Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Fidel Castro Speech

Havana Domestic Television and Radio Service in Spanish 1555 GMT 2 January

(Live speech by Prime Minister Fidel Castro on the occasion of the seventh
anniversary of the Cuban revolution from Jose Marti Revolution Square in

(Text) Honored Delegates to the Tricontinental Conference, (applause),
Guests, Comrades; Let us first ask for the cooperation of the comrade
photographers, professional or amateur. (crowd shouting) While we
understand their interest in photography we ask their help so we may have
the best possible good order among all those who, in one way or another,
some with greater ease and some with more difficulty, are present at this

Two events demand our attention today. In their order of importance, first
is the Tricontinental Conference. (applause) And for us, as a pleasant
date, as a beloved remembrance, and as an opportunity to recapitulate,
there is the seventh anniversary of our revolution. (applause)

We shall begin with the second topic in order to say that, just as in all
the other years, this anniversary is always the occasion to compare what
has been accomplished. It is the occasion to set forth or gage the progress
made in general terms.

We can say with satisfaction that the past year has been without any doubt
whatsoever--I feel sure that in this I interpret the thinking of all those
present here--one of the most profitable and fruitful years of the
revolution. (applause)

If in the years to come we keep on accumulating efforts and results; if we
keep on attaining levels of awareness and organization, of efficiency in
the effort we have attained this year, without any doubt the march of the
revolution will henceforth proceed at an even faster pace.

We have come through the first year. We have never concealed the
reality--which no revolutionary ought ever to conceal--that the great
majority of us lacked experience in many matters; that the great majority
of us faces an entirely new and very difficult task. No one is born a wise
man. No one is born a ruler. No one is born what is called a "statesman,"
although that word has something of an old taste, something of a bourgeois
taste, because those gentlemen used to be called "statesman" over here and
in the name of their "statesmanship" they tried to string the whole world

We have not denied them the truth of our experiences nor the truth of our
mistakes, in the continuing effort to learn, learn more, and do things in a
better manner. We understand this to be the only road for the leaders and
the people of the revolution, because in this process absolutely everyone
is included and we have learned much.

We have learned, as the revolutionary process is being implemented, that
the masses and the cadres acquire in months what takes years or sometimes
is never achieved, because there is a tremendous difference in theory and
reality when the time comes to actually achieve the aspirations and
political ideas of a nation. We have been doing this within our range of
knowledge and, furthermore, within our efforts we have been trying to
achieve our revolution in the most complete manner possible.

Moreover, we have been trying to resolve the enormous problems of every
kind in a nation which is underdeveloped--and we are not afraid to call it
underdeveloped, because for us it is not a criticism, inasmuch as
imperialism did not leave us an industrialized nation, an economically
developed nation, a nation without illiterates, a nation which had schools
in it, or one with teaching or technical schools. No.

As sometimes happens when someone from abroad visits the capital city of
our republic, they ask if we are an underdeveloped nation and how it is.
Truthfully, this capital does not give this impression gene4rally, because
certainly this was the underdeveloped capital of a nation which also was
tremendously underdeveloped. (as heard) I believe that this is the same in
the majority of capitals of underdeveloped countries.

Of course, it is true that the revolution has accomplished something.
However, the work of the revolution, the real essence of our work has not
been done in the capital but rather in the rest of the island in an effort
to give to all the people a standard of living, which was cultural and
material, which was incomparably different from the standard of living in
the capital of the republic. Certainly the appearance of this capital helps
to hide considerably what is an underdeveloped nation. The rich and the
dominating classes who invested in most of the nation's resources--the
resources which were produced by our workers' sweat--used a poor technique
in the majority of cases, invested in big apartment buildings, in
palace-like buildings, in beautiful avenues, while in thousands and
thousands of square miles in the interior of the nation, they did not build
one wretched road which possibly could have been used to save the life of
one who was critically ill. They used to invest the resources of the nation
in things which were essentially extravagant. They created that facade,
those appearances, and ignored the tremendous realities of the rest of the
nation. This was particularly evident in the farming areas.

This also includes the fact that there was a lack of basic industries,
which are fundamental to the development of a nation, since when the hour
or the opportunity arrives for advancing, a nation needs everything: from
cement to construct even the most basic installation for electricity needed
for fertilizer industries of an agricultural nation. Our nation needs all
kinds of mechanized industry and all those things which are essential to
enable it resolve (presumably problems--ed.). Our people were confronted
with this tremendous task which stemmed from such difficult conditions as
poverty, misery, and so forth. It resulted from a poor economy which was
further sacked by the monopolies, by the corrupt cliques who were
accomplices of the monopolies, and by the landowners who would take the
nation's wealth and deposit it in foreign banks.

