resolutions and agreements
adopted by the regional agricultural plantations conference will contribute
much to the struggle of our brothers who are being exploited by the American
imperialists in other countries in Latin America.

"This conference," he added, "has been attended by representatives
of the Indians in Latin America who are being exploited by the monopolies
and the imperialists' interests, earning miserable wages. But despite the
miserable wages of the Indians, the Negroes and the workers in Latin
America, it is important to note that they have paid for the transportation
of their delegates, sot hat they could come here and set forth their

Bequer went on to explain the report he submitted to the
conference which ended last night and in which he set forth the great
accomplishments of agrarian reform, the goals in livestock breeding, rice
and bean cultivation, in a word everything which has been done by the
revolution in the agricultural sector.

"But beyond our report with its cold figures," he went on, "the
delegates can see with their own eyes the fact of the Cuban revolution and
we say to them that the highest hopes of Fidel and the people are that the
workers' class will win political power, for the happiness of all. No one
in America had undertaken a true revolution, but today in Cuba a profound
revolution is being carried out.

"This agricultural plantations conference was sabotaged by the
Yankee imperialists and the ORIT [Organizacion Regional Interamericana del
Trabajo -- Regional Inter-American Labor Organization], because they know
that out of it deliberations would come an agreement to ask for major
agrarian reform on the part of all the peoples of Latin America. We must
have faith that it will not be many years until some other country in
America, free of imperialism, can be the site of future events like this

"The most important words to be spoken tonight are yet to come.
Our invincible comrade, Comandante Fidel Castro, has the floor."

Comrade delegates to the first regional conference of agricultural

Comrades, workers and peasants:

Tonight we are concluding a conference at which a problem of great
importance has been discussed. Perhaps, since we all have much on our minds
currently, we have not realized the scope or the importance of this

Delegates from almost all the countries in Latin America,
representing the agricultural workers and the small and average farmers in
Latin America have gathered together. Naturally, it was difficult for them
to get to Cuba. And this is logical.  Our doors are open to all visitors.
In our country we have nothing to hide and we have much to teach.
Naturally, in revolutions nations find themselves obliged to take security
measures, and this is logical, precisely in order to prevent the work of
the international agents of the reactionaries.

In the case of Cuba, we have ignored these concerns, and we have
even caused the enemies of the revolution to be the ones who take security

Why not allow travelers to come to Cuba? Why make it difficult for
worker and peasant leaders from all of America to visit our country? And
why make it difficult even for US citizens, workers, students or
intellectuals to visit Cuba? Why, if our country is so badly off? Why, if
the revolution has done such horrible things, why not let them visit Cuba?

The reason is obvious. It is necessary to prevent visits to Cuba,
particularly where worker and peasant leaders are concerned. The fact is
the direct sight, the direct observation of all that is happening in our
country will destroy all of the imperialist campaigns, all of the lies
which are being written and repeated daily in every propaganda medium
against the Cuban revolution.

And each one of the visitors then becomes an exponent in his
organization of what he has seen in our country. Naturally, the reactionary
interests throughout the continent want to avoid the truth about Cuba from
being divulged, at all costs.

It is dangerous for the monopolies, it is dangerous for the
exploiting oligarchies, it is dangerous for the great privileged sectors in
America. For this reason, a conference such as this one encounters
difficulties. Despite everything, a large number of delegates have been
able to attend, to make their reports and to derive a series of conclusions
which they will divulge when they return to their countries.

The agrarian problem is a basic one in Latin America. It is,
perhaps, the most serious problem. And in our country, where we had a
similar problem, we have found solutions.

The peasants in our countries have had the worst of everything. In
general, this sector has received the least education. The number of
illiterates is always larger in the rural sector than in the cities. The
residents of towns have always had more chances to go to school than the
residents of the rural sector, and the more distant these regions are, the
more difficult it is to obtain teachers. Moreover, the peasants, being
scattered all over the territory, are not, generally, organized. Their
products go into the hands of middlemen who extract the greatest profit
from their distribution. In general, they have not had price guarantees,
they have been the victims of speculation. Price stability never existed,
and suddenly the prices of products might drop and ruin many farmers. The
people of the rural sector also must contend with the vagaries of the
weather, crop plagues, storms and hurricanes, and they have not have
systems to protect them against these eventualities.

But there is something else. The worker in the city is organized.
There has always been a powerful workers' force in the great industrial
centers. The worker fights for his demands, and even in the most exploited
countries, this working mass which has formed on the basis of industry has
strength capable of wresting a certain number of economic advantages from
the owners and the monopolies themselves. And naturally, when the workers
in the cities have won certain demands, what the interests who have had to
yield to these demands usually do is to increase the price of industrial

Thus, an industrial workers' sector manages to satisfy certain of
its demands, to improve its situation, but the monopolies and the great
industrialists raise the prices of the articles they produce and these
higher prices are those the peasants must pay. The result is that wages are
lowest in the rural sector, and the products of the sector are sold cheap,
while the industrial items they buy cost dear. The peasants who work on a
large estate lack the strength of the workers employed in a major industry.
They are usually for the most part illiterate. They can be more readily
deceived. They lack organization, and they are under the direct influence
of the overseers and the large landholders. The same is true of the small
farmers. They live scattered in the mountains or on the plains, and they
lack means of communications and organization.

The results of this entire process, in the midst of a society
filled with injustice, is that of all the exploited sectors of the
country, that which suffers under the worst conditions is the rural worker.
The most exploited of all the exploited sectors is the agricultural worker
or peasant sector.

This was the situation which prevailed in our country. But it is
still more serious reality in the majority of the countries of Latin
America. What existed in Cuba also exists in the other countries in Latin
America, but under worst circumstances. There is more hunger in Latin
America than there was in our country, and everyone knows that there was
hunger here!

There are countries in Latin America where the agricultural
workers earn 17 cents a day. There is one country in Latin American where
they earn 4 cents a day. The conditions of feudal exploitation which exist
in many nations in Latin America today are truly shocking.

And there is only one remedy for these evils: that remedy is
agrarian reform (applause). And if this word does not seem sufficiently
forceful, we can call it agrarian revolution (applause).

The fact is there is absolutely no other remedy. The intellectuals
in the laboratories of the reactionaries throughout America can beat their
brains to find another formula, but they will not fine one.

The conditions of hunger and exploitation in the rural sector in
America are so obvious that even the leading thinkers of the imperialists
themselves are beginning to talk of agrarian reform. The difficult thing to
know is when they will take the plunge (applause). Because they understand
that it is essential to undertake reform in the rural sector, but these
reforms will have to be undertaken, naturally, at the expense of the
interests of the economic sectors which are allied with imperialism, and in
many cases, they must be undertaken at the expense of the interests of the
great imperialist monopolies.

Naturally, agrarian reform is a very broad concept. Many things
can be called agrarian reform. You will recall that when in Cuba we began
to talk of agrarian reform, everyone supported it, even the large estate
owners. But what kind of agrarian reform did they support? Well, they had a
series of formulas -- the imperialists also have formulas. For example,
they talked of agrarian reform of the uncultivated land.

Naturally, they talked of it when they saw that agrarian reform
was almost upon them. Previously, they had not concerned themselves even
with this type of agrarian reform, but when they saw that the revolutionary
blow would come, they tried to evade it, and they devoted themselves to
promoting or proclaiming a type of agrarian reform which would affect the
uncultivated land, although not, naturally, right away, but after the
establishment of taxes, so that agrarian reform would be applied when, at
the end of several years, this land was still not under cultivation. This
was one of the kinds of agrarian reform they proposed.

There is another agrarian reform which the imperialists often
propose, on the basis of immediate cash payment, which is Utopian reform,
because when the countries of Latin America balance their accounts, they
will find that they have tremendous budget deficient and moreover, another
great deficit in their balance of payments. And, in general, the Yankee
monopolies ask for immediate cash payment in dollars, but these countries
do not have dollars, nor do they have cash, and thus this type of agrarian
reform is Utopian.

All of these formulas were simply palliatives designed to confuse
and deceive. The problem of the land is not only one of uncultivated land.
The agrarian problem is also one of land used for a single crop. The single
crop is another of the problems of agriculture, but it is not only a
problem of uncultivated land or land in a single crop, but also a problem
of lack of planning in agriculture. It is also a problem of lack of proper
use of agricultural resources. It is also a problem of the bad use of land,
since each sector of land must be planted to the crop for which it is best
suited. And above all, there is a social problem in agriculture,
particularly in single crop agriculture.

This was the situation in our country. The greater part of the
land was used for raising sugar cane or livestock. During the harvest here
were not nearly enough workers to cut the cane, but during the greater part
of the year, all of these families who depended on sugar cane were without
work, and they had to live on the credit given them, if they could get
credit. Goods were sold to them at high prices, and afterward, during the
harvest, they had to pay the debts they had contracted in the "dead
period." And the land which was not planted to sugar cane was in pasturage,
requiring very little personnel.

In the rural sector there was much unemployment. The salary laws
were evaded by means of the contract system, whereby the workers, desperate
for work, were obliged to agree to contracts according to which the real
wages they received in the end were sometimes not even a peso, or only a
half a peso.

To find a solution to this problem in Cuba, it was in fact
necessary to undertake agrarian revolution. First of all, this could not
have been done by means of immediate cash payment. There was no cash, there
were no dollars, and in any case, the cash which could be gathered could
not be paid to the estate owners, but had to be invested immediately in the
development of the agricultural programs.

The principle of payment in bonds was established. Naturally, this
did not satisfy the monopolies and the estate owners. The majority of them
rejected such payments, and provisionally, where the lands which were in
the hands of the monopolies were concerned, a law was then passed, calling
for their nationalization (applause). And it provided that they would
receive indemnity on the day they want more than 3 million tons of sugar
per year at a given price (applause).

Our attitude had to be consistent to the reaction of these
monopolies to the revolution. If, in retaliation against agrarian reform,
they refused to buy sugar, as an answer to that refusal, that is to say, to
the suspension of quotas, the revolution refused to pay them any indemnity.
If one day they want to buy sugar again, well, then, we can discuss some
kind of indemnification. This depends on the mutual advantages (applause)
which can be obtained from the discussion of these problems.

As to the native estate owners, then, they became creditors under
the indemnity in bonds established by law, but what happened was the
majority of them preferred to refuse the bonds and even to refuse the 30
caballerias which the law allowed them to keep. And for this, we are very
grateful to them (applause).

Thus, the first problem is payment. And to tell the truth,
experience has shown us something about the payment which should be made to
small owners of confiscated lands.

