Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19610518
-YEAR-
1961
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
SPEECH
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
CONFERENCE OF SMALL FARMERS IN HAVANA
-PLACE-
HAVANA
-SOURCE-
HAVANA DOMESTIC SVC
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19610518
-TEXT-
CASTRO HAILS AGRARIAN REFORM GAINS

Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 0108 GMT 18 May 1961--E

(Speech by Premier Fidel Castro at conference of small farmers in Havana)

(Summary) Peasants, students, visitors, ladies and gentlemen: Today, 17
May, we commemorate a date which has historic significance for us. It is
important for various reasons. First, a day like this saw the death, in the
defense of peasants' rights, of an honorable peasant whose name has come
down as a symbol of our peasants' rebellion against injustices and abuses
of exploiters: Aniceto Perez. The peasants had to watch that crime, unable
to do anything. A peasant was murdered by the big landholders; that was
common in those times. A peasant beaten by the rural guard, a peasant
murdered; such things went with that epoch. This date has remained as a
special date for the peasants.

Two years ago, on 17 May, in the Sierra Maestra, in homage to the peasants,
the law to fulfill the needs of our peasants was signed, namely, the
agrarian reform law.

Today, one more event is added to those two. Today, 17 May, marks the end
of the first national congress of small farmers. Today, another great
economic organization of the revolution has been created. Today, another
pillar on which our national agriculture is being built has been erected.
In the future we will have to remember 17 May for these three important
events.

Some say that glories make memories disappear. Perhaps as people become
enthusiastic over a new life they tend to forget the hardships of the past.
Perhaps that is a necessity for man: to think always of a better future and
forget the humiliations and sorrows of the past. It is better for the past
to be left behind, far behind. It is better that we forget the shameful
past. It is better for us to fix our gaze on the future and bear in mind
what we already have achieved and to think of what we will achieve in the
years ahead.

We all know how much we have advanced. We all agree that we must continue
forward. The effort has not been useless; the sacrifices have not been in
vain. We wish we could have among us today all those who wanted a better
life for our people. We wish all the great strugglers could have witnessed
today's ceremony. We wish they could have seen the youthful enthusiasm and
revolutionary fervor, and faith in the new life of the nation.

Not all the revolutionary dreams have come true. We must think that we are
just beginning. What we see are just the first fruits of two years' work in
agrarian reform. But how much still remains to be done! How much still is
to be achieved! Our enthusiasm is not so much for what we have done as for
what we all want to do.

What is necessary now is to work and to study--the peasants work, and the
students study--and take into the organizations you represent this
enthusiasm for work, this realization that one must work hard. That is what
we want to stress most here tonight: the need to give a great impetus to
the revolutionary effort; the need to give a great impulse to production.

There was a time when the peasants had practically nothing. They were often
on the land as squatters, tenant farmers, or leasers. Few among you here
owned land. It was divided mostly among big landowners, big foreign
companies, and the small farmers. The peasant in general had been pushed
back to land which the big land grabbers did not want because it was
poorer. The peasants had to go to the mountains.

The situation of the squatter was very precarious. He was always liable to
being ousted. That is an old story the world over. Throughout the world
there are land grabbers, those who appear with purported titles to land,
claiming that which the peasants have put under cultivation. Tenant farmers
were exploited too: they had to give part of the crop to the purported
owner; they had to work for their food, feed themselves poorly, and give
the profits to the landowner. That was absolutely unfair, an absurd system.

The fruits of labor should benefit the workers and those sectors which need
aid from the country: the aged, invalids, youths. It should not be used to
enrich foreigners and foreign monopolies. The profits not given to the
workers should go to those who are receiving training in order to benefit
the country.

There was a time when peasant owners did not have credit but today peasants
are assured of credit. They have their organization; prices are guaranteed.
They are assured markets, although some circles block consumption and
production. It would be better to get rid of some types of middlemen. There
are still many evils to be eradicated.

Increased Farm Production

Farmers now have freedom to operate and improve. What does this mean? It
means that they now also have a great responsibility, the obligation to
increase production. Today you have the opportunity to work in your own
behalf and in behalf of the nation.

