Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services in Spanish 0302 GMT 1
November 1964--F/E

(Closing speech by Premier Fidel Castro at National Transportation Plenum
at the CTC-R Theater in Havana)

(Text) Invited guests, comrade transportation workers: With this ceremony
today, we culminate a number of events which have dealt with the problems
of production. Over several days, or rather in successive weeks, the
comrades of the sugar industry have met; that is, all the comrades in
industry and agriculture who have to do with sugar, the comrades who have
to do with medicine, the comrades in public works. Previously, the comrades
of the Hydraulic Institute also met, and I believe that I have forgotten
one--there were two sugar meetings--a national sugar industry forum and an
event of the sugar industry itself, a plenum. Today we have this plenum of
the transportation workers.

What can be declared (long pause, laughter from the audience, Fidel says:
"I do not know if that is a radio or a mar," referring to some type of
disturbance--ed.) What can be declared as a common characteristic of all
these events is an evident progress in revolutionary work, a superior
spirit of responsibility, a much greater seriousness in an analysis of
problems, and undeniable progress in all aspects. It must be satisfying to
all the workers and all the people to see that the revolution is
progressing, to see the advances which are increasingly being attained; and
of course this means a strengthening of the confidence of the masses in the
revolution, a strengthening of faith in the revolution. The most important
thing of all, is that we know that there is no easy road. The most
important thing is that we know that advances in the early periods of a
revolution are always slower, are always harder, are always; more

It is important that we know that on glimpsing these successes, on
glimpsing future successes, we might fall into the mistaken idea that
everything will progress effortlessly. We will not progress effortlessly,
but we will progress with more assurance. We will not progress
effortlessly, but we will progress with better organization. We will
progress with more experience and of course it is to be supposed, with a
greater effort by everybody--because we need that effort--and we will also
progress with a greater discipline than we have done up to now. We will
also progress with more seriousness in our work than we have had up to now,
and we will progress with more knowledge than we have had up to now. It is
obvious that in all aspects, on all the revolutionary labor fronts, greater
knowledge may be observed, a greater capability. It is obvious that we
better understand what a revolution is and that we have now learned that a
revolution is a much more difficult task than many imagined. A revolution
is a much more profound change than many imagined.

Among other things, there is that truth that nothing teaches the people
like a revolution, for many times facts contradicted faith, many times
facts contradicted enthusiasm, many times facts contradicted words, many
times facts contradicted aspirations, many times facts contradicted
promises. This is because the truth of the situation was thus and the
causes were difficult to understand. When facts contradict aspiration,
objectives, desires, promises, and words, undoubtedly the enthusiasm and
faith of the masses in the revolution can be harmed. There were causes of
an objective order, beyond our control, but there were causes of a
subjective nature which were within our control to overcome. Sometimes the
causes were confused. Sometimes the blame was put on a single cause.

Confusion of causes is bad because there is a tendency to place the blame
on a single cause or to place the blame on another cause. Thus, many times
all the blame was placed on imperialism and all the blame was placed on the
imperialist blockade. It is not that we are going to underestimate the
importance of this cause; it is not that we are going to underestimate the
importance of the imperialist aggressions and the importance of the
imperialist blockade; it is unquestionable that this has been a great
obstacle, it is indisputable that this has been the cause of many of our
difficulties. However, it is also indisputable that inexperience,
inability, a hollowness, and irresponsibility have also been causes of many
of our difficulties. Thus, the blockade should not serve as a pretext--it
should serve as an incentive. The blockade should not serve as an
excuse--it should serve as a stimulus. Because in the face of the enemy's
action the action of the revolutionary (Castro fails to complete
thought--ed. ) In the face of the enemy's action to destroy us, arguments,
protests, or lamentation are not worth anything. In the face of the enemy's
action to destroy us, our action to keep the enemy from destroying us is
valuable (applause)--to the actions of a friend, redoubled effort, greater
passion for the cause, the honor of revolutionaries, the decision to win.

Of course, I cannot believe that a revolutionary process--a people who are
paving their way to the future by forced march--can omit experiencing that
process of learning, that they can omit experiencing all these things. We
sincerely believe that everything was necessary and that everything was
inevitable. But what matters within a revolution is the promptness, the
efficiency with which the inevitable problems, the inevitable errors, the
inevitable disorganizatio~ are overcome. And that is today's struggle,
today's battle. I have not the slightest doubt that when we look back in
the future, not only will we be proud of what we have done, but we will
even be prouder of ourselves because everything that will have been done
began from practically nothing, and will have been done when almost no one
knew anything about anything, when almost everything had to be learned
during the march, when almost everything had to be done for the first time.
Nevertheless, no revolutionary would be satisfied, no revolutionary would
be content if he realized that what could have been resolved in five years
was resolved in 10--what could have been resolved in 10 years was resolved
in 20.

At the beginning of this year, when we were recounting the successes
achieved I said, on that day of the fifth anniversary of the revolution,
that two or three times as much would be done in the next five years as was
done in those first five years. One year, one month, one day, or one hour
during the first years of the revolution is not the same as one year, one
month, one day, or one hour after some years of revolution have passed.

And I think that we are correct to think that during the second five years
of revolution we will march much better and we will progress
extraordinarily more, that the circumstances that present themselves today
are much better than those of the first years, that many problems will have
been overcome, many problems, from the very day of the triumph of the
revolution to today.