The revolution applied the concept of payment in bonds equally for
all lands. Later we saw that the correct thing would have been to make
payment, if possible, in cash, to those families of modest means who
depended on the rent paid for these lands. Why? Because there were in fact
numerous families which had purchased or inherited a piece of land and did
not work it, but rented it, and in fact, depended on that rent.

When we undertook urban reform, or the urban revolution, as you
like to call it (applause), we took this circumstance into account, and we
passed a better law in this connection. That is to say, we take into
account the cases of modest families who have investments in houses, and
the law provided that up to a given limit they could continue collecting
this rent, and if there was a family which at the end of the five or ten
years it took to amortize the house, or former property, had no other means
of assistance, a pension was even granted.

This was proper, because society has a duty to see to all these
cases of humble families who in fact have no other resources on which to

We must admit that when we undertook agrarian reform we did not
have such a clear view of the problem where the small landowners were
concerned, and it would have been better if the law had made a distinction
between the large landowners and the small landowners, establishing the
principle of payment in cash to the small landowners, and no payment at all
to the large estate owners (applause). If we were in this situation again,
this is certainly what we would do.

However, it is possible to make an adjustment for these modest
families who depended on the rents of small plots of land. What was not
possible, under any circumstances, was to permit the continuation of the
system of leasing land. It was not possible to permit the system of renting
land to continue, because from any point of view it is absurd for a family
to be working a caballeria of land and for both this family which works it
and another which never goes there to have to live on it.

The land is a natural resource. The system of land ownership came
into being as a result of the development of human society. No one took
possession of the air, because there was no way to do so. No one acquired
ownership of the sunlight, because there was no way to lock it in a safe.
In fact, what could not be possessed was not seized. But it was possible to
take possession of land, it was possible to build a fence, to use an army
to defend the owners of the land. And obviously, if everybody had taken a
little piece...but what happened was that the unfortunate ones took a
little piece and the "sharks" took 10,000 little pieces.

Naturally, those who gave the orders in the country were not those
who had the little pieces. Those who gave the orders in the country were
those who had the great expenses of land, and an army. Today we understand
much better what the armies were for. Sometimes we believed that they were
for beating the students in the streets, we believed that they were for
breaking strikes and workers' demonstrations. They told us that the army
was for the defense of the sacred national sovereignty, the integrity of
our territory, but the fact was that the territory was in the hands of
foreign countries, and this army, far from defending the integrity of the
territory, was really defending the integrity of the foreign properties in
our country, the properties of the Yankee landowners, of the Yankee
companies, which were the masters of the factories and also the sugar
mills, of the electrical energy production centers, of the public services,
of the majority of the industries.

And then that army we saw marching smartly with its modern weapons
and which they told us was to defend the sacred integrity of our territory,
was in reality an army for the defense of the integrity of these interests,
foreign or domestic, but in any case, the interests of a small minority.
The armies were to defend the appropriation of our natural resources,
including the most basic of these, the land.

The large estate owner was untouchable. Why? Because there was a
landowners' registry which said that Mr. So and so, by virtue of this or
that document, was the owner of a thousand caballerias of land, or because
he purchased it very cheap, or because he searched in the archives, and
found one of the haciendas -- one of the many which the Spanish
distributed, because history began when the Spaniards came to Cuba. In the
precolonial era, the land belonged to the Indians, and then the Indians
lived by working it, and they benefited jointly from those lands. In fact,
the owners of these lands were the Indians, the natives of this country,
but the colonizers came, and the colonizers not only redistributed the
land, but they also distributed the Indians among themselves.

The system was as follows: they came to a site, and then they
granted the ownership of all the land for a league around to one of the
colonizers. The first estates in our country were in the form of a circle
based on a center. Naturally, there was much land, and as they distributed
it among themselves without any consideration for the inhabitants, the
inhabitants were distributed too. Some of them were also taken to work in
the mines, in the rivers, looking for gold. It is a fact that many of the
mass of primitive inhabitants of our country even committed suicide because
they could not tolerate those living conditions.

These were the origins of the ownership of the land. It was passed
from hand to hand. There were lands which belonged to the King of Spain.
These lands were redistributed. When the era of the republic, or the
so-called republic, came, the US companies came and purchased these lands
at ridiculous prices. They speculated with the land, with the land devoted
to crops and the land in the urban zones.

Any one of you can learn a practical lesson about what the system
of landownership here was. It is very simple. Take a bus, go through the
tunnel and travel along the Via Blanca. You will come first to the land
where East Havana is being built. Then you will come to a continuous series
of districts, many of which already have street lights and paving and
sewage. Continuing, you will come to the beaches which are located to the
east of Havana. There, too, the "sharks" had appropriated the land, the
land which lay along the shore, on the sandy zones to beyond Guanabo.
There, they divided up the districts into plots, and they were rubbing
their hands in pleasure at the prospect of selling them at a high price.

Did they have buyers for them? Yes, they did, because these
transactions took place on a certain social level. The owners of those
districts sold to the owners of the large estates, the owners of the great
industries, or in any case, to the sectors of the population with the
highest income. They had a good business there. No one doubts that in the
course of a few years they would have sold all those lands at 30 pesos per
meter, or even 40.

And the plots in East Havana cost about 50 pesos a meter.

Those who had high annual income could pay for those plots and
build their houses. In any case, when they built housing for rent, the
rents paid covered the cost of their speculation.

When one crosses these zones and thinks a little, he realizes what
a fabulous business the revolution spoiled. And one thinks of all those
owners of whole districts and wonders where these people are.  They had an
excellent business: they were the owners of all the land from the Morro to
beyond Guanabo. They had hundreds of millions of pesos in land, on the
basis of the prices at which they sold it. In order to live in those
places, one had to pay all of these hundreds of millions of pesos to the
speculators. Obviously, a house was worth much more, because one had to pay
for the land at 50 pesos, plus the house.

Now, all of this land is available to the nation. That is to say,
all of this land is freely available to the country for the building there
of the housing we need (applause). At what price? Well, what we must pay
for there is the human labor: what it costs to put in a street, sewage,
street lights, and what it costs to build the housing. What is absurd is to
establish a high price on this land, and when 5 pesos per square meter have
been invested in labor there, to charge 50 pesos per square meter. This is
simply speculation, bold robbery, but as we lived within a system wherein
this type of robber existed, and this type of robbery was supported by the
legislation put into effect by the class which benefited from such robbery,
and had an army to defend it, and the aid of a powerful neighboring country
to defend this system, the result was that they shamefully robbed the

A few days ago we spoke of the practical lessons of the
revolution, and we noted that everything around us did not belong to the
people in the past, but now it does. Similarly, in passing through these
places one understands how what had been seized by certain privileged
individuals has been returned to the people as their property.j What
happened with the land in the cities also happened in the rural sector.
They want estates, and when the nation spent millions of pesos on a
highway, the estates doubled or tripled in price. The state, the nation,
spent the money on highways, but the profits were derived by the gentlemen
who had seized the land.

They seized the land, we have said, because it was possible
physically to take it over. From what is a country to live, if not off the
land? How is a country to feed itself, it not from the land? Thus, the
agricultural production system must be one which takes the interest of the
country into account above all, because the country is going to live off
the land, and logically, the system of exploitation used must be the system
which will permit the true satisfaction of the needs of the country.

And the most unjust and absurd of the forms of production was the
large estate and single crop production, which satisfied neither the food
needs of the people nor the social demands of our country.

The revolution has undertaken to establish proper methods of
exploiting the land. Who should own the land? It is just that those who
work it directly, with their families, should own the land. It is just that
this family should have ownership of the land because this family is not
exploiting anyone, it is extracting its products from the earth through its
own efforts, and for this reason, the revolution considered the situation
and decided that the right of the small renters, sharecroppers and tenants
to own the land was legitimate.

The tenants paid the owners money, and the sharecroppers paid
their rent in kind. The renters had no contract at all to protect them, and
they were constantly in danger of dismissal. This occurred frequently,
particularly in the mountains.

The mountains were virgin territory. The peasants went there to
cultivate a small plot of land. First, they cleared it and then they
planted it, with great difficulty, because they had to work a week on the
plains, and then with what they could save up, they went to work another
week on their own plots of land. Then they went back to the plains, worked
for a peso, and so on, until at the end of three or four years they had
coffee or cacao production enough to live from it.

Almost all the farmers in the mountains were renters. And when
they had cleared those hills, the ambition of the estate owners was
awakened. Why were they interested in these slopes? Not for coffee or cacao
production, but for pasturage. And then they began to search through the
records, they discovered papers, they manufactured papers, and they went to
the mountain zones to force the peasants out with the aid of the rural
guard. This was what happened.

For this reason, one of the agrarian reform measures adopted in
Cuba gave ownership of the land free to all the small renters,
sharecroppers and tenants (applause). As of the present, between 30 and
40,000 land ownership titles have been given to small farmers (applause).

Naturally, the production system involving parcels of land is not
the most perfect technically, but it is a socially just system, whereby
each family lives from its work, and if the land should belong to someone,
it is to the one who works it.

A part of the land in our country was in the hands of small
farmers. Another substantial portion of land was in the hands of the large
estate owners. What to do with these large estate owners? And here there was
another important problem. The estate owners did not want agrarian reform.
They always proclaimed that the cultivated land should not be touched.
What, then, were to give the hundreds of thousands of farm workers who were
employed only a few months a year. And what were we to do with that land?
The same estate owners who did not want their lands touched, after stating
that the land should not be divided, said that other lands should be
divided -- the large plantations.

Anyone can see clearly what the situation would be on an estate of
80 caballerias of land with 400 agricultural workers. If the 80 caballerias
were divided, each family would have a fifth of a caballeria. Imagine an
area planted to sugar cane, divided among 400 families, each with its
little plot of land. And some farmers are industrious, they fertilize the
land and cultivate it. Others neither fertilize nor cultivate. Any plan for
these 80 caballerias of land would involve discussion with each of these
400 owners, one by one.

Why did the estate owners say that this land should be divided?
Because they knew that this would mean the ruin of agriculture. This would
mean the failure of the revolution. If the great plantations had been
divided, agricultural production would have dropped drastically.

Imagine, for example, a rice growing area which requires
irrigation. How would it have been possible to irrigate and area of 100
caballerias of rice divided into 300 plots, with a house built in the
middle of each one -- floods everywhere, mud everywhere. Because another of
the serious problems division involves is dispersal, for when each family
lives on its own little plot, the school is very far from some houses, as
are the shops, and the children live completely isolated from their
comrades. And the result is that however many teachers we have and however
many schools are built, the educational needs can never be met as well as
with large school center.

