Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1540 GMT 20 February 1965--E

(Recorded speech by Fidel Castro at closing of Cuban Women's Federation
plenum on Isle of Pines 19 February)

(Text) Comrades of the Federation of Cuban Women, comrades of the Isles of
Pines: It can be stated that we are carrying out a double event tonight -
the closing of the national plenum of the Federation of Cuban Women and
this meeting with the people of Isle of Pines. (applause) As I understand
it, the comrades of the federation have thought up a song which says "one,
two, three, what famous progress this of the Isle of Pines." In reality
this conveys the impression caused today by the Isle of Pines (applause).
The fact that the comrades of the federation close the Isle of Pines as a
site for their plenum is related to the impressive progress of the Isle of
Pines. It seems that finally the opportunity for this small welcome arrived
with the revolution. On a previous occasion in this same park we spoke of
the problems of the first years (applause) and we explained how the
revolutionary and patriotic sentiment of this island was developing, an
island that took quite a few years to reach its full incorporation into the
rest of the country, because this portion of our homeland is so
extraordinarily beautiful that the Americans wanted to keep it. (Audience
shouts "boo").

Furthermore, in this beautiful island they built the penitentiary for us.
All these factors influenced the life of the Isle of Pines. (few words
indistinct) the development of the economic life, the revolutionary and
social life of this portion of our homeland. Undoubtedly in no other part
of the country is--we cannot say this is the only such place but we can say
it is one of the places where a greater rate of economic development is
being reached, a series of factors have contributed to this. Months before
the mercenary attack on Playa Giron, it seems that the enemy had thought of
launching its attack against the Isle of Pines. In their strategy they had
planned to seize a piece of our national territory. This, together with the
circumstances surrounding the presence of counterrevolutionary elements
imprisoned in the Isle of Pines' penitentiary, made this place a proper
target for the mercenaries' attack. However, the revolution could not
commit the error of neglecting the defense of Isle of Pines. For that
reason, several military units were moved to certain places, and the Isle
of Pines region was gradually strengthened militarily. It was strengthened
militarily to such a degree with the presence of magnificent combat units
of the revolutionary army plus the worker-peasant militia of Isle of Pines
(applause) that it appears that they became aware that the Isle of Pines
had been turned into an unassailable bulwark.

Then they changed the location for the attack and tried to seize a foothold
in the swamp--rather not in the swamp, but--to leave the swamp at their
backs--south of the Zapata swamp, in the Playa Giron area and Playa Larga.
In any event, they wanted something in between (them and our
forces--ed)--whether it be water or mud. They were not mistaken when they
thought that to attack the Isle of Pines was suicide, but they did make a
mistake when they believed that it was not suicide to launch their attack
through the Zapita swamp.

You know that story. Despite their paratroopers and the roads they
captured, it was enough that a single road was left open in that area
through which the revolutionary fighters could pour like a torrent to
eliminate them in less than 72 hours.

In any event, because of its geographic position, and in view of the
threats of the revolution's enemies, the island became a point of great
strategic importance. Naturally, after the Giron attack, it continued to be
strengthened militarily and became more unassailable through the
establishment here of almost an army to defend the Isle of Pines, an army
composed of first-rate fighters of our armed forces and men endowed with
special temper and spirit of discipline. (applause)

However, our mission, duty and task was not merely to defend the island. In
the Isle of Pines there were imprisoned several thousand
counterrevolutionaries, a certain number of men defending the island and a
certain number of men who were practically stowed away in the penitentiary
without doing useful work for the country or anyone else. For this reason,
the idea arose to initiate a plan to develop the island, employing as part
of the labor force a certain number of prisoners who were involved in the
rehabilitation plan. Of course, those not involved in the rehabilitation
plan were also included. Work was not established as a punishment because
we can never consider work a punishment. Work is considered a punishment by
the enemies of the workers, by the exploiters and the parasites. However,
work will never be considered an instrument of punishment by any
revolutionary. In the first instance, work was included as part of the
rehabilitation plan. Work has also established a useful tool to teach and
educate men. In the final analysis, something must be done with the
counterrevolutionaries who are imprisoned, and the revolutionary courts
have sentenced them to prison terms according to their crimes or certain

As the revolution gains strength and becomes increasingly vigorous, the
courts become more and more generous in the application of sentences.
Society and the revolution must seek a solution for these men in prison. Of
course, the solution does not lie in freeing them; we cannot even dream of
that. While our nation wages a heroic battle against its imperialist
enemies, while the nation valiantly face the blockade, threats, and
aggressions, it would be absurd to free those at the service of our enemies
(applause), those who raise the mercenary and traitor flag of our enemies,

The revolution does not care to keep anyone in captivity; the revolution
cultivates dignity among the people; it cultivates the revolutionary spirit
among the people, a sense of duty but not hatred. However, the revolution
sets forth what we must do to fulfill our duty. In the fulfillment of duty,
we adopt whatever measures are necessary. In the fulfillment of duty, we
must be firm and inflexible with our enemies. We are governed mainly by our
sense of duty and not by a sentiment of hatred.

It is not because those men who fought the revolution, who have tried to
destroy the revolution, do not deserve all the hatred in the world, or all
of the scorn that they deserve. (applause) It is rather because
interpreting history from a scientific point of view, we know that this is
a transitional stage. We know that counterrevolutionaries exist, but that
there will be gradually fewer of them, and that tomorrow, there will be no
counterrevolutionaries in our society.

In reality, the revolution (about 50 seconds blank--apparently defect in
Havana Radio's recording) shaped in the old system--all a product of the
capitalistic system. They are the result of the living conditions prior to
the revolution, the egotistical traits that are nurtured under capitalism,
the lack of culture, ignorance, privilege, vices, and all sorts of
circumstances which swayed some unstable people against the revolution.

We who know that this is a product of the past, as the past is farther and
farther away, we know that this product will not exist in the future.
However, in the long run, it is the duty of the revolution, because it will
not be Yankees who will come and rescue you from the jails. It is the duty
of the revolution to seek a path, an accurage solution for those elements
who have been pushed into opposing the revolution. This is (what we call?)
the plan for rehabilitation. (This plan?) is without doubt proving
fruitful. Through the rehabilitation plan many men have radically changed
their attitude. They now think very differently and it has been possible to
release them without their posing a danger to the revolution--without their
becoming raw material for the counterrevolution.

