Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


[Following is a translation of a speech by Castro appearing in the
Spanish-language publication Granma, Havana 24 October 1965, pp 2-6]

On the occasion of a meeting held on 30 September, attended by
provincial and regional leaders of the Party and the Coordination,
Execution and Inspection Board, during discussion on the matter of the
make-up and operation of local organizations, Commander Fidel Castro spoke
several times. Below we quote one of his speeches.

+ + +

Fidel Castro: I am going to take this opportunity to say something
which occurred to me while Pepin was speaking. You know that resources are
limited and how great the pressure is for each sack of cement, each nail,
each foot of lumber among the different organizations due to different
kinds of needs. I think that often the interests of the locality, certain
interests of a social type are forgotten when the time comes to parcel out
the resources. This is a danger which does exist.

Let's mention for example the pressure to build enclosures for
livestock, an important economic need, the pressure to build hydraulic
projects, a very important need, the pressure for construction of
thermoelectric plants, sewers -- all these things can give rise to a
situation in which, when the time comes to distribute all the resources,
the cement to repair a wall in one of the villages does not appear because
all the other plans took all the material. These are the dangers which come
from the absence of the locality's voice in the problems of the nation and
in the problems of the economy, and then terrible problems are created,
really terrible problems, because there isn't a single sack of cement to
repair a single house. And great hydraulic plans can move right along and
plans for this and plans for that, and then one can see a 20-family house
where they have 20 problems all for an insignificant little sack of cement.

And there is the danger that national planning tends to forget these
problems of every-day life which are, nevertheless, very important to the
people. This is why it is so important to heed the voice of the locality
when it comes time to distribute resources: 100 different voices telling
what the most urgent problems are so that when we go to distribute the
sacks of cement and the nails and the lumber, the material needed to solve
these local problems is not overlooked.

This is why you have to discuss these things. Naturally, you will
always find -- because of the present state of things -- that the desire to
build things and the awareness of the needs will always be greater than the
resources, but it will be necessary for the Planning Board to know what the
wants are and why they exist in regard to regional and local matters. So
that when the distribution of material resources is made, independently of
what comes through the National Waterworks and Sewerage Commission or
National Institute for Agrarian Reform public works, they get certain
quantities of resources to carry out plans and certain projects in the

I am going to speak about these projects because not enough has been
said here about them. We contemplate the operation of local authorities or
local administrations with much greater scope than has yet come out at this

Local Administrations at a High Level
of Operation

We contemplate the development of these administrations at a much
higher level and to solve much more important problems. It could be said
that as the development of a very modern industry becomes detached fro this
type of local activity and local administration, that same economic
development of a modern industry carries with it an extraordinary increase
in the social needs which have to be solved fundamentally by the local

It might be said that in the future as industry becomes more modern it
will become more centralized, but as social problems become more evolved,
they will fall more and more into the hands of local organizations. We are
struggling for a series of aims which we are going to build in several
locations, such as the plan for northern Oriente.

We hope to build 10,000 houses there; that organization has to build
those houses. We hope to build 100 schools, for 300 boarding students each;
we hope to try out all the routes, the operation of all this, because we
don't have nails to build the houses, or cement, but build them we must. So
we are going to build them with other materials, preferably using some of
the techniques which are being developed by the Ministry of Public Works.
Right now they are building some houses of lime, blocks of lime or brick.

I recall that I was worried where we would get the cement, the sand,
and now houses of clay and mud are appearing, even some houses of lime.
Some of these are being built and will be tested.

This means that all the materials can be found right there, up on those
mesetas, to build the houses, the schools, the communal dining rooms, all
these things of a social sort.

We hope -- as an aim -- that all rural children will have boarding
schools which they enter on Monday and leave on Friday. That is, all rural
children will be boarders and urban children semi-boarders -- they will go
in the morning and return home at night -- in order to facilitate the
complete incorporation of women in production. We must go to work on the
task -- and this also is a new idea which we are developing --
incorporating the entire active population of the nation in production,
whether agricultural, craft, industrial, or any other type.

This is going to require a large number of student communal dining
rooms. And who is going to be called on to organize this, to carry out
these plans? Today there are only a few student dining rooms and they are
administered by what is going to the Ministry of the Nutrition Industry,
but it would be absurd for the Ministry of the Nutrition Industry to
administer student dining rooms in Baracoa and Mayari.

All those dining rooms for those children must be administered by the
region, but with your resources and the help of Public Works, mobilizing
enthusiasm and the natural and human resources which may be idle, just as
you have done in Playa de Juragua, these constructions must be carried out
in order to establish the student dining rooms.

In the same fashion recreation areas and sport areas can be built near
these dining rooms.

We have plans for the organization of the craft industry. The Party in
the region will also have a large share in this.