But the worst consequence of the division of the large cultivated
estates was the drop off in agricultural production. Modern agriculture
requires large machines, irrigation systems, fertilizer, large flocks of
poultry and herds of swine and cattle. Large installations are needed. And
now we see how in practice there was only one way of solving this problem.
If the land was distributed among all the agricultural workers, each would
have not even a quarter of a caballeria. This was the first consideration.
Secondly, all the advantages of mass production would disappear. To resolve
the milk problem, it would be necessary to give a cow to each family.

What happened in the Sierra Maestra during the first distribution
of cows might happen again. After a little time it is certain that all the
cows would have broken a leg or broken their necks. We distributed cows
again, and although not to the earlier extent, similar accidents continued
to happen. Everyone did what seemed best with his cow, and it seemed best
to many to slaughter the cow and eat the meat for a couple of weeks.

We explained this problem on the basis of a vital instinct on the
part of the majority of the peasant families, who had never eaten meat. The
body needs proteins, and meat is a great source of proteins. The hungry
bodies of the peasants urge them to sacrifice the cows. This was not the
best thing. It was more important to have milk for the children throughout
the year than to eat meat for a week (applause). Sacrificing the animals
was a mistake. In the first place, this meant they could not multiply. A
family, at the end of two or three years, could have had three or four
cows. By sacrificing them, they did away with their supply of a food
element which is essential for the growth and the health of children. This
was good experience for us.

What were we to do with the large livestock ranches? Should we
redistribute all the land and all the cattle? Then meat production would
have ceased. What were to do with the large agricultural enterprises?
splinter them into a thousand pieces, giving a cow to each family? This
would have drastically decreased agricultural production and livestock
herds would have disappeared. And what about tractors? Could we give a
tractor to each farmer with a fourth of a caballeria of land? This was
impossible but if 20 people were to be assigned a single tractor, what
would have happened? Well, innumerable conflicts would have developed.

For example, imagine a farm of 100 caballerias divided up among
400 people, with 8 or 10 tractors. What a source of petty conflict! Imagine
if a plan for diversifying the crops on 80 caballerias were set forth,
calling for the planting of cotton rather than sugar cane, tomatoes rather
than sugar cane, peanuts, corn, malanga (applause), because the country
needs to produce a number of things, although some are more profitable than
others. However, we must produce these things which are not so profitable,
because in any case they are indispensable to the nation's diet.

But when it came to planting these items, then each would want to
be given a quota of cotton or a vegetable crops, that is to say, those
which are most profitable. But the fact would be that the quarter of a
caballeria of a certain person would be best for one product, and the
quarter of a caballeria of another best suited to another. The result would
be that we would divide 100 caballerias among 400 people. Those with a good
quarter of a caballeria could plant tomatoes or potatoes, another's plot
would be good for pasturage, so he could raise four kids on his quarter of
a caballeria, supporting his family from that. Or otherwise, one could sow
their peanuts, which could not be harvested, or a vegetable crop, or
cotton, which could not be harvested. The result would be that on an area
of 100 caballerias, there would have been 100 or 200 or 300 families, and
the living conditions would have been completely different and the income
completely different for each, and that section of land would have been
very difficult to develop agriculturally or to improve according to any

What did we do? In particular, what did we do with the lands used
for the production of sugar cane, that is to say, with the large sugar
estates?  Well, we organized the agricultural production cooperatives
(applause).  Everyone will remember that when they first began to attack us
there in the north they spoke of agrarian reform.  They said that sugar cane
production would drop, and that Cuba would not be able to meet its
production pledges, its promises to the US and the world markets.

They thought that we were going to divide this land, to splinter
it, and they were calculating the consequences.  But they found to their
surprise that those lands, far from being divided, were organized in
agricultural cooperatives (applause).  The result is that we have more sugar
cane this year than every (applause).  Having cultivated the land better and
having fertilized a greater area, simply by these means, without any need
to plant new varieties, without irrigation, we have already produced a much
greater volume of sugar cane on the same land area.

In these areas, we have been applying agricultural production
plans adapted to the needs of the workers employed there.  If there was
much larger number of workers on one land area than another, this area,
which has now been transformed into a cooperative, was given greater
resources, a larger number of machines, and assigned the production of more
profitable products. This means that we undertook the solution of the
problem of each cooperative, in accordance with the social situation in

Thus, a plan which began last year is currently showing
extraordinary progress. We invested 34 million in the cultivation of sugar
cane. As Comrade Bequer has said, with these 34 million invested in the
cultivation of cane, we have not only cultivated that cane, but made
certain investments. Among other things, a plan to establish a dairy plant
in each cooperative has been undertaken (applause).

Currently, we have 614, between 600 and 614, cane cooperatives,
with an average area of 100 caballerias of land, some with more, others
with little less, some with 200, in which 120,000 families work (applause).
These were the former farm workers on these plantations, and in each of
these cooperatives there is now a dairy plant (applause).

How many barns are there in each cooperative?  Two hundred?  No,
just one.  This means that if we had given a cow to each cooperative member,
we would have had to have 200 or 300 milking sheds. We have built a single
milking barn for all of the cows in the cooperative, where the children
have a guaranteed supply of milk. There is a cooperative administration,
and a management council which will not permit anyone to slaughter a cow,
such that not only the milk supply but also the development of livestock
breeding is assured.

Now, then, what kind of cows are these?  Well, they are cows with
low milk production. What is the solution?  There is another solution which
can only be implemented in the cooperatives.  We have established an
artificial insemination school.  Each of the cooperatives has sent two young
people to study insemination.  The result is that as of this year
reproduction will be done by artificial insemination, and thus, by this
method, it will be possible to improve the quality of this livestock, such
that each of these cows will produce specimens of the best milk producing

What could not be achieved in 100,000 separated farms is being
achieved relatively easily in 620 cooperatives. Imagine if these 120,000
families had 120,000 plots of land, each with one cow. How could we apply
the artificial insemination system? Each of them would have to be a
veterinarian, each of them would have to be a technician. This is not the
case with the cooperatives.

We have sent a circular to all of the cooperatives administrations
informing them that as of this year reproduction will be by artificial
insemination. This means that all of the cows in these cooperatives will be
ready as soon as the technicians come to begin this program, which within a
few years will increase the average milk production per cow to 10 or 12 or
even 15 liters per day (applause). Something similar will be done with the
herds of swine. In each of the cooperatives a purebred swine raising center
will be established. We have a great need of these currently, with a view
to the threat that we will not be sold butter.

All of these plans can be carried forward very easily, but above
all, we must carry forward the plans for diversification. The worst thing
in agriculture is a single crop. Why? Because it forces workers to remain
unemployed most of the year. On a farm which raises a single crop, a given
month is devoted to harvesting and cultivation is done in others. However,
if one produces not only sugar cane, but also cotton, then these months of
November and December and January which were formerly dead months can be
devoted to the harvesting of cotton. The months before the sugar can
harvest when there was no work can now be devoted to the harvesting of
cotton. If we plant corn, the cotton can be harvested in September and
October. If we plant corn, then we have also -- or if we plant rice, for
example, harvesting can be done in the months of November, or in the summer

This means that 100 caballerias of land sown to sugar can provide
work during the three harvest months and some work in cultivation after the
harvest. Thus the months of May, June, July, August, September, October,
November and December, from 7 to 8 months, are inactive. When these hundred
caballerias are planted to sugar cane, rice, beans, peanuts, cotton, and
vegetable crops, there is work all the year, and this is what is happening

In the sugar cane fields, where most of the agricultural
population was employed, where there was the greatest poverty, we have been
developing plans for diversification with the greatest intensity. The
result is the following: for this year, this year now, the 120,000 families
are not enough to attend to the cultivation of this land, working
throughout the year (applause). This is the first major result of agrarian
reform in the sugar cane plantations: agricultural diversification, making
it possible to produce the same volume of sugar on less land, and, with
various crops, providing employment for the entire year. And imagine what
this means in the rural sector: the disappearance of the "dead period"
(applause). Imagine the extraordinary benefits from the disappearance of
this old nightmare from our rural sector, only two years after the triumph
of the revolution, along with the doubling or tripling of family income in
the rural sector, and simultaneously, a substantial increase in
agricultural production.

The solution to the problem of milk in all the sugar cane
cooperatives, for example, represents another of the successes achieved.
The solution of the housing problem is also being carried forward in a
large number of the cane cooperatives (applause).

Moreover, the revolution has one of its firmest supports in the
sugar cane cooperatives. We have visited cooperatives where of 214
cooperative members, 94 were militiasmen (applause). And those who were not
militiamen were not only because they were disabled or too old. This sugar
cane is not protected by rural guards or overseers any longer, nor by the
nightwatchmen -- what were they called -- "field guards." In the past no
farm worker cared if the cane was burned, because thus, he would be paid a
higher price. Today, no cooperative member, the former farm worker, wants
the can burned, because the cane is his, and if it is burned, this means a
drop in profits, and damage to the cane stalk, and he knows that his lowers
production for the coming year, and what the cane cooperative member wants
is to avoid the burning of a single stalk of cane.

Before the rural guard or the field guards were needed to watch
the cane. Today, each of the workers is a guardian of the cane. No army is
needed now. Why should it be, if the 120,000 cooperative members are
watching the cane. And there will be new cooperative members, because many
of these cooperatives are going to take in new members, since the numbers
there are not enough to take care of all the crops (applause).

There are 120,000 men plus their families, that is to say, more
than half a million persons, watching over and caring for the cane. Who
would burn sugar cane in a cooperative?  Thus here we have a great result.

In each cane cooperative there is an official responsible for
public order. What does this man?  This official is a member, elected by the
cooperative, but receiving no salary for this post, because those who
manage the cooperative are workers who cut cane and who work and who do not
earn salaries for the posts they hold in the cooperative management
(applause), and the workers choose the most responsible comrades for these
posts. And one of these is the official in charge of public order. He also
has his small headquarters there, his militiamen, and guns. He assigns
guard duty and patrols. If there is a problem, a fiesta -- you know how the
fiestas were in the past. They generally ended "like the fiesta of Guatao"
(laughter). When there was a fiesta, the overseer called a couple of the
rural guardsmen. The peasant worker, who feared the rural guard, felt
intimidated by the mere presence of a rural guardsman, and the sight of his
leggings, his machete and his hat. And at these happy fiesta times, they
took a few drinks and subdued those fears, and in one way or another threw
their weight around just to show that they were not afraid of the guards.
And at rural fiestas, there were always incidents.

