Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


[Following is a translation of a speech by Fidel Castro
in the Spanish-language magazine Cuba Socialista (Socialist
Cuba), Havana, Cuba, Nov 65, pp 13-42.]

Editor's Note:

The following speech was made that the meeting that was held on 30
September and 1 October 1965.


Today we have already discussed almost all the most essential
matters concerned with the problems that have made this meeting necessary.
And during the course of the day's discussions I have already expressed
some of my ideas on these matters. I believe, then, that what remains to be
done is imply to synthesize the situation as much as possible, so that we
may have a clear idea of what we wish to accomplish.

That is, local government: which teaches the are of administration
and represents the only means of solving community problems.

Among the reports given -- which we have all found very
interesting and which have contributed many ideas -- it seems to us that
the one read by the comrade from Camaguey was very illustrative, and we got
the impression that this comrade has fully understood what it is we wish to
accomplish in this business of organizing a system of Local Government. It
is not, of course, that we do not have a system of Local Government. First,
there were the old municipalities, then cam the JUCEI [Junta de
Coordinacion, Ejecucion e Inspeccion; Coordination, Execution and
Inspection Board]: these were two different phases. And and naturally, the
conceptions of a national character that have prevailed for a long time, on
being pout to the test of reality, clashed with any aspirations for
developing Local Government, that is to say, local affairs

Undoubtedly, some ideas of a centralizing nature became very
popular. The mechanical adoption of a series of organizational methods or
systems used in other countries, the counseling received from many sources,
the multiplicity of ideas that govern the task of national organization,
the special characteristics of our country, which is underdeveloped; the
unawareness of these realities; the idealistic attempts to apply forms of
organization that perhaps were natural to a country that was much more
industrialized and developed than ours: all these things, for which no one
can be blamed, and which were the exclusive results of the inexperience of
of all the revolutionaries, have come quite evident during the past few

And naturally, the conception of a very powerful central
Administration and of totally centralized systems of organization,
conspired against the development of all of our institutions throughout the
country; against initiative and against the development of our mass
organizations, and most of all against the development of our political
organization itself. We were not even able to make clear distinctions
between those functions which, today and tommorrow, will always pertain to
the local sphere, and those which today may pertain to the national sphere
and tomorrow to the local or vice versa, as a result of the development of
said functions.

When the comrade from Camaguey spoke, he emphasized the surprising
results experienced in the first regional agency in which these ideas were
put to the test; ideas which had been prepared only 10 months previously,
based precisely on those suppositions of what the implementation of a
system like this -- with the full participation of the masses -- would
imply for the Party and for the local organisms and the local community.

We believed that this would arouse great interest among the
masses, that it would create a tremendous enthusiasm and preoccupation over
matters that are so close to them, such as those related to the town, the
place where they live and carry on their activities. What the comrade said
about the first meeting that was called for a rendering of accounts, at
which 17 townspeople spoke, and the manner in which they did this, the
enthusiasm aroused by all of this, the interest taken by the Party and the
Administration in rendering a complete information on all these matters, is
one of the major benefits which we shall derive not only from the fast of
decentralization, but also from the manner in which we shall carry our this
decentralization and the operational methods that will be followed by local
administrative units.

In the first place, we believe that the need to render accounts to
the community makes it necessary for the Party to select its best cadres
for administrative positions, because the Party must be essentially
concerned with the community's opinion of those cadres it has placed in
charge of the community's administration, and because it is directly
responsible for whatever actions these administrative cadres may take.

This forces the Party not to function according to subjective
methods, but to always try objectively to select the best team to place in
charge of local administration; a team which, in addition, it must help.

At the same time, concurrently with the advantages of having a
permanent supervisor in the town -- the town to which accounts must be
rendered, because this constitutes a great stimulus to the people's labor,
an instrument against routine work and insensitivity, and because it makes
it impossible for us to forget matters that affect the people -- this
approach constitutes a true schooling in the tasks of government.

One of the things that affects our country is the lack of cadres,
or teams; qualified administrative cadres that can take charge of important
tasks of a national character. How can be develop the cadres the country
requires when there are practically millions of persons who never have to
face an administrative problem, millions who never have to face a
responsibility, millions who do not even have the vaguest idea of how to
solve a single problem among the myriad problems which you have raised at
this meeting? Problems ranging all the way from the lack of productivity,
the lack of profits, to the problems of maladministration, of pilferage, of
disorganization and of waste? All of which problems you have outlines here,
and which many of you have admitted that you are facing today.

I have been interested to note that all the comrades who have come
to this meeting have outlines some problem or other of this nature, and
that all of you have also outlines the measures you are taking to overcome
these problems, and what measures to adopt to thwart stealing.

It is undoubtable that many of you, perhaps for the first time,
are now becoming aware of the fact that in the areas of day-to-day reality
there is a type of work that because of its characteristics, and because of
the period of poverty and scarcity we are experiencing, constitutes a
temptation for the workers employed there. You have perhaps become aware
for the first time that stealing can even reach the proportions of an
extensive activity within the area of administration. You have had to face
for the first time those problems which formerly were faced by the hotel or
restaurant owner, if the bar was separated from the dining room, and you
have also discovered what happens when, in an idealistic manner that
presupposes man to be completely incorruptible, we have believed that
things will function perfectly in an orderly manner.

That is to say, you are now constantly faced with the problems
that are the products of social reality and must seek the best possible
solutions. Indeed, some of the proposals made at this meeting have
demonstrated a sophisticated awareness and development of the methods and
techniques to be applied in combating this type of difficulties.

What does this mean? It means that we will have thousands of men
who will be learning to administrate, thousands learning to solve problems,
thousands who will have to face the different opinions -- both fair and
unfair -- of local townspeople, and who will have to guide thousands of
persons by participating in meetings and other functions, where they will
acquire knowledge about a whole series of problems. This is an experience
that the masses have never had the opportunity to acquire, and which had
never been experienced by the revolutionary cadres; and which neither the
masses nor the cadres will acquire in centralized, bureaucratic organisms.

