Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana in Spanish to the Americas 0030 GMT 15 April 1966--E

(Program for Chile: "The People's Revolution vs. Bourgeois Reformism,"
prepared by Chileans residing in Cuba)

(Text) Listeners: Tonight we have the great pleasure of broadcasting for
all of you, and the people of Chile in particular, an exclusive interview
with Maj. Fidel Castro by Jaime Barrios, economist, and Orlando Contreras,
newsman, for the program "The People's Revolution Versus Bourgeois
Reformism." The informal talk with Maj. Fidel Castro by our comrades
Barrios and Contreras, recorded on a portable machine in the canefields,
gradually took on the nature of an impromptu interview. In the statements
to which this unprepared interview led, Maj. Fidel Castro spoke of the
problems and prospects for Cuba's sugarcane harvest; then, in reply to
questions from our program's representatives, he made important statements
that are of great interest to the people of Chile. Now the recording.

Dear listeners of Chile and Latin America: We are here in the Vertientes
area, 30 kilometers from the city of Camaguey, where the Prime Minister of
the revolutionary government is cutting cane together with the members of
the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and all the Cabinet. We
have entered the canefield and are going up to Maj. Fidel Castro, whom we
wish to ask a few questions for our program "The People's Revolution Versus
Bourgeois Reformism."

Now Comrades Barrios is speaking with Maj. Fidel Castro in the canefield.
As we make this recording, it is 1830. It was raining up to a quarter of an
hour ago, and the cane is wet. It is rather warm. Now we will go forward
with our microphone so you can hear the conversation while Maj. Fidel
Castro continues cutting cane. You can hear a noise, the noise of the

Fidel: Cutting cane (?as I am doing). It is all right. I do not have to
stop to clean it. In eight hours I cut 600.

Question: Six hundred arrobas?

Fidel: For collection I would cut 600 arrobas in eight hours. And in 12
hours, 800 to 900 would be possible (?without much training). Why do I cut
cane? If I had to clean all that cane (several words indistinct). I am
cutting without separating the chafe, the way I did that one. (few words
indistinct) without paying any attention to the chaff; that is what causes
interruptions. If I took to cleaning it, I would cut only half as much in
eight hours.

Question: And the pilot brigade, Major, more or less how much has it cut
more than the normal figure, with the collection system?

Fidel: The pilot brigade--even though, as I told you, there is still a
tendency to make some reflex motions toward cleaning the cane--has cut
twice as much, practically a 100 percent increase. It is a brigade of
pretty good canecutters, but (several words indistinct) from 200 plus

Question: To 400?

Fidel: To 400 plus arrobas. That is why I was explaining to you, why, if
cutting clean cane, a cane cutter, (words indistinct), not very used to
cutting cane, can cut 600 arrobas in eight hours, in the case of cane like
this. It is possible, with more training, that they might cut 700 or 750 of
this type in eight hours. (sentence indistinct).

Question: In your opinion, to what extend does this reduce the problem of
mechanization, Major?

Fidel: The use of collection centers means doubling the productivity of
cane cutters--let us be a little more conservative. Let us say that 300,000
workers are required to cut a specified amount of cane. If there is a 50
percent increase--and of course 50 percent is far below the true
increase--that would mean that 200,000 workers could accomplish what
300,000 would the other way. The fact of the matter--I will give you some
examples. For a production of 10 million tons of sugar, we will have to cut
about 50 million arrobas of cane per day. Traditional cutting, the use of
the traditional method, would require some 260,000 men to cut those 50
million arrobas daily, averaging about 200 arrobas.

Question: Some 260,000 as permanent cutters?

Fidel: Yes, permanent, cutting some 200 arrobas a day. That would make
about 52 million arrobas. So from 250,000 to 260,000 cutters would be
needed. If the average was 400 arrobas cut, 130,000 workers would be
needed, in round numbers, to cut the 50 million arrobas a day. I will make
the figure somewhat larger; 150,000 workers, averaging 400 arrobas a day
under this system, to cut the approximately 50 million arrobas that are
needed to product the 10 million tons of sugar.

Question: Then you estimate that another harvest yielding about 5 million
tons could be mechanized, more or less?

Fidel: I will explain to you what the situation is. Only about 50 percent
of the cane is suitable for combine mechanization. Why is this? Because
mechanization requires cane fields on flat land. Part of our cane acreage,
traditionally, because of land conditions, and because of the location of
the mills, lies on terrain that is not flat, but undulating. Combines could
not operate on that type of land. Combines work on land that is flat and
even (word indistinct.) It must be relatively well prepared. This means
that with combines, we can hope, by optimistic estimate, to cut only half
of the cane needed for 10 million tons of sugar.

Nevertheless, since we will unquestionably be faced with the problem of
manpower to achieve the 10 million tons--a problem that arises from the
increase in jobs in our country--it must be solved with machines. So it was
hoped that combines could handle half the cane that must be cut daily. The
solution of the problem for that half of the cane was planned with
combines, but it was always necessary to count on having to cut the other
half by hand. But in the half where machinery would not serve, leaders
could be used for moving cane from the ground onto the carts or trucks.

This effort to find a solution to the sugarcane problem is what brought
forth the idea of the collection center. In any case, whenever a cane field
is cut, the cane must be loaded onto a vehicle: a tractor-drawn cart--it
used to be a bullock cart--or a truck, which carries cane and can also pull
a trailer or two--that is something else we are trying out here--and the
cane must be hauled to a point on the railway called the transfer point.
There a crane takes the cane and loads it on the railway cars.

