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Following is the translation of a speech by Fidel Castro
in the Spanish-language Communist newspaper El Mundo (The
World), Vol. 61, No. 20,398, 18 July 1962, Havana, pages
6-7, 10.

"The Workers Are the Mainstay of the Revolution -- The Bourgeoisie Has
Tried to Oppose the People"

"The Bus Workers Have Been Victimized by Capitalism -- The
Enemies of the Workers Place Their Hopes in the Weakness
of the Workers" (Speech of Dr. Fidel Castro, Prime Minister of
the Revolutionary Government and First Secretary of the National ORI to the meeting of bus workers held last night
at the Chaplin Theater.)

(Department of Stenographic Reports and Minutes, Revolutionary

Fellow Transportation Workers:

This is a vital meeting here, tonight. This is not the first time
we have met with you; that is why I told the Minister of Transportation
that I would like to attend this meeting.

We are gathered here to analyze a number of issues relating to
your work and to the problems of transportation in general; we must analyze
these problems from a revolutionary viewpoint and we must review them in
our capacity as workers; and we must act as workers.

Let Us Talk Like Revolutionaries and Workers

We are quite aware that your job is a hard job and that you are
doing your work under difficult conditions. We are also aware of the
antagonism between the public and you and vice versa. Now, I said we were
going to talk like revolutionaries and like workers (applause).

We must say that the public is partly right and that you are
partly right. The public must understand you and you must understand the

I watched your reaction while Comrade Avila was talking. I want to
tell you in all sincerity -- as I was just saying to some comrades here --
that this meeting and this throng of transportation workers really creates
the impression of a gathering of revolutionary men and women (applause).

It is easy to prove that this is no mere figure of speech. For
example: all you men who are militia members, raise you hands! (The
majority raised their hands.) That's fine, comrades, just fine. Now I want
to ask you something else; I want you to demonstrate your bonds with the
revolution. All you people who have sons, brothers, or nephews who are
getting government scholarships -- raise you hands! (The majority raised
their hands.)

I could go on asking questions like these, to show how closely
this group and the interests of this group here are tied in with the
revolution. Let's have a show of hands of all those who had been laid off
in the past and were able to return to work after the victory of the
revolution! (Many raised their hands.) That's fine!

Bond between Bus Workers and Revolution

Now, anyone can plainly see the close bonds between the interests
of the mass of workers and the interests of the revolution. This explains
the enthusiasm, fighting spirit, and high morale of this group here. This
is not a crowd of bourgeois people; it is a mass of workers. This is the
point of departure in our analysis!

I told you before that I was watching your reaction; when Comrade
Avila was listing some of your shortcomings, you listened, but there was no
sound from this gathering. And when Comrade Avila listed the faults of the
public, you all got on your feet and started shouting (applause).

Well, the public would have reacted the same way. If we had 5,000
commuters here, instead of you people, I guarantee you they would sound off
in response to a listing of your faults and they would all agree that they
were right and you were wrong. But if these people were to hear their own
faults listed, they would show far less enthusiasm, I am sure.

Mutual Misunderstanding

There have been some antagonistic currents recently that are due
to lack of mutual understanding; this is both your fault and the fault of
the public. We've got to get to the bottom of this and try to end this
hostility between transportation workers and the public.

A part of the problem thus involves misunderstanding. We have got
to have some good explanations here if we are going to end this
misunderstanding and correct this situation.

But there are many other issues that cannot be resolved as easily,
nor are they as readily understood. We must admit that we all have many
faults; we must say that we all fall short here and there, starting with
our effort to let the revolution get into our blood; we have a long way to
go before we can say that we are all good revolutionaries; we must say that
we all still have many shortcomings; and we must admit that we are still
not 100% up to the level of the revolution we are making here; we must say
that the workers have much to learn, much to acquire in the way of a
revolutionary consciousness; we must say that our workers are still too
much rooted in the past; we must say that our workers still have many vices
of the past; and we must say that we still have among our workers many
individualistic, egotistical, and irresponsible persons who live in a world
that is not the world of the revolution; we must say that we are still not
understanding the revolution well enough and that to understand the
revolution is at times harder than to die for the revolution, that to
understand the revolution is at times harder than to desire and want the

Revolution Means Liberation for the Worker

Instinct tells the workers that the revolution is good, that the
revolution is equivalent to their liberation, that the revolution makes
real human beings out of them; instinct tells them that the revolution is
just. But this is where it stops; all this is instinct, the sense of smell
of the class they constitute; none of this is any good unless they
understand in their bones what the revolution really is and how they must
serve the revolution.

It's easy to say "I'm a revolutionary," "I'm with the revolution"
-- but that does not mean that you understand what the revolution is. This
is true not only of our transportation workers; other sectors of our worker
masses are included here.

But, we are not demagogues and the workers are the revolutionary
class par excellence, the workers are the mainstay of the revolution; this
is why we must talk plain Spanish day after day; this is why we must
marshal our reasons more and more each day. You don't treat a person the
same when he is a boy of 15 as when he was a 3-month old baby. It's time
for our revolution to drop its swaddling clothes; it's time for our
revolution to put on the pants!

This is the Time to Assimilate Our Truths

The revolutionary struggle has been going on now for 3 1/2 years
since we came to power; we must talk in every plainer language to the
workers because this is the time for the workers to assimilate the truths
of the revolution, to understand the laws of the revolution, and to grasp
the essence of the revolution with greater clarity.

The enemies of the working class we are going to attack with the
full force of truth; we shall fight them relentlessly, without quarter. But
to the workers, to the revolutionary class, we must talk clearly and we
must tell them the truth so that they will get an even better understanding
of the fact that the revolution is their destiny, their very life, and you
cannot be a sunshine revolutionary: you've got to be a revolutionary in
deed, not just words!

But above all you have got to realize that the revolution is not a
lottery where you win a prize; it's not a game of chance; the revolution
means opportunity; you are not going to inherit the easy life here; the
revolution is a chance to carve out a better life for yourselves; without
hard work and struggle, we are not going to have anything. The workers have
much room for improvement among their ranks; they must not be weak and lax;
they cannot afford to be irresponsible -- and you know why? Because the
enemies of the workers are just hoping and praying for the workers to keep
on being weak. (Applause) They are just hoping for the workers to remain
unaware and uneducated.