And it is not that we are marching far on only one front. It is that, in
reality, we are marching in a more or less even manner, in a more or less
even manner on all fronts. It could be said that in the early years of the
revolution some things progressed more than others. It could be said that
some of those advances were imposed on us by necessity: thus the need to
defend the fatherland against enemy aggressions promoted an extraordinary
progress in our armed forces. In like fashion, the need to create a
consciousness, the need to understand the ideological battle against our
enemies, promoted an extraordinary advance in education and study.

However, today, while that advance is not being halted, it can be said that
we are progressing equally, with a great effort, in all aspects--with a
great effort in all aspects--with a great effort in agriculture, for
example, with a great effort in construction, with a great effort in
transportation, with a great effort in sports, with a great effort in
organization of the administrative apparatus as well as in organization of
our party and our mass organizations. A considerable number of efforts in
various fields are being made in several directions. A number of industries
are already beginning to become realities. It will not longer be easy for
our enemies to make that joke that they were wiping off the dust of our
industries that fell on their shoulders, because they would have to wipe
off the dust of some non-imaginary industries. The dust that will fall on
them is from our gigantic thermoelectric plants, for example, (applause)
which practically double all our previous installed capacity.

Only a year ago, our country suffered one of the most severe scourges of
nature, which caused countless losses in lives and material goods, and
already many dams are being built in Oriente Province and if the number of
them is not greater, it is simply because of the inevitable time it takes
to carry out certain studies. Considerable quantities of equipment for the
accomplishment of those projects have been arriving. They were acquired
through the generous contributions of the people. As you all know, the
critical years of our sugar production--the figures, as you know, have not
been published and will not be published for some time to come-- are being
left farther behind, and with each passing year will fall even farther and
farther behind. The country is recovering on practically all work fronts.
Work is being intensified in sugar production in order to reach the figure
of 10 million tons (applause), and the 10 million tons will be attained.
And not only that, the interesting thing is that it will be very probable
that when we reach that figure, we may see ourselves in the need to
establish a higher one. Why? (applause) Because by virtue of the agreements
which have been signed with numerous countries, practically all of the 10
million tons of sugar are sold. (applause)

The program of increase, or the planned exports year after year--the
planned and contracted exports year after year--will absorb all of our
sugar increase. Our problem, the problem of our country today, is not that
great problem of yesterday, of wondering what the devil to do with the tons
of sugar we had left over every year--the problem which was the tragedy of
the country, the headache of the country, the cause of insecurity and
anguish for the workers, for the farmers.

Today our problem is to produce much more sugar than we are producing and
to produce all the sugar we have sold, and to think that even these maximum
figures are in truth not going to be sufficient, because if in 1964 we have
sold the 1970 sugar, (applause ) then we have time from now until 1970 to
sell the 1975 sugar (applause). Besides this, the great bulk of this sugar
is sold at prices higher than the prices we previously received. That is
the prospect, looking ahead only one year; but it is not just sugar which
will develop in our agriculture. In our agriculture, livestock for
example--the agriculture and livestock field--in the next 10 years will
reach a value more than double what the 10 million tons of sugar will be

That is to say that in our country the productive work, the creative work
of material goods, is reaching a point which is truly incredible. If we add
to this the fact that in the country practically everything has been
converted into a school (applause), into an immense countryside of study,
if the number of workers who are studying reaches the unbelievable figure
of 600,000, if the number of children registered in school reaches the
figure of approximately 1.3 million, this means that knowledge, technology,
and science are going to accompany this gigantic productive effort of the
people as its main support; and who can still have doubts about the future
which awaits our country? If work improves on all fronts, it is
indisputable that we will have the right to feel optimistic.

I believe that these prospects should stimulate our effort today, our
present effort of these years. The example of what has been done in the
field of transportation in less than a year is a good proof of what can be
done (applause). It is a good proof of the fruits of enthusiastic and
intelligent work. It is a good proof of the fruits of proper organizations.
It is a good proof of the results of using your head. It is a good proof of
the fruits resulting from responsible and serious work. It is very worth
while to point out this example, because it can be said that a year ago the
transportation sector was really in last place. A year ago the state of our
transportation was very poor. The state of transportation was embarrassing.
I believe that only 11 months have passed since that time, which Comrade
Faure recalled here, in which we referred to this problem, and it can be
assured that the situation has changed considerably, it can be assured that
the transportation sector will march alongside with the other sectors; and
that because of its importance, because of the enormous and vital
importance it has for the economy of our country it must place itself among
the first (applause).

The analysis of the progress achieved is significant because it has been
achieved with practically the same resources we had last year, with smaller
labor forces than existed a year ago, and at a smaller production cost than
existed a year ago. The fact that there has been an increase in
contributions to the nation by the transportation enterprises from 11 to 33
million pesos in eight months indicates that the increase in contributions
in this year will be approximately 30 million pesos more than last year. It
is possible that there are still people who do not know what 30 million
pesos mean--those for whom pesos are simply pieces of paper which are
received from the bank and wasted.

Of course, those who work hard for those pieces of paper do not waste them,
but there are those who do not work hard for them and waste them
(applause). Those are the pieces of paper with which a worker is paid, and
those are the pieces of paper with which the worker pays for services and
goods he has earned by his contribution to society. These are pieces of
paper which, when thrown in the street, are that many fewer pieces of paper
for the workers--pieces of paper which, when thrown into the street, mean
fewer goods and services for the worker--pieces of paper which, when wasted
in unproductive work, mean less pay for creative and productive work
(applause). That is the importance of the figures. That is the importance
of the millions and, to cite a more concrete example to help us understand
what the 30 million pesos mean, it is enough to say that with 30 million
pesos in one year, we could pay for all the expenses of 50,000 scholarship
students in technical schools or institutes (applause).

