Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Radio and Television Networks in Spanish 0038 GMT 5 June

(Live interview of Fidel Castro on nationwide, international radio and
national television networks by a panel consisting of moderator Gomez
Wanguemert, Ithiel Leon, Raul Valdes Viro, and Enresto Vera)

(Text) Wanguemert: A very good evening television viewers. Today all
television and radio stations of Cuba have joined in a network to present
the report of the Prime Minister Dr. Fidel Castro on his visit to the USSR
in which has has the object of an impressive popular reception and the
greatest honors and attentions ever given by the Soviet Government to an
honored guest.

The Prime Minister arrived only yesterday and today comes to the
microphones and cameras of television and radio to report to his people. As
he said at the airport, he has many good things to relate and it is natural
that his words are awaited with greater interest than ever throughout the
country. To question him on the panel are Raul Valdes Vivo of HOY; Ithiel
Leon of REVOLUCION; and Ernesto Vera of LA TARDE who will ask the first
question tonight. Comrade Ernesto Vera.

Vera: Major, what are the most outstanding impressions you bring back of
your trip to the Soviet Union?

Castro: Well, on my part I want, before answering any questions, to make an
explanation with respect to the manner in which the trip was made, going as
well as coming back. (There is a whining noise in the background which
seems to annoy him--Ed.) There seems to be more noise here than ever.

The people understand perfectly well the reasons of elementary security
which caused the making of the trip without prior announcement. That is,
the trip had to be adopted to the conditions under which we live, 90 miles
from Yankee imperialism. That is why it was not announced exactly on what
day we were going to depart, but simply we announced the news of the trip
to the USSR and subsequently--and subsequently it was announced--when we
were already in Murmansk.

With respect to the return trip it was the same thing. Some comrades
thought that--well, how could a reception be organized, how could a great
public event be held--they also said that that was the feeling of the
people that they were very interested, they had a desire to express their
enthusiasm for the visit to the USSR, but it was a little difficult to
coordinate the two things. It was not impossible to do this but after all
we preferred not to organize a reception as in other times without paying
any attention to existing conditions, that is to announce our arrival after
we got here and not organize an event but instead appear here on
television. Because for example, to explain a number of questions to a mass
gathering is more difficult than explaining them on a television appearance
because here on television one can speak with more detail, more calmly,
while a mass gathering always has another tone, another characteristic. In
a gathering one has to make a great effort in speaking and things cannot be
explained with serenity. There are details, things, which I believe can be
done much better on television.

In the final analysis that was the fundamental reason and also because we
shall soon have a mass event on 26 July in the capital and it seemed better
to us not to have anybody bother yesterday and that is why we came
(unannounced--Ed.). There were some newsmen there and we were faced with
something of a dilemma because they wanted us to make some statements but I
told them I had to appear here. Well is there good news? Yes, there is good
news but be careful with those announcements of good news lest people begin
to imagine that there is extraordinary news because that is not so. The
news is good and really satisfactory but it must be interpreted also
because otherwise there may be expectation as to what the news is.

Now to answer the question. You have asked for my impression on the Soviet
Union. In the first place there has been a very extensive reportage of the
entire tour, pronouncements--that is to say, our impressions are very well
known in general. Now of course--for example I read the newspapers and the
reports that came from the USSR. (Here Castro points toward the audience)
There is a conversation there by some comrades who appear not to be
interested in our appearance.

Wanguemert: Those are the translators.

Castro: Ah, they are translators. Well, then I ask the translators pardon
and let them talk a little lower because otherwise they will be heard too
(on the broadcast--Ed.). Then I read the newspapers to find out more or
less what was being published. When one over there living in the midst of
happenings sees the news one is never satisfied because it appears to be a
pale reflection of reality.

I had the opportunity of seeing some newsreels, not the ones made here,
because they tell me that there are some good newsreels here and that the
moving pictures, the films could show everything better as to how things,
how the whole tour was developing. I had the opportunity of seeing some
documentaries filmed by Karmen, a producer well known by us because he made
the film "Alba of Cuba" and it was very good. It was a good presentation.
It gave a more direct impression of how things were.

The photographs were often photographs that were sent by, what do they call
that system?

Voice: Radiophotos.

Castro: Radiophotos. They were very clear. We have some problems with the
printing. But, besides, it was impossible to get it as it was, not because
a good effort was not made, for great efforts were made, both by the Cuban
and Soviet news agencies, very good scripts by Cuban newsmen, Soviet
newsmen, although this does not mean I am 100 percent satisfied with the
scripts, because some of the ones that were done by Cuban newsmen were of
an apologetic nature with regard to the visitor. They did not appear right
to me. That kind of apologetic account puts us in a rather embarrassing

But we are not going to discuss that; this is not a place for discussing
the problem. But in general, not that efforts were not made--a great effort
was made--but one felt sure that it was impossible to reflect how all the
visit really was, the facts, the attitude of everybody in the Soviet Union
toward the Cuban delegation. And in spite of this, I know that much
enthusiasm and interest was aroused; that is, at some movie houses the
public queued up to see the newscasts. Various people have spoken to me of

The impression of the Soviet Union--in order to analyze any answer, one
must first of all take into account how one looked at the Soviet Union--we
had a very high concept of the Soviet Union, in every respect, the historic
role that had been played by the Soviet Union, the October Revolution, the
achievements it had attained; our opinion was a very high one. But in
reality, when one proceeds to direct contact, I can assure that in reality
what we have seen goes beyond the concept we had of the Soviet Union in
general, and that concept was a very high one.

To begin with, the very instant one gets on the plane, for a trip of some
10,000 kilometers, it is almost a space trip, without stop. The return trip
is even against the air currents, against the wind. So the trip lasts two
hours longer. The return goes to 14 or 15 hours nonstop. This is a plane
which, from the very moment you get on board it you can say the life of the
crew is in the hands of technology as developed by the Soviet Union. It was
a country, at the time of the revolution, where not even tractors were
manufactured. The machine in which one arrives in the Soviet Union is in
itself a marvel of technology, a perfect machine, with an extraordinary
degree of safety.

And then, the Soviet Government took special interest in selecting a crew,
including one of the best pilots in the Soviet Union, a hero of the Soviet
Union. But that was a measure--I believe that any of the pilots who fly it
could handle any practical, technical problem--but in our case, when we
arrived at Murmansk there was a terrific fog. The field was totally
invisible. It was necessary to make a landing which for those of us who are
not experts seems difficult; but the pilot certainly made it very calmly,
with great accuracy. Absolutely nothing could be seen. The fog was thick.

But the mere fact that we, who have difficulties in making our trips, the
difficulties created for us by imperialism, which brings pressure to bear
on countries not to allow flights over their territory, making necessary a
direct line--this has been possible in the first place because of technical
progress. And so one can get some idea of the great development attained by
the economy and technology of the USSR, all the accomplishments achieved by
the Soviet people.

Then, extraordinary interest is aroused in people who, like us, are
effecting a revolution, for the country that effected the first revolution,
the first socialist revolution. All this predisposes one to be interested
in an infinite number of topics, concerning the people, institutions, their
organization, the party, those leaders -- an infinite number of problems
that a socialist state has to face and solve, if all those things we read
in books, in manuals, anywhere, are placed alongside reality.

But perhaps you will ask me more concrete questions, for of course it is
impossible to give a full account in minutes of all that was seen. My
immediate impression after arriving is first of all the people. They make a
tremendous impression, and inspire great admiration. Right away one begins
to see what kind of people they are, what their qualities are. First off,
one can see that they are terrific people. It is a vision, first, of a
classless society. That is noticed right off. Everybody is a worker.

And we arrived through Murmansk. And what is Murmansk? A city located in
the Artic Circle, to begin with, almost in the zone of the tundra, between
the tundra and the taiga, as they call it. But it is in the circle, where
the day or the night is eternal, not eternal, but lasting six months. Not
it is daytime. It is day there now. The day we went, there was no longer
any dark. And the day we arrived, some 40 days before it was getting dark a
few hours, a little more. You can read 24 hours a day there, in the park.
Of course, it is rather cold. Accustomed as we were to the warm weather
here, the tropical heat, the first thing they did there was to give us
overcoats, and so on. The dry air makes the cold more bearable. We here
have an extreme cold which enters our bones because of the problem of

We were received by Comrade Mikoyan, Comrade Kuznetzov, representatives of
the party of the Murmansk region also, and, of course, an honor guard,
everything very well organized, and then later went to a sleeping car and
we went to Murmansk. It was our first contact with the people that is why I
am giving all these details. Immediately there was a reaction by the crowds
in spite of the fact that they had only been advised a few hours
previously. Practically the entire population of Murmansk was mobilized. I
can still remember a little cable of the SP or UPI, I do not remember
which, which said that I had brought out a lot of people, but in reality
everybody was there at the station and in addition with a happiness and an
enthusiasm which was really incredible.

Then we had the first gathering of the masses, the difficulties of
language, having to speak in a language which is not that of the public
through an intermediary. I had the fortune of having good interpreters. The
first interpreter in Murmansk was the very same comrade who was here with
Mikoyan. The people know him well. His name is Nicolas. He translated
Mikoyan and translated him very well. We asked for him and he was there. We
had very good coordination between him and me to explain things and he
translated. It was not easy because it appears that it also depends on
one's style and on the language, certain phrases which are longer, the
construction of a phrase is not exactly the same--a whole series of
technical problems in translation. However, I became adapted to that
situation and the reactions of the crowds were exactly the same as those of
the crowds here.

There could be seen of course, as I have said, those first characteristics
of a type of new man. A country without classes where everybody was a
worker. There, there is no longer the confused, the petit bourgeois, the
bourgeois, that does not exist--those categories no longer exist -- that is
the truth.

Sure, there are peasants and industrial workers left but there are no
exploiting classes there. They have all disappeared and that causes a great
impression on visitors. It is the image of an evolutionary (as heard)
society and a type of man--what I observed in those men and women was a
great enthusiasm, a great optimism, a very optimistic people. It could be
seen that they oozed optimism through every pore--discipline among the
people--fortitude, that is, one received the impression of a strong people,
above all the impression of a working, fighting, abnegated,
self-sacrificing people. Those characteristics, the temper and the human
quality of the people could be seen, something which is a product of a

We then--of course everybody made a tour through the city. We visited
factories and saw everybody working. Men and women work. Women are
incorporated into the working force. Of course they are very strong people.
Physically they are very strong. They make work appear easy. The men work
and the women perform the most varied types of work. They are now working
toward a tendency of limiting women's work to types best adapted to their
physical makeup. That is to say, transferring women from the hard work they
are performing to easier work. They are in that phase. However everybody is
incorporated into the working force because the problem they face -- they
not only do not have a single unemployed person but there are cities like
Leningrad where they need 500,000 workers, they need 500,000 workers.

It is clear that they are resolving the problem along other lines by
creating more nurseries and all those things that allow a greater number of
women to join the labor force and through various procedures in order to
incorporate a larger percentage of the population into the working force.
The people work with tremendous enthusiasm--tremendous -- and it can be
seen that they have great discipline in work and a great love for work, a
sense of responsibility and duty--and immediately an organization--another
of the things that attracted our attention was their organization because
they have great organization and great efficiency.

We have compared it with our not so developed organization and our not so
efficient, and our not so efficient organization. Yes, it is characterized
by great organization and great efficiency in all parts, in all sites--on a
ship, in a factory, any place we went--enthusiasm, organization,
discipline, and fervor with which things were done, order, everything was

We visited a fishing combine there--large, entirely developed there by
Soviet power--supplier of a considerable amount of the fish that is
consumed in the USSR. Then we also visited the icebreaker Lenin which is an
atomic icebreaker and we attended various events. We also made a visit to
the fleet. We saw the various ships and military units -- submarines of
strategic types, all that, what was published here more or less, everywhere
it was the same thing.

The discipline in the navy was very impressive. There was great discipline,
great technical quality. Strength can be seen everywhere. There is an
enormous development.

Murmansk, for example, was a city that was completely devastated because
the fascist artillery was constantly firing on the city which was a port of
commercial traffic, and the entrance to the port is never frozen because
the gulf current reaches there. As a joke I sometimes said that we sent
that heat from here in the Caribbean. It was a very important port.
Thousands of buildings have been constructed there. Practically all new
because it was mostly wooden buildings during the last war and was
destroyed. There is a great economic development on all sides, many
industrial buildings, and much residential construction. And in that cold,
harsh climate the people do extraordinary work.

Needless to say, one of the things a man finds when he arrives is Soviet
hospitality, great hospitality, with Soviet food. It is a widely varied
diet, a good diet, somewhat better suited for their climate than for ours.
They have wonderful digestions, they drink, they eat very well, in keeping
with the climate of that country. It is somewhat more difficult for us to
adapt to the same type of food, a very high consumption of food. For
example, the average per capital consumption of bread by the Soviet is
almost two pounds a day, the per capita consumption. You can see what they
consume. We eat 100 grams of bread: some people eat more, some less. But
they consume 750 grams of bread per capita. They have a very high per
capita consumption of a series of articles. Beyond question, the climate
there and the kind of work require a heavy diet. The people are seen to be
very well nourished, and well clothed. These things too are characteristic.

Many children. We saw millions of children, with their uniforms, very well
organized, with their schools, well dressed, well shod, well fed. (Castro
apparently disturbed by some noise--Ed.) There is that noise again. But
never mind. We came on the plane hearing a similar noise (few words
indistinct). Go ahead with your work, go ahead with your work.

Well, the children make a big impression. They are very healthy, well
dressed, well shod, that is obvious.

We also took part in some cultural functions organized by the unions, by
the workers. There were even some performances of Cuban dances, Cuban
music, rather well done. We even took the occasion to offer to send some
instructors of our art, who could do very good work in the chief cities,
since there is so much cultural development; dancing teachers, for example,
or music teachers could help them, because they are interested in Cuban
music and Cuban dancing, all that kind of thing. And there too we can give
some slight aid. Since we are preparing cadres, I believe we can furnish
some aid.

All the cultural activities are far advanced, organized by the unions. In
short, from the first moment, as they said: this cannot be organized, the
people's enthusiasm. And that is very true. Besides, analyzing everything
with a critical spirit, it is obvious that they had great organization and
great spontaneity in everything they did. From the very first, from our
contact with the first city, it was almost a contact with the Soviet Union.
And that first impression continued developing throughout the entire tour.

