Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Havana Domestic radio and television services in Spanish, 0246 GMT, 4 March

Live speech by Prime Minister Fidel Castro at a 3 March 1965 ceremony in
the Central Park of Guines honoring the Julio Antonio Mella cane-cutting

(Text) Comrades of the three brigades who have cut the first million
arrobas, comrades of the Mayabeque regional and of the city of Guines
(shouting, applause): The comrades who are received and honored here today
have won that right by accomplishing what can be called a veritable feat of
work. The importance of the fact that a brigade of 32 men as managed to cut
a million arrobas of cane before the end of February, can be better
understood if we say that our country proposes to attain sugarcane harvests
of 10 million tons of sugar in 1970, and that the problem of a labor force
is one of the limiting factors which is the hardest to overcome, because
today opportunities nor work for all the citizens of our country are so
great that what happened in previous times no longer happens. (Sentence as

In all those harvests hundreds of thousands of workers who had no jobs were
mobilized to carry out the sugarcane harvest. They could not even cut an
the sugarcane they wanted to, because many times the ones who wanted to cut
cane were more than were needed and as a result the work assigned to them
was many times less than they could do or wanted to do. Today everything is
just the opposite; men cut as much cane as they are able to cut. And so the
fact that 32 men cut a million arrobas of cane means that with 3,500
brigades such as this one, we could cut all the cane needed to harvest a
crop of 10 million tons of sugar--with less than 120,000 canecutters.

What these men are proving is that our country with a total of no more than
120,000 men, it could almost be said that with a total of 100,000 men--men
who are as efficient as these--we could cut all the cane needed to produce
10 million tons of sugar. These men are setting an extraordinary example,
and they are teaching all of us, they are showing all the people the
extraordinary possibilities our country has with work. And who are these
men who have cut the first million? Are they perhaps 32 colossuses of the
canecutting knife? No. None of them is a colossus of the canecutting knife.
Are they perhaps men who are in the peak of their youth of 18 or 19 years?
No. We must take into account that without anyone of the 32 being a
colossus of the canecutting knife, the entire brigade is a formidable, or
colossal--whatever you want to call it--with the canecutting knife. All of
the 32 were able to cut such a high amount in such a short time.

What are their averages? Do not think that their averages were 1,000, 800,
or 700. No. What were their averages? They were 496, 472, 452, 530, 503--I
am referring to each of them--491, 478, 612. There is only one who has more
than 600, and some others who have more than 500. There are many who have
more than 400, and some who do not have 400 arrobas.

However, they achieved the goal of the first million as the result of a
coordinated effort, the result of a collective effort, of collective
enthusiasm, or work discipline, of the leadership of the brigade, of the
spirit of the comrades.

Their ages? There are eight sugarcane cutters among these 32 who are more
than 50 years old (applause). There are eight who are from 40 to 50 years
old; nine who are from 30 to 40; and only seven who are from 20 to 30 years
old. Their average age is 36 years old.

As you know, with the hard physical work which must be done in cutting
sugarcane it is an extraordinary thing that a brigade of workers with the
average age has already cut a million arrobas and proposes to cut a second
million. That is to say that the success of these comrades is due to the
collective effort. For the record, some individual cases should be
emphasized concerning workers who, although they do not belong to the
winning brigades, have made a truly extraordinary effort.

For example, here we have a small record of how the maximum figure of cut
sugarcane by one worker with a loader is increasing. On 15 January, in an
eight-hour work day, the worker, Basilio Sanchez Martelo, operator of a
loading machine in the Julio Mella brigade in the San Nicolas brigade,
Mayabeque region, (Castro asks someone if Sanchez is from the winning
brigade. -- Ed) --From the winning brigade--loaded 18,416 arrobas

This record stood until 26 January when the worker, Rodando, Cordero,
loading machine operator in the Julio Mella brigade, Miranda central in
Oriente province, loaded 19,964 arrobas in eight hours (applause). This
record stood until 7 February when the worker, Isidro Gonzalez, loading
machine operator in the Rigoberta Pepez (Leva--phonetic), Las Villas
province, loaded 22,091 arrobas arrobas in eight hours (applause). Earlier
the worker, Ramon Prometa (interrupted thought--Ed.)--No, later another
worker loaded 20,000 arrobas, although he did not exceed the figure of the
previous worker, Ramon Prometa, loading machine operator in the Marcelina
Castaneras farm in Camaguey province. (As heard)