On the contrary, I have the impression that in the offices of
those national organisms, where individuals are seated at their desks and
attempt to solve every problem with letters and paper work, miles away from
the pulsing realities of the society, that in such a centralized and
bureaucratic organism no one learns anything. And the inevitable
consequence of this would be that after a while, as the needs of competent
men continued to increase due to the development of the economy -- that is,
if it could be developed under the circumstances -- we would discover that
the country would increasingly be hampered by less and less cadres to
handle all the problems it will have to face.

It is my viewpoint that the functions of Local Administration
will, in the first place, serve as an school of administration, where the
whole community will learn to recognize existing problems and where tens of
thousands of men will learn to administrate. And if we do not learn the art
of administration, how then can be aspire to the formation of the future
society where the functions of a social nature will be so great we shall
require a large number of qualified men to handle them, and to solve our
problems? Thus, it seems to me that the first benefit to be gained from the
decentralization of all those functions that should be decentralized, and
from the local administration of all those functions of a local nature, is
the fact that we are going to have an extraordinary school for the training
of the required cadres and for the country's preparation [for that future

But it will be more than just a school. From a practical point of
view, there is no other way to solve these problems. There is no human form
of attending to these problems form a centralized organism, no human form
of solving the problems of Mayari from offices in Havana, or those of
Baracoa or Guantanamo, no matter how well the planning agencies are run.
These agencies may be qualified to manage figures and resources, but they
have no way of knowing what problems have priority in any particular

Any national planing -- which, if it is to function well, must
arrange a proportional distribution of available resources among the plans
for development and, in addition, take into account the country's social
needs -- will not be in a position to know this without dealing with the
local administrations, that is, without exchanging information,
exhortations or viewpoints with the cadres at the local level. From a
practical viewpoint, for example, it is absolutely impossible to to achieve
national planning in view of the present state of affairs existing to many
of our production centers.

Administration, Planning and Control, Under Local Government

Let us take the distribution problems of the mixed-economy retail
stores, as an example. There is no doubt that if, at the triumph of the
Revolution, instead of being faced with 50- or 60,000 grocery stores, we
had had on our hands 3,000 "Minimax," those enormous establishments
equipped with their own refrigeration plants, that is, 3,000 supermarkets,
it would have been possible to think in terms of administering them as a
unit; even though I should like to add that when the day arrived that these
3,000 centers do exist, there will be no need to administer them from a
centralized agency. However, it is undoubtedly true that when we do have
3,000 instead of 60,000 such distribution centers, the task of controlling
labor, services, maintenance and administration, and the struggle against
stealing, will be much easier. It will be much easier because today we are
faced with the situation of having one individual supervising the work of
two or three others, of thousands of administrators in charge of thousands
of little shops, and this makes it very difficult to establish effective
control over stealing and cheating, which is accomplished withholding an
ounce here and there from the public, and over maladministration in

In a large center it is possible to establish a good technical
system of administration and control which will eliminate stealing. For
those large stores were run according to carefully studied systems, which
the capitalists had established precisely in order to control the movement
of all goods; cash was handled by a single person, everything was done by
means of vouchers and there was a really effective control. This is
possible in a large establishment, but not in a small grocery store.

The day will have to come when a told like Guines, for example,
will not have 98 business establishments, a day when 20 will be enough, and
if the people wish, they may even have such an establishment within three
or four blocks from their homes. Then it will be much easier to administer
these establishments.

As we continue to get rid of this whole unwieldy system, and to
develop these functions and centers, it will become easier to administer
them. However, even while we may think in terms of a greater degree of
development, there remains a whole series of functions that pertain to the
local level, because the distribution of goods in Guines is a service to
the town of Guines. It is not a matter like the bus service between Havana
and Guines, or Guines and another town, which is an interprovincial
passenger service. Such a non-local service must be administered by a
national or provincial agency. But the local barber shop, dry cleaning
store, the cafeterias and schools, street repairs and such matters which
represent work that is done by and within the community, are services that
must be administered locally in Guines. And when these service increase
appreciably, there will be all the more need for a strong and efficient
municipal administration capable of doing a good job. I do not believe, of
course, that in these early attempts we shall acquire any great experience
in these matters or discover any effective formulas.

I believe that when you meet again at some future date, after you
have taken over control of these services, then you will be able to study
the accumulated experiences, and from these analyses and exchanges, you
will find that the experience acquired in one regional agency may be
helpful to another.

The important thing is to begin according to the norms that have
been established, even though you know that these will have to be revised
or studied again in accord with your experiences, and that you will have to
constantly seek uniform and efficient methods for all the regional

For example, the comrade from Camaguey has informed us that their
planning is done at the provincial level. Originally, it was thought that
planning could be done at the regional level with control over the
province, but it appears that the lack of cadres forced them to resort to
planning at the provincial level. What we must aspire to is a system that
allows us to plan regionally, with control at the provincial level.

Election of Administrative Functionaries and Workers Delegates

The matter of electing functionaries and administrative personnel
is also one that has gone through an evolutionary process.

In the beginning, we though of widespread elections with the
participation of the entire laboring masses through the medium of the work
centers and the mass organizations. We discussed whether we should have
elections of the type that we might call nontraditional, or of a
territorial nature. Of course, in a territorial election we have the
problems of people who will vote two or three times: at the work center, at
the Federation and maybe also at the Committee for the Defense of the

But I believe, as comrade Garcia Pelaez said, that it is possible
to organize such an election. However, we must ask ourselves if we really
need to organize it in this manner. When we saw the problems this method
might create on the one hand, and on the other, the need for a system by
which any functionary might be removed at any moment, we inclined toward
the idea that elections should be effected through the Party.

If we accept the premises that the Party represents the laboring
masses, and if in effect the Party is organized and maintained through the
constant participation of the workers, then it may be considered to be the
most legitimate representative of the country's workers.