Go today to the rural sector and see how no one throws his weight
around, no one picks quarrels any longer, and what was a general rule of
the past is an exception today. Why? Because now there are no rural guards
there, intimidating the rural people, and belittling them as men

Who keeps order?  A worker like the others, a neighbor of the
others, their peer. And today it will be one worker, and next Sunday it may
be another who today exercises the authority. Now authority is not regarded
as something hateful, as a humiliating insult. Today, each citizen is
himself the authority. Now, the farmer no longer sees a man with a gun who
may insult his sweetheart or his daughter. Now he is the man with the gun,
or if it is not he, it is his neighbor, and he respects this, so that he
will re respected when the gun is in his hands (applause).

And an extraordinary change has come about in the thinking of this
worker, or peasant. He no longer sees any difference between himself and
the power of the nation. Today he is the power of the nation, he represents
the keystone of that power, and he identifies himself with the interest of
the entire nation, because he sees and understands that he is a part of this
authority. He no longer regards the authority or the power as something
remote from him, as in fact it was in the past, when to have power was to
exploit it. Today, power is for defense, and it is not a foreign power. The
citizen is a part of this strength of the nation, he has this understanding
which allows him to enjoy this calm and this security. This is a power in
which every cooperative member, every worker, can participate.

And the same has happened at the sugar mills. It is no longer a
paid guard, or a soldier, but the worker himself who is the authority, and
at each sugar mill there is also an official in charge of order. The same
is the case with the people's farms. There, too, there are officials in
charge of public order. What if there was need for an investigation? In the
past, who was called before the judges? The overseer, the estate owner, the
sergeant of the rural guard. But today, who reports on all events? The
official in charge of public order also reports to the court on any
incident at a sugar mill, a people's farm or a cooperative (applause).

What does this mean?  That an extraordinary change has come about.
Why did there have to be an overseer or a hired guard at a sugar plantation
in the past?  Why did there have to be a pair of soldiers?  Simply because
there had to be a force to defend the interests of the owners of these
plantations.  What did it matter to the worker, and why should the worker
sacrifice his life defending the plantation which was not his, and where he
was not even allowed to sow a stalk of corn in the compound?  What can this
worker demand?  Can a strike occur there?  Impossible.  Why?  Whom will he
ask?  His own management council, which he freely chooses and elects? What
is the only thing this cooperative member can demand? Well, he can ask for
more work. Why? In order to produce more and obtain a higher income.

Look at the cane, and see that it is your cane, Watch this cane
grow, and rejoice in the thought that it is your cane. It rains, and you
know that this rain helps your cane. If anyone wants to burn this cane, the
farmer is ready to give his life before he will allow it to be burned

He knows that he does not have to ask anyone except himself. What
if he wants more resources with which to work? The nation will provide
them. What if he wants higher income? He can work more so that the land
will produce more, because what that land will produce is for him. What if
an animal is dying? The animal is his, and he must try to save it. What if
he is driving a truck? The truck belongs to the cooperative, and he must
take care of it. What if he operates a turbine or a tractor? If the tractor
breaks down or the turbine breaks down, it is he who loses. Before he
lost nothing.  Today, indeed, he loses something. Production has been
organized in such a way that the interests of the plantations are absolutely
identified with the interests of the producer, the worker. Thus, the
complex in the rural sector has disappeared, the problems have disappeared,
because now it is they who are managing and profiting from these crops.

If the land does not yield more, one cannot ask more.  If the land
can yield more, the farmer can do what is necessary to ensure that it will.
If he improves the quality of his crops, it will be to his own advantage.
If he increases production, he will benefit.  If the cows give 10 liters
instead of 5, it will benefit his children.  And thus, we can foresee and
extraordinary future for all of these cooperatives, and in fact, results
can already be seen.  It suffices to visit any one of these cooperatives,
to ask how much work there has been, how much work there will be, what
plans for diversification will be carried forward, and you will be
surprised.  They have advanced so much that we have seen that one of these
cooperatives has already organized its own theater.  They have organized a
theater group, and not only this, but there are peasants who are already
writing the theatrical works which will be presented by this group

What does this mean?  That the peasants are no longer lagging
behind.  Even the peasants have now satisfied their basic aspirations and
are concerning themselves with matters of a cultural nature.  And this fact
has encouraged the determination of the revolutionary government to recruit
3,000 art teachers, in order to send to the people's farms and the
cooperatives a dramatic arts teacher, a music teacher and a dancing teacher
(applause).  This means that within two years, with the schools which will
begin operations in the coming weeks, we will be able to send three
instructors to each people's farm and each cooperative, and each people's
farm and each cooperative will have its amateur groups (applause), and the
day will come when every family in the city will go on Sunday to the
interior of the republic, and can spend the day happily among the
peasants, who will present magnificent dramatic and dance performances,
producing magnificent performers who one day will also come to the cities

The peasant has a virgin mind, free of a whole series of
influences which have poisoned the thinking of the citizens in the cities.
The revolution is working with these fertile minds, as it is working
with the land.  And the contribution of these minds, which in the past were
frustrated, will be harvested for the country.

Thus, agrarian reform has a second form of production in the
cooperatives.  But there nonetheless remain vast areas of land in which
very few families live, and which were devoted to livestock production.
What could we do with a ranch of 600 caballerias devoted to meat production
by the extensive system, employing 10 or 12 workers?  There it was not
possible to organize a cooperative.  Why? Because there were only 10 or 12
workers.  This was an outdated method of raising livestock.  We could not
give the livestock to the 10 or 12 families, because they would then owned
2 or 3 thousand head of cattle.  And also, it was necessary to promote
diversification there.

What did the National Institute for Agrarian Reform do with the
large livestock ranches?  Did it divide up the land?  No, because it was
confronted with the task of providing the country with meat, and you can
imagine what would have happened had we not taken this responsibility
seriously, because this would have meant that one day the people would be
without meat.  Not only did we have to continue meeting the demand which
existed at the time the revolution came to power, but we had also to met
the need which was the result of an increase of some 400 million pesos in
family income (applause), because those who had paid 60 pesos for an
apartment, and later had to pay only 30, had 30 pesos left, and in most
cases they went to the market to buy a quantity of meat (applause).  The
200,000 new jobs also meant 200,000 new meat consumers.

In the past, there was always a shortage of meat at certain
periods during the year.  This was the result of the speculative maneuvers
of the large livestock breeders.  Now almost 50% more meat is being
consumed, but there has been no shortage.  This represents a great effort,
because herds cannot be multiplied easily.  Multiplication results from the
natural process which takes time.  Thus, it was necessary to produce a
larger quantity of meat from the same number of animals but in a shorter
period of time.  It was necessary to provide fodder for hundreds of
thousands of head of cattle to supply the city market.

What did the revolution do with the large cattle ranches?  It
neither divided up the land nor organized cooperatives.  It established the
people's farms.

What are the people's farms?  It is good to understand this.
There is tremendous confusion, mainly originating from the volumes which
have been written about agrarian reform without taking the trouble to find
out what a cooperative is or what a people's farm is.  The result is that
they say the same thing about both, but they are not exactly the same

Our agriculture is now divided into three forms of production:
small farmers, agricultural cooperatives, which developed mainly out of
the large cane plantations, and the people's farms, which developed out of
the large cattle ranches.  The people's farms are owned by the nation.  In
a cooperative, it is the cooperative members who own the cooperative
products.  The people's farms are enterprises just like the factories which
the nation owns.  What are the advantages of this system?  The people's
farms have their advantages and the cooperatives have theirs.  The country
needs both forms of production.

In a cooperative, the worker has a monthly or daily wage
established by the cooperative.  That is to say, the cooperative member
earns the monthly wage determined by the cooperative.  That is to say, he
owns the harvest, but he has to pay, for example, for his housing.  The
cooperative member pays the people for his utilities.  He has to pay for
water, light, and many services which, on the other hand, the worker
on the people's farms receives free (applause).  The worker in the people's
farms receives the wage established by law.  Fine.  But is that all?  No.
In each people's farm, a village will be built.  This means that the worker
will have the right to free housing, free electricity, free water, free
medical aid and medicines (applause).  There will be a free social circle
(applause).  However, even now, as soon as he is a worker and contributes
4% he has this right in any case.

But also the most complete and modern technical facilities will be
provided there.  There will be, for example, a system for cultivating
tomatoes throughout the year.  This will require a great investment, which
could not be made in a cooperative, because that cooperative would profit
extraordinary, and would enjoy advantages the others would not enjoy.

Where will it be undertaken?  In a people's farm.  Several
thousand high production milk cows will be imported.  Where will they go?
To a people's farm.  If they were given to a cooperative, that cooperative
would enjoy advantages which the others do not.

And who benefits from the development of any people's farm?  Well,
it is all the people's farms in the country, the workers in all the
people's farms.  If one cooperative has very fertile land it is that
cooperative which receives the benefits (applause).  If a cooperative has
land without good subsoil water, then it cannot have irrigation, and the
income of that cooperative will be lower than the income of a cooperative
which has good subsoil water and irrigation.

This means that the cooperative represents a good production
system, but nonetheless it has its shortcomings, too, deriving from the
diversity of the land, the varying fertility of the different areas, so
that the community in a cooperative with good land will enjoy greater
advantages than one with poor land.  There will be cooperatives where the
children dress better than in other cooperatives.  Why?  Because they have
more fertile land.  There will be cooperatives in which the families have
higher income than in others.  Why?  Because they have better land.

However, this will not be the case in people's farms.  It does not
matter if a farm has poor land and another has rich land.  The workers in
all farms enjoy the same advantages.  The children in all the farms enjoy
equal benefits, whether the land where the farms are be rich or poor
(applause).  All of the workers have the right to housing.  In each of
these villages, the workers of the people's farms will also have school
centers.  In the cooperatives, too, there will be school centers and
villages (applause).

In the cooperatives, the people are building with loans made to
the cooperatives by the government.  The cooperative has to pay for the
utilities and village requires.  In the people's farms, the homes are being
built as a national investment.

With regard to the schools at the people's farms, there will be a
school center and a children's farm at each people's farm.  At this
children's farm, the children 10 years of age will have a place to work,
that is to say, a small farm.  They will raise their animals and cultivate
their crops, working in the morning and studying in the afternoon
(applause).  And we have already tested this.  We have two pilot children's
farms to show that the children of this age are capable of producing by
working a few hours a day.

They will produce vegetables, milk, eggs, and poultry which they
themselves will consume in the school center dining room.  Thus, in the
people's farms, the children will receive breakfast, lunch and dinner in
the school center (applause).  A part of the food they will eat they will
produce themselves, and the rest will be provided by the farm, the farm
administration.  But they, themselves, will produce a part of what they
consume.  Also, the children in the school centers will receive clothing
and shoes (applause).