This is the great hope of the enemies of the workers, for they
want to make the workers once again the exploited victims of the privileged
classes. We must know how to use the revolution for ourselves, we must know
how to seize the opportunity offered us by the revolution.

How to Pay Worthy Tribute to Our Fallen Heroes

It's not enough for us to express our devotion to those who fell
in the struggle; it is not enough to stand up when someone mentions the
dead; this is not enough of a tribute to those who died to give us this
opportunity, to those who made the supreme sacrifice. We must render them a
permanent tribute through our conduct, our attitude, and our work.

It is a crime to waste the opportunities offered us by the
revolution; it is a crime to act in violation of the interests of the
workers and to play into the hands of their enemies. Our exploiters of
yesterday are hoping that the workers will fail to seize this great
opportunity and again fall under their yoke.

Now, take the worker who was working for starvation wakes, who was
kicked out into the street when he did not work hard enough; the farm
worker who knew that he would not get any work during the slack season if
he did not break his back during the harvest, who barely managed to still
his hunger while the landlords and bosses kept driving him on and on; take
the construction worker or any worker at all, who had to beg for a job, who
had to curry favor with a Political Sergeant if he ever wanted to get a job

Workers Unaware That They Are Conspiring against Their Class

Now, you look at this worker, back in the days when he had a
foreman cracking the whip, when he was hungry, when he had to break his
back for his exploiters, when he was condemned to hunger and misery by a
Capitalist society that thought his sacrifice inadequate; and look at that
worker today: his job is safe, his work is dignified, there are no more
overseers cracking the whip, he works 50% less than he did before, and he
need not fear hunger any more. Yet, this worker is conspiring against his
own future, without knowing it, and he is playing into the hands of his
exploiters of yesterday.

When these things are misunderstood by a part of the workers, when
we have workers who behave like this, it is evident that they are not in
step with the revolution, that they are unknowingly conspiring against the
interests of their class and against the interests of the best among the

This is why it is necessary -- in the interest of the revolution,
as well as of the workers -- that the government of the workers adopt
measures that will tend to correct these deficiencies of ours, which are
the legacy of our past.

It follows that the workers must be the vanguard and that this
vanguard must be imbued with a strong spirit of alertness and sacrifice.
Why? Because many social class privileges still persist to this day. This
is the inheritance of a society that cannot be changed over night. Many
privileges have survived to this day; we must do away with these
privileges, we must get the spirit of the workers to sweep away the
negative influence of the parasite elements that still exist in our
society; we must overcome the bourgeois mentality that still exists in our
people and we must eliminate the vices and shortcomings in our country.

Fight against a Bad Heritage

The workers must fight against this bad heritage and I do not
hesitate to bring up the vital issues here, in this sector. You know better
than anyone else what the history of this sector is.

You know what really ailed this sector: the vices of politicking
and corruption of the past -- you know them better than anybody else.

You know how the transportation companies operated; you know how
the unions were attacked; you know how jobs were sold for a price; you know
how the politicians used the bait of jobs to pursue their goals, how the
yellow union leaders, from their safe positions, controlled hiring and
firing through coercion and union cooperation in this sector; Today, things
are different; children are getting an education and the jobs come looking
for them, not the other way around.

No More Need to Curry Favor

All the trouble a man had to go through to get a job in the
transportation industry! Just think what it would have meant to you then if
you had had a school education and if you could have had a job without
having to sell your vote and bow and scrape to the politicians and the
party hacks!

We know how many of these workers did just that in order to get a
job; still, they are good workers and good revolutionaries today because,
after all, they had to knuckle under if they wanted to live.

How bitter it was to earn one's bread in those days! How hard! And
how different things are today! What opportunities in this sector! What
efficiency and high morals in hiring procedures!

But it was not these methods that did the most damage to the
awareness and moral of the workers in this industry. What was perhaps even
more damaging was the systematized corruption in this industry -- the way
the workers were milked!

How said that a society should have turned crime into a way of

The Rotten Society of Yesterday Contaminated the Workers

These were the fruits of this society of thieves and robbers, of
this class of exploiters who robbed the workers. For this society, stealing
was no crime; they lived from stealing and it is natural that the
corruption should spread from that class to the workers.

And kickbacks had become standard operating procedure for many
workers in this sector! (Shouts of "Yes")

And we know of cases of workers who took their share of the loot
in those days and who are honored and revolutionary workers today. There's
the rub! (Applause) So we see that this custom of stealing is carried over
from the old society; the excuse is the old saying: a thief who steals from
a thief will get 100 years of pardon.

No More Stealing in Our Country

But there's no more stealing in our country today. There used to
be stealing wherever you looked, in all the ministries, in all businesses.
There were officials who became millionaires. We do not know how many
people became rich through this plunder of the people, through all kinds of
shady dealings and double-dealings. And the men who were not stealing in
their capacity as government officials were stealing in their capacity as
plant owners and managers -- and they were stealing from the workers, just
the same.

The revolution put an end to all this stealing. We had to end all
this plunder, wherever it was going on; and we had to fight even harder
against manifestations of corruption among the workers. That's what we had
to fight against.

Now, what citizen of our country, what man or woman of the people,
what honest worker, fails to understand that stealing in all its
manifestations must end?

This sector, like other sectors, was a victim of the evils of
Capitalism. In other sectors, certain family privileges had taken root.
Capitalism was trying to corrupt the workers because a corrupted working
class, a divided working class, could not constitute a serious threat to
the Capitalist exploiters.

Traces of a System of Corruption and Vice

And it is logical, comrades, that this entire system of corruption
and vice, all these evil methods, should leave some traces, some
discontented people, some corrupt individuals incapable of getting back on
the right track, some negative elements. Though there are many who went
back to the straight and narrow, there are many others who did not and who
never will. That's right.

That's why we must get this straight from the beginning. We must
not blame many of our shortcomings and deficiencies on counterrevolutionary
activities. We do have drifters, irresponsible people, and individuals who
prefer the old system under which they could steal left and right. The fact
that they do exist is not something that has to do with counterrevolution
-- this is a matter of irreversible corruption and degeneration.