Of course, not all of them are given the right to rehabilitate themselves.
The right to become rehabilitated is conditioned by attitude, conduct, and
discipline. I have learned that the most recalcitrant revolutionary
people--the most resentful counterrevolutionary elements--tried to create
an atmosphere of hostility against the prisoners who wished to rehabilitate
themselves. They tried to see them--rather they were looked on with scorn
by the other counterrevolutionary prisoners. (phrase indistinct) the number
of those requesting rehabilitation is progressively larger. We must say
that there are many who have seized the opportunity to rehabilitate
themselves--many more than can be included in the plan.

The comrades of the Interior Ministry, I must say, have done a magnificent
job in this connection. There are prisoners who in the course of their work
have been revising their thinking. There is really no better school than
work. It is likely that some of them, or many of them, have never had a
notion of the meaning of work. In the measure in which they have been
developing a productive activity, we have concerned ourselves with
improving their living conditions. This is logical and fair. That is why,
to the degree that the plan has progressed, production has been increased
and there has been improvement in the living conditions, food, clothing,
and other material things which are made available. Logically, if there is
not sufficient milk for all of the children, we are not going to give the
milk to the counterrevolutionaries before we feed the children, or before
the sick have been supplied with it. (applause)

But what happens? Milk production is increased, as has happened in the Isle
of Pines. Now, in times of full drought, milk is being produced at nearly
7,000 liters a day -- that is, almost three and a half times as much as the
production some months ago. More vegetables, more fruit, more staples, more
meat are being produced. As production increases, nourishment conditions
improve, as do the living conditions of the prisoners who participate in
the plan.

Logically, since production is increasing at such a spiraling pace, it is
likely that soon, possibly within three months, milk will be unrationed in
the Isle of Pines, (applause)--about March, April, May, or at the latest,
in June. From then on, production will supply not only the Isle of Pines,
but also Havana. (applause) However, we plan to satisfy all needs, all of
them--all the Isle of Pines people wish to drink. (applause)

Once the needs are met, we will establish a dairy complex to produce
powdered milk, cheese--to (utilize?) the milk, which is one of the problems
we face today. Before the end of the year, we will establish that dairy
complex and we will have an excess of milk production. To give you an idea
of how this plan is progressing, I can tell you that for instance last
year, between grazing land that was replanted and that which was
rehabilitated, we had 1,200 caballerias of grazing land. This year, our
goal is 1,000 caballerias more. However, it appears that we will go over
the goal.

We have sent machinery. In the next few weeks, people will receive about 30
more machines to break and plow the ground. In addition, some tens of
thousands of cows will be shipped to the Isle of Pines because this year we
will have enough feed for them. Of course, they are not Holstein or
Guernsey but Cebu cows. They do not produce much milk, but if each of
10,000 cows produces three liters, we will get 30,000 liters of milk. If
20,000 cows produce three liters apiece, we will get 60,000 liters.

Of the worst problems we face in the west is that we cannot use the
solutions being applied in Las Vilas, Camaguey, and Oriente, Matanzas, and
Pinar del Rio -- and that is to milk all of the Cebu cows. We have about
two million Cebu cows. There are some that vehemently resist being milked.
(laughter) However, it is easy to solve the milk problem in the interior,
while in Havana Province we have about 2 million people to supply. In
addition, much of the land is devoted to the growing of vegetables and
staples--things that are necessary. We do not have the masses of Cebu cows
to milk. This is why we are going to ship some to the Isle of Pines, and
some to the area between Las Villas and Matanzas to try to partially
relieve the milk problem in the capital.

This will be done in addition to the fact that as the interior population
becomes supplied with fresh milk, we will have more condensed milk to
improve the milk supply in the capital. This is part of the struggle to
abolish the ration books as soon as possible--but not the ration books for
staples, of course. (applause) None of us doubts that we will someday have
a surplus of staples and vegetables. It is enough that this year we will
cultivate thousands of caballerias with vegetables and staples.

In connection with the milk problem, almost the entire interior will have
that problem solved by this sprint, since more than 2,000 new dairies will
be set up--but above all, in the interior, which is the place where we have
a large mass of cattle not being milked. It will be easy to solve the
problem in the interior, but harder, much harder, in Havana. It will take
from two to three years to solve the problem in Havana. We will make an
effort to solve it sooner. Part of that effort is being made here. In the
future, of course, we will no longer have that Cebu livestock. We will have
cattle that will be three-fourths Guernsey, or five, six, or seven-eighths
Guernsey and one-eighth Cebu. We will be genetically changing all our
livestock--the Cebu livestock. We will produce milk and meat because we are
advancing in the application of technology, and we will apply it to
genetics to solve that problem.

We will have good livestock, a good milk-producing stock, good meat
producers, and the cows will number in the millions. This is the kind of
work whose results are not seen in a matter of months. It is always needed,
but it is being carried out very seriously throughout the country and we
can say that this will enable us to become one of the best-fed peoples in
the world.

(Since the population of the Isle of Pines is so small?), naturally there
will be large surpluses. To give you an idea of how much production will
increase, suffice it to say that in 10 years the value of production of
fruits, vegetables, milk, and meat will increase 40-fold.

We must not forget the fruit plantations. Four hundred caballerias of fruit
trees will be planted this year in the Isle of Pines. To give you an idea
of how much 400 caballerias is, to give you an idea how many fruit trees
can be planted in 400 caballerias--which are not the only ones, there are a
few hundred already plus the ones we will continue planting in the coming
years not only in the Isle of Pines but throughout the entire
country--yesterday we visited an orange orchard which covers approximately
20 caballerias. This orange orchard will produce from 40,000 to 45,000
quintals of oranges next year. And that is only an estimate. In that area
20 caballerias will produce two oranges for each inhabitant in the country.
And not only two--they will product eventually much more than that.

One of the things that I believe will be placed on the free market is
citrus fruit next year, at least during most of the year, above all when
more citrus fruit is being harvested. By applying technology and by
employing different varieties and different fertilization formulas, we will
try to maintain the supply of citrus fruit practically throughout the year.
However, this is almost assured because we are not going to export these
citrus fruits. We are going to export them from the Isle of Pines. This
year the production was almost doubled in the Isle of Pines. Next year it
will be even greater. (Few words indistinct), no, there are several large
plantations in other parts of the country which are as large as those in
the Isle of Pines.