And concerning the Soviet Union, you must remember: We say the Soviet
people, and that is very well, because with that concept we want to include
the entire population of the country, but the Soviet people are made up of
more than 100 nationalities. How was this problem solved, which we have
seen in books? What are the Marxist - Leninist principles pertaining to the
question of the nationalities, the correct policy, because all those
nationalities were oppressed nationalities under the Czar, they were
virtual colonies of the Czar.

They were supposedly vassal countries of the crown and the majority nation,
which was the Russian nation. Of course, everybody was a vassal to the
feudal lords, the landowners, and the bourgeoisie. That is the fact. There
were 100 nationalities, in which peasants and workers were subject to class
exploitation; but besides class exploitation there was national
exploitation, a discriminatory treatment of all those nationalities.

The solution provided was the principle of automony, self-determination,
the right of each of the nations to choose. The solution provided was
entirely correct, after 45 years it is evident that the solution given to
the question of nationalities there was a masterful one. And why? Because
the nationalities subsist. The 100 nationalities preserve their language,
their literature, their art, their customs. They preserve them fresh.

Not only that; they have developed them. The Soviet power even provided
alphabets for many of those nationalities that had no written language, no
alphabet. It was provided and developed, and now works are written and
printed in all languages. And a tour of the USSR, the different regions and
the different nationalities, shows clearly with what satisfaction they
preserve their national characteristics.

And yet this is in no way opposed to the other sentiment, which is the
feeling of unity with all the peoples that make up the Soviet Union. There
is a perfect summary, it can be said, of the national characteristics and
that is that it is an internationalistic sentiment. What unites them? The
party unites them, because the party is a single party.

The republic has the Central Committee which belongs to the party, the
Community Party of the USSR, but they also have the government of the
republic, the Council of Ministers of the republic, with a number of
determined functions. They have their government and their customs and in
addition feel very happy and at the same time very proud to be part of the
Soviet Union because those countries which were colonies of the Czar
suddenly became nations with equal rights with respect to the other

The Soviet power, also a representative of the workers are peasants of each
area--some of the republics were very poor economically and in a completely
feudal state but have attained an enormous development -- what did the
revolution mean for these colonies of Czarism? It meant liberation from the
class exploiters for the workers and peasants. It meant the end of colonial
status for the nation. What did this mean? It meant an extraordinary

Then if the standard of living of Uzbekistan, Georgia, Kazakhstan--a number
of republics which border with other countries--were compared with the
living standards of Turkey, Iran, and other capitalist countries which
maintained the status quo--we find that in spite of the fact that these
republics were very poor and in a colonial status 45 years ago, there are
scores of scientific institutions as in Uzbekistan: universities, a
tremendous industrial development, an impressive agricultural development
based on irrigation, a standard of living where everybody works, everybody
has a house, everybody is well dressed, well shod, all the children have
schools, everybody has medical attention. Then we see what the revolution
has meant for those countries. They received greater benefits than anybody
because today they are on the same level of industrial development as any
European country.

At the same time they preserve their national characteristics, their manner
of dress, eating, and all their customs. We saw their manner of dress,
food, everywhere, but one thing was the same everywhere and that was the
affection for the Cuban revolution.

The affection for Cuba, their sympathy, their interest was something
incredible. That was the characteristic of each nation. It can be said that
it was a common thing, this feeling of solidarity with Cuba. An
internationalist foundation, the pride with which they said they were
preparing shipments for Cuba and the interest they really take when it is a
matter of a machine or anything for Cuba. What I mean is that they not only
demonstrate by cheering and attending receptions but also in work. In
almost every case where it is a matter of shipments for Cuba they finish
ahead of schedule. That happens everywhere.

There are Cubans studying everywhere also. We found them in Uzbekistan, in
the Ukraine, everywhere. That is a problem, this problem of nationalities
and the solution of the problem of nationalities and how a state made up of
100 nationalities can have the unity, the impetus, the discipline, is I
believe an historic accomplishment as extraordinary as many of the
extraordinary accomplishments of the revolution, this first socialist
revolution that is demonstrable.

Now compare the standard of living of all these nationalities with that of
their neighbors who are still under imperialist domination or under the
exploitation of the feudal gentlemen or those of the bourgoisie. It is
overwhelming, but overwhelming, because it means to cross the borders of
abundance into the areas of hunger.

Does this mean that this is an abundance in which every individual has an
infinity of things? No. It is an abundance of the masses. This means that
the masses have everything they need, everything that is necessary but
above all they have what they are creating because they have not dedicated
themselves to invest in luxuries, they are investing in means of
production. It is clear that if they said "well let us dedicate ourselves
to consume savings," what they would do would be to paralyze themselves,
development would decrease, the rate of development would decrease. They
are reconciling the increases in the standard of living which they are
attaining year by year with the increases in production and the means of

And of course there are those well cared for cities with all the problems
of water and electricity resolved, with many green areas, and a perfectly
organized transportation system. I am going to cite the case of Kiev or
Tashkent as an example, not to mention other cities like Leningrad. They
have an enormous number of green areas.

What do we have in the way of green areas here? Very little. What do they
have in Kiev to cite an example? They have an enormous zone of green areas,
they have what we call subways but which are what they call them--(several
people volunteer various names--Ed.) the metro's, but we call them subways
because we are acquainted with the North American subways. In Kiev they
have a subway, trolley-buses which are wheeled buses with tires but do not
use gasoline and do not contaminate the atmosphere. They also have a
motorized equipment. We only have one type of transportation and we do not
have a single tree. Therefore while we have thousands of buses emitting
gases we do not have one plant which will help purify the air. We do not
have subways or anything like that. Someday we will have to acquire them.

However, making a comparison of how all the basic problems have been
resolved--that metro of Kiev which was the one I visited, and they tell me
that the ones of the other cities are as good as that one and even
better--it is impressive.

I know the New York subway, and really it does not even approach the Kiev
subway. But what is the characteristic of the New York subway? First,
darkness, dirt, infernal noise. Going in, first you go down stairs like
those of the Sears, formerly, you remember? A stairs on which you do not
have to climb, but you get on the stairway and it takes you to the upper or
lower floor.

Voice: Escalator.

Castro: Escalator? automatic stairways. Well, you have that, quite clean,
clear, nice and clean, not a scrap of paper to be seen. Entirely modern
engines, clean. That not only solves the transportation question, but makes
traveling a pleasure. We took a little trip ourselves, on that subway. And
you find the characteristics of the city similarly. Many green areas, much
transportation, very well organized transportation, a healthful life,
entirely. And you find that in all cities of the Soviet Union.

That is the standard of living that has been developed, not by one nation
of the 100, but by all the nations, the 100 nations, because much attention
was devoted to the economic development of each of the regions. That
naturally benefited each of these nations; it also benefits the whole
because the development of irrigation in Uzbekistan makes possible large
scale production of cotton, and so each of them produces articles needed by
all the others, thereby making for tremendous development of the economy,
but the people of all those nationalities have received enormous benefits.

If you like, I will stop here. I imagine you will ask for more details. If
I tell all my impressions, there will hardly be any questions left to ask.
So I will pause, for a definite question.

Question: On 25 May, in Havana, the joint communique was published . . .

Castro (interrupting): You are going to begin with the end? The communique
is almost the end. All right.

Question: The thing is . . .

Castro: You want me to conclude quickly?

Question: Since it is a document that really is a brilliant example of
communist solidarity, I want to learn something about the communique. And
since you asked for concrete questions, I would like to know exactly about
this communique, what economic questions were dealt with in it, the
repercussions they will have for Cuba, concretely.

Castro: Well, look, in the communique there is a section on economic
matters: The statement that the USSR is prepared to continue providing
maximum aid to the development of the Cuban economy. It is something of a
general nature. From that angle, something much more concrete was taken up
in the talks with Nikita Khrushchev, because the communique makes a general
reference, I am going to speak after that in general terms on the concrete
matters we took up regarding economic affairs. I would like, if you will
allow me, to do so a little later.

Question: Well then, I have another question; in our papers we always asked
this question: What did you feel in that gigantic Lenin Stadium, in the
presence of that multitude? During that great popular demonstration, did
you ever think of Revolution Square and our meetings?

Castro: In circumstances like that, a person knows many and varied
feelings. First, he experiences a feeling of a universal nature, one might
say. He feels close at hand to what is called solidarity among peoples,
unity among peoples, love among peoples an internationalist sentiment, from
that moment all barriers practically disappear and the peoples feel mingled
in the same sentiment, in the same cause. That is the emotion that is
always felt when a person is in the presence of the masses, of the people,
and still more the emotion that is aroused by seeing this action among the
people among whom a person has not lived, not people who have received
benefits, not the people for whom a person has worked, and who are
therefore demonstrating this thing spontaneously toward a visitor, as an
acknowledgement, out of esteem, out of solidarity with another nation, a
nation that is thousands and thousands of miles away.

That has a great impact. And a person experiences a certain feeling of
national pride, in the midst of all that; wholesome national pride, when
one sees the Cuban flag there, the honors being rendered one's own country.
I tell you the truth; in that moment I remembered the independence
fighters, the first time they hoisted the Cuban flag, about Cespedes,
Agramonte, the 10 years' war, Marti, Maceo, the independence fighters, all
the fighters, because it was, one may say, the moment of supreme splendor,
ascent, prestige of the symbols of our country, a country of limited
dimensions, whose name, whose cause, of hundreds of millions of people; for
in the USSR there are 230 million people, and really there is not one
single person there who did not demonstrate his feelings to me for our

And I tell you, one also feels a wholesome national pride. And one thinks
that it is a tribute to all who have fought for the country, in the fight
for independence, because the flag they took into battle, is floating
there. From the most universal sentiments to the sentiments of a national
nature, those things are felt. I did not know you were going to ask me
about that, frankly.

Question: Comrade Fidel, a question that our people are asking. What
impression was made on you by Comrade Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev?

Castro: Why do you not leave that too, to serve as a conclusion for all
this? And let me conserve some kind of order?

Question: What was the first day on Moscow's Red Square like, Fidel?

Castro: Well, if you start asking me for impressions, I will be giving
impressions for three days. You are right, but also, you can imagine, the
reception, arriving at a historic spot that is so significant in the
history of mankind, and then the presence of Lenin, Lenin's remains. That
is tremendously impressing too--all the people there--for a
revolutionary--I do not know about a bourgeois, what effect it would have
on him, while visiting. For a revolutionary, representing a revolutionary
country, the impression is the greatest one imaginable. And then there were
the Cubans there too. There were Cubans everywhere.

They create a bustle; they make noise. They act the same over there as
here, I suppose. Their own enthusiasm becomes intensified because of the
fact that they are away from the country. They also feel at that same
moment those same patriotic and emotional sentiments which are part of
their life at that time. There were Cuban students all over the place.

I am very sorry I did not have the time within such a crowded schedule to
talk to all of them. I simply could not visit with them. I visited some. I
was able to talk to some of them, but I had a full work schedule, which was
crowded with work. (Editor's Note: Some confusion ensues as Castro
exchanges banter with a reporter who wants to ask a question and Castro
interprets him.)

Reporter: Let us talk a little bit about economy here--the basic thing is
production. What was your impression of the great work projects?

Castro: Without altering the chronological order of things--all right. I
have already told you (Castro used the familiar form "TU" with all
reporters--Ed.) a little bit about those ideas with reference to a specific
place, the place where we arrived--how the economy is developed there and
the people's standard of living. But look, the present economic development
of the USSR must be seen in order to grasp the idea. If you are given data
and figures, if you read Khrushchev's report to the congress, the program
of the USSR Communist Party, you might have an idea, but it is an abstract

Another thing is the concrete idea of what the economic development is in
the Soviet Union at this moment--the rhythm of development, what you can
see everywhere, not only in the construction of houses alone, because the
construction of houses--the construction--satisfies consumer needs. Houses
are being constructed by the millions. In addition, they are being
constructed under methods that, if we were to start applying them, would be
magnificent. They are mechanized on the basis of many cranes and with
tremendous speed in construction. If you leave Moscow on an 11-day tour,
the building that you left on the first floor of construction is up to the
fifth floor when you return. Where there was nothing before, there is now a
new building half constructed, because building's are constructed at
tremendous speed. What does Osmany (Public Works Minister--Ed.) say?
(Laugher) I thought a lot of Osmany looking at that forest of cranes
constructing many houses.

However, the problematical constructions are those of an industrial type
and the basic construction they are doing. Then, anyone who has the
opportunity to make contact with that reality will become aware that the
program with all of the figures appearing in the latest program of the
Communist Party and the reports of the 22nd Congress are not only going to
be reached, but will be surpassed. I believe that the Russian federation
was to exceed production within the seven-year plan by more than 30 billion
rubles, and I believe that this is a conservative figure -- I believe the
figure is conservative. The (seven?)-year plan has been exceeded by tens of
millions of rubles; that is they draw up a plan and they can rely on
surplus resources for the forthcoming plan or for the development of other
branches of the economy within the same plan.

What they have shown in Khrushchev's report? That the supplementary
quantities, the supplementary resources were going to be invested in the
development of agriculture and also in the development, for instance, of
the chemical industry. The chemical industry is the one that will get a
decided impetus in the forthcoming years.

They are already doing this. It is a branch of economy which they think has
not advanced at the same pace as others, and they plan to give it all
resources and all importance--to work on it seriously.

I believe that their Central Committee is going to hold a plenum meeting to
discuss the problem of the chemical industry. What resources (are they
using--Ed.) in addition to those already planned and assigned to this
branch of the economy? The new resources created in excess during the
development (will be used--Ed.)

I must tell you that every single person there is dedicated to the economy.
Everyone is dedicated to the economy in a very serious manner -- in such a
way that a visiting Cuban feels a little ashamed, because we have not given
the economy all of the importance it merits. We are somewhat idealist
revolutionaries--very revolutionary, we agitate a great deal, we mobilize
ourselves too much, we are very patriotic without doubt. Even the least of
the citizens is moved to fight to defend his country, to give his life, but
it seems a little as if we build all of that in the air--that is, without
taking into consideration that everything must have a basis, an absolute
fundamental basis, which is the economy. We feel somewhat ashamed because
we have many comrades who, being good revolutionary comrades, do not even
know that there is an economy. We have cases of revolutionaries who eat,
sleep, wear shoes, put on clothes, but do not know there is an economy.