We therefore reached the conclusion that, within its rights, the
Party could and should elect the members of municipal administrations. At
the same time, we decided that the Party should have the authority to
remove from office any functionary, including the president of the
municipal administration, who does not function.

Regarding the problem of what to call this functionary, there was
some talk of using some historical titles to designate his municipal
office, and finally it was unanimously agrees that he be called the
President of the Municipal Administration, while others were to be known as
the President and the Regional Administration and the President of the
Provincial Administration. But at that time it was not decided in what form
the Party would carry out elections.

Later, when the comrades got around to working on this matter,
they established the fact that elections should be effected at a meeting of
all the militant members of the Party.

This same criterion had been applied to the question of the form
in which the election of the leaders of the Party's organisms should be
carried out. Later on, analyzing the situation with regard to the Party, we
decided that perhaps this method of "election by assembly," with the
participation of the militants, while apparently a democratic method, might
nevertheless not be the most efficient way of analyzing, discussing and
weighing the reasons for the election of this or that leader, or as the
case may be, of this or that administrative functionary.

We then reached the conclusion -- and all of this will be
explained to you tomorrow -- that the nucleus was the base, and that the
nucleus sends it representative to the sectional committee meetings and
also to the regional meetings. If the representatives of the nucleus in a
municipality elect the Municipal Committee, the representatives of all the
nuclei of all the municipalities elect the Regional Committee. And at the
same time we maintained this principle with the region vis-a-vis the
province, and the province vis-a-vis the nation, that it, that there should
be only one delegation of representatives.

Since it is not possible for all the representatives of the nuclei
to participate in a provincial or national election, all the nuclei up to
the regional level must hold a meeting to elect their provincial
representatives to a National Congress. What does this mean? It means that
the nucleus is the base of the Party, for it functions at both the
municipal and regional levels, and at the latter the representatives of all
the nuclei elect their Party representative at the provincial or national
level. We reached the conclusion that this is a very direct and efficient
method which will certainly function better, because in the other way, in
an Assembly of 5 or 6,000 persons, it is practically impossible to discuss
an election; this would be an election that would be limited to the
presentation of formulas and proposals, without being able to analyze or
consider each of the reasons why a decision should be made, or why one
person should be elected over another.

This principle which he have agreed upon, in principle, as the
form in which the Party should function, is perhaps one that may also be
applied to the election of a Municipal or Regional Administration. But
independently of the fact that the Party elects the workers representation,
we should not lose the opportunity to incorporated the laboring masses into
their respective local administration, with or without the Party.

That is why I believe it is necessary to retain the idea that the
workers, by one means or another, either exclusively through their work
centers or through these and the mass organizations, including territorial
jurisdictions, should elect their delegates to both and regional

In any event, when accounts are to be rendered in a region we do
not gather all the people of that region in a meeting, but instead call a
meeting of the regional delegates. In a municipality, accounts are rendered
directly to the whole mass of workers, but at the regional level it is done
in the presence of the representatives of that mass of workers. Which is to
say, that in the rendering of accounts there should be total participation
by the working masses. The representatives of these workers must also be
present even in the functioning of local or regional administration, so
that they can mobilize all their forces, and organize all the necessary
committees, and make sure that everybody participates in the problems of
the community.

Of course, this does not mean that we can establish the principle
at the municipal level, of elections with the participation of all the
Party militants, and even, if you wish, of the mass of works. We are simply
seeking in this case methods which, without losing the essence of what we
wish to do or their democratic substance, and without bypassing the
advantages of participation by the masses, will effectively be the most
viable and practical ones. Because I am definitely concerned about the
accumulation of activities the Party is engaged in, by virtue of the
Party's tasks in regard to its own life and activities, as well as those
having to do with problems of the community, such as those referring to the
fulfillment of all the goals of a national character.

In the original document regarding the duration of the municipal
and regional mandates, we have tried to space the terms so that they do not
coincide with the Party's annual assemblies for balancing accounts, or with
it assemblies to seek its expansion. We have decided that the assemblies to
expand the Party should be held every two years. This will eliminate the
possibility that in a given year there will be an assembly to balance the
Party's accounts, that in the same year there will be an assembly to seek
the Party's expansion, that in the same year there should be an election of
municipal functionaries and also a rendering of accounts of all the
activities that are being carried out.

For it seems to me that if we do not take this into account, the
individual cadre members of the Party will be so bogged down with duties
that they will have not time to think, study or improve themselves. They
will be too occupied with feverish and constant activities that might even
be unnecessary.

We should carefully make a list of all the activities the Party
has to undertake this year. If to this we should add efforts in the areas
of agriculture, industrial production, the construction and pastures, and
the harvests, whose volume will increase by 1970 -- what time will there be
left free to the comrades of the Party's cadres? If we are not careful, we
shall wind up sending them to mental institutions and hospitals, as has
unfortunately happened in the case of numerous comrades who have "burnt"
themselves out because of an overload of work.

We have taken this factor into consideration, and it seems to me
that we should begin by adopting the method of electing the Municipal
Administration with the participation of the Party nuclei, that is, one or
two representatives from each nucleus according to its membership, who will
meet in an assembly to elect the said administration. Then with the help of
the mass organizations, they will elect the delegates that will represent
them, taking care to ensure that no delegate will become a professional
functionary within the local administration. We have to guard against the
creation of a huge number of cadres of a professional type dedicated to
these activities. It should therefore be understood that the delegates to
the committees will serve on an honorary basis, it is very important that
this principle be not violated.

With regard to the region, we can also do something else: as we
said before, the rendering of accounts in the municipality can be made to
the whole mass of works, and the members of the municipality should elect
the delegates appointed to the committees that represent the masses; and
the delegates who participate in the act of rendering accounts to the
regional committee should remain as permanent delegates until the following
year's rendering, to avoid having to hold two elections. Another system
might be... [sic] It seems to me that in the case of small municipalities
-- and I stress this because I don't see how the principle I'm about to
mention could be applied to Havana -- we should not abandon the principle
of rendering accounts to the masses, with the participation of the various
persons who will conduct the meeting.