First, we are going to meet all of our needs here and for the time being we
shall export from the Isle of Pines in 1965. During 1965 we should meet all
our needs and export considerable quantities. That is very advantageous for
us as we should not be a country which sells sugar only. We have to sell
sugar and many other products because that makes our trade much more solid.
Furthermore, sugar can be produced -- even though at a very high cost,
three or four times greater than it costs us--in cold countries. However,
in many of these countries a lemon cannot be grown, not even in a botanical
garden. It is much easier to produce sugar than to produce citrus fruits,
mangoes, and vegetables. We must gradually diversify our products, as we
really have a great market in friendly countries which produce things that
we need and which have great need for these products.

But, returning to the subject of the Isle of Pines, 400 caballerias of
fruit trees, 100 caballerias of vegetables, and at least 1,000 caballerias
of pasturage will be planted. When we will complete the Isle of Pines plan?
Basically, at the rate we are moving, the plan will be completed by 1968.
This does not mean that by 1968 production will be at its peak, because all
plantations normally take years. Of course, the cross-pollenation plan
requires years. But from year to year our production of milk, meat, fruit,
vegetables, and everything will increase in this island. We even hope that
with the passing of time and as circumstances change, and no one persists
in the idea that the revolution can be destroyed, the day will come when we
no longer have in the Isle of Pines--which is such a beautiful place and so
suited for tourism--the need for a prison here in this island. (applause)

One of the problems facing the Isle of Pines is its small population but
there are some good aspects. For example, many of the soldiers of the rebel
army who are being discharged have expressed a desire to remain to live and
work in the Isle of Pines. Many soldiers on the Isle of Pines are from
Oriente Province. They find the Isle of Pines is a pleasant place and one
with prospects. The comrades who are managing the plan and the army
comrades have instructions to extend facilities to all comrades in the army
who upon discharge wish to remain on the Isle of Pines. Since they are
naturally young and many will marry, some with girls of the Isle of Pines
and some with Oriente girls (applause)--those are problems we do not
regulate with a plan. Each individual settles them. (few words indistinct)
some had their sweetheart in Oriente, and send for her, and they get
married. But this explains the need for us to build housing.

There is another interesting point. Many persons who came to the prison as
counterrevolutionaries are become rehabilitated and have changed their
attitude radically, and also express the wish to go on working on the Isle
of Pines after they are released. The inhabitants of the isle must not
worry about this. Those prisoners will be very different men when they are
restored to society. And all whose conduct is irreproachable and whom we
consider deserving of it will also be given this same opportunity. I want
to point out, for example, that there are 1,000 prisoners being
rehabilitated on the Isle of Pines. Many of them are already working,
almost unguarded.

Furthermore, we recently (word indistinct) 300 technical books on
agriculture and animal husbandry, and they have 600 in the study circles
and do not think that this is a mania of the revolution, getting people to
study; no. It is an epidemic, a collective fever; and we have also made an
effort to provide technical training to those men who some day will return
to society. What must our attitude be when that time comes? Treat them like
enemies? No. That would not be revolutionary; it would not be intelligent.
It is our duty to create conditions so that when those men reenter society,
that same society they wanted to destroy, they will see how different it
is, how it is a thousand times more humane, than the society (they wanted
to restore?). (applause) It will not be a society that regards them with
hatred; it will not be a society that regards them with contempt; it will
not be a society that denies them the opportunity to work and live under
socialism, because socialism is not forged for a few, socialism is not
forged for a class; socialism is forged for everybody, even for those who
straighten out, who change.

There are some who will have a harder time taking advantage of the
opportunity; they are the ones who went away, to Florida, to the United
States, believing it was a matter of a fortnight, or three months, or six
months, or a year. We wish them long years of homesickness. Well, life will
see to it that they know what life is: life will see to their punishment.
These people are of much less interest to us; I would say they are of no
interest at all to us, because the generation of the future will be an
entirely new generation, educated by the revolution, and it will be very
hard for any of those parasites who left this country to readapt
themselves. They do not interest us and we do not want them, because a
sound, strong, revolutionary generation will grow up, the one we are
working for today.

We can provide an opportunity for persons in prison who straighten up and
become rehabilitated, but since I do not believe the people over there will
be rehabilitated, and besides, I do not know who is going to take the
trouble, we are not counting on those people for anything at all. Well,
can't they come back to Cuba some time? Maybe in 20 or 30 years, if they
want to take a tour as if going through a museum of what once was society
of which not a stone will remain. (applause) After all, in a few years the
capitalist system will appear as archaic as slavery appears today. Because
today everybody thinks it is absurd that slavery should have existed up
until the past century, that there should have been men in irons, working
like beasts of burden to enrich other men. Nobody has any doubts about that
today. In those times many people opposed the abolition of slavery. In
those days there were even many rich Cubans, big landholders who owned
sugar mills and slaves, who wanted annexation by the United States because
they feared the abolition of slavery.

And yet later nobody, not even those same landowners, who had fought
another form of slavery in the wage-earning workman, thought any longer of
the possibility of having men in irons and stocks. Well, generations of the
future will hear that such and such a sugar mill belonged to this gentleman
or that company, and that those 2,000 caballerias belonged to such and such
a landowner, and everybody will think it absurd that all that land, all
that wealth, all the fruits of the work of so many thousand men would have
belonged to Mr. X or Mr. Y, and capitalism will be looked on somewhat as
people look at the cannon at the Morro Castle or the Morro Fortress itself,
as a museum piece. I have no doubt of that, and I believe none of you has
any doubt. (applause)

Unquestionably, the revolution is advancing, and at a fast pace.
Unquestionably the revolution can be proud of its achievements, the
successes scored on a number of fronts, in regard to culture, education,
and medical care. But there is more; the revolution is beginning to be
proud of its achievements in the field of the economy, and these have been
perhaps the most difficult achievements, because whose who could
administer, who knew what little technology we have here, were the
landowners, the rich--all of those people. And the people of the masses did
not have much experience or knowledge. However, we must be acquiring this
experience and knowledge with the passion with which revolutionaries attack
everything that they do.