And this means that if we want to have 100,000 scholarship students, if we
want to create a new generation with a very high level of technical
education that will place our country among the most advanced in the
present world, we cannot waste money, we cannot misspend money. Because in
the same measure that we do not learn to save, in the same measure that we
do not overcome that absurd habit, so will we be restricting our chances of
doing more and more for the future, of doing more and more for the people.
And is this habit of throwing money away a capitalist habit? It is in a
certain sense, and it is not in another sense. The capitalists wasted money
on pleasure and luxuries and entertainment, but they did not waste money in
the production center. They did not mismanage their money. The capitalists
squandered money through anarchy in production. They misspent money by
irrational use of that money. That is how the capitalists misspent and
squandered the money, the fruit of labor, but they did not misspend it in
the production centers. They used the minimum number of persons necessary
in various types of works, the maximum number of persons necessary in other
types of works. Are we socialists going to suppress capitalist
squandering--what the capitalists spent on pleasure, luxury, and vices,
what they misspent through anarchy and irrational use of money--and throw
away the fruit of the work of the people in other ways? That is what each
functionary, each revolutionary must keep in mind when he has the job of
administering money. The people gain absolutely nothing if the money that
the capitalists spent in one way is thrown away by the socialists in
another way (applause).

It is true that the revolutionary functionary does not work in order to
become rich. It is true that the revolutionary functionary works for
remuneration, that is, he does not work for a certain salary, he receives
remuneration according to his effort and his ability. He does not work to
become rich. That is logical. The capitalists worked to become rich. They
tried to administer well in order to become rich, but when a peso was lost,
it hurt them and they tried not to waste, not to squander. Nevertheless,
why should the peso they wasted not hurt the revolutionary? (applause) Why
should a revolutionary not be hurt by the squandering of the money they
administer in the name of the people? Why? What difference could there be
between a miserly rich man and a squandering revolutionary? It could be
said that the former, at least, impoverished some in order to enrich
himself. But whom does the revolutionary who wastes money enrich! He
impoverishes everyone without enriching anyone.

The function of the revolutionary who is an administrator is not to
impoverish anybody, but to enrich everybody. To administer well means to
work for the enrichment of all, and that is not always the way the
revolutionaries, or so-called revolutionaries, act (applause), or those who
in good faith believe they are revolutionaries but pave the way to ruin.
Yesterday we were speaking with a comrade and making some comments on some
problems brought about by the inexperience of these times. Speaking on the
problem of bureaucracy, he said: "Look, the truth is that sometimes I call
a comrade on the telephone, a comrade who does not have a very important
post, or a job at a very high level, and his secretary answers (laughter).
She says: 'Wait a moment, I will call him.'" And he told me: "Practically
everybody has a secretary." (Laughter, applause)

The truth is that I feel sorry for the comrade secretaries, because there
are many worthy comrades there and after all it is not the fault of the
secretaries (applause). When one has to deal with these problems, one is
always running the painful risk of hurting the feelings of some comrades in
some labor sectors. However, it is not they who are at fault. If we are the
ones who fill buildings with office workers, why should we blame the office
workers and not ourselves? (shouting, applause) To my knowledge nobody was
put to work at pistol point anywhere. When we refer to these problems, we
refer to them with respect to our errors. When that comrade told me that, I
thought of the case of some comrades who work in an incredible manner, who
perform so much work in one day that it is probably 10 times as much as
that done by those people, those gentlemen, who when they are called on the
telephone have a secretary answer for them! (applause) I know that a great
part of that evil is not due to a premeditated act or to indolence,
although there is some indolence involved. Many times it is due to
erroneous concepts of organization.

On a certain occasion, I was discussing with a comrade who worked in a
state organization the problems of tables of organization, and he told me
that they were necessary. I do not deny that tables of organization are
necessary, but I would be happier, more convinced, if those tables were the
result of real needs and conformed with actuality, instead of trying to
make actualities conform with tables of organization (applause). Then that
comrade confessed something to me. He said: "I am going to tell you an
anecdote. We had two types of enterprises, a service enterprise and the
other--I do not recall what kind they were, I do not remember if one was a
production and the other a service enterprise--the service enterprise had
one table of organization and the production enterprise had another. The
production enterprise had a branch in its table which was not in the
service enterprise. But when the service enterprise was organized, an error
was committed and it was given the other enterprise's table of
organization. After it was organized with this table of organization, they
discovered that all the people working there who had been hired to fill
that part of the table did not belong in that type of enterprise, and it
was then that they discovered that they had made a mistake, that they had
put a production enterprise branch in a service enterprise."

That did nothing more than confirm my suspicion that many, many
organizations were have been made up in somebody's head, in an idealistic
manner, and have not been derived from the realities of life. They have
confused one thing with the other; they have converted the table of
organization into an objective instead of an instrument, an instrument
based on realities.

In that way, we have been falling into an evil which we must understand. We
have fallen into a tremendous vice, bureaucratism (applause). Of course,
that vice of bureaucratism is not easily combated. The struggle against
bureaucratism is a complex and difficult struggle because one must prevent
that struggle against that evil from turning into a disregard for the need
for and the importance of organization. One must be careful that, in
creating a conscience against that evil, one creates, not a conscience
against necessary organization, but rather the struggle against
bureaucratism, which we said was a manifestation of the petit bourgeois
spirit in the proletarian revolution. That is a truth, and we have to try
to teach the people, to educate the people. And we do not teach or educate
the people when we succumb to those vices.