Let us not sleep on our laurels. Let us not simply cheer the revolution. We
will not get far that way. We must have enthusiasm; we must work; we must
defend the revolution. Let us see that students make use of their time,
that all workers make use of their time. Let all teachers, workers,
militiamen utilize their time to the fullest. Let them make the maximum
effort. We cannot advance unless we do.

The country, faced with threats, is undertaking an enormous task. In only
one year, thousands and thousands of tractors have been distributed, a
forestation program is underway, 30,000 students will be studying on
scholarships in our capital. Every construction worker--they now number
about 80 to to 90 thousand--means more consumption. Every factory means
more workers to consume. In Las Villas Province, in the first quarter of
1961, three times as much meat was eaten as in the first quarter of 1959.
That requires an extraordinary production effort; otherwise the pace in
improvement cannot be maintained.

We must get a clear idea that all this great progress of the revolution
requires an extraordinary increase in production. It would be too bad for
scholarship holders to have no milk or meat or eggs because production
lagged. There has been an increase in the production of fish, eggs, and
milk. But all this seems little, if we are to keep up the pace of our
progress. Every one of us must become an apostle of greater production.
Every worker who earns a few pesos must find meat, fish, vegetables
available when he goes to the store. A shortage of big hats, fine coats or
trips to Paris does not matter. None of you ever bought gold jewelry or fur
coats or fancy cars. What does it matter to you that you cannot gamble in
Monte Carlo or go to Yankee universities? The peasants never had such
things. You never had Cadillacs. That does not make you lose any sleep.
What does matter to the people is that food, shoes, clothing education are
available.

If the consumption of meat is to be tripled, what must we do? Livestock
needs a long time to triple itself, so the production of other articles
along with meat must be raised. Fish, poultry, hogs, and any article which
can provide meat of one sort or another must be increased. A worker must be
well fed, otherwise he cannot produce at his best. Our people have been
very poorly fed.

Boys and girls know that, for they know they are better fed today than they
were at home. The results are to be seen in the changes in the young
people. We see the results of better feeding in the militia too. Our
country must see to creating a healthier nation. If we create a better-fed
generation, it will work for us when we are old; its efforts will be more
productive. Such problems were not discussed from public platforms in the
past but they deserve our attention.

Production must be increased at all cost. Pork is in short supply now;
production is deficient, so pork has gone up. There is a big program under
way for producing pork and poultry. But time is needed. About a year and a
half will be needed for the plan to be fully developed. Pork is an article
which can be produced here but was being imported.

It is a crime to spend what is spent in foreign currency to import this
article, when in a very short time tremendous production of pork and lard
can be obtained. The country will solve its fats problem with vegetable
oils and lard. Fortunately, pigs multiply much faster than cattle. The plan
is going full swing. By the end of the year ahead, we expect every butcher
shop to have pork at all times. To produce the lard we have been importing,
five million pigs a year are needed. INRA is working on that program now.

Plants have been built to extract oil from peanuts, soy beans, and so
forth. Peanut and soy bean production is being pushed. By the end of next
year we can have all our fats problems solved by ourselves. Extraction of
oils leaves soy or peanut meal for stock feed. Cotton seed provides oil and
also meal for stock feed.

Consumption of beans has grown in an extraordinary fashion. If we do not
grow beans, we must import them. The people are eating more, and the food
they consume must be grown. The land must be readied for a giant crop of
beans.

Our country is very fertile, yet in rural areas we often find uncultivated
land, over grown with brush. Of course there are still not enough tractors
to break all the ground, but what are oxen good for? Early in the century
there were no tractors. If there are not enough tractors, why should we
leave the land unplowed if there are oxen here? The ANAP--(National
Association of Small Agriculturist--Ed.)--is providing credit to small
farmers who want to get a yoke of oxen.

As long as there is a bit of uncultivated land in the spring, we will be
losing time. There is no reason for any piece of land to be left
uncultivated. It is a crime to have land as rich as this unused. All
parcels of ground must be cultivated. Using our land is the way to solve
our problems. Do you want t help the enemies of our country? (Chorus of
noes) Well, we must use the land.