I understand that you have also established the principle that in
the municipalities there should also be a representation from the work
centers of the municipal administrative level. Elections of these delegates
at the municipal level may be made by the work centers, and these should be
the same delegates who are elected every six months - or every year, if the
term should be changed -- and who will also render accounts to the
municipality every six months. Perhaps it will be necessary to change the
term to once a year, because experience may demonstrate that it is
impossible to render accounts twice a year, but in any case, the elected
municipal delegates should also be the ones to attend regional meetings at
which accounts are rendered at the regional level.

In administrative matters, the province does not undertake many
activities for which it has to render accounts, because the substance of
everything takes place at the regional level. The province may undertake
activities in the area of control and planning, it may implement some plans
in the province, it may administer certain enterprises such as
interprovincial transportation, or some similar operation, but it seems to
me from the reports that have been read here, that the function of
Provincial Administration has really been mainly one of coordination and
control. And this seems to be very good, for it is more important that the
task of the province be that of supervising and ensuring the fulfillment of
all norms in the development of the work in each region, than that it
should manage provincial enterprises.

And or course, at the national level we should also create a party
committee for matters of local government, which would function as a
national coordinating organism and a link between the provinces, that is,
between the regional organization and the administrative and economic
organisms; a sort of representative on behalf of the interests of local
organizations before the JUCEPLAN [Junta Central de la Planificacion;
Central Planning Board], where it would demand that they be allotted the
necessary quantities of wire, cement or various types of other material.

You naturally understand that in these times the task if more
difficult because this or that item is not manufactured, or because a pump,
some electrical cable or cement are lacking, and because distribution of
these items must be organized through the Department of Construction. When
the day arrives that our production of construction materials is sufficient
so that we do not have to distribute sacks of cement or rolls of wire
through this Department, people will be able to go to a hardware store to
but these items, and then repairs, innovations and improvements will be
made in accord with regulations established by the local government. But
for the moment we are saddled with this overwhelming job of distributing
the little we have in the most equitable manner.

Housing Construction

I believe that the regions, and above all the provinces, are now
going to be able to handle a very important problem, which is that of
housing construction. We are urgently studying a plan to implement
large-scale construction -- on which I spoke during the act on the 28th --
and on the basis of the projected cement production by 1970, we have
calculated that one-fourth of this cement can be used in housing

We are also developing a series of techniques. One of these, which
at the moment seems to be the most practical, consists of brick buildings;
not however of the classic type of bricks, but large slabs of approximately
one meter long by half-meter wide. These bricks are used in building houses
known as the "Novoa type." There is also the problem of the beam-brackets,
which is being studied to discover whether it can support a brick floor and
the Novoa type of framework.

We have also been studying the cost of the equipment required for
a factory to make up to 5,000 brick slabs. The plan is to establish four of
these factories in Oriente, three in Camaguey in addition to the one
already in existence which would have to be equipped with special ovens,
and some more -- I don't remember how many -- in Las Villas. The original
idea called for 12 factories with an approximate capacity that would allow
the construction of 20,000 housing units in Oriente, 15,000 in Camaguey,
the same quantity of Las Villas, somewhat less in Matanzas, somewhat more
in Havana and somewhat less in Pinar del Rio. At the same time, we are
going to transfer an old factory from Havana to the Isle of Pines, where we
are planing to construct some 2,000 homes per year; these will not,
however, be made of brick slabs, but of cement and French roof-tiles.

Wherever one goes, whether on the Isle of Pines or in Camaguey, it
soon becomes obvious that it will be practically impossible to implement
the plans that are being developed, it at the same time we do not solve the
housing problem. The Isle of Pines needs 8- or 10,000 houses within the
next five years, otherwise there is not a soldier who would want to stay
there, and neither would a rehabilitated prisoner wish to remain there.

But we know that when there are enough houses, many people are
delighted to stay there. And I'm sure that if we can solve the housing
problem we will contribute greatly to the solution of the labor force
problem in the sparsely inhabited zones of the country.

Currently, for example, housing construction is concentrated in
Camaguey, but throughout the island the problems are very acute. Even now,
there are still many barracks-like units on the old landed sugar estates
which have since been converted into state farms, and this is very
depressing. And in areas like El Cauto, where we are developing pasture
lands, you can still see these poor shacks stuck in the middle of the mud,
for it is true that the social development has not kept peace with economic
development in those regions.

Thus, it is a vital matter for us to solve the housing problem. In
Las Villas we originally agreed with the Party comrades that they were to
develop plans for constructing houses made with bricks, by using bricks
produced in Trinidad and Sancti Spiritus, and that if necessary they were
also to establish a new brick-making factory. Later, we told them to hold
up plans for this new factory in view of the alternatives we were studying,
with regard to the larger brick slabs which would be used to hosing in Las
Villas, whereas on the Isle of Pines we would continue to use the smaller,
classic bricks, since its housing needs were less acute.

We there agreed to implement a series of things. For instance, the
provincial Party organization is implementing the construction of a second
cement factory. The brigade that undertook the projects in honor of
the 26th of July got in touch with the local industrial development agency,
and lit a fire under it; and they contacted the JUCEPLAN, so that the
projects were accelerated.

Much has been accomplished, and you know how much equipment we
have here -- I believe we have acquired 60 percent of the factory -- and it
is our purpose to use the "Fatherland or Death" Workers Brigade to spur
construction in Las Villas, and to accelerate the acquisition of equipment
in order to complete the second cement factory simultaneously, if possible,
with the first cement factory that is being constructed in Nuevitas. In
this way, we hope to increase production to 700- or 800,000 tons, which is
almost twice the quantity we produce now, within the next two years; and we
will also try to build a third plant before 1970, so that we can eventually
produce 2 million tons of cement. But we should not use cement for building
walls. This building, for example, is very handsome and we extend our
congratulations to those who constructed it; but you can imagine, comrades,
how much cement it required.