And if you want to get an idea of the amount that was stolen from this
country, and where the fruit of the work wound up, suffice it to say that
the last of our bourgeois rulers, the last of the lackeys who served
imperialism here, processes a fortune estimated at 250 million dollars. It
is the fortune of the ill-famed Mr. Fulgencio Batista. (crowd shouting)

And there were others, no less crooked, who did not steal more for lack of
time--as in the case of another gentleman who fortune is estimated at 70
million dollars. This is the case of the similarly shamefully, ill-famed
Mr. Carlos Prio Socarras. (crowd shouting) It is impossible to figure what
this gentleman, his brothers, his relations, and for that matter, all the
venal politicians who passed by this country, stole from the nation. Add
this to what the monopolies stole from it. Add this to the resources
removed by the exploiters. Add this to the time wasted, the destroyed
natural resources, a population that had doubled, an economy enslaved for
more than 30 years. This is what the people had left. This is what the
exploiters left them when they departed--poverty, ignorance, inexperience.

(?I say inexperience) because man of their managers left when their system
was withdrawn from the nation, and also a large part of their technicians.
And some people--I don't mean some people here, because everyone here
really understands and understands very clearly (applause)--I mean people
excepting those here, do not understand why we facilitate the exit of those
who wish to leave the nation. (crowd shouting)

It would suffice, only as a point of reference, to ask this throng whether
it is or it is not in accord with this policy. (applause, ovation) Let
those who are in accord with this policy raise their arms. (pause)
(scattered applause, shouting) I believe this shows that revolutionary
leaders and people fully understand (applause, shouting) and realize what
we are doing and why we are doing it, and that it is not a fact that we are
petit bourgeois ruling the revolution or directing the revolution, although
we will not deny our petit bourgeois origins (light applause, hesitant). We
do not say this in honor of the class, but in honor of the development of
the revolutionary awareness of man. (applause, shouting)

Their class origin was not a dishonor to the founders of scientific
socialism, Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels, (applause) and to the great
creator of the first socialist nation of the world--the Soviet
Union--Lenin! (applause)

It is not a matter, as some slanderers and plotters abroad have tried to
make people believe, of some kind of conciliation with the imperialists.
(crowd shouts something) because, gentlemen, there is something that is
well to say on this date and at this time, and it should be said with the
assurance, honesty, firmness, and awareness with which we have always
spoken: that the last nation-hear this well--(crowd commotion) that the
last nation on earth which for infinite historic, geographic, patriotic,
revolutionary, and moral reasons, the last nation to make peace with
imperialism will be this country! (Castro shouting; crowd ovation)

Because no other place, no other nation has been so injured, so offended,
so humiliated, so exploited, so scourged, and so threatened by the Yankee
imperialists, as has this nation. It is possible that in no other place, in
view of the atrocities which they have committed and are committing, have
they bred so much hate toward everything which signifies Yankee
imperialism, as they have in Cuba.

We do not want to be the first or the last ones in that hate. What we
profoundly desire is that everyone be first and last in this feeling toward
that enemy. Our policy has not changed, because there are those who listen
to the propaganda campaign of the imperialists and there are some who are
in supposed revolutionary positions who apparently read the AP and UPI
daily, because they too say the same things which UPI and AP say. (shouts)
When the UPI and AP state "the new policy of Cuba or the new policy of
Castro" as they claim, the revolution in this order has maintained a single
policy since the beginning in regard to the exodus of those gentlemen who
do not like the revolution or socialism. (applause)

This is nothing new. The fact that the imperialists have had to open their
doors which they had closed after October crisis to those elements, well,
this is a result of the policy and action of revolution which they could
not resist, because it is certain that they do not take away even the best
(of the Cuban people--ed.) This nation can give itself credit for
permitting those who are not satisfied with socialism to leave. There are
enough people in this nation and this revolution who are satisfied and have
decided to live under socialism. (applause) Of course, I do not see that,
within a Marxist view, that there exists a pretext which established the
obligation of the proletariat and the peasants to feed those who do not
work or produce. (applause)

We are not obligated to put up with such displaced elements, many of whom
have never worked and are incapable of working, and many of whom are agents
of the enemy in the midst of our society. (crowd shouting)

Of course, since I have brought up this subject and since there was no
previous occasion to discuss any particular question related to it, the
situation has arisen that those who have requested permission to leave the
country--and since for example there were cases of gentlemen, who in
bureaucracy, or, of you wish, in th surplus of administrative employees,
had been rationalized and they were being paid the same salary to go to a
school to study--when one of those gentlemen requests permission to leave
the country, must we grant that gentleman that right, (presumably Castro
means the right to continue to draw a salary--ed.) something which must
truly be granted to a revolutionary? (crowd noise, applause)

Why? If in a school where the children of our workers and our peasants
study there is a teacher who requests permission to leave for the United
States, is it correct that he continue to teach the children of the
workers, of our peasants? (applause) There are other case of the same type.

Why do I say this? Because some of these gentlemen have had the audacity to
try to create a certain emotionalism because many of their contracts have
been cancelled. Well and good. What is the policy of the revolution? I take
advantage of this occasion to clarify it with respect to these gentlemen.
First, all who are engaged in nonproductive work producing material goods
and who are not necessary for production, or to put it better, who are not
necessary for certain services, will have their contracts terminated.

