Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speech

Santa Clara Centro Radial Revolutionario in Spanish 1630 GMT 25 September

(Excerpt) The Soviets are gong to give us all their experience in this
sense: their technicians, their scientists, and their equipment. The other
agreement refers to the construction of a fishing port in our country.

What will be the mission of this fishing port? It has two purposes. First,
to facilitate the operations of the Soviet fishing fleet in the Atlantic
area. It is not known--which is the opposite of "is known?" Explain this.
(Here Castro apparently asks his simultaneous Russian interpreter to
interpret this phrase. The interpreter says something and there is general
laughter--Ed.) It was not known by us to what degree the Soviet fishing
industry had developed in the Soviet Union. It has been a real surprise for
us to learn to what extent and at which rate the Soviet fishing industry
has grown in the past few years. For example, this statistic: In the 40's
the Soviet Union caught about 1.5 million tons of fish a year. At present
the Soviet Union has a fishing (goal?) of about 5 million tons per year.
They hope to reach this goal in the next three years. Although I
understand--if I remember correctly--that at the present time the catch is
4.75 million tons. This means that in the past 15 to 20 years they have
tripled their production in fishing.

It was also a surprise for us to learn of the extraordinary number of
fishing vessels possessed by the Soviet Union in all the seas. When the
Soviet fishing trawlers arrived in our country, the fishing fleet under the
command of Comrade Dzeparidze we were all amazed at the size of those
ships. We had never seen fishing vessels that large. Nevertheless after
that we have seen photographs of models of other ships in the Soviet
fishing fleet and as it turns out the Dzeparidze trawlers are the smallest
(laughter) of all those used to fish in the Atlantic. However, I have
learned of the great productive capacity of these ships. Even though they
are doing research they usually return to port with approximately 100,000
pounds of fish per trip.

Very well! We have been able to see photographs of ships which are even
larger than the one we know about. However these ships operate by unloading
their catch on larger ships, which are the so-called mother ships. The
transshipping operations to mother ships are carried out on the high seas,
at times under difficult conditions, according to the weather.

This fishing port will facilitate the operations of a number of ships of
the Soviet Union which work in the Atlantic zone. Instead of transshipping
the fish on the high seas, they will come to our ports, to this fishing
port which we are going to build, and will transship the fish to the mother
ships or to refrigerator ships which carry fats and other products and then
return empty, or some other type of merchant ship of those used to
transport merchandise between the Soviet Union and Cuba. At the same time
these ships require repairs on a periodic basis. To make these repairs at
the present time, they have to return to the Soviet Union. With this port
they can have the repairs done in our country. At the same time, the
problems of fuel supply and all these operations are greatly facilitated
and as a result productivity by this Soviet fleet will increase. These are
the advantages of this treaty for the Soviet Union.

However, if these advantages are even great for the Soviet Union, we feel
that the advantages are even greater for us. Why? Because we will then have
a fishing port for our fishing fleet as well. Naturally our fishing fleet
at this time is very small, however just a few months ago our fishing fleet
did not even exist. For the present, by next year we will have the
following ships: The five Soviet trawlers of the first fishing fleet which
will be transferred--will be acquired--by our country, two Polish ships
which were the first to arrive, 50 ships 75 feet long which are under
construction. These will be, so to say, the embryo of our fishing fleet of
the (several words indistinct). It is however, an embryo which will mean an
increase of 50 percent in our present fishing catch. Naturally this fleet
will continue to grow. In 1963 110 ships of 75 feet will be built and 12
ships 122 feet long. Therefore we can assure a high rate of development for
our fishing industry. Naturally it will need installations, it will need
experience, it will need refrigerated storage warehouses, it will need
processing (plants?) it will need (word indistinct) and finally (means?) to
preserve the fish in order to have better distribution of it. The following
installations will be included in these fishing ports: Piers to unload the
fish, refrigerated warehouses, ship repair shops, and industries to process
and preserve the fish whether dry or canned.

The industrial plants will also produce fish meal which is an indispensable
raw material for the production of (chickenfeed?). Naturally installations
of this type are costly. The cost has been estimated at 12 million pesos.

Very well, the Soviet Union will provide our country with a loan with which
to obtain the machinery required for the installation of this port. At the
same time we will be responsible for . . . . (Castro pauses--Ed.) The
Soviet Union will also provide the plans and the necessary technical
personnel for the installation of these machines. The government of Cuba
will provide some of the materials which are available here, cement, steel
bars, and the manpower to build the port. The cost of the Cuban materials
and the manpower is estimated at 6 million pesos. The equivalent of this
cost on Cuba's part will be included in another loan amounting to 6 million
pesos in additional foodstuffs. That is, the Soviet Union will provide the
plans, the technical direction for construction, the machinery, and the
equivalent of what we spend in manpower and some materials will be sent in
additional foodstuffs above what is provided in our foreign trade

To put it briefly, we will receive a loan for the total cost of the works.
The port will belong to our nation. It will be a Cuban enterprise. It will
render services to Soviet ships and to the ships of our country. The treaty
calls for a commitment to serve these ships, provide all the operations to
process fish, and transship the fish. The treaty calls for a commitment of
10 years duration. In fact, this a purely formal aspect because undoubtedly
our services will extend for a far-longer period than 10 years since our
country will be able to continue to develop an industry with it. Naturally,
since we believe that the Soviet fleet will continue to grow yearly, the
services which this port can offer the Soviet fishing ships will also be
greater every year.