How can we overcome the difficulties we have in a number of aspects? How
will we succeed in training all the technicians we need for the development
of our transportation, for example? How will we manage to train all the
engineers we need by the hundreds, not in industry and agriculture alone,
but also transportation? (applause) How will we manage to find the manpower
needed today to solve a series of urgent problems, to solve our supply
problems, to eliminate rationing of a number of items as quickly as
possible,--items such as starchy vegetables, for example (applause)--to
have enough milk, not just for children up to the age of seven, but after
the age of seven, and even for all citizens up to 70? (applause) How are we
going to solve all the housing problems we still have, all the needs of
construction work for our industry and other public needs? How are we going
to solve the problems of our sugar industry and the cultivation of our
canefields and the cutting of the cane?

How are we going to solve all these problems if we do not really increase
the spirit of work, the spirit of productive work; if we do not shape each
citizen's awareness of the need to work and produce? (applause) If we need
tens of thousands of teachers, nurses, doctors, and workers of a number of
categories of what might be called an intellectual nature, we cannot
wastefully develop a series of unnecessary and unproductive functions.

Yesterday, when we met with the students who had just taken a course--that
is, with the administrators of the cane farms--we cited an example
(applause). We told of a recent tour we made of the interior of the
country, during which we visited the (Orien--phonetic) farm, observing how
some farm work was going. We came to a spot after dark. It had poured and
the rivers were up. It was very wet. There was a herd of more than 500
cows. There we talked with three comrades who were struggling to tame those
cows. They explained all those problems, the problems they had, the
tremendous effort they had to put forth struggling with those wild animals.

We asked: Do you need more help here to be able to tame (few words
indistinct)? They explained to me: At least 10 have been here, and all have
gone again. I pondered, seeing the heroic work of those men--really heroic
work, very modestly, paid--in an attempt to solve problems of the people.
It makes one wonder how many people know the efforts being made, how many
people must be unaware of the efforts which some men of flesh and blood are
making in remote corners of the nation (applause), and how many men like
that we need, and how great a need we have to create that spirit of duty,
that awareness of the need to work, that understanding of the honor and
merit of work.

To be sure, there can be no people more open and ready for understanding,
there can be no intelligence more open to understanding problems and the
means of solving them than our people, just as there is no people more
enthusiastic, no people more sentient no people quicker to respond to any
appeal made for any cause (applause). What a struggle, what a hard
struggle! It is necessary to understand how many needs our people must
satisfy. It is necessary to understand how many young men, how many
vigorous intellects we must have under arms; how much strength and how many
human resources we have to devote to the task of defending the country; and
how, at the same time as we satisfy this primary, essential need-- for it
is vital to the nation--we must at the same time perform a whole string of
other tasks of every kind for which forces are needed, hands are needed,
work is needed; how we face tasks, the task of increasing our production in
every sector, particularly the task of increasing sugar production, above
all in these coming years when we will still be without enough machines.
That will be an enormous yearly increase.

How can we neglect the fact that some men leave the rural areas for the
city--exodus and more exodus from the country to the city, men and more men
for nonessential kinds of work--when we have areas of great farming
potential with scanty population? All of us must think about these things
and concern ourselves with them. We must call a definitive, complete halt
to every tendency that goes counter to these vital interests of our people.
This is not the only undesirable practice.

Yesterday we had an opportunity to come across another practice--a sort of
piracy of another order, but not another of class. It has to do with
students who graduated from high school at the preuniversity institute in
Tarara, today called Ciro Redondo School City. Fifty youths had registered
there to study agronomy. However, they were not going to go to the
university, but were going to enter technological institutes. They were
going to be turned into teachers of workers, to teach mathematics, physics,
and chemistry. Simultaneously, they were going to be agronomy students and
were going to get a modest salary during their first years, and gradually
they would be paid more.

The comrade who was at the head of this work brought me a paper which the
University of Las Villas had circulated soliciting students for instructor
courses. The students were to be registered as agronomists and at the end
of the first year, they would earn 171 pesos as agronomy instructors. At
the end of the second year, they would earn 238 pesos. There you have the
indolent people! There you have the money-grabbers, the pillagers, the
corrupters! (applause) The truth is that some of those boys who had already
decided to register for those courses abandoned the idea after they had
been lured, attracted by that offer, by that juicy offer. I had to ask the
comrade to send someone to Las Villas University to investigate who was
behind this evil deed and to tell them that this offer had been voided
because no consultations had been previously conducted and because it was
immoral (applause).

Only a few days ago we talked at the University of Las Villas against this
student piracy. Today, students are no longer pirated to work, but are
lured by bribery to go study this, or that, or the other. His implies that
we should have an even better and greater control over the students,
because appeals, appeals, and more appeals have become a habit which are in
fact sabotaging preuniversity training here. The students are being called
even from the secondary school. This could be done in one or two essential
activities, or in as many as are necessary, under strict control.

However, this business of calling, and calling, and calling, impelled by
urgent needs, could result in students' entering this, and that, and the
other, right out of high school. There must be a control, and the Ministry
of Education should be responsible for this control. Let a rigid control be
established and let no student be lured without due authorization and
consultation. with the Ministry of Education! (applause)

Needs for highly qualified technicians multiply. The reports drafted by the
comrades in the office of the assistant secretary for the Ministry of
Transportation all pose firmly, vigorously, and accurately a tremendous
need for highly qualified personnel to satisfy the growing needs of our
transportation. This indicates that we must establish an order of
priorities. It shows that we must establish a vast control over pirating
students to prevent this thieving, this anarchic practice in search of
students, in which there is absolutely no control against satisfying these
pressing exigencies at the expense of possibilities in the future.