At the people's farms, the administration will pay the dramatic
arts, music and dance teachers.  In the cooperatives, the cooperatives will
pay these teachers (applause).  In other words, there is a difference
between the two means of production.  In the one case, the production
belongs to the cooperatives members, but they themselves have to pay for
their utilities for these services with these products.  In the other case,
the same services are provided to all of the workers' families in the
people's farms.  And the fact that the children in the people's farms will
receive food and clothing and shoes at the schools will mean a true
revolution (applause).  Why?  Because there is a human problem which I do
not know if we have all understood, because, we, concerned about all these
matters are trying to give form to the revolutionary institutions sometimes
discover harsh things.

And such is the case when we go to the rural sector and find that
a family has 10 children, and we realize that this worker receives a salary
which is equal to that received by another worker who has one or two
children.  Thus, this family with 10 children, or 12 members, has to
maintain itself on the same income as a family which has 3 or 4 members.
And then one wonders how this family will live, how the children will be
fed.  Since children are the same, and have the same needs, we find that
the 10 children are receiving much less to eat than the two children.

And the results will be seen in the future.  When they are men,
citizens of the country, the 10 children who did not receive enough food
will begin to suffer from some deficiency or other as a result of not
having had an adequate diet.  And so those children, solely because there
were more brothers and sisters, will be condemned from childhood to pay in
the future for what will have been their misfortune -- the fact of having
many brothers and sisters.

How can we change this fact?  What is the situation if the worker
who has to care for 10 children with the same salary as another?  He must
deprive himself of everything.  Moreover, if he is a devoted father, it is
certain that he will spend his wages on his children.  If he is a lazy
father, he will certainly spend his wages on something else.  Thus, the
children are not only victims of the circumstances of being born into a
larger or smaller family, but also of having lazy or devoted parents

How can we correct this situation?  How can we guarantee all
children's healthy life?  How can we guarantee them a proper diet?  In the
schools.  The children will go very early to the school centers in the
people's farms.  They will have breakfast in the school.  The youngest will
begin classes immediately, and the older ones will go do their morning
work.  Lunch time will come, and they will eat at the school and they will
study in the afternoon.  They will eat at the school again and return to
their homes for the night (applause).

Thus, we can guarantee that each child consumes the quantities of
milk, eggs, meat, fish, vegetables and other foods which he needs.  We can
guarantee an adequate diet for all the children, whether or not they have
many brothers and sisters.  These children will have an adequate diet
guaranteed.  And whether or not he has many children, each worker will also
have his salary guaranteed so that he can spend it on what he thinks best
(applause).  And thus, the parents who have 10 children will be entitled to
enjoy the same things as the parents who have one or two or three.

One of the things which is possible in the agricultural sector, at
certain harvest seasons, is for the women and even the children to work;
during a cotton harvest, for example, any child of 11 or 12 years can
gather some cotton, perhaps with less expenditure of effort than a man or
an adult person.  During the cotton, tomato and a whole series of harvests,
the children can work and can even contribute to the family income.

In industry, too, but only in some industries, not all, this is
true.  However, in agriculture, there are tasks at which women and children
can work (applause) and thus also in large families the children have a
chance to contribute to the family.

They do not need to worry about housing, because this is taken
care of by the government.  This means that those who have many children do
not have higher housing costs, but exactly the same.  They do not have
greater clothing or food or medical of toy expenditures.  In the word, on
Twelfth Night, each child will be entitled to receive his toy, just like
any other child, whether he has many or few brothers and sisters.  This is
the way in which the people's farms are organized, and it is good to
understand all of these details, because these are the three forms of
production we have in the country.

Does this mean that because we like one better than the other, we
should choose one or the other, or let each one choose?  No.  Certainly
many sugar cane cooperative members would like to convert the cooperatives
into people's farms.  However, we oppose this change.  Why?  Because we are
entering a stage of development, the results remain to be seen, and we
know that the cooperative production method is much superior to that which
was used before.  It is even a better method for production than small land
plots.  But the country needs this production system.  Why?  Because the
cooperative members have shown that they are capable of increasing
production extraordinarily with very little investment.  The cooperative
members have shown that they are capable of producing at low cost, and this
is shown by the fact that with 34 million allocated for cultivation, they
have raised this crop -- 34 million in loans -- they have raised this crop
with lesser amounts and invested a part of the 34 million which was
allocated for crop raising.  They made investments with this money,
achieving an increase in production.

The revolution needs the cooperatives, and for this reason, we
have established the principle of not allowing the cooperatives to choose
to become people's farms.  The cooperatives are now organized and the
people's farms are now organized.  We are going to see with the passage of
time what experience teaches, what experience tells us about the two
methods of production, and what it dictates, and which method produces
greater production and which better satisfies the needs of our country.

In the cooperatives there is a great incentive, and we have
enjoyed the advantage of the fact that the cooperatives were organized on
the basis of a very combative workers' mass, the cane growing workers, a
mass which has suffered much and is very combative.  This is not the case
with the people's farms, which were established precisely in the areas
where there was not a workers' mass, but where very few workers were
employed.  An example is the Granma People's Farm, where some 150 workers
were employed, and not all during the year.  Currently, some 7,000 workers
are employed there the year around (applause).

The Granma Farm has 3,000 caballerias of land, and is located in
the Belio zone, where we landed on 2 December 1956 (applause).  There is a
people's farm in Pinar del Rio, the Los Pinos Farm, where 6 livestock
breeding workers were employed.  Currently, 2,000 workers are employed
there (applause).  This is a more heterogeneous workers' mass.  These are
not workers who were established at one point, for they have come from many
places.  They were not an already organized and disciplined mass, like that
which existed on the cane plantations, where there were workers who for
many years had been struggling on the plantations and were an organized
mass with which we established cane growing cooperatives.  They have this

Thus, it is necessary to maintain these two means of production.
But there is another means or system of agricultural production, that of
the small farmers.

A considerable part of the land is in the hands of small farmers.
What policy is the revolution pursuing with regard to the small farmers?
The following:  the revolution is not only seeking the ideal methods, but
must also take the reality into account, and the revolution must adapt the
reality, and must adapt its aspirations to the reality.  In Cuba there are
a large number of small farmers who have cultivated their crops with much
sacrifice, much effort, and who are very much attached to the land.  What
is the revolution doing with these small farmers?  First of all, it has
freed them from the payment of any rent, and as a result, no small farmer
in Cuba pays rent any longer (applause).  The small tobacco producer
sometimes paid 25 or 30%, the small coffee grower also paid a large
proportion of his crop, and the small cane grower also paid a part of his
product in rent.

What has the revolutionary government done?  It has done away with
rent.  We spoke of this at the beginning.  And in many cases, only the
large estate owner was affected.  In some cases, this affected small
owners, but these farmers we said should have been paid in cash, and we are
considering a review of the small farmers who were affected, that is to
say, those who had rented a small plot of land.  We are going to review all
of these cases to consider the possibility in all of these cases of paying
them in cash, because in this connection some rectification is needed

But all the renters, the small farmers, have been absolutely freed
of paying rent.  Many of them are in the mountains.  Is the plot production
method a perfect one?  No, it is not.  However, it can be a good method,
and it is a good production method when the farmer with his family works
the plot of land.

What should the policy of the revolution be with regard to the
small farmers?  Would it make them cooperative members?  No.  This is what
the counterrevolutionaries would like.  They would like us to become
Utopian revolutionaries and to take this step.  But this is not the policy
of the revolution should pursue, but it is rather a policy of lumping
together all the social sectors which were exploited.  The small farmer was
exploited.  The mill exploited him when he was a cane grower.  He was
exploited by the estate owner who collected the rent, everyone exploited
him.  Then the sergeant came and stole a chicken, or a pig, and if he
wasn't careful even his family was in danger (applause).

The small farmer could be thrown off the land.  He was the victim
of the middle men who bought his products cheap.  He was the victim of the
system of government which allowed price variations such that he had no
security.  In other words, the small farmer was an exploited man.  The
revolution has liberated all those who were exploited, and among them, the
small farmers (applause).

What should the revolution do with regard to the small farmers?
Help them, give them credit, which is what it is doing.  What if a small
farmer wants to buy a cow?  He is given credit so he can buy a cow.  What
if he wants to dig a well?  He is given credit so he can dig a well and
install a turbine.  What if 10 or 12 or 15 want to join together to buy a
tractor?  They are given credit so they can buy the tractor.  What if there
are mountain farmers who want to plant coffee and cacao?  With coffee and
cacao it is necessary to wait five years.  Well, they are given long-term
credit for four or five years so they can plant coffee and all the cacao
they want and pay later (applause).

This is the policy of the revolution with regard to the small
farmer.  And in the mountains there are tens of thousands of small farmers
who are now receiving credit.  That is, they have already begun to receive
credit.  Allocations have now been made to some 7,000 by a very simple and
uncomplicated procedure.  In each sector or zone, each rural area there, an
individual with a modest salary has been given two horses and a saddle, so
that he can study all of the situations of the peasants asking for credit.
He can recommend that this credit be granted and at the same time check on
how it is used.

There is a school where 300 cacao and coffee technicians have just
begun to study in Baracoa.  They are all peasants (applause).  Every three
months these technicians will leave the school and go the places the
inspectors are working so that, on the basis of the knowledge they have
acquired, they can inspect the progress of the crops and then return to the

After two or three years, they will graduate from the school, but
in the meantime, they will continue to render service.  In Cuba, this
coffee and cacao cultivation was very badly organized, very outdated.  The
peasants planted too many seedlings in a small area whereas coffee requires
space to spread its branches and produce the beans.  Cacao, too, was
cultivated by old fashioned methods, using very poor varieties.  For all of
these crops, the quality of the plants will be improved, and other things,
too, as the technicians gain more knowledge.  Now, a certain variety is
being planted, but each time it is necessary to replant, that is to say, to
replace those plants which are not developing properly, seedlings of higher
quality will be used, hybrid seedlings, which have a much higher yield but
which also require greater knowledge.

And here in the mountains we are going to carry out a credit
program.  I will give you some figures, so that you will have an idea of
what this means.  For example, the Baracoa zone always had very rich land
but a poor population. There was a time when Baracoa was cultivated by the
United Fruit Company, or purchased by the United Fruit Company.  Under its
management, the Johnson Banana was raised.  When this production developed,
it meant an era of prosperity for Baracoa for a period of two years.  But
then crop plagues came, and the United Fruit Company went to other
countries to plant bananas.  But the people of Baracoa were left with
bananas in their heads.  They yearned for bananas, they dreamed of
bananas, they signed for that magnificent era of banana production.  But
there was a problem, particularly the problem of the crop plagues.  A
solution was needed.  What to do?