The Cuban investment in this port will be paid for by these very services.
In a given number of years and at a given moment when the loan has been
repaid it will also be a source of foreign exchange for our country since
they are services which can be considered the same as the products which
are exported. At the same time our fleet will be growing with the help of
these very installations of the fishing port.

There is something else which I want to take this opportunity to say. It is
that this year by virtue of the agreements which we have signed, the Soviet
Government is going to ship us 2,000 tons of fish. The following year they
will send us 15,000 tons of fish. That is, it will amount to 33 million
pounds of fish. Naturally, this fish, for the benefit of those whom I see
here are already making all sorts of plans for the fish (laughter), well
this fish has to be sent to the interior. There are many towns in the
interior which at the present time do not consume fish because they are far
from the coasts, such as the peasant of the Sierra Maestra, Baracoa, the
Escambray mountains. (Editor's Note: Castro here gives further details on
fish deliveries and consumption.)

This agreement which we have just signed has also great value in showing
what kind of relations are extended by the Soviet Union to other nations
and how different they are from relations between capitalist nations. There
is no doubt whatsoever that never in the world of capitalist relations has
any nation ever signed such an advantageous agreement because any types of
investment which used to be made in our country were monopoly investments,
for example, which came to Cuba to seek every advantage imaginable. It
could better be sad that they really came to exploit our workers.

This kind of treaty is highly beneficial to both sides. It is beneficial to
the Soviet Union and also to us. The Soviets grant us every bit of credit
to build a new enterprise, that is, a Cuban enterprise. This could have
never been accomplished in our relations with the capitalist countries, I
repeat, it shows how it is possible, within the Marxist-Leninist conception
and relations among people, to really work for the mutual benefit of all
countries. I must add something to what I have said and that is that the
personnel who are going to work on this fishing port are going to receive
special training. The Soviet Government has offered to train 200 youths to
repair the boats and handle the docks, the refrigerators, and the industry
that is going to be set up there. As a result of this offer we are going to
send these 200 youths to the Soviet Union. They will be trained for one
year so that, as soon as this fishing port is completed, they can work

There is something else: The Soviet Government offers us the possibility of
training our crews, our fishermen on their fishing boats, where they can
learn the most modern techniques of the fishing industry. This means that
the thousands of youths we now have in the schools will be able to receive
part of their training on the Soviet fishing boats. At the same time, we
shall be able to benefit from the investigations that the Soviet fishing
boats and the boats especially destined for research purposes are going to
carry out. All this means a great future for our country in the fishing

It was really criminal and painful that our country, an island,should not
have had either a merchant fleet nor a fishing fleet, that it should have
spent many millions every year in (imports?), that it should have had a
very small per capital fish consumption, that it should have had an
insignificant volume of fishing, that it should have had completely manual
methods and a low fishing production. Nevertheless our country was, is, and
will be an island surrounded by water. Yet it turned its back to the sea.
For this reason, the revolutionary government has insisted so much on the
need of turning our eyes to the sea and to exploit the sea in every way. It
is true that what we have is still small but it is much compared to what we
had and small compared to what our country will have from the sea, both in
the matter of the merchant fleet, which is increasing with the
incorporation of large units, and in the matter of the fishing fleet. This
will assure our country all its needs in sea food, a better diet, part of
the raw material needed for animal feed, which is necessary for the
production of chickens, eggs, and meat in general.

All these economic activities mesh with each other. So we have all the
conditions, all the means that will permit us a great development in the
fishing industry. Thus our country will not remain behind other
countries--islands like ours, as for example, Japan, which has a very high
fishing production, England, and other countries that have extracted from
the sea a very important part of their food. The development of the fishing
industry in the Soviet Union is an example of what can be achieved in a few

Recently we read an article by a U.S. newspaperman who was in fact alarmed
by the progress made by the Soviet fishing fleet. The newspaperman said
that the Soviet sailors have left the U.S. fishermen and fishing boats way
behind. Not only this, but according to the information we have and our way
of thinking, the Soviet fishermen are going to leave the U.S. fishermen
further and further behind. We understand that the capitalist system will
never be able to shorten the distance because the possibilities available
to a certain number of fish producers or companies in fierce competition
with one another are not the same as those available to a system that
practices the rational use of all the country's resources for the same end.
And we have proof of this: The fishing boats that we are now building will
increase the productivity rate of every man six times--it will be six times
greater than the present productivity of a fisherman in his little boat,
his little sailboat.

Many times the fishermen fought among themselves--as happened in the
southern part--every time a new fishing method was introduced. This was all
because of competition because, as you know, a number of boat owners
competed with each other and exploited the work of the fishermen. Moreover,
that type of production was exposed to a number of factors. At times when
there was an abundance of fish, because certain months give more abundant
fishing than others, the (owners?) of the fish would spend entire weeks in
front of Havana bay and finally cut prices in half. A fisherman never knew
what he would earn and many times the fish was lost.