Each mill is situated in a specific area, and cane is moved from the areas
furthest from the mill by rail. The bullock cart or tractor-drawn cart or
truck always takes the cane from the field to the railway transfer
platform. The collection center is made up of equipment located at the
transfer platform.

Question: An intermediate point?

Fidel: Yes, with the difference that the capacity of the collection center
is equivalent to that of five or six transfer platforms. Using the
collection center begins by saving the use of six or seven transfer
platforms at one point where the cane is taken in that area. The cane is
unloaded there; it arrives with chaff, of course. A conveyor moves it to
mills where it is cut into specified lengths, after which the cane is blown
by a ventilation system and falls into the railway car entirely free of
chaff. It is left with much less chaff than so-called clean cane
traditionally has. This system has the advantage of economizing manpower.
According to all studies we are making, it approximately doubles
productivity, as I was telling you, and cuts the effort required by 25 or
30 percent. This makes possible an increase in pay for canecutting, with
greater productivity, of course, with lower costs for producing sugar, and
with evident benefits to the worker, who earns a much higher wage while
putting forth less effort.

Question: Major, how did this idea of collection centers get started? Was
it based on the experience of sugarcane countries like Australia or Hawaii,
or was it started here as an initiative of the workers? Where did the idea
of the collection center come from?

Fidel: The collection center is basically an idea evolved by Cuban
technicians. According to reports I have received--I discussed it with a
Cuban sugar technician-- he began to evolve the idea of a collection center
as a solution. Later, another Cuban technicians took up the idea and
developed the machinery for the task. This should be understood: in facing
the problem of mechanizing the cane work, we were up against one of the
hardest problems agriculture has had to tackle anywhere. Some countries--
Hawaii, Puerto Rico, sugar producing countries--have a long time been
struggling with the problem of mechanizing canecutting.

Why is this problem difficult? Cane is a very irregular plant. At times it
grows high, depending on rain and climate; sometimes it is lower. That is
not all, if it were, raising or lowering the blades would suffice. But cane
grows in a very irregular fashion. Particularly when a high yield of cane
is obtained, it tends to lie down. There are stalks where half of the cane
is almost on the ground. In that case, the use of machinery as a solution
is extremely difficult. Sometimes the cane goes one way, sometimes another;
it is not like corn or wheat, it is not like all those grains, which grow
erect, more or less uniform. Cane has shoots. Sometimes it has 20 or 25
canes on a shoot, sometimes seven, sometimes eight.

Question: We would like to ask about something of great interest to us. How
do you feel out here cutting cane?

Fidel: I will tell you. At this work we sometimes feel tired, physically.

Question: Like now?

Fidel: Well, luckily, this has been a cool day. It has been cloudy, and
under these circumstances, in the afternoon, without any sun, the work
becomes easier. One hardly sweats. One feels much better. During the hours
of hot sun--say from 0900 on, or between 1400 and 1700, when the sun is
strong, particularly in the months as summer approaches--canecutting is

During the first days, naturally, we were not accustomed to heavy exercise
for many consecutive hours, so the work is quite tiring during the first
days. However, it also has some compensations because, for example, one if
freed from military-type work or preoccupations. When the times comes for
rest, one rests much better. In fact, (few words indistinct) in the
canecutting. I have a good appetite. We have our work schedule. We try to
work the earliest hours, let us say, for example, from 0600 to 1000 and
from 1500 to 1900.

Question: A normal day?

Fidel: There are days we work a bit more and, naturally, we must work a
little later in the morning and begin a bit earlier in the afternoon.
Moreover, sometimes we have a little area left and we try to finish it
before the end of the day (few words indistinct), cutting cane at night,
sometimes until 1930 or 2000. I tell you, physically, (?it is hard work)
and we start it abruptly, because we do not have time to train for

Question: How is it that you feel better?

Fidel: It is simply that one sweats a great deal. One drinks plenty of
water. One turns into a (word indistinct), for example, sugar itself;
Because sugar, since it is an energy food, is assimilated very quickly.
Generally, we drink sugar water, cane juice. Of course, there are days we
drink seven or eight quarts. Some three or four quarts in the morning and
three or four in the afternoon. One sweats profusely.

(Few words indistinct) and one starts feeling well. Naturally, some
comrades are in better physical condition than others; some are older and
some are younger. I would say that the greatest merit belongs to those who
have been less accustomed to great physical effort, who are not in too good
health and, nevertheless, make a great effort when they come to the
sugarcane cutting. For me, really, the effort is not too great because we
participate in sports, we experienced life in the mountains, and, in
general, we have a habit of exercise and strong effort.

Nevertheless, I tell you that for me (few words indistinct). One can say
what I say about the mountains: that the mountains are always difficult.
The mountains are always (few words indistinct). In a certain sense, one
never becomes 100 percent accustomed to the effort of climbing large
mountains. It is possible that long distance runners, no matter how well
trained, then they run the mile, five miles, ten miles, or a marathon, must
always (few words indistinct).

Well, I would say that (few words indistinct), it is really good for
everyone without distinction to occasionally have to go at hard work in
order to get a precise, realistic, accurate idea of the efforts a man must
make to produce the material goods, the conditions of hard work and
sacrifices with which many persons must earn their livelihood. In a sense,
we revolutionaries, the politicians, have become intellectual workers. As
intellectual workers, we run the risk of losing contact with that reality.
One day, some might come to think sincerely that this is demagog, that this
is something else. But it is a positive thing for man, something
spiritually healthy. I think is is physically and morally healthful to do
some physical work every day.