The Rotten Element That Constitutes the Counterrevolution

These corrupt and degenerate elements tend to joint the
counterrevolution because the latter feeds on corruption and on these
corrupt elements (applause). Today, the bosses, the landowners, the
bankers, the big industrialists, the politicians, the wire-pullers, the
prostitutes, and the idle trash make up one outfit (applause). They are
drawn together as if by a magnet. They are attracted to the
counterrevolution with the same force that the revolution rejects them. I
am not making this up; this element does exist -- and it exists in your

Of course, you very likely won't find them sitting here tonight.

And this is partly your fault. You know why? Because you are
indolent. Because you took all this without a murmur. And what is the
result? The people as a whole have a low opinion of you.

Now, I am telling you all this just the way I said I would. And
the good workers, the workers who comply with regulations, the workers who
are revolutionaries -- and they are undoubtedly in the majority in every
class -- they think as I do.

If all this is partly our fault, then we must also admit that it
is partly your fault because no one among you likes to know that the people
have a poor opinion of him and of your group as a whole; no honest,
law-abiding, sacrificing worker, who works hard, can be happy to know that
the public thinks badly of him.

Now, it is basically you who will have to fight in order to
cleanse the sector of the corrupted, degenerate, negative elements
(applause), the negative elements that infect your environment, that
demoralize your sector; it is you who will have to do this.

To Gain Public Understanding

And the effort to get the public to understand the situation will
not be successful so long as the transportation workers themselves do not
take action, so long as they themselves fail to try to root out the
negative, demoralizing elements in their own midst.

And this, comrades, is why I was amazed to hear Comrade Avila say
that individuals who complained about all this to the Commission were given
the old runaround, from pillar to post, before they were finally switched
to jobs in agriculture. And I said to myself: then they send bus drivers to
the farm, they are just about destroying as many buses.

I asked myself whether it would not have been better to send these
men to the farm in the first place, or keep them there, rather than teach
the how to drive and maintenance a bus. (Applause)

Comrades! What honest worker, what honest worker who obeys the
laws and is honest, above all, with himself, what worker could afford to
waste any sympathy on these negative elements and perhaps worry about the
harsh social discipline meted out to these enemies of the class and of the
nation, these traitors to the working class? (Applause)

The most senseless of all conflicts is the conflict between you
and the public because this is a conflict between the people itself; it is
a conflict between workers; it is not a conflict between parasites and
workers; not between exploiters and workers, but between workers and
sectors of the people. How could we fail to end this harmful antagonism! We
would be unworthy of this revolution if we failed to end this conflict.
This antagonism is not insuperable, irreconcilable, as is the antagonism
between exploiters and exploited; we simply must pitch in and take the
measures necessary to end this antagonism.

Now, let's drop the corrupt, the negative elements for a moment,
let's drop the counterrevolutionaries, and let's talk about the
shortcomings of our good people here. (Applause)

Violations of the Principles of Production

Here are some of these shortcomings: absenteeism, ignorance,
grouchiness, and, now and then -- through not for counterrevolutionary
purposes -- a certain laziness; some of you do not treat your vehicles
right; you don't check the water and oil when you should; you grind your
gears; and so on. Now, these are all mistakes being made by our good people

Avila said that he thought at first that these people were
counterrevolutionaries -- and when he checked into this, he found that some
of the men who failed to report for work on Monday morning were militia
members, revolutionary comrades, and even shock workers. Now, for the life
of me, I can't see how these men could have been voted shock workers!
(Applause) But the fact is that he found, to his great dismay -- and I said
the same thing, to my great dismay -- that these were not
counterrevolutionaries. No Sir! It pains us to say that these were our
revolutionaries who did this!

Now, understand -- these are the shortcomings of our good people.

Comrades! I'm giving it to you straight ... What? What's that
against? ... (Someone whispered something to Dr. Castro.)

The Hard Job of the Bus Driver

I know you bus drivers have it rough! (Applause) Don't think for a
moment that I've forgotten how hard your jobs are; I think yours is one of
the hardest jobs; you have to work under difficult conditions. I well
remember the figures: how you carried more passengers with less equipment;
these are eloquent figures and if this were the first year of the
revolution, we would be praising you. But the revolution is 3 1/2 years
old; this is the 4th year of the revolution! And that's why we cannot pat
you on the back because of the number of passengers you carried.

You know why? Because that was a great achievement during the
first year of the revolution is a small achievement during the 4th year!
(Applause) We would be in a fine fix if we were to keep shooting for the
same figures today. All we can do is look at the statistics: so many
passengers carried in so many vehicles.

It Is Only Right for Society to Demand More

But it so happens that, as the revolution progresses, as the
struggle gets harder, as we rise to new levels -- the revolution and
society as a whole demand more and better things. And the same citizen who
5 years ago was happy with ever little scrap he could scratch together --
that same citizen day is indignant when he does not get what is due him;
people simply want more and it is right that they should.

You want more and better things, and so do we all; we all want
more in this 4th year of the revolution than we had during the first year.

20 Million More Passengers in Six Months

There is no question that the figures show a tremendous effort, an
enormous increase in productivity; but we cannot afford to stop here. It is
sad that there should be this antagonism between you and the public,
despite this increase in transportation volume. We must seek to remedy this
situation, to solve these various problems because, if we achieved all this
productivity, despite these shortcomings and despite all this absenteeism,
just think what we could achieve if we could eliminate these evils and
vices! If we achieved this productivity despite the careless handling of
vehicles and despite those elements who intentionally damage vehicles --
just think what we could have done without all these deficiencies!

Now, let us take a look at the tremendous increase in travel, as
shown by the figures: in 6 months, we had 20 million more passengers than
last year. No, 11 million in 3 months. Yes, that's it: in 3 months ...
where's that piece of paper?... here it is: yes that's what it says here:
11,084,500; that's the difference between the first quarter of 1961 and the
first quarter of 1962; in half a year, that should be something like 22 or
23 million passengers more.

Now, we had a lot of trouble with our equipment; but even if we
had had thousands of additional vehicles, the situation would not be any
better. The reason why we have to eliminate these shortcomings lies in our
vehicle situation; we have more traffic to handle with less vehicles. How
could we improve the service under these conditions if we fail to eliminate
all shortcomings in this sector?

Let's analyze this: we are supposed to handle a growing traffic
volume with the same or even with less equipment. How can we do this if we
fail to solve the problems of absenteeism, of quitting, and all that? We
simply must take action here, for this is one of the sectors in which the
enemy has tried to hit us most -- the sector of transportation.