On 15 February, in a nine-hour day the worker, Felix Vera, loading machine
operator in the Lenin brigade of the Carlos Manuel De Cespedes farm,
Camaguey province, loaded 25,012 arrobas (applause). This record stood
until 22 February when the worker, Jose Melima, loading machine operator in
the Lenin brigade of the Camilio Cienfuegos Pedro Betancourt, Matanzas
province, in a work day of seven hours and 57 minutes loaded 31,153 arrobas
(applause). This record was broken the same day, 22 February, when the
worker, Orlando Ravelo Bauta--there were two workers here--and Antonio
Vita, operators of the loading machine at the Eriberto Orellana plantation
in Sancti Spiritus, in a period of seven hours and 57 minutes, loaded
32,776 arrobas (applause). And this record stood until 27 February, when
once again worker Felix Vera, who previously had reached 25,902, and who is
the operator of the loading machine of the Lenin brigade at the Carlos
Manuel De Cespedes plantation, Florida, Camaguey, during a period of 9
hours and 4 minutes, loaded 34,704 arrobas (applause). And this is the
present record amount of sugarcane loaded by an operator.

To get an idea on the magnitude of this effort one should bear in mind that
the norm on the loaders is 7,000 arrobas. This worker has acquired such an
extraordinary ability that he has loaded five times the norm for one day.
Among the cutters, a series of workers have distinguished themselves, such
as the worker, Tomas Olmo, a canecutter in the Camilo Cienfuegos brigade,
Enrique Nova plantation, Calimite, Matanzas province. Since the harvest
began he has been averaging 800 arrobas daily.

Tomas Torres, a canecutter in the Camilo Cienfuegos brigade at the Enrique
Nova plantation, Calimete, Matanzas province, is also averaging 800 arrobas
daily since the harvest began. Fidel Mejias, a Camilo Cienfuegos brigade
canecutter, Enrique Nova plantation, Calimete, Matanzas province, has been
averaging 800 arrobas since the harvest began. Juan Sarmiento, a canecutter
in the Quintin Oanderas brigade of the Holguin regional, has been averaging
894 arrobas since the harvest began. Esteban Cabrera Perez, a canecutter of
the Camilo Cienfuegos brigade at the Enrique Nova plantation, Matanzas
province, has been averaging 954 arrobas in 10 and 12-hour shifts since the
harvest began.

Graciliano Rondon, a canecutter with the Felix Rojas brigade at the Jose
Diaz plantation in Holguin, Oriente province, has been averaging 994
arrobas since the harvest began. Teodoro Mercani, a canecutter with the
Lazaro Acosta brigade at the Hermano Almendra in Jovellanos, Matanzas
province, has been averaging 1,200 arrobas since the harvest began
(applause). Jose Mora Lopez, a canecutter with the Lenin brigade at the
Carlos Manuel De Cespedes plantation in Florida, Camaguey province, has
been averaging 1,200 arrobas during 9-hour shifts since the harvest began
(applause). Hector Torres, a canecutter with the Lenin brigade at the
Camilo Cienfuegos plantation in Pedro Betancourt, Matanzas province, cut a
daily average of 1,340 arrobas during the last 11 days of January

Thanks to this enthusiasm, to this extraordinary effort, the milling is
progressing at a magnificent rate. The second million tons of sugar was
produced in 20 days, two days before the estimated date, and the third
million, which was scheduled for 22 March, according to the rate of milling
at the present time, will be achieved on 18 March (applause). This means
that by this date, we will have to set the goal of the fourth million and
so forth. We will continue million by million as long as there is a single
stalk of cane standing. Everything seems to indicate that not even half a
piece of sugar cane will remain standing, unless it is the late spring
cane, which we will save for next year.

This year the loaders are yielding much more than last year. This is the
result of the greater experience on the operators. The fact that such high
figures are achieved is very encouraging. The same will happen with the
canecutting machines, with the 500 we have, with those we will acquire next
year. For at least two years we will have to acquire that experience and
overcome the small shortcomings they have. That is to say that these facts
show that our aspiration to produce 10 million tons of sugar is in no way
an impossible thing for our people. But to achieve 10 million in the coming
years, it will be necessary to lay the principal stress on the industry.
(Presumably sugar industry--Ed.). Next year we will reach the maximum limit
on our industrial capacity. The development of the industry will have to
keep pace with the development of the cane plantations.

A woman comrade asked me recently what imperialism would say. This is the
same thing we all ask ourselves. What will imperialism say? Already a North
American newspaper has revealed the uneasiness of imperialism, because
their hope was that the people would fail.