Now, then, some ask themselves: "Well, and what thought is being given as
to how they are going to live and from what they are going to live?"
(shouting) Well, we must say that it would be a real crime, a real
injustice that while nearly 70,000 workers separate themselves from their
families for months at a time and go to cut cane, (applause) that with the
sweat and the work of those workers we have to support crowds of drones who
will produce absolutely nothing. (applause) That is why the policy of the
revolution--there must be no mistake about this, nobody must allow himself
to be confused--is the following: We have never promoted measures of any
type which will impose hunger on anyone--never, not even with our most
recalcitrant enemies.

We speak of these things very rarely because it is not something to speak
about, because it would be repugnant to us to have it believed that we make
propaganda or use demagogy with these things. It is enough to say that many
relatives of gentlemen who murdered scores of revolutionaries here and left
thousands of orphans and who, when the revolution was won, were exemplarily
punished by the revolutionary courts, that those relatives have always
received the help of the revolution because the revolution with its
generous spirit of justice must always know how to assess the
responsibility of those truly guilty, and the revolution with its spirit of
justice must help all and is being carried out for all.

The revolution would not be just, as we have said on other occasions, as
long as one single person remains forsaken in the midst of our society.
Never, therefore, has the revolution taken measures which impose hunger on
anybody. All those who simply decide to leave for the United States, and
who because of the type of unproductive, unnecessary work they do have
their contracts terminated, may--if they are in physical condition--choose
to go to work where our workers are working (cheering) in productive
agricultural work, for example, in the sugarcane harvest for example.
(applause) We will give them work, but another type of work so they can
earn their sustenance while producing and not a parasites.

Those who perform useful work, who participate in the production of
material goods or in necessary services, we will maintain them in their
jobs, except where they may be in a position where they could do some harm
to production. We believe that this is a clear policy to maintain in their
jobs those who participate in the production of material goods or in
necessary services, except positions which could be called "strategic" in
production. And of course, not even remotely, will a single one one be left
directing or administering anything at all (cheering).

Now, then, those cases that are not fit for that type of work and do not
know how to to do any but unproductive or unnecessary work and whose
contracts are cancelled, those who are in that category, who for reasons of
the type cannot do any other work, let them apply to the Interior Ministry,
explain their case, and then for humanitarian reasons--so that there may be
no one who can say that he found himself without a solution--he will be
supported until it is his turn to leave the country. (cheering)

This means that there will be absolutely no one for whom there is no
solution. Now, then, if one of them has to wait a year, or two years, is it
our fault when we proposed to the imperialists to send airplanes, if they
wanted to, so that 10,000 or 12,000 could leave every month? It is they who
have established the quota. It is they who have established limits because,
as far as we are concerned, we were in favor of a broad flow. However, if
anyone has to wait many months here, let him be grateful for that to his
little Yankee friends who are the ones who are to blame.

If the Yankees want, they can support them, but it will not be our peasant
people and our workers who are going to shoulder that load. (cheers,
applause) This is the policy and we accept full responsibility for this
policy. Let no one confuse our revolutionary positions with revolutionary
softness nor with any type of consideration toward those who have renounced
this fatherland, toward those who have in fact renounced the citizens of
this county. And I believe that every revolutionary must be prepared to
give a clear and decisive answer when one of those comes around trying to
create emotionalism, and they must be reminded that it is the imperialists
themselves who are trying to kill this country by hunger. They are the ones
who maintain a strict economic blockade on this country and it appears that
this has not awakened any feeling of solidarity for their country among
those gentlemen, no feeling of concern for their people. Let them not
expect those who remain here--remain and build the new country and will
defend it to the last iota of their strength--to take care of them or feel
sorry for them. (applause)

It would be well to make some explanations, for internal purposes in some
things and for external purposes in others, on this problem. I told you
that this year that has just ended has been one of the most successful
years. This year was marked by great changes in the administrative
machinery of the states, in the economic machinery of the state. There were
great successes in the field of our agriculture with the sugarcane harvest
of 6 million tons of sugar. This past year was characterized by great
advances in all, absolutely all, work fronts, and this year reached its
peak with the establishment of the Central Committee of our party
(applause) where our political vanguard reached a maximum degree of
organization and efficiency in its task; despite the fact that this has
been a year in which the prices of a part of our sugar, that part which we
invest in acquiring certain credits for certain products which we obtain
with great difficulty (Castro does not finish the thought--ed).

The administration decides what to do with the resources, and the most
rational use of those resources has allowed us to live through this year
without serious problems of any kind. In other times, when sugar on the
so-called world market arrived at the prices that it did arrive at this
year, it always meant a wave of hunger and misery for the people and this
was not our case.

We must also say that the organization of the economy, the planning
machinery, has improved considerably and today we have a much greater
control and a much more effective leadership, and it is very just to point
out the fruitful, constant, self-sacrificing, and intelligent work of our
President on the Planning Board, Comrade Osvaldo Dorticos. (applause) We
must say that (about four words indistinct) overwhelming tasks of
administrative order have achieved enormous advances in our Planning Board
which will permit us to continue to go forward along the path of using our
resources every day better, more rationally, and more efficiently.

The progress of the revolution in all fields is demonstrated by the very
military parade of this year and the precision, the discipline, the record
speed with which it took place, shows the growing efficiency of our forces
and the growing number of our weapons. This year, not many new weapons were
seen, but there are things that are not seen and there are many more
weapons. We have grown in the volume of our military equipment and in its
technological use.