We clearly recall that at the beginning, during our teacher training
programs, we spoke about graduating some first course teachers and sending
them to work. Then we would recall them to allow them to take a second
course. We were of the opinion that many of those who finished the first
course would never come back to take the second course, and that we would
never attain perfectly trained teachers. We suggested that this would not
do, that we should be patient and allow teachers to conclude not only the
first, but the second course. Within a few months, we will graduate
approximately 1,000 students as teachers after they have completed both of
the courses. They will be teachers of a better quality than if they had
studied only the first course.

We were patient. It was necessary for us to have a little bit of patience.
That will enable us in the future to graduate technicians who are better
trained, teachers who are much better trained, with much more experience.
That is why we must learn to be patient in many instances in order not to
destroy with our feet, as it is commonly said, what we are constructing
with our head.

We must always be keenly aware that the progress of the revolution requires
a closely coordinated effort, requires everybody to look to the support of
everybody else, and above all, requires us to look for support to the
efforts of all. Otherwise we might be making mistakes that would cost us
dearly later. I was saying that needs are very great for manpower, for
skilled technical personnel. Now and then a new enterprise is opened, a new
factory. It is not right to bring in personnel from the street to do the
administrative work that has to be done there if there is a surplus of that
personnel somewhere else. The problem of personnel surpluses is not an easy
one to solve because if we solve it by taking from here to send there, we
will be encumbering the other place. We would be transferring the ill from
one place to another. (indistinct words from the audience). That cannot be
the solution because that would be punishing those who are not guilty
(applause). I believe (that among other things?), the revolution must give
every worker security no matter what his work is, even if it is an
unproductive job. He must be given assurance that he will not be thrown out
into the street because, no matter how serious this evil may be, it must be
combated without falling into a worse evil. What I believe is that we must
ponder these problems, and it seems to us that one manner of solving the
problem is to organize studies using all surplus personnel.

Why? If in agriculture we are bringing farm workers to study three and four
years, to send them back to agriculture afterwards, why, in administration,
should we not also organize a school? If we are going to convert a
farmworker, often at third grade level, and spend two years equalizing him
and bringing him up to the eighth grade, and more time if necessary, plus
two more years in technological studies, and after all that he can register
in the university and go to work, to supervise--why not adopt a similar
method in the case of surplus personnel in certain types of work? What
cannot be done with any young man who already is at the sixth, seventh, or
eighth grade level? If the complaint is continually heard that the
personnel are so poorly prepared that it is necessary to employ 10 instead
of 5, why then not make a serious effort to train all administrative
personnel? First, raise schooling levels learn something about bookkeeping,
something about administrative matters and thereby improve technical
preparedness of all that sector, of the workers who are engaged in that
kind of world.

The formula would be to close the circuit, freeze the present number of
workers in administrative offices, for at least 10 years (applause) so that
an equal number or fewer--in 10 years, when the economy will be much more
developed and production will be incomparably greater--all these duties
will be carried on by the same number or a smaller number of employees,
with much higher technical preparedness. Close the circuit for 10 years,
and not take in anybody but highly skilled technical personnel (applause).
And I think that this is a good job for the comrades of the Public
Administration Union and the comrades of the Labor Ministry: for them to
find out how many office employees we have throughout the island, in each
province, each ministry, each consolidated enterprise, each regional
organization, everywhere--so we will be able, so we can use a few of these
office employees to keep good records and a good statistical estimate, good
bookkeeping, on the number of persons currently working in these
activities, and close the circuit.

And then every time a new factory is opened--right now, in a few months,
the port of Havana is to be opened. A number of administrative employees
will be needed there. All right then: every time a new center is opened,
and needs work of that nature, let some be employed, and so we will
distribute and rationalize more and more, and we will raise the production
and productivity level of those workers. Of course it is much easier to
take in thousands, and it would not be proper, or right, or humane, but we
simply must seriously, very seriously, face up to this problem, and as
revolutionaries it is our Duty to consider this problem and win this

There are thousands of activities, thousands of fields for the men and
women of this country, for the young people of this country, thousands of
fields, and we are not living under capitalism, gentlemen, which trained
the girls with a little of this and a little of that for some job of that
kind. What we need are technically skilled personnel (applause). We need
many technicians in widely differing specialties of various levels. And we
must go on concerning ourselves with these things, and we must study the
causes of these problems, and study why, study what we must do in the
provinces particularly.

We received an awesome heritage, a macrocephalic nation with a capital much
bigger than itself. And what we must do now is populate the provinces train
many technicians and send them to the provinces and create living
conditions there (applause). It is necessary for us to concern ourselves
with living conditions in the provinces. That is the most intelligent thing
we can do, the most advisable thing.

The disproportion existing between the size of the republic and the size of
the capital is incredible. In the statistics about unloading of goods here,
two-thirds of imported good are unloaded in the port of Havana, which is
one of the smallest. We must ponder all these general problems and form an
awareness. The battle against this vice must be waged through awareness,
and it must be waged with the organized strength of our party (applause)
because only the party cadres, men with a political and revolutionary
vocation, are able to feel deeply concerned over the things, are able to
feel passionately about these problems. The political cadre defending its
cause, battling, understands the effect of any problem, the political
effect of any problem. It is approached with explanations of what is
lacking, needs that exists for this and that and the other. It feels
concern, a passion, over these problems.