This can never happen under the present circumstances because the price of
fish remains constant for the fishermen. There is no speculation. The fish
left over is preserved--if there is any left over. How much of it can be
left over at the present time? Unemployment has practically disappeared in
our country and almost any family has more than sufficient money to spend.

For this reason our country's problem lies in the rational use of all our
human resources and our work tools so that our country's production can
satisfy the purchasing needs of our people. For this reason a revolution
has to pay so much attention to the problems of production and the effort
that the revolution is making in that sense is not a useless effort.
Really, we can now begin to see the results of that effort.

We want to speak facts and for this reason we are going to use facts at the
opportune time. About the results of the effort we are making--results that
we shall begin to appreciate next year when we have increased production in
every field. Naturally, this will be the result of the rectifications in
the mistakes and deficiencies and, above all, the result of the greater and
better training of our workers, our administrators, and all those who work
in production are receiving. It will be the result of the better efficiency
of the organizations in charge of production. These organizations are
becoming more and more capable of executing their plans and their goals on
a firmer and more realistic base.

During all this time our country has had to face difficulties, such as, the
blockade of our enemies, the great drought of last year, the deficiencies
in organization, and, above all the principal problem that the enemies of
the revolution are trying to conceal: the purchasing power of our people
that has doubled to tripled. This is the principal problem. During this
time, we have had the extraordinary help of the Soviet Union. Note that in
spite of the fact that our purchasing power has doubled or tripled, we have
had more than sufficient amounts of certain products. Yet, let us quote an
example: bread, wheat. In every country of the world the standard way to
measure hunger or the lack of it has been by the presence or lack of bread.
This essential product has not even been rationed in our country because
from thousands of miles away ships laden with wheat and flour have come to
our country to satisfy a bread consumption that is practically double what
it was in our country before the triumph of the revolution.

The increases in consumption of certain products such as sugar are really
unprecedented. Sugar consumption has been such that it has broken all
existing consumption records in the world. It is the same for coffee
consumption. We asked a Venezuelan visitor what the sugar consumption was
in Venezuela, a nation which has approximately the same population as ours,
and it turns out that Venezuela consumes half of the sugar we consume and
half the coffee. Quite possibly it is also half of the bread. And this
holds true for almost all products. We have rationing. The imperialists try
to show proof of the deficiencies of the revolution or of socialism.

But there are two kinds of rationing, the rationing existing in many
nations of Latin America based on the fact that people don't have a centavo
in their pockets, that prices rise so high that those who have money, the
minority of the population, always find these products available in the
market and those who have no money pass by the showcases and see products
which are perpetually rationed for them and cannot buy them.

We have rationing, but this rationing implies that whether one has 100,000
pesos in the bank or whether one has 45 centavos in his pocket, he can get
a pound of meat. In other countries, and in our country it was not like
this before. What happens in other countries under the capitalist system
under so-called free enterprise where the law of supply and demand operates
when demand increases? The pound of meat rises to three pesos and then the
one with 100,000 pesos can buy 10 pounds of meat and the one with 45
centavos can never buy a pound of meat. This is the way it goes with
everything else.

We have a just, fair rationing which guarantees equality in obtaining the
most essential foodstuffs. The rest of the capitalist underdeveloped
nations have rationing for the jobless and moneyless masses. We do not wish
to say, but we can say, when we speak about a just and fair rationing that
this is the absolute, chemically pure truth. It is, as far as intention
goes, but it is not in reality. Why? There are deficiencies for which the
revolutionary government is not responsible. It is known that distribution
is still carried out in large measure through private channels. Talk about
"private" and you talk about chiseling, egoism, speculation, efforts to
profit at others' expense. Of course not all are like that, but there are
many of these private interests who (control?) distribution channels and
one day they may deprive one of their customers of their turn for the
chicken ration and give it to one of their friends. They can do the same
for meat, not to mention clothing or shoes.

The friend of a bourgeois owner of a clothing store has the clothes he
needs. The friend of a bourgeois owner of a (shoe store?) has the shoes he
needs. On the other hand a worker may find it hard to find the shoes he
needs in order to go out and produce. All these things are still a fact in
our country. This is because of the existence of interests which because of
their nature tend to become selfish, to speculate, and to be antisocial.

I hope the fisheries minister will forgive me for talking about shoes,
(laughter) but sharkskin is useful for the production of splendid products
including shoes. Besides, fishing has to do with nutrition and chickenfeed
uses fishmeal I believe. In the last analysis, fishmeal does have to do
with shoes. I have wanted to take the opportunity to make some remarks on
the subject and tell the people how much hard work is being done and how
the prospects are becoming brighter in every sense, although we appreciate
deeds more than words.

In conclusion I wish to express our gratitude to the minister of the
fishing industry of the Soviet Union, to the Soviet Government, for their
magnificent proofs of friendship toward our people, of trust in our people
which in these hard times they are showing us. We express to them our
satisfaction with this treaty which we have signed, as well as our
appreciation, and we hope that these agreements will be very useful both to
the Soviet Union and to our country. Thank you. (Applause)