Without trying to make propaganda or frighten anyone and since I feel the
equipment we have is for our enemies no great secret, a really
insignificant part of our war material has paraded by here, a simple
example. It is possible that our enemies know more or less what we have. Of
course, it is possible they may be mistaken, although some events have
already shown them the opposite about the efficiency with which we have
learned to use that equipment.

For many years to come, we must follow inflexibly, steadfastly, and without
any kind of doubt the policy of strengthening our defense more and more.
Because we are the revolutionary state closest to the heart of the Yankee
empire. Because we are in this continent, where awareness is awakening,
where the revolutionary spirit is spreading, a continent that little by
little is taking up complete revolution.

In the years to come, as the Dominican people are doing with incomparable
heroism (applause), it will confront, in a revolutionary manner, the direct
or indirect domination by the imperialist forces. This continent, which is
in a state of revolutionary ferment, this continent, which will be agitated
by the storm of revolution, will hold great risks, great threats for our
country for many years.

This is why, in view of the line being followed by the imperialists, in
view of their policy, we must always calmly but firmly remain prepared. And
let not the enthusiasm of revolutionary work, the creative enthusiasm of
the people, make us; ever forget that need to be prepared, to be strong, to
make the enemy pay dearly for any affront, any criminal attack against our
country. That is why it is also highly gratifying to see the extraordinary
progress of our Revolutionary Armed forces. (applause)

Last year, 1965, was the Year of Agriculture, and the achievements attained
in that field completely justify the name given that year. We have brought
some statistics relating to the work performed this year in the field of
agriculture and to the adverse conditions under which that work has been
carried out. For example, in sugarcane agriculture the following provincial
planting has been carried out: 509.4 caballerias in Pinar del Rio; 260 in
Havana; 1,263 in Matanzas; 2,428.5 in Las Villas; 3,600 in Camaguey; and
4,371 in Oriente. This relates to the state sector of our agriculture,
reaching a total in that sector of 12,431.9 caballerias, as compared to a
goal of 11,482 caballerias. That is to say that 108.3 percent of the goal
has been fulfilled. Viewed coldly, this might be considered to signify
nothing. It might seem we set low goals, but it must be said that this is
the first time this goal has been overfulfilled and that, moreover, it is
the largest amount planted during these years of revolution by the state
sector. Moreover, added to the planting performed by the private sector,
the total figure reaches 15,000 caballerias of sugarcane this year, one of
the highest figures in our history.

In the nonagricultural sector, that is, nonsugarcane--it is incorrect to
say nonagricultural--it is the nonsugarcane sector, that is, with regard to
the other crops, 3,689.5 caballerias in Pinar del Rio; 2,565.1 in Havana;
2,099.1 in Matanzas; 5,071.3 in Las Villas; 5,057.6 in Camaguey; 10,931 in
Oriente; 1,633 in Isla de Pinos; which totals 31,036.6 caballerias, as
compared to a goal of 28,915.9 caballerias. This represents 107.3 percent
fulfillment. (applause)

In some crops there are cases of under fulfillment, in the major portion,
and many of the more important crops are considerably above the goal,
making this national total possible. In total, state agriculture has
planted, during the past year, 43,468.5 caballerias as opposed to a goal of
40,379.9 caballerias, signifying 107.6 percent fulfillment of the goal. To
give a more precise idea: Some 12,000 caballerias more have been planted
than in 1964; 12,000 caballerias more. This is more than 30 percent over
what had been planted the previous year.

However what have been the weather conditions? We are not going to come out
with a story to blame th weather, no at all, because despite bad weather we
are going to achieve considerable progress. Those advances, naturally, will
not be felt in the sugar this year because a large part of those (?15,000)
caballerias must wait to be cut until 1967 because of poor rainfall this
year and its irregularity,. Nevertheless, in the root crops, for example,
it is estimated there will be an increase of 97 percent as compared to root
crop production the previous year. (applause) And this is with an increase
of 40 percent yields. That is to say that much more acreage has been
planted, and 40 percent more yield per area surface has been achieved,
which will produce a 97 percent increase (in the crop harvest--ed.).

Very well now, under what weather conditions? Well, precisely--and this is
the incredible thing--under the worse weather conditions in the entire
history of our country since 1900. And we cannot talk about before 1900
because of a lack of statistics about rainfall.

There has been less rainfall this year than in any other year since 1900,
particularly in the principal agricultural provinces of the country, that
is, Las Villas, Camaguey, and Oriente. Without the extraordinary effort
without the improvement in the technology and the attention given the
crops, we would really have had a disaster. Here are the statistics:

For example, the comparison between the rainfall in 1965 with the normal
rainfall until 30 November, in the province of Pinar del Rio in 1965: 902.7
millimeters had fallen as opposed to a normal rainfall of 1,301.8
millimeters. That is to say it was 69.3 percent of normal rainfall. In
Havana, 1,126.9 millimeters against a normal average of 1,333.4 or 84.5
percent. In Matanzas, 1,097.5 millimeters against a normal average of
1,438.4 or 76.3 percent of normal. In Las Villas, 842.5 millimeters against
a normal average of 1,453, which means that 58 percent of normal rainfall
has fallen in that province. In Camaguey, 880.4 millimeters against 1,313.1
or 77 percent of a normal year. In Oriente, 886.5 against an average of
1,150.4. In other words, 67.1 percent of a normal year. In summary, the
national average rainfall has been 69.4 of a normal year, that is the
average rainfall for good and bad years, thus affecting the three
agriculturally most important provinces.

