Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Radio and Television Service in Spanish 0248 GMT 19
December 1966--F/E

(Speech by Prime Minister Fidel Castro at Havana University to the first
middle-level technicians to graduate from the Soils, Fertilizers, and
Animal Husbandry Technical Institute--live)

(Text) Comrades who graduate today, students: Probably there are not too
many in our country who at this time have any idea of the importance that
this first and modest graduation has for our fatherland and our revolution.
We could declare that it is not only important for our country and our
revolution but it must also be important for other countries and for other
revolutions, because what we are doing here tonight has much to do with all
that our people have set themselves as an objective. It has much to do with
that phrase which is repeated so much, and many times it is repeated
without knowing exactly what it means: the revolution.

It has much to do with that which is an entirely new experience in the
history of humanity, that experience called "socialism." It has much to do
with that aspiration not yet achieved by any human society but which we
expect to achieve some day, "communism." In a ceremony such as this one
tonight, among youths such as the ones who graduate tonight, before a
throng of students such as the ones gathered here tonight, it is necessary
to point out the essential content, the fundamental significance, of this
that we are doing. It appears to us that it is perhaps one of the most
serious things that the revolution has done, one of the most important
things that the revolution is doing.

While some things, such as the literacy campaign, had great importance for
Cuban society--that was an indispensable step that had to be taken--and it
was taken in record time, in a single year, with a mobilization of masses
that reached figures greater than 200,000 people teaching, eradicating a
ratio of illiteracy that reached more than 20 percent--while that was
necessary to make a beginning, this was more necessary still to continue
progressing. And I said that it had to do with more than our experience
alone, because we believe that if this experience we are gaining is
successful it could be very useful for other peoples.

I was saying that without this there could be no socialism, much less
communism. Comrade Leonel was saying that for a technical revolution to
take place, a social revolution was necessary. One could pursue this idea
and expand on it to say that no social revolution could lead to socialism
without a technical revolution, and that no human society will attain
communism without a technical revolution.

And although communism does not mean only an abundance of material goods,
but rather than communism, or the communist society, besides an abundance
of material goods, also requires a communist training or education, neither
can communism be attained through education alone nor through abundance

Communism can only be attained through education and abundance. And
abundance cannot be attained without technology, and technology cannot be
attained without the mass training of the people for such a technology.

Our country has planned its path. Our country, in accordance with our
specific conditions, in this phase on our road to communism has placed
basic emphasis on agriculture. When our revolution asserts that it has
placed basic emphasis on agriculture in these years this does not mean an
underestimation of the importance of industry. On the contrary, when we say
that the basic emphasis will be placed on agriculture we also mean that
emphasis will also be placed on the industry that will serve the maximum
development of our agriculture.

Neither does it mean that the emphasis will only be placed on the industry
that the maximum development of our agriculture requires; it means that
emphasis must be placed on the industry which will be concerned with the
processing of our agricultural products.

What is more, the emphasis must also be placed on some industrial sectors
of the greatest importance to our economic and social development, such as
for example, the construction industry. As you also know, the revolution
also emphasizes maritime transportation, the development of the fishing
industry, all those branches of the economy which can contribute to the
welfare of the people and the development of our economy.

But we believe that it is a very correct policy of our revolution, one that
will permit it to attain enormous success, to have realized that the basic
stress, in the phase through which our revolution is going, in the
conditions in which our revolution is developing, must be placed on
agriculture. In our judgment this has been the most correct path.

Under other conditions, other nations saw it necessary to emphasize other
branches of the economy. They saw it necessary to stress, for example,
heavy industry. Other historical circumstances, other geographical
criteria, other needs dictated that path. Furthermore, from the analysis of
the circumstances, the characteristics, and the conditions under which our
revolution develops, it was unquestionable that our best path was exactly

Agriculture is what feeds man. It is that which not only feeds but also
clothes and provides man with shoes. For an underdeveloped country, for a
poor country, the fundamental requirement, the primary requirement, the
most peremptory need, is to feed itself, to clothe itself, to provide
itself with shoes. In any era man always has placed those requirements
above all others and only when those requirements have been met has the
idea or effort arisen to fill other requirements.

It was not the same thing to have an economy and an agriculture to satisfy
the requirements of minorities, forgetting the requirements of the great
masses, as it was to have an economy and an agriculture to satisfy the
requirements of all the population without exception. In the past, millions
of people resigned themselves, for example, never to drink milk, never to
east meat--or almost never. It was in that past that hundreds of thousands
of people did not work because of unemployment, not because they did not
need to work, that the immense majority of families had to invest their
wages in paying house rent or rent for the lands that the peasants worked,
that hundreds of thousands of workers worked only part of the year, that in
many homes the stoves were lit only once a day if they were lit at all.

Naturally among the workers and students present here, there are certainly
many of them who lived through those times, in that economy where there was
a lack of a domestic market because production was not for needs but for a
market, and it was a limited market. Production was for profits, because
under capitalism production has nothing to do with real needs. Production
has to do with foreign or domestic markets. Anarchic, individualistic
production has only to do with profits. While there was a market and
profits there was production, but the limit was there.

For a society such as ours the limit is not in profits nor can it be. It is
not, nor can it be, in the market. For an economy such as ours the limit is
in the needs. Before a milk producer asked himself: "How many liters of
milk can be sold?" As many liters of milk were sold as there were people
with money to buy that milk. And that was the limit. Where thousands or
hundreds of thousands, or millions of people could not buy it, that did not
matter at all. We can only view this from another angle: How many people
need to drink milk? What is the total number of our population? What are
the requirements for a good like that for the population? We do not ask
about markets. We do not ask about prices. We cannot be concerned about a
surplus of milk. When we have too much milk we know what we have to do. We
know that, for example, we have to increase the level of consumption in all
school centers. We know when there is a surplus of any article how that
article can be distributed so that all the population gets some, and our
production of any product will not be halted until the total requirements
for the product are satisfied. That is why it cannot be conceived that we
will reach that objective if we do not develop the means to increase
productivity per man, and productivity per unit of land area, or the
productivity of livestock, or the productivity of plants and so forth to
the maximum. It will never be possible to reach that objective if we do not
create the means to achieve it.

For the first time in the history of man, for the first time humanity can
count on the means necessary to satisfy the needs of all the people.
Several centuries ago, or thousands of years ago, when the human population
was incomparably smaller, not even in those times could a human society
consider the problem of producing to fully satisfy all its needs. However,
today, when population has increased extraordinarily, a human society,
including a society such as ours which is economically underdeveloped, can
consider the problem of producing enough for its needs. This means that it
can consider the problem of building a socialist economy. Why? Because of
technology. And it does not matter that the population has increased. The
number of workers capable of producing has also increased, and if each
worker, each man or woman worker, is given the means to increase his
productivity, if the number of workers is increased, if the entire
population works and each of the men and women of that community if capable
of producing with the maximum of productivity, the total needs can be

That can only be achieved within a planned economy, within a socialist
economy. In capitalism, in the capitalist countries, one of the serious
problems is the problem of unemployment. Even in the most industrialized
capitalist countries we find the eternal problem of unemployment. We find
the eternal problems of machines. We find that, for example, automated
factories clash with the workers' interests because within a capitalist
economy which works for profit, which works for limited markets and not for
the needs of the population, a machine becomes an enemy of man. It becomes
a reason for unhappiness for man, and since the advent of machines in the
capitalist economy, they have appeared and are still being developed in the
midst of an eternal and unending struggle between workers and machines.

For an economy that does not produce for profits but for needs, a machine
can never be an enemy of man. If in our country a few years ago someone had
come forth with the idea of building a machine for cutting sugarcane they
would have considered him a monster, they would have considered him a
murderer, they would have considered him as a promoter of hunger for
hundreds of thousands of families, because the hundreds of thousands of
families who managed to work four or five months of the year, a good part
of them cutting cane, would have felt that they were being replaced,
because any large landowner, any North American company that would have
introduced a machine would have done so at the expense of dozens of workers
per machine.

Within that system, the machine would have meant misfortune for a worker.
But under our present conditions, every machine is viewed with joy, every
machine is viewed as a benefactor of mankind. A sugarcane variety which can
produce more sugar per hundred arrobas always meant harm to the worker
because for the same quantity of cut cane more tons of sugar could be
produced, and this would have meant fewer harvest days, less harvest work,
more hunger.

Why be concerned with increasing livestock productivity? What for? Milk was
plentiful, meat was plentiful. Was it perhaps because there were not enough
people who needed milk or meat? No. It was because there were not enough
who even had a few centavos to spare in their pockets to buy the milk or
the meat that was plentiful.