Free Clothing and Shoes for Students by 1970

We have still more ambitious plans: We expect, at some definite time,
to be able to give free meals to all school children, as we are now giving
free shoes to the school children in Sierra Maestra, for example. The time
will come when we can give shoes and clothing to all the children in Cuba.
And later we will be able to give clothing, shoes and food free to the
entire student population. You can imagine how much work the locality will
have to do when this becomes an actuality, because it will have to do all
this. Today shoes are being distributed in the Sierra by means of a
practical special plan. When we reach that level, I would think by 1970, we
will be able to give clothing and shoes free to all the children in Cuba
through the school. And it wouldn't be guess-work to state that by 1975 we
will be able to give free food to all the school children in the country.

We are not gradually approaching communism -- free housing, clothing
and shoes for children, old-age pensions. The time is coming when the wage
which the father, the mother or the aunt earns will be net wages, to spend
on their own needs. It will never be possible to accomplish this without a
great development in local organizations, because we could never dream of
organizing a Ministry of Social Assistance or of communism, as you would
like to call it (RISAS), a communist combine, to distribute the shoes and
other things.

I can even give you the idea that this is not a chimera or utopia in
figures: For example, in order to distribute, by the year 1970, free
clothing and shoes to all children in the country, one and a half million
children, we would not have to spend much more than 40,000,000 pesos. We
have ministries right now which in their central headquarters alone cost
the Republic 40 million pesos. Well, unproductive and sterile bureaucracy
is the opposite pole to communism. And all these measures would show the
people with concrete facts what a new society is and the type of society we
want to create for all and which we must and will carry forward.

By 1975 every child will be able to have a liter and one-half of milk,
and this would be two and one-half million liters of the 30 million we
expect to produce by this period. By 1970 we expect to produce 30,000,000
rabbits per year, which means that we can put a rabbit coat on every child
if we want to, but we aren't going to do this. It's better to export them
to get a little money to enable us to carry out all these plans. But it is
necessary to understand the enormous importance of the social aspect of the

Every day the weight of the social factor will be greater, because when
the time comes when we give meals in the schools, you will say to the
State: Who pays for this? Part of what you are going to give and part of
what is going to come as a result of various concepts, part of what the
restaurants are going to give -- because I think the ultimate in communism
will occur when they give free meals at the "1830." And I'm still wracking
my brains and I can't think how people are going to arrive at the "1830,"
sit down and eat.

Also, certain worries -- I'm not going to go through them all -- which
we are beginning to have, give us the idea that it is impossible to
separate the building of socialism and the building of communism. Because
in our determination to build communism, putting the emphasis on the slogan
"from each according to his capacity, to each according to his labor," we
could reach a time in which these children would still be living according
to a socialist formula and not entering into the communist world where they
have to learn to live. And if we don't think about these things we don't
realize what resources we have can begin to enable the family or at least a
part of the family to live the communist way right now; guaranteeing a
basic scientific diet for all children which they don't get through their
parents' wages.

And how do we work out the socialist formula of "to each according to
his labor" in the case of a handicapped woman who can only do very limited
work for which she is paid 80 or 90 pesos because she is being paid "to
each according to his labor," and that woman has brought eight children
into the world? How can we apply a socialist formula to the eight children
of that woman? Well, we would like to say that without abandoning the
socialist formula in wages, we can go ahead and establish communist
formulas of this sort in society if we begin to think about the building of
communism at the same time we are building socialism.

These things are very important and I think it's very appropriate for
us to begin to think about these things, because we have reached a certain
stage, we have accumulated so many forces -- you should just see what the
revolution has in the party, in the mass organizations, in the Armed
Forces, among scholarship students. Next year we will mobilize 100,000
students for some forty days during the critical agricultural period, all
at the same time. That is to say, we are going to put all this youth to
work producing, we're not only going to give the scholarship students,
communistically, clothing, shoes, medical assistance, recreation,
education, housing, everything; we are also giving them the change to
produce, with some extra- ordinary results. The news we have received on
the working students -- including non-scholarship students -- is

And in those 100 schools which we expect to build in Oriente where we
will have 30,000 -- there will be 30,000 children who will also produce
some economic goods in addition to studying. And thus we will coordinate
intellectual things with productive work for these children, and we will
also introduce communist formulas in that region.

Impossible to Separate the Building of Socialism
from the Building of Communism

This indicates that it is good to use formulas to separate
schematically the period of socialism and communism, so that they can be
understood and so that the people don't expect to get it all very cheap
right now. There aren't enough goods for them to have those things at the
price and in the quantity they want; and the formula can be used to help
them understand. But not to commit the error of becoming slaves of formulas
and to forget the dialectic paths which may lead to a new society.

And we, quite familiar with all the handbooks, haven't considered that
it is impossible to build socialism separate from the building of communism
and what might happen if this is attempted, or because actually there are
contradictions between the socialist methods to reach higher production and
the methods by which one must educate a new generation or a people to live
under communism.

I have talked to you about these questions not only to make you
understand that we must begin to concern ourselves with these things but so
that you will try to imagine what the local authority will be when this
happens, what functions it will have, and for you to understand that it
will have truly universal functions in the social order. It will be
occupied with all the social problems of the citizenry and not concerned
only with the great industries but will be concerned with the workers who
work there, live in the region, have children, in the whole social order.