If transportation is vital, if the enemy has tried to hit us
hardest here, then the transportation workers must be the best workers. In
a war, we must place our best battalions, our best men, our best soldiers
in the place where the enemy wants to his us hardest. Similarly, if this is
a vital sector, which the enemy is trying to hit us hard in, we cannot
correct the situation if we have fifth-columnists in our own ranks, if we
have corrupted elements in our midst. (Applause)

And this, comrades, is why, despite figures and statistics, and
despite the increase in the traffic volume handled, we cannot be satisfied.
Figures are just a guide; at the same time, they are the best argument to
persuade us that we must have a clean-out campaign and a drive aimed at
correcting all these mistakes.

The People Will Always Understand

Don't you think that the people understand this? Rest assured that
the people can understand all this perfectly well. The people understand
and that's all there is to it. The people can tell when a major effort is
being made, when you do everything you can with what you have; when we live
in abundance, tomorrow, then we will not have to use all our resources to
the utmost. But right now, we will have to get the most out of what we have

But we are not going to solve the problem merely by eliminating
the workers' shortcomings. We must solve organizational problems, too, and
we must make a similar effort in the enterprises; we must take the
necessary measures and we must start thinking up ways in which we can get
all vehicles, now held up by spare parts shortages, back on the road.

All Available Equipment Must Be on the Road

As you know, we have resorted to other means; we have used trucks,
station wagons, and the like. We are getting more new equipment especially
in the interior. But we, in the revolutionary government, we must do
something more; we must do everything we can to get the laid up vehicles
rolling again and, if possible, acquire new equipment.

But first of all, let's get what we have back on the road.

We have asked the comrades in the ministry to make a complete
study of our needs. But the crux of the matter lies in the manufacture of
spare parts -- gears and pinions; this is a priority matter. Experience has
shown that we can solve any problem, once we really tackle it.

Keep Equipment Rolling

All we need to do is to tackle this problem with the seriousness
it merits. This is a matter also for the planning organs and for the
revolutionary government.

For our part, we are going to do everything possible; the best was
to strike back at the enemy is to keep the equipment rolling. Maintenance
is the key. I believe we have lost some time here. The moment this
bottleneck developed, we should have started producing spare parts.

Now, I know that the transportation workers have solved many of
these problems by themselves and I know that their inventiveness has
produced outstanding results here; but their efforts were hampered by the
lack of equipment and tools, by the lack of machines with which to make
spare parts. Our equipment, most of it, anyway, is American -- and they cut
off our spare parts supply; the first problem to solve, therefore, is the
problem of spare parts production. Here is where we did not act with the
speed and efficiency required by the circumstances. The time has come to
get going here.

We have been trying to find solutions to this problem for some
time and we have been planning to establish the necessary factories; but
now we must find a faster solution. And we will find it. Don't you have any
doubts that we will!

But, comrades, we would have been wasting our time here today in
discussing these problems, if we were to fail to take certain measures that
are really necessary now.

Public Complaints

Now, on the one hand we have public complaints and on the other
hand we have your complaints. Under the heading of public complaints -- and
complaints of the administration, likewise -- we have the following:
leaving your land while making a turn; failure to give signals; failure to
show destination of bus; showing only part of bus destination; absenteeism,
especially on Monday, the day of maximum passenger bus travel, and on
Friday and Sunday; discourteous remarks to passengers; improper care of bus
interior; purposely racing the engine, specifically by running too long in
first and second gear; failure to maintain bus schedules, as a result of
which there are no buses for one or more hours at times; cheating on the
time sheet; shortcomings in the operation of the Complaints Commissions;
false concept of cameraderie; lack of authority and chain of command;
resultant negligence; leaving buses dirty; absenteeism of repair shop
workers in some areas; in some shops, the workers are turning out less work
now than in the old days, when the shop was private property.

"Phony" Mechanics

It's a strange thing for this to happen in a worker revolution and
I don't see how we can have such a revolution if some of us use Capitalist
methods. But there are people who claim to be mechanics, though they are
not. And then these people are hired as mechanics and before we know it,
they have damaged some piece of equipment. This sort of situation cannot go

More Complaints against Drivers and Conductors

Complaints! Any more complaints? Yes? No? (He reads.) Many
complaints have been made because the buses do not halt at the designated
stops or because the driver will not stop when flagged down, even though he
still has room; drivers fail to pull out to the curb, forcing passengers to
step out into the street. Some drivers, stopping at a stop, behind several
other buses, open the doors prematurely to discharge passengers too far
from the stop. And then they pull out, without bothering to pick up
passengers waiting at the stop. Some drivers stop for coffee on the way and
other delay service by driving very slowly. And so on. The drivers try to
explain all this, citing poor condition of buses, heavy traffic volume, and
the like.

Here we have complaints against drivers who handle their vehicles
improperly, making improper use of gear shift, braking too abruptly,
accelerating too fast, failing to avoid holes or bumps in the road, and so

Most of the complaints against conductors involve the collection
of fares. In some cases, they simply fail to collect fares, even though the
passengers insist on paying.

Well, you all know all about that.

Criticism of Bus Passengers

Now, what do we have here? Criticism of bus passengers. First: the
passenger who runs toward the stop, shouting "Hold it! Hold it!" -- then
gets on the bus via the rear door and asks the conductors: "Where's this
bus going?" (Laughter) Second: the passenger who insists on leaving via the
front door, even though the back door is open. Third: the passenger who
refuses to move to the rear of the bus. Fourth: the passenger who yells to
the conductor: "Getting off!" and, when the bus stops, simply says: "No!
Not this one! The next stop!" Fifth: the passenger who wants to go to
Belascoin (laughter) and, arriving at Geliano, snaps at the conductor: "Why
didn't you let me know where to get off?" Sixth: the passenger who insists
on blocking the entrance just so he can get off ahead of the other
passengers a couple of stops later. Seventh: the passenger who slinks past
the conductor so he won't have to pay. (Laughter and applause)

See, how you applaud criticism of passengers, while you were
silent when we discussed your faults!

These are some of the complaints we have been getting; some of
them are undoubtedly true. But it's not just a matter of transporting
people; it's a matter of maintenance and repair and proper care.