Baracoa has very fertile valleys, very productive land.  Certain
crops which did very well there -- cacao and coffee -- had the disadvantage
that they required a wait of several years.  On one occasion, a protective
organization was established, in the era of the dictatorship, and it
engaged in politics.  A fund of four or five million was obtained for
investment over a period of years.  It was distributed in accordance with
the interests of the politicians who were managing the farm.

Well, now, a credit plan is being carried out in Baracoa zone
which will mean, in comparison with the total value of banana production in
the prosperous era, which was 4 million -- in the next four years the
Baracoa zone will receive, solely in terms of credit for the development of
cacao and coffee, the equivalent of seven million pesos a year (applause).
This means several million pesos more than what was received in the best
banana era.  But the important thing is that within a five-year period the
value of cacao and coffee production in Baracoa will have increased to 30
million pesos a year (applause).

This same plan is being carried out throughout the mountainous
zone in the north of Oriente, in the Sierra Maestra and in Las Villas.

In the mountains it is not possible to plant cotton, for example,
nor a whole series of other things which provide employment for many people
in the plains areas.  It suffices to provide a tractor team and irrigation
and thus, in some places where there was unemployment, it has disappeared
with these few machines.  In the mountains the problem is more difficult.
It is more difficult to build roads, and the irregularities of the terrain
mean that a fewer number of persons can be supported.  For this reason, it
was necessary to establish a system of long-term loans, so that they can
pay with their products when the plantations are in production.

This has been begun this year, as a part of the plan for aid to
the small farmers.  In all, the budget for this year includes 34 million
pesos for credit to the small farmers (applause).  This means that we are
going to provide credit to 80,000 small farmers.

What kind of credit?  Well, this is credit which will permit them
to develop plantations which they can care for with their families.  If a
small farmer is given a great deal of credit, that is to say, enough to
develop a plantation larger than he and his family can care for, he will
have to employe workers there, and thus, the day will come when he will
have a large plantation requiring many workers.

What do we do when a peasant has more land than he can cultivate
with the credit allocation of 40 pesos a month?  Do we take his land away?
No.  We ask if he has a brother, or a son older than 18 who wants to work
in partnership with him.  If he has a son over 18, we give the son
another 40 pesos.  If he has a brother, we give the brother 40 pesos.  And
thus, with a brother or son, he can gather together an income of 120 pesos,
and if he has land enough, he can cultivate a caballeria and a half or two
instead of half a caballeria.  Thus we are encouraging small family
cooperatives, when they have the land (applause).  We do not take the land
when they have a little more than others, but give them an opportunity to
bring in a family member, to receive more credit and to work together on
this land.

This is the policy of the revolution with regard to the small
farmers, because they were exploited and they are the allies of the
revolution, the allies of the agricultural workers, the cooperative members
and the workers on the people's farms (applause).

What has happened?  The counterrevolutionaries have tried to
frighten the small farmers, telling them that we would make them
cooperative members.  It has even happened that those enthusiastic about
the cooperatives have tried to wage a campaign in favor of making them
cooperative centers.  No, this is not right.  There have been cases in
which peasants have wanted to join to farm a cooperative, and independent
peasants have organized cooperatives among themselves.  This is the case,
for example, with the Itabo Cooperative, which now has a great communal
center, that is to say, a village of about 200 homes.  A village has been
built for them, and without a doubt these small farmers are enjoying more
advantages than if they were separate.

But what is the norm we have adopted in this connection?  Instead
of encouraging the formation of cooperatives with the small farmers, what
we have done is the contrary.  What if a group of small farmers wants to
establish a cooperative?  We tell them no.  What if they insist?  We tell
them no again.  What if they insist further?  Then we take the case up with
the National Institute for Agrarian Reform, to see if they can obtain
permission or not.

Why?  Precisely in order to prevent anyone from committing the
error of promoting th organization of cooperatives on his own.  That is to
say, there are no National Institute for Agrarian Reform employees, for
example, who are trying to promote cooperatives among the small farmers,
because this would be a mistake.  This would only serve to encourage the
counterrevolutionaries to wage a campaign to make the small farmers want
cooperatives.  There are peasants who very attached to their plots of land.
This is no threat to the country.  This does not affect the national
economy.  There is such a vast area of land in the hands of the
cooperatives of the people's farms that agriculture can develop
extraordinary, and it does no one any harm if a peasant has and wants to
keep until he dies, for 50 years if he wants, his plot of land.  This does
no damage to the revolution and there are peasants who very attached to the
land (applause).  They must be given guarantees that they can keep this
land and that they will receive aid from the nation whenever they need it.

And to avoid the independent encouragement of cooperatives and to
avoid making errors, we have established the principle that the small
farmers will not be authorized to establish cooperatives unless they insist
repeatedly, unless this is their spontaneous desire and unanimously agreed
upon by all those who wish to become members of the cooperatives.  Only
then will the National Institute for Agrarian Reform consider the
establishment of cooperatives made up of small farmers.  In such cases, it
may agree to provide such benefits as the building of a village, that is, a
village with a school center and all the advantages enjoyed by the
cooperative members.

While the small farmers remain independent, they will be given
credit, technical assistance and aid.  This is the policy which the
revolution has established for the small farmers, and they have absolutely
no need for concern, since they can always count on the assistance of the

Has this been easy?  No, it has not been very easy.  What has
happened with the small farmers?  Well, it developed that some of them were
not so small, they were "large small farmers," and in general it was they
who controlled the farmers associations, that is, those of the livestock
breeders, the coffee growers, the cane growers.  What did some of these
"idlers" do?  Well, it was they who engaged in stirring up the small
farmers, and wanted to speak on behalf of the small farmers.  What did we
do?  We called all the small farmers together, all those who had less than
5 caballerias of land and we organized the National Association of Small
Farmers, including the small tent farmers, the small coffee growers, the
small livestock breeders, the small tobacco growers, and, in a word, we now
have the National Association of Small Farmers and 35 million pesos have
been made available to the Association to allocate credit to these small
farmers (applause).

There are things which there is nothing we can do but tolerate.
We have had to tolerate the fact that there are those who have tried to
stir up the small farmers, even taking advantage of family connections --
and there is nothing I can do but speak of this here, with the delicacy
this matter requires.  Naturally, this does not come about by accident.
The imperialists are so unscrupulous in all their actions, in all their
methods, that they have even tried to promote family splits and aggravate
family problems, when they have found the slightest opportunity.

Here we have had to tolerate the fact that there are those who
constantly, taking advantage of the fact that we come from a family which
owned land, and the fact that the revolutionary laws have necessarily
affected the interests of our own family, have profited from these
circumstances (applause) to promote division and aggravate problems, and
even to represent us as enemies of our own family.  We have simply had to
carry out our duty to apply the laws we have promulgated equally, to all
equally, without privileges for anyone (applause).

And this is a government which is characterized by the fact that
all of its employees have relatively modest incomes, and it is also an
absolutely honest government (applause), without privileges for anyone.
And we would be betraying the revolution if we allowed ourselves to be
tempted by some of these practices which were classic here under the other
governments (applause).

None of the members of our families have had privileges of any
kind (applause).  Is this harsh, on our part?  No.  For example, we have an
aunt who lost a son in the war.  We have aided her with what we have.  This
is what we can do and we do it.  We are not harsh, but we are honorable,
and being honorable, is sometimes hard!  (Applause).

The reactionaries, however, and the agents of the imperialists,
try to make capital of these circumstances and there are even these who go
as journalists to members of our family, hoping to hear criticisms of the
revolution, and to publish these criticisms, and to make it seem that we
are opposed even by our own family.  These are the crude and deceitful
intrigues of the reactionaries and imperialists, who respect neither the
life nor the honor of anyone, when they publish such views.  And there are
sometimes family members so unwary as to fall into this trap.

And thus we have had this problem with the matter of the small
farmers, the law was passed, and it was decided to cut all the cane.  It
was decided why it was necessary to cut all the cane, because it was a
crime to leave 10,000 caballerias of our best land planted to cane which
was not cut, 10,000 caballerias of our best and most fertile and.  It was
absurd for the bulldozers owned by the state to clear thickets and brambles
when there were 10,000 caballerias which could be cleared with a machete,
to achieve great diversification and great increase in agriculture
(applause).  So it was agreed to cut this cane.

Could the regular can price be paid for fields when it was not
certain that the sugar would be sold?  No. The workers and the people were
asked for their cooperation in cutting this cane, because even if it was
not sold it was necessary to cut it in order to make this land available
(applause).  Thus it was decided to cut all the cane.  Now of all this
cane, we could only guarantee the sale of 4 million at 4 centavos, and
another portion on the world market.  A provisional price of 2.50 was
established, and also we must differentiate between what was paid for at
2.50 and what would really be sold.  On the basis of the sale of 300,000
tons for domestic consumption at 4 centavos, we have a differential of a
centavo and a half on 300,000 tons, which we can cut at 2-1/2.

How to distribute this?  Well, logically, of each seven -- if for
example, 7 million were produced, of each 7 million, 4 would be bought at 4
centavos and 3 at 2-1/2, the same for everyone.  There was no need to think
of quotas, because it was a free harvest, and if up to 4 million was to be
paid for at 4 centavos and the rest at 2-1/2, how should it be distributed?
Well, if 7 million is the total, it would be proper to figure all the cane
milled, and pay for 4 parts at 4 centavos and for 3 parts at 2-1/2, the
same for everyone.  This was a just thing which no one could challenge.

But what happened with the small holders?  Always there are
demagogues and those who are gullible and easy tools of the enemies of the
fatherland.   And if the small holders were freed of the 15% payment?  This
was a profit for them, because they no longer had to pay rent.  But then,
the large shareholders said to the others:  well, now we are going to ask
for 60% of the sugar production, that is, they began to set fort a new

And if the lands of the cane companies were expropriated or taken
over or confiscated?  Of whom was it necessary to think them?  Of those
who had a caballeria, or half a caballeria, or those who had none?  What
was to be done with the cane company plantations?  Well, it was necessary
to organize cooperatives, because the cane workers who worked for the
companies had to live from these lands.  And what were the lazy small
holders thinking of?  Well, they were thinking of the demagogic demand that
these quotas be distributed among them.

On one occasion when I was invited to a meeting of small holders,
who were certainly the great idlers who were still directing the
association, I told them not even to dream of talking of redistributing the
quotas of the sugar cane companies, because although in the past indeed,
they could discuss this with the mill, they could make demands of the mill,
which owned the cane and asked for quotas, now there are no cane companies
and the quota gives to the cooperatives.  It would not be redistributed
among those who already had quotas.  What was done?  All of the small
holders who physically possessed cane fields were given up to 40,000
arrobas, that is, those who had 35,000 arrobas which they milled.  All of
the small holders milled up to 40,000, and this is what was done.

