Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19620819
-YEAR-
1962
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
SPEECH
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
NATIONAL SUGAR COOPERATIVES CONGRESS
-PLACE-
CUBA
-SOURCE-
HAVANA IN SPANISH
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19620820
-TEXT-
PREMIER CASTRO CLOSES SUGAR CONGRESS

Havana in Spanish to the Americas 0345 GMT 19 August 1962--E

(Live speech by Fidel Castro on 18 August national sugar cooperatives
congress)

(Summary) Comrade delegates: We remember the revolutionary process of
agriculture, and I believe that this congress is of great importance to the
revolution. Perhaps its importance is not quite as clear today as it will
be in the future, but I believe that a great step forward has been taken
here. But it is necessary that all of you understand why this is of such
importance. First of all, we must explain what the first steps in
agriculture of the revolution were and why they were taken:

All of you who worked on the large estates have a clear idea of what life
was like in the rural areas. When the revolution triumphed, its first step
was to adopt agrarian reform. Perhaps many heard of the reform without
really understanding it. But everyone realized that it had to be a good
thing because the situation in the rural areas was terrible. But agrarian
reform is one of the most complex tasks of a revolution, one of the most
difficult.

Many persons thought that agrarian reform was only the distribution of
land. Fortunately our revolution dared to attempt a system of land
exploitation that was more advanced than its division and distribution. Why
do I say that? The distribution of the large estates might have ruined the
revolution. The problems for the revolution, had it distributed the lands
of the estates, would have been dramatic. That would have been the simplest
thing to do--but the easiest thing is seldom the best. The problem of
distributing the land is quite clear. First of all, there is not enough
land to go around. Some of the workers of each of the estates would not
have received land, or the parcels would have had to be too small.

Imagine a rice plantation being distributed among its 300 families. Each
family would build its home on its land; each family would plant a little
garden; and so forth. The irrigation system of the plantation would have to
be abandoned because when the area was flooded, each house would stand
alone surrounded by water like the keys along our coast. A similar
situation would have occurred with the sugar plantations. With the cattle
ranches, the situation would have been worse.

Breaking up the cattle ranches would have created one of the worst problems
of the revolution. First of all, no one could imagine the number of cattle
that would have been sacrificed. With the increase of meat consumption and
the increased demand for shoes, we would not have had as much as we do
today--and today we do not have the situation solved. What we do have are
the conditions to resolve the problem. Meat is not abundant today, but to
meet the demand we would have had to slaughter even the cows. If we did so,
in three or four years there would be no cattle. And another thing, every
year the number of hides available for shoes would have decreased.

Those problems have only one solution--production. What would be the
situation now if we only had half the present supply of meat? Or half of
the hides we have? If those estates had been divided, the schools would be
far from the homes of the children, electrification would never had taken
place, the construction of roads and recreation centers would never have
taken place. Bringing the comforts of the city to the rural areas would
never have been possible.

But there would have been other consequences. One thing is clear today: At
a time when agricultural production did not increase to satisfy the
increased demand, how does meat maintain its price? How do basic items
maintain their prices? How do pork products maintain their price? How?
Because those products come from the farms. Because the agricultural
products of the farms reach the cities and the workers at reasonable
prices, at established prices.

"What products become items for speculation? The products that are produced
in the isolated parcels. What happened, for example, with the malanga of
Rancho Mundito, in Pinar del Rio--malanga that was planted with credits
granted by the revolution in lands that the revolution had given to the
peasants of that area? The peasants used the credits and planted and
produced. But what happened then when the revolutionary government--to
prevent obstacles, to prevent measures that make difficult the lives of the
independent farmers--decided to put an end to certain methods used by the
organizations that used to buy the products and authorized the peasants to
sell the products themselves? What happened? Everyone with a car and money
went to Rancho Mundita to buy the malanga, some to store it in their homes,
other to sell it twice, three times, or four times the price. The result
was that that area, which had the malanga for the children of the city of
Havana, directly sold 3,000 quintals of malanga on a single Sunday to
persons who came from the city."

The result that some had enough for their children, others sold it for
profits, and other had to do without that food. The worst thing was that
the peasant was corrupted. When someone wants to live at the expense of the
needs of others, he is antisocial. He forgets that he needs the others. He
would not like to pay 10 times the just price for his cigars, his rice, his
sugar, the products he needs in order to live.