Roofing presents another serious problem, and fiber-cement might
be considered a partial solution. But this is not very certain, because
this product requires imported raw materials, which thus limits its
availability. In the meantime, out technicians are working on a solution to
the roofing problem and it is possible that it may be solved through the
use of clay, although it is a very difficult problem. But this method of
construction would offer many advantages, because it would utilize a
material we possess in unlimited quantities.

Some time ago, when I discussed this problem of construction with
comrade Osmany, we spoke of factories of the type we have in Santiago de
Cuba. But if we were to solve the problem as they have done in the Soviet
Union, on the basis of this type of factory, we would use up our entire
yearly production of cement without solving anything. But we have another
alternative: to construct good, clean, comfortable homes we have no other
choice but to use materials of another type. Our technicians have been
experimenting with limestone and chalk, and they have made some blocks of
chalk with which they are building a house in Santa Maria del Mar, of which
even the roof will be of chalk. They have even been experimenting with mud,
and I believe there is even a house in the Bahia development that was made
with mud. As I understand it, they used elephant grass as a filing, and the
house that was made of these mud-and-grass bricks is rather attractive,
although if you suggest making a mud-and-grass house, many people might
consider it odd.

When they showed me the first chalk brick, I dropped it on the
ground and it broke. Then I threw down the mud brick and it did not break,
and I threw it up higher in the air and it still did not break, but when I
tossed another one about two meters up in the air it did smash on the
ground. And the technicians explained that it you do that to a glass it
would break much sooner, and of course they were right, which is to say
that the fragility of an individual brick is not a good test of the brick's
strength when it forms part of a compact mass.

But the bricks made of baked mud are really hard; hard enough to
resist a cyclone; and we have no choice but to use this material to solve
the housing problem, for we cannot obtain cement, either because other
countries had great needs or must be paid in dollars. If we develop our
cement production gradually, as well will, we would still not having enough
to solve our housing problem. We must solve it with mud, which we have in
limitless quantities and requires little cement and manual labor, since it
it is much easier to set one large slab than 20 bricks, which latter work
requires more skill.

One of the tasks of the JUCEI [Junta de Coordinacion, Ejecucion e
Inspeccion; Coordination, Execution and Inspection Board] and the Party in
the provinces, is to coordinate the operations of the factories that
produce construction materials. For these plants must not only produce such
materials alone, but a whole house: the beams, exact number of blocks for
walls and floor, the minimum number of sacks of cement required, nails,
lumber, and roofing materials. That is to say that when a truck arrives, it
must bring a whole house: whether for a state farm, an individual farmer or
a factory worker. Then it is necessary to obtain the labor of those who
will use the house. It it is an individual farmer, it is enough for the
organization to deliver the materials.

It must be left to the Party to decide what areas of a province
are in need of housing. Then it will decide: "Okay, we have materials for
20,000 houses, so we will sell 1,000 to individual farmers -- the houses to
be delivered complete with building plans -- and 5 or 10,000 to the
agricultural sector [presumably state farms], and 6 or 7,000 to urban
zones." In some cases, like that of a town which is going to receive 100 or
200 houses, naturally there should be some personnel from the Ministry of
Public Works to lay out the project, and technicians to direct and
supervise the local workers who are going to construct the town. In the
case of an individual house, the materials alone should be delivered.

In other words, I don't believe that the JUCEI should be engaged
in the administration of these houses, but should cooperate with the
regional Party committee and follow the Party's policy, with regard to
where the houses should go, so that the Public Works agency may distribute
them by provinces. For the moment we do not have to think about electricity
and electrical materials in the case of individual farmhouses, for we are
not in a position to supply this service. That will come later. The
important item now is the house. But in the towns we do need electrical
cable and light bulbs.

Then come the sanitary services. At first, there won't be any
running water in many of these towns, and this problem will have to be
solved as we have been doing up to now. Wells will have to be dug, or some
other way will have to be found of supplying these towns with water, until
the pipes can be laid.

Location of the Houses and Communal Services

In the matter of pasturage there exists a degree of divergence
with the physical planning department, which would like to build towns in
the area of the grazing lands. But there is another school of thought which
is against the idea of building towns of 20 or 30 houses, but suggest the
construction of 4 of 5 houses in each pasture, for ever since man has
domesticated animals he has lived close to them. And yet in the very
agricultural pilot center which has been established, I have seen a cow
giving birth without any help whatsoever, even though the workers live only
a kilometer away.

I believe that towns should be built only when sanitary conditions
prevent the construction of only 4 of 5 houses in a pasture; but whenever
possible, the latter should be done. And in this way we will solve the
problem of supplying electricity to these houses, because we are planing to
develop a system based on a motor that has been manufactured in Cienfuegos,
whereby they will make a dynamo capable of producing 5 kw. of electrical
energy, which will power a compressor to be used for mechanical milking,
another compressor that will refrigerate the milk, and the little "Punjab"
motor -- which is now fuel-burning but will be converted to electricity --
to be used to provide illumination for 5 or 7 houses. Which is to say that
the houses located in the pastures are going to have light, generated by a
small motor that will also power the mechanical milking devise and
refrigerate the milk.

And the small sugar cane lot or farm is another matter. And so is
the citrus grove, in which case, if it consists of 15 caballerias. [Cuban
land measure, about 33.3 acres], there should be 35 or 40 houses. Comrade
Osmany seems disturbed, and I have no inkling of what his ideas may be in
regard to the planing of these houses, there are all kinds of viewpoints.

I imagine that the viewpoint of the physical planners is geared to
the problem of communal services: the schoolhouse, store, social center,
movie, polyclinic and the medical dispensary.