Question: Major, I ask this question because some Chilean radio stations
have said that you had come to the canefield angry. So we have tried to
confirm here at Vertientes that the facts are quite contrary. I would like
to tell the Major that (few words indistinct) to have a vivid idea of the
effort required in the work in the canefields. It seems to me that the same
can be said of the people--that they see with complete satisfaction how
their leaders (?impose on themselves), without any exception, the same work
as the rest. But I (few words indistinct) if the Major could tell us
something about this?

Fidel: (words indistinct)

Question: Yes, Major. It was said on the Chilean radio, if I recall, radio
(few words indistinct), that you had come to the canefield angry.
Apparently, with that they were trying to say that you had become angry
over the failure of mechanization. (few words indistinct)

Fidel: (few words indistinct) because they have come here to take pictures.
I have tried to hold as few interviews as possible here in the canefields.
The newsmen came anyway and took some shots for television and asked some
questions. (few words indistinct) told the newsmen that we were going to
give them a short time only because, I wanted to tell you something, (few
words indistinct). Truthfully, sugarcane work is very difficult. It is
harder when, while you are working on the sugarcane, you also have to work
mentally (few words indistinct) some questions that force you to think. So,
it may be that the tone of my voice or something could have had something
to do with that. (few words indistinct), because, really, I feel quite
satisfied here.

The reason why we come to cut is elemental, logical. Since the triumph of
the revolution in a country in which there were almost 500,000 persons
without work, where the unemployed had to line up to cut sugarcane, and
where at present there is practically no dead time--dead time is the period
between harvest, lasting seven or eight months, during which most of the
agricultural workers remain idle. (sentence as heard) That was the curse of
our country. With the agrarian reform, the development of agriculture, the
development of public works, with a series of activities that have been
developed during these years, and with other chances for work, many
persons, that entire army of unemployed who used to work the harvest, that
army of unemployed no longer exists. However, at the same time, we found
that cutting sugarcane was completely manual. Why? For various reasons.

Of course, if there was an army of unemployed who cut sugarcane cheaply,
the big latifundists, the owners of the sugar centrals, the U.S.
monopolies, had no interest in mechanizing because they had hundreds of
thousands of men who constituted a cheap labor force. We of the revolution
found that there was no mechanization for that reason, among others.
Moreover, sugarcane has been one of the most different crops to mechanize.
This is a problem that has not been solved. (few words indistinct), not
even in those countries that can count on very advanced industrial

Naturally, none of those central owners was going to get involved in the
very difficult problem of mechanizing when they had a cheap labor force and
had also met with great resistance on the part of the workers because the
workers opposed the mechanization of sugarcane, just as the port workers
opposed the bulk shipment of sugar--because it would take their jobs
away--and the tobacco workers opposed the mechanization of tobacco
production and the shoe workers opposed the introduction of modern

This history of the struggle of man against the machine is an old one and
it demonstrates the injustice of the capitalist system of production,
because men are obliged to fight against the machine, which is precisely
the instrument that can permit man to multiply his wealth and raise his
standard of living. In our country, as in European countries more than a
century ago, before the triumph of the revolution, the workers struggled
against the machine, which deprived them of work and made them hungry.

That was the situation in our country. We must now (few words indistinct).
We have the intention of reaching the goal of 10 million without having yet
completely resolved the problem of mechanization. Under those conditions,
logically, it is necessary to conduct a great mobilization every year for
the harvest. Tens of thousands of industrial workers from the capital and
other parts of the country spend entire months cutting sugarcane. We can do
no less in solidarity with that effort being made by the large majority of
the people, despite the various obligations we have, than to devote two
weeks to share that work and effort being made voluntarily by tens of
thousands of workers, leaving their normal and easier work.

We can do no less than to come here for 15 days to cut sugarcane. That is
the reason. In this special mobilization, scores of thousands have come.
Approximately 300,000 persons have been mobilized to work in agriculture
during these 15 days. We are not making any special sacrifice, no
extraordinary effort. There are scores of thousands of persons who every
year make greater efforts than we are making. This is the reason we came.

This is a movement similar to, for example, the literacy campaign. The
literacy campaign was a success thanks to the mobilization of 100,000
students, scores of thousands of teachers, and scores of thousands of
workers with better schooling, in order to eradicate illiteracy, which in
our country was reduced about 30 percent in only one year. This is a custom
and a method of the revolution.

Question: Major, apart from the economic importance of the mobilization of
thousands and hundreds of thousands of volunteers, both in the case of
sugarcane and in the literacy campaign you have indicated, do you attribute
other importance to voluntary work?

Fidel: Of course, this mobilization has unquestioned economic value. But in
our view, it has even greater revolutionary value. Many persons, thousands
of persons, tens of thousands of persons, who never performed this type of
manual labor. In these mobilizations that have been conducted in recent
years, they have had the change to prove to themselves that they are able
to make this type of effort, which they apparently never imagined they
could make. I have been able to see the enormous satisfaction with which
the people return to the cities after this effort--the comaraderie, the
spirit of brotherhood felt by the men in the various work centers.
Moreover, it demonstrates a considerable degree of progress in
revolutionary awareness, the identification of the people, the masses, with
the revolutionary power, and the spirit of struggle.