If we forget this (applause) if we forget this, we forget that each of us
works for everyone else, and all of us need to work for all. Within our
society we need articles of all types. For instance, right here we need the
electric light. The place where you are sitting was constructed by workers,
carpenters, and decorators who organized all of this. You need the clothes
you wear, your shoes, the houses where you sleep, the food that was served
to you, the trains that brought you here, all of this is the product of the
work of others. We could not take one single step without the work of
others. Think of the electricity, the telephone, transportation, gasoline,
clothing, shoes, medicines, teachers, doctors, post office service. If we
depended upon ourselves to be self-sufficient, we would have none of this.

It is an elemental axion that we all depend on the work of others. If
anyone who produces something wants to get 10 times over the just price, he
can do this only by stealing from others. (Applause) When a bourgeois from
the city comes in his car and tempts a peasant--who does not understand
these things--with an offer of 10 pesos, instead of 4 which the sack of
produce is worth, then only the rich who still remain in the cities will be
able to eat well. If they sell a pig weighing 80 pounds for 80 pesos, what
worker can eat at that price? The only ones who can eat that sort of food
are those who own cars and have big incomes, but produce absolutely
nothing.

I believe that these things are understood by all; you, who have been
workers all your lives, understand them well. However, that is not the only
damage that this practice will inflict. It will also sow avarice, ambition,
corruption, and demoralization among the small farmers, the humble men who
work and are no parasites. The parasite cannot remain a parasite to
himself. He has to contaminate others because he is not content to be one
himself. He wants to turn the peasants into parasites. (Applause).

"This does not happen in a people's farm, even with all its deficiencies,
all of its errors, all things done badly. That would not happen in a
people's farm if there are 10 caballerias of arum roots, no bourgeoisie can
appear there and say `I will pay you 10 pesos per quintal.' (Applause).

"No speculator can come there to buy at a higher price, later to steal from
the workers. The peoples--all the children--can count on those 10
caballerias at a just price. (Applause) In the same manner, the worker in
that farm has a right to buy manufactured articles at fair prices, such as
cigarettes, tobacco, and all food that is not produced in that farm.
Clothing, shoes, medicines, anything he needs, he deserves to get at a fair
price."

If we had parcelled the latifundios, we would not only have diminished our
production considerably, but we would have been without any basis to
develop our agricultural economy rapidly. We would have been at a loss to
give work to the rural unemployed. The people would not have any supplies
for sure, and speculation would have run rampant.

"There is something else which is very just and very clear. For instance,
let us take a people's farm in Havana which will have hundreds of workers
and produces 1,000 or 2,000 liters of milk. You can be sure that if that
milk were sold freely, all the milk would remain in that farm. However, the
milk cannot all remain in the farm. A part of it an remain there, but there
is the rest of the population. There are the workers who live in the
cities, with their families, with their children.

"All the milk will not remain there. A part is distributed, and the workers
are told: `This milk is also needed in the city. We cannot leave the city
without milk.' That could never be done if we divided up those latifundios,
because he who produces for himself first consumes everything he needs, and
then, if someone approaches him to pay a higher price for the goods, he
will sell them. Social duties are still not understood clearly. Supplies
are assured (phrase indistinct). We will not mention a thousand other
things. We will not talk, for instance, about registering thousands of
peasant youths in a school. It is not the same as when there are a number
of farms, or cooperatives, or farms called cooperatives, because (applause)
say that we were going to send 1,000 boys to study in the Soviet Union, we
had to send communications to 600 (places?).

"From every point of view, and today we see it clearly, the revolution took
a great and accurate step to pass from the latifundio to the centers of
collective production. Despite all difficulties, despite all deficiencies,
in any event, it was a great step. You know that rural unemployment has
been liquidated. You know that the problem in many rural areas is that
manpower is lacking for the work that is being done. (Applause)

You know as sugarcane workers that you are virtually born and reared among
the sugarcane stalks, knowing intimately the ins and outs of the
latifundios, of the mistreatment, abuses, ignorance, the lack of doctors
and medicines, the shortages in the field (loud applause)-- you are aware
of all this now that you no longer have to throw your knapsack over your
back and trudge along to distant places with a bunch of hungry children to
pick coffee beans (applause), or travel to far-off places, or find
yourselves a favorite sergeant who will get you a little job in some
government project; or in a desperate effort, sell your vote to go toward
some shameful politician. (Applause). There is no longer any need for this.