Under such conditions, how could it ever have been proposed to bring tens
of thousands of youths to study agricultural subjects? What sense would
that have had in that stage? How could that have been possible under a
capitalist concept of the economy. No, never, because that economy did not
need masses of men and women with technical training. It needed masses of
men and women who were untutored, illiterate. It needed masses of men and
women in the market place who were able to do any job for any wages.

Capitalism did not have to look for trouble as far as manpower went,
because capitalism has always operated under conditions in which there is
an oversupply of manpower, in which it always finds a plentiful supply of
manpower in the army of jobless people.

Do you think capitalism would ever bring tens of thousands of farm workers
or sons of peasants to study? Never. Under a capitalist concept of things
that would have been impossible. It was absurd.

However, the revolution logically began to cope with manpower problems
practically from the outset of its development. The revolution, from the
very outset of its development, in the middle of the multiple activities of
an economy which must produce for its needs, can easily begin to see that
for certain tasks there is a manpower shortage.

The enemies of our economic concept, for example, talk about the
difficulties in our sugar harvest, and their newspapers and wire services
say: "Because of manpower difficulties, manpower which was plentiful
formerly" and not a word more do they say. They do not say why there was
plentiful manpower before and now it is not plentiful. They do not explain
it any further.

Of course, they do not pretend to say that there is a shortage of manpower
because the canecutters left for the United States. Everybody knows in this
country that it is not the canecutter who leaves for the United States.
Everybody knows in this country that it is not the men and women of those
sectors which had a hard time making a living, of those sectors which
really had hardships, misery, which knew hard work, learned how to make a
living the hard way from the sweat of their bodies, these are not the
people who leave for the Yankee paradise.

They talk about our manpower problems but they do not say where the men who
used to cut cane before are today. They do not say that unpopulated
provinces like Camaguey every year received tens of thousands of macheteros
who used to go there from every corner of the nation because only by
cutting cane there a few months of the year could they earn a wage,
miserable as it was, working 14 or 15 hours a day.

They do not say, for example, that in this country every year 40 million
tons of sugar not only were cut by hand but were also loaded canestalk by
canestalk into carts.

In other words, in this country every year our workers would load 40
million tons of sugar into carts, canestalk by canestalk, by hand. Someone
could ask himself: Could the introduction of machines to load sugarcane
perhaps have meant an immediate increase in production? No. But it does
mean something of a great importance for a caneworker, and that is that
before a man had to cut the cane and load it, and to get his wages had to
work 15 or 16 hours a day. Of course in our country today there is no one
who needs to work in this brutal manner to earn a living. Logically, there
is no worker today who has to work 15 or 16 hours a day during the harvest
to earn a living.

Hence, the first advantage of the machines has been to improve the very
hard working conditions of hundreds of thousands of workers earning a
living every year in the harvest.

But to us, a machine which can load sugarcane is a great step forward. A
machine which can cut the cane is even a greater step forward. A sugar
combine which can cut it and load it is even better yet. A preprocessing
and collection station which permits the cutting of the cane and its
leaves, and to clean it right there on the dumper, thus is a great step

Any machine--and this can be understood by everyone--without our economy's
conditions always means a benefit for the worker, a benefit for all the
people. And it is with the machines and with the application of technology
that we can achieve a multiplication of work productivity, multiply it in
such a way that we will be able in the least possible period of work to
produce a maximum of goods which we need.

And our country can assert that it possesses or that it carries out a
training program for agricultural technicians which has no parallel in any
other nation of the world. What will this mean to our fatherland? What will
the progress of this technical movement which has been unleashed in our
country mean? What will the mass invasion of our fields by your technicians
mean? Perhaps no one at this time can possibly foresee the significance of

There is no question but that it does mean prefound revolution within a
revolution. We do not know of any other nation today which has unleashed a
movement of this type, a movement of this magnitude.

To those who ask themselves, how are we going to win? How are we going to
carry out ambitious social goals? To those who do not have or who did not
have an idea of how we are going to accomplish this, we can answer that we
are going to carry them out with this, that we are indeed sure that we are
going to carry them out, that we do know how.

Three years ago, at the time of the first appeal, you who are graduating
here tonight responded. Had anyone predicted the presence of such a crowd,
had anyone predicted a crowd so large that it cannot even fit into the area
in front of the university stairs, which cannot even fit into this square
which extends beyond the stairs, which is even too large for the area
between San Lazaro and Infanta Streets, had he spoken of such a crowd--and
what a crowd of workers, composed mostly of agricultural workers who three
years ago were in the second or third grade; had anyone said that a person,
illiterate in 1961, would be a pre-university graduate; three years ago had
anyone spoken of this fact which is so surprising, so impressive, and of
which so many are ignorant, because as I told some comrades, this is our
immense camouflaged army; this is our immense still-unknown army of
technicians (applause)--had anyone mentioned this as a fact and as a
possibility, the people would have said: He is dreaming; he has a rich and
vivid imagination. How could all this be possible?

They do not have the remotest idea of what a revolution can do, what it is
capable of doing. They do not have the remotest idea what can be done with
the people, what can be done with the masses. They do not have the
slightest idea how much can be done. That is why we say we know how we will
attain our goals.

Naturally, it cannot be done in one day. This (the graduation--ed.) was not
created or organized in one day. But when three years ago we said that we
would have technicians by this date, three years, three long years had to
pass. For a revolution which seeks to create, for a revolution which seeks
to solve problems, for a revolution which is fighting for the good of the
people, every year is long; every year is almost endless. They are years
which must pass before we can have anything, before we can count upon

We also speak of future years. We speak of those who are graduating today.
Comrade Leonel spoke of those who will be graduating next year, in 1968, in
1969, and in 1970. He also spoke of those who will be graduating in 1974,
because we are already thinking about those who will have graduated in
1974. We are already counting upon them for the great goals of our people
and of our revolution. We know what this effort means. We know what these
immense things mean.

Are we exactly aware of it? Are we aware of it in its full scope? No,
because we cannot predict what will happen when technology no longer is a
weapon, an instrument, or a secret, of small factions inside society, when
technology becomes a weapon, an instrument, something known to the masses,
and when technology becomes an instrument available to all society.

Where are you going? What are our goals? When will this program end? Some
may ask, how many technicians do you want to graduate? This program, this
movement has no goals. We speak of so many in 1974. Next year, or in two
years, or in three years we will be able to speak of so many in 1978, and
so many in 1980, and so many in 1990, and so many in the year 2000. When I
speak of 2,000 (applause), naturally we are speaking of years and dates
which do not count for most of us, but which count, which will count for
you. They will have meaning for the new generations; those generations will
not live in technical poverty as we have. They will not experience our
technical penury. They will not have the hard and sorrowful experience of a
nation breaking its chains, of a nation which has just broken its chains,
of a nation which has just begun to graduate its first technicians. This
will not happen in 1970, in 1980, or in 1990. It will happen less and less
often. It is absolutely unthinkable that this country should ever be in the
same situation again, in the position of having a province like Oriente
(applause). I am pleased because most of the students here do come from
that province (applause), a province without a single agricultural engineer
in any of its 14 basic production centers; or a province like Camaguey with
immense agricultural potentialities which has 12 basic production centers
and only three agricultural engineers. Those are centers consisting of more
than 10,000 caballerias of land and not a single agricultural engineer.

But are there no agricultural engineers in the country, or have they all
left? Did they all have to leave so that we do not have any agricultural
engineers in any of Oriente's production centers? No! No! In the first
place very few agricultural engineers were graduated in the country. Many
of those who did graduate found jobs as inspectors for the agricultural
department, or else they were often papa's boys, and their papas owned the
large estates.

Naturally, some of them were students with a vocation. There were some
graduates with an agricultural vocation,but they were the insignificant
minority. Moreover, they were graduates of the Quinta de los Molinos in the
capital of the republic. They were graduates of Reina Street, of
(Ayesteran) and Reina Streets. They were graduates of the street where they
could perhaps learn something about gardening or landscaping. What a small
number of engineers graduated from there. They were the exception. Only
because of a rare vocation did a few good and real technicians graduate
from there from time to time, and they could be counted on the fingers of
one hand--veterinary graduates of the Quinta de los Molina, of (Ayesteran)
and Reina Streets, dog doctors. And it was not because the poor dogs do not
deserve all the consideration due a noble little animal. However, under the
existing conditions he went to work in a dog clinic. (Words indistinct)
dogs eat meat, but they do not produce meat. They drink milk, but they do
not produce milk.