(?When has a capitalist country) ever achieved a mobilization of this type?
In a capitalist country, a single citizen will never move to perform
voluntary work that will enrich any individual. Do you think, for example,
that if this sugarcane belonged to a U.S. monopoly, as in the past, any
citizen would come to cut sugarcane voluntarily to help the monopoly? The
economy of a monopoly is not the economy of the country. The interest of a
monopoly, of a capitalist, is not the interest of the country. Above all,
it is the interest of the capitalist; and the worker in a capitalist
country must work to earn a living. He does not identify the fruit of his
labor with his interests. He only identifies the miserable salary he is

Under a capitalist system there would never have been the mobilization of
the students to eradicate illiteracy or the mobilization of hundreds of
thousands of persons who, spontaneously and full of enthusiasm and
satisfaction, are coming to do this work. This is only possible in a
society in which the people completely identify the resources with their
interests, their own interests, and think of the resource of the sugarcane,
of the sugar central, as their own. I think that this is one of the most
eloquent examples of the ability of a socialist regime to mobilize the
masses, a thing that could not be done under a capitalist regime.

Question: Major, although night is approaching, I would like to ask two or
three questions. For example, what are the prospects for the Cuban sugar

Fidel: Well, look, we have had during the past year, 1965, one of the
greatest droughts--according to statistics, the worst drought the country
has suffered in recorded history, that is, since early in the century. Only
half of the average rainfall fell in some provinces. Naturally, it has been
an exceptionally dry year, and that has had a considerable effect on
sugarcane because it has a period of growth of at least 12 months.
Consequently, rainfall is decisive. A drought like this one has great

Despite this enormous drought, we are going to have what can be called a
good harvest. It was not the goal to which we aspired this year. It will be
approximately 5 million tons of sugar. However, this year, (?in comparison
with) with last year, was magnificently good. During these months, there
was rain in some places, but it rained all of last year and this led us to
hope for a great harvest. For next year, perhaps the harvest may be the
largest that our country has had. This is an aspiration and it depends in
part on our work and partly on climatic conditions. It is possible that we
may reach 7 million and it is possible that we will not.

The largest harvest was in 1961, when the state (?group) agreed to initiate
a policy of sugar restriction and announced that this was the last harvest
in which cane would be cut freely, (?in which it was possible to act)
without restriction. The logical result was that all the owners and sugar
workers in the canefields took advantage of this and cut to the last stalk
because (few next and was not cut. It began to grow this year in view of
the announcement that next year there would be restrictions. They cut all
the cane for the harvest and all the cane they had in reserve. Logically,
we cut all the cane. We have not followed the policy of making reserves of
cane because we have had to use the land. There is no reason for having
idle land.

Therefore, after all, the principle of the revolution to annul the economic
aggressions of the United States in the suppression of the sugar quota, in
order for us not to be left without a market, called for a policy of
reducing sugar areas. Consequently, there was a decline in sugar
production. When we noted the possibility of creating a market for our
sugar, not only for all the sugar which we originally produced but for
almost double the sugar which we produced originally, a policy of
amplification has begun in sugar production and the sugar industry, with an
aspiration to attain 10 million tons of sugar in 1970.

Producing 10 million tons of sugar in 1970 means for the country, in
foreign exchange, what it would mean to Chile, if, for example, it managed
to double in (?six) years its export of copper. For us, it means 500
million dollars--I speak in terms of dollars because the Chilean (few words
indistinct). It means for the country an increase in foreign exchange of
approximately 500 million dollars. (?This would come) only from the
increase in cane.

(?However, we are also increasing) in other agricultural aspects; for
example, cattle raising has had a growth as considerable as that of cane;
and other agricultural production is being increased. However, only the
increase in cane would mean an increase in foreign exchange (few words
indistinct). And we are completely convinced that we shall attain this

(sentence indistinct) Possibly in 1968, 1969, and 1970, in three more
years, we shall attain an increase of approximately 1 million tons of
sugar. This, naturally, requires the solution of the problem of cutting
cane. (?It can be said) that there is no army of unemployed. We are faced
with the problem of mechanization. This effort, which has been going on for
three years, will be considerably increased. Combines have been
considerably perfected, but since the combines can cut only a part of the
cane, because one needs flat land for using combines, we have developed a
system of centers of (?collection), by which we can practically duplicate
the productivity of the cane grower; this means, even without combines,
that with the (?collection) centers we can have a harvest of 10 million
tons with approximately 150,000 cane cutters. This means the (word
indistinct) of 100,000 canecutters to produce the same approximate amount
we did originally in cutting by hand.

This will permit us, without great mobilization, as the whole system is
developed, to be assured of a big harvest with much fewer workers (few
words indistinct). Although I have arrived (words indistinct) from the
canefield in Los Pinos in the Province of Camaguey, Cuba, you (?may wish)
to continue taking advantage of this opportunity to ask more questions.
(?Do you have another question?).

Interviewer: Yes, indeed. I should ask you, Commander Fidel Castro, an
expert in the agrarian reform, since you have made an agrarian revolution
here in Cuba rather than an agrarian reform, if you would comment on the
agrarian reform which the Christian Democrats intend to carry out in Chile?
(few words indistinct), Commander.