"When production was organized, the revolution adopted (word indistinct)
cooperatives and farms--two systems of agricultural exploitation that have
been adopted in parallel. Out of the sugarcane latifundios more than 600
sugarcane cooperatives were organized. From the livestock latifundios and
from the virgin lands we organized more than 300 people's farms. You
comrades do not know how much interest we have taken in these, the many
times we have met, the efforts we have made to make this system a success.
In the sugarcane, who could forget, that first plan to establish a dairy
farm in each cooperative, the credits that were extended, the orientations
that were explored; all of those projects, the peoples, the solution of the
housing problem--naturally, some of those projects, such as the housing
problem, were impossible to solve in this short space of time.

"Many courses were organized to prepare mechanics, farm technicians,
experts in livestock breeding. In short, you know that there is not one
single cooperative that has not sent many youths to study. "These two
systems proceeded in parallel. They were being tested in actual practice.
Naturally they were dissimilar. The cooperative is a collective center
different from the people's farm. The people's farm is like a factory; its
workers are equivalent to workers in a factory. The cooperative is similar
to a group of workers who work for themselves, not for the nation. It is
logical that the economics of the two should differ. If the cooperative
worker works for himself, the only thing he gets free is the land, not the
investments. The investments must be financed by himself, likewise the
machinery. Housing must also be financed by himself. It must be carried in
the books and paid for, if the production is to be his, the working tools,
the investments, the housing, everything he must pay for.

"This is not the case with the farm worker. The housing--in the first
place, the investments he does not have to pay. He does not have to pay for
the machinery.

But there is something more: the revolution decided that he does not have
to pay housing, or electricity, or water. The difference between one and
the other is that while the state farm worker works for the nation, he has
the right to get his working tools and all of the possible benefits the
nation can give him. On the other hand, the cooperative worker does not get
these benefits. The cooperative worker must.

"That is why during the first phase--naturally, if we were to construct a
city, it was constructed on credit. For many years, he (presumably the
cooperative worker--Ed.) would have to pay for machinery, investment,
housing. If this is not accompanied by a very high production--and people
get comfortable--then, how many years would it take to pay for it all? No
one can say. "On the other hand, it would be logical that if the state
imported 10,000 fine breed cows with a high milk productivity the cows
would not be taken to the cooperative but to the farm, whose products
belong to the nation. If the state imports 20,000 pigs, it will take them
to the state farm. If artificial insemination is introduced this must first
be introduced through the state farm. If special seed is bought, it must
first supply the state farm. If new technology is brought in--hybrid corn,
for instance--we have to take it first to the state farm.

"We could even consider if the prices were first offered to the state
workers, who works for a center of the nation, or to the cooperative
worker, who works for himself in a cooperative. (Applause) The cooperatives
presented a problem that the state farms did not. Those working in the farm
were workers and exploited no one. All were equal. However, this was a
problem in the cooperative. A certain number of persons were cooperative
workers. Others were what?--citizens, second-class workers, surplus
people--they were nothing, and as they were not cooperative workers, they
were the last ones at the end of the line. They worked or tried to work for
those who had a spirit characteristic of cooperative workers (applause).

"When something was passed out, they got nothing. The houses were first for
the cooperative workers, also, the rights and the advantages. Agriculture
being what it is, at a given time it needs more workers than at other
times. It was sad, therefore, to think about those poor rural workers,
workers like the others, martyrs, just like the others who were victims of
exploitation in the past, victims of the same suffering experienced by the
others. (Phrase indistinct) there was something of injustice which was hard
to understand and hard to accept with resignation.