The "misters" were not here. The lobos were not here--although they were
all lobos. (Castro apparently is referring to a former sugar baron named
Lobo in Cuba, although Lobo also means wolf--Ed.). The fallas were not
here, although they were all fallas (again a play on a proper name; falla
also means weak, silly, or a failure--Ed.). And all those landowners, all
those intellects--and they said to each other "how are these ignorant
people going to carry on with the sugar industry? How are those illiterate
people going to replace us, to take over the running of the plantations and
factories?" In their selfish eyes, every worker was ignorant. Every worker
was an incompetent. Every worker was a slave without talents or virtues.
And it was not easy. It took work, it is true. And it was not easy either
because it is not like it was before when the American owners of many sugar
factories could obtain any repair part for any truck, wagon, tractor,
locomotive, or any piece of machinery in the central.

But that was not the situation of our workers. They did not have them
within reach. They could not obtain those parts so easily in spite of the
fact that the largest part of the tractors were of American make, and most
of the locomotives, the machines, and equipment were American, and they
could not obtain them by calling Miami on the telephone. These people whom
they considered incompetent, these people whom they called uneducated and
illiterate, learned to read and write. They not only learned to read and
write, they learned--a great number of them--the first, second, third,
fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, and there are even workers who are
enrolled in the university. They learned to read and write, and they
learned to plant sugarcane, and they learned to run the centrals, and they
learned to produce sugar, and they learned to produce a million arrobas in
only two months (applause).

What will the imperialists say? What will happen to their hopes, their
hopes that the revolution would sink into ruin? What better proof is there
(that the revolution is doing well--Ed.) than the fact that this very year
when sugar has had the lowest prices of the last 20 or 30 years, the
sugarcane workers are making more than ever? What would this have meant in
the past? Would it have meant the struggle to produce 10 million tons? No,
it would have meant a struggle to limit production, to produce less sugar,
and it would have meant more unemployment, smaller wages for the workers.

Today the economy is viewed in another way. Since sugar is the main thing,
its price is not important. The people generously rewards those who cut the
cane, There are not limits on the sugarcane harvest, but rather unlimited
sugarcane harvests. This is something that was always a dream of our
sugarcane workers, of all our peasants, on all our people. There are no
reductions in wages; there are higher wages. There is no smaller quota of
cane to cut per worker; there is a larger quota, all the cane they want,
all they can cut.

And it is not only in cane, it is not only in cane where we make good
progress. Today, the figures of the avicular plan were published and the
figure was not 60 but 73 million eggs produced in a month of 28 days
(applause), and next month, which is the month when more eggs are laid,
that figure will be surpassed and it will be maintained at a very high
level at least during March, April, and May, when we will begin to near the
time of fewer eggs. But even during the period of fewer eggs, we do not
believe that production will be lower than 60 million eggs in any month of
this year.

However, just in case, we have an ample supply of over 70 million. This
already allows us to distribute 30 eggs per capita to each machetero. He
has a right to up to 30 eggs if he desires it. He is making the greatest
effort, and he needs the greatest amount of protein, calories, and food in
general (applause).

Also in one province eggs are already on unrestricted sale. What province?
A province which was receiving less meat--there are three areas of the
country which are still receiving less meat than the rest--and this
situation will last until January of the coming year. They are Pinar Del
Rio, the interior of Havana, and Oriente. Therefore, in Pinar Del Rio eggs
are on unrestricted sale. (It is not?) A very large province. Already they
have sent increased quotas to the cities of Oriente with 12 eggs (per
capita--Ed.) It is a larger province and it is necessary to act in such a
way so that each new increase will bring relief.

It is possible that at the end of the sugarcane harvest the eggs which are
being given to the macheteros will be used to increase to 18 eggs per
capita the consumption in the cities of Oriente and interior Havana, and it
will be increased to 12 this month. Pinar Del Rio, which is a little
smaller, benefitted because of its size. In any case, what has been seen is
that, in general, consumption does not increase in some towns of Las Villas
which have unrestricted sale, and they do not buy more than 19 eggs. That
is to say that this is very close to the maximum needs. It is certain that
in these provinces which have less meat consumption, it can be increased.

At this time there are 4.1 million laying hens belonging to the state
(applause). This is almost one laying hen per consumer, and the hen must
have a great egg-laying capacity, because one must add to all that which is
distributed to each person also that which is distributed to hospitals,
institutions, schools, scholarship student centers, and restaurants. This
is without counting the production of the small farmers.