The year 1962 has been the driest year since the revolution and the
averages for 1965 were as follows; in Pinar del Rio, 82.5 percent of 1962,
in Havana, 96.1 percent; in Matanzas, 91.8 percent; in Las Villas, 33.2
percent; in Camaguey, 97.5 percent; and in Oriente, 100.1 percent: In other
words, 91.0 percent of average rainfall during the driest year after the
revolution, one of the driest years that we have ever had. In 1965 the
rainfall, compared with 1907, which was the worst year since 1900 until 30
November 1930 (Castro corrects himself--ed.) 30 November 1965, was 922
millimeters while in 1907, the driest year, the rainfall was 940
millimeters through 30 November. Not only was the rainfall scarce but it
was very irregular. For example in January 1965 we had 24 percent of the
rainfall during a normal year. In February, 16.6--no, a normal year--(long

No. The data is as follows; In January 10.4 millimeters, during a normal
year 43.2 or 24.1 percent. I am going to continue reading the percents:
February, 16.6 percent for a normal year; March 21.7, April, 35.5; May 44;
June, 103. During the spring planting time, April and March, it rained 35.5
(?or) 44 percent of a normal year. In June the percentage rose above a
normal year, then it began to drop. In September it rained 61.3 percent of
a normal year; in October 88.1 percent; in November, 44.3 percent. And
everybody knows the importance of these rains for the sugar cane; everybody
knows how the cane suffers when the springs rains are late, and how the
cane suffers when the autumn rainfalls lessen. That is the reason for the
slogans this year, the need for the best work in the cutting and in the
yields, that is in the cutting, the cleaning of the sugar cane, the speed
with which it reaches the mill, the need to get more sugar from the raw

Even this way, the goal of 6.5 million tons will not be fulfilled,
unfortunately. But, let us keep production high. We will not be able to
boast of the goal, but it will be a highly satisfactory production above
all, if we carry out the harvest in the way it has been planned and
programmed. That is why our work in the harvest this year must be better
than last year's. This year the tons already produced in December have been
produced practically with half of the sugarcane with which the same number
of tons were produced last year. That means that in December, the ripest
canes were well selected, that the cane was taken fast to the central, and
that they were clean. That is why in December, yields of more than 10
percent have been obtained. It is clear that in March and April, regardless
of how high the yields will be, they should be higher than last year--not
in such a large proportion, but we can get hundreds of thousands of tons
more from the same amount of sugar cane this year. In other words, with a
higher yield in sugar, we can make preparations to some extent for the
results of the drought. Because in addition, this year we have given
special care to the cultivation, especially to the cane and therefore we
will have less concern because of the worst year of rainfall.

Now that cane which may not be cut this year will be cut in 1967 in
addition to 10,000 new caballerias which we plan to plant this coming
spring. There is no reason to believe that the coming year will be anything
like this one. That is why last year we said that in 1966 there would not
be a very large planting, even though it had been a normal year, and that
the most noticeable increase would take place ion 1967, and that in 1967 we
would have the largest sugar harvest in the history of our country.

Now, however, there is a product with which there will be difficulties,
because of reasons beyond our control, this year. That product is rice. I
am going to explain the reasons for which we will have less rice, basing my
conclusions on a report from our Foreign Trade Ministry in relation to the
trade exchange of with the People's Republic of China. (applause) It reads:
Our commercial policy with China was oriented for 1966 toward continuing to
increase the volume of exchange, thus following the trend of the last few
years. The planned exports for 1966 amounted to 110 million and the imports
amounted to 140 million (unit not specified). These amounts, compared to
prior years, provided for bigger deliveries of sugar on our part and bigger
deliveries of rice on their part. During mid-November our delegation
arrived in Peking to discuss the commercial protocol for 1966 which is to
be signed in Havana. The delegation was headed by the director of our
ministry, Comrade Ismael Bello. After several interviews with the Chinese
officials, the following was officially proposed.

Sugar. The Chinese will not be able to accept the 800,000 tons of sugar
which had been offered, for the following reasons: a) This year China had a
big harvest; b) In 1961 the USSR made them a loan of 500,000 tons of sugar,
payable in the same product. This year the USSR sugar loan was payed by
using part of the sugar which was bought from Cuba; and c) The Chinese
people do not at present require coupons for purchases of sugar because
stocks are sufficient to meet the demand.

The quantities of rice supplied to Cuba in 1965 constituted an exception,
due to the request made to the Chinese Ambassador by Prime Minister Fidel
Castro. For 1966, even though they (the Chinese authorities--ed.) have had
a good crop, they see no possibility of greater quantities than in 1964,
which amounted to 135,000 metric tons, for the following reasons: a) A need
to build up a reserve in case of an attack by the Yankee imperialists, b)
The aid they must provide to Vietnam, and c) Deficits in the yield of other
grains, which necessitates imports from the capitalist area. As a result,
certain quantities of rice have to be used to obtain foreign currency for
that purpose.