No one even knew how to march, no one knew (word indistinct) when our rebel
army descended from the mountains. No one knew how to organize a general
staff, or a battalion, or a division, or an army. Today we have hundreds of
officers who know how to do this, and do it magnificently. Hundreds of
thousands of men have learned how to become administrators. They have been
learning how to administer industry and agriculture. They have been given
experience in organization. We are beginning to feel proud of our successes
in the field of economy. If my memory serves time right, I believe that it
was on the 6th (of February, presumably--ed.) that we reached the first
million tons of sugar (applause)--the goal was set to produce the second
million tons of sugar on the 28th and the third, on 22 March. That goal was
set for a high rate of production, and the pace is being upheld. We are now
at 19 February.

Very well, it appears to us that two million tons might be produced
possibly a day before the 28th. (applause) This depends on the honor of our
provinces and the zeal which one displays to win first place. However,
there is every indication that we will not know until the second, at least.

This, of course, (presupposes?) that no one will cheat--and everyone knows
how things progress around there. Each worker in each sugar mill knows
about his mill and how much more it is producing over the previous year and
the year before. Everyone knows the condition of the cane. And it does
appear favorable--the second, as well as the third million tons of sugar
will be produced ahead of schedule. This is a good sign. We will still have
sugarcane and sugar beyond that. (applause) At the end, we will announce
how much has been produced, but we will do this a million at a time,
fighting through each single million.

This effort which is being made in the sugarcane industry is being made
also in all the other fields. Sugarcane is not the only crop getting
attention. This identical effort is being exerted in the cultivation of
staples, in grazing lands, and in the preparation of cattle-raising lands.
You, yourself, can appreciate on the highways how the country's
physiography is changing. We are really working with a tremendous (zeal?)
everywhere. A similar effort is being made in the cultivation of fruit
trees and tobacco. A similar effort should be made and will be made with
the coffee shop which unfortunately suffered the brunt of the damage by the
famous Flora hurricane. However, with cultivation, with technology, and
with fertilizers, we must resolve the coffee problem--not with more
plantations. Anyone can understand that it is not the most economical thing
to begin to plant coffee trees when someday we might be able more easily to
acquire (words indistinct) for which we will have more facilities to grow
than coffee.

However, (words indistinct) with that coffee which is already growing in
the mountains and make it produce more. We are already learning how to make
the land produce more and a tree produce more. (words indistinct) it is not
hard to achieve a 50 percent production increase to reach 1.5 million
quintals and solve the coffee problem. And not only the coffee problem, but
other fruit, such as pineapple. These plantations are being expanded
considerably--the (word indistinct) fruit--everything. Just so no one
forgets what we can produce, we will produce even sweet marjoram
(mejorana), mint, and all that the people--even that, we will produce. (as
heard) The kinds of medicinal herbs which people used to buy at the market
square, we will also produce. There will be nothing lacking, but
nothing--nothing--that we can produce.

I will not tell you that we will produce apples or fruits which we cannot
produce. However, those things which our climate and our people cannot
produce we will try to buy by selling products we can more easily produce.
Sometimes this is possible, Sometimes it is difficult. For instance, we
must start the planting of kenaf. Is this because it is a good investment?
No, because every year we must spend dollars to buy kenaf. (sentence
indistinct) However, we prefer to obtain those things which we cannot
easily produce through trade. No one has better facilities to produce sugar
than we. So let us sell sugar to those who have a hard time producing sugar
(words indistinct) more expensively than we, and import those things which
we cannot produce. Nature, the climate, the technological development, vary
in each country. Each country should produce things for which it is most
adapted and not try to produce things which the people and the climate
cannot produce.

Of course we are having a hard time resolving our problems (in trade?).
Why? Because we have the United States before us placing hurdles,
obstacles, obstructions--applying pressure on all countries to keep their
ships from coming to Cuba, to keep them from buying--sabotaging our world
trade, creating difficulties of all sorts.

However, this does not matter. Despite this, we advance. Despite its
economic might, military power, and its political influence in many parts
of the world, the United States has been unable to defeat us. We advance
with greater or lesser difficulties, but we advance. With greater or lesser
sacrifices, we advance, and each time at a more accelerated pace. This is
(words indistinct), something that not one can deny.

In recent days, we read a cablegram (words indistinct). It said: "Some
diplomats think that Cuba will produce about 5 million tons this year."
They are beginning to be a little more cautions. They are beginning to
recognize this and the arguments begin to disappear. "They use ration
books." Certainly, there is no rationing in other countries in the form of
books. But there is rationing through prices, and no one (is denied?) a
pound of meat. However, there are many people who never (buy?) a pound of
meat, because supply and demand and the prices they establish, which are
sky high--what poor man in Brazil is able to buy, let us say, not a pound
of meat, but a quarter pound or an ounce--an ounce of meat! A large
majority of the population in many of those countries have no access to
those things. They have no ration books, but the prices rise and rise as
much as the merchants choose. There is scarcity (words indistinct) and
people live under permanent rationing.

And obviously, even as in our society, not everybody has the same income.
If things were sold here, those who have smaller incomes would not require
many of the things. However, with an increase in production, which with the
help of technology can reach a great volume, we will eradicate the ration
booklet product by product and the day will come when there are more
products than money, and then the day will come to reduce prices or
increase wages, because when we are producing tens of millions of liters of
milk, we are not going to throw them away, nor are we going to stop
producing it when there is too much of it, but rather we will reduce prices
or we will raise wages, or we will give away the milk in the schools or
even in the parks, if you please, but we will not throw it away (applause).

Our concept of life and society would be in total contradiction with those
practices of capitalism, which in order to keep prices from dropping,
destroy, burn, and limit production. Our concept of society is very
different. What we want is to always have a surplus, that there be more
every day, and since we know that needs grow and grow, we will never have
those preoccupations that the capitalists have. The capitalists, when there
is a little too much production and an increase threatens prices, stop
production or destroy production as has been done in many countries,
burning coffee or burning other products.

We will not. Nothing will ever be surplus. When we have a surplus, others
will be lacking and we will exchange our surplus for something which is
surplus to them and which we lack, or we will fix things so that the
surplus will be consumed here. For the time being we will not have those
problems. That is the great advantage. Obviously in order for there to be a
surplus of things, well, sometimes it is difficult to have a surplus. Let
us take the example of eggs.

We have already reached a production of 60 million eggs and have passed
that mark. It is possible that in March we will reach a production of 70
million eggs and still, practically everything is being consumed. This is a
consumption five times greater than the highest consumption ever attained
during the era of capitalism.