Fidel: Well, look, (few words indistinct), in the matter of agrarian
reform, I can tell you that after seven years of work in the very difficult
practical task of carrying forward agrarian reform, that agrarian reform is
essentially (words indistinct) of a country. (few words indistinct) but we
have always thought that we could discuss this question with anyone with
sufficient authority because we have backed words in this matter with acts,
going from theory to realities, from formulations to practice, to real

However, we began by having an agrarian reform and we ended by having an
agrarian revolution. Thus, our agrarian reform became an agrarian
revolution, and, in my opinion, we have carried out a most advanced
agrarian reform which had (few words indistinct) transformation and
therefore it should not be called reformation. We call what has taken place
in the country agrarian revolution because of a series of factors and
reasons. Even the application of our first law on agrarian reform was
developing new ideas; this great (word indistinct) process was being
implanted. Very advanced applications will be made. In this process, we
have suffered all the consequences of change alone. One must not believe
that a revolution can be made with impunity, just as agrarian reform cannot
be accomplished with impunity. There will be no one who desires to carry
out agrarian reform who does not have to face the phenomena inherent in
this process of change, of (?changing ownership in land).

Question: (words indistinct)

Fidel: I have read the agrarian reform program of the Chilean Christian
Democrats. It was, after all, not reform, and much less agrarian
revolution, but it could be classified as a type of agrarian reform. It had
some positive aspects in its conception and it looked then like a step
forward in this regard. However, any step which is taken in the matter of
agrarian property is very much conditioned on the objective sought and the
desire which the Christian Democrats have in regard to agrarian reform (?is
not for a new society) but (?a social regime solidly linked with
capitalism). It pursued the aim of strengthening the really capitalistic
positions of the regime in Chile. It tends to create conditions for the
development of the capitalist bourgeoisie and intends fundamentally to
create conditions which favor the development of a bourgeois class in
Chile. It must be said that as an agrarian reform it tends to favor also
those who own the most important resources of Chile, the Yankee monopolies.

That is why imperialism supports agrarian reform in Chile. That is not the
case in Cuba. In Cuba, the Yankee imperialists were masters of a great part
of our best lands and the agrarian reform affected them. (few words
indistinct), but in Chile they are fundamentally interested in mining
properties and it is to their interest to consolidate this position of
economic dominion which they have. They are not concerned about agrarian
reform which has a bourgeois spirit.

However, as I said previously, the agrarian reform bill, from the point of
view of developing a regime less anachronistic in land ownership, had some
positive points. For example, there was one point which (?seems to have
been well thought out) since there was the spirit of carrying out agrarian
reform without being concerned fundamentally about the peasant, since it
operated on the principle that the peasants should pay for the land. The
principle of payment by the peasant in agrarian reform implies that the
peasant will have to work for many years (several words indistinct).

If the peasant has to work for many years to pay for his (?land), he is
working for the same oligarchs who (?owned the land). (few words
indistinct) and this keeps him in a position in which he has to work very

In our country, for example, we had 130,000 tenants and sharecroppers (few
words indistinct). All these people, more than 100,000 peasant families,
received the right to own land without indemnification, that is, without
needing to make a payment of any kind, (?with) the peasant being released
from the payment of rent or the delivery of part of his products. He did
not have to pay one centavo. The law released him from the obligation to
pay this, and I think that one really deceives the peasant, that one
(?abuses) the peasant, in collecting payment for his land. It is a method
without any sincere desire to aid the peasants.

Moreover, one observes a great amount of vacillation in the planning and
application of that agrarian reform. There is a large amount of
(?hesitation), great slowness, and above all there is a great number of
illusions which will have to be confronted with hard realities; and one
sees a certain spirit of temporizing, of conciliation, with oligarchic
interests. What one does not see is that resolute disposition to affect the
interests of the oligarchy; and logically, if there was a resolute
disposition to touch those interests one would see the resistance of the
oligarchy, because the oligarchy (few words indistinct) indemnification
since, in a certain sense, it is very closely linked with lordship over the
land as a class; logically there would be quite a bit of resistance to real
agrarian reform on the way to becoming an agrarian revolution.

It tends at the same time to develop a type of middle-class ownership of
land; logically I also saw an objection in having a big area possibly given
to peasants because the greater part of the people of the rural area will
have to continue working as farm laborers, logically enriching the
middle-class owners, who little by little will be turning into rich
landholders. Also they will be maintaining that level of the wage earner,
who does not work for society as is the case on a state farm, where the
workers have the same status as factory workers.

Moreover, one points seemed correct to me from the technical point of view,
such as not destroying big plantations. This agrarian reform, in its
program, even talked of the creation of some cooperatives. I do not
remember what they were called: associations of producers or a community
society, or something like that. That is, the form of a cooperative seems
technically correct. (sentence indistinct) This is one of the fundamental
tragedies of agrarian reform as they are established in Latin America, that
titles of ownership are created.

On the other hand, they brought up the matter of the struggle against
minifundia--the elimination of minifunds--and naturally that is not an easy
task. There are persons who do not have an average size plot of land but a
small parcel, and these persons would have a problem. I do not think that
the eradication of minifundia is the humane and correct solution so far as
these persons are concerned. The elimination of minifundia is an even less
desirable solution if one is going to create another system of ownership
which, with modern technology, to a certain degree continues to be a sort
of minifundia.

Agricultural techniques nowadays require the use of large machinery. For
example, they require the use of airplanes which, today, are used for
fumigation and even for spreading fertilizer. Machinery is used daily, and
machines are needed in large land areas. Machinery is used to the greatest
extent possible.