Our ministry's report goes on saying that China had granted us two state
credits, in 1960 amounting to 60 million, for complete plants, another in
1963 amounting to 40 million, because of rate imbalances. Of the
60-million-credit, 30 million has been used already in various contracts on
plants, and 20 million to cover the remainder of the unfavorable balance in
1965. The 40-million-credit, of a commercial nature, has already been
completely used up. (currency unit not indicated)

When our delegation brought up the question of using the remaining 10
million of 1960 credit for partial financing of the unfavorable balance
that would occur in 1966, according o our standard of exports and imports,
the Chinese delegation replied as follows: Utilization of the credit, as an
economic matter, was not within it competence and must be taken up at
government level but, as for products and quantities they could furnish us,
their offers were the (?maximum) and hence final. They said that in this
way the volume of trade would attain more or less the 1964 level, since it
would be a balanced trade.

Trade implications of these proposals. The foreign trade report says:
Although the Chinese speak of bringing our trade to the 1964 level, by not
allowing an imbalance as in previous years, what is in truth brought to the
1964 level are our exports (?to China), but the value of our imports will
fall to a level below that of any year of trade from 1961 to 1965--since
1961, when our trade was established. As is customary between socialist
countries, by means of annual commercial protocols. The value of our
exports, 600,000 metric tons of sugar at six (?centavos) a pound and
quantities of nickel and copper similar to preceding years, will come to
some 85 million in 1966. The Chinese are adjusting their offers to that
sum; this corresponds to their position on balanced trade.

Comparing our purchasing capacity of 85 million with the value of present
needs of 140 million, the Chinese proposal means decreases in the market of
something around 55 million. This means the reduction of 150,000 metric
tons of rice with a value of 22 million pesos at 145 pesos to the metric
ton. To understand this well, I must refer to a precedent which took place
at the end of 1964 on the occasion of a trade proposition made personally
by me to the diplomatic representatives of the Chinese People's Republic in
our country.

Taking into account that the per capita consumption of rice was very high
in the CPR and the consumption of sugar very low, and knowing that in China
the case of sugar is reversed by comparison with Cuba and costs the Chinese
people four to five times more than rice, while in Cuba the price of rice
is two or three times greater than sugar, I thought it would be mutually
beneficial to effect a grate exchange of sugar for rice. As a result of
this I made them the proposition, which in my opinion has highly beneficial
to that country and also to ours, that we were prepared to delver two tons
of sugar for every ton of rice they sent us from China (applause)

I made that proposal considering a number of circumstances, as I said
before, among them the principle of international division of labor. The
fact that we are a country which by tradition has raised sugarcane and
produced sugar, and that we are capable of achieving a very high yield of
sugar per hectare from sugarcane and considering the fact that such is not
the case with rice because we do not have the same experience with it nor
the large quantities of water, great rivers and large areas for the optimum
cultivation of rice, nor do we know the best techniques, nor do we have the
best varieties of seed as we have in sugarcane, that is why we made that

What did this mean? It meant for the Chinese that for each eight centavos,
approximately, which it withdrew from its international consumption of
rice, it would import 60 centavos worth of sugar at domestic economy prices
because that is what it would be equal to at the price rice and sugar are
sold in the Chinese People's Republic. For every eight centavos worth of
rice they get 60 centavos worth of sugar for the domestic economy under our
proposal for delivering two tons of sugar for each ton if rice. That is
what it would mean from a financial point of view not (word indistinct).

From a nutritional point of view, we offered to delivered two pounds of
nutrition in the form of sugar, whose energy value is known, whose use in
production, including medicines, is known, whose high value is known.
Therefore, we made a proposal in which we offered two pounds of that
nutriment for one pound of other nutrient. It was with that spirit of
mutual benefit, because in no other way would I have had any other type of

I must say that on this occasion the reply was more than we expected. They
accepted the proposal, they even proposed that the exchange not be made in
the manner in which we said. They would continue to pay us the same price
for sugar and we would continue to pay the same price for rice. It was on
that occasion. Sincerely, when I proposed this, and based precisely on the
principle of mutual benefit, it was not my idea that it was for one year.
It sincerely believed that this was a proposal for the future at long
range. That is why I saw nothing naive, although it has turned out to be in
a certain manner naive, in proposing that we follow that line.

However, by what is seen, the other party did into understand it thus and
understood that this was some exception and was for one year. As a result,
we have already at the end of 1964 been faced with reality that we will
have practically one-half of the rice we received last year. We have no
resources to buy this rice in other markets because this would be to the
great detriment of other vital parts of the economy. It could effect
medical items, textiles, and raw materials essential for industry because
we are not in 1963 or in 1964 when prices of sugar in other markets reached
the level of 10 centavos. This means that we do not have the resources.