Comrades, I don't think anyone will complain when a full bus fails
to stop and pick up passengers; but when it is not full, when bus after bus
passes, then that's a different matter.

Now, we also have the problem of absenteeism, and this has nothing
to do with the equipment. This problem does exist and it is a serious one.
Sometimes we have a bus but no conductor; sometimes we have a bus and no
driver; and sometimes we have neither.

The Problems of Cheating on the Time Sheet

You laughed about this, but it means collecting pay without
actually working. I remember perfectly well that I brought up this problem
at our first meeting, at the beginning of the revolution, and I feel
responsible for this. Now, this has turned into a great minus in our
effort, because it runs counter to the interests of the people. You all
know how some people take advantage of sick leave.

In accordance with the decision of the workers, the revolution
changed the 9-day rule to the rule that only absolutely necessary and
justified sick leave may be taken. Now, it is inhuman to expect a worker
who is really sick for 3 months to collect only for 9 days. So, we changed
that rule? How? How come? (Shouts) You want to know how? Wait a minute! One
at a time! Let's not have everybody sound off at once! So now we have a
situation where you get paid for every day you are really sick; you don't
get 9 days of paid sick leave, whether you are sick or not. Not any more,
you don't.

This is the right thing to do. That's the spirit! (Applause) This
is the way it has to be, comrades, and I sincerely believe that every
worker ought to feel reassured by this guarantee for sick leave. And if we
do not have this regulation in this industry, then I'm in favor of voting
on it, here and now. (Applause, many rise)

Now, the problem of sickness and the way it was solved with regard
to sick leave constitutes one of the great gains of the workers; now they
know that they will not be left high and dry if they are really sick. But,
what happened instead? This benefit has become a source of corruption and
stealing for a worker. Somehow, there's always a doctor to sign a
certificate of sickness. You understand what I mean? There are people who
get drunk on Sunday and turn up waving a doctor's certificate on Monday!

Collecting Pay When Bus Is Out of Order -- a Source of Fraud

These are the vices against which the workers must fight, so that
a collective benefit for all the workers will not be turned into a source
of corruption and demoralization. Now, this problem of collecting pay when
the bus was out of operation has been the source of much in the way of
fraud. And, you want me to tell you something? This was an illegal measure,
and I mean it. I suggest that you reconsider this measure. (Applause) And
if the workers agree, let's discard this measure, comrades. (Applause)

Now, comrades, I congratulate you, sincerely, because you showed
that you were ready to take a really revolutionary step. In the future,
when we will have achieved a proper level of organization and procedure, we
will be able to re-adopt such benefits. ... (A comrade interrupts.) What's
that you say? What's the situation? ... But that's not what we are talking
about here ... (More questions from the floor.) What's that? What are they
saying? ... Alright, come on, come on!

A Worker: Comrades, in regard to the proposal of Comrade Fidel,
I'd like to say that I do not think that I am too much of a revolutionary
but I do feel a responsibility to my country ... and I'd like to bring up
this point: doctoring the time sheet is all wrong. Now, what I want to know
is this: what is a driver to do when his bus breaks down just one or two
round trips before his time is up? How is he going to sign his sheet? What
can he do?

"Permanent" Padding vs. "Occasional" Padding

Avila: I think there is much in what Comrade Pedro said just now.
We ought to answer him like this: There is such a thing as "permanent"
padding and there is also "occasional" padding. According to Comrade
Fidel's proposition -- if I understand him correctly -- we are going to
eliminate permanent time sheet doctoring, which in some places covers days
and even weeks and months. But we do think that a driver who reports for
work, but cannot get a bus to drive, ought to get paid for the morning
hours or for half a day, anyway, as Comrade Pedro said.

Dr. Castro: Alright, comrade, here's another question: What kind
of work can this comrade do, other than drive a bus?

Avila: Nothing.

Dr. Castro: Really? You, you there....come forward. Wait! Don't go
away! You, over there, come on over!

A Worker: Comrades, I'm not a paragon of virtue. I've been working
for this company more or less the number of years Comrade Fidel has been
living. I never put in a day without really doing my share of the work; I
was never one to play the game of absenteeism; I have chalked up one of the
best records in working hours per month. Now, I have good reason to work
hard; I have seven children; I have sent one to the university to study
medicine and three are in college, and I sent another one on a trip to the
Socialist countries.

The government did not have to give me a house that belonged to
some people who had left; I built my own house long ago, through my own

Collecting Pay without Working Is Immoral

Now, the comrade is right, because I face the same problem; at the
Omnibus Aliados Company -- today everything is National Transport Company
-- but at Omnibus Aliados Company, we had a system which is different from
the one we use today and where a man who was 40 and had perhaps anywhere up
to 10 or 11 kids, would sign in even if there was no bus for him to take
out right away. Now that is wrong, comrades; it's immoral to take pay when
you don't work for it, But, comrades, what is a family head to do, when he
arrives at the terminal and there is no bus for him to take out and he
cannot sign in -- not on Monday, not on Tuesday, not on Wednesday, not on
Thursday, not on Friday -- and then comes Saturday -- and no paycheck?

Dr. Castro: Comrades, when I was talking about this problem of
time sheet padding, I am not referring ... at least, as I remember the
spirit of the whole thing when it first came up ... what I am saying is
that the worker should not suffer for reasons beyond his control.

As I understand it, we should try to prevent anything in the way
of fraud or cheating here. I cannot go into detail on this problem because
I do not have the details, but I think that if a man intentionally damages
his bus or deliberately pads his time sheet ... I am thinking of these
instances here, which are really wrong.

The union and the ministry must take those measures that will tend
to prevent fraudulent collecting of pay.

When It's Not the Worker's Fault

What do I think of a case where the worker reports for work but
there is no bus for him to take out -- through the fault of nobody in
particular? Alright, I think that we ought to guarantee this man his pay,
because this is not his fault. But only under these conditions, you see?
When I proposed ending the practice of "padding" the time sheet, I wasn't
thinking of that. It's not the worker's fault ... it's not the worker's
fault when he can't work ... due to no fault of his own ... and I think
that this is wrong; I think this man ought to have work ... he shouldn't be
left without work. That's elementary, as far as I'm concerned.