Because of this we have brought up the necessity for our cadres to acquire
thorough technological knowledge, to devote themselves very seriously to
studying; for it is easier to make a technician out of an enthusiastic
politician than to make an enthusiastic politician out of a technician (
applause). The need to study here is general and increasingly evident. and
along with others, the political cadres--and I say the same for the union
cadres--must study, and hard, for really (applause), anyone who does not
study here will lose general respect (applause). Because an educational
movement has been created perhaps without parallel, of a magnitude such
that the men who are in the lead have to move very fast so as not to be run
over, because a mass is coming forward and will inexorably move over
them--nobody will escape being run over if he does not exert himself, if he
does not study.

And everywhere problems are constantly being analyzed with much greater
thoroughness and much greater responsibility. When I came here I told
Comrade Faure and other comrades; A meeting did not use to be such a
serious matter. Today, to come to a meeting, one has to spend a whole day
reading more than 100 pages. Now, every meeting discusses technical
problems--very systematically, very seriously, very thoroughly. it requires
previous study, analysis, information, something terrific. And we know what
that is, because we are always having to speak at functions, one day about
cane, another about something else, another day the sugar industry, another
transportation, another medicine, another public works.

It is an overwhelming task. And this shows merely that things are
constantly attaining higher level, more technical, more responsible, more
scientific; and it requires of all men at the head of any administrative or
mass activity that they study, and one of the formulas I have suggested is
fewer meetings and more study (prolonged applause). I have no doubt
whatever, I have no doubt whatever that within two years at the most, at
the rate the country's educational revolution and technical revolution are
going, there will be tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of persons
studying mathematics, physics, chemistry, and subjects like that; and that
those subjects, which were formerly for a very small minority, will become
subjects for mass study.

And this makes us seek practical formulas. But I think there are many
formulas. One is to use our press a bit for this purpose. This does not
mean that right away tomorrow we have to begin publishing a book. No. Let
us discuss what we are going to publish, when and how. Yesterday we gave
some books to cane farm administrators. Those books were printed by the
comrades of the Industries Ministry, in record time. It was not planned, of
course. But the need arose, and we put it up to the comrades of the
Industries Ministry, to Comrade Guevara, and he told me: "We will print
that book in record time."

Well, we gave him the book, and they actually did print it in record time.
It was well printed. They made 5,000 copies. But that is not enough. On
this topic, 5,000 may be enough, but on something else we may need hundreds
of thousands, and I know the problems that confront issues of books for
schools, for anywhere.

While speaking with Comrade Blas Roca, director of the newspaper HOY, I
told him, in connection with an analysis of newspaper distribution and
where the papers get to--and he was explaining to me more or less the
distribution of the different papers and the efforts made to get the papers
to the rural areas--other times, I had seen in the pages of the papers some
sections devoted to agriculture. Often, some of our newsmen, many of whom
know absolutely nothing about the topic they are writing about--and I say
that without any wish to offend the newsmen, I believe, in fact, we have
splendid revolutionary comrades in the field of journalism--but they too
must improve themselves, they too must improve themselves, for a people
that knows more every day, a people that reads more every day, must be
furnished every day with articles of higher quality (applause). I suggested
to him the advisability of using the press to disseminate some technical

I intend to discuss this problem with the comrade newspaper directors soon.
The idea, basically, is to take a certain kind of book, of the ones that
are in great demand today--on agricultural matters, for instance. That is
how the idea arose; afterward it can be developed and extended much
further. I explained the possibility, for example, of using one of the
paper's inside pages to publish a chapter or half a chapter every day from
one of the books whose dissemination is of interest to us. Some of them are
of unquestionable value. This means that if 270,000 papers are published
daily, every day 270,000 chapters or half-chapters would be printed and a
book would be printed practically every two months, and readers who are
interested in the matter could cut the sections out and compile the book at
home (applause). This would involve a small section of artists, because
sometimes it is necessary to make illustrations, some figures. A photograph
is more difficult, a photograph may be of some value, but in a chemistry
book, for example, everything could be on the basis of painting. And of
course, the somewhat more difficult things would not be taken at the start.
Everything must come in its time.

We expect an eminent French scientist soon, a great expert in livestock
matters. He will visit us next month and give 10 lectures. Those lectures
can, of course, be published and be out out. We are going to ask him for
authorization to publish some of his works--some of them.

Expanding on this idea, we know that often many of the tens of thousands,
hundreds of thousands of workers who are studying are hampered by lack of a
textbook--lack of a grammar, lack of a math book, lack of a book on some
subject. This would of course require a gigantic task of printing books,
but if we use the newspapers that are printed every day, with the same
paper and the same manpower we can publish some of those lacking textbooks,
some grammar books, math books, textbooks in the various subjects the
workers are studying. In this way we could print practically millions of
books. This is to say, it would be a third dimension of the press, the
mission of publishing books for a nation that is all devoted to studying
(applause), at practically no additional expense and using a very small
portion of the space in any of our newspapers.

(Apparently somebody in audience speaks to Fidel). Yes, we could announce
it in one. We do not have to remove from the newspaper any of the services
it provides, but there may be underutilized space in the papers. And I
believe it could not better be used for anything else--a section in a
paper, without overdoing it, in orderly fashion, in a controlled way, so we
will use the various papers for different things, different subjects,
according to their distribution. And truly, we must see how the fullest
support can be provided for the enormous effort being made by the workers
and all the people in studying.