What country of Latin America has at this time a high-quality leghorn hen
laying for each consumer? Next year we are going to increase somewhat the
number of laying hens to 4.5 million, in order to see if we can do away
with the ration book. This depends upon consumption, but they are working
to reach 4.5 millions. In 1967 we will start producing more chickens. Now
the idea is that the resources which we have are mainly used for laying

Agriculture is not all. The fruit trees--many fruit trees are being planted
and the yield is coming in such a way that next year we plan to have three
times more fruit. Not only the fruit, but also the root vegetable
(production is increasing--Ed.) (applause). We have promised to place it on
unrestricted sale. Already we have had 500,000 quintales more potatoes, and
next year there will be a million quintales more than those produced this
year. However, it will not only be potatoes. Between Oriente and Camaguey a
thousand caballerias of plantain will be planted and much malanga
(applause). A good deal more Malanga will be planted. This is in addition
to the fact that the small farmer is also increasing considerably his
planting because on the confidence and faith he has in the revolution.

But this is not all. This year 2,000 new dairies will be built (applause).
It is true that they will not be stocked with cows having a very high milk
production, but they will be the grandparents of turue cows with a high
milk production. Meanwhile, with many on them we will produce much milk.
There will be an increase of more than half a million liters. It could be
600,000 to 700,000 liters throughout the country, although unfortunately
our greatest difficulties are where there is the greatest concentration of
population, as in the west.

Moreover, our population will increase? We will surely have 250,000 or more
new-born children. However, it is a fact that our production is increasing
at a much greater rate than our population, whereas in most of Latin
America the population is increasing more than the rate of food production.
Our food production at this time is moving at a much greater rate than the
rate of growth of the population, although the population is increasing
tremendously. In short, in all branches of food production the increase in
production goes up.

What will our enemies say? What will the imperialist say? What will happen
to their hopes? What will the few worms who are still around be able to
talk about in the face on the relentless advance of the people, before the
victorious progress of the revolution--a progress not of promises, and not
of words.

In education we have already placed ourselves among the leading countries
of the world. In medical attention we also are among the first, and we will
not be long in ranking among the first in nutrition, and after nutrition,
shoes and clothing, and after that, housing. However, the primary needs of
our people will be resolved in their material and cultural priority.
Physical education and sports are being developed along with the general
education and culture of the country. The technical culture of the people
is being developed through study. Thousands and thousands of youths have
enrolled in our universities, in our technical education centers, in our
pre-university centers.

Nobody can stop that. Nothing can prevent that. We will know how to defend
that simply because we have something to defend (applause).

And that is the way a people work and struggle. While we work here to
create, what do the imperialists do? They work to destroy. They mobilize
all their lackeys. They mobilize all the traitors on the continent, the
yellow unions, the leaders who have sold out to management, to blockade
Cuba, to boycott the ships on countries who trade with Cuba, to boycott the
revolution of the workers and peasants. That is what the imperialists are
doing. They corrupt and subject human beings to the worst state of
abjectness, and absurdity.

Underdeveloped countries, exploited countries without schools and
hospitals, and without work, without economic development, have their
puppet government and yellow unions mobilized to impose a boycott, and this
is the limit? Underdeveloped countries boycotting the trade with which they
need to live, which they need primarily to avoid starving to death! What
absurdities these puppet, reactionary governments commit. And the
imperialists take the people and nations against their most essential
interests, because naturally that is not something of the people. Wherever
there is a revolutionary worker-leader in Latin America, a true defender on
the working class, he will always be against boycotts. He will always be
with the revolution.

The mujals who remain in the continent, the (topinos?) who remain in the
continent--who remembers those vermin? And here also there were those who,
while the people fought and while their best sons died, honored Batista.
They were at the service of the landowners and the imperialist and they
became millionaries--but not on arrobas on canecut, but by money extracted
from the sweat of the workers. However, that did not prevent the
revolution. Just as the mujals of Venezuela and others will not prevent the
victory of the heroic Venezuelan revolutionaries (applause).

We remember the popular saying that there is nothing more reliable than
that one day follows the other. The time will come when they will have to
give an account of their crimes. While the nations which are liberating
themselves are working, what are the imperialist doing? Destroying and
killing, as they are doing in South Vietnam (shouts, applause), as they are
doing in North Vietnam; perpetrating crimes which can vie with the
Hitlerite crimes; carrying out mass bombings against a nation with which
they are not at war; machinegunning and bombing cities.