Are we concerned for the economy here? No, No. We are far from having the
concern we should have for the economy. One of the things that is observed
there, where fundamental economic problems are resolved and where they are
advancing by seven-league steps in economic development, everyone is
devoted to the economy. The party occupies the very first place. In the
very first place, economic activity occupies the attention of everyone and
above all, the fundamental attention of the party's cadres and the entire

The leading cadres are, of course, made up of persons with a high degree of
technical training, not just persons highly developed politically. We could
apply here that statement made by Llanusa which I saw this morning while I
was opening a magazine. I saw a sentence written by Llanusa that said that
we must make the "technicians more revolutionary and the revolutionaries
more technical." I believe that this is a great statement made by Comrade
Llanusa in his ventures into revolutionary theory. (Loud laughter) He
deserves a good medal for that statement. (More laughter)

And that is true. We must make the revolutionaries more technical and more
economy-conscious. We complain sometimes that there are technicians who are
not very revolutionary. I have never heard anyone complain of so many
revolutionaries who have no technical skills and no awareness of economy. I
am not saying that they should be economists, but that they might think
with an economic criterion and think in terms of the economy. They should
always bear in mind the revolutionary principle that economy is the
basis--and if we do not know it, it is because we do not want to know it.
We see that everything must be resolved through the economy.

We meet with this many times, through our own fault, our deficiency, our
incapacity to resolve it. (Nearly everyone ignores the economy and gives
first place to the party. That is why they are revolutionaries?)

They made a new structure, which was the division of the party into urban
and agricultural sectors. All of this organization is very complex, because
various republics, (few words indistinct) various regions, regions that are
more industrialized, regions that are more agriculture in nature -- there
are some places where it was necessary to make this division, and the
existing organization was left.

I will take Volgograd as an example. There are "X" number of militants in
the rural organization and "X" number of militants in the industrial
organization. It was a great industrial development and great farm
development. Then there is the secretary of the agricultural committee and
the secretary of the urban committee who are in charge of industry. That
corresponds also to the level of organization to which they have developed.

We, for instance, have no such degree of economic development that will
justify our dividing up. No. But, we do have excessive need for the
organizations, and above all the party organization, to give fundamental
attention to the economy, to economic matters. (They have had--Ed.) lengthy
experience on matters of becoming stronger (cuestiones de tonificacion)
which we also lack. In matters of clarification (clarificacion) we have
incurred errors of idealism and subjectivism in our estimates, in our
figures. We are just emerging from the toddler stage in matters of
organization; we have to acquire that experience. They, too, had great
difficulties during their first stages. They have had lengthy experience in
this. They estimate with very realistic criteria, based on resources.

Of course, they have many more facilities now than we have, because a major
part of the problems of raw materials, supplying of parts--many of our
problems that stem from the type of machinery we have and the need to
confront entirely new problems--they do not lack parts in any factory, in
their means of production, in anything, and they have already solved those

We have to start by solving these through production and foreign trade.
Along experience in planning and above all a very accurate orientation
concerning the development of the economy--in other words going to the
basic: The basic industries. And in this manner, following the Leninist
motto that communism was the Soviet power plus the electrification of the
country--Electric power meant all the rest, that is to say
industrialization. There was more electric energy, more factories, lathes,
equipment, greater industrial production. One of the good things we have
done is our concern for the establishment of thermoelectric plants.

They began the undertaking: The first hydroelectric plant they constructed,
I believe, produced 50,000 kilowatts--that is, 50,000 kilowatts per day.
Later they constructed a larger dam on the Dnieper. Currently, the ones
they are constructing are 100 times the size of the first one they built.

They feel a great pride for the first hydroelectric which Lenin began to
build in the difficult days, a very modest plant. It is obvious that they
have multiplied hundreds of times the electric power which used to be
produced in the Czarist empire. But when the data is produced, it can be
appreciated that a hydroelectric plant, the one in Volgograd, I believe
they call it the 22d Congress, produces 2.5 million kilowatts.

To give you an idea, all of the capacity in Cuba does not reach 1 million.
I believe that is slightly under what we have. So one single hydroelectric
plant produces practically three times the electric energy produced in
Cuba. That is not the largest. How many workers run it? I believe 22. No,
they are fewer than that--fewer than 22 workers. I believe about six or 10;
they do not reach 20 workers. The figure does not reach 20.

How many workers would have to work to produce this much electric energy in
thermoelectric plants? About 22,000 workers--that is, they put the river to
work and six men perform work that would require 22,000 workers. That will
give an idea of what a leap means in the development of the economy of the
productivity of human work and the quantity of thousands of workers freed
to engage in other activities of an economic nature.

Now, the hydroelectric plant on the Angara River in the city of Irkutsk,
produces 600,000 kilowatts. I remember some data given to me. If they were
thermoelectric plants, they would need 40 petroleum tankers of 10,000 tons
apiece and I do not know how many thousands of workers. And it was being
operated by six workers--four or six. That figure I cannot remember, but it
is from four to six workers. And the hydroelectric plant does not consume
any petroleum. In order to drain that lake, I think, water must flow from
it for about 400 years--and in addition, that lake always maintains the
same water level.

But then we can make calculations: A hydroelectric plant is constructed,
and about 15 men, for instance--do the work of 22,000 men. If 600,000 tons
require 40 vessels, 2.5 million would need four times as many tankers. That
is, there would be a need for 160 vessels of 10,000 tons of petroleum each.
Add to the 22,000 workers the thousands of workers who work at extracting
the petroleum, the thousands of workers transporting the petroleum by land,
the thousands of workers unloading the petroleum at the wharves. Hence, an
electric power aid of that kind perhaps stands for the work, one way or
another, of 50,000 men.

Take away the cost of transportation of the petroleum by vessel, by
railway, and the extraction of the petroleum. What does it mean then?
Productivity multiplies extraordinarily Now, they lay a high-tension wire,
and in one second that electric power is thousands of kilometers away. If
it is coal, it must be loaded on the railway cars. If it is petroleum, it
must be pumped through an oil pipeline or in a petroleum trunk or by rail.

Now compare all this with our economy for the contrast, and you will
realize the price they are paying for this electric energy, electric energy
which is placed thousands of miles away. It is used for transportation by
electric trains. Siberia, for example, already has electric trains operated
by factories 100 kilometers away from where the electric energy is
produced. They are producing electric energy of this type. The largest U.S.
electric energy--the largest U.S. hydroelectric plant.

They are producing basic electric energy (at such a price?). The same thing
goes for the lathe, the mechanical as well as the electric lathes. Thus
they are saving fuel, labor, and cost.

However, I am giving this example and I think it will show what economic
development is, what the development of the resources means in wealth, in
increased human production. Further along the Angara River is the Bratsk
plant, which is readily of a size to produce 4.5 million kilowatts--4.5
million, or almost twice the amount produced by the Volgograd hydroelectric
plant. Already half of the plant is operating: It has 220,000 kilowatt
generators which are more than 100 meters high, and it is situated on a
powerful river where very serious technical problems had to be solved in
order to build the hydroelectric plant.

In the first place they had to solve the problem of cutting off the river
flow, and in the second place they had to solve the problems connected with
the ice drifts in the spring. These drifts weigh enough to destroy the work
already done. There were many problems, because it is not supposed to be
easy to build a dam, build a dam on an enormous and torrential river
between 500 and 900 meters wide -- a river which carries gigantic ice
drifts. Moreover, it was in a completely isolated area in the woods of
Siberia where there was not a soul.

Engineers, all kinds of technicians, workers of all kinds had to go there.
They were mobilized through the party and through the Komsomol. The most
modern methods were used: enormous and gigantic cranes. I was reminded of
the building cranes. Those cranes were gigantic. They look like metal
giants which lift enormous weights because they lifted those generators and
placed them. The construction methods, and the construction resistance is
all based upon prefabricated material, and the blocks are emplaced.

While the reservoir is being filled, how are they solving the problems to
obtain electric energy? They must wait a while until the proper water level
is reached. However, until it attains its maximum level, how do they obtain
energy at the medium levels? How do they start the first machines even
before the reservoir is finished? This is a piece of engineering which in
itself alone (Castro does not finish the sentence--Ed.). It has been enough
for the builders to go down in history.

This is a great project. Thousands of laborers have gone there from all
parts. They came to live and to work under temperatures of 55 degrees below
zero. These men and women who are constructing and developing the immense
resources of Siberia. But they are not developing it as the U.S. West was
developed--by cowboys, shots, dead people, assaults, and dead Indians. No,
they are developing with extraordinary order. These are not people killing
others, but closely united and organized--impregnated with a tremendous
enthusiasm and joyful for what they are doing. They are developing the
Soviet east.

That is the difference how society develops under socialism and capitalism:
The development of the U.S. West versus the development of socialist
Siberia. I say this for the bourgeoisie so they will learn something of
interest. Here they are creating basic things. This 4.5 million kilowatt
dam will be the biggest when it is finished--bigger than the Volgograd
Dam--but in the near future it will be behind the one being constructed in
the Yenisei River, which is the river where this one empties--the one where
the Bratsk plant is being constructed. In the city of Krasnoyarsk they are
building another plant bigger than the one in Bratsk.

That is not all. They are planning and working on the idea of constructing
labor hydroelectric plants. On the Lena River they are studying the
possibility of building a dam and a 20 million kilowatt plant.

All these cranes, all these machines, where are they building them? In the
basic machinery industry. That is something else they developed. Where are
these generators made? In Leningrad, and this crane in another city. All
these means with which they are building the dam--the machines--are built
by other basic metal and mechanical industries they have been creating. All
this is being complemented with their development.

Imagine, when they finish a larger 10 million kilowatt plant; imagine what
this will mean in economy of effort. If a 2 million kilowatt plant could
give us an idea of the low cost with which the basic energy is produced,
what will a 10 million kilowatt plant mean? Imagine a plant that can be
automatically operated from an office--from a control office with buttons
and a television apparatus. We use television here as an information and
recreation medium, and there it is used as a means of production, because
these people see all the machinery from that control office. Only a few men
work there in shifts. Everything is run from that office.

But not only that, they are organizing the electric energy system all over
the USSR. They are already creating the system. From Moscow they will be
able to control these plants. The Bratsk plant can be controlled from
Moscow. This is a central system to control plants. They are reaching that
degree of automation. They are creating those basic means of production and
have created the conditions whereby the rate of development is really
astonishing. That is the real reason why they will surpass production over
the U.S. and capitalist countries. Therefore, at the end of the present
20-year plan they will have a greater production than the present
production of all capitalist countries together.

All the Soviet people are enthusiastic for these things. That is the reason
they work enthusiastically and with austerity. That is what makes them
strong. Why do I say that austerity makes them strong? Because they have a
serious problem to face: The problem of the imperialist threats and
aggression, the arms race of the imperialists, which forces them to
maintain an armed force in technical conditions able to counteract that
force and even surpass it. What does this mean? That a single country,
which was not developed country when the revolution took place, now has to
face the industry of all the more developed capitalist countries which are
producing arms and forcing it to take from its resources the means to face
that danger.

How can that be done? They are a very austere people with a spirit of
sacrifice who are fulfilling the double duty of working and developing the
economy. While developing the economy, they also develop their means of
defense. They are developing the technical means of defense to face the
danger posed by the arms production of all the more developed capitalist
countries. They are solving this task successfully. Who can do this? A
people like the Soviets.

I tell you, they will not only fulfill their plans but will surpass them.
That is my impression, and I have no doubt that they will be successful.
Anyone can see that. These dams have been seen by Western industrialists,
and they have been impressed. Here all the lies by the imperialists vanish.
They know and cannot ignore that they are lagging behind in their economy,
as I was explaining to you.

To give you an idea, the same applies to the irrigation projects, dams, and
the accumulation of water. From the water they not only get electric
energy, but they also irrigate millions of hectares of land, and steppes
which were completely unproductive were made productive. Now they produce
an average of 25 metric quintals of cotton per hectare, when the average in
the U.S. is less than 15. That is nothing; what are they planning? The
development of the chemical industry to produce synthetic fibers and
synthetic furs.

I am going to tell you something: Without the development of the chemical
industry, communism cannot be constructed. Why? Because only through
chemical production can all fibers and furs needed to meet all requirements
be produced at a low cost. While they are trying to develop cotton
production, they are also developing the synthetic textile production.
Industry is what will solve the problems of clothes and shoes. There are
many products made of artificial wool. Lots of magnificent coats are made
of synthetic wool produced in chemical plants. This is the course--the path
being followed by the Soviet economy.

Question: In giving preference to heavy industry and the agricultural
industry, there is a certain proportion missing. In the Soviet Union they
had a dangerous setback in agriculture. How are they now? Are they
developing agriculture also?

Castro: They are developing agriculture greatly. I visited some
agricultural areas in Uzbekistan and (name indistinct) and also in the
Ukraine, and saw great developments in irrigation. In the first place, they
are developing machinery. They are building an enormous quantity of
agricultural machinery, and are mechanizing all processes of agricultural
production. They obtain considerable increases in agricultural production.
They obtain considerable increases in agricultural production through
mechanization, irrigation, exploitation of virgin lands, and above all
through production, innovations, and selection of seeds and animals.

We must take into account that they had enormous problems in the first
years; when they came to power they did not have a single tractor. They had
wooden plows, horses, and oxen. That was the technique of agricultural
production by enslaved peasants. Then came the revolution and the land was
distributed. In the beginning, they started with an individual-type economy
for many years because of political reasons and the circumstances in which
the revolution took place. The revolution distributed land and production
on a big scale, and collective production took place due to the application
of modern production means. They did not have these modern means; they went
from the farm in individual production to collective production. They went
through this process. This was the process of building machinery in
sufficient quantity.

Then came the war--a war which damaged the agricultural area--the most
developed area in the country. Not only were millions of persons killed,
but cities and factories were destroyed; above all, the cattle industry was
destroyed. Where the Nazis passed, not even a chicken was left. They killed
not only cows and pigs, but even the chickens. The Nazis occupied the most
productive region, the most developed in the USSR; when they withdrew, in
what shape was it left? In Mississippi, Ohio, in California, in none of
these places was a tree or a factory destroyed, nor was there a cow killed.
Not a pig nor a chicken was killed. Everything remained intact there. They
already had a great capitalist development; their agriculture was
mechanized; and they did not even have one chicken killed.