And so I have been calling attention here, telling all the comrades of the
need to move at the same pace, and how it is everybody's duty, and how more
responsibility is constantly being shown in discussing topics. And these
same reports that the comrades of the Transportation Ministry have
presented and discussed here at the plenum are worth printing and
distributing, because very serious and very interesting analyses have been
made, and very intelligent proposals, and things that perhaps are very
often not thought of, that we have not thought of. And an accurate focus on
any problem is essential.

The comrades of the ministry have analyzed a number of problems very well.
They have gone to the essential point, the policy of paying attention to
maintenance as a prime question. It is unquestionable. Hence, even with a
seven percent production increase, costs were, I believe, up six
percent--it was six percent, of which wages made up one percent,
approximately--but almost all the increase in cost was in materials, simply
because of the attention devoted to maintenance. And together with that
policy of giving maintenance all the attention it required, the policy of
replacing in operation many locomotives which were considered practically
unusable, rebuilding many buses, adapting new motors to them, restoring o
operation many of our cars that were paralyzed because a part was missing,
problems of various kinds--and solutions have really been found. Production
has been boosted considerably, even before the new equipment acquired has
gone into service; because there are only fifty-odd Leyland buses of the
nearly 1,000 buses acquired. None of the locomotives has as yet come, of
the ones that have been acquired. It is truly encouraging to know that when
all that equipment, which costs resources and foreign currency, does arrive
it will last much longer, it will have a much greater productivity, it will
receive much better attention. That is really good news for the people. It
is truly splendid news, and, I am sure, very bad news for the imperialists,
very bad news for our enemies, for they had some information about the
condition of our transportation. (words indistinct) If that were the case,
they were waiting for the day it would be completely paralyzed. And now it
turns out that it was going that way, but suddenly it has turned this way,
straight up (applause).

If many of the buses that were broken down are put into operation, rebuilt,
cared for better, and added to the 900-odd that are coming; if the same is
done for our locomotive stock, if the same thing is done for our
ships--because we must remember that for this coming year our merchant
fleet will be three times what it was at the start of the revolution; if
every time this new equipment is put into service we have the guarantee
that it will be better cared for and better utilized and will produce more,
it is a magnificent sign that we are on the right track, and it is a
guarantee of progress it is a guarantee of advance, it is a guarantee of
economic development.

In these reports are many details of great interest regarding every sector
of transportation. For example, the analysis of the railways, the history
of the railroads, the development--how our country was the first in America
to have a railroad, practically; and how this stagnated for many years, how
other countries have attained tremendous development in railroads while
ours was at a standstill; all the problems regarding the lines, use of
electronic equipment on tracks, automation in the operation of railroad
stock, the problem of roadbed construction, a whole string of matters that
must be known, a series of points that are worth studying, and they
indicate indisputably that we are tackling problems from a technical,
scientific angle, and that all these things are much deeper than they seem
at first glance, and that all these things in many parts of the world have
attained a degree of development we did not even dream of.

Our problem was the same. In cane, we are the country with the lowest yield
in the world among sugarcane-growing countries, while enjoying the best
conditions in the world. In livestock the same thing. In practically all
crops, with some exceptions, the same thing. In hospital services, same
thing. In railways, in transportation, the same. In industry, likewise. In
the mines, the same. The case of our country was a painful one, a country
stagnating for dozens of years, a country lagging at the rear of the
others, a country whose population grew, yet which did not develop
economically or technically in any direction. That was our countrys'
situation. Good proof of this is the million- plus adult illiterates Cuba

Today a great, serious effort is being made tending to reintroduce the
country to science and technology, economic development, educational
development, cultural development; a country that has to recover many lost
years and therefore has to advance very fast if we want to find solutions
to our fundamental problems in the least possible time, if we want to place
ourselves in a leading position among the developed countries, among the
advanced countries in the least possible time. All these efforts being
made, when we are barely getting started, the responsibility and depth of
the effort, are something really encouraging.

And with that spirit, without forgetting for a moment all the things we
still have to overcome, with this impression, we have come to the closing
session of this plenum. I believe we should not confine ourselves to the
analyses, but as Comrade Faure said, get to the business of carrying out
the resolutions of the plenum. Comrade Faure mentioned that some vices
still exist. That is unquestionably true, but I have no doubt at all,
because of the workers' spirit, because of the spirit that has been evident
here, I have no doubt but that the comrades of the unions, like the party
comrades, will contribute with their best efforts to overcome those vices

There has been a tremendous change in the union problem too. Ingrained
habits, conditioned reflexes from long years of struggle against
capitalism, left habits and reflexes, left customs that were not easy to
overcome and were often not easily understood by the (masses?) of workers.
It is obvious that in the transportation sector discipline was greatly
relaxed, administration was greatly relaxed. Everybody did just about as he
pleased, in every enterprise, in every post. The result was not good. It
was necessary to understand that. It was necessary to promote a vigorous
reaction against it. And in the long run, what worker fails to understand
that everything which is well done anywhere rebounds & to his own benefit?
And that here we must eradicate one vice, there another, yonder still
another, and in the next sector still another? That the eradication of
vices in all sectors helps everybody, and that this is the only way, and
there is no other?