Of course, you know how things were. You have heard of the era of Machado
and all that era. We can say that every child, every man, every woman has
at least 10 eggs assured per month, and this is in addition to social
consumption (presumably in restaurants, hospitals, and so forth--ed.) There
are few countries, countries that were underdeveloped, poor countries,
which can say this. And we can say it.

But this is only one item; the same thing will happen with all other
products. And we believe that within five years, at the latest, we can
count the Cuban people among the best-fed people of the world (applause).
We will have (word indistinct) among the best-fed in the world because of
the rate of consumption per capita--and of course a true rate of
consumption per capita, because if you analyze a statistic of Brazil, the
per capita consumption of meat is so much, but do not think that this is
how much is consumed by those who have much money, no. In the consumption
of those who are wealthy is figured the per capita of 20 or 30 who do not
have that per capita rate of consumption. This is merely a question of
mathematics. They divide the total of what was consumed by the total number
of inhabitants, but the result does not reflect the true per capita rate of
consumption. This is merely division. However, this does not happen here.
Here the rate of consumption per capita will be true, because these
products will be within the reach of all the population. When we say so
much meat per capita, so much milk per capita, so many eggs per capita, it
is a true rate of consumption per capita.

When we have surpluses of all those products, there will be some who
consume more and some who consume less. This will not be regulated by
anybody. It will be in accordance to the appetites of each, although of
course we believe that there is something we are lacking, and that is an
education in dietetics. And I believe that the women can do much to develop
an awareness, knowledge, education on the problems of nutrition, which is a
problem of great importance, of great importance for human life and human

Of course, in the Education Ministry much has to be done in that respect.
The children must be oriented, they must be taught the value of each type
of food, and the dieticians--I do not believe we have very many, but we
will have them someday--will have to educate, teach, and create food habits
more in accordance with our climate, and more in accordance with our needs.
For example, one of the habits we had was the consumption of hog lard. We
consumed fabulous quantities of it in everything--in rice, soups,
fricasess, everything was covered with a coating of hog lard. Doctors can
tell you what effects this has in circulation, what effects this has on
human life, what effects this has on the heart, what effects this has on
health in general, and all these things we will have to learn also. We will
go on to the development of other types of oils, vegetable oils, which are
very much more healthful than hog lard.

The American do not eat it. It is a byproduct, but they had somebody who
would buy it here so they sent it over here. It was sold as a product of
their ham-producing industry and the habit was created here. The Spaniards
brought the customs of Spanish cookery, those steaming dishes with much
grease and many things (chuckles), a food proper for a climate, a climate
which was very different from ours. We will also have to feed ourselves
much fruit, milk, meat, fish, eggs, and all in all, a truly scientific
nourishment. All this without sacrificing tastes. It appears that the
National Institute for Tourism (INIT) will have to show us how to prepare
things so that we will find them to our liking, but this is another matter,
the art of cooking.

You, the women, will have to specialize yourself as much as possible in
this, and the men also (shouting). This does not mean (applause)--do not
think that this is a discriminatory concept of women. Now that women are
going to work, we can in no way break up things about cooking. I am talking
only about Sunday. Right? or Saturday, because by that time there will be
enough workers' diners, enough school dining rooms (applause)--and we have
to build many school dining rooms.

We are going to do everything we can in this respect. It will be a help in
incorporating women into productive work. And we will build children's
nurseries, and workers' dining rooms, and restaurants, and in the future I
can assure you that the prices will not be so high (applause, shouting). Do
not blame anybody. There are some people who do not understand and they
blame INIT. Of course, in El Carmelo, in 1830, in La Roca, but, well--in
the Visanova, in El Milan, and in Los Marinitos, all those places can be
gone to, they do not scare you away so much, true? But what happens is that
there are still many people with a lot of money. And if the prices are
high, those with a lot of money will go there.

And truly the restaurants are service centers, but those restaurants of
certain levels are collection centers also--we collect the money from those
who have the most. Why? So that we can build a school dining room, so that
we can build a workers' dining room. When we have many school and many
workers' dining rooms, then those restaurants will have to lower their
prices (laughter). They will have to lower them. Why? Because many people
will say "well, I will buy food and prepare it at home."

By then there will no longer be that difference in wages in the future. The
restaurants will no longer have the function of collecting. When there
begin to be more products than money, then we will have to either pay more
money or reduce prices. It is an obvious thing. Of course, not all
restaurants will be the same. There are some which give you good service
and have a good reputation, but they always charge for it,
(laughter)--Everybody laughs. However, the policy is to charge according to
the type of restaurant, with the idea of it being a collection center.
There are others with lower prices which are more popular and they are
always filled. I have seen them always filled. It appears that there are
enough people who have access to these restaurants. And the workers' diners
sell at cost price.

There is one more thing, as the economic situation improves, as production
increases, some of the school dining rooms have changed more than cost
price. Moreover, some have paid the higher prices who could not afford to
pay. Therefore, we will create conditions so that school dining rooms will
improve and nobody will have to pay more than cost price, and those whose
parents do not have enough money will pay what they can in the school
dining room (applause).

We have found ourselves faced with many cases of children who come and say:
"We are 11 brothers and sisters, get me a scholarship," or "we are many
brothers and sisters and my father only makes 100 pesos." We have found
these cases on many occasions. Logically we have to concern ourselves with
these cases. It is obvious that all the scholarship centers help these
cases, and certainly you will never see a beggar child on the streets.
Nobody will see a single child begging for alms in our country because
this, to the satisfaction of all of us, has disappeared.

Beggars, hungry children in the streets, something which is found in most
of the capitals of the capitalist world, if not in all of them, will not be
found in the capital or in any other city of our modest socialist country.
There is not a single forsaken child or a hungry child in the streets.

In addition, the number of youths and children on scholarships, children's
farms, and peasant schools--all in all we estimated recently that there are
some 140,000 children there. The revolution does not publicize many things,
some of which are totally unknown to the public, but we must say that when
a family suffers adversity when a group of children is orphaned, there is
not a single case that reaches the attention of the revolutionary
administration that is not taken care of immediately.

And there are many such painful cases, and there are thousands and
thousands of children who study in these schools, who receive everything,
food, education, clothing, and who are not there as recipients of charity.
No, that type of institution which gave the child they helped a complex,
that society, that institution no longer exists. Those institutions where
every child who went there had to accept the name Valdez or any other name
no longer exist, because these alleged charitable organizations did a
certain favor to the child, or they represented themselves as saving a
child, a child whom they made unhappy the rest of his life.