First they invent a pretext, claiming reprisals. Then (they attack --Ed.)
No longer as reprisals but systematically. We know the Yankee imperialists
well. We know them well as blackmailers and plotters. First they began by
violating the air space. Then they continued with the so-called retaliatory
attacks. Then they began to use their jet planes against the liberation
movement in South Vietnam. Now, removing what little disguise remained,
they bomb an indignant North Vietnam no longer in retaliation but

Thus, the imperialists cover themselves with opprobrium and win universal
hatred and universal condemnation, and they are left more and more to
themselves in their role of international bandits, international criminals,
war criminals. For what else is the launching of 160 planes against a small
nation? The launching of such attacks with impunity must deeply concern all

However, we know the imperialists well because we remember (the attack on
the ship--Ed.) Le Coubre. We remember Giron. We remember murders of brigade
members, adolescents, and teachers. We remember their criminal and cowardly
attacks. We remember their villainies against which we have had to defend
ourselves and against which we will have to defend ourselves for a long
time to come.

We are sorry that we are not closer to North Vietnam to help them with
whatever we could (long rhythmic applause), to send them whatever
antiaircraft weapons we could, whatever planes we could send to them, with
pilots and all (applause), so they (United States--Ed.) could not continue
attacking with impunity; because one must show the imperialists that one is
not afraid of them (applause).

We know the imperialists well, and we know that if they meet no resistance
they continue and continue, today with one thing and tomorrow with another.
However, when they meet firm resistance they stop (applause). We know that
they are miserable blackmailers, vulgar international gangsters, who like
to murder with impunity, and therefore, they should be made to pay for
their crimes. If they want to kill, they should be killed, too (applause).
Peace is necessary. Peace is necessary, but peace for all, peace for all
nations--because the rest of humanity has no right to live calmly as long
as a small country is perishing under an imperialist holocaust (applause).
That is our thinking. We are sure that North Vietnam will not face the
imperialism crimes alone. We know that it is a heroic nation that
furthermore belongs to the socialist camp (applause), and all socialist
countries have the inexcusable duty to support it and to help it with
everything at our disposal (applause).

The case of Vietnam also teaches us that we must not lower our guard
(audience shouts), that we must keep our weapons in the best condition. But
more than our weapons (we must maintain--Ed.) our spirit always alert
(applause), our determination and will to fight and defend unquenchable. We
know the imperialists well. For that reason, we take our measures. For that
reason, we take care of our weapons. For that reason, we adopt all
necessary measures to face any attack of this type--a treacherous attack.
The imperialist are aware that they have a tough, tough bone to gnaw here

As the whole world can see, we devote ourselves to work. The revolution was
carried out for the nation and for the people. The revolution was carried
out for the well being of the people. For that well being we work and we
achieve victory, for that well being our workers cut millions of arrobas.
That is the objective of the revolution, but lamentably there are bandits
in the world. Lamentably imperialism exists in the world and its clutches
threaten to destroy our accomplishments. However this does not discourage
us. We work to create. We work to progress. We work for a better life, but
this better life will never make us soft. This better life will never make
us egotistical. It will never make us cowards, because this better
life--for which we fight--we want to enjoy proudly. We want dignity above
all (applause). We desire no wealth without dignity. We want no progress
without dignity (applause). We want no well being without dignity. We all
know that we are capable of creating that well being.

We all know that we are ready to defend that well being. We also know that
we would rather sacrifice this well being rather than our dignity and
freedom (applause). The people build schools because they want everyone to
receive the light of knowledge. They build hospitals and they fight
tenaciously to save every life within the country. However, we are ready to
sacrifice everyone's life to defend our cause, to defend our future, our
freedom, and our dignity.

Imperialists must therefore know that progress will not make us less
revolutionary and that economic victories will not make us softer. And now,
they will have to swallow not only the revolution, but the triumphant
revolution (applause--not only the revolution, but the revolution that
advances economically despite their blockade, the revolution that triumphs
and whose accelerated pace forward will become more and more an example.

In the same measure that truth cannot be concealed, in the same measure
that hunger grows in other countries, they will have to admit this, because
they will have no other choice. We are a firm nation, a united people, a
combative people, a working people, a valliant people, and an invincible
people (applause). That is why no truer words were spoken here than those
uttered by the comrade who heads the winning brigade when he said that not
only did they know how to cut cane, but also how to carry a gun (applause).

This means that there are men capable of cutting one million arrobas of
sugarcane who can simultaneously fight for the fatherland and kill one
million mercenary invaders.

Fatherland or death, we will win! (applause)