When we organized the cooperatives, they asked for an increase of
the land of all the small holders to two caballerias.  But there might be a
small holder with three-quarters of a caballeria, and it was not correct to
increase this to two, while there were ten families which did not have even
a scrap of land.  Thus, we gave the cane company lands to the sugar cane

Then we decided on a free harvest.

Last year the average harvest sale price was 340 and something.
However, all of the small holders had collected a provisional price of 370.
The government covered the difference, so that the blow when a million tons
was taken from us would not burden the small holders, and they benefited
from this (applause).

This year, they will sell a part of their cane at 4 centavos.
this was enough to produce demagogues and heedless individuals who
profited from family ties to send a memorandum to all the small holders,
presenting matters as representing an injustice to them, and raising the
question of the quotas.  That is, they milled the quotas, those who had
them, at 4 centavos, but the cane which was not on quota, the cane of the
cooperative members, the people who were suffering the greatest hunger --
all this cane, then, was above the quota of the cane companies, was milled
at 2-1/2, which would mean that the cooperative members, if they had 4 or 5
million, and only 2 million were on quota, would have to cut the other 3
million, and this was an injustice.  That is to say, the correct thing was
a free harvest.  Everyone milling the cane he had, and if the harvest was 7
million, 4 of each 7 parts at 4 centavos, and 3 at 2-1/2.  This was the
most just thing which could be planned (applause).

I find it necessary to make this clarification for the benefit of
the small holders, and to say that here among the leaders we have two
revolutionary Castros:  Raul and Fidel (prolonged applause and shouts of
"Fidel, Raul," which had to be subdued by the playing of the national

And we speak with the authority we derive from the fact that we
hoisted a flag and espoused a cause.  We have devoted ourselves to it
exclusively.  We have not devoted ourselves to private business nor does
this interest us.  Nor does money interest us.  None of these things
interest us at all (applause).

This is very simply our life, our cause and our vocation, and we
have dedicated ourselves to this, and moreover, we have an obligation to
fulfill our duty.  It is simply that we have the confidence of the nation,
at least the vast majority of the nation, that is, that part of the nation
which interests us (applause).

We are extremely aware of the millions of individuals who make up
the humble and poor sectors of our country, who are the ones who defend the
revolution above all, and we have devoted ourselves to them entirely

Imperialism and capitalism have represented themselves (shouts of
"out") as defenders of the family.  The fact is that they are the great
destroyers of the family.  And also economic interests are so powerful,
class interests are so powerful, that sometimes they outweigh even the
closest family bonds.

But after all, the important thing for us is the people, and we
owe our lives to the people (applause).  This is our life, and one must put
this above everything.  Thus it was that when the son of Carlos Manuel de
Cespedes was put in prison and he was asked if he would renounce the flag,
the cause he defended, in exchange for the life of his son, he said that
all of the other citizens of the country were his sons too (applause).

That is to say, we think as he did.  We can never, for any reason,
put any feeling of ours above our obligations to the country and to the
people.  We are living our lives dedicated exclusively to this principle,
and we will die dedicated to it (applause).  We will always share the fate
of the people (applause).  Everyone can be sure of this.  It is
particularly worthwhile to share that fate in these times, the difficult
times of struggle.  And when everything is going very well, then there is
so special merit in it, and we, too, will have the right to rejoice and to
cease to work then (applause).

That is -- and in passing I might say that we almost never speak
of these things, but now we have said it.  We will not always be government
leaders, certainly not.  And of course, we rarely think of this, because we
are in the midst of the struggle, and in the midst of the struggle one does
not think of anything.  One confronts whatever may come, however it may
come.  And we know that this is a long struggle, one in which they will
make use of every weapon, every misery, every human weakness, in a word, of
everything, as the reactionaries always have.  We have there very close
neighbors, neighbors who are rabid enemies of this revolution, and they are
going to do everything possible here and more.  We must always expect the
worst of them on every level.  Therefore, we know that this will be a long
struggle and that they will make use of every weapon -- all of them.
Unfortunately for them, this will be in vain, because this fire will never
be put out (applause).

Thus we have clarified what our policy with regard to all the
small farmers, including the cane growers, is, and no one has the right to
agitate among the small farmers, because here we have the representative
of the small farmers.  Pepe Ramirez, who has been a fighting farmer all his
life (applause) and who truly knows the interests of the peasants can speak
for the small farmers!  No one who has not been a small farmer or who has
not been a revolutionary can speak for them.  Because I was not a small
farmer, although I am a revolutionary and every day I feel more a
revolutionary (extended applause).  In particular, the large shareholders
cannot speak on behalf of the small farmers -- no one will tolerate this.
And let him who would speak on behalf of the small farmers abandon his
shareholding and say:  "Now I come to speak for the small farmers"
(applause).  Let us say no more about this.  A word to the wise is

This is what we have done in agriculture in general.  These are
the things the delegates can witness directly.  We believe that the
development of agriculture is proceeding marvelously well.  Thus it is that
we have been able to resist the impact of the economic attacks.  If it were
not for the cooperatives -- if they had suspended the quota of just any of
the governments which we had here formerly, they would have lasted 48
hours, because they would have died of hunger.  Why not now?  They have
suspended our quota and the people are chopping all the cane.  And after
planting there is food here and everyone plants (applause).

Thus there is one thing which is certain.  Some of those with
20-some or 30 caballerias came and said:  "Our poor workers."  There is a
magnificent formula for "our poor workers."  Let them give us their 20 and
some or 30 caballerias and they will see how we will settle the problem.
Let them not be so impudent as to talk of "our poor workers"!  Because
those who are truly still "poor workers" are those who remain on many of
the shareholdings here, who neither want to clear them nor work on them.
And it pains us to think of these workers, who while those in the
cooperatives already have their problem resolved, are still "eating dirt"

Thus this is a reality.  And those who have 20-some or 30
caballerias had better cultivate them!  If they want credit, let them ask
the National Bank, but if they do not cultivate their and, we will
undertake another agrarian reform (applause) and prolonged shouts of
"certainly, Fidel, strike hard at the priests," and "let the priests cut
cane or if they don't want to, let them go to Spain").

There are some of these farmers, these owners of estates of
20-some or 30 caballerias who do not give work to the workers and then want
to push the blame on the government (shouts of "the cassock," "the
priests," etc.).  I am happy that all of you understand well that we have
several fronts on which we must struggle and that we will have a hard
battle.  We must struggle against all the plague of reactionaries and
backward elements there are here (shouts of "the priests, the priests"),
against the evils the people know well.  After two years and two months and
seven days of revolution, the people have learned enough.  We must realize
ever more clearly what the revolution is in order to know who it is who
stand with it and who it is who stand against it (shouts of "the priests").

We must understand well what the social forces which support the
revolution are, and which social forces it is which combat the revolution
(shouts of "the priests, the priests").  And among them you have, for
example -- the priests?  -- just a moment, wait.  We will let everyone
speak (the shouts continue).  Well, just a moment, not everyone can speak
at once.  Let us let this little girl here speak.  Who, for example?  You.
(A little girl answers:  "The priests".)  The priests?  Why?  (The little
girl answers:  that they are reactionaries.)  And why are the priests
defending the reactionaries?  And who here still believes in reactionary
priests?  (Shouts of "no one").  And how did you decide this?  Whom do you
support -- the rich or the poor?  (Shouts of "the poor").  No, I mean the
priests.  (Shouts of "the rich").  Let's see, did they preach any sermons
in the past against plunder, for example?  (Shouts of "no").  Did any of
you ever hear a sermon in defense of the cane workers?  (Shouts of "no").
did they ask for schools for the rural children?  (Shouts of "no").  Did
they oppose the murder of worker and student leaders?  (Shouts of "no").
Did they protest against the electric and telephone rates?  (Shouts of
"no").  Never.  Did they ever protest against the petty politicking?
(Shouts of "no").  Against high rents?  (Shouts of "no").  Did they protest
against gambling?  (Shouts of "no").  Against smuggling?  (Shouts of "no").

The say they differ with us ideologically.  And it is the
difference which exists between the allies of all this and the enemies of
all this.  Never was there a single sermon or any preaching in defense of
the people, neither now nor in the time of the war of independence, do not
forget this, this goes a long way back, since they came here with the
colonizers who burned the Indians alive.  And they, instead of protesting
at the burning of the Indians alive, told the Indians that they would go to
Heaven.  And the Indians asked if those who burned them alive would go to
Heaven.  And when they were told yes, they answered fine, then we do not
want to go to Heaven.

And I say that if the large estate owners are going to Heaven, we
do not want to go.  If the imperialists are going to Heaven, we do not want
to go.  If the criminals are going to Heaven, we do not want to go there.
If the exploiters are going to Heaven, we do not want to go the Heaven
(applause and shouts of "to the firing wall," and "let the thieving priests
take off their cassocks and put on pants").

Well, it is important that we understand clearly, that we learn
to discover our enemies, that we know that the struggle is hard and that
the more profound a revolution is, the harder it is.

But this is the good thing about a profound revolution -- that it
has the support of precisely the most combative sector of the people, the
part of the people who must give battle to the domestic and foreign
enemies.  We know that we are going to be victorious in this struggle.  We
have know this from the very first day (applause).  And we have not seen
anything yet!  They are going to continue poking their noses in, and
wherever they do ... we still have a few scores to settle!

You know that since this gentlemen came here, the one who is here
now (a voice shouted "the new one"), since the new one came the same old
policies have been pursued, perhaps even more aggressively, but the tables
are being turned throughout Latin America.  And I think that things are not
going as well as they may have dreamed "one summer night."  Matters are not
so easy in Latin America.  Now a great Congress is being held in Mexico
(applause).  It was called by that great revolutionary figure, Lazaro
Cardenas (prolonged applause), a friend of our revolution and one of the
most widely respected men on our continent.

The governments of Ecuador and Brazil have spoken clearly and
energetically.  The Yankees blackmail and boasting (shouts) are not
producing the old results.  The blackmailers advance from failure to
failure.  And when will these exploited workers, these peasants thirsty for
land, when will these men whom the delegates to this congress represent
become convinced of their strength and of their potential for struggle?
When will they be convinced, when will the day come when they realize that
these mercenary soldiers can readily be swept off the map (applause)!