These functions will have to be adjusted. Now, as our comrade said, it
is correct to put the communal dining room there, but the restaurant too.
Because when in Santiago de Cuba ten restaurants are opened, for example,
aside from the fact that people are happy (not the 1830 type, but those who
made the 26th of July or those created in Las Villas) like those the
province is going to build in Las Villas with bricks and tile -- aside from
the fact that a place gets a good restaurant where none existed before,
they are useful for earning lots of money which we need to carry our these
things and they are centers of economic compensation between those who have
a great deal of money and those who have little, between the socialist
formulas whereby people who have money contribute it and the communist
formula which seeks to satisfy the needs of the old people, of the
children, communistically, the needs of the women who have children and who
socialistically cannot earn enough to feed, clothe and shoe all their

Economic matters are important, but social ones are also important and
as time passes your functions will be ever more economic. The time will
come when there will be no private shops, all will be state shops. Storage
of industrial merchandise, of the merchandise produced in the country or
imported will simply be done by storage organizations.

Social Consumption

You can have a brick factory -- now we are thinking about establishing
brick plants to build 60,000 dwellings per year -- not of bricks, no, but
blocks as an alternative. We are studying the possibility of establishing
plants to solve the problem with a minimum of cement, since there is so
little cement, together with these blocks.

These plants would have the capacity to make materials for 5,000 houses
per year. When comrade Pepin was in Europe he brought catalogues, prices,
etc. but it is still very expensive and we have to see what machines are
absolutely necessary.

So that the brick factory enterprise can be managed in the locality
when it becomes a great plant already producing a large quantity of blocks.
Even though it produces for a whole region, a more specialized organization
becomes necessary to take charge of managing and administering this
enterprise. This is why I say that what is properly productive as the
economy develops and increases, that is to say, in that industry, as is
presently the case with agriculture, you do not administer the collective,
the collective is already a large productive enterprise. It is a great
production enterprise which uses modern technical machinery -- the same
thing will happen with industrial production. But then all social matters
will stay more and more in the hands of the locality. The time will come
when what you have to spend there in school services and all that sort of
thing may be much more than what you receive from the earnings in five per
cent of the stores. Perhaps at that time the only production and
distribution center which gets more income may be social consumption. Let's
say a town has 20 or 30 restaurants and the people have money and you
maintain a policy, the economic criterion in this thing, and don't try to
charge as little as is charged in a worker dining room, you will have a
great source of revenue. It's necessary to set standards and establish the
categories, because I'm afraid that is categories are not established there
would be anarchy in prices, which should be similar for services of the
same quality.

If there are two types of centers, those of the Coordination, Execution
and Inspection Board and those of the National Institute for the Tourist
Industry, establish one category. Prices in the interior of the country
should be lower than in Havana. This is partly due to the statistical fact
that Havana receives approximately 50 per cent of the nation's income. It
is no social injustice to charge 20 or 30 centavos more in Havana than in
Santa Clara. Because here there was a tremendous imbalance because of the
unequal development of the capital and the provinces. But the day will come
when your principal source of revenue will be those centers of social
consumption, where they make a product and sell it and where a policy of
social service is not followed, properly speaking.

It is social service of course, because the man who earns $300.00 and
wants to eat a pizza can very will eat it even though it costs him $1.30 or
$1.50 and to have lunch, or a snack or supper or eat whatever he wants.
There those who have a good stomach can take three or four means a day. And
the type of worker dining room or rural worker dining room in Ocujal is not
a social service. There is a charge in the student dining rooms and in the
social circles. Soon I hope we'll reach the situation where we don't have
to charge in the student dining rooms. There is a formula: charge the man
who can pay a little more, less for the man who has less money, and nothing
for the one who can't pay it. And this seems to me to be a good formula for
now, but it shows the imbalance of incomes and the imbalance of family

The time will come when your principal collection center (I don't see
any other) will be cinemas, to a certain extent when the cinemas also pass
to the locality; that is to say the tourist centers, the films. The
bakeries won't produce much money, the candy stores and the shops. The day
when all the shops are state-owned, then too they will produce the small
margin set for them.

This percentage business is a transitory thing and is also set with
great flexibility. Because some regions may have a lot of income and others
no income. We want to establish some relation between a good job and the
possibility of doing things in the locality, but at the same time we have a
balance mechanism, an equilibrium mechanism, so that the regional may use
resources of one municipality for another poorer municipality in the
regional, and the province may devote resources of a rich region to a
poorer region within the province, and the nation may take resources from a
province like Havana to devote it to a province like Oriente.

That is to day, by means of this mechanism of the surplus which
remains, of that 30 per cent, which cannot be a fixed quantity, will have
to vary according to the circumstances and the time will come when the
state's share will come from the collection organizations, and so much
money will be delivered to a municipality to satisfy all the needs of the
children and things of a social type as we come closer to the communist

You must understand that with all these figures and all the percentage
and all these things, that it is a matter of taxation. And that we have
these balance mechanisms because of the unequal development of the various