Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Television and Radio Services in Spanish 0227 GMT 30
September 1966--F

(Statement by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro from Oriente
Province--presumably live)

(Text) Taking advantage of the fact that (?at this) moment most of the
citizens of Orient Province are tuned to this station, I want to make some
points which I consider of interest at this time.

You have been listening to instructions from the chairman of the
(?provincial) council on civil defense of Oriente to government bodies
concerning steps to be taken. What I want to emphasize is this: The
hurricane, according to all the (meteorological--ed.) services, will pass
through Oriente Province. It is on a path similar to Hurricane Flora's
three years ago. It is some 150-200 kilometers from the Guantanamo area at
this movement.

Hurricane Flora behaved in a very special way: It entered approximately
through the same area, then stopped, made a loop, and stayed almost two
days over Oriente Province. it is not likely that this hurricane will do
exactly the same thing, but it is possible that a similar phenomenon may
take place.

At any rate I want to remind you about what happened then. A great many
people did not want to leave their homes because they lived in areas where
flood waters had never reached, and consequently there were many victims.
More than 1,000 peasants died, particularly children.

That is why on this occasion, everyone who lives in areas reached by the
floodwaters of Hurricane Flora must evacuate and take shelter in safe areas
being organized in every region. This is very important, particularly in
the Cauto River area--where the floods were greatest--and also the Mayari

Everybody is perfectly familiar with the areas flooded during Hurricane
Flora. Absolutely no one should stay behind. This does not mean that the
same thing will necessarily occur as during Hurricane Flora, but it is
better to make any sacrifice, go to any trouble necessary, even if the same
thing may not happen, than to have to mourn later the deaths of hundreds
and perhaps thousands of victims. In some cases, such as in Mayari, you
will recall that the evacuation had to be made under virtual flood

Gale winds have not yet begun to blow. It still has not begun to rain.
Hence we must take advantage of these hours, since we estimate that within
the next three or four hours torrential rains will be falling over the
province and that within five or six hours, the first gusts will be felt.
No one should feel secure just because there is apparent calm now. We must
use these four hours. We must use the vehicles available to begin the
evacuation from all unsafe areas in the most orderly manner possible.

We must prevent the loss of a single life, both in the city and in the
countryside. We must obey all the instruction which have been
recommended--above all the order to evacuate all dangerous places.

Our efforts must be directed in the first place toward the protection of
human life. In the second place, we must take advantage of these hours of
calm still remaining and intensively work to safeguard livestock. In this
province (word indistinct) 100,000 head of cattle were lost during
Hurricane Flora. (Several words indistinct) and prevent a recurrence of
this situation by evacuating livestock from dangerous areas. We should take
special precautionary steps with regard to the smaller animals, and if
possible carry them in trucks if they have to be moved a great distance

What is more, the National Agrarian Reform Institute (INRA)has taken steps
in the Cuato area, and surely by this time they are working in the plantain
fields, cutting the leaves off several inches from the (?stalk). The most
recommended procedure in these cases to prevent the plant from being
destroyed is to cut off all the leaves or else the wind will blow the plant
over. This may cause a small reduction in the fields' production and there
are some other drawbacks, but it never involves the destruction of the
plantain field (several words indistinct).

The procedure being employed in the Cauto River area should also be
employed in (?Molini) and also in the (word indistinct) area, where there
are many caballerias planted to plantains.

These steps should be carried out by the comrades of the groupings and the
party as much as possible within the time remaining. It would also be wise,
for example, as during the last hurricane that hit Havana Province, to save
many plantain plants by cutting the leaves off. With the use of fertilizers
the plantain plants can reflourish quickly. The peasants should also employ
these procedures. They should cut the leaves off.

A large quantity of harvested coffee was also lost in the water during
Hurricane Flora. (Words indistinct) as much as possible, we must also do
all we can now (several words indistinct) to make sure that the harvested
coffee is not lost. Naturally by now we cannot go out and pick the coffee
still unharvested, but we can try as much as possible to save the harvested

I want to repeat that the first steps should be taken with regard to
people, then with regard to domestic livestock, especially cattle, then the
plantain fields, and in the fourth place, the harvested crops.

We have the experience of Hurricane Flora, which was quite dramatic and
quite rough, and we must not forget all those experiences so that we may,
insofar as possible, avoid a repetition.

We hope that all the comrades of the party, the groupings, the National
Association of Small Farmers, and the mass organizations will make good use
of the hours remaining before the hurricane hits. I want to repeat that it
is some 150-200 kilometers from Guantanamo and is heading, according to
latest reports, directly toward Guantanamo, and by the heading it is
taking, if it does not alter its course, it will enter and cross over the
Guantanamo area and will probably leave over the Banes, Gibara, and Sagua
area--in other words a situation similar to Hurricane Flora.

You must try to keep tuned to your radios for news about the hurricane so
you will know precisely where it is located, where it is going over, where
it is heading, what its force is, and other reports of interest.

It is no probable, according to all indications, that it will change its
course at this moment, but any change in direction will be immediately
relayed to all the people in Oriente through this radio station of the CMKC

If all the measures adopted turn out to be unnecessary, if the hurricane
changes course, and if its effects are dissimilar to Hurricane Flora's,
then so much the better. We will all emerge the better for it. What must
not occur under any circumstance is a repetition of those things which
happened during Flora due to lack of foresight, lack of care, and lack of
attention. These are the main points I wanted to stress to the citizens of
Oriente Province.