"Who were those who had suddenly turned into the semi-exploiters of the
work of others? Former workers! Here then was a contradiction: When the
latifundio was liquidated, this measure, despite being a great step
forward, converted a mass of proletarians and one of the most combative,
most fight-minded, and most revolutionary masses, such as the sugarcane
workers. As the revolution advanced, it took them a step backwards-- they
were really losing their status as proletarians. Why were they losing their
status as proletarians? Those who continued to remain as proletarians
(phrase indistinct). In the midst of a just revolution, they continued to
maintain a status of exploited proletarians, while a good and revolutionary
mass, without wanting to, was becoming--was leaving its status of the
proletariat to become semi-exploiters. (Applause)

"Where were the more revolutionary farm workers, the most long-suffering,
the ones who struggled the most? They were in the livestock latifundio,
managed by persons, many times by a small group. The mass which is
traditionally the more combative and more revolutionary of the farm
proletariat was made up of the sugarcane workers, the workers of the
sugarcane latifundios.

"And when the revolution was becoming proletarian, when the country was
ascending to that great moment in its history when its destiny was not in
the hands of the bourgeois exploiters or the landowners or the imperialist
adventurers--that moment when the proletariat was assuming the mastery of
the destiny of the country, that great proletarian and exploited mass of
yesterday was ceasing to be proletarian. And who, comrades, doubts that
this involved a contradiction? Even though it was a step forward from the
past, even though the cooperative was much more just than the large estate,
even though it was a step forward for the nation; for you, from the point
of view of your class, from the point of view of the historic importance of
your class, it signified a step backward."

I am certain that if any of you were asked if you would renounce your
proletarian status, you would reply "No, never." We ant to be proletarians
more than ever because the destiny of the fatherland is in our hands.
(Applause) "Today the highest honor, the boss of the nation, is not the
Yankee; it is not the exploiting landowner, it is the proletarian.
(Applause) If that measure (word indistinct) its promise, if it contained
deficiencies, great deficiencies, if every type of production had already
been tested by life and reality, was it or was it not correct to take
another step, that is, a step forward, a step of unity among all the
workers of the rural areas, between the workers of the farms and you,
between you and those who worked with you in the fields and who were not
cooperativists?

With this measure the agricultural proletariat becomes largest, the largest
labor sector of our country--large in number and in importance. Together
you and those who work on the farms number more than 250,000. This means
that the revolution will have 250,000 proletarians in the rural areas--a
large and formidable force of the revolution.

"Where was the contradiction? Simply that a real cooperative cannot emerge
from the proletariat. A genuine cooperative would be a step backward for
the proletariat. On the other hand, for the small farmer it would be an
advance. When the independent farmers unite to produce, to produce more and
more scientifically, they advance. That is why the real cooperative is
formed by the small farmer who is not a proletarian. He has the closeness
to the soil, to the parcel of land, that feeling of ownership that the
proletarian does not have. (Phrase indistinct) he does not have the
advanced mentality of a proletarian. And it is a step forward for the
revolution and for him. (As heard) That is why nearly 300 agricultural
societies have been formed by (few words indistinct).

"Now that is a very complex problem because it is not the same mentality as
the mentality of a man who has been and is a worker. The peasant has a
different mentality. He does not have the degree of culture, and, above
all, the political awareness of the worker. We must march with him. He is
an ally of the working class. We must make the peasantry more conscious,
more revolutionary, more advanced, and this will not be achieved without a
correct policy, correct treatment, so that the peasants will advance
spontaneously toward superior forms of production. The peasant cannot be
socialized or brought into cooperatives through coercion.

"No, the peasant must be permitted to develop, to advance, and little by
little, necessarily, when the worker who still must have a boss disappears,
when the farms have absorbed all day workers and when the yoke of oxen are
not enough and mechanization is necessary, the peasant will gradually see
that by uniting his efforts with other peasants he will have better
prospects and be able to produce more. Then he will advance. They day will
come when no one will want to work with a little boss. The day will
come--and it is already coming, it is already true in many places--when the
masses will go to the farms for remunerative work and for all the benefits
that the farms represent--not the farms of today, because we still lack an
infinite number of things; there are even elementary housing problems."

Today some agricultural workers performed in this theater. "Thousands of
instructors are being trained to bring those possibilities to all the
farms, to our rural areas, and to organize there that isolated, solitary
life, not the life of the future in which highly productive labor will be
alternated with many other pleasant things that will make the life of our
rural areas much better--a good life, a happy life of work, diversions,
sports, recreation."