I have been thinking about all these things on the Isle of Pines,
and it is undoubtedly true that it is cheaper to supply electricity to 500
houses rather than to 50, and on this basis it is therefore much cheaper
per kilowatt to supply electricity to 40 than to one house. And agriculture
has achieved a high degree of development in the capitalist world, where
there are individual farms. This is the way it has been in our rural areas,
but we do not approve of this. What we propose is that housing be adjusted
to production and not the other way around, and that communal services be
adjusted to the needs.

Because if it is better for production to build five houses in a
pasture, in order to ensure better care, then we must adapt housing to

And if 15 caballerias of citrus groves require accommodations for
40 families, then we should not build a town of 400 houses which is more
suitable to 150 caballerias and would also require a bus or truck for the
constant transportation of the townspeople. We feel that the people in
charge of physical planning either have not noticed or are not aware of
problems of this type of relation to communal services.

In a village of 40 of 50 houses there may be small store, and
there can also be a small children's center that will enable some of the
local women to take care of the children while others are out gathering
oranges. But why should there also be a movie theater, a dispensary or a
social center? To go to the doctor or to the movie, people should take bus.
And it is well known that throughout the world, farmers, who live somewhat
isolated lives, do not have a store next door; they have a refrigerator in
which to store their food, and they go shopping every once in a while; and
they do not have to have movie next door either. Build a village of 40
houses here, and another there, and so on, and for every grouping of 500
houses we can provide a movie, a social center, a dispensary and a store
that sells clothes and those other items that are not sold in a grocery

And there should be a nursery for the children. And it is
perfectly possible to build a dining room for 50 families, where they can
all eat when they are working in the fields. As for the older children,
they will be in boarding schools, which because they have nothing to do
with the town will be established elsewhere. On the Isle of Pines, for
example, where there are 2,500 children, we plan to establish 3 schools
with a capacity of 1,000 each, and these will be built in health regions,
near the production centers so that pupils will be able to engage in some
productive labor in the citrus groves.

We believe that rural schoolchildren should live and study in
boarding schools from Monday through Friday or Saturday, depending on the
wishes of their families, so that we do not have to be faced with a school
problem. With regard to the other services, I agree that what we have
outlined is a little more expensive, but it is my opinion that rural
communities should not be converted into large towns with all the problems
and complexities that this implies; and I also believe that living in small
communities of 40 or 50 houses is physically and morally healthier than in
towns of 500 houses.

The comrades who run the physical planning agency are undoubtedly
very intelligent and highly specialized, and they assured our comrades on
the Isle of Pines that they would attempt to convince me of their
viewpoint. There is also a group of economists and university students that
we organized to work in the dairy industry, who have been convinced by the
planners. Of course, they are working exclusively in their specialty, which
is livestock, and I have every desire to discuss all these ideas with them,
because I believe that we must adapt hosing to production and services to
necessities, and in order to solve our problems we must forget a little
about individual production sectors -- whether citrus, sugar cane or
livestock -- and devote our energies to the housing question, because there
is no sadder sight than a lonely pasture. And also because in this case the
family is not involved with the livestock.

If it is also desired that the wives of livestock workers engage
in the work after he have set up a system of mechanical milking, it would
be a cumbersome business for a women to have to get up a 2 AM and ride in a
truck to reach the dairy center. And the same thing can be said in the case
of two workers who go on vacation and are replaced by women. But if five
houses are built right next to the pasture, one woman can take care of the
children while two other women can go to the milking shed, which is right

It is much more difficult to incorporate women into this kind of
work when there is a town of 30 or 40 houses at some distance, and they
have to take a truck or some other vehicle to reach the milking centers.
And besides, it is necessary for these families to get to know the cattle,
to become fond of them and to constantly attend to their needs.

With regard to the housing problem, there are still some
viewpoints that have to be clarified, such as the one we have been
explaining. Of course, in the case of a state sugar cane farm, there is
nothing to discuss. These towns can consist of 200 or 300 houses, if
required, because this is a different type of work; although I repeat that
with regard to rural areas, I disapprove of large towns.

However, independently of these various viewpoints, I think that
it is the duty of the Party to outline a policy as to where the houses
should be built, according to local needs, and which it should be perfectly
aware; and it is up to the provincial JUCEI agency to coordinate matters
with the Ministry of Public Works, regarding materials, and such questions
as when and where to transport them, and therefore to implement hosing
construction in this manner. I don't believe there is a better way to solve
the housing problem for the present. And this situation is one of our most
serious problems, especially in rural areas, in addition to the social
difficulties and those posed by production.

I'm absolutely certain that we are going to solve the housing
problem in this manner, with the participation of the regional and
provincial governments and the Party. They are also going to study the
possibility of constructing buildings or two of three stories, also with
this material [sic; presumably the clay or limestone bricks referred to
earlier]. In this case, they will have to use a certain among of concrete,
and one roof will serve for three housing units, because if the problem of
the roof is the most difficult, then one will have to cover three units.

Comrade Boti, who has carried out some interesting experiments in
the area of industrial organization, has suggested to me that one possible
solution to the housing problem in the cities, might be for us to build a
second story on existing one-story houses. In the cities we lack space;
if we put one house on top of another, we can utilize existing sewerage
and water supplies and facilities. This seems to me a worthwhile idea to
be considered.

In addition to this pressing housing problem, we are also aware of
the need for highways. I believe we shall have to acquire 500 or 600 piece
of equipment and turn them over to the Ministry of Public Works, for the
construction and maintenance of our highways. For it serves no purpose to
create pasturage, plant foot and fruit crops, if we cannot collect the
harvest and later on transport it.

In all these activities, the Party organizations and the local and
provincial administrative organizations must play a decisive role. The
central administration must dedicate its efforts to the great plans: for
instance, the construction of two sugar plants, the expansion of existing
sugar plants, construction of factories for the production of cement,
fertilizer or agricultural implements.