No, today the help society gives to all these children is very different. I
am sure that not a single father exists, not a single mother, who harbors
the fear which used to be current before: "What will happen to my children
if I have an accident, if I did, or some misfortunate occurs?" Because
there is not a single mother or father who does not have the most complete
assurance that the child will have everything he needs, and will have the
help of society. I told you that there were 140,000 scholarship students,
youths and children. This is a truly impressive figure. But despite so many
youths and children, the number of those who still ask for scholarships is
enormous. It is the thing they ask for the most. Well, truly, we do not
have the capacity for so many, but we will do everything possible. I
remember that era when they slandered the revolution saying that parents'
rights were to be taken away from the families. The incredible thing is
that there were some who even believed that--who listened to that campaign.
And as it turns out, things are just the opposite now. Now everywhere they
ask for scholarships, scholarships so that they can send their children to
school, so that they will receive an education, clothing, shoes.

There is pressure for more of these scholarships centers, for more
scholarships, and truly it cannot be done. What can be done easier is to
create the school dining rooms (applause). Why? so that the children can go
to school, have lunch at school, go to school in the afternoon, and return
to their home at night. It is quite possible, it is less costly, and it
will be one of the solutions. A problem developed in the mountains. The
children lived very far away from the schools. But now the mountain
boarding schools are being built for those who live far away where they go
on Monday and return to their home on Friday. Those who do not live so far
away, go to school in the morning, have lunch at school and return in the
evening. And precisely in this respect, the comrade education minister
proposed that we build a boarding school in the Isle of Pines (cheers,
applause), a boarding school for 1,500 children.

There are more? (There is some shouting from the audience.) Since the
population of the Isle of Pines is so dispersed, schools present a problem.
They live very far from schools, and this presents a similar problem to the
one formerly posed by the population of the Sierra Maestra and the
mountains. In this case it would not be a mountain boarding school but a
plains boarding school. However, the problem is essentially the same. There
are many families who live scattered throughout the island and there are no
population centers so that a school can be built near where the children
live. I want to talk about this here because a proposal has been made and
we are considering it.

They wanted a hotel for these children. But this would mean leaving the
island without hotels and in the future many people will come to the Isle
of Pines and that is why we must find a solution. We must find a real
solution. However, we are going to take that request under consideration
and see how we can resolve the problem to establish that much-needed
boarding school here. I do not know if those of you who applauded are those
of the town, but I imagine that many of them are from the rural areas and
are affected by this problem. This boarding school will be mainly for those
who live in the rural area. In the city, the school dining rooms are the
solution (applause).

I imagine that the Women Agricultural Workers Front is also being organized
here (applause), as is being done in Havana and other towns, because,
although the women's labor force was underestimated in the past and was
practically disdained, the reality of the revolution each day shows us the
social and economic importance of the incorporation of women in work.
Naturally it is not easy now to find jobs in a factory for all women and
also the possibility of finding more jobs in agriculture, for example. It
is incredible how this movement of the incorporation of women in the
agricultural tasks is growing despite the fact that we do not have the best
conditions; we do not have the best facilities, we do not have sufficient
kindergartens--but all of these facilities will be created.

There are some who have to make a fairly long trip to work, but this will
also be solved. However, in any case we are planning to create institutions
to favor the women who are incorporated in the work of the production of
material goods. We are going to give preference to those who are in
productive work, because productive work is everything--productive work,
the work of teachers, the work of the cities of those who work as nurses.
We want to say that we will give preference to the women who are now giving
their efforts to the development of agriculture. This is aside from the
fact that the revolution plans to follow a policy of gratification for all
those tasks which the woman can and should carry out.

The comrades of the Labor Ministry are studying all of these tasks so that
these tasks will give preference to the women, and I believe that this is a
thing--I do not know if it has been done in other places--but I believe
that it is a thing which is just new, and which will allow the women to be
incorporated into many tasks which they can do and which will leave the men
free to do those tasks which they can do. There is work which is more
difficult; this does not mean a discrimination against men (laughter). We
are not going to the extreme of discriminating against the poor men because
they are men (laughter). In all cases where nature has established some
difference, society must establish some difference which is not of a legal,
moral, or intellectual character, but of a social character.

Moreover, because women have the most important of all social functions,
that of procreation (applause), it is very logical and very just that their
important social functions be taken into consideration and that they be
protected and helped and that they carry out in the production of goods and
social and material services those tasks which they can and should carry
out. We understand that with the revolution one of the most unjust forms of
discrimination, the discrimination against women, has been disappearing.
This discrimination was not discussed, but it did exist, it was maintained,
and it weighed heavily on the women in our country because before what was
the career of women? It was that of the bourgeois families preparing the
women for marriage. The career of women is matrimony, according to the
concept of the bourgeois and they had to prepare the girl well in order to
marry her well, instead of (doing her justice?), instead of educating her,
instead of training her because there was no alternative in a capitalist
underdeveloped society, which looked upon women as an instrument for
adoration or pleasure--and there was no alternative.

Because of this, the bourgeois families wanted to educate the women for
matrimony, to find a good mate, as they said (laughter). Therefore, for the
poor families of workers and peasants with numerous sons and daughters the
worst destiny appeared to be reserved for them--to work in one club or
another, to work as a servant in the house of a rich person, or other worse
and more painful occupations of that miserable society which lived in an
indifferent manner to such terrible and dreadful things as prostitution and

Today it is not the same. One could never think about an equal status
between men and women and they were educated for matrimony, and, if they
failed in this matrimony, they were in truth useless. They could not think
about the stability of the family, because these conditions which can
create a union on an absolutely spontaneous basis did not exist. Today it
is very different. It is a great satisfaction for the resolution to know
that these ideas are leaving us, that this bitter destiny for women is
leaving, that women are joining in the economic, cultural, social life
through the revolution, and that they play an increasingly more active role
and have an increasingly better place in society. These are great truths
which nobody can deny, and these are the truths which should make those who
have fought to prevent it blush with shame--those who have fought for the
return to the past.