The revolution has shown how useless these enormous armies which
eat up almost 50% of the national budgets are.  With this money millions of
homes could be built (applause).  It suffices to note that, for example,
this year... and what are they going to offer as an alternative to
revolution?  What magic formula will Mr. Kennedy (shouts) bring and offer
to Latin America?

You see that a government, that of Salvador, which we have neither
recognized nor thought of recognizing, because we do not recognized such
synical military juntas, nor have we considered recognizing them, must less
would anyone else, hasten to state that it broke with us so that it would
be given a few paltry dollars (laughter).  What a shame, and how
unfortunate!  In the country where 90% of the people are illiterate!

Well, this year we can point to the advance of the 600 and some
cooperatives, the 300 people's farms and the 80,000 small farmers aided by
the revolution (applause).  We can point to our campaign against
illiteracy, which will do away with illiteracy this year, once and for all,
in our country (applause), as well as our plan for the building of housing,
including the building of 25,000 new peasant homes this year (applause).
And we challenge the enemies of the revolution, the international
reactionaries, to set aside the nonsense (laughter), to cease to mouth
stupidities, to stop the idiocy and to tell the people what the people want
to hear: where are the teachers and when will the teacher come, where are
the schools and when will there be schools, where is the credit and when
will there be credit, where is the solution to unemployment and when will
that solution be implemented, and where are the houses and where is the
agrarian reform, and why do they not transform all these barracks into

However much they may say to our rural people, trying to condition
their brains with the arguments produced in the imperialist laboratories,
when the rural people know that what we have done here is to tell all the
companies to go home and to create cooperatives of all these can
plantations, the farm workers of Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia
and all the countries in Latin America will say:  "These people cannot be
bad, because they have converted all the barracks into schools.  This is
what must be done here!"  (Applause).  "They did away with illiteracy in
Cuba?  That is what must be done here!  They did away with large estates?
This is what must be done here!  The people have guns?  This is what is
needed here!"  (Applause).

There will be no way for them to deceive with their theoretical
"freedoms," which are the freedom of the idlers to go and spend millions of
pesos in Paris, the freedom of millionaires to buy ten Cadillacs every
year, the freedom of millionaires to prostitute the people, the freedom to
deceive the people, to control the universities and all the periodicals and
all the radio and television stations, to deceive the people miserably.
And when they pay the Indians, who do not know how to read or write and who
want land four cents and tell them that we took away the land from the
large estate owners, they are going to ask:  "And what else do they do to
them?"  Well, they fled and abandoned their homes.  "And what else did they
do to them?"  And I am afraid that the only point on which we will not be
in agreement is the fact that we did not shoot them all (laughter).  With
the hunger exiting in Latin America, with the misery and the exploitation
existing in Latin America, the only thing which will amaze these exploited
peasants and workers is that we allow them to go calmly.  The only thing
for which they will reproach us is that we were too lenient with them.

Well, then, we believe that in Latin America, because the
conditions are worse, the oppressed peoples will be less lenient and the
oppressed peoples will be harsher.  We did not have to shoot them, and so
we did not.  if they come here to cause trouble ... we did well to let them
go.  There are some who remained, who live here in peace and are now
exploiting no one.  Now, if they want to go to the United States and live
at government expense?  (Someone in the audience shouted "washing
dishes!").  Well, still, if they wash dishes... but now they are being
given silver.  Some are washing dishes and others are collecting silver
(laughter).  The poor American people, if they have to take on all these
parasites!  Isn't it sad that there are Americans working to support all
these ruffians?  Isn't it sad that there are US workers employed in the
steel industry and in the rural sector supporting these idlers who after we
have thrown them out here went to eat there?  But what are they going to
do?  This is what the US government has decided.

Have you heard of the nobles, the princes, the marquises and
marchioneses, the counts and the dukes and the viscounts?  (laughter).
Haven't you heard of all of this band which went around with powdered wigs
and intermarried, linking this principality with that principality?  Well,
whatever the country that has thrown these parasites out -- the Soviet
Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, wherever, they have thrown them out
(applause), People's China (applause), wherever the revolutionary people
have thrown out the parasites, do you know where they have gone?  To the
United States.  All of the parasites in the world, all of the counts,
nobles, marquises, aristocrats, gangsters, smugglers, thieves, estate
owners, exploiters, terrorists, criminals (shouts of "out!") in the world!
Where do the Venturas from all over the world, the Masserrers, the Pilar
Garcias, where do the ruffians from all over the world go?  There!

And this is the portrait of the empire.  It has collected all of
the human refuse and accumulated it there.  And there the American people
have to work to provide fully for all of these idlers, because throughout
their lives they have bent their backs and produced -- they have not even
produced a single toothpick in their lifetime!  (Laughter).  They have
consumed a great deal, that they have!  Their houses were the biggest,
their Cadillacs, their cars were the most luxurious.  Their clothes were
the most expensive.  They never ate tough meat or hamburger, except for fun
on a picnic in the countryside.  They ate steak, and the best.  These
people never worked, but they always ate the best.  Who got the ones?  The

But the revolution means this:  that the people have the right to
the bones but to the ham, too (applause).  If only the eyes of the peoples
could suddenly be opened, and if all the peoples in America could learn
what the people have learned in two years, there would no longer be a place
on this earth where a single ruffian could hide!  Despite everything, the
world is closing in upon them daily.  The day will come when there will be
nowhere for them, and the time will also come when there will be a
revolution in the United States.  Why not?  (Applause).  The economic
crises, the economic disorders which are more evident in the United States
every day will lead that country to a revolution too, and one day there
will be a revolutionary government, friendly to us, in the United States
(applause).  One day the workers and the peasants will govern in the United
States, too.  This must come, according to historical law.  Neither the
Pentagon nor 20 Pentagons can escape this.

They know that this is their fate, and this is why they are
dangerous, because they know that they will be defeated in time.  This is
the reason for the treat they pose for mankind, for their warlike
adventures, for their warmongering psychosis, for the bellicose delirium
from which the leaders of this country are suffering.  This is the reason
for the stupid crimes they commit, and for their threats.  Because they
know themselves to be beaten, fatally condemned by history, watching a
world rising up, in Asia, Africa and America, confirming their fears!

It is for this reason that we see them resorting to every
strategem to do harm to the revolution, making themselves ridiculous, for
there is nothing sadder than that which is ridiculous, and what the
imperialists are doing with regard to us is ridiculous.  What the Central
Intelligence Agency is doing is ridiculous.

The other day they sent a little plane, and now it must be in
(someone in the audience shouted "they shot it down!")...  Yes, they shot
it down (applause).  They shot it down near the Baracoa zone, and it fell
into the sea.  Here we have all the data and all the details.  We said
nothing, waiting to see when they would announce it.  But not only that,
the same day, one of these pilot places coming from Guatemala -- and here
are the facts -- you saw a cable report in the newspapers, from the UPI,
about a plane which arrived with its motor dead and four holes.  And thus
its source and the activities in which it was engaged were revealed much
better still than if it had crashed here or had fallen into the sea.

This DC-4 plane began to circle over the Cabanas zone early on
Saturday morning.  By bad luck, by coincidence, it happened that various
antiaircraft batteries were on maneuvers in that zone, practicing
(applause), and when they saw a plane beginning to circle suspiciously,
they opened fire and riddled it everywhere (applause).  Later, this plane,
which apparently had come to drop weapons, jettisoned these weapons, since
the plane had been hit and seemingly they wanted to lighten the load.  This
was what was dropped:  a small mortar, 15 loose shells, 6 cases of hand
grenades, 3 30-caliber machine guns, 14 small boxes of 30-caliber machine
gun belts, 3 Browning machine guns, 7 cases of Garand rifles -- 28 in all
-- 3 cases of Thompson machine guns -- 9 in all, 6 cases of gelatin, a
case with complete equipment for laying mines and 6 US Army camouflage
parachutes (laughter).  Thus, this pane, on being hit, dropped...and
apparently it followed along the coast because it was afraid it could
not... this was the reason it did not continue to Miami.  Apparently, it
followed the coastline and then made an emergency landing in Jamaica.
There the pilots were arrested by the Jamaican authorities, and they found
the plane, its motor dead and full of bullet holes.  The authorities were
able to prove that it came from Guatemala, such that the origin of the
plane and the bold activity by means of which, from these pirate bases
built by the Yankee Central Intelligence Agency in Guatemala, they have
been violating our national territory, were revealed much better still than
if the plane had crashed here.  They were revealed.  They dropped the
weapons, but they forgot to drop the papers.  They arrived full of bullet
holes and they could not explain the reason for these holes, nor what they
were doing.  In other words, they took off from Guatemala and landed in

We hope that since it is a pirate plane, and since they are
international pirate criminals, the Jamaican authorities will turn these
violators of our sovereignty and international law over to us (applause).
At least, this is what Jamaica should do.  We hope that the British Empire,
which has been so concerned about piracy in past centuries, will in this
tradition send us these pirates to be judged by the Cuban courts (shouts).
In any case, the British government cannot make itself the accomplice of
these international crimes on the part of the mercenary elements who are
constantly violating our national territory and subjecting our country to
the smuggling of weapons and bombs.  The fact is that these mercenaries,
with their plane shot up, found it necessary to land in Jamaica, and there
what Cuba has been denouncing was revealed to all the world, and now our
Minister at the UN will have yet another argument (applause), if all the
proof we have and all the loads we will soon exhibit, all the new Yankee
weapons seized here, enough to arm an army, were not sufficient (applause).

And these, after all, are ridiculous actions.  In a single day
there were two planes, and in recent weeks they have made us a gift of a
good number of weapons.  What is this if not ridiculous?  The truth is that
they are committing stupidities which would embarrass any government, let
alone one as presumptuous as the government of the United States, and as
"intelligent" (shouts) as the new President of the United States.  What
they are committing are true stupidities, really ridiculous.  And this is
what lies before them, because there we will annihilate any mercenary who
comes over our territory here (applause).

And with all these hostile acts they will not be able to prevent
us from implementing all the programs of the revolution:
industrialization, literacy, the development of agriculture, and all of the
goals the revolution has set itself.  We know that those who are rally
worried are they, not we.  They know that they are in a dead end street,
and we know what we can count on.  We are working, we are not losing a
minute, we have absolute confidence in victory.  They are proceeding from
failure to failure, eating their hearts out.  There is not the slightest
doubt that these gentlemen's lives will be shortened by some year simply by
this "heart trouble" they are having (laughter).

And thus, it is failure after failure for them, and triumph after
triumph for the revolution.  They know that history is against them, while
we know that history favors us (applause).  They know that time is against
them, while we know that time favors us.  They are suffering because of the
Cuban revolution, while we are jubilant [balance of text missing].