I believe that this organization on the basis of local communities
and governments will be a great step forward for the Revolution. I believe
that this first year will be a test and that it will be very interesting.

I understand the fears of the comrade from Oriente, because I
realize that perhaps he feels that if the JUCEI does not exist it should be
replaced by something similar to the committees. Perhaps he is afraid that
if there are not periodic meetings of the representatives of the different
organisms, it will be more difficult to solve the problems.

Since we are creating a policy in which there will be a true
spirit of cooperation on the part of the representatives of the central
organisms, a policy based on the fact that if any such representative does
not enthusiastically cooperate with the Party's provincial or regional
agencies he will be removed, since we believe that everything will function
under very different conditions in accord with the way in which municipal
and regional administrations are going to be organized, we believe that it
will be the Party that will effect that coordination. But in many cases
such coordination may be carried out by the president of the regional or
provincial administration, who would have to refer to the Party only if he
should need both the authority and the influence of the Party to solve a
problem. In this way he would relieve the Party of this type of work,
because of itself the Party has many commitments and tasks to fulfill.

Development of Our Revolutionary Aims in a Creative Form

We had planned to organize a sort of congress of all the municipal
administrations at the end of this year, but I think that perhaps such a
gather would would not accomplish much at this time. Perhaps it would be
better to hold it during the middle of next year, or even in 1967, or
whenever it may be convenient to assess the results of almost a year's
experiment. We should follow this system, however, of holding a congress
attended by all the representatives of the municipal and regional
administrations, where all experiences will be fully discussed and we may
process to increasingly unify the norms, style and method of labor.

On these matters I have already mentioned that I believe that for
the moment you should begin in this way, to elect the [local]
administration through the Party, in a meeting attended by the
representatives of all the nuclei, who will render accounts to the masses
of the particular municipality, and to the delegates of all the
municipalities of the region. If you wish, in the beginning you may elect
the delegates who will attend these municipal and regional meetings in your
work centers, and later on we will have time to make any procedural changes
and to apply certain territorial criteria. And if we should later on be
convinced that it is possible to hold the kind of elections we originally
proposed, among all the Party militants, then we shall adopt it too. We
should never overlook any improvements resulting from our experiences. But
it seems to me that we may begin as I've suggested above.

In any case, the Party militants do participate, because they send
either the local secretary or a specially designated delegate to all
meetings. This saves the militants from having to call one or two meetings
of all their members, and this is important because there are too many
activities, and it is better to hold the elections in a meeting where
things can be analyzed and there is time to think. But this does not mean
that we should renounce the other method, if it should prove feasible
without any great effort, if it should be considered more convenient and

I am doubtful as to which of the two methods of election is
better. In any case, we will never cut the umbilical cord that unites the
masses to the Party, which enables us to say that the Party if the
legitimate representative of the working masses, that the revolutionary
authority is the authority of the workers as effected through their
legitimate representatives, which are the Party's cadres.

I believe that we can stand up anywhere in the world, discuss with
anyone in the world, to demonstrate the fact that our system is a thousand
times more revolutionary or democratic than all the systems through which
the bourgeoisie attempt to peddle their cheap theories of representative
democracy, the bourgeois type of democracy. Even though they hold elections
every four years, the masses have absolutely no participation in social and
economic problems; the so-called representatives of those masses, who are
the representatives of a specific class, are a thousand miles removed from
the masses and represent no one but the clique that elected them. And when
the time comes for us to debate the issue, we will be in a position to
defend the institutions of our Revolution in any place, in any university
or intellectual center of the world, and to demonstrate that it is a much
more democratic system of government, a government of a class, naturally,
which is that of the workers.

When all the citizens are workers, then it will be a government of
all the people. And to achieve this, it is necessary to constantly bear in
mind our objectives and above all to struggle ceaselessly to establish that
society, which is the Communist society, and which as I said this morning,
I believe will have to be constructed concurrently with the development of
the Socialist Revolution. Otherwise, the moment may come when these two
roads may diverge: the road to socialist development and the road to
Communist development. And we must make sure that they advance at the same
pace and that one day the institutions of a Communist nature will
predominate. I think that in this area there is much to think about and to
study. No modern society has lived in a Communist way, and many of the
practical problems as to how to live in such a society are still very hard
to unravel. So far, we know that the majority of human necessities can be
satisfied in a Communist manner, but nevertheless the future poses for this
new society a series of practical problems which it will have to learn how
to solve.

Ahead of us lie many practical problems, we have a series of
advantages and certain disadvantages derived from the geographical
situation of our country. But I believe that we can develop our
revolutionary road in a new form, a creative form that will take advantage
of the fertile imagination and great intelligence of our people, and with a
great confidence in ourselves and by virtue of always planning and
analyzing, always ready to introduce improvements and to notice any
failures that crop up.

We can serve in the revolutionary world not only as an example of
a country that stands up to imperialism, that struggles with dignity and
courage in defense of it sovereignty and its Revolution, but also in the
area of the ideological battle between capitalism and socialism; we can
serve as an example in the area of facts, failures, errors and
deficiencies, which are all exploited ideologically by the enemy.

When there is talk now of a Congress, of meetings, and there is a
discussion of the problems relating to materialist incentives and such
matters, I now how the capitalist press reports the news with a certain
gleefulness, arguing that the socialist countries have been forced to
resort to certain capitalist methods to solve their production problems.
Naturally, this is a very complex matter, and so they do not assert that
these countries have abandoned socialism, but instead that they have been
forced to resort to capitalist methods.

I have asked myself whether we really will be forced to be seeking
methods of solving our problems within another 20 or 25 years. I have asked
myself whether we do not consider ourselves capable, as of now, of
discovering practical methods of solving our problems, methods that do not
conflict with out ultimate objectives, and that increasingly make a man
more of a Communist and less of an individual who does not wish to depend
on his own resources, efforts and means.