Today woman is being trained on the basis of equality with man. Greater all
the time is the number of women who enter careers such as medicine,
architecture, technology, science--a series of activities that used to be
almost exclusively restricted to the male population. How the women are
being incorporated into all activities! That is an obvious fact. In study,
in the technological pre-university centers, in the universities,
everywhere living conditions for women are being created that are very
different from those that existed in the past. This is due to the
contribution of the women to the revolution, the enthusiasm of the women
for the revolution, the passion of the women of Cuba for the revolution. As
part of society's down-trodden sectors, such as the peasant, the worker,
the Negro, the women support the revolution for that reason. That is why
the women fight for the revolution, defend the revolution, and work in the

But we should not be contended with what we have done. Not everything has
been done yet. We can still do much more, hence the importance of this
movement, this new effort to incorporate women in productive work, to
classify the tasks in order to give the women more opportunities.

In the measure that each man and woman of the country performs work and
works where he should and works effectively, in the same measure will the
social benefits increase. We will have more material goods. We will have
more services. It is very important for the male and female populations of
the entire country to incorporate themselves. That will accelerate the rate
of our economic development.

We are now working on that effort, the effort to incorporate into
agriculture tens of thousands of women, 100,000 if possible or 200,000 if
possible. However, this will not be immediately possible. We will have to
organize plans, production plans. We are already thinking about that and
there are many of us already working toward that--selecting land,
developing certain types of production that women can perform, for example,
work in the orchards, and with vegetables.

This is so that they may have work not only during part of the year, but
all year long. In all the large cities we are going to develop certain
branches of agricultural production so that they can join. In some cases it
is more difficult than in others. It is easier in Pinar del Rio to find the
land near the city because of the population of Pinar del Rio. It is much
more difficult in Havana. Havana is a small province, but it has a large
population. We cannot find all the land to give work to 30,000 women near
Havana. That is why we face greater difficulties there.

Of course, a beginning was made at Marianao. When they leave Marianao to go
to Mayabeque, they must take a long trip. When those in Guanabacoa and
Regla leave, the distance will be much shorter. Therefore, I think that it
would be just to set a maximum period of time for travel, and when the
distance or the traveling time to the place of work exceeds that certain
period of time, the excess should be computed as time at work. For example,
we have had reports of the comrades of Marianao who went to Mayabeque. The
distance was great and the time was too long--I think it took more than
three hours roundtrip.

We must develop a formula, a minimum and a maximum of time, it must be
rational. The excess amount of time spent in traveling should be computed
as time worked. Moreover, at this time we find ourselves compelled to use
trucks. Some day we may find it possible to use other more comfortable
vehicles. Thus, in time plans can be developed in all the cities so that
the work they can perform will be as close as possible. Of course, it is
easier in almost all the cities. It is most difficult in Havana. Many times
the watered land where vegetables can be cultivated is very distant. But,
we intend to create a belt of orchids around the capital, by planting a few
hundred caballerias of orchards near Havana. So that they can alternate the
work of one season with the work of another season.

Moreover, we intend to give maximum development to the schools, the
boarding schools, the social clubs. We will establish special conditions
for the women who enter into agriculture. We will establish special
conditions with regard to costs. That is to say that we are going to
establish more moderate prices in the nurseries for the women who enter
into agriculture. At one time we wanted them to be free, but some comrades
think this would not be good, that one should pay for the club or the
school even if only a modest price. This is to give them a meaning
different from that which is absolutely free, but the amount will be

We have 140,000 scholarship students and nothing is charged for that. That
is why we wanted to make it free or we had thought about it, but I think
they are right, so that the mother can feel she is working for her
children, that her work helps in some way to defray the cost of the food,
clothing, the attentions and the services received by her children. Let
that payment be symbolic, if you wish, but let it exist.

We are drafting a series of plans to facilitate the incorporation of the
woman into work. (Castro fails to follow through, returning instead to
previous subject--ed.)

There are women, particularly humble women, who have many children. I
believe it would be a source of satisfaction for them to know that while
they are working they have three, four, or five children in a school, and
that they are paying for it with a certain part of what they are earning.
When they are working, it will help them a lot and it will encourage them
to know that their children are all right, and food, the best attention,
and the best education.

I believe that this will be a source of satisfaction to many women and, in
addition, what they earn will not all have to be spent on them. We are not,
of course, in communism; we are building socialism. In communism, the
aspiration is to give each what he needs. In socialism, it is to give to
each according to his work, but we have to miss in some communist formulas.
How else could we solve the problem of a mother who is sending a technician
to school, who is probably supporting him, who is performing some work and
makes only a modest income? If we do not put all the children in school,
what would she have left? How could she support those children?

One of the things that worries us is that many large families have children
who have to live in difficult circumstances. They are not hungry but they
live very precariously. Of course, with the incorporation of women into
productive work, there are many ways of helping that women who takes up
productive work. There are many ways of helping his mother who has many
children to improve the living conditions of her children, not merely by
creating institutions and saying: Bring all the children to the schools,"
because they would be utopian, that would be an illusion. But if women take
up work, if production increases considerably, it is perfectly possible to
have as many schools as are necessary, as many boarding schools as are
necessary, and many school dining rooms as are necessary.

The thing that cannot be done is to try to give something we do not have.
The thing that cannot be done is to try to resolve problems without
increasing production. However, the incorporation of women into productive
work will serve primarily to help a woman, to help her children, to help
her relatives, because any increase in production due to a woman's work can
be invested in improving the living conditions of her children, in
improving the living conditions of the most humble and numerous families.

The truth is that our production capacity is limited. It is nothing
compared to what future production will be, and there are many families
with many children with the very modest incomes. These families have to
count every penny they spend. There are cases of families where six or
seven work, and everybody has a salary. They have more income than a
senator used to have. However, there are cases of families with five or six
children and only one breadwinner in the house.

Those families will be the ones who will benefit the most by the
incorporation of women into work, by the creation of school dining rooms
and centers where they can take their children to study, be taken care of,
and fed.