Under such feeble and wretched conditions of economic development in our
society, even if a veterinary student did have a vocation and he liked his
profession, because of an (?extensive) agriculture and an economy with an
extremely limited domestic market, he was often obliged to work in a dog
clinic. Moreover, even if he were not the son of a large landowner, even if
he did not want the job of Agricultural Ministry inspector, how could we
expect our engineer to have enough dedication and enthusiasm to leave the
streets, and the beautiful avenues of the capital, and go to remote areas,
often without communications, where his experience was needed. Was a true
agricultural vocation to be expected of our veterinary engineer? No. It was
easier for him to find a job in the national offices of the National
Institute for Agrarian Reform, or any other ministry, or even in the
electrical enterprise, the telephone enterprise, or anywhere else, even
though it did not have anything to do with agriculture, just so he could
remain on the streets, just so he could stay near the avenues of our

How otherwise are we to explain the fact that 42 agricultural engineers are
working in our brand new experimental station at Santiago do las Vegas
while 14 basic production centers in Oriente Province do not have a single
agricultural engineer? We do not want to hurt or offend anyone, but there
are truths which must be stated on occasions like today, before a
contingent of technicians who are on their way toward production, who are
leaving the classroom. They must be stated, although they may be painful,
although they may be harsh, although they may be bitter for some to hear.

During conditions in the past there could not be any kind of incentive for
an agricultural vocation, or an agricultural technology. However, I told
you that neither in 1970, 1980, 1990, nor in the year 2000 will our people
ever again go through that bitter experience which we revolutionaries had
to experience. That is why during the past two years, despite our shortage
of agricultural engineers, we sent the few who did graduate either to study
abroad or to these technological institutes as instructors. After all, our
problems could not be solved with just a handful of engineers.

Therefore, we preferred to use them as instructors in order to create the
mass of technicians who will really solve our problems and in order to give
impetus to this movement, this movement which will never terminate, or will
only end--and do not forget this--when technology has become a tool of all

Some ideas as set forth here are incomplete: when we were talking about a
society in which everybody works, we were referring to a society in which
all men and women fit for work do work, in which all young people work; in
which the old people, those unfit for some health of physical reason, or
children who cannot take part in production, do not work. We aspire to
reach a point where the entire active population of the country will take
part in production, and where the entire passive population--that is,
children, the old, the ill, the unfit for work--will receive from society
all they need.

Under our concept of society, in which work is directed to meeting man's
needs, it is possible to satisfy the aspiration of creating employment for
the entire active population. And in turn, that will be an indispensable
requisite for creating an abundance of material goods. We can create
conditions for the entire active population to work with maximum
production, by the use of machinery and technology.

Some would like to work less. That, of course, is due to two things. One is
the old concept of work as a misfortune, a sacrifice, an affliction, a
punishment. I remember how they used to tell us about the earthly paradise
in the schools in which we studied. We were told that man, represented by
Adam, through the fault of woman, represented by Eve--and here we find the
first explanation of those discriminatory ideas about women that were
taught our people in the old society--was condemned to earning his bread by
the sweat of his brow because he ate the forbidden fruit. The idea was that
man had to work as a punishment and that the ideal state was that Paradise
where man did not have to do anything, but had everything. That was one of
the hundreds of prejudices and false, anachronistic, erroneous, absurd,
stupid ideas included in the people's education.

And yet, if we look at it carefully, what man could feel happy in a
Paradise like that? "What human being could be happy in such a static
state, such inaction, where he had everything he might want without any
effort? Was the spoiled son of a millionaire ever happier than the man who
had to make an effort to get something? Does the bread obtained by effort
have the same taste as bread obtained with no effort at all? Is it possible
to conceive of a sadder, more boring, more miserable life than in that

Why think that work is a misfortune? The misfortune would have been for man
never to know work, because it was work and they never taught us this--it
was work that made man; it was work that developed man; it was work that
made man a man. But from childhood--and it was logical in that society
(words indistinct), where the ideal was the bourgeois ideal of not working,
of living off others' work--because naturally a child, had he been able to
reason, would have asked: Listen, sir: Why did God not punish that
potbellied bourgeois, who has never worked? (applause) How is one to
explain that because of Eve's sin some men were condemned to work and other
were condemned to live by the work of the rest? A whole nation was brought
up by those anachronistic, absurd ideas. Why should it be unusual for many
to still take that view of work, as a punishment or an affliction?

Another cause is ignorance. Man cannot arbitrarily reduce the number of
working hours except at the expense of the number of goods he needs as
essentials. No society can arbitrarily reduce the number of working hours
independently of productivity. Work can be reduced in intensiveness or
length only as a result of the development of technology, as a result of
the development of productivity. Some people already want all shops full to
overflowing, and want to be rid of ration booklets, and want to find
everything they want. But at the same time they want to work 4 hours
instead of 8, and 2 instead of 4, and 1 instead of 2, and none instead of
1. How is this to be explained? How can anybody aspire to be free from
work? And why rid oneself of work? To what purpose?

Work may be odious under conditions of capitalist exploitation, in which
the working man was not the most highly respected man, was not the man who
received the greatest number of goods. This is another cause behind
arbitrary dreams of freeing oneself from work as something that can be done
or as something that is right.

This generation must logically work a great deal and will have to work more
than the next generation, because this generation has to create amid
scarcity, it must develop the economy on which the entire society depends,
beginning with the little we have today. This society has to make a greater
effort, but it will not be a humiliating effort, it will not be a (word
indistinct) effort, it will not even be an effort that we might describe as
a sacrifice. The sacrifice was made by those who worked yesterday, those
who worked to enrich others, those who worked not for a better future but
perhaps for a worse future, those who had to work when work was not honored
and did not offer any kind of incentive.

If somebody is doing something but detests what he is doing, that is a sign
that he feels no vocation for what he is doing. And it is the duty of
society to search for the vocation, seek out the vocation. Among the
beautiful words or ideas that were expressed here by the one who spoke for
you, he said that only a few felt a vocation in the beginning but that
today all are enthusiastic over their work. This means that these years
have served to develop a vocation to you, to (word indistinct) it. It is
important for the contribution each man makes to society to be a
contribution in keeping with his aptitudes, inclinations, and the element
that is called vocation. Naturally, this cannot be left to the spontaneous
development of vocations. It will be necessary to provide orientation,
direct the effort, in some cases develop a vocation, in others arouse a
vocation. This is what has happened in your case.

But anybody who feels a vocation for something will never consider the
hours disagreeable, no matter how long they may be, which he devotes to
that thing he likes, that pleases him, that has meaning for him. When
somebody does not like what he is doing it is a sign that he has no
vocation for it. And of course a great many people look on work simply as a
means for making a living, as a necessity, and it will be necessary for us
to create conditions under which every human being will see work as the
full development of his aptitude, his intelligence, his vocation, and his

Beyond a doubt, as we achieve this, we will change the concept of work more
and more. The day will come then. If working hours are reduced, it will be
because of necessity rather than an aspiration, necessity, because as man
increases productivity through the use of technology and machines, he will
find himself obliged to reduce the number of hours he devotes to producing
material goods.

And then--and this should be heard and understood by those who claim to be
the most cultured and intellectual--the full development of every cultural
potential of a nation can only be achieved to the extent that production of
essential material goods becomes easier and requires increasingly fewer
hours from all of society. For there are some highbrows, supercultured
people, pure extracts of culture, who feel a certain scorn for physical
labor, who feel a certain contempt for those who produce the material goods
needed by man. Naturally, we want a society in which cultural activities
will be multiplied, in which cultural as well as technical activities will
cease being the secrets and instruments of a minority--to become the
knowledge and activity of the entire human society.

For culture we must pursue the same aspirations as for technology, so that
all society may be cultured, so that all society may be culturally creative
and able to understand, evaluate, and enjoy every manifestation of culture.
When we stress those activities having to do with producing material goods,
we are far from scorning or underrating man's intellectual manifestations;
we are merely fulfilling the duty of recalling that today everyone's duty
is to promote society's economic and material development so that it will
be possible likewise to promote the intellectual development, the cultural
development, the all-round development of every citizen in society.

It is well, it is necessary, it is indispensable for you to bear these
ideas always in mind, to bear in mind these essential points, for in you we
do not aspire to provide just technicians for our agriculture and our
production. We aspire to something more important: to produce true
revolutionaries, to produce spirits with a vocation for our fields; to
provide a new awareness for productive activities, a new concept of work,
new technicians, and new concepts.

It is our aspiration that you not only be good technicians, but that you
also be as good revolutionaries as technicians (applause) and that the
words uttered here today by your spokesman will be copied down and always
carried in your pockets and read. Without doubt, those words will fully and
beautifully express that which we expect from you. We have made an effort
to create the best conditions to train superior technicians in technical
and moral qualities, in knowledge, and in awareness. We know that we have
achieved that to quite a satisfactory degree, and we could see that today
when we arrived here. Since we are speaking with sincerity and frankness,
without wishing to injure or offend anyone--neither individuals nor
groups--when we were looking at this mass of people, we were aware that we
were facing a mass of superior students who are not like other students. We
hope to see the day when all the students of this university are like you.
(applause) It is our hope to see the day when the university masses are as
homogeneous, disciplined, aware, revolutionary, and integrated as you are.