I will tell you the truth. It seems to me that agrarian reform being
carried out in Chile, as all agrarian reform promoted in Latin America by
Yankee imperialism, is aimed at making sure that Latin American countries
will never supply themselves with food products so that these countries
continue selling petroleum, copper, and minerals and buying food products
produced in the United States. (sentence indistinct). I am not saying that
it is absolutely impossible, within the system of private ownership, to
achieve specific advances. However, under the conditions in our country,
which had such a great technological lag and such a great cultural lag, we
had to make great efforts.

There is a clear understanding of the problem and we have a concrete idea
of the need for employing technology in those places. Technology is assured
when teachers are taken to those places, where illiteracy is eliminated,
and when thousands and scores of thousands of men, as we are doing here,
are sent to school to learn the most modern agricultural techniques. Only
in this manner will small farmers be able to meet the people's growing need
for food. Only in this manner will they be able to apply techniques. I do
not deny the possibility that agrarian reform, even when applied with a
capitalist spirit, carried out properly will lead to positive advances. It
will certainly not lead to immediate positive advances. This must be said,
because it does not lead to such immediate advances.

They speak of moving ahead very slowly, but if the pace is too slow, what
will result is paralysis of agriculture, and all (word indistinct) affected
will stop investing and working and will do nothing. If agrarian reform is
carried out too slowly, there are deficiencies; if it is carried out too
fast, there are also deficiencies. Conditions in these countries are very
difficult, these countries in which the need to make quick changes has
arisen. It is very difficult to overcome the immediate consequences of any
type of agrarian reform.

I tell you that any agrarian reform, even if it is not too radical or too
revolutionary, is a step forward whenever the system of feudal ownership is
changed. That cannot be denied. However, truly revolutionary agrarian
reform is not being carried out in Chile. Rather, an agrarian reform to
consolidate the interests of a given class, that is, the interests of the
bourgeoisie. In addition, this agrarian reform is being carried out without
fighting the landowners and with the full blessing of Yankee imperialism.

Question: Major, you referred to the training of technological cadres for
agriculture in Cuba. What could you tell us in this connection?

Fidel: Well, I understand that in Chile there are some technicians who are
carrying out our agrarian reform. I do not hold a bad opinion of those
technicians. Some of them worked in an honest manner in our country, and
they acquired our experience. They acquired the experience which we gained
during our first years, and they are aware of our mistakes. I believe that
we have trained people in certain levels to be able to carry out an
agrarian reform of the type mentioned.

I tell you, any agrarian reform is progressive. Naturally, it is
progressive whenever an effort is made to change the production system and
the system of feudal land ownership. However, all agrarian reforms are
accompanied by many problems which can only be overcome with a true
revolutionary spirit, with a real revolutionary push, and that push
requires the need for taking technology (to the farm--ed). To carry the
technology there, one must first teach the farm workers and the peasants to
read and write. Then their cultural level has to be raised annually.
Afterward, the same farmworkers and peasants must be molded into technical
cadres who will be able to carry out a technical revolution.

Our revolution has been in effect for seven years. We did not being the
technicians' training program immediately because we did not have enough
experience to understand the enormous need and the enormous importance of
technology in connection with agricultural production. But around the
second and third year, we began to organize schools.

Presently we have around 20,000 students in all agricultural technological
institutes. They are in the cattle raising and artificial insemination
institutes and so forth. I will cite an example: When the revolution
achieved victory, we had two or three artificial insemination technicians
in Cuba for the development of cattle raising. Presently we have more than
1,000. By the end of this year, we will have around 2,000. Currently we
have approximately 800,000 cows in the artificial insemination program. We
will have 1 million by next June. This program has been moving along at an
extraordinary pace. (sentence indistinct)

As yet we do not have a large number of agricultural technicians. It takes
years to train such a large number but we are moving towards that goal and
I believe that we will train between 40,000 and 50,000 technicians during
the next nine years. We will have higher- and medium-level technicians.
These technicians are graduated at the pre-university level. Then they
continue pursuing university studies. Some of them are selected to enter
the university directly while others go to the production centers and
afterwards follow university courses (few sentences indistinct).

In my opinion, it appears that the Christian Democrats desire to change the
present structure of land ownership in Chile, as the representatives of a
class and as representatives of the bourgeoisie, to the detriment of the
interests of some of the oligarchs. Many of the present Chilean industrial
bourgeoisie come from landowning and oligarchic stock. You will see how in
the agrarian reform program--as it comes to my mind now--the Christian
Democrats speak about the possibility that at the end of five years and
with the indemnity received through bonds, the landowners might acquire
stocks in some industrial enterprises which have been developed by start
participation. That amounts to a suggestion for the landowning oligarchs to
turn into industrial bourgeoisie and logically, for the benefit of that
class--the big industrialists, businessmen, and bankers--the Christian
Democrats want to make a change in the landowning structure in Chile.

I do not deny that any reform has a progressive nature. The bourgeois
reform, in its time, was progressive. Today the bourgeois system is
anarchronistic. In relation to a feudal system of land ownership, any
agrarian reform that is carried out is a step forward, but a step forward
which tends to the consolidation of an anachronistic social system (words
indistinct). Naturally, under the conditions prevailing in Chile, I do not
believe that they will succeed, through their demagogic formula, in pitting
the interests of the peasants against those of the workers. It seems that
the Chilean bourgeoisie fears the development of a working class, and that
it desires to wield a certain amount of influence among the peasants to pit
them against the workers. However, they will gain nothing by doing that.
(few sentences indistinct)

The poor peasants will continue being owners in one way or another,
depending on how much the land produces for them. The peasants will be made
to pay for products and for the land. They will be made to pay for
industrial products at prices which satisfy the industrial bourgeoisie.
They will be charged interest for credit. The intermediaries--that
parasitic sphere of middlemen--will make most of the profits. The Chilean
agrarian reform is not carried out to help the peasants but to help the
bourgeoisie, among whom are the middlemen. Roughly speaking, that is the
philosophy of the bourgeoisie and of all the reformist elements. I will
repeat, because it would be unfair to make absolute statements, that I
believe that there are honest and experienced people working on the Chilean
agrarian reform. I consider them to be well-meaning persons but we shall
see what problems they will have in the next few years.