Prisoners for Tractors

You saw how many latifundists came with the expedition. What did they come
for? To take back their land; to regain their privileges; and the
imperialists helped them! Just be a gangster, a mercenary, a traitor and
you can be sure of the support of imperialism.

"All thieves, spies, henchmen, criminals, and smugglers in the world have
employment assured with the Yankee Central Intelligence Agency, with
imperialism. Of course this employment does not mean work, but rather being
a mercenary, killing, robbing, lying, and living as a parasite."

The revolution selects the best youth for schools; imperialism does the
opposite. The revolution picks the best; the counterrevolution picks the
worst insects in the world. It is good that the people understand what
imperialism is. We will make the captured mercenaries work hard to teach
them what work really is.

For the peasant and the honest man, work is not a punishment, but for a
parasite the worst thing in the world is work. The least they can do is
earn the bread they eat. No more of this having mercenaries in jail eating
bread. (Chanting: "Let them work") "If imperialism does not want its worms
to work, let it exchange tractors and machinery for them."

"Of course, those among the henchmen who have committed murder cannot be
exchanged for anything. Those who have committed murders are not subject to
any exchange. We will exchange all the rest for 500 bulldozers if
imperialism is interested in rescuing them. The priests we will send free;
the falangist priests will be free.

"Yes. Kennedy says they are his friends and Kennedy admits that he sent
them; they also say they he sent them; and the Pentagon, the Central
Intelligence Agency, and all who sent them on that adventure love them so
much. Very well, let them send 500 bulldozers and we will return them. They
must in some way compensate the republic for the damage they have done, and
they must compensate for it by working here, very, very hard--digging
trenches, working in defense of the revolution, making fortifications, and
so forth. Or, let them be exchanged for bulldozers, which we need for the
development of agriculture. After that, let the mercenaries go.

"Of course, we will not exchange them one by one. No, No. Because then the
rich will immediately present a bulldozer for their. The tractors must be
of the tread-type, not with rubber tires. They must be good for clearing
roads and for construction. If the peasants here are in agreement with this
proposal, let them raise their hands. Good.

"History tells us that on a certain occasion the Spaniards exchanged
Napoleon's soldiers for pigs. On this occasion we will be a bit more
refined; we will exchange the imperialist soldiers for tractors even
though, of course, Kennedy is no Napoleon. And if imperialism does not want
to give even a single tractor for these mercenaries, it will have to deal
with the families of the mercenaries."

Rejection of Invaders

We were speaking of mercenaries, telling how they came to recover their
lands. In reality they are pretty stupid. Who would believe they would be
welcomed here? How could they take land away from 60,000 members of
cooperatives and so many more small farmers? They would have to fight
workers, youths, peasants, the entire people. How could they believe that
they would be received with open arms? Could it have been in gratitude for
all the thefts from the people and the murders of the sons of the people:
In gratitude for the million and a half illiterates, for the racial
discrimination in this country? It must have been in gratitude for the
indignity and humiliation our country has suffered.

Who would believe that a people would be so stupid to receive them with
open arms--those who only plundered, discriminated against, exploited, and
murdered. What could they have thought of us Cubans? Only in Hollywood
movies could such a thing happen.

How nice! We were going to give them a party in Playa Larga and Playa
Giron. We were going to give them all a medal and say thanks to Somoza, the
State Department, Mr. Kennedy, and Mr. Dulles for being so noble and so
democratic and respectful of international laws and human right, for
preparing this group to liberate us from agrarian reform and urban reform
and from all these teachers and literacy workers. Come again to bring the
Yankee administrators; come to close the beaches, to form aristocratic
clubs, to give us employment, to bring back the soldiers for the barracks
which have been transformed into schools, to bring lower wages and higher
prices. Come again to exploit and violate. Thank you very much Somoza and
Kennedy; we are going to receive them with jubilation.