When I made that suggestion, before, I was thinking of those cases
in which the worker is obviously at fault. Now, I want to make this
perfectly clear: it is up to the union and the enterprise to study the
problem seriously and to adopt measures that would tend to end this
"padding" -- because you can't really call it padding if it's not the man's
fault in the first place. Now, that situation this man was talking about
before -- why, anybody can understand that!

Actually, we have a number of things here, including this "racing
the engine" and "kicking the bus around" and so on. The measures the
ministry should take here in agreement with the union must be measures
which will really guarantee the worker every legitimate right and prevent
all fraudulent pay collecting. I can't say any more about this because I
don't know how it works in detail. The matter is now in the hands of the
comrades in the union and in the administration.

But there is one thing I have something very definite to say about
-- and that is absenteeism. Comrades, this is one of the worst things and
we have got to do something about this. Some of you men fail to show up on
Monday and then you want to do overtime work on Tuesday; we must take
measures to stop this. And I'll tell you something: this is the fault of
the union and the administration -- because this is simply absurd. And if
they fail to stop this practice, they will not be solving the problem
because -- you listen carefully -- we are not going to lick this problem
with arguments; we are going to have to have action.

Now, I have a proposition here: first of all, we have something
that is quite absurd here, theoretically the worker does not get any day
off at all during the week (applause). This is really absurd; now, this is
bound to result in some absenteeism. We must solve this problem by tieing
working hours and free time in with our attendance check. I propose, first
of all, that we set up certain requirements for overtime work. For
instance, if you don't report for work on Sunday, you won't get a chance to
do overtime work on Monday; and there are people who don't turn up for work
on Sunday, and not on Monday, and then they want to do overtime on Tuesday,
Wednesday, and Thursday. That takes the cake.

Men Who Have a Right to Do Overtime Work

We must establish the rule that the man who does not work 6 days a
week does not get to do any overtime. (Applause) As of now -- you mark my
words -- the requirement must be this: the only man who has a right to put
in overtime is the man who puts in 6 days of work a week, regularly; his
attendance record must be an average of 90%. (Applause)

Alright; now we have to figure out how we are going to spread
these 6 days of attendance on the job and where we are going to have the
day off, in between; and the man who puts in his 6 days will get a day off.

So you see that any benefits the worker gets really depend on him
and his work, his attendance record; now, there are men who have two or
three jobs at the same time; but that should not apply to men who drive a
bus full-time. So the man who reports for work regularly will get one day
off with pay. It's as simple as all that. (Applause) But he has got to work
6 days! Alright, now; so much for that.

We've got some other little problems in this connection, comrades.
We must determine who is to get a chance to do overtime work. Who? The man
who puts in his 6 days; if he wants to do overtime for 1, 2, or 3 days, he
will also have to do twice as much work, of course. (A question is asked
from the floor.) Alright now, wait a minute. Don't ask me things I don't
know anything about; this is a problem for you to take up ... Are there any
substitute drivers here? (Shouts of "Yes.") Don't tell me you've got
replacements here! Alright, But just a few ...not many ...What? Now, why
did we have to hire 400 new drivers if we've got so many replacements here?
I'll tell you why. Absenteeism -- that's the answer!

The Steady Worker Will Make More

Alright, so we have an absentee worker here -- but, get this
straight, he doesn't get a day off and he doesn't get to do any overtime. I
know that some men make it a habit to take off 3 days and do overtime for 4
days; as a result, they make more money. But the reliable, steady worker,
who always reports for work -- he gets a day off with pay -- and he should
also have the right to put in overtime, if he wants to, for a day or 2; but
we must set up a requirement for 90% attendance.

Why? Because, if we don't, you could have a situation where a man
with a poor attendance record would be depriving a regular worker of an
opportunity to put in overtime. You get the point? To prevent this
situation from arising, we must have a requirement for 90% attendance,
first of all for the first month and then on a quarterly and finally on an
annual basis. If a man has a 90% attendance record over an extended period
of time, then he can do overtime work.

I am proposing this in the knowledge that the man who does this
sort of work full-time and who depends on this as his sole source of income
-- the man who picks up a vehicle on a rental basis and, after putting in
some time, goes off somewhere else, that man does not really need this job
as his sole source of income -- well, I am thinking of the man, the
transportation worker, who really needs this job, that's who I'm thinking
of, he would be the one who would really benefit from this new regulation;
and at the same time we would be solving the problem of absenteeism.

Obligatory Day Off with Pay

(A comrade on the floor tells Dr. Castro something.)

Fidel Castro: Alright, we can't have that; the worker must have a
day off. (Applause)

Even if he works on that day, he should still get paid. Now...
tell me, comrade ...

(A comrade from the floor speaks to Dr. Castro.)

What? A law on bus transportation? Well, comrade, don't ask me
things like that; I couldn't answer that without... anyway, this is
something for the ministry to take up. I can't answer that without some
background information. But this is not what we're talking about now
anyway. We're talking about absenteeism. Alright, you there ...

(A comrade from the floor speaks to Dr. Castro.)

Inspectors? What about inspectors? Well, I'd say ... I really
don't know how you all work this ...

(He listens to an explanation from the floor.)

I think they ought to have those rights, too. (Applause) Now,
look, this is precisely why we are talking about this here today ... that's
why we have this situation, that's why there are men who do overtime for 3
days and then take 3 days off. I just can't see a man not having a day off
after working a whole week. This is absurd. (Applause) This seems to be a
conflict between inspectors and drivers.

(He listens to comments from the floor.)

Men Who Culpably Damage Equipment

Alright, now, comrades, let's not get lost in details. The
important thing here is the basic orientation. I have been discussing these
two issues here ... it's not the same thing when a bus breaks down due to
the driver's fault and when it breaks down through no fault of the driver.

I mean, this is the first problem I brought up. We must study ways
of guaranteeing work for the man who cannot get a bus through no fault of
his own ... just because the equipment broke down.

Second, we have the problem of absenteeism. We want a day off with
pay for men who put in 6 days in a row and they have the right to do
overtime work, but they have got to have 90% attendance.

Now, the relief drivers have to take this up with the union; I
want to ask you to refrain from bringing this up now because ... What?
Alright, comrades ...

(A comrade from the floor comments.)

What's he saying?

Worker: If this relief drivers puts in 6 days, then he gets to do
overtime; but what if he does not get a chance to put in 6 days? Does he
still get to put in overtime? I'm asking a question here. Because, if this
relief driver puts in overtime on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
-- I'm just supposing here -- and then on Friday and Saturday, does he get
a day off with pay? There are substitute drivers who do this.