If we want to perpetuate those vices, or those weaknesses, in one sector,
we cannot hope to see them overcome in the other sector or the next. The
result would be disadvantageous for everybody. What else can the revolution
want, what else can the administration want, what else is meant by a
revolutionary government, if not concern for the welfare of the masses,
concern for the welfare of the people? When we say "Let us improve
transportation," we are not thinking of the wealthy, we are not even
thinking of those of us who travel by auto; we are thinking of those who
have to take the bus, those who have to use that service to go to work or
take a pleasure trip, of all the other workers, just as when we urge those
of the farming sector to grow starchy vegetables we are thinking of the
other workers. If we exhort them to produce milk we are thinking of workers
everywhere. When we talk to medical students or the students of any branch
we are thinking only of the benefits that will mean for the mass of

What worker does not understand this, and what worker does not feel pleased
when he knows that progress is being made in this industry? What progress,
what improvements have been made! We have seen them. The public is already
beginning to understand, and the public is beginning to recognize the
effort which the transport workers are making. It is not being overlooked,
and the public, which is the remainder of the working people, is beginning
to feel gratitude toward the transport workers, and it is
acquiring--(applause) it is improving its concept of things. The transport
workers are assuming a new stature in the eyes of the people because the
people are sensitive to all these things. Therefore, we have not the
slightest doubt that, with the support of the working masses, the union
leaders will do their utmost to help, and they have been helping. Recently
we read a report which listed the progress made and the successes obtained
prior to this event. Today, in the midst of a revolution, the old concepts
are being left behind; the old concepts of administration, the old concepts
of government, the old concepts of officials, and the old concepts of
leaders are being replaced by entirely new concepts.

Functions change. While yesterday the function of the officials was to grow
rich, today the function of the revolutionaries is to work tirelessly for
the people. While yesterday the function of the trade union leaders was to
fight hard against the exploiters, against the workers' exploiters, today
it is the function of the leaders to fight hard for the country's economic
development, it is to fight hard for the progress and the well-being of the
workers along a different path. Yesterday they faced the antagonisms of the
exploiters. Today they work parallel to the efforts of all the workers of
the country. Today we have a different concept of things: it is no longer
the concept of a sector; today we have a national concept. We no longer
have a sectarian concept of things, but rather the concept of an entire
class, of all the workers. We are no longer working for a centavo for the
sector. We are working for a centavo for all workers. We are no longer
fighting in a small way for the demands of a group of workers, but we are
fighting for the well-being of all workers. And those of you who have had
an opportunity to see the results of work done well; and those of you who
have had an opportunity to attend this plenary session and have seen how
things are improving, must have a great sense of satisfaction, as we do
when we see the data, the figures, and the efforts being made.

We can now say that the capitalists were not capable of doing this. Often
we felt the pain and the sorrow of seeing the capitalists do some things
better than we.

In agriculture they did some things better, and that is why the
imperialists say that in agriculture the capitalist system, free
enterprise, the stimulation (word indistinct) the desire to become a
millionaire was the best system. However, today we are certain that we can
prove with facts that socialism is unsurpassable--in agriculture, in
industry, as well as in any other branch of production. We have
demonstrated it in the field of medical assistance; we have demonstrated it
in the field of education. We are now beginning to demonstrate it in
economy. We shall demonstrate it in our agriculture in a manner which will
appear incredible to many and which will surprise many. It is already being
demonstrated in the transportation industry.

It is not so easy to manage an enterprise (word indistinct), to manage a
bus route, and to manage a country's transportation on the whole, and to
manage the entire country's transportation system. It is a difficult task.
The capitalist administrators did not take so much trouble. It must be done
with a new kind of technician. He must be a new kind of administrator. The
capitalist administrators never made such a thorough study of the transport
problems. They never bothered to train transportation technicians. They
never spoke of the career of transportation technician. Never. Today our
concern is much greater. Our problems are much more difficult, and they are
being resolved. Plans for the entire nation are being made. A system for
the entire nation is being planned. We are doing things which the
capitalists never did, which the capitalists never could have done. This is
our task: To demonstrate what can be done with a planned economy, to
demonstrate what can be done with the rational use of all resources; and
this is not easy. There is much work to be done and its requires
considerable knowledge, much effort and tenacity. This effort, this
tenacity, and this knowledge can already be seen. We are really doing
something we never could have dreamed of doing before. This is the
impression we received today. I am certain that you have the same
impression. I am certain you are experiencing the same satisfaction as we

There has been a great upsurge in quality, an enormous difference. There is
a great difference between the problems which we discussed two years ago
and today. There is a great difference between the time when a public
criticism was made and today (applause). The rest must be done by work. As
Comrade Faure said: The spirit of responsibility will impose itself upon
the remaining abilities, upon the remaining defects. Thus, the realization
of the importance of transportation to our economy, transportation's role
in our economy, the realization that our economy is growing, and that it is
indispensable that our transportation grow with it, the satisfaction with
the successes attained so far, will serve as an encouragement to all of
you, to the comrades in the administration, to the comrades in the unions,
and to the comrades in the other organizations which in one way or another
must cooperate with the Transport Ministry, particularly the party comrades
who have received merited and just recognition in the successes heretofore
attained. (applause)

Therefore, we have not the slightest doubt that the transportation industry
is on the right track, that the transportation system is progressing well,
and that the industry will develop on a level with the rest of the
country's economy, and that the transportation industry will keep up with
the ambitious development plans we shall carry out. Thus, barely a year ago
we were obliged to undergo a crisis, and today we feel we must congratulate
you. Fatherland or death, we will win.