"They did not know how many shells we had ready for their arrival. If they
had not surrendered fast they would have been buried among heaps of shells
at Playa Larga and Playa Giron. What can those worms have been thinking of?
What can those idiots have been thinking of? What kind of people did they
think we were? Gentlemen, how one learns in revolutions. And the
backwoodsman, who thought he was illiterate and stupid, realizes now that
he knows more than the Yankee senators, more than the Pentagon generals,
more than Allen Dulles, and more than all those brainy people. Those who
were thought intelligent turn out to be less intelligent and alert and know
less than the backwoodsman who was considered an illiterate. And the
backwoodsman understands the truth of the revolution and has his ethics."

And so the backwoodsmen did their part, and they are happy. And while the
people laugh, the imperialists weep. The people know more than the
imperialists. The people showed they were more intelligent and capable. We
must go on demonstrating that we know more than the imperialists. We must
go on acting intelligently, patriotically.

Peasant, Worker Alliance

The main job we have now is to work and produce. You have the means of
tackling all your problems. You have a powerful organization including more
than 100,000 small farmer, the peasants, who are the best allies of the
workers in the revolutionary process. You keep closely allied with the
working class, the class which is working in industry to raise production
and make it possible for the peasants to have a higher standard of living.
You must also work hard to make up for the sacrifices of the working class.

You must make the utmost effort so that the city will not lack for meat,
eggs, food. You must put forth your efforts to help the city. You must
explain these problems and make the peasants realize the situation.

The revolution has respected the wishes of the peasants. Small farmers have
been freed from rents and given schools, teachers, roads; they have been
freed from rural guards and inspectors that exploited the peasants.

No Forced Collectivization

Counterrevolutionary elements at time tried to frighten the small farmers,
saying the revolution would collectivize the land. The revolution would
never do such a foolish thing. A farmer working in the mountains, getting
money from the revolution every month, is developing a coffee or cacao
grove, wealth for the nation.

Although this is a socialist revolution, the land will not be socialized.
The small farmer is an ally of the workers. Big enterprises, banking, big
landholdings are socialized. If a farmer prefers to keep his bit of land,
the revolution will never try to socialize his land. If farmers insist and
insist that they want to form a cooperative, if they convince INRA that all
of them want it, then they are allowed to go ahead. The cooperative must
use different parts of its land according to its suitability. The best land
is sown to grain, cane, and other crops; the rest is put into pasture.

The peasant has the right to land; if he does not want to associate with
others in farming he does not have to. The revolution has enough land in
the cooperatives and people's farms to organize production. The revolution
will never make the peasants join in a cooperative. If a peasant wants to
spend his life on his piece of land and be buried there, the revolution
will respect his wishes.

You must explain the need of increasing production. You must constantly
preach this need. You must explain the revolution's program.

Twenty million pesos have been approved by the bank for financing and the
ANAP now has a whole organization of credits from the state. Pepe Ramirez
is the administrator of the ANAP. Thirty-one thousand titles to land have
been distributed. That process is going on.

You, as delegates, must work among you fellows. You must keep up with the
cooperatives and people's farms, so that the ANAP, too, will be a pillar of
the revolution.

We will go on developing plans. We are going to send ducks to every
cooperative and we are going to boost rabbit production. When they told me
that a rabbit can produce more meat than a cow in a little over a year I
was amazed. Ducks attain a weight of several pounds in a few weeks. Some
species lay many eggs. We have some goats that are giving fantastic amounts
of milk. We are going to encourage this production. We are going to develop
the production of this breed of milk goat tremendously. They will be useful
in the mountains. A goat of this sort is a regular milk factory. If this
had been done 10 years ago production of milk and cheese would be great
now. What the revolution is doing today could have been done 10 or 15 years
ago.

You have a duty to aid in the literacy campaign. You must make efforts to
help literacy workers. Illiteracy must be liquidated.

For the moment there is nothing more. We will meet again in the future and
report to you, and you must report to the people on what you have done.
"Fatherland or death; we will conquer." (Editor's Note: Castro spoke for 2
hours 31 minutes.)
-END-


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