When the Nazis left in 1943, 1944 and 1945 in their retreat, the Soviets
had to start over again to develop their cattle industry and all their
agriculture. Not a tractor remained intact.

They had to start from scratch. However, we can see what they produce now.
We see how they supply and how they send food products to other countries
as they do to us. For example, whole towns were destroyed. First came
foreign interventions, then the fascist aggression.

Under these conditions they had to develop their industry to counter the
danger of imperialist threats by developing a powerful army and at the same
time by developing agriculture, because its entire basis had been destroyed
during the war. Not only was the basis destroyed, but--and this is most
important--millions of agricultural workers and millions of technicians
were murdered. With what can this be compared? Now they supply all their
needs and help other countries. Can the feats of U.S. farmers be compared
with the Soviet agricultural workers? Never. And they are developing, above
all now.

One of the purposes of the development of chemistry is precisely for the
development of agriculture through fertilizers--to increase amounts of
fertilizers. It is incredible that in 18 years, since the war, we see
millions of cattle and pigs. In aspects such as agriculture they are way
ahead of the United States.

Question: Through movies and photographs seen by our people on your trip to
the Soviet Union, there is one detail which has created curiosity: A small
notebook that you have used. Could you tell us something you have written
in it?

Castro: Yes. For example, in the tractor factory I have written all data on
new tractors being built. They are building, for instance, tractors to work
in lowlands, tractors to work on hillsides; I have written details on the
horsepower of these tractors and the type of machinery that can be used
with them. They are developing a wonderful series of agricultural equipment
for us. I have written many details and made notes on conversations.
Generally, what I have not written I remember and will always remember. I
have written little numbers--not millions.

Question: It was in the USSR where for the first time the revolutionary
armed forces were a product of popular power. What is your opinion of what
you have seen of the Soviet soldier, from the human and technical point of

Castro: I have seen everything there. I am going to tell you in the first
place that the Soviet soldier is like all products of the Soviet
revolution, a product of the Soviet people, a product of Soviet education,
and a product of the USSR. The revolutionary army is very political-minded
(politizado), very aware. It is an army of the people formed by technical
cadres in which the officer corps is professional and the masses--the rank
and file--are formed by Soviet youth which serve the country for a
specified time.

The Soviet soldier has come from a nation which has had to fight for years.
Starting from the invasion--an invasion by at least 15 nations--which
reduced Soviet territory; what remained in the hands of the Bolsheviks was
a 15th part of Soviet territory. The Red Army organized and recruited the
peasants under these conditions. They started to recovery the territory and
defeated all the interventionist forces. From a territory as reduced as it
was, they sprang up, recovered their territory, and defeated the enemy.

Then came the fascist invasion. They are a strong, fighting, patriotic
people, and their soldiers are wonderful. We saw some documentaries of the
main battles--Volgograd and Berlin--and these movies were quite impressive.
In the final attack on Berlin, many people died in the last days. In the
enthusiasm to take the headquarters where Hitler was, men who came from
many kilometers behind, where all kinds of atrocities and crimes had been
committed against them in an invasion that will never be justified, and
where millions of persons were murdered--these men, while fighting at the
end, advanced against machineguns and died in the last hours of the war.
The feats they performed from the military standpoint are incredible.

In the movie of the Leningrad battle we saw what happened there after 90
days of siege. We visited the cemetery where 600,000 victims--soldiers and
civilians--are buried. Some of them died in combat and some from hunger.
They suffered 900 days of siege under bombardment. You can imagine what
600,000 deaths mean. However, the people not only did not surrender, but
they did not even think of it.

The battle of Volgograd was something. The Soviet forces were pushed
against the river. The German lines ended there and are now marked with a
series of tanks. A great Soviet sculptor is building a monument there as a
remembrance of that battle. Not a single house remained standing. They have
completely rebuilt the city. It is now a beautiful city, with all its
industries and tremendous development. Nothing remained standing; even the
houses had to be rebuilt. In thousands of towns of the Soviet Union how
much do you think was invested--how much time, energy, and resources? What
a task that nation performed after the war. In each battle fought there no
one withdrew a step. The resistance they offered to the German army was
incredible. That is the type of soldier I saw.

Do the imperialists have soldiers like these? Have they waged a battle such
as this? Have they resisted the aggression the Soviet soldiers have
resisted? Thus the Soviets have accumulated experience and techniques and
formed the type of soldier one sees in honor guards and military units all
over the Soviet Union. We observed their discipline, their strength, and
armament. We visited the fleet, the ships, and everywhere we saw the same
spirit. What discipline and what an army devoted to revolutionary
principles! We saw a tremendous combat spirit. I have no doubt about the
superiority of that soldier over the capitalist soldier. What does the
capitalist soldier defend? The interests of the monopolies, the exploiters.
That is the conclusion I have reached.

A fisherman, the chief of a fishing unit from the (name indistinct) lake
told us that they love peace and that during the days of the crisis they
were ready to fight for Cuba. He said that they want peace and are
struggling to attain it, but that if the enemy imposes a war upon them they
will know how to fight. He said: "We can do that rather well." We saw the
conviction with which he spoke and how he expressed his feelings about
peace. His assurance was astonishing.

That is the mentality of the Soviet citizens and the soldiers. That is the
human standpoint. They have many competent and well-trained officers. They
have an academy where a boy can enter when he is young. They too, they are
armed with an absolute technology--strictly modern. Because experience,
circumstances, fascist aggressions and all these things have forced them to
be able to defend themselves, they will not be caught disarmed in the face
of any aggression.

They have developed combat means. Why have they developed these combat
means? First, they have a correct orientation in the type of armament. This
orientation is so correct that they left the imperialists behind; because
the imperialists followed the technique of building planes, carriers, and
battleships. The Soviets employed a different technique, and above all,
they developed rocketry. They developed it to the point where they are
ahead of the imperialists. They concentrated their resources in this field.
They have a new technique in conventional as well as in thermonuclear arms.

I could imagine what would happen to a division facing these forces with
the combat means and the training and combat capability they have. What a
tactical perfection and coordination they possess. What would happen to a
force that faced a unity of this type. We had an opportunity to observe
these forces on maneuvers. We saw their conventional and nonconventional
equipment being used.

I am not speaking about strategic means; I am speaking simply of
conventional means. We have seen soldiers of different types, of different
units--infantry, navy, navy surface units, and air force units. We have
seen submariners, and we have also seen soldiers of strategic missile
units. We have seen the state of alert, training, discipline, organization,
and morale; and I will tell you they have no rivals. Their quality and
equipment are superior. I saw the technique and the technique in strategic
arms. We also had a chance to visit strategic intercontinental missile
installations. I already said strategic because the word strategic denotes
long-range missiles to beat (word indistinct) the enemy. We were invited by
Nikita, Marshal Nalinovskiy, the minister of defense, and Marshal Krilo.
Krilo is chief of the rocket forces.

From what we observed there, we could say that in the first place of
importance is the invulnerability of the armament in combat positions as
well as in trajectory--the invulnerability of the missiles; in the second
place, the precision of the missiles; in the third place, the organization
of all the system; and in the fourth place, the extraordinary power of the
missiles. These are the things we saw. And not only that, but we also saw
the technique, the method, the quality of the technique, and the
advancement of the technique. This is the basis for the military
superiority of the Soviet Union over the imperialist camp.

This is the basis of their military superiority and the most effective
guarantee for peace. Why? Because it is the means of assuring the enemy
that an attack will not go unpunished. The result of any aggression by the
imperialist camp would be virtually the total disappearance of the
imperialist camp. Nothing would remain standing. Absolutely nothing. And
they could not prevent this even by launching a surprise attack on the
Soviet Union. They could not prevent their own annihilation. This the
imperialists know perfectly well, as they have an idea of the technique
which the Soviets have, and they also know the precision of the missiles
because they have seen target practice. Little U.S. ships have been seen
milling around where the target area has been announced and where missiles
fired from thousands and thousands of kilometers away miss the target by
half a kilometer--in an area in which thermonuclear weapons and missiles
can destroy everything within a radius of dozens of kilometers.

The imperialists know this. They have an idea of the power of these
weapons; they have an idea of the precision of these weapons and of the
invulnerability of these arms and, naturally, they know what will
inevitably happen to them if they launch an aggression. We had an
opportunity to appreciate all this and to draw conclusions from it. I think
that this is enough of this.

Vivo: Comrade Fidel, we might ask many questions. For instance, your
impressions of your arrival at Red Square, your impressions . . .

Castro: You have already asked that.

Reporter: No, We asked about Lenin Stadium.

Castro: No you spoke to me about Red Square and about Lenin Stadium.

Reporter: Well, how about the meeting in which our people were honored with
the medal the Soviet Government gave you as Hero of the Soviet Union, and
the Order of Lenin.

Castro: Well, we were informed of this decision by the Soviet Government
the day before, but as we were all working on the speech--on the
communique--many of our comrades of the delegation did not learn about it
until the day after the stadium meeting--at the end of the reception.
Naturally, it was a moment of extraordinary emotion for me and for all the
comrades of our delegation and for all the Cubans there, many of whom wept,
and it also impressed all the diplomats present. It was the first time this
kind of honor had been conferred on a visiting non-Soviet leader. This
medal had been granted only to men who fought during the Soviet war, in the
Soviet army, but this was the first time it has been conferred under these
circumstances. It made a tremendous impression on all the diplomats and,
naturally, it is unnecessary to say that it made an enormous impression on

I thought at that moment what country was giving this medal, what people
was conferring this medal, a people which have extraordinary merits on all
levels; and admiral, self-sacrificing, fighting people, the people who
created the first socialist state, who built the first socialist society,
who stood alone against all aggression. The merit was not ours, but of
those who gave it. We were very aware of all the consideration, the

In the first place, we did not see any personal merit in this, nor even the
merit of all of us, because what are we doing? What have we done? Actually,
we have only begun to make a revolution. Our merits cannot be compared with
the accumulated merits of the Soviet people before humanity, and before
history; we must acquire these merits.

It never passed through my mind that all this honor meant that we were so
deserving, but, rather, that it was an expression of the Soviet people's
spirit of solidarity and internationalist feelings of them all: The people,
the party, the government, absolutely of all of them. At many gatherings I
have always said that the honors we received were far above our merits, and
we attributed this principally to the generosity of the Soviet people, and
this is the complete truth.

It is unbelievable, there were millions and millions of people, all the
people all over, everywhere, going, as for example, when we traveled by
train from Irkutsk and Bratsk, in Siberia. When we left Irkutsk several
reporters from the radio station were there; naturally it was learned that
we had left by train. At several small stations in towns where the people
are mainly employed in the wood industry immense crowds appeared, enormous
crowds in a matter of minutes, just because they had heard that the train
carrying the Cuban delegation would be passing. They got together, and it
was impressive.

The Siberians are a strong people, hard working; during the war they were
magnificent soldiers. The Siberian units participated in decisive combats.
The people who live in that climate are very strong and very hard working,
but their enthusiasm is the same. There were enormous crowds from the most
remote parts of the forest; it was a very pretty sight, filled with color
because of the very colorful clothing they wear: their coats, the children,
so forth. The roofs of the station, the platforms, everywhere was filled
with people. The crowds were all over, which tells us of the attitude with
which they received us.

Moderator: Comrade Ithiel Leon.

Leon: About your visit to PRAVDA, which is the press spokesman.

Castro: Well, I remember you. I remember for several reasons.

Leon: What were your impressions?

Castro: In the first place they have very good machines; first of all I was
impressed by the small amount of newsprint they use (laughter). This is the
first thing. I am taking advantage of the fact that I am among newspaper
men to tell about their savings in paper, and about the revolutionary idea
of a small newspaper, with few pages. I am completely convinced that this
is a proper solution, even better for us. Now, if you consider that they
have immense forests; for example, in the region of Irkutsk, they can
produce 60 million tons of wood. At present they are producing 22 million.
However, the wood production is 60 million tons a year. Thus, they have
enormous forests.

And they use less newsprint in their newspapers than we who do not even
have a pine forest! We are planting small forests now; the revolution has
plant 120 million trees. They have a two-page newspaper in which they
concentrate the most important news items, and, I warn you, they are
magnificent editors.

Perhaps we will have emulation among the newspapers. They have magnificent
editors who synthesize and gather the most important things, the pictures
are very clear; the paper and the ink. It is true, they have paper and ink.
We do not have much, but we use more than we have. However, this is one of
the things which attracted my attention. As a result they put out more
copies because they print fewer pages. They supply the people with a very
light newspaper, all of which they can read. After all, who reads the
entire newspaper here?

The first page, the last one, and several sections are carried according to
interest. The paper is also very well organized. Proof of the efficiency is
that as we were leaving, the newspaper PRAVDA had already edited a book
with a graphic report of the entire trip, the pictures, speeches,
documents, everything. You will say: "Fine, to publish a book here a lot of
work is necessary, so many procedures are necessary, and all that."

I do not know if they have a printing-office there, but they published the
book with tremendous speed, and it was well done. They have a group of
editors, directors. They go together, and we met with them. Time did not
permit me to visit other newspapers.

I looked at the newspaper articles published by PRAVDA at the time of the
struggle under czarism. I saw the first newspapers which appeared following
the victory of the revolution, the newspapers published at the time of the
attack upon Lenin, their reports, their guidance. I saw the newspapers
which were published at the time of the interventions.

I was very interested in seeing how things were directed, how the people
were directed; all this is of great historical interest. Those were
extremely difficult days. They have been gathering a very interesting

We had a very friendly meeting with director Satyukov--I do not pronounce
the names very well. They also publish the newspaper KOMSOMOL, and some
others. I went there late. That was a really tiring day because I had been
looking at the machines. When I got there, I said they are the delight of a
newspaper director. However, remember: Everything was interesting, but what
attracted my attention most was the saving of newsprint.

Moderator: Comrade Ernesto Vera.

Castro: Are you going to change the subject already?

Vera: They do not have advertisements in the newspapers, do they?