However in addition, if we did have them, it would not be easy to buy rice,
because it is known that many countries under pressure from Yankee
imperialism do not trade with Cuba. There is something else. Some countries
of Latin America, and Asia which trade with the Chinese People's Republic
do not trade with Cuba. The reasons: Their volume of trade with China is
greater, their market is much greater than ours. Therefore, those countries
resist more the pressures of Yankee imperialism against their trade with
the Chinese People's Republic.

However we who are a smaller country, a country which potentially is a much
smaller market and which does not have a large volume of trade with those
countries--they resist less the pressures of Yankee imperialism, and they
do not trade with small Cuba. An example: Argentina is one of them. If we
want to buy corn there, they will not sell it to us. In Uruguay, if we want
to buy rice there, they will not sell it to us. Because we must state here
with all clarity that among the countries of the socialist camp, one of he
countries most hated by Yankee imperialism is Cuba. One of the countries
against whom Yankee imperialism has imposed iron-bound formulas against
trade is Cuba.

Yankee imperialism has reached the extreme of giving citizenship papers to
merchandise, something they have never had elsewhere and which belong to
whomever buys them. imperialism has managed to establish quotas through
pressures and conditions so that even if we buy any merchandise of U.S.
manufacture in another country, they forbid its transportation to Cuba as
if the merchandise were a citizen worthy of having a passport. That is our

However, on bringing this up we are not selling the Chinese to change. We
accept the reasons of economic order they have given us, and of strategic
order they have govern us. We could never object to that. Much less could
we do so if they invoke the name of Vietnam (prolong applause) because for
the Vietnamese people we are prepared not only to give our sugar but also
our blood which is worth much more than sugar. (prolong applause, rhythmic
clapping) The Vietnamese people know that perfectly well, as do the leaders
of the heroic Vietnamese Communist Party. (applause) We would never shirk
any sacrifice for the good of those people and of any fighting people.
Therefore, we accept the assigned quantities and we do not need, we not
only do not need, we do not want more. (applause)

With respect to rice, previously we imported it from the United States and,
as of the beginning of the blockade, we began to replace our sources of
supply, particularly by (supplies from--ed.) the Chinese People's Republic.
Never did this country supply itself with rice. It always needed to import
a large part of its domestic consumption, more so because of the
extraordinary increase in the purchasing power of the people.

To be self-sufficient in rice, we would have to completely revise our
agricultural plans for the coming years, the sugar plan of 10 million tons,
our cattle-raising plans, our fruit production plans, and our vegetable
production plans. We would have to allocate to it some 10,000 more
irrigated caballerias and to invest in it the little amount of water we
have for other crops of greater economic and nutritional value, as well as
the machinery, the human resources and the economic resources in general.
Therefore, in the long run, it would be harmful to our economy. Doubtless,
it would not be good for our country to stop producing 1.5 million tons of
sugar, which is what 10,000 irrigated caballerias of sugarcane could
produce and which would increase the purchasing power of our country by
more than 150 million pesos, to produce on that same land and with the same
effort rice that would be worth 25 million pesos.

Therefore, the other alternative, or the other alternatives are: the
reduction of our consumption of rice until the conditions on the
international market which have been established by imperialism and which
blockade our trade (change), no matter how long it may take; or to replace
that type of food by another type of food. In the final analysis, we must
do what most benefits our economy, our standard of living, our health.

If we carry forward our present agricultural plans--with the increase of
our production of milk, meat, vegetables, fruits, root vegetables, with the
increase of our sugar production which will enable us to establish an
industrial foundation for incomparably higher yields, with our plans for
the development of the fishing industry, which, as you have seen in recent
days, added 30 new nationally built ships (applause), with the maintenance
of our present egg plan and its increase--by 1970, we will be among the
best fed peoples, not only in quantity, but in quality, thanks to our
present efforts, thanks to the development of our essentially agricultural
economy during this first year. We will have a nutritional diet--and
whoever wants to convince himself about it, let him inform himself of the
basic principles of dietetics and he will see that the diet can be much
richer in proteins, vitamins, minerals, and energy than when our diet was
based on rice.

A revolutionary people that changes institutions, institutions of
centuries, that renews and changes a society and replaces it with something
new, that changes centuries-old and reactionary ideas for new ideas--how
can it not be capable of changing a habit of consumption of an article that
is not essential to the health of the people? (applause) And our people
will not be less revolutionary for that, nor will that be reason for our
revolution to be weakened in the confidence or the support of the masses
for their party and its revolutionary leadership. (applause) We are
accustomed to confronting difficult problems, even more difficult than that
one, without fear--hear this well--of anything or anyone. (applause) In
connection with this attitude of our people, I am going to read a UPI
dispatch from Washington, dated 27 December, which contains a statement by
the U.S., Secretary of Commerce. It says: During 1965, Cuban foreign trade,
according to estimates by the U.S Department of Commerce, will only be
between 60 and 70 percent of the figures for the previous year. According
to that department, the decline is partly due to the economic sanctions
imposed on Cuba by the United States and to the decline suffered this year
in sugar prices on the world market. The so-called trade embargo against
Cuba is giving results and will continue to be applied, said a department

The spokesman said that, although the conclusive Cuban figures for 1965 are
not yet known, everything seems to indicate that the Cuban economy is
experiencing difficulties. The noncommunist countries refuse to send
strategic materials to Cuba and Cuba is finding difficulties in obtaining
credits. The spokesman also noted that the lack of replacement parts for
the machinery built in the United States makes it necessary to discard it
prematurely, and the country is compelled to replace it with machinery from
other countries with the corresponding expense.