I believe that to the degree that we grant every older person the
protection of a pension, so that he or she does not become an economic
burden to any relative with whom he or she may be living, which does not
mean that he should be in an institution but that he should be granted
assistance, when the State becomes responsible for all the expenses of all
the nation's children, of all the needs of all those who are sick, and all
the invalids, to the degree that this happens, then every man and woman
will gradually become accustomed to this reality. Then each man and woman
will cease to exert pressure to earn more money, because logically, if a
man is pressured by a grandfather or an aunt or his children, then he will
exert more and more pressure for his employer to pay him more and more

To the degree that these problems do not exist for a man and his
income is enough to cover his expenses, he will be under less pressure.
There will be less cases of the theft and less needs to prosecute thieves,
because we must ask ourselves to what extent these urgent needs force a man
into the sad position of stealing because what he earns is not enough to
provide for his 3 or 4 children, and he is the only one who is employed.
This does not mean, of course, that we must be lenient with thieves. What
I'm saying is that the moral authority of the society will be that much
greater to the degree that any man will have less justification to steal;
that everyone feels secure; that old people have everything they need, such
as shoes, clothing, medicine, miscellaneous expenses; that children have
everything they need; that each family has a home and each child, in
addition to a home, has a school where he eats and plays or, in the case of
rural children, a boarding school to take care of their needs.

Then we may, without great sums of money, because the
extraordinary thing is that many of the things that I spoke of this morning
can be solved with very little money [sic; presumably he meant to add:
"...we may accomplish many of these goals.] Today we have to spend enormous
sums of money on the Armed Forces to defend ourselves from aggression. And
to supply all of the country's children with clothing, shoes and food, we
would have to spend practically what we not allot to the Armed Forces. I
might even go further, and say: that with what we spend on bureaucracy,
with the human and economic resources that we squander, we could do this.

Incorporating Women into Production

I will say more: I said before that we need 45 millions pesos to
supply all the country's children with clothing and shoes, and that we
require some 250 million pesos to supply them with three daily meals. Well,
if we put 500,000 women to work, with a productivity of 1,000 pesos, with
with is a conservative estimate, this would add 500 millions pesos to the
economy. If we put 500,000 women to work at 5,000 pesos each, they would
add 2.5 billion pesos to our economy, and if you put a woman to raise
rabbits, as we plan to do, we will have women producing from 5 to 6,000
pesos per year. If we put them to work making handbags from rabbit skins,
they will produce from 6 to 7,000 pesos.

When we incorporate a male worker into pasture work, he produced
from 8 to 10,000 pesos per year. To put 500,000 women to work, we shall
have to decide in what way to do this. For example, I will cite the case of
San Jose de las Lajas, where female comrades are developing our rabbit
program. In the first region they will have 5 units by the end of this
year, established at very little cost, and 30 units by the end of 1966,
which will supply between 300 and 400,000 pelts in 1967, and I do not say
800,000 because we are sending the female rabbits to other regions [for
reproduction]. When the plan is fully implemented, these women will produce
some 800,000 pelts annually, which is to say that by 1967 we will have 600
women producing 5,000 each in the rabbit fur industry; and I should add
that this is estimated on the basis of one-third the current purchase price
per pelt, which means that at the regulate rate they would each produce
15,000 pesos.

In Santa Cruz del Norte, a town without industries whose women are
eager to work, we will employ between 200 and 300 of them. The Party, which
is entrusted with this project, has organized a training center for them at
very little cost, for with a minimum of materials it is building the
required breeding hutches. We are going to repeat the process throughout
the island, because in that regional section alone we will be able to
employ 1,000 women, who will produce from 4 to 5 million pesos. In a few
days, hundreds of women are going to enroll in a training center where they
will learn wood carving and manufacture tobacco containers. Thus, the
comrades are studying a series of projects for putting the country's women
to work.

If we employ 500,000 women in areas of direct production, we will
still have between 150 and 200,000 entrusted with the care of children, and
services in social centers, dining rooms and schools. But I believe that we
really can put these 500,000 to work. If we wait until we have modern
industries, when will they find work? Within 30 years?

If we have a factory where a woman can work and produce 20,000
pesos, this is fine. Each new factor that we build should be based on a
high productivity level. But if we do not have the required factories to
employ women at a productivity rate of 20,000 pesos, we will put them to
work at a rate of 8, 7, 6, 5, 1,000 or even 500 pesos. Because we have to
put this idle labor force to work to produce something for our economy. Why
should be not feel able to put the entire active population to work? If
not, why do we want revolutionary power? if not, what is out task, or

We must arrange to put the entire active population of this
country to work, so that we may take care of all the needs of the
non-active population. Because if a woman can achieve a gross product of
5,000 pesos, of which she receives 1,000 or 1,200 pesos in wages, with 500
or 600 pesos for expense, that woman in contributing 3,000 pesos to the
economy. And thus, if we have 100,000 woman contributing 3,000 pesos to the
economy, free and clear, we would have all the resources needed to supply
clothing, shoes, and three daily meals to 1,500,000 children throughout the
country. These are the possibilities.

Think of what this would mean in the eyes of other peoples, those
whom our enemies might continue to deceive by harping on the tragedy and
poverty of Cuba. And we could achieve all of this in less than 10 years. We
have created strength in the masses, the Party, our youth organizations,
our study centers and our Armed Forces; we have created enormous forces and
potential resources, and we are going to employ them in a conscientious,
responsible, a serious approach to labor. I believe that this is now
evident throughout the Island, and that is why I believe that now that we
are embarking on this task of organizing the local governments, we shall be
completely successful, because we can now accomplish things that we could
not aspire to some 2 or 3 years ago, because we can now begin to do the
things that the Party comrades could not even dream of doing 2 or 3 years

Tomorrow we will meet again to discuss what we might call the
embryonic outline of the Statutes of the Party, and so we shall see each
other again tomorrow.

Thank you.