Castro: No, they have no advertisements. I do not read Russian, but it did
not appears so. Moreover, if a newspaper has four pages, where would there
be room for advertisements? Big newspapers are typical of capitalism, they
are in the big business of advertisements, but "who reads a 100-page
newspaper? There are still some advertisements, as are published by EL
MUNDO, for some things being sold.

Vera: Commander, during a press conference in the Soviet Union you said
that communism has the proper material conditions plus education. Could you
expand a bit more on this subject?

Castro: What does materials plus education mean? It is of decisive
importance. The communist man is not a product of abundance. Communism can
exist under conditions of abundance, but the communist man must be trained
in school. Society must organize him, and the party must train him. Thus,
he is a product of material means, material conditions plus education;
abundance does not make a communist. Hence the importance of education.
This is one of the things to which the Cuban revolution has given great
attention, all the attention it deserves.

From the very beginning we see the USSR building many schools, institutes,
research centers. The figures are incredible. The research workers and
scientists can be counted by the hundreds of thousands. Hundreds of
thousands are working. We have not even started. We must begin to do the

I spoke to the university students about education. They are the generation
which is being formed. Practically everyone has a high school education and
is going on with his studies. Study holds a very important place there. It
is simply an idea expressed there during a meeting with the students about
education. Society must go on creating all the material means to satisfy
man's needs, but at the same time it must educate the man who is going to
live in this completely new social environment.

This is all the more necessary upon emerging from capitalism, in which the
minds of men are filled with prejudices and vices; from a capitalist
society which creates this society of wolves, of people who devour each
other; from a society in which everyone is the enemy of everyone else. It
is all the more necessary when changing over into a society in which we are
all brothers. We must form good people. We must take care of all these
matters of education which attracted our attention, and more.

Moderator: Comrade Valdes Viro.

Vivo: Comrade Fidel, did you speak to the Soviet students about the
revolution of nature, and did you explain the tasks which faced Soviet
youth and those which would face Cuban youth?

Castro: The first time I thought about that was after a conversation with
Boris Polevoi, the Soviet writer and author of "A Man of Truth." "We are
Soviet men," he writes in a magazine article for young people. He asked me
for my opinion on this subject: What will the young people do when there
are no more revolutions? What can be done? Imagine us already in a
communist society and people being born with a vocation for revolution! Of
course, social revolutions are made when a system of classes exists, but
men also have vocations which are channeled in one direction or the other.

(What about--Ed.) the young people, the restless peoples who are born in a
communist society in which they are told that this society has already been
created, the young people who learn about history and how this society
developed and came about. They will wonder what is left to do. The restless
souls, the revolutionary souls, who will constantly be increasing, because
the revolutionary soul is also related to the human mind, the degree of
culture, of development, and of awareness attained. Therefore, a perpetual
revolution must be waged; revolutions end when there are no more classes or
systems of exploitation. A communist society is created and the era of
social revolutions come to an end. However, the era of natural revolutions,
of the revolutions of nature, will begin to a greater degree than ever.

At times I wonder what I would like to be if I were not a revolutionary, or
even while being a revolutionary, what would I like to be. I would like to
be an investigator. Why? because one can revolutionize nature, and to a
small degree create new varieties of plants, animals, anything in the field
of agriculture, and also in the field of physics and chemistry. A perpetual
revolution must be waged by man in all matters. The young people, the
restless people will have to concentrate their drives and impulses in
humanity's perpetual desire for renovation and progress, particularly the
young people.

There remains much for them to do there, because the communist society is
yet to be built. Of course, it is no longer up to the youth who lived
during the prerevolutionary era and during the first years of the
revolution, and who were faced with many tasks. It is for the young people
now growing up. They are educated in a socialist society, in a program for
the construction of communism, with more resources and more means. All this
is reflected in the culture of all the young people, in the topics which
they discuss.

Of course, this generation has a great task ahead of it: The building of
communism. However, subsequent to the generations which are building
communism come the others, the young people who will have a perpetual
revolution, the revolution of nature. This is the idea here.

There is another very interesting thing. I heard a very nice statement at a
concert in the theater of the congresses: It will be a great joy to live
under communism, but a greater joy to build communism. The people who are
building it are doing so with sacrifice, with abnegation. They are living
in austerity, but they are building. This will be the joy of the future
generations, but building it is the joy of the generations doing it.
Something like this also happened to us. We are now living under
difficulties and are facing problems. Later generations will come which
will not have today's problems; they will have others, but they will have
overcome all these things. What do we expect of this? We expect to have the
satisfaction of fulfilling that duty, the love for the work which is being
done, we know that the future generations will benefit from it.

Wanguemert: Comrade Ernesto Vera.

Vera: Within the order of economics, major, can we discuss the subject
already discussed?

Castro: One of the things about the party--I have already said something
about the important role played by the party as an organizer as a leader,
the attention it devotes to the economy and the impression that it had on
me as a great party, magnificent cadres everywhere in all places competent
cadres enthusiastic dedicated entirely, who knew what they were doing. (As
heard) The role of the party in the revolution in the development of the
revolution, in the construction of the economy, and in the leadership of
the country is a basic Marxist-Leninist principle. Only the party can
perform this decisive task. That can be seen when one looks at that immense
multi-national world which is so large.

What is the force that unites it, that organizes it, that impels it? What
is the comment that welds all that together? What is the structure that
sustains all that? It is the party and without it, without it there is no
revolution, there is no construction of socialism. It is impossible and
much less under the conditions of a country like the USSR which is so

Our country is much smaller, but on our scene, in our experiences of five
years of revolution we have understood that principle more and more and we
must in a responsible manner continue and redouble our political type work
in the organization of the party with the same methods because we are
convinced that they are magnificent methods for this.

And we must continue to seek men; create responsible men everywhere,
finding the best quality men in the working class, continue selecting them,
continue forming them, continue developing them, continue placing them in
the work, and always continue drawing from this inexhaustible source of
talent, that mine so rich which is the people, which is the working class.

(Thus it is?) a consistent policy in that sense and responsibility must be
required. One of the things that we must do, one of the things we do not do
consistently, we do not consistently demand responsibility. A person
commits a great blunder and he remains so unconcerned about it. On a labor
front, on a production front, many times we promote people, he commits an
error here and we put him somewhere else, or many times we transfer him to
another job with the same salary. And at times they go to another job with
higher pay.

This is a terrible crime gentlemen. We must shake off this vice, among
other vices, many other vices, and we must exact responsibility from all
levels. The job assigned someone: how does he fulfill and perform it? If he
does not perform it--enough! How long must we take half measures. It cannot
be. He did not do it. And this does not mean that doors must be closed to
anyone nor that we must be implacable because--we must repeat that about
being "neither intolerant nor implacable." We cannot be tolerant because of
comradeship, friendship, pity, or what have you.

We must demand responsibility of everyone at every post, whether political,
administrative, or any other type. Work must be the indicator. So he earns
400, 300, 150 pesos, whatever it is, 150, and he does not perform well at
his job and then he goes to another job that is more modest, then his wages
should be cut. The wages of a man working at a more modest job should be
cut to the rate he is entitled to, and responsibility must be demanded of

Work is something that we have not been able to perform in a consistent
manner. We have passed through stages, various stages, true. However, many
things are the result of the same process. But we are now in a stage in
which we have the responsibility of doing so and we have the duty of doing

However, everyone here must be responsible at his place of duty. If we do
not do this in the beginning--it is a basic matter. It is serious, it must
be taken seriously. No one is compelled. The revolution does not compel
anyone; absolutely no one. Then, he who cannot, well, he cannot.

(You understand?) the revolution is not the work of an individual or of
anyone. It is the work of all the people, of thousands, of millions of
persons. Therefore, strictly personal problems become insignificant in
comparison with the task of millions of persons. And we must demand
responsibility. This is one of our weak points. We are moving forward in
the organization of the party an we must step this up even more and give it
more attention. We must understand that this is the real instrument of the
revolution. This is something -- it is an indisputable fact. It is a
fundamental Marxist-Leninist principle.

Wanguemert: Comrade Ithiel Leon.

Leon: Comrade Fidel: I have a question about journalism. You have touched
on economic matters. It seems that we are now on the subject of economics.

Castro: Good. Later I can remember some of the things that I have
forgotten, right? But, things of a general type, or something of a general
type. Things of an economic nature. Impressions of my trip. My impressions
about Comrade Khrushchev. All those things that I want to talk about here.
It is something general in nature. As pertains to the economic question,
this trip is of great interest for us, for the nation, in general of
interest (to?) the international communist movement. We would have to talk
about many subjects, about many issues. We would have to make
recapitulations, analyses, and all those things. Things about the present,
the future. Naturally, the enemy, imperialism has tried, tried, without
really achieving it, to detract (Castro seeks word--Ed.) value, even
detract magnitude, from the Soviet people's attitude, the solidarity of the
Soviet people, and all those things.

In reality, we can say that the trip ended today because I am reporting on
the trip. I can say that we, the delegation, all of us, and this is my
opinion also, are satisfied, very satisfied with the trip to the USSR. We
are of the opinion that it has been very positive. It has been very rich in
experience and in the contrasts. It has enlightened us about many issues:
In our relations with the USSR, in the overall picture of all the world's
problems, in all these things.

The enemy also tried to make it appear that we were seeking economic
purposes in the USSR (ibamos en busca de prospitos economics a la USSR); he
speculated on the question of the differences existing in the communist
camp; he talked about--that we were going to charge a high price to the
Soviet Government, the Soviet Party, for supporting it, and all those
things. Everyone knows about the position we have held to struggle for
unity in the socialist camp and besides, particularly those who know us
well, also know that we will never adopt positions which run contrary to
principle because of economic interest.

And they know very well that we have our opinions and we defend our
opinions; we defend them at all costs. Therefore, this little intrigue of
imperialism is a petty thing. In speaking to the people here today, as a
result of an objective appreciation of the visit to the USSR, and all the
talks held with Soviet leaders, our opinion has the value of being an
honorable opinion, objective and disinterested, as it always has been. (We
have?) acted in the revolution, effected the revolution, for it was us who
effected the revolution, that is what I was saying in Lenin Stadium, the
enemies of the USSR; we effected it. We apply our tactics, our methods. We
have developed the revolution adopted to our conditions in Cuba, and we
have stuck to a line known to the people in all decisive hours. This lends
value to any opinion we voice.

In the first place we want to stress one thing here: It is that the price
of sugar was brought up as an initiative of the Soviet Government. Comrade
Khrushchev informed me of it after returning from being in the Moscow
suburbs several days. This was contrary to our ideas, for we had been
selling sugar at four centavos to the market of the USSR and the socialist
camp when they did not need sugar. The USSR was developing beet sugar to a
degree in the Ukraine.

It even made some changes in plans so as to be able to buy our sugar. In
buying our sugar, Cuban sugar was of course taken away from the world
market, when the imperialist aggression took place. That has influenced
prices. Why are prices higher? As a result of the imperialist blockade, the
elimination of our quote, and because our sugar that used to go on the
American market, the world market, went to the socialist market.

As a result, why, there was a period of low prices. At another period,
prices began rising. We were selling sugar to the USSR at four centavos,
when sugar on the world market was at 2.70 or 2.80 or 2.93 centavos. Sugar
prices began rising.

They reached the price of 4 centavos. They continued rising, 4.5 5, 5.5, 6,
nobody knows where they will get to, or when they will start to drop. Those
questions depend on a number of factors, so that nobody can say for sure
what they will be next year or some other year.

But imperialists are receiving their worst punishment. They took away our
sugar quota to ruin us, it is they who will be ruined. People are unaware
of the things that have happened to the imperialists, (word indistinct) sad
things have happened to them. But this is typical of the senselessness, the
stupidity, of their policy. They said: "Let us starve the Cuban people to
death; we will take away their sugar quota; we are going to reduce them to
hunger, misery, want; we will see where they sell their sugar, we are going
to put sugar at two centavos." That was imperialism's policy toward us. "We
are going to ruin them. They will be unable to hold out." But since they
are doubly shameless-- I am using a polite term--they not only want to give
us trouble but it was also a bit of business for them. They saw that cheap
sugar on the world market. "Let us take away Cuba's sugar quota,"--which
was being paid for at 5 centavos, 5 plus centavos,--"and buy sugar for 3 on
the world market, thus saving so many hundreds of millions of dollars," for
they had currency problems; they have a good drain year after year and
their currency is being undermined (few words indistinct). They planned not
only to give us trouble, but to do a little business amounting to a few
hundred million dollars. As a result, this year they have to spend hundreds
of millions of dollars more than had they been paying 5 centavos for sugar.
And besides that, the American people will have to lay out about 1 billion
dollars for sugar more than they were paying when sugar was bought from
Cuba. They are receiving the worst punishment.

And far from seeing sugar at 3 centavos, they see us selling the world
market at magnificent prices, when they thought we were going to be left
without a penny in foreign currency with which to fill our needs. Everybody
remembers the history of Cuba, and the deal with the United States: When
times of sugar shortages came, sugar went up on the world market, but Cuba
kept on selling sugar at prices that were below the world market; then when
abundance came they took away from the quota. That was the whole history of
Cuba. Anybody who reads the sugar history of Cuba will see that it was a
history of discrimination, of paying less when the prices were highest, and
then reducing our sugar quota when the situation changed. And they kept the
prices set, for it was also a market that bought a great deal from them,
many of the mills belonged to them. They received profits from the price
paid for sugar and they maintained a strategic food reserve in case of war.

And there was always the problem of whether they would pay us more or less.
When we were paid for sugar at the rate of 4 centavos when it was at 2.7
centavos and 3 centavos, there arose the situation that sugar prices went
up and we understood that it would not be correct to ask for the increase
for two reasons: First, because they had been paying us at a lower price,
rather at a higher price, when it was a very much lower price on the world
market and second, because our sugar commitment had not been fully
fulfilled for various reasons of which you are aware. The sugar commitments
had not been fulfilled. It was not correct that we bring up the problem of
the increase in prices.