The spokesman also declared that the statistical data compiled up to now
make it obvious that the living standards of the Cuban people have
deteriorated considerably by comparison with that which prevailed in 1964.
The spokesman said that the only countries that could trade with Cuba
outside the communist block would be Spain, Japan, Canada, Morocco, and the
United Kingdom, in that order. The only Latin American country which
continues to trade with Cuba is Mexico (applause)

Just see how shameful and criminally cynical are these statements of the
Commerce Department of the Yankee imperialist metropolis! They have not the
slightest discipline, the slightest shame in rejoicing over the presumed
successes of their economic blockade in trying to crush a small country,
trying to ruin, trying to make it spend more money. That is what the Yankee
imperialists are trying to do. That is howl the Yankee imperialists enjoy
themselves. They rub their hands and they lick their lips, thinking that
they are strangling us, thinking that they are crushing us.

But how mistaken they are! How little they know this revolution and these
people because unfortunately it is being demonstrated that this revolution
and these people are hated, and not only, certainly, by the Yankee
imperialists. (shouting, applause) How little they know these people who
are capable of the greatest feats, the greatest sacrifices when
circumstances demand it. Never will we follow the antirevolutionary and
reactionary policy of ceasing to fight for the welfare of the people. The
revolution is carried out for the material, moral, and spiritual welfare of
peoples. (applause)

Now, then, in behalf of our moral duties to the other peoples, in behalf of
our internationalist duties, we are prepared to make the sacrifices which
may be necessary. In behalf of the revolution, to defend the revolution,
and to maintain the patriotic, political, and revolutionary banners of this
country--waving with dignity--we are prepared to do whatever is necessary
and to march forward calmly, confidently, cost what it may, because not in
vain is this revolution, which is now seven years old, and which no longer
crawls but but walks (applause), and which does not need a perambulator or
nursemaids of any type. Supported by the people (applause), is supported by
the masses. And with reason, not in vain, not be chance nor by accident. It
is they who are its actors.

Who are its main actors? Who are its main witnesses? It is the people who
are the ones who best understand it. The people support and help it. This
revolution is a revolution of the people, and this revolutionary ideas are
the revolutionary ideas of the peoples. This revolutionary accomplishment
is the application, in the opinion of our people, of universal ideas to our
very special and concrete case.

If there was one thing I was to say today to the delegates to this
conference--this is not the place to properly deal with the innumerable
subject which must be discussed--the important thing is to tell them with
what open arms and hearts filled with solidarity the people receive them
(applause), all of them, and with particular warmth for the representatives
of the people who at this time are heroically fighting revolution, in a
very special sense for the Vietnamese people and their delegation, (load,
prolong applause) for the people of Santo Domingo and their delegation,
(applause), for the people of Venezuela and their delegation (applause, for
the people of Guatemala and their delegation (applause), for the people of
Columbia and their delegation (applause), for the people of Peru and their
delegation (applause), the peoples of Portuguese Guinea, Mozambique,
Angola, Leopoldville Congo, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, and their
delegations (applause), the heroic people of Laos and their revolutionary
representatives (applause), the people of Cambodia and their revolutionary
representatives (applause), and the delegations of those who struggle and

I was saying that if there was one thing I was to say here today, which is
an event before our people, if there is something which I say to all men of
the new revolutionary movements, those who fight for their liberation, that
the most important thing is to find the true path of struggle, the
revolutionary struggle. In addition, it is to find the true path for each
people, and this, only each people can do, can find (applause).

This delegation (presumably he means conference--ed.) could be very
fruitful and very useful, regardless of what its results may be. There will
already have been something very useful, and that is the contact among so
many men and women from various parts of the world, the contacts between
revolutionary leaders, the revolutionary leaders of the revolutionary
movements of all the world which by itself will give abundant results. It
will increase solidarity and help, generally or bilaterally. It will mean a
very positive result. As far as we are concerned, here, before our people
and in the name of our people, something we do not hide, any revolutionary
movement anywhere in the world can count on Cuba's unconditional and
determined help (applause).

The conference will be so much more useful, and much more beneficial to the
extent that each one of us knows how to have the fortitude to act with our
own ideas and with independent ideas because that is the only way, the only
correct path and the only worthy path of finding the true solutions. And to
our people I make the proposition that this year--in consideration of the
event which is taking place in our country, and in honor of the delegations
who do us the very great honor of visiting us, and meeting here in this
land where freedom was won with the blood of its children, by fighting, and
that defended itself fighting, and that will continue to defend itself by
fighting (applause) so that it can call itself "Cuba, First Socialist
Country and First Free Territory of America,"--be named "The Year of
Solidarity," and that the people support it and that all who agree with
this name raise their hand.

Long live the Year of Solidarity and Brotherhood Among all People! (crowd
shouts "Viva") Long live the struggle for the liberation of people!
(shouting, applause) Fatherland or death, we will win.