We are not enemies of our university students, not at all. They are our
friends. We have lived and talked with them many times. We have spoken with
them many times, with utmost frankness and with greatest familiarity. It is
not that they are counterrevolutionaries; nor is it that they are lukewarm
toward the revolution; no! I simply say that they are still far from
constituting a mass of the quality of this one. They are still falling far
short of the expectations we can place in a mass like this one. (applause)
We must not rest till the day when this honored place of culture and the
technical intelligentsia of our country have achieved the development and
spirit you have today. We hope by that time those who, like you, are
students of the technological schools and who gather together in functions
like this will have an even greater awareness than they have today.

Why not expect this? Why not expect this, if the revolution is advancing,
if our teachers colleges send forth contingents of new teachers, if new
educators are trained, and if new schools are organized with a better and
more revolutionary concept of education? Why not feel that those who are
today in the first, second, and third grades, that those who are today
attending our primary schools, will tomorrow achieve levels as high or even
higher. We cannot be content with what we have achieved. With the same
sincerity with which we proclaim our satisfaction over what we have
achieved, we must proclaim our aspirations to achieve even more.

This effort will grow in magnitude, as well as in depth. It will also grow
in intensity and quality. What we have achieved with this educational
movement is not extraordinary, considering the origins, social make-up, and
extraordinarily high percentage of workers and peasants we have here among
you (applause), if we take into account the composition of this particular
mass. And it is not extraordinary, if one takes into account the concept of
these schools.

Something that has not been told here is an explanation of how a student
who was an illiterate in 1961 has today graduated as a technician at the
pre-university level. (applause) It also has not been mentioned that there
are no vacations in these schools, and that in these schools the old
concept of a student wasting half of his time does not prevail, that is,
wasting a good part of the year or wasting 100 percent of that part of the
year that used to be called vacation. It has not been mentioned how the
students under this program have been subjected to the hard discipline of
study without vacations and how, participating widely in productive work,
they have sowed a great deal of pangola grass and cut a great deal of cane
(applause). It has not been mentioned that the students under this plan
really know the meaning of physical labor. They really know the meaning of
productive labor. When the students under this plan have gone to Camaguey
Province to cut cane, they have been rated among the best volunteer cane
cutters. (applause)

We must add that the technicians who graduated today and those we shall
continue to graduate will be technicians who have contributed to the effort
the nation is making today by participating in several sugar crops. They
are veteran cane cutters or grass sowers, or constructors of buildings, as
the case may be. They have been forged with this spirit. They are youths
who have had no vacations, who have had many months of pure physical labor,
who have received military training, who make up combat units for the
defense of our revolution (applause), and who have known the meaning of
labor discipline, of military training discipline, and of study discipline.

Why should it be odd that not a single fop appears here? What is strange
about the character of these technicians? Is there anything strange in that
they have not been influenced by so much of the foolishness that
disorients, sways, and confuses those who know nothing about study
discipline, labor discipline, or arms discipline? What is strange about the
fact that foopishness does not flourish nor can flourish in our
technological institutions? Does it mean, perhaps, that we are forging a
generation of serious, somber young people? No, because seriousness, study,
discipline, and work are not at odds with joy, with healthy joy and real

There are some who try to justify their childish actions, their
overindulgence, and their deviations as things that are common to youth.
Indeed, they are right for these are things common to youth who do not know
the meaning of work, discipline, and study. Above all, they are youth who
do not have the least idea of the sacrifices that their people must make.
(applause) They are youths who do not have the least idea of what it costs
to produce bread, because they try to look over the shoulders of a worker.

These people who scorn work apparently forget that they must eat bread and
meat and drink milk to live and even to boast about their scorn and
deviations. They must also live under a roof, and the milk they drink in
the morning in their homes is produced by a man who gets up at two in the
morning, rain or shine. (applause) The milk is also delivered by a man who
has to get up early. Workers process it into bottles made and cleaned by
workers. It would not be possible to live or to conceive of life without
those elementary goods, yet there are those who live and forget this. They
forget that the bread they eat is produced by somebody, that someone gives
it to them. Naturally, as we go along creating, we cannot agree that those
who scorn work, those who scorn workers and those who forget that the goods
needed to live are produced by work, have what could be called a really
proletarian and revolutionary awareness, even if they show less capacity
and less adaptability.

Our revolution has progressed and so has our awareness. Problems that could
not have even been discussed some years ago can be undertaken today with
the security that they are understood because the masses understand them
and because the workers, above all, understand them. This is what we call

We were talking a while ago about university students. I explained their
characteristics to you: the good, the positive, and the negative. Some of
the negative characteristics of the university students result from the
fact that most of them think of nothing else but their degree and
graduation. They even think that by doing so they are fulfilling their
obligation. However, they are considerably divorced from the realities of
the country. We have seen that a high percentage of them ignore most of the
fundamental things that are taking place in our fatherland. The fact is
that this paved square and this hill in the very heart of our country's
capital belong to the developed capital of an underdeveloped country.
Despite the many pleasant things they have and despite their privileges,
many university students are divorced from reality. Ah, but are they to
blame for it? No, for we are to blame. We have not created an adequate
machinery to bring the universities close to the people and to meet
realities. Recently, however, we have begun to do so.

There are even some students in this university who have received
extraordinary benefits and every facility to study, such as scholarships,
credit, economic scholarships, and aid to the family, then children,
everyone, and who do not have the remotest idea of the work a student had
to do in this country in the past. For example, the difficulties
encountered by a medical student, to mention one of the schools of this
university, and--as the comrade rector was telling me--the misery those
students had to go through. Many students had to work as dealers in

Some medical students had to pass dice and deal cards to have some sort of
an income with which to buy books, take a course, or go to the theater.
These were medical students who had to work as dealers--this is a little
word that naturally many have not heard for a long time but it is a word
used in roulette. Well, a dealer is a kind of bureaucrat in a casino, a
gambling bureaucrat. This is what the medical students had to be. Did they
ever have a chance to do practical work in a hospital? Never! Did they have
work assured to them, well-paid work? Never! Did they have free books?
Never! Never! Yet there are some in this university who think when they get
a scholarship or help from society they are doing the society a favor.
Instead of being thankful for the fortune, the privilege, and the
facilities they have received, some think they are the ones doing society a
favor. Apparently, they have heard it said that technicians are needed,
that the bourgeois technicians are leaving, and that, therefore, they are
big shots. How mistaken they are!

They forget the mass. The enormous mass that is coming up behind them. They
forget that gigantic movement on all fronts. They forget this idea, this
plan that one day everyone will be a technician, that one day technology
will be an instrument for all of society. And although we are really
interested in the technicians--yes, a lot--there is something that must be
said here, and it is that, more than merely having technicians, we are
interested in having technicians on whom the people can count, on whom the
revolution can depend, on whom the fatherland can depend. (applause)

It is not the basic mission of the universities to train technicians. Their
mission, rather, is to train revolutionary technicians--for university
studies are expensive. Some complain that they must pay dearly for
something, perhaps a filet mignon of the 1830s. They forget that to create,
to do all that, to create the future, to train our people, one must spend,
one must invest large sums, and the revolution has not spared a cent in
that. It has not spared a cent in helping a worker who is studying under
these plans to provide for his wife and children so that he can return to
the rural areas as a technician, doing this on behalf of society.

Those who have a mistaken, privileged view of society, those who have a
privileged concept of themselves, forget what it costs; they forget
everything that must be done to make it possible for those who have never
had a chance even to learn to read or write to become technicians and
engineers. The reaction of a worker who was in the second grade or was
illiterate in 1961 and enrolled in a university in 1966 is not the same as
that of someone who became accustomed a bit too early to having everything.
And since we have spoken of this, it is necessary to say that the
revolution, just as it gives and offers to youth more and more
opportunities, must ask more of them. As we create better conditions--if we
do not want to see in the future youths with a neobourgeois mentality who
are ignorant of everything and do not have a conscience--it will be
necessary for the methods used under these and other similar plans to be
applied in the training of all students. This will firmly carry forward the
idea that it is the duty of all youths to study--through secondary schools,
in addition to going up to the sixth grade--and that no one has the right
to be an illiterate, that no one has the right to be an incompetent, that
no one has the right to be ignorant. We will apply increasingly throughout
the education system of the country, the methods we have applied in these
and similar plans.