We have many tasks to carry out in this field and I believe that this is of
interest to the people of the Isle of Pines, and of interest to all the
women of the entire country. In this case, well, it is almost as if one had
taken a drink of good whiskey, a very good one to celebrate this plenum. I
believe that you will leave a fond memory in the Isle of Pines. You will
leave the enthusiasm of the women of the federation with the people of the
Isle of Pines, and at the same time you will be filled with the
revolutionary enthusiasm of the workers and peasants of the Isle of Pines
(applause, clapping, chanting)

I know that the "Pinarenos" are very enthusiastic, very proud (he is
interrupted by protests and shouts). Oh? What did I say? (shouting) Well,
it comes from "pine" also. ("Pinarenos" is what the people from Pinar del
Rio are called--ed.). This is the Isle of Pines and that is Pinar del Rio.
You are neighbors and like each other well. You are almost linked, and the
day will come, the day will come--that day is not near--when there will be
a highway between the two. Today we were looking at all the keys which
practically trace a roadway, and it will not be difficult to build one when
other tasks have been finished, when other more urgent things have been
done. Meanwhile, we will have to use air and sea transportation.

Two more ferries are under construction for the Isle of Pines. (applause)
At present there is a good air service and this type of transportation will
continue to be improved. But the day will come when it will be possible to
resolve the problem of land transportation, because it appears--after all
the last word on this would have to be given by the engineer--but to us, to
Comrade Osmani (Construction Minister Osmani Cienfuegos--ed.) who
understands this sort of thing, it appears very possible. He was completely
sure of the technical feasibility of accomplishing this engineering

Naturally, for the time being, there are many other more urgent things to
do and we cannot think about this highway, but I am sure that the people of
the Isle of Pines will see that highway someday. Meanwhile, it is logical
because this is a place which will have many people in the future, there
exist magnificent possibilities for vacations, for rest; and all that,
naturally, will have to be greatly developed. This will be a paradise from
much fruit, much milk, much cheese, much ice cream, much everything, much
sea (applause).

But naturally for all of this it is necessary to develop it, to improve it
and this is part of a future which belongs to us, to everyone. Moreover, it
will be easier to come her. We will also have to find some more rapid sea
transportation. Whenever we see pictures of the ships which sail on the
Volga, we have always had the desire to some day be able to have this type
of ship--I do not recall their name, meteor--which ply the Volga, traveling
at a speed up to 70 and 80 kilometers per hour. These waters are relatively
calm and I believe that this type of ship could make the crossing in two
hours from Batabano to here (applause). As you know the ferry takes a
little longer (shouts). How long? 10 hours. Well, I understand that with
the impatience that you have to arrive on the Isle of Pines, 10 hours would
seem to be too long (laughter), but I am sure that when you return it is
going to be so painful to leave the Isle of Pines that the trip is going to
seem too short and it will then seem that 10 hours is a small thing when
you leave the Isle of Pines. (shout from audience) Good, but before you
leave the Isle of Pines you must see the plantations, do not forget that
(laughter). And you should go to the state farms. You should see all the
plantations, the pastures, some of these things. I am certain that it is
going to interest you. Then, what more is there to say? (laughter) Already
almost everything is said.

Now what we have to do is to do more (shouts). And are the women from the
Isle of Pines satisfied? (shouts of yes) And do you have great confidence
in the plan? (shouts of yes) Well, soon they will be producing here, by the
end of the year I believe that they will be producing three liters of milk
per citizen on the Isle of Pines (applause). They will not be able to drink
all of it; some of it will have to be sent to the people of Havana.
(shouting) This is what the director of the school said, a teacher who
works much and well, the director. (applause) We are going to see if the
women of the party, the comrades of the army, the comrades of the plan do
something. (applause)

If promise you that if they will place the boards and the stones, we will
search for the equipment for the dining room. (applause) And we are going
to see if they get going and do something. Let us make the Isle of Pines
boarding school. It cannot be too much at first to build some buildings,
the dining hall, a building. Let us see if we can make that school in what
remains of the year. But let everyone work on this. (shouts about a garden)
No garden? (laughter) Does it not have any flowers? (shouts of no) and what
of the florist school of the FMC? Why not send in some technical cadres
there and organize a good flower garden? And there women from the Isle of
Pines taking the course? Who will plant them? I must confess that I do not
know much about that. (laughter) I like flowers but I have not yet studied
this. Some books about flowers will have to be obtained, but I do not
believe that this will be a very difficult problem.

It is more difficult to produce 10 million tons of sugar, and we are
involved in this. Some hectares of flowers should be very good in the Isle
of Pines. In the next plenum which the women hold on the Isle of Pines not
only will they have oranges and mandarins, but also flowers (applause). I
believe that on the Isle of Pines with the will to work everything can be
done. And with the comrades of the party, the army, and the women of the
house in agreement, this school can be built and the dining room can be
made (laughter) and a very beautiful little garden can be made also
(applause). And who is going to work in the garden? (shouts of "the women")
the women. Very good.

A brigade can be formed. But they will have to ask the technical assistance
of the school which the federation is forming, I believe, of some technical
cadres. In this way, everything can be done on the Isle of Pines,
everything is possible with the inpetus that is here, with the enthusiasm
and the will to do things that exists. Everything is possible. Therefore,
leave it in the hands of the comrades of the Isle of Pines to solve their
problem and help can be sent to them. But you have to produce the bricks
here, to produce the lumber (phase indistinct).

Now there exists a JUCEI here which administers many things. It is a JUCEI
which administers the most things because it even administers the tourist
centers (laughter). I believe that they took a course at the tourist
enterprise of the Isle of Pines (laughter), but if they charge a lot here
do not blame the tourist enterprise. This is the fault of the JUCEI of the
Isle of Pines.

But, I know that they are very enthusiastic, and they are managing many
things. This is good. It is good for everything that can be administered by
the area to be administered by the area. The tests that we have made have
had many results. Where the local administration has been created and been
developed many things are solved. Many services, many small details, many
small things, and yet many important things are solved in such a way that
the locality has the opportunity to decide about and solve its problems.

This year there will be a great impetus for the organizations of the
regions and the organization of the local administrations in order to
decentralize some, to decentralize a great deal more. All those things
whose characteristics it is evident should be administered by the locality,
should be administered by the locality. All those things which, because of
their nature should be locality. All those things which, because of their
nature should be administered nationally, will be administered nationally.
Because of this, it is very important that the local administrations should
develop, and you have a here a JUCEI which works well with the problems of
the Isle of Pines, which can be solved by you yourselves with the resources
of the Isle of Pines. Thus, we are going to put to the test here the local
administration and all the comrades of the Isle of Pines so that these
requests that they will be solved. I feel they are just, and I am ready to
help. Fatherland or death, we will win.