Where did the initiative come from? The Soviet Government itself took the
initiative in the question of raising the price of sugar because of
considerations of the needs of the economy, the interests of the Cuban
economy relations existed between the USSR and Cuba. In an absolutely
spontaneous manner they brought up the question of the increase in the
price of sugar at an unknown average because the price kept rising and
falling and the price was not known. Comrade Khrushchev talked it over with
me and he proposed the payment for sugar at six centavos--in those days the
price of sugar was fluctuating--that is to say, a third more than the price
of 4 centavos which they were paying. This is a very great contribution and
a very great help to our economy, to the national economy--let that be
understood well--the national economy, because I am going to speak about

With the prospects of an increase in the production of sugar for next year
and the maximum possibilities of sugar production, the present price, of
sugar, is a price which is a stimulus and an extraordinary help to the
Cuban economy offered to us on the initiative of the Soviet Government
which proposed it and defended its point of view. That is reality-- this
price of sugar. We had a great imbalance with the Soviet Union of close to
between 100 and 300 million dollars difference between what we were
receiving and what we were sending. This creates immediate conditions for
us which are a stimulus for production and which permits us to know how to
use them. What does this mean this knowing how to use them? What does this
income mean? (Is it for--Ed.) the sugar industry? It is income for the
national economy which places us in a condition of being able to plan on a
more realistic basis because these subjects were also discussed with
Comrade Khrushchev.

These questions which are important as much from a theoretic as a practical
point of view with respect to the situation of the underdeveloped countries
which free themselves from imperialism and enter a world which is in the
process of formation. We enter, along with underdeveloped countries, on the
side of countries like the USSR which already has a great economic
development and which, in the historic conditions under which its
revolution took place--completely isolated--saw itself forced to develop
all its resources and reach a very high level of economic self-sufficiency.

These were discussions on the resources with which we underdeveloped
countries are going to develop in order to reach decent economic levels.
These are subjects of much interest which are encountered for the first
time, because for the first time we find a situation so typical as the
situation we are in, which so many factors have had influence, not only in
the economic but also in the political field, all related to the tremendous
pressure being exerted by imperialism on our country, the sabotage it
carries out against our economy, and the permanent subversion which it
promotes, the encouragement it gives to the overthrown classes, all these
were part of the discussions and aroused great interest in Comrade

In this problem of the price of sugar, it is a contribution to the economy.
Why do I say this? Because there are some that have already begun to think
of how they can go about distributing this increase, how they are going to
split this up. Is this the correct way to think with an imbalance of almost
200 million, with the need and overriding duty to develop our economy in a
serious and very responsible manner, is this the time to see how we are
going to split up what this increase in the price of sugar means? No. That
is not correct. To open our maws to devour this increase is not correct. We
must shut our maws and begin to speak a language which can be understood, a
responsible language.

Everything that is demagogy, sectorialism, and antisocial and antinational
attitudes must be fought, but fought with vigor, by the political and
worker leaders. This is a contribution, not to any one sector but to all
the national economy and we have to begin to see the national economy as a
whole. What does it mean to see the national economy as a whole? Well we
might need a certain product which we might even have to subsidize, pay
more for it because it satisfies a certain need in the country. We must use
all the resources of the country rationally so that if we wish to stimulate
that production we can do so with the rational use of these resources.

Investment is what we must make in economy, not be thinking now in view of
this increase that it is good and we feel happy and try to figure out how
to put some more pesos into our pocket.

More dollars in our pocket? For what? What we have a surplus of is pesos.
Does someone doubt this? I do not believe that. Ask Luzardo whether or not
there are surplus pesos. (There are surplus pesos--Ed.) because of a series
of circumstances: The number of people working in the first place, the
disappearance of unemployment, the disappearance of the dead time, credit
to the peasants, the overgenerous hands of some administrators and some
enterprises, tendencies to bureacratism, creation of unnecessary work,
waste. All those things engender poor organization in the distribution of
materials and a whole series of things that result in less production.

There are deficiencies in work in some branches of production. Is this a
time to be thinking of putting more pesos in our pockets and into
circulation? No? It is a time to be thinking in producing so that there
will be not more pesos, but more production goods, more means of work, and
more products. That is what we have to do. That is the only correct thing
to do and the most intelligent and the very least that a revolutionary can
commit himself to do, everything else would be demagogy of the worst type.

How should we use these resources in a rational manner? If we must
stimulate certain crops they will be stimulated. If we must stimulate the
raising of sugarcane it will be stimulated and (we must--Ed.) not be
thinking of differentials. No, no, no, no, we are going to begin to reason
and to pay in accordance with productivity. (We must plan--Ed.) how we are
going to organize all our problems of cutting cane and the problems of
agriculture, because there are a number of situations here which create
very serious problems for us in our economy and for our leaders--something
which was in part inherited from capitalism and something which we partly
did our selves in the first days of inexperience and anarchy. As an
example, there is some very hard work with a lower wage than other work
which is more or less the same in technical quality or without any
technical quality which is easier, less rigorous, and much better paid. How
are we going to correct this error? It is already known that it is not
going to be corrected by taking from one and give more to another. This
would create an infinite number of problems.

In accordance with the situation in which we find ourselves we must
rationalize the distribution of resources, and rationalize the payment of
salaries according to the quality of work and also taking into account the
amount of work, the norms.

These are unavoidable responsibilities which we have to fulfill. Here is
the way things were in the era of Senor Ray, in the era of that crazy
anarchist who was the minister of labor (laughter) named Manolo Fernandez,
(more laughter) a type who was completely in the clouds and who made a
number of equalizations of the public works salaries in the rural areas and
the city. What problems did they create? They created the problem that the
people who placed a brick in some highway were drawing almost double that
of someone producing food, grain, and cultivating the soil.

The people from the rural areas then migrated to public works jobs. There
were many public works officials and chiefs of public works and public
works employees, with the mentality of the era of capitalism. Clearly this
was not the era of the contractor because the contractor sucked the juice
out of the worker and demanded more work, but the administrator when it was
work performed by the ministry, by the state, attracted all the grafters,
all the fast buck boys, all who had political influence and it did not
matter if they laid 10 stones instead of 100, or if they loaded so many
meters of earth instead of so many more.

This still happens to us in construction jobs. It is a serious problem in
which we have not really had the help of the unions, not that they have not
helped us at all, because they have helped us, but they have not risen to
the heights of the help which the cadres, the union leaders, the union
organizations should give their revolution, to their country. It is clear
that this is not just something of interest to the individual but rather
something having to do with the administrative capacity of the ministries,
and the organization, and with the distribution of materials, because many
times individuals do not produce because they lack materials and they need
certain things. This is a problem of organization. This means that we have
duties to perform everywhere.

Now with respect to what we inherited, the people do not want to do the
hardest agricultural work. There is a total of rationalization and we must
distribute our resources more rationally. Anybody who is honest and
intelligent can understand that. According to the new wage scale it is said
that nobody is going to have his pay reduced. Good, that principle is good.
However with rationalizing all new jobs that are created, all the new
people that begin working will begin in their scale, the scale he falls
into according to the quality and quality of work he is doing, the norms he
has to attain. It is mandatory that we do this. We cannot continue to
construct socialism in the chaos which capitalism left us.

We must then know how to distribute these resources. How are we going to
stimulate production, how are we going to stimulate cane raising? We are
going to use them for the farmer, the agriculture worker, the small farmer
in the raising of cane, but we are going to distribute them rationally and
not even think about standing around with open mouths waiting for a split
of these resources which belong to the national economy and which we must
use rationally in our development.

There is still much injustice existing in the matter of wages and low
salaries. Why is this? I have news of some who are making huge salaries and
do nothing, do not produce anything. And how many bureaucrats do we have?
Well, we have those they left us and those we have created. There are
institutions like that famous national bank which has 1,097 employees and
half of them are not needed. We have people working in the rural area
producing food, plantain, malanga, meat, milk, and so forth. (He snickers)
Why are you all looking at Che, it is not Che's fault for any of this. He
was in the national bank but he did not place any bureaucrats there or
anything like that. Why he has not done clearly is to say: "Let's throw
these people out." They were not thrown out because it was not desirable to
throw people out into the street and these extra people were kept. What did
this bring about? It means that many new officials who came to these
organizations, to the ministries, put the personnel that were there whom
they did not like on the surplus list and brought in their trusted
personnel, friends, acquaintances or anybody else other than those who were
there at the time. All that we have also.

It is clear that they will want meat, eggs, milk, fish, everything without
doing anything and without producing material goods and if they do not get
them they will protest, because everybody is a volunteer in the front rank
in demanding things but everybody hangs back when it comes to producing.
That is the attitude of many people. These are truths we must not hide. Now
we have this case of the problem of sugar, and the production of material
goods with a minimum of personnel. There can be seen something that also
shows the lack of development of our economy, that is, the lack of basic
industries and at the same time many workers in service and consumer
industries, and far fewer workers in basic industries. That correlation of
our working force is not good. If we aspire to have a prosperous economy, a
developed economy and resolve our problems we will have to know how to do
it ourselves because it will not fall like manna from heaven. We will have
to know how to organize it and above all know how to correctly take
advantage of the help we are receiving.

We can set a serious task for ourselves in the field of economy and cease
wasting resources. We have passed the phase of apprenticeship and we at
least should be in the intermediate school period of the revolution and
begin to behave in a more logical manner, more intelligent and more
revolutionary. Yes, more revolutionary, because this is a revolution. That
is exactly what the revolution is. Anything else can be a great agitation,
a great hubbub, but not a revolution, above all when society and the
country has to train technicians, has to spend so much in the training of
technical cadres in the schools and universities, has to spend so much in
the problems of defense and in being in a condition to resist its enemies.
And it has to take care of a number of needs and it has to develop its
economy and arrive at the rational utilization of all these resources in
order to plan and develop our economy on a realistic basis.

During the long time that we had the opportunity to converse with Comrade
Khrushchev we discussed many subjects on these things of economic type and
we posed a number of problems related to the special situation of our
country, and the situation in general of the underdeveloped countries.
Comrade Khrushchev showed a great interest in all these things. Among other
things we had a problem with a very difficult but unpostponable solution.
That was the problem of canecutting.

It is increasingly pressing to find a solution for the matter of cutting
the cane. We have stricken, with our resources; efforts have been put forth
by the Industries Ministry, with the use of Cuban technicians, with the
scanty means at their disposal, they reached a partial solution: They
succeeded in building a machine, which of course presents the defects
inherent in the every first machine that is built, and because of our lack
of technical means. The problem of a machine for loading cane was solved in
an entirely satisfactory manner. Hence we reached the conclusion that
loading machines should be made in sufficient numbers for loading all the
cane by means of these machines, while the problem of the cutting was being
solved. This was one of the most serious problems facing our country, and
finding a solution was overriding, particularly considering the degree to
which the volume of cane to be cut every year is beginning to increase.

So, this was elementary for a start. In the talks with the Soviet
Government, a study of our potential and their possibilities, extraordinary
interest was taken in the problem, and discussions focused on it, because
in addition to the machines, tractors were needed.

Of course, a certain number of tractors (have been?) bought, everything
planned, all distributed in the country and outside the country. We needed
some 2,000 tractors and some 2,000 harvesting machines--there is a
difference in the machine--and we are going to produce another 2,000 here.
But there is a difference between the Soviet harvesting machine and ours;
ours makes the tractor useless for other jobs and it must be devoted solely
to this work, while in the case of the Soviet tractor used for this, the
machine can be unhitched in four hours and the tractor can be used for
farming. But even under these adverse conditions, we had the idea of
building 2,000.

The final outcome of the study of their possibilities was that they decided
to deliver to us 1,500 tractors and build 3,500 harvesting machines, that
is, all the harvesting machines will be built over there with a hydraulic
arrangement that we cannot make. So, both the 1,500 tractors they are going
to deliver to us this year for this work, and the 2,000 tractors we are
going to use and which would have been rendered unusable, can all be used
in farming. The 3,500 tractors that are going to be used for harvesting can
also be used for farming, for tilling. They are going to build for us the
3,500 harvesting machines this year and are going to let us have 1,500
tropical-type tractors, in a great effort all through the year, besides the
tractors that had been bought for general farming. For next year this means
a big boost, a big boost to be able to say that now we will be able to get
in all the cane by machine.

But the basic problem still remains to be solved, and what is the basic
problem? It is the problem of cutting the cane, cutting and loading the
cane. And to this problem the Soviet Government, and particularly Comrade
Khrushchev, devoted extraordinary attention. Khrushchev has great
experience in agricultural problems. For many years he was secretary
general of the committee--first secretary of the committee of the Ukraine,
which is a farming region. He had to work very hard on the agricultural
problems. He reorganized the economy of the Ukraine, which had been
occupied by the Germans. And the agriculture of the Ukraine gave him great
experience in farming problems and matters of machinery.

And a curious note: He himself, on the basis of figures about cane, from
his experience in solving farm machinery problems, evolved a number of
ideas on characteristics that should be present in a machine that would be
both a cane cutter and a cane loader, everything done by just one machine,
cutting and gathering. (Few words indistinct) that he had no doubts about
finding a technical solution for the problem.

He got in touch at once with the machine construction ministry, technicians
in the construction of farm machinery; he organized a group at once,
assisted by one of his aide's who is a consultant on farming--and who had
been in Cuba--to get to work on making such a machine.

Khrushchev himself provided a number of ideas on what the machine should
be. Now a design is to be drawn; the technicians, specialists, engineers
are to begin a study on the spot. And in a word, they proposed to solve the
problem of complete mechanization; that is, the growing and cutting and
gathering of cane by machine; and for us, this is decisive, according to
plans for economic development, for the development of agriculture, for the
development of sugar production. And for us, it was basic, elementary, for
a start; really we had to solve the cane problem. All Soviet technology and
industry is now engaged in solving the problems of space trips. How could
we fail to solve an incomparably simpler problem such as fabrication of
cutting machines? This is to say, he took special interest; sometimes he
worked a whole day on the problem. He told me that without the least doubt,
within two years--within two years--the matter of mechanizing the cane
harvest would be completely taken care of.

Just think what that means--under the new conditions, the current prices,
being able to save ourselves the labor force of hundreds of thousands of
men, hundreds of thousands. This is the beginning we were talking about in
(few words indistinct). So that our nation can present itself before Latin
America (few words indistinct) as a nation that has completely mechanized
its sugarcane cultivation. This gives us extraordinary encouragement in
order to begin to work very seriously on the problem of the economy.