If he puts in 6 consecutive days, does he have the same rights as
the regular driver? That's my question.

Dr. Castro: If he puts in 6 days, yes. This is absolutely logical,
comrade. (Applause)

(Comment from the floor.)

The Inexplicable Question of Absenteeism

Worker: ... if he maltreats the equipment, if he breaks it, and if
the vehicle has to go to the shop ... while you have somebody else who
takes good care of his bus ... would he have to pay because the other man
ruined the equipment, because he could not get a bus to take out then?
Should he be losing out just because the other man was negligent?

Dr. Castro: Alright, comrade. Here we have got to find out what
exactly was the responsibility of the man who busted the bus.

Worker: I'm asking because some of the people who ruin the
equipment have other jobs on the outside -- but it's us, the regular
drivers, who get stuck.

Dr. Castro: Look, comrade, we are going to take up this problem,
but we must find out somehow to what extent the other fellow was
responsible for this.

Worker: This happened to me, as a matter of fact. I have my bus
assigned to me. And when I went down to pick it up, they told me it was in
the shop. It wasn't my fault. The man who drove it at night busted it --
and when I got there in the morning to sign out for it, they told me it was
in the shop and I couldn't get it out.

Dr. Castro: Alright, now; look, comrade, I don't know what went on
here. Why don't you take this up with the man from the union! Where is he?

Now, let's stop discussing these details I know nothing about.

Avila: Comrades, I think we ought to let Comrade Fidel make his
proposals. (Applause) The comrades are getting into a whole series of
details here which Comrade Fidel of course could not be expected to be
familiar with. However, I think we are all in accord with the spirit and
the essence of his proposals to the effect that the union and the
enterprise handle these problems. (Applause) That's only logical, I
believe. This is what our common sense tells us, comrades. (Applause)

Worker: Alright, but, like everybody else here, it was my
understanding (shouting) that the man who "pads" his time sheet would now
have to lose out ... well, after all, this is only human ... if I need to
pick up some extra money, I'm going down to see if I can get a bus to take
out... because I've got to live, too, and bring the money home... and why
should I lose out just because somebody else wrecked the bus? (Shouting)

Guaranteed Right to Earn Pay Honorably

Dr. Castro: There's one thing I can tell you. The revolution must
guarantee you the things that preoccupy you most. And one of these things
is this: you want to earn your pay honestly. (Applause) At the same time,
we want to stop those who are not making their money honestly. (Applause)

The rest, comrades, is nothing but details that must be studied
and taken care of. Right now we are taking up only things in the way of
general orientation and attitude; you all know what goes on here in this
absenteeism situation; it is only logical for us to demand certain
standards for weekly work attendance, to ask that a man put in a certain
amount of working hours before he can get a day off with pay.

Now, we mustn't confuse this paid day off with anything else. What
we think is this: a man who depends on this job for his full income and who
works regularly should have the benefits due him; he should get a day off
with pay for every 6 days he works. And the man who has the best attendance
record ought to have the most opportunities for overtime work.

If we fail to implement this, we will have confusion, absenteeism,
and the like, and we will not be solving this problem.

If You Don't Work, You Don't Eat!

This is why we put forth this proposal. There are some detail
questions that have to be resolved, but the principle was this -- and I
told you that before: the man who works regularly shall have the right to
work and he will be making his money the honest way; and the man who
doesn't work -- well, he just won't eat! (Applause)

This is the principle of the revolution. I'm sorry I'm not fully
informed on all these details; but, at any rate, the government will ...
the government is going to take ... the government will concern itself with
this transportation industry problem very seriously. (Applause)

But, comrades, we are not getting enough cooperation from you. It
is you who must make an effort here; it is you who must adopt the principal
measures; it is you who must improve your industry, cleanse your sector,
and so on, because you know that there are some negative individuals here;
the answer is not to send them off to the farm after they have wrecked a
bus, but before they do the damage. (Applause)

The thing to do here is to defend your rights, your prestige, the
prestige of your industry, the interests of the people, and the interests
of the workers.

There is much we have to do before we have what we want in this
country; there is much for us to do before our country will be a nation of
workers; where the workers will enjoy the full social benefits due them.

Benefits for Those Who Work for Society

I could tell you the same thing I told the salaried employees
yesterday: the revolution must keep on restricting the enjoyment of the
nation's wealth to those who work for the benefit of society. (Applause)

We were talking yesterday about the difference between the man who
works for a nationalized enterprise and a man who works for himself; and
when we assign vacation homes at Santa Maria del Mar, we are going to give
them only to the unionized workers (Applause).

And we are going to open the tourist and health resorts only to
those who work for society, for our country, so that they will feel honored
and appreciated; and we are not going to let anyone else in, no matter how
much they can afford to pay.

But, comrades, there are still unfortunately too many privileges
that continue to exist in our country. A businessman who makes 1,000 pesos
a month, and who does not produce a single material thing, has infinitely
more in a way of benefits that an agricultural worker who keeps the economy
alive by cutting cane -- the cane that yields the sugar we export in order
to import fuel. The 1,000-peso-a-month businessman comes along and burns up
a tank of gas that was bought with the sweat of the farm worker; he buys
new tires for his car -- tires that come from the hard work of a humble
workers who makes 2.50 pesos. And so this set of privileges continues.

More Goods for the Workers

We must make our resources and our goods available to the workers
on an ever increasing scale.

Now, take the man who works for himself ... alright, let him. But
this is not the same thing as driving a truck for the National Transport
Enterprise; this man makes 6, or 7, or 8 pesos, or something like that. And
the man who owns his truck and operates it makes 30 pesos. Now, to go to
the beach and live in a beach house, that involves a national resources ...
and we are going to give this benefit to the man who works for the National
Transport Enterprise and makes 8 pesos (applause).

This is what we are doing now with refrigerators. We have 4,000
refrigerators. Who's going to get them? The workers.

We have a program for tourist travel to the Socialist countries.
Who's going to go? The workers. And who among the workers? The best
workers, the exemplary ones.

Cars for Shock Workers

In the future, our auto industry will turn out passenger cars, in
addition to buses, which is its primary target now. But, if we have 5,000
cars and 100,000 potential customers, who's going to get the cars? (Shouts:
"The worker!") And which worker? The best worker.