Sometimes, in the name of false pedagogy, in the name of a certain
perfectionism, there are minds which are allergic to the work of
students--claiming that it reduces their scholastic levels. Those
superpedagogs, who know very little about pedagogy because they are
ignorant of the essential aspects of training the citizen, should be
reminded that we are interested in training well-rounded technicians, not
just technicians, but better citizens. And if we urgently need technicians,
it will always be more desirable to train real men, patriots,
revolutionaries. If it is necessary to study one more year in the
university or elsewhere let there be one more year of study to earn the
degree. (applause) But let us not train a class of youths who are unrelated
to unrelated reality. to labor; let us not train neobourgeois youths in the
midst of a revolution, people who do not have the slightest idea of the
efforts of the people, of the work of the people; people who do not have
the slightest idea of the cost of the liberation of the nation, the cost of
the people's right to build their future, the cost of this people's right
to free their work from exploitation, to free man from slavery.

This revolution will have to concern itself with that. It will be the duty
of our universities, of the leaders of our universities, and of our
educational centers to adopt the methods that will carry forward the task
of training men who are related to the people, men who are aware, men with
a conscience. We are not interested in technicians without a conscience.
Why would this nation be interested in a technician without a conscience?
We have given them the freedom to leave. They cannot be useful here, nor
anywhere. They are a burden here, and elsewhere, too. Train technicians now
who run off when they are offered a better salary abroad? No! Let those who
trained their minds during another period, another process, leave; but
never let the revolution train that kind of mind.

We know those who are being trained here and who inspire great confidence
in the revolution should serve as examples of the success of this plan. The
type of citizen and trained technician should serve as an example and
inspiration for the other plans and for the training of technicians.

I have dwelt on examining these matters. Perhaps, I should have preferred
to speak of agriculture, of agricultural techniques, but it seemed to me
that on a night like this, these ideas were even more important. We said
that one day technology would be the instrument of all of society. What
does that mean? It means that one day it will be possible to realize the
Marxist, communist, aspiration that manual labor and intellectual work will
combine, that the day will come when every citizen will perform an
intellectual function and a manual function at the same time.

We have heard the phrase: combine productive work and study. We have fully
achieved this in this plan. We have achieved it with the students of the
Makarenko Pedagogic Institute, many of those girls having been your
teachers. In the future, the mush more ambitious idea that the difference
between manual and intellectual labor will disappear, will become a
reality. How? Many find that impossible. How? In the only way possible, in
the way we have been proposing: when technology is mastered by all of

You are a practical example of this idea. There is talk that there will be
40,000 technicians in 1974. What does that mean? Forty thousand is an
impressive mass of technicians. When the technicians are a tiny minority,
when technicians are counted on the fingers of one hand, and when the
immense majority of society is ignorant and lacks technical knowledge, a
minority of society must devote itself to purely intellectual work, and an
immense majority can only devote itself to physical, manual labor. But can
it be thought that, perhaps, in the future you will be intellectual workers
in production and only intellectual workers? That you will constitute an
intellectual elite? Can it be thought that we will have 40,000 intellectual
workers in agriculture who do no manual work in 1974? Logically, since you
are the first 400, there is enough need to put you to work on strictly
intellectual work 24 hours a day. However, we do not wish that sad fate on
you, nor do we wish that miserable fate on your people. We know how to be
patient, and from the beginning, with those who go to production directly.
We shall see to it that they will not be merely intellectual workers there,
especially when they number 10,000 or 40,000. Just think how many there
will be in 1980 and in 1990.

Giving free rein to the imagination, it is possible that by 1990, there may
be half a million technicians with your training. Can you conceive of half
a million devoted to strictly intellectual agricultural tasks? And when
there are one million? Can you understand this simple dialectic example of
how quantity turns into quality and how when there are a million,
technology will cease being the secret of a small group and all the workers
will then have to perform productive and intellectual tasks at the same
time? Do you understand? Do you doubt that within 30 or perhaps 40 years we
will have one million technicians of your caliber?

That is why we do not want you to become production intellectuals, and we
have taken steps. It is true that this graduating class is composed of the
first contingent with which the first technological institute of this type
was organized. Simultaneously, the sugarcane institutes were
organized--four of them--in the country, plus the Tobacco Institute for
tobacco production technicians. These institutes were basically designed to
train technicians with basic knowledge of agriculture, specializing in the
problems of livestock raising. During the years more and more needs
emerged. A need for certain technicians arose suddenly--a need for
laboratory technicians for the centers and laboratories that assist in
artificial insemination. There emerged the need for students in certain
scientific institutions, technicians in the field of rice, orchard
technicians, vegetable technicians. Of course, we had still not created
institutions for those specialities.

It was necessary to make requests of this first technological institute for
several specialists. That explains this list, this list which contains a
series of specialties and which includes several--sixty of them--students
we decided should specialize in sugarcane, despite our having four
technological institutes for sugarcane. This was because we were faced with
the urgent need of creating ten sugarcane agriculture extension stations.
There was not a sufficient number of students of the proper scholastic
level, and we decided to request a number of students from this institute.
A group of 60 chose to specialize in sugarcane. Others, as we said,
specialized in rice, citrus fruits, coffee, and other things.

Comrade Lionel was speaking of the new technological institutes which will
be created. One is of a preuniversity level, like this one; one for coffee
in Oriente; one for citrus fruits in Isla de Pinos, and for forestry in
Pinar del Rio. At the same time, the Education Ministry will create a
technological institute for vegetable production in Pinares de Mayari. Some
other centers of specialization for other crops are being planned, so that
in the future no student in any of these institutions will have to be asked
to take a specialty that was not specifically planned, because we will have
institutions for the training of technicians for each of the agricultural

At the same time, this is what we have in mind: to give middle-level school
students a basic training and a specialty in order to immediately resolve
our needs. However, the reverse is true in the university. The first three
years will be devoted to difficult basic studies--physics, chemistry,
biology, and specialization during the latter years. This is because our
immediate needs will be resolved with middle-level technicians. However,
all the students who graduate on this level will enroll in the university,
and they will continue their studies and enter into production.

The plans and programs are being drafted. Our hope is to bring each of the
technicians who graduate from these institutes to the highest level, so
that they will be able to acquire a university degree in five, six, or
seven years. At the same time, we plan to send out of every ten, now, and,
when the number of graduates increases, one out of every 20 to study full
time at the university; one out of 20 in the distant future, one out of 10
in the near future. This may be the only class from which we do not make
that selection.

They will go to the university. A new Agronomy School will be built far
from Ayesteran and Reina with all that is needed. Naturally, since one out
of every 10 will go directly there to study, that is, not to production,
the students who have scholarships will have to study very hard. We will
change the concept of points and examinations. There will be no longer a
satisfactory grade of 60 points, a good grade of 70 points, for no one will
pass without at least an 85-point grade. (applause) If the select go to the
university, what is that about measuring the passing grade One supposes
that a student is studying because of a vocation, that he does it
willingly, that he has all the facilities.

That agronomy school will have all the laboratory facilities, all the
materials needed for study. Of course, we will have the Agronomy School of
Las Villas specialize in certain fields, the Havana Agronomy School in
other fields, the Oriente Agronomy School in other fields. At the same
time, through this technological education plan and through the Education
Ministry, we will be training of agriculture--and I speak of agriculture,
independently of all the other technological studies, which have a wide
scope. New institutions will be developed and this idea will be carried
forward under this slogan: Careful selection for the university. The rest
will go into production, where they will continue their studies, guided by
the universities. This means that by 1970, the Havana Agronomy School will
have thousands of students under this guided studies plan. We must also
develop our universities under that double concept: students in production
and students attending classes at the university.

Many voices that remain from the past will disappear. That type of student
who has a job and goes to the university, but who does not perform well in
his work or his studies will have to disappear. A student who is in
production will have his programs, but he will also have more time than the
rest. We will not be as strict with him as with those who have scholarships
and attend classes every day. Quality in school will be required because we
will never sacrifice quality. We will defend quality above everything else.
We will provide all necessary facilities.

To those who are in production, we know that you will achieve a perfect
combination of work and study, and that life, the work centers, and the
fields themselves will constitute the university for you--the real
university. At this other university, you will complement the theoretical
knowledge by constantly applying and enriching it through practice, that
is, through productive work.

I was saying that new and newer institutions are being created for
agriculture, which is one of the activities for which we will have tens of
thousands and then hundreds of thousands. But, from now on, of those of you
who are going directly into production--naturally, those who are already
working in the laboratories are doing the work there--one group will go
into teaching. There is no alternative to providing a number of graduates
for teaching. Others, I was saying, are engaged in various activities,
several scores will go abroad to specialize in certain fields, and 120 will
go directly into agricultural work. Those are the 120 comrades who are in
Artemisa. (applause)

Our concern about the success of these comrades who are going directly into
production is so great that, because they are the first, we have decided
not to assign them directly to one single activity for the entire year. We
have decided that they should study full time for the first three months,
after they have gone to a province--Camaguey Province--in the spring to do
a specific job for several months. It will be a year, after the first year
of university studies has been completed before they are finally assigned
to a specific production center. They will go to Camaguey Province. Why?
Because they are the first, because we want to have them in a single
province, because this is an experiment in which we must see all the
difficulties that present themselves and whose success we must guarantee.
Each will go to a feed lot in January 1968, after having completed his
first year of studies. We are going to adopt the policy that none of these
graduates can be promoted to a higher post, such as farm administrator or
something like it, or be taken out of a production unit to be converted
into a technical adviser. No! We prefer to dispense with all such advisers
so that we can implement the principle that every technician must start
working in the smallest productive unit.