This was not even the most important part of a series of questions in
connection with the economic development of our nation and the position our
country is going to occupy in production within the socialist camp already
existing and within the communist camp that is in gestation. In other
words, what position are going to occupy in the world of production? Our
small nation, without enormous rivers, without coal, without any oil
discoveries thus far, in the coming decades, without thinking of a more
distant future now, in which our country's economy indisputably ought to
integrate with the economy of the rest of the Latin American nations when
historic conditions and the process of the evolution of the peoples will
determine it--because only by regional integration of economies can the
highest possibilities be attained--since a small nation with limited
resources and another small nation with limited resources as well, which
combine their natural resources will permit the great development that the
USSR is attaining, the super development the USSR is attaining in the
vastness of its soil.

We talked at great length with Comrade Khrushchev about all these questions
concerning the problem of the resources that the underdeveloped nations
ought to finance themselves with (as heard), the position which we ought to
occupy, which production lines and which branch of production we ought to
develop. At this time, these questions are of the highest import to Comrade
Khrushchev and the Soviet Government.

For us, it means that we must seriously get to work on all this, in order
to prepare the position that we are going to occupy in the world of
production in which we are going to specialize. What are we going to do? We
are going to build an economy based on international division of labor. In
the manner in which we resolve this problem correctly, will greatly depend
the future of the nation and we, the leaders of today, are going to be
judged on this more than on any other things--much more than for what we
have done until today in the revolutionary process, it will be for the
bases which we are going to create. This is why we must be rigorous,
intransigent, in the correct solution of all these problems. There really
is a favored opportunity for all this.

At this time, it can be said that the general situation of our country is
one of security--a situation of security. Security against the danger which
has been besetting us since the very outset of the revolution -- of a
direct invasion by the United States.

The United States had resorted to all its weapons. It had resorted to the
arm of economic aggression: to the arm of subversion; to the arm of
indirect aggression. What they had left was the arm of direct aggression.
What I can tell you, after all the talks and the detailed analysis of all
the issues, is that at this time we have a situation of security against
this danger. In other words, it is a danger against which we can count on
great security.

Does it mean that the danger has disappeared completely as a potential
thing? No. Complete disappearance, no. In no way is there a complete
disappearance of the danger of war, of the danger of an invasion against
us, of a world war. No. Absolutely not. The danger persists and it will
persist while imperialism exists with its aggressive power and with its
aggressive policy.

It is indisputable that together with the change in the correlation of
forces, this potential danger diminishes, abreast with the change in the
correlation of forces, in the same measure that the socialist camp
reinforces itself, in the same measure, the socialist camp is more

Of course, there are things that are very eloquent--the Cuban revolution is
very eloquent proof of the change in the correlation of forces that has
taken place in the world, as we explained in the Lenin speech (presumably
the speech he delivered at Lenin Stadium--Ed.). Certain proof of the
Marxist-Leninist principles is the change that has taken place in the
correlation of forces since, in fact, the imperialists have had to repress
themselves with respect to us. Does the potential danger persist? It will
always persist while imperialism exists.

Imperialism now knows, with scientific certainty and positively, what
aggression against Cuba would mean. Imperialism has enough judgment to
refrain from harboring the least doubt as to what a military invasion of
Cuba would mean for it, and the imperialists have already reached that
conviction. This does not mean that there still are not some crazy men and
agitators there; that contradictions will cease to exist over there; that
demagogy will cease to operate; that hysteria will rise and fall with
respect to Cuba. But the imperialists know what they can depend on should
they decide to launch an armed attack against our country.

The imperialists naturally persist--as is expressed in the communique and
as is expressed in our pronouncements and by Comrade Khrushchev in the
meeting in the Lenin Stadium--in their policy of subverison, sabotage,
violations of air space, and all those things which mean the task of
fighting against that and of setting ourselves the goal of eliminating
those factors of tension and danger of war. And at the same time we face
the need of maintaining our forces at a maximum. As much because of the
potential danger that will always exist while imperialism exists as well as
because of the policy of subversion and provocation they carry out against
us, and as long as those conditions do not change, there is a need to
maintain powerful armed forces, perfectly equipped, and trained. This is
guaranteed--the maintenance of our armed forces in optimum battle condition
to confront and perform their task in case of imperialist aggression.

That is one of the things that we can expound--that is, it is an instrument
on which our country can count to a very high degree of security which
permits us to dedicate ourselves, to dedicate a great part of our energy to
building our economy.

Our policy with respect to the United States, the policy on which we have
made repeated pronouncements, the policy we proposed at the meeting in
Lenin Stadium. What is our disposition? Ah, to normalize our relations if
they wish.

We even made some pronouncements in an interview with a North American
correspondent before leaving for the USSR--various pronouncements. We spoke
about everything and a number of questions were made and we answered

WE were even asked about indemnifications and all those things -- well if
they want to talk, we can talk about that. I recall that the law we passed
nationalization the American enterprises said that we were going to
indemnify those enterprises, but the indemnification would be based on
their purchase of a certain number of millions of tons of sugar of our
surplus over and above a certain amount of sugar they were buying from
us--I do not know if it was 3 million tons (voice says 3 million--Ed.) 3
million, at 5.25. Of course at that time they would say "the price is way
down." And they would not consider that much, but now the price is sky
high. That means that one of the requisites for discussion and possible
indemnification is in the fact that prices are now above 5.25.

Clearly this is another problem of price and quantity, but that can be
discussed according to the existing situation because we now have a better
price on the world market. Do we have an interest in selling them (the
United States--Ed.) a large volume? Everything to the contrary. It can be
said that our economic interest is in selling at better prices on the world
market, at the price that the socialist camp is paying us. That is to say a
higher price than 5.25. Why sell them 3 million?

And so conditions exist, if they wish to discuss indemnification. We will
discuss. We will not refuse to discuss. They will say: "Well, and with what
you are going to pay the indemnification?" Well, today sugar is at a price
very much above 5.25. We can discuss all they want. We have heard some
statements by North American politicians. There is a large number of North
American politicians who are perfect demagogues and perfect clowns--two
words on political matters. (As heard) There are some American politicians
who are little more serious, a little more thoughtful, who take reality
into account, some more blind and some less blind.

What have some newspapermen said? They have answered as if we had a great
interest. They say: "Well, we shall talk with Castro if he breaks his ties
with the Soviet Union, under such and such conditions and so forth." And
what conditions are these? Who are they to be setting conditions in order
to talk?

Well, we also set conditions that in order to hold discussions they
withdraw their naval base, that they cease to do a few things more in order
to discuss and not to be setting so many conditions. But who is it that has
the most interest in discussing. Let us see.

Let us analyze the situation, let us analyze the correlation of forces. The
correlation of forces of the socialist camp, the correlation of our forces,
our armed forces, our economic situation, our economic prospects, our
political situation, and let us compare it with theirs. Let us see if the
present situation of the United States is as sure, as solid, as is the
situation of the Cuban revolution. Because the Cuban revolution is much
more solid than Kennedy's victory in the coming elections. I believe that
is something nobody will dispute. Then what, what is it that has caused
them their greatest reverses? Their greatest discredit, their loss of
prestige? What? The policy they have followed.

They prepared subversions; and we combatted them, we crushed them. They
prepared counterrevolutionary bands supplied with arsenals of weapons; and
we put them out of action. They prepared invasions, and they have been
obliged to pay a modest indemnity for all that. They persisted in their
plans for aggression and they found themselves on the brink of destruction
as a result. Discredit, headaches, and now hundreds of millions in currency
as a result of their aggressions against us. Is their policy not bankrupt?
Yes, it is. Who failed? They have. Who won? We have won. Ah! The defeated
are going to impose conditions on the victors. What a policy! (Prolonged

We Cuban revolutionaries feel that our position is secure, solid. We have
magnificent prospects ahead, and we know now how all imperialism's
machinations can be resisted and defeated. And yet we have said because of
a question of principles, because of a policy of principles and peace, we
are prepared to discuss matters, we are prepared to normalize relations; a
policy toward all countries, toward all Latin American countries, it is our
policy of principles. Now I understand that for them, now can they demand
conditions? It is ridiculous. It is absurd. To come and tell us: "Quarrel
with your friends so as to make friends with your enemies." That is what it
amounts to. And with what enemies! They are totally different; there is
nothing in common between them and us. They talk about geography. Today
geography has become small. The trip that took Christopher Columbus three
months, we made in 12 hours, and the distance covered was greater. By how
many times have the geographical dimensions of the earth been reduced? The
90 miles are more or less--now the 10,000 miles from here to the USSR is a
matter of hours. The ferry from here to Miami takes longer than the TU-114
does from here to the USSR, gentlemen!

And then, facts have demonstrated the economic potential of the socialist
camp; they have shown that geographical distances are an invalid argument,
outworn. And it is in illusion to go around laying down that kind of
conditions. When they want to talk, let them come and hold discussions
without prior conditions.

Let them not play around with those things. We want to normalize relations
but we are in no great hurry. If they do not want to, we can wait
indefinitely; we are not pressed, gentlemen of United States politics.
Examine your own convenience and the results obtained from the policy of
aggressions against us. We are calm, assured, and optimistic. That is our
policy. And of course we are strong here on our island, well supplied and
well entrenched and well-trained and more than well-equipped. That is how
things are.

Along this line, regarding our country's security, in connection with the
trip: We talked at length with Comrade Khrushchev on all problems, all
questions, details; an analysis was made of everything. I had the
opportunity to see many reports, data, documents, a great deal of
information that contributed to form our general opinion on the situation,
and provide full understanding of the situation--an improvement, an
increase, in friendship, in relations with the Soviet Union--all in a very
satisfactory manner.

We can say with complete satisfaction, and answer the imperialists, saying
that all our conclusions are the result of talks, discussions, what we have
seen, and what we received in the USSR, how the people treated us,
everywhere; seeing solidarity carried to the ultimate degree, and knowing
how far that solidarity of the Soviet Union goes, and that it was a
solidarity that was nurtured from the beginning, before our trip to the
USSR, and after our trip to the USSR, to the maximum, by the party, by the
government, by the press of the Soviet Union, by the Soviet organizations
(few words indistinct). Because of that solidarity, the Soviet Union has
run great risks. The Soviet people have made enormous sacrifices. They did
not hesitate in assuming the risks they assumed with respect to our
country. Those are firm conclusions, a product of all those very long
conversations on an infinity of questions.

I am going to give you the opinion, and I am very glad that the comrades
asked me about Comrade Khrushchev. I am going to say that I have a
magnificent impression of Comrade Khrushchev. I have every right to say it,
and the honor. I knew Comrade Khrushchev for the first time, although we
had known him for many actions of his toward the revolution during the most
difficult moments of the embargo of oil, the suppression of the sugar
quota, all those things. I met him personally when I was at the United
Nations in New York, surrounded by a climate of hostility on the part of
the Yankee authorities and all those things, semiconfined there in a part
of Manhattan Island and in the Teresa Hotel.

Khrushchev, being the representative of a powerful and great nation, of an
extraordinary importance, went to the Teresa Hotel and visited us there. It
was a great gesture and he then invited us to dine with him. Those were the
contacts of a personal type that we had with him. After that we knew each
other through a series of communications, letters, and things like that. I
had not had the opportunity of dealing with him directly from close up as
we had the opportunity during the past days. In reality Comrade Khrushchev
dedicated an amount of time to us that can be said were the full 40 days
that we were there. His was a special attention, affectionate toward our
entire delegation. We had the opportunity of knowing him in official
conversations, informal events, and in activities such as hunting, resting,
and all that, because in reality what were doing was to talk during all
that time.

The thing that impressed me most was the extraordinarily human character of
Comrade Khrushchev. I barely spoke of these things, while I was in the USSR
I did not speak of these things because many times Khrushchev was around
and it would place him in an embarrassing situation if I spoke. I thought
that these public opinions would be better said here.

One of the characteristics of the man is that he is extraordinarily human.
He is very human in his dealings with the entire world. He is a very simple
man of great simplicity. With whom could he talk? He could talk with me. He
could talk with any of the comrades of the delegation. He could talk with
the most modest member of our delegation and he would spend two or three
hours talking with him.

I remember that one day he was with us hunting. It was very early and we
had gone to bed almost at dawn. He woke very early, we were still sleeping,
and seeing some comrades up and about he spent about three hours talking
with various comrades, with the comrade adjutant, with (Korba--phonetic), a
man of great simplicity. That is the same way he deals with everybody from
the most prominent leader of the party to his dealings with all the
workers, employees, the people who work in rest houses, anywhere, that was
one of his characteristics. It can be seen that it was very sincere and
very spontaneous. He is very careful in all things, a hard worker, very
well organized.

Another characteristic of Khrushchev which I was able to see is that he is
an extraordinarily intelligent man. I am neither a biographer nor an expert
portrayer. I do not attempt to paint a picture. I attempt to state a few

I was for example, impressed by this thing. Khrushchev is 69 years old. He
has an extraordinary mental energy, and a complete, complete, complete,
mental lucidity. He has not only a great mental quality but a great mental
agility, quick thinking. He is without a doubt one of the most brilliant
intellects that I have ever known. That is the opinion I formed after
entire days spent conversing, and discussing with him. Another
characteristic of Khrushchev is his experience of many years as a militant
revolutionary and as a political cadre in which he perfectly combined his
profound theoretical knowledge with great political experience.

One must take into account another characteristic. For example, the origin
of Khrushchev. I saw a film made by the Germans, a very good film, called
"The Russian Miracle." One of the scenes is that of work in a mine. Perhaps
the people will soon have the chance to see this film. I took a special
interest in having that film shown here. It is a great film for learning
about the process of the Soviet revolution. In it we saw what the work was
like in a coal mine. They are really horrible scenes, and in the times when
Khrushchev worked in the coal mines conditions were even worse. Khrushchev
came from a peasant family who moved to work in the Donbas in a coal mine,
or iron, I do not remember which. That is where he began to work as a
laborer. That is where he became a communist, where he entered the
Communist Party. He then worked as a political cadre, as a commissar in a
combat unit of the Red Army in the civil war, then he returned to factory
work. He was sent to cadre schools of the party. He became prominent in the
ideological struggle in that school. Then he was appointed to certain
posts: He became the party leader in the Ukraine, a party leader in Moscow,
and in this way he developed.