They will have problems because they are doing things with a lot of
hesitation. They are doing things very timidly. They speak of a five-year
program. That will be five years during which agriculture in Chile will be
at a standstill. Do you understand? Things must be done in a more dignified
manner, faster, radically and resolutely. Otherwise the process will go on
`indefinitely. They will have to face the consequences derived from waiting
five years and the consequences inevitably brought about a change in the
structure. Really--well, this is a matter of conception and
idiosyncrasy--we fell that those problems must be solved in a radical
manner, and that the path must be taken firmly and resolutely. We shall
observe that marvelous experience and then we shall speak. We have had
seven years experience and know what problems will arise. We are passing
that phase--that difficult path--and we have gone a long way; at this time
we are marching firmly and confidently.

Question: Major, as we told you as soon as we arrived, because we did not
have a chance to see you before, in the wake of the El Salvador worker's
massacre, the Chileans residing in Cuba, the revolutionary Chileans, wanted
to joint the Chilean popular movement in denouncing the Christian
Democratic reformism, the deceit that this reformism has meant for the
people, in denouncing interference in Chile and so forth. We also requested
and obtained air time from Radio Havana during which we broadcast for a
short time to the Chileans daily. Therefore, we would like to ask you a
question, let us say a more utilitarian question, addressed specifically to
our program. Major, we would like to know if you think it possible to form
an association of reciprocal benefit with the imperialists, as some
reformists think, for example, in this case of Chile? We would like to hear
your opinion on this subject.

Fidel: That is a very interesting subject, but it is also a long subject
and it is not easy to deal with it briefly. However, departing from our
experience and our most profound revolutionary conviction, we believe that
a revolution is either carried out or not carried out. We believe that a
movement is either revolutionary or not revolutionary. All those
conciliatory intentions lead irrevocably to failure, and more so in
countries like ours which are underdeveloped and which have been exploited
for centuries by colonialism and imperialism, where the needs and misery of
centuries have accumulated, and where, if solutions really are to be found,
these solutions must be radical ones. If solutions are wanted, they must
necessarily be applied to the interests of imperialism, the oligarchy, the
high bourgeoisie, which are the ones which drain away most of the results
of the people's labors. When an attempt is made to get along well with all
those interests, it is in no way possible to get along with the people.

Those interests must be hit. If those interest are not hit, it will not be
possible to win the support of the people. The bourgeois reformists, the
utopians--let us use the word utopian in an optimistic and generous manner,
because I do not think that they are so utopian; I think they know quite
well what they are doing--they proclaim a revolutionary precisely in order
not to make the revolution. They are like the people who want to get along
with God and with the devil, and in the long run they fail with both.

The bourgeois reformists of Chile, of course, will never win the people.
The people have too much instinct, wisdom, and sense to let themselves be
deceived. Logically, they will never support that false revolution. That is
my opinion. I do not say it for a polemic, not at all. You asked the
question and I replied with my deepest convictions. I am absolutely certain
of that, and time will tell what the truth is. It is possible that those
reformists will earn (word indistinct) in their psuedorevolutionary
demogoguery--all demogoguery is psuedorevolutionary, that is a
redundancy--they will earn the hatred of some people who do not even like
any talk of revolution, because to speak of revolution is to arouse the
thirst of the masses to satisfy needs, the hopes and dreams of the masses.
There is nothing more dangerous for the reformists that to arouse those
illusions because they create dreams among the people, and, in one way or
another, they contribute to the creation of awareness that at a given
moment requires and leads to a revolution.

Question: Yours words, Major, seem to indicate that you do not feel that
bourgeois reformism and Christian Democrat reformism, in this case, can
become an alternative or a third position between capitalism and socialism,
which is one of the basic problems of the current era.

Fidel: It is that this contradiction has not middle ground. Reformism
tends, not to create a new system of social production, but to maintain an
old system of social production. It must be said that, generally, the
reformists disguise their policy with revolutionary slogans. I do not
doubt, naturally, that there may be persons in the ranks of the Christian
democrats who, at least among the young elements, really want a revolution.
Doubtlessly, I do not think that is the position of those who control that
organization and the state. Not at all. But I am also quite certain that
those persons will not be in long in realizing the enormous difference that
exists between what they want and what is really being done.

Moreover, Yankee imperialism is--and this is already known even by children
in which there is a bit of political awareness, and it is known in Chile
because it is a country that has had cultural and political development--it
is known all over the world that today the principal enemy of the peoples
is Yankee imperialism. Moreover, it is the most aggressive and most savage
enemy. It is the one that has brought bloody warfare to Vietnam; it is the
one which sent its troops in a wanton manner to invade the fraternal
country of Santo Domingo. It is characterized by its warlike, aggressive,
threatening, spirit, above all, by its desire to dominate in the most
implacable manner the foreign policy of Latin American countries. There is
no one anywhere who has a bit of political education or intelligence who
believes that a revolution can be made (words indistinct).