If we want things to be different in the future and if we want to
choose--through adequate selection--the cadres that are to manage the
farms, the groups, and the agriculture of this country, it will be
necessary that no one, absolutely no one, manage a production until unless
he is a technicians. Not only must he be technicians, but he must have a
vocation. No one without a real vocation and ability--which can only be
acquired in real life from an analysis and evaluation of the work performed
by everyone--can manage a farm. Moreover, a person who has not become
familiar with the problems of a small production unit, cannot manage a
larger unit.

Those who will direct our agriculture in the future will come from this
generation of technicians. This does not mean that the men who are now
doing that type of work will be dismissed and replaced, then and there. No,
because many revolutionary comrades and cadres have made an impressive
effort amidst difficult conditions, without great technical knowledge and
without any technical advice. How do you think we have managed all these
years? How do you think we will have to manage yet for many years, unless
it be with those cadres that have been performing the task all along with
great effort and without great knowledge and technical know-how? It is
clear that this is characteristic of the times. We hope many of those
comrades who have learned from practice can also study and improve
themselves. However, it is our intention that in the future no one can
manage a large production unit without first having had experience in a
smaller one. How can one direct a cattle farm if he does not know all the
problems of pasture and all the problems associated with a herd of cattle
in a smaller unit.

We hope that from among these, from this generation of technicians, will
emerge the administrative cadres and the political cadres of our country in
future years. If the present cadres came from the ranks of the
revolutionary fighters, the guerrilla ranks, and th ranks of the
organizations that fought the military dictatorship and imperialism, in the
future the administrative and political cadres will have to come from the
new generation of technicians, on the basis of an evaluation of one's
ability, work, vocation, and ability. The day will also come when it will
not be difficult to choose a cadre. This will be on the day when we shall
have tens of thousands of technicians, of knowledgeable men, of men with a
sense of responsibility and awareness. The day will also come when the same
thing that applies to the technicians will apply to the cadres. Then,
almost everybody will be capable of forming part of a cadre and of
performing administrative tasks. The day will also come when it will not be
a headache to hunt for a cadre as one would for a needle in a haystack.

However, a certain policy is going to be followed. Some will go into
production while others will enter the Institute of the Academy of Sciences
where they will continue their studies. Still others will enter
laboratories and will be working there. Those who go directly into
agriculture must begin from the lowest unit and spend at least two years in
a pasture unit. The day will come when there will be practically one
engineer in every pasture unit. He will be an intellectual engineer, a man
who gives orders. He will not participate directly in production. For this
reason these comrades will be able to handle a tractor. They will know how
to direct the use of the agricultural machines. They will not be simple
intellectual or pasture workers. They will be able to handle machines and
thus they will be able to participate indirectly in production. We shall
expect (?much more) in 1980, or 1990, or the year 2000 than we do now.
Beginning now, we shall combine manual and intellectual labor in an
agricultural production unit.

You are aware of the great effort being made in the country for the
developments of the cattle industry, among others. The technical level of
our cattle industry was very low. It was an extensive industry. The
revolution has already introduced four types of techniques, two of them
dealing entirely with artificial insemination and pasturage. For the first
time we are beginning to fertilize pasture grounds and to plant leguminous
plants. All of you who have graduated already know about this subject.
Possibly, you retain well enough in your minds the greater knowledge
accumulated in the various books placed at your disposal, for we have tried
to get good books for you.

Naturally, we are still not able to apply fertilizer on a massive scale
because we are now developing the fertilizer industry. We read the great
news in a Yankee cable about how a Latin American country is gong to
construct a fertilizer plant and produce so many tons of fertilizers. It is
supposed to be the largest producer of fertilizers in Latin America at the
time of its inauguration. At about the same time, we are going to have the
facilities to produce three times more than that country, which,
incidentally, has three times more inhabitants than our country. We must
say that by the year 1971 we expect to be using as much nitrogen as is
being used today by France in all its agriculture.

This will give you an idea whether or not we are achieving a spectacular
development in agriculture. By 1971 we will be using the same amount of
fertilizer used by a nation with six times our population and, furthermore,
one of the most agriculturally developed countries of Europe.

This is not for 1990, or 2000. This is scheduled to take place within four
years. Will we only use synthetic nitrogen in our agriculture? No! We will
have thousands of small nitrogen plants (?near) the caballerias which we
will plant in legumes.

You know very well that our agriculture used neither fertilizer in the
hayfields nor legumes at one time. One of the fundamental reasons for the
success of livestock-raising in the so-called developed nations, in
temperate climates, is the use of legumes in the feeding of livestock. Our
feeds were mostly gamma grass and now and then we used some kind of wild
legume which grows in the country. The tropical nations are the most
backward in the whole world in the agricultural field.

There are legumes which can be grown in our climate. We have, for example,
tested alfalfa which produces an unbelievable yield, an alfalfa which has
been adapted to our climate and which has grown well in the winter months.
The alfalfa has not only grown well in the winter months but it has also
grown well in the summer months. We have planted alfalfa which has been
mowed 11 times in one year.

A few days ago in this university I was telling this to a group of students
and a university professor said: "No. That is impossible. Alfalfa has never
grown in Cuba." I asked that man--I did not want to get angry because
unwittingly he was calling me a liar--"How can you make that statement? Do
you not know that you would be very embarrassed in front of all these
students if I prove that it is true and I take you to that alfalfa which
has been mowed 11 times in a year and has a good growth and color?"

We already know the varieties of alfalfa which can be planted in our
country. However, we still have to resolve the problem of the seed. There
are varieties of alfalfa which can yield in our climate twice as much or
more than they yield in any European country. There are other legumes, such
as the so-called tropical kudzu, well-known lately. It is a legume which
grows in climates similar to ours, grows under the most difficult
conditions, a yields a big production. Next year we will plant from 5,000
to 6,000 thousand cabellerias of legumes for our cattlefeed. With the
kudzu, unlike the alfalfa, we have solved the seed problem. We are
beginning to plant another legume, which also grows wild in our fields,
that is, the (conchita azul--phonetic) as it is commonly known. The first
plantings on a large scale are now under way to test it as cattlefeed. It
seems to be a legume which has magnificent prospects and which the cattle
like very much, almost as much as alfalfa.

Incidentally, a group of professors and students of the biology school of
Havana University are helping us on a project to isolate the nodule
bacterias of alfalfa, kudzu, and (conchita azul). They have already
isolated the nodule bacteria of the kudzu, including the most active
varieties. Therefore, we hope to resolve the practical problems, which will
enable us to sow those 5,000 or 6,000 caballerias with seeds and not plugs.
That is, this will mean a considerable advance in agricultural technique,
in the sowing of a legume seed inoculated with selected nodule bacterias.
What the biologists do with that type of bacteria is a type of bacterial
genetics. That is one way in which the university is becoming involved with
real life and undertaking research of great practical value to our country.

My purpose in telling you this is to say that next year legumes will be
used on a considerable scale in the livestock industry. In Havana, for the
Havana dairies, 35 caballerias of alfalfa will be planted. Of course,
alfalfa requires preparation of the soil, water. It is not like the kudzu,
which we can plant in the spring on dry soils. Cattlefeed tests are being
made with this legume, and they are having very encouraging results.

Now, what does the planting of a legume mean to livestock raising? It
represents a food that has about four times more calcium than grass, three
times more magnesium, almost twice as much proteins, which is not only more
in quantity, but better, too. The use of legumes in cattle raising exempts
us from the need to use feed to attain considerable milk and meat yields. I
am speaking about feed, because we often find good books on the food
sciences, which tell us about balanced diets, balanced feed. Logically,
many of them are books which have been written under conditions of
capitalist production for dairies in the capitalist style and adapted to
the conditions of other countries. However, in our country the feed is
based principally on grains, and our country is not and will never be a
grain-producing country.

Countries like Argentina, Canada, Australia, the United States, and others,
which have enormous areas of land, can be grain-producing nations. A
country with a limited area, like ours, must seek the maximum yield per man
and per hectare or caballeria, whatever the measuring unit. It has been
demonstrated in Europe that the plantings of cereals produce, per hectare,
half the total nutrients produced by one hectare of alfalfa. It is very
important that you think of the need of developing a livestock industry
based on pastures, not feeds; pasture feeding based on grasses and legumes,
not on feed.