Those are the things that we must think about That is what we must fight
for. The present is only a hint of the future even if it is much better
than the past. What would life have been like if this could have been said
60 years ago when the republic began? The revolution would not have had to
spend a year on the illiteracy problem. But it could not have been started
60 years ago. We have started it and in the future we will have the things
that past generations could not provide for us. Is that not the way the
people must think?

Many fathers realize the progress that has been made. Many look to their
children with hope. What father today does not feel that his son has a
secure future? What father does not know that his son will be able to do
anything he wishes, that all doors are open to him? The only reason there
are not more peasants in our schools is because of the shortage of
teachers. That is why more peasants are not in school But in the future
this will not be the case.

"I want to tell you that in response to an appeal by the revolutionary
government to fill 4,500 student vacancies in the Minas del Frio vocational
school, 8,000 applications have been received. And if our schools are still
deficient--with incompetent teachers in some cases and teachers who are
absent from work--it will not be so in the future. Everything is being
created from the ground up. Even today, if there are not thousands of rural
youths in the universities, there are thousands of young farmers studying.
And this year, in the coming weeks, we will have 2,000 in the Soviet Union
taking courses in administration, machinery, and agricultural technique;
and 3,500 taking a course in administration in Havana. If we add these
5,500 students to the students in other schools of this type, there are
6,000 young rural workers, not including the insemination school students
or the revolutionary instruction school students or the young peasant
girls. Combined, all these students form a contingent of more than 10,000
peasant youths, that is 10,000 youths from the farms and the former cane
cooperatives."

This gives you an idea of how opportunities are open to young workers to
become directors of agricultural enterprises. "If there is one thing we
must understand, it is the need to train men so that they will not make our
mistakes. If you know that many mistakes have been made, what other way can
there be to overcome these shortcomings? No one is born with knowledge.
Many men who were suddenly called on to fill a post did not know how, and
it cannot even be said that it was their fault. The blame is not ours
because it is not our fault. But if within some years there are no men of
complete ability and competence, then the blame will be ours. But we will
not make that mistake. We know what we are doing. We know that in the
future we will not have the shortcomings nor will we lack the elements we
lack today. Today is the bitter present of work, suffering, and patience.
We need all the devotion of the revolutionaries and the faith of the
revolutionaries, encouraged by a tomorrow that we know will be very
different when these masses of youths, properly trained, join in the task,
in the effort.

"Tomorrow the problems may be different, corresponding to new and newer
stages of progress. However, what is scarce today will abound tomorrow. And
it is not a question of days, weeks, or months; it is a question of years.
Of course, we would all like to be living tomorrow; we would all like that
right away. But that does not happen in life. Not even to the fastest
germinating seed. It always requires years."

And here, like the father who cares for his infant son knowing that some
day he will have a man in the family, we must also have faith and work
today and care for the work of the revolution, knowing that tomorrow we
will have millions of new men in the Cuban family. We still have many
defects to correct. We will not correct them by sleeping in the shade. The
abundance of everything we need can be attained only through work and
sacrifice. That is why we must bring to all the workers of the country the
idea of the revolution and of the truth, the awareness that work is not a
punishment and that it is what makes the man the master of nature.

"Loafers do not progress. Loafers in no way help us to free ourselves from
need or poverty. That is why we must render homage to work. We must view
work for what it is, not as a punishment. In the past it was an instrument
of the redemption of man, of the improvement of man, of the progress of
man.

"We know that there are many things to overcome, many shortcomings, many
things we lack, many things that hurt us all, weaknesses which hurt us,
errors which hurt us, carelessness that hurts us. This is true, for
example, when lands have been allowed to remain uncultivated, or when in
the fields there is lack of production because of carelessness, because
those who have been the leaders have not paid attention, have not listened,
have not paid full attention to all the instructions given them. That is
why with our eyes fixed on all these problems, struggling to overcome them,
we try to solve the problems of supply without taking any steps backward.
That is also why we mention the case of supply as an example.