Tell me whose friends you are, and I will tell you who you are. Tell me who
receives support from that aggressive imperialism, the exploiter of the
toil and blood of the people, the sapper of riches of all continents,
because it exploits the workers not only of Latin America, Africa, and
Asia, but also the workers of Europe and millions of North America. Tell me
who imperialism supports and I will tell you what imperialism is
supporting. (two sentences indistinct)

Question: Major, the Frei government and many news organs have said that
you offended Chile, that you offended the Chilean people. We would like to
take advantage of this opportunity, this direct dialog between you and the
Chilean people, to learn your opinion, that is, for you to issue a
statement to the Chilean people in connection with what is called a
campaign of offenses.

Fidel: Well, I have already made that statement. I have answered in a
statement and explained very clearly that that is an old trick all
political charlatans resort to when they provoke an exterior problem, as
was the case with the problem provoked with Cuba. They state that they have
never attacked Cuba. In the first instance, that is a false statement. One
way to attack Cuba is by joining the U.S. imperialist blockade. Why was the
Chilean Government not had the courage to reestablish relations with Cuba?
Why has it not had the courage to trade with Cuba? In reality, it joined
the blockade campaign against a sister Latin American nation. Yet, Chile
needs revenue, sugar, markets for its nitrate, wine, and (?markets) for
some of its agricultural and industrial surpluses. (several sentences

Today we see clearly that all the positions maintained by the Chilean
Government were nothing more than a pose because imperialism continues
invading (few words indistinct). The Chilean foreign minister stated that
the reasons that statements against Cuba were made was because Cuba
interfered in the internal affairs of these countries. If that reason
really existed and it were not a reason but a pretext that amounts to
taking up imperialist arguments, I could ask why they do not break
relations with the United States and why they do not break trade relations
with the United States, which has entered Santo Domingo with its troops and
maintains that criminal invasion over that sister nation.

Therefore, one can see that their policy is full of contradictions and
falsehoods. It cannot be said that their position is not against Cuba.
Furthermore, everyone in Latin America knows about the imperialists' policy
against Cuba and about the aggressions to which it has been victim--the
Playa Giron invasion, the constant infiltration of spies, saboteurs--the
permanent aggression of the United States against our country.

Everyone knows that the United States encourages aggressive and criminal
plans against our country. However, because of the Tricontinental
Conference, the Chilean Government joined the choir of the Pentagon, the
State Department, the Brazilian guerrillas, the Guatemalan guerrillas, the
Paraguayan guerrillas--it joined Duvalier and the Santo Domingo puppet,
Godoy, and joined all the nations to support and whitewash the campaign
against Cuba in connection with the Tricontinental Conference--that is,
throwing fuel on the flames of the aggression against our country.

This, of course, led to a natural reply from our country. This was seized
on as a pretext by some oligarchs, or representatives of the oligarchs,
when the parliamentary delegation came here; and saying that we had
insulted Chile, they left the country. (several words indistinct) a
legitimate defense against an external position that was an attack on us.

The same way, when an effort was made to blame Cuba for the Salvador
incidents--incidents that everybody knows are due to the differences
existing there between the Chilean workers, who are demanding better wages,
and the Yankee monopolies--it seemed to me an unfair attitude, and in
addition, matter of bad taste, a false position, the attempt to find some
justification for that difficulty by implicating Cuba. That was really what
motivated my reply. Can the country be attacked in that manner, can a
campaign be waged tending perhaps to promote future armed aggression by the
United States against Cuba, without our defending ourselves?

An attempt has been made to present our defense in a false, cowardly
manner, as an insult to the people of Chile. What do the people of Chile
have to do with all those proimperialist adventures? What do the people of
Chile have to do with all those aggressions against Cuba? As I have said,
the people of Chile are basically the workers, the peasants, the
progressive intellectuals, the revolutionary militants, that great portion
of the people who suffer from imperialist exploitation. The people of Chile
also mean that portion of the people who have been deceived by the
pseudorevolutionaries, deceived by false revolutionary slogans--deceived
part of the times, because as Lincoln said, you can fool all of the people
some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

That is a recourse on which the bourgeois politicians depend. They resort
to chauvinism, to depicting Cuba's legitimate defense as aggression against
the people of Chile. What we feel for the people of Chile is the solidarity
of brother for brother, of people for people, of revolutionaries for the
oppressed and for persons exploited by imperialism. They are the sentiments
we feel for all workers, peasants, students, and progressive intellectuals
of the whole continent. We do not believe--precisely because, as I said,
the people of Chile are cultured, and although unfortunately Chile still
has a rather high percentage of illiterates, a large portion of the
population knows how to read and write and has had the opportunity to
receive political education.

I am not bothered to these stories or that intrigue. We know they are
tempests in a teacup intended to avoid debate and cover up their policy
toward our country and conceal a lack of arguments, of revolutionary
position, of theses. But I imagine they will always go on saying that. That
is what reactionaries have done in every epoch.

Announcer: Many thanks, Major, for your statements. With this we end this
exclusive interview for our program "The People's Revolution Versus
Bourgeois Reformism" granted by Maj. Fidel Castro. It is night in the
canefield and Fidel is walking toward a jeep to return to camp. After the
afternoon rain, the sky over Cuba is bright with stars.

Listeners of Chile and Latin America: In a canefield here in Camaguey
Province, Cuba, we have recorded for you the statement of Maj. Fidel
Castro. Good night.