It is very important that I give you this warning. The first feed produced
is needed by poultry because poultry cannot convert grass into proteins.
Poultry must be given protein which they can digest directly, almost like
man. There are plans for the production of eggs, plans for the production
of poultry meat, and the grains we may produce. The surplus of our cotton
production--the surplus of our production of any oil-producing crop will
have to be given to poultry.

Of course, there are research centers, of course, research is also underway
on grains. I am simply expressing a viewpoint resulting from my having
analyzed and meditated on these two problems, having reached the conviction
that the world still has no grain that can compete with certain pasture
crops in the way of total nutrients. Therefore--with the exception of dairy
areas such as the capital area where there is an enormous concentration of
population, where we will need high-yield cows, to which we will feed
grasses and legumes, as well as some feed--a country like ours, which will
have 8 million cows within 10 years, will have to feed them principally on
pasture. It is possible to obtain yields of more than 15 or 20 quarts of
milk without using grains by feeding them with legumes.

Countless tests have been made, and we must principally base our milk and
meat production on pastures. From the practical point of view, I feel there
is nothing more important than telling you of the need for us to feed our
cattle with better pastures, with fertilized pastures of grasses and
legumes. I was saying that one caballeria of legumes is a small factory of
nitrogen. There are some facts of which I do not know if you have been
informed. For example, in Europe, an alfalfa field has produced, by means
of nodule bacteria, an equivalent of 250 kilograms per hectare per year.
What does this mean? That is the equivalent of nine tons of ammonium
nitrate per caballeria, nine tons of ammonium nitrate per caballeria! That
means that in Europe, a caballeria of alfalfa has yielded atmospheric
nitrogen equivalent to nine tons of ammonium nitrate. With 3 or 4 cuttings,
how many tons of ammonium nitrate would have been produced by that alfalfa,
which was cut 11 times in one year? It would be necessary to find out, to
investigate, because, doubtless, it must be an amount considerably greater
than the nine tons per caballeria.

What does nine tons per caballeria mean? It means that if, for example,
200,000 caballerias of pasture in our country were in grass, we could hope
to obtain 300,000 caballerias of grass to which we had to apply artificial
nitrogen, we would need 2.7 million tons of ammonium nitrate to produce the
fertilizer equivalent to the amount produced had those 300,000 caballerias
been planted in a legume. Of course, not all pastures will be planted in
legumes. But let us suppose that we planted legumes on 100,000 or 200,000
caballerias; if we were to apply five tons of fertilizer on the same area
in grasses, we would need about 1 million tons, which we would have to
manufacture. We would have to invest more than 100 million pesos for
imports to producer a million tons. Some 200,000 caballerias of legumes
would produce a quantity of nitrogen that would cost about 80 million pesos
on the world market.

But it is not the value of the legumes as the producer of nitrogen, but the
food value of the legumes that is important for reasons I have already
explained. Moreover, it seems that the bacteria are not only nourishing,
they also have a physiological effect on legumes. What does this mean? For
example, in the countries in which these tests have been conducted, soy
plants have produced the equivalent of 50 (units of reference not
given--ed.) without bacteria nor nitrogen; fertilized to the optimum
degree, it produced 123; inoculated with bacteria and without
fertilization, it has produced the equivalent of 130. That means that
fertilization to the optimum degree with nitrogen does not produce as much
as the inoculation of bacteria does.

I want to tell you that, for example, during this past week that (a group
of technicians--Ed.) visited the Velasco area, which produces red and black
beans, in order to attempt to isolate the specific bacterias in these types
of bean in order to apply this new technique to the production of beans.

Very well, in our country, the livestock industry did not know anything
about insemination, pasturage, legumes, nor fertilization. Of course, where
we have legumes planted, we will not use nitrogen fertilizer, however, it
will be necessary to fertilize with phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and,
above all, spread lime on the soils. Since our country had a humid climate
and acid soils, the liming of the soil was not known. But the revolution's
program also provides for the installation of lime centers, sufficient in
number to produce all the lime we need in order to achieve the degree of
acidity we want for our agriculture. We want to produce about 1 million
tons of lime per year.

Therefore, lime, legumes, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium--we have
enormous deposits of magnesium; there are deposits in the Remedios area. If
I am not mistaken, I believe they have deposits of 300 million tons of
dolomite rock. I believe there is another deposit in the Camaguey area. We
will have all the magnesium we need. You will recall that Voisin recommends
fertilization with magnesium, and he feels that it can lessen the harmful
effects of potassium.

Speaking of the problem of cancer due to tobacco, Voisin has even spoken of
the possibility of producing a tobacco with diminished cancer-promoting
factors, carcinogenic, I believe they are called. Although he did not fully
develop that idea, I believe that basically it rests on the use of
magnesium together with potassium in raising tobacco. Of course, for the
time being that has nothing to do with our basic problems, but I understand
that you know all those books and have read them. I am not mistaken, am I?

And so I tell you that calcium, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium,
legumes--and where there are no legumes, nitrogen--will be elements you
will have to work with. Of course this technique is still being applied in
a limited way. Next year we will use a few tens of thousands of (units
unspecified--ed.) nitrogen on pastures. We will plant several thousand
caballerias in legumes. But in four or five years we will have a material
base more than sufficient for extensive application of these techniques.
This implies the necessity of keeping pasturage, wherever it is, in fine
shape and making efforts to improve pastures. There are many grazing
grounds where they say there are special pasture grasses, but what there
actually are many more weeds than truly special grass. Having an
agriculturist, a technician, at the head of a pasturage center must imply a
constant struggle for the sake of quality in the pastures, a constant
battle with weeds.

At times, in pastureland, marabu bush begins to appear but not in quantity.
In quantity this bush can only be fought with herbicides. But it seems to
me, when I go through some pastureland and see 15 or 20 or 50 little marabu
bushes beginning to come up, and they are growing there, I say that the man
who is in charge of that pasturage lacks the soul of a farmer; if I were
there I would be unable to sleep as long as I see that in good pastureland
a marabu bush has come up and is growing unchecked.

Is that justifiable? Is it possible to conceive of a man with the soul,
with the vocation, of a farmer who sees brush growing in limited quantity
without fighting it? Next year our agriculture will make a tremendous
effort toward eradicating noxious plants, particularly toward eradicating
marabu from pastures. It will do this with weed killers, for unfortunately,
where marabu exists and is cleared off the land we cannot plant legumes. We
cannot wait for a spring to go by, because the need for pastures is very
great. We have to plant something to take advantage of the spring rains,
and in those cases only grasses will be planted, because if legumes are
planted and marabu comes afterward it will be necessary to kill the legumes
in order to kill the marabu. And so where marabu exists, grasses will be
planted. We will wait till the marabu reappears; two applications of week
killer will be applied, and the following year legumes will be planted
among the grasses.

I tell you about all these things that are planned and which you will have
to work with. I am speaking to the graduates and I am speaking to the other
students who will graduate in the years ahead. I wanted to take this
occasion to stress some of these ideas, some of these points. We intend to
establish, to create a library for you. In Artemisa a request was made for
a number of books to be imported for this purpose. Of course, for the time
being, we cannot provide one for each of you in every specialty, but we
plan for all agricultural technicians produced by these programs to have a
good library available where they can find the most modern and most
valuable books that have been published throughout the world.

At the same time, the Santiago de Las Vegas experimental agricultural
station will be joined with the Academy of Sciences. The comrades of the
Academy of Sciences have been asked, they have been told about the need to
found a technical-agricultural magazine that will provide technicians news
of research that has been done all over the world, monographs, studies on
various crops, particularly advances in agricultural technology. For
information about books--because as a mass of technicians is developed, it
will be necessary to provide the material means, the pertinent
publications, because we conceive of a technicians not as a man who stops
studying when he graduates from a technological institute or a university,
but as a man who must go on studying throughout his lifetime.

That is why we think that technicians would receive very strong basic
training during the first three years at the university, because in the
modern world, with the dynamic advance of research and technical progress,
one cannot conceive of a technician not being up to date on research and
publications, otherwise he will go stale and fall behind. The same thing
can be said of medicine, engineering, and in short, of all branches of

We plan special editions of a technical nature through the Book Institute,
and a good magazine through the Academy of Sciences for you to receive, for
neither do we want overspecialized technicians. It is assumed that a good
farm technician with a thorough knowledge of soils, fertilizer, and the
general laws that govern farm production can grow cane, if he wants to grow
cane, just as he can grow pasturage, vegetables or citrus fruit. In
agriculture there is a series of basic general principles applicable to all
crops, and we want our technicians--in the specialties of cane or
pasturage--to have that basic knowledge, which will serve them for
specializing one one crop or, if the needs of the country and the
development of our agriculture require it--as has happened during these
recent years--some of these technicians can be transferred from one type of
crop to another.