This is how we are going to organize our country: most of the
Socialist benefits will go to those who work for the people and for our
country. And this is only fair. So long as we fail to organize our country
along these lines, we will have a privileged group in our midst.

This will take a lot of hard work .. we have some powerful
interests to fight against, but we'll get there; we'll make it.

Some comrades from the Drivers Union told me that they had a
problem -- along the lines I was talking about yesterday at Varadero -- to
the effect that they are afraid they might have a conflict now with the
truck drivers and operators.

First of all, I don't think we ought to have a union for rental
truck drivers. Why? Because people who do moving jobs with their trucks are
not workers in the real sense of the word; they are not proletarians. They
work for themselves and they ought to have their own association. But they
should not have a union. In reality, they are their own bosses; we cannot
put them on the same level with the bus drivers.

Now, let's assume a bus driver makes between 100 and 150 pesos;
the moving van operator makes 300. So we can't put the two in the same
category of transportation workers. They ought to have an association of
truck owners and operators.

Nobody has so far thought of doing anything about this; so don't
worry about it; the revolution isn't worried about it.

Poor Attitude of Some Rental Truck Drivers

But there is no disputing the fact that some of these moving van
and truck operators do not have the right attitude. They push the public
around, they are in contact with counterrevolutionary elements, with former
political and military elements, and so on. Sure, there are many good
people in this group, too. But they do have this negative element there.

The comrades of the union -- which ought to call itself an
association -- should get together and adopt some resolutions. If they act
right, they can get help in consideration of the service they render. If
they treat the public right, if they organize themselves properly, if they
change the color of their vehicles -- this canary yellow they have ...
really ... (laughter).

Now is the time for this association to take measures, to seek a
solution to this problem of unauthorized hauling -- if they really want to
correct the situation. But they ought to do something to stop this, even if
it is very lucrative.

Let them fill out their trip tickets properly; let them set up
firm rate schedules and so on, so they won't fleece the public (applause).
Then we can help them with spare parts, then we can give the priority over
passenger autos, because they will be performing a vital service.

Then they would of course be entitled to preference, because they
would be running their affairs properly, without any moonlighting, without
any abuse of the public. Then we can help them; then we will not have to
confiscate their vehicles or intervene in their business.

But if they think they can live as they please, like some anti-
social group or something like that, the revolution will not hesitate to
take them on and pull in their trucks, if necessary. (applause)

The revolution does not have to go along with this sort of
nonsense. The revolution does not look out for the interests of some little
groups here and there; the revolution looks out for the interests of the
people, the masses, and the country; it looks out for the highest interests
of the nation. We know that these are the interests we have been defending
and are defending with conviction and firmness against anyone, any group,
any anti-social group, no matter what it may be; urban bourgeois, rural
bourgeois, anti-social petty bourgeois -- we are going to fight them!

No More Lukewarm Patriotism!

The revolution is fed up with lukewarm patriotism! We have got to
call a spade a spade. We are going to live in a disciplined fashion. We are
going to live an orderly life. We are going to live in a revolutionary
style. And we are going to build a just world. That's what we are going to
do; build a world full of justice. We are building a just world and in the
name of this just world we are going to tackle anyone who dares confront
us. (Applause) In this just world, we are going to take the measures we
have to take -- without fear of anyone.

Our people understand this. Our people is developing an increasing
sense of justice, a growing awareness of social duties, an even higher
consciousness. And this realization enables our people to go on without
fear, undismayed by anything, undemoralized by anyone.

You know how the bourgeoisie has been trying to demoralize the
people in this country; you know the difficulties they have made for us,
especially in the supply situation; you know about their machinations and
speculations, their favoritism, their anti-social attitude. They have tried
to create problems and difficulties; they have tried to demoralize the
people, they have tried to infiltrate the people with a spirit of cowardice
in the face of the valiant spirit of the workers ... because our workers
are indeed imbued with this enthusiasm, this valiant spirit, despite their
often woeful lack of understanding of what this revolution is about.

They feel the revolution more with their hearts; they don't see it
and grasp it with their reason. They feel it instinctively, not through
analysis. Because, if they would analyze the situation ... well, today,
anybody who analyzes the issues can see that the nation's wealth is in the
hands of the people and that there is no one between the people and its
wealth... and this wealth can be developed further to the point where we
can build this better world, to the point where we can build this world of
justice, this happier world ... because we are running our own economy now.

Discipline, Work, and Responsibility

But we must realize that we can achieve all this only through
discipline, work, and a sense of responsibility. There is no limit to what
we can achieve. This is no time to wait for someone to do things for us;
this is the time for all of us to pitch in and do things for ourselves.

Today, we are getting much aid from abroad ... during these
initial years, when we really need it. But we must do our part ... for
tomorrow ... so that we can develop our own resources, our own technology,
so that we can produce what we need ourselves. We cannot hope to go on
getting help from other people who work hard and sacrifice.

This kind of aid is right today ... we ought to get it. But we
must know how to appreciate it and make use of it.

Comrades, we have not done anything great yet. The great deeds
were done by nations whose cities were razed in war, who did not have any
trucks, who had nothing to start with. And as soon as they had achieved
something, the local bourgeoisie would come in and make trouble for them,
try to demoralize them and make them go back to the old system they had
just done away with. The world's proletariat will get nowhere so long as
these people are in power. There will be problems and difficulties ahead,
but when the come, the proletariat will consolidate itself and face what
may come. (Applause)

When the trouble starts, the proletariat gets a chance to show
what it is, what it can do; it can demonstrate its dignity, its patriotism,
its honor. (Applause)

Public and Workers Are One: the People!

Comrade transportation workers: we expect cooperation from you in
this endeavor. We feel that this has been a good meeting here today; we
have seen the right spirit here and this will help the public understand
what the issues are. The public expects you to understand its side, just as
you expect the public to understand you. You and the public are one! Your
children, your spouses, your parents, your brothers ... they all have to
take the bus. They don't have cars to ride around in. (Applause)

So, every time you let a passenger get on, treat him the way you
would like your children, your wives, your parents, your brothers to be

Go forward in this spirit, comrade transportation workers! Lick
your problems! Serve the people! Serve the country! Serve the revolution!

Our country or death!

We shall win!