"We have meditated on this; we have discussed what to do. Should we give
each peasant a small piece of land? No! Because after one little piece of
land the peasant would want a larger one, his livestock would multiply and
soon he would not have just three, he would have 10, 20, 50 head of cattle.
He would then be a large landowner, because all the fields would have to
produce pasture for his private livestock. No! no, to those measures which
would make him abandon his great duties and his work. We will not resort to
individualism which will foment selfishness, which foments differences
among men. We will depend on collectivity.

"What tests are we making? Tests according to province! In each province,
on a farm in each province, and one of the old sugar cooperatives there are
being created self-supply centers of family nuclei. That is to say not 40,
not 50--because it is very unlikely that 50 families will ever agree to
cultivate a self-supply center--but rather groups of eight for example.
That is the way the test is being carried out, giving each family nucleus
six cordolos of land per family to cultivate (applause) collectively by
that family nucleus for its own needs. (Applause) We have not tried to
issue a decree but rather to see and check the results, hoping that these
experiments will be successful so that we can then extend them, so that in
this manner through family nuclei the families will have areas they will
cultivate for the self supply of their families, for themselves. They will
cultivate them on their own for themselves." (Applause)

We must do this efficiently. We must not, for example, take the lands--a
problem that is posed is whether the lands should be taken that are closest
to the railroad spurs or (far from the spurs?). It should not be far from
the spurs because this makes the cost of transportation greater and creates
difficulties. We must select those lands which can fill the requirements
and resolve a problem so that the problem of supply and of compliance or
noncompliance with the program will not be the sole responsibility of the
administrator or the directors. In addition to cultivating crops, the
workers themselves will have a means of resolving their problems in their
free time. We have thought up this formula which is now in the experimental
stage.

"We have to fight to solve each and every problem. How will we solve the
housing problem? It is impossible now to build houses for everybody. We
must not be so ambitious. We must spend only that which has to be spent to
solve at least the problem of shelter, even if the shelter we build is not
as good as the houses we see in those towns that are being built.
Everything cannot be done in a year.

"This is how we attend to each and every one of the problems. How? By
thinking of the future, by thinking of the interests of the nation, by
thinking of the interests of all the workers. That is how we have to think
because if all of us depend on everybody, if nobody can depend on himself,
we must always think of the interests of everybody, when we discuss things
we must always think of the interests of everybody. (Applause) We must look
out for us. (Applause) That is how we have to discuss things, not with
formulas of (word indistinct). No. We must talk and reason with ruth,
because nothing can oppose truth and that which is reasonable. Nothing can
oppose that which is just, and always (we must do things--ed.) reasonably,
always with speeches, always discussing teaching, imposing,
persuading--with your participation, because the union leaders have to come
from you and now we can answer the question which used to be asked: `Why
don't we have labor unions?'

"Now you will have your unions, your union leaders, and your technical
advisory councils, which will come from among you. Your chiefs, managers,
and directors will come from your midst to an even greater degree in the
future. And from you, the proletarian masses will come those who will cause
us to march forward (words indistinct) our field workers from you and in
your hands. You will show the greatest interest, responsibility, sense of
duty, and patriotism, thinking of the nation; thinking of our great people
who together have to march forward, who united have to win their future.
You will be more and more aware of our social duties, less and less
selfish, ever more brotherly, ever ridding yourselves of (word indistinct)
of vices of the past. We shall begin to adapt our thinking an dour conduct
to the present and to the future.

"That is what I wanted to say to you here today, comrades. Perhaps I have
failed to mention some details or something that is still pending in the
congress, but I believe everything has been discussed relative to subjects
which are pending such as the question of whether or not to give certain
remunertions. I understand that the formula which is going to be adopted
will be based on the rule of observing the volume of cane which is cut
during the harvest. A scale will be made, because we understand that we
committed an error when last year the harvest was carried out without any
difference of any kind and those who worked the least were paid as much as
those who worked the most. (Applause) Work methods will all be
(regulated?). There will be norms and work in the fields will be
encouraged.

"We must trust in you cane workers. We trust in the revolutionary spirit of
this great mass. We know that you will overcome difficulties. We know that
you will overcome weaknesses and change the lazy people, those who do not
feel a sense of duty, those who do not understand the truth that work is
the most honorable activity of man, that the most basic need of man is
work, that work makes men of us. Let us all work for each other. Fatherland
or Death, We Will Win."
-END-


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