In the Great Fatherland War, Khrushchev worked as a political commissar and
member of the council of war, of the coun. . . What do they call it?
Council of war? No? Military council. (Voice: Military council) Yes. In the
military council, in two decisive battles. First, in the battle of
Volgograd. Khrushchev was there, in Volgograd. When we visited Volgograd we
were shown the zone, at a brook, within the city of Volgograd, in the strip
of territory the Red Army still held, there was the command post, and there
was Khrushchev and there he spent the entire battle of Volgograd. Not much
has he spoken about this. But he was there when it was decided that not one
step backward would be taken. Not one step (backward, he was there?). We
saw a documentary in which he was seen talking to the soldiers who won the
battle of Volgograd. He was also in the military council in the battle of
the Kursk salient. It is written Kursk, but I do not know how it is
pronounced. It was another of the bloodiest and most decisive battles of
the war.

Then he went to the reorganization of the party in Ukraine. We ought to
realize that the leader, the principle leader of the proletarian state was,
and note this, was a worker. In other words a proletarian; completely of
proletarian origin. He came from the coal mine shafts.

This understanding has great influence in his work, in his way of seeing
things, in his humane sense as regards the workers, in his appreciation of
economic things. He has lived the entire process, from miner from the
Donbas coal fields to first secretary and chairman of the USSR Council of
Ministers. But before attaining this he had really accumulated a number of
extraordinary experiences. He is a veritable authority on economic
problems. He talks with the authority of one who knows the problems of
agriculture, of industry, of the economy. All these things, but something
that (word indistinct).

Regarding Khrushchev's policy in the USSR, as a visitor to the USSR I have
obtained this impression. I could see the atmosphere in the USSR of
optimism, work, of happiness of the people, of support of the policy by the
people, by the militants of the party, by the party cadres. All of this.
There are things that can be perceived perfectly. There are a series of
other things. There was a whole series of stages that they had to pass
through. The Russian revolution, just as any human work, also had its
problems, its errors. Just as we have had them, so have all revolutions. It
was a series of stages but they belong more to history and they belong more
to (Castro does not complete sentence--Ed.) Things that were their tasks.
They overcame a series of things.

(Few words indistinct) it can be said that the spirit of all the Soviet
people is one of extraordinary optimism; of great affection for Khrushchev.
We could see it. We were there. We know something about this. We talked to
the people, to the masses. We saw how the people treated him, how the party
cadres treated him. We saw the meetings. We saw everything.

In fact there exists a spirit of collective discussion; yet amid this
spirit of collective discussion and management, one is quite aware of
Khrushchev's authority and prestige in that collective management. He
speaks with great authority in those bodies; he is received everywhere with
great respect by the party's cadres, the militants, and the people. I saw
it; I was able to see this everywhere. Actually, the people's support for
the policy of the leadership and of the party is an unquestionable fact.

The USSR economy is progressing at extraordinarily great strides. I
appreciated this in the many discussions I had with Khrushchev. He gave me
the impression of being a most honorable man, of a man possessed with great
honesty. Moreover, he showed a great preoccupation for all the problems
connected with today's situation, the domestic tasks in the Soviet Union,
international problems and politics, and the international communist
movement. I can say that I saw Khrushchev really preoccupied, really
worried about all the problems related to the problems of the unity in the
socialist camp. This is what I noted in all our discussions in everything,
that is, a great interest, a great desire to find formulas to solve the
differences that exist in the socialist camp. This was a preoccupation on
the part of Khrushchev that I was able to observe.

It is something to see a leader of Khrushchev's age really doing the work
which he said he was (going to do--Ed.) For example, he has been working on
some programs for 20 years. This does not mean that we should not have
wanted to have constructed a communist program in the three we have been at
work. However, we must be guided by reality, time, goals, the pace of
things. I said that they are men who are really working in all seriousness
to solve all these problems. They are not thinking whether or not they will
see the results of their work. They are thinking of the future: This is one
of the things that causes them great concern.

I must express all these opinions; it is important that I express them; I
must honestly say them. What I say is based on much that I saw, in some of
the experiences I had in dealing with those men, in becoming acquainted
with them, in becoming acquainted with the leaders in becoming acquainted
with their politicians. Khrushchev is greatly worried about peace. He is
extraordinarily worried about the fight for peace. He wants to avoid a
thermonuclear war. He is very aware of the destruction that a thermonuclear
war would cause. Yet, at the same time, he is also very aware of the danger
inherent in the arms race, the aggressive policy of the imperialists, the
need for being armed and perfectly equipped, and the need for the Soviet
forces to have the maximum fighting preparation in order to face the
(possibility?) of war.

We must keep in mind one thing: [The fact that the Soviet Government, the
Soviet leadership, and Comrade Khrushchev have shown great interest--I had
a special opportunity to see it in my talks with the Soviet officers on
strategic matters--in the decision to build rockets.

This decision in which Khrushchev contributed with his leadership. He
defended this policy consistently, that is, the development of rocketry--a
weapon that has made it possible for the USSR to face, from a military
point of view, the danger of an imperialist aggression. Part of the
technical equipment of the Soviet armed forces has included rockets in the
past few years, and the number of rockets is increasing. This is the
situation. Aside from Khrushchev's preoccupation for peace, I was
constantly aware of his preoccupation to be in a position to resist and of
his determination to maintain a firm policy. We must realize that
Khrushchev has participated in wars: in the civil war and in the most
decisive battles of war. He has participated in war; he has taken part in
the most difficult battles, and he showed great audacity in those difficult
moments. He was also bold in politics and it is admitted that he is a bold
politician. This is the conclusion I drew.

I am not going to dwell on this any longer. Perhaps, some day I may be able
to give more details because they are the (valuable?) impressions of my
trip. Moreover, I am not generally given to praising things. (One sentence
indistinct) At times, we tend to eulogize and to become apologetic. We are
extremely confused. We go from one extreme to the other. We do not
interpret everything right.

We take an extreme position; we suddenly destroy the leaders, we ignore
them. Perhaps, suddenly we unnecessarily praise them, and I was the victim
of a disproportionate bit of praise in the USSR. It so happened I blushed
when I read the papers. (One sentence indistinct) I think these are
opinions I should express because they are of interest to the people and
the entire world. I do not know what opinion the imperialists have of
Khrushchev, but I think that is a serious adversary for the imperialists.
He is a serious adversary of imperialism. (One sentence indistinct) It is
my impression that Khrushchev is a great leader and a formidable adversary
of imperialism. I can say this with ease; I can state it and I am not
obliged in the least to do so, absolutely not. No economic advantage for
our country (would lead me to say it?). The economic and political problems
we discussed there came up spontaneously; they were really discussed in an
(informal?) way. We did not go there to exchange postures, and to give
support, as the (gangster?) newsmen of imperialism said. We have firmly and
vehemently defended the need for unity and discussion among all parties and
among everybody at the directional level of all parties in order to
overcome the differences that must be conquered for the benefit of the
interests of the entire communist camp, and all the peoples in the
communist camp.

All the peoples in the communist camp and all the national communist
movements need unity--unity in our slogans that must be sincere and
vehement. We must be sincere about the slogans we have fought for and for
which, to the extent of our modest possibilities, we shall continue to
fight for and to hope for. I think that we must have this (unity?). We must
have this policy of discussion within the principles because Marxism is
rich in experience and extremely rich in doctrines, so why should not the
Marxists-Leninists understand one another when they discuss all problems
face to face?

This is the way we talked with Comrade Khrushchev. Everyone made his point;
we discussed each and all of them. We presented our opinions, all of our
opinions on each and every question. We can frankly, honestly, and
sincerely say that we are wholly satisfied for having behaved in that way,
for having performed our tasks in that manner, and for having discussed
things in that fashion. We came to understand many things, and I believe
that we must all be open to comprehension. One must understand us, the
Soviets, the Chinese. We must understand in this moment of history the
revolutionary process, the movement, our preoccupations, our problems, and
our faith in each and all things. We must be well (aware?) of the balance
of power of all forces, of all sorts of possibilities, the possibility of
developing the revolutionary movement and the communist movement to fulfill
the objective of the communist movement, that is, the end of the capitalist
system; the replacement of capitalism, of that capitalist society by a new
and just society in the countries that have not freed themselves yet.

Such unity, based on Marxist-Leninist principles, would strengthen the
entire communist movement. What is there that could not be discussed face
to face? What is there that could not be cleared up among us? Who wants
war? The imperialists have said, when we spoke of peaceful coexistence,
that we supported the Soviet thesis rather than the Chinese thesis. Who
said that the Chinese thesis favored war? The documents and the statements
made by Moscow (two words indistinct) have a fundamental (requisite?): They
agree. The imperialists have tried to establish a difference in postures.
No one wants war. War comes when an aggression is made, when it is
inexorably imposed upon us by the imperialist enemy. We are completely
prepared for this contingency, and, therefore, we are in a position to
repel it. The fight to avoid war is a correct policy that all should
pursue. No one, no communist in the world (wants war?); the communists have
never been warmongers. No one questions the problems of (word indistinct),
for all people must decide their fate.

We said as much in the joint communique, that is, that the duty of the
communist parties is to place themselves in the vanguard of the battle for
socialism and against imperialism. No one objects to this. The people
choose their paths: One of the paths may be peaceful; the other may consist
of an armed struggle. No one objects this this. We, for our part, came to
power through an armed struggle and the facts are there. All those peoples
who may have to fight and have no other choice but to wage an armed
struggle should take that path. In doing so, they will have the solidarity
of the entire international communist movement. No one wants war; we are
fighting to preserve peace, for the peaceful development of the creative
labor of all people.

We are fighting for the development of the communist movement with all the
resources at the command of a camp that today is much more powerful. If
this movement could develop when the USSR was alone, why should it not
develop with more fighting spirit and much more chance of triumph when the
USSR is not alone but abetted by the entire socialist camp? This is
something of which every communist is aware. The problems must be discussed
and opinions must be exchanged. Reasoning must be pitted against reasoning,
argument against argument, and opinion against opinion. This is the
Marxist-Leninist road; this is the dialectical road to (communist?)
achievement. That is our opinion. We are sure that one can discuss things
with Comrade Khrushchev because of his attitude and his willingness to
listen. I have had this personal experience after having discussed many
things with him, and after having seen how he considered our points of view
and the things we said and the interest he showed in them.

When we were right, he told us so; when we presented a solid argument, he
listened. And this discussion, the discussion among the parties, the
discussion of things for as long as necessary, contributes to something.
After all, the ability to discuss things as long as necessary, must precede
disputes, public discussions, and public polemics. A public polemic does
not benefit anyone; it benefits the imperialist enemy (if anything?). At
the same time, it hurts the international communist movement more than ever
because disunity hurts; public polemics hurts. It hurts all the parties and
all the organizations. It causes problems, disunity, and misunderstandings.
Therefore, the first thing to do is to talk things over at (word
indistinct) levels. (Sentence indistinct)

I can say that one can talk things over with Comrade Khrushchev. He
(presents?) his reasons, his arguments, and his (opinions?). This is the
impression I received. It is really an optimistic and positive impression.

I believe that it has been a positive trip. It is true that we received
from all the Soviet people more honors than we deserved. Their warmth and
affection were really impressive. The Soviets are a generous people and
(show their?) solidarity with a country that is so far away. (Two sentences
indistinct) We will continue fighting alongside the international communist
movement. Anyone who thinks that we are going to swerve a single inch is
completely crazy; we are not going to be separated a single inch from the
socialist camp. Whether they are joking or "kidding" about it, the fact
remains that they should have no such illusions. (They should not forget?)
that we are communists. (Applause) Our fate will be that of all communists,
and the international communist movement of the revolution will be the
inevitable future, the absolutely inevitable future.

Today, more than ever, there are reasons and circumstances that nourish the
faith and (hope?) in the ideas of Marxism-Leninism. They can be seen; they
can be felt; they can be touched. They can be seen in figures, in
statistical data, and in everything. We must fight for great unity,
understanding, and brotherhood so that we may understand the problems. We
must create ever stronger bonds; bonds of great solidarity among the
peoples; bonds of greater international sentiment and of greater generosity
among the people. Above all, this is needed by the countries, by the small
countries; the underdeveloped countries need it.

Speaking to you here we are speaking not only in the interest of all
communists, but also in the interest of all people who are under the boot
of colonialism, under the boot of imperialism, of course, those who nurture
the hope of developing, of liberating themselves, of unfolding as the
socialist camp is developing. That was one of the evident things. We are a
good example of it. There, during the day of the final official reception,
many of the representatives of African countries were there. Today, many of
those recently liberated countries are not victims of imperialist blackmail
because they have an opportunity to appeal to the socialist camp for
political, economic, or military support. And Cuba is a good example of

The policy followed by the revolution has been accurate. That policy
triumphs fully. It is a good answer to all of these things we have seen,
all of this aid which we are spontaneously receiving, all of this effort
that is being exerted--to those who said that we would be in a certain
situation, if not a definite situation.

And this path, firm, definite, and in concurrence with the principles, is
the accurate path that we have followed, the path over which we have been
able to defend ourselves from the imperialists by defeating their
aggressions. Its force, its prestige, and the creation of the conditions
for its maximum and full development with great assurance. That is the path
the revolution has followed -- that very one.

I believe that if you have nothing else . . . (the moderator starts to
speak and is again interrupted by Castro--Ed.)

Castro: I might have forgotten some things, but I believe that I have
presented the essential things I wanted to talk to you about today.

Wanguemert: The Prime Minister has concluded his report on his state visit
to the USSR. I wish to thank the comrades on the panel, and bid good night
to the television audience. (Applause)

(Editor's Note: The informality of Castro's report before a panel of
newspaper reporters enabled him to speak casually, often interrupting
reporters' questions, joshing, and rambling extemporaneously, sometimes
even allowing his thoughts to trail off as he groped for words. He rapped a
pencil near the microphone for stress. Castro frequently paused to sigh, as
if he were tired or were stalling for time to formulate his thoughts. Then
he would put them forth very rapidly. His voice was not as clear as usual
and sounded like the hoarse voice of an old man. It was noted that he asked
for "specific" questions, but when reporters posed questions that
approached specific topics, Castro would wave them off, suggesting he would
like to observe some sort of chronology and leave them for the last. Many
of his answers were evasive as the text has shown.)