Agriculture is one of the most complex, most difficult, and yet most
fascinating sciences, because it includes a number of sciences, because it
is based on a number of sciences. I was talking with a doctor friend, and I
said that in my opinion agricultural science is more complex than medicine.
Naturally a doctor will say "No," that medicine is more complex. But in
reality, agriculture not only is based on a number of sciences, but
agriculture will be one of the fundamental pillars of our people's health.
We have told Comrade Machadito at times that with our thousands of
technicians we are going to produce more health than with all the doctors
who come out of our universities and with all the hospitals our country
has. Through food in quantity, and above all in quality, we are going to
practice the best preventive medicine there is, that of well-fed people,
well-nourished people, who should have a natural defense against disease.
Therefore, we aspire through agriculture to produce more health than
through our Health Ministry, and we hope that you will be preventive
doctors as well as farmers.

We hope that you comrades who are graduating tonight realize the
responsibility you have, realize that you are the first. We will strive to
create the best working conditions. We hope there will not be a repetition
of the deplorable incident involving the group that was trained for
veterinary laboratories. As you know, something extremely regrettable
happened in the case of a group of girls comrades who were invited to study
to become veterinary laboratory technicians and whom we recently have
called and set to studying again.

They have been called to study that specialty pursuant to specific plans.
Certain officials undertook to organize the courses and the laboratories.
When those girl comrades finished and we asked for a report about their
placement, we learned of the poor work that had been done in that respect
and the disastrous organization in that veterinary department to the extent
that a decision was made to give veterinary medicine its own organization
and create a national office of livestock health, for if we are training
laboratory technicians, if we have thousands of young people studying in
the technological institutes for veterinary medicine, if we are training
technical personnel, it is necessary to create the best conditions for them
to work under, it is necessary to create a real organization to work for
animal health.

They are also helping us at the university; for example, they are studying
the tick problem. We must give up the idea of dusting pasture so there will
be no ticks there, so that pirolasmosis will not occur, and so forth, and
we must fight to wipe out ticks, fight to wipe out ticks. Drives against
ticks, brucellosis, and tuberculosis, until they are wholly wiped out
require organization, an organization with authority, with material means,
with laboratories, with reactors, with the industry producing proper
remedies, and with technical personnel.

Those girl comrades have been called and are not studying; they will
graduate in a few months. Certain scheming persons have tried to blame the
program, when the program was absolutely not at fault. And it has been a
lesson to us; it has made us show still greater concern. For when we send
out a technicians, we will not just send him and let it go at that. We will
demand information from the proper organization about conditions under
which he will be working and what employment will be provided for him. Of
course, in the great majority of cases we already know what we are going to
do with him; we know where he will be working. But in the other cases,
technicians who have gone in a little group here and a little group there,
a check is necessary into how they live, work, and study. And I was telling
you that that problem is past and cleared up.

Now you are the first ones. You are in charge of the an, of seeing to this
program's prestige, of seeing each one individually to the collective
prestige of all the technicians who graduate here, of creating a tradition.
The people will want to know who you are; they will have a high opinion of
you. They will say: "These are the technicians who graduated such and such
a day; these are the technicians of such and such a program and
conditions." Now it will be up to you to make good on that confidence, that
faith, that high opinion.

You will still encounter difficulties. This whole program of guided studies
is new and must face reality. We will have to learn a bit more about this.
You, as the vanguard, will have more problems than the others. It has been
that way from the first; it was that way with the first technological
institute. Much experience has already been gained. The professors, the
directors, the comrades who direct this program have gained considerable
experience in these matters that will be of much use in every new institute
that is organized. Now we will tread new ground, a program that is
confronting a fresh experience: guided studies, how they are organized, how
maximum efficiency is achieved, how all this is supervised, how the program

Today, our greatest desire--just as today your representative here spoke of
the ones who quit their studies and expressed pleasure over those like you
who graduate today, those like you who answered the call three years ago
and are graduating as technicians today--is that in five or six or seven
years not one of you will have been left behind, not one of you will have
abandoned his studies; that in five or six or seven years the revolution
may have on an enlarged and intensified scale this satisfaction, this
pleasure, of graduating you, of being able to hand you the degree of
agricultural engineers, equal to the highest level a technician can aspire
to in our country.

And that the day may come, and it cannot be far off--because as I said, the
years are long, but they do pass--and those years will pass, and the day
will not be far off when the graduation of the first agricultural engineers
under this program is organized for you.

In closing, I would also like to say how we have been deeply moved by the
revolutionary, internationalist spirit expressed here--by you,
also--through the words of the student who represented you (words
indistinct) to the heroic people of Vietnam and the solidarity with the
people of Vietnam (applause) who in these days have seen their capital,
their civilian installations, and their civilian neighborhoods brutally
attacked by the Yankee air force. We have all been disturbed by the
(?bitter) and maddening report that the Yankee imperialists, in their
escalation, have committed the crime of directly bombing the capital of the
sister Vietnamese nation.

"The imperialists say that this is not true, and that they bombed only such
and such kilometers from somewhere. However, from reports of our own
embassy, located in the center of the capital, we know that bombs from
imperialist planes fell only a few hundred meters away. We have witnessed
the degree which the criminal and aggressive spirit of the imperialists has
reached. Deep in our hearts we have felt enraged and a sense of solidarity
with these heroic people, because these people are now feeling the main
brunt of imperialist aggression. The fruit of the effort and the work of
many years is being razed and destroyed by the vandalic acts of Yankee
imperialists. We see in Vietnam the people who today are waging the most
heroic of battles--people whose struggle has an unusual significance for
all mankind.

"Two sides are clashing in Vietnam: the best of mankind with the worst of
mankind. Vietnam today represents the spirit of the struggle of the people,
the heroism of the people, the firmness of the people, and the rights of
the people. If the imperialists were to crush Vietnam, it would be as if
they had crushed the rights of all the people. It would be as if they had
crushed all of the hopes of the people everywhere, as if they had shattered
the confidence of the people in themselves, in their struggle against the
powerful! However, the imperialists will not crush Vietnam! Vietnam is
currently playing this singular role. It is demonstrating that people can
resist imperialism, that it does not matter how powerful the imperialists
might be. That no matter how many soldiers, that no matter how many
planes--that people in a small country with their courage, their heroism,
and their firmness can confront imperialism and can resist it. In Vietnam,
a struggle is going on for Vietnam and for other countries which are eager
for liberation. A fight is going on there for other people being menaced by
imperialism. A struggle goes on in Vietnam, for the liberation of other
peoples in Asia, in Africa, and in Latin America. The struggle of the
people of Vietnam will not be in vain. Vietnam's example will not be in

"The revolutionary people will not stand idle by. The peoples--the best
allies in Vietnam, the oppressed peoples--the peoples who must also wage
their struggles against imperialism in Latin America, in Africa, and in
Asia will not forsake their Vietnamese brothers. We are certain that the
revolutionary liberation movement will not be contained. It will not be
defeated. It will not be crushed. The criminal and vandalic acts of the
imperialists in Vietnam will not make the people cease in their struggle,
but the struggle will increase.

"In the same measure in which Vietnam resists, the revolutionary liberation
movement will grow in other parts of the world. Other fronts of struggle
for liberation will open throughout the world in direct proportion to
Vietnam's resistance. The day will come, because some ask how this war in
Vietnam will end, how the criminal and aggressive imperialism will be
defeated in Vietnam, and it will be defeated by the people. And it will be
defeated when instead of one Vietnam there will be in the world two
Vietnams, three Vietnams, four Vietnams, five Vietnams. All of the planes,
the machineguns, the guns, and all of imperialism's mercenary soldiers will
not be enough to defeat the people who are fighting for liberation.

"We are all indignant over what goes on in Vietnam. We have for some time
burned inside to see the hands of the imperialists chopped off. However,
amid the pain and indignation, there emerge the example, the deeds, and the
lesson which the Vietnamese are teaching the world emerge outstanding and
more valuable than everything else. They tell us that it is possible to
fight imperialism, that it is possible to resist imperialism, and that it
is possible to defeat imperialism. Few people as us--also small, also
threatened--living only 80 mils from the imperialist monster--no other
people can appreciate as we do the value of this example. No other people
can fathom all of their heroism and understand the significance of their
struggle and inspire us to offer them our heartfelt solidarity.

"We, who on more occasions than one have had to abandon our books or our
working tools to take up arms--we, who also must be a nation of soldiers,
in addition to being a nation of workers and students--while we speak of
the future years, while we speak of what we are doing (?for tomorrow), we
nor you could forget that our future will demand efforts from us. Our
future will demand risks from us. Our future will not be an easy course.
Our future will not be a path devoid of dangers. You know this, and we know
it also.

"However, we are confident and we are certain that we will attain our
purposes and that we will reach our goals. Fatherland or Death. We will