Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Radio and Television services 1558 GMT 2 January 1967--F/E

(Speech by Prime Minister Fidel Castro at Havana's Plaza de la Revolucion
on the eighth anniversary of the Cuban revolution--live)

(Text)  Honored guests, comrades of our party Central Committee, workers:
Today nature has been benevolent.  Although depriving us of the possibility
of seeing our air force pass by, it has given us a cool day with plenty of
clouds.  With respect to you it will mean that you will suffer less from
the heat, because some have asked me:  "How is it possible to stand it for
very long on a speakers stand?"  It would be even more interesting to know
how it is possible to stand it for so long in a crowd as large as this one.
(laughter and applause)  There are people whom we know have come to the
Plaza de la Revolucion in some cases before daybreak to occupy a place
close to the parade of the speakers stand.  (Someone calls:  "I have been
here since last night.")  Since last night?  There is one who says that he
has been here since last night.  (Castro laughs and then crowd laughs)
From what I can see there are many who have been here since last night.
Well, do not go to sleep (laughter), you who have been here since last
night.  (laughter and shouting)

Eight years ago today there was a revolutionary seizure of power.
(applause)  This means eight years of revolutionary power.  Many of you
remember those days in January.  Many of those present also, obviously
young, possibly were not able to undergo the experience of those days and
of the times that preceded them.  However, when that event took place eight
years ago perhaps very few in the world imagined the importance that it
would have in the times to come.  Perhaps many thought that it was one more
of the many "revolutions," perhaps many thought that is would end as many
of the revolutions generally ended in the countries of our continent, that
the revolutionaries would become bourgeois, that enthusiasm would last only
a few months, and that the men who had promoted and impelled that
revolution would not be long in retreating, enriching themselves, and
dedicating themselves to politicking.

At the end of eight years we can become aware of how that revolution
differed from the other so-called revolutions, how a true revolution in all
its meaning was taking place.  Today this event has acquired importance
that goes beyond the borders of our country.  It has importance in all of
Latin America.  It has importance in the entire world.  There has been a
double influence of the revolution during these eight years.  First there
was an influence on the people themselves and then there was an influence
on other people.

Generally the revolution does not stop to review its accomplishments.  In
the past when any municipal mayor inaugurated a park he made more
propaganda than that made by the revolution for any of its many projects
worth millions of tens of millions of pesos that are constantly being
completed.  The difference lies in the fact that for the traditional
politician a project was not done by the people, it was done by him.  But
for the revolution a project is not done by the government leaders, it is
done by the people.  (applause)  The people work without stopping to
contemplate what has been done but rather they think of what has yet to be

However, if we glance at things, the changes, and the events that have
taken place during these eight years from the point of view of the problems
that directly interest and affect the life of the people, the distance
traveled has been great in the field of economy as in the field of culture,
or the field of services.

Some figures are very eloquent as to what a revolution can mean for the
life of a country.  For example, the rate of persons who die annually per
thousand inhabitants.  Here is a figure that no slanderer or detractor of
our revolution can deny and it is a fact that in our country there used to
die annually 13 persons per thousand inhabitants.  This is according to
figures accepted by the United Nations.  In our country at this time this
figure of deaths per year has declined to 6.8 persons per thousand
inhabitants.  (applause) This means that as a result of the revolutionary
phenomenon and the change in conditions for the people every passing year
means more lives saved than all the lives that were lost during all the
long period of the revolutionary struggle (applause)

This is not all.  The rate is the lowest in all of Latin America.  This is
even, as we understand it, lower than that of Canada, a country whose
considerable development you know.  Other countries of those who are closer
to us but with a higher mortality level than ours, that is a mortality rate
higher than ours, are Argentina with 8 per thousand and Costa Rica with
8.9.  Chile, for example, has 12.  This means that from 13--one of the
countries that had a high rate--it has been reduced to 6.8.  Something
similar has happened with infant mortality, with children who die during
their first year.  Before the revolution more than 60 per thousand died.
At this time this figure has been reduced to 37.  Other countries of those
who are nearer to us, such as Costa Rica, have 51.3; no, Costa Rica has
77.6--Argentina has 61, Chile has 111 per thousand, a figure three times
greater than Cuba's.

As a result of better living conditions for the people, the incredible
development of our medicine, as a result of the network of hospitals which
have been built and developed throughout the entire country and which have
increased the number of beds from 20,000 to more than 40,000 during these
years of revolution, as a result of systematic campaigns against epidemics
and as a result of preventive measures, a net result of the revolution is
that our country today has, our people have, one of the--not one of the
best--but the best medical service of all the countries of Latin America.
Any citizen regardless of where he lives (applause) whether he be a worker,
a peasant who lives in a remote area, has an immense feeling of security
because of this, the assurance that in any hospital created by the
revolution he will receive the best medical care than can be given, better
than received previously by a privileged minority in the country.

Educational services, not only the total eradication of illiteracy but the
follow-up courses, the hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the
country who are struggling to reach the sixth grade (Castro does not
complete thought).  We could ask, for example, how many are taking
improvement courses in this crowd?  How many are struggling to reach the
sixth grade?  As a comrade said, practically everybody, because others have
already passed the sixth and others are taking other courses.  There is not
a single place in the country that has no schools, no teachers.  There is
not a single child without that opportunity, that splendid change to
educate himself.  Our universities grow.  The number of technical
institutes that have been created is also impressive.  Tens and tens of
thousands of workers and young students are taking courses in technical

The makeup of our student mass changed.  The number of students who today
devote themselves to technical and scientific careers is considerably
larger, percentage wise, than it was in the past.  The number of
scholarship students who have all their expenses paid while they study to
become engineers, doctors, or to become middle-level technicians, or to
take secondary and university courses and in many cases primary education,
exceeds 150,000 by an ample margin and will reach 200,000 young people and
children in this year or 1967.  (applause)

Could such educational reality perhaps be compared with the past, where a
few hundred children or young people received this opportunity, and with a
lot of publicity at that?  In some schools, and of course in the famous
(?Welfare) House, one had to be an orphan, one had to be an orphan to
receive a scholarship, to receive some help, and of course not all the
orphans, nothing like that.  Only as insignificant part of the orphans
could receive those benefits.  That is why today we can declare that in our
country there are no orphans any longer (applause) just as there are no
longer any beggars in our country.  Nobody will encounter, as in times gone
by, tens or hundreds or thousand of elderly people sleeping in doorways,
holding out their hands to live from charity, nor will they meet wandering,
neglected children in the streets.

How could this be compared, how could the former teacher training system be
compared with the system created by the revolution, a system that already
during these past two years has graduated the first groups, which in these
past few years receives the no-less-than 7,000 youths every year who begin
to study for a teaching career?  Likewise, thousands and thousands of women
have become nurses or nurses aids.  The number of persons who work in
public health, who have been trained in the revolution's schools, has
increased several times over the number of those existing before the

Services in general, communications and transportation progress.

Speaking of transportation, our country can now show a merchant fleet
(applause) whose tonnage is more than six times greater than that which
existed before the revolution.  This island, which depends primarily on
trading its products with the rest of the world, this island practically
had no merchant fleet.  Today it has an already considerable number of
large merchant ships which, flying the flag of our country, sail on all
the seas of the world.  (applause)  And that program will continue, will
continue to develop to the fullest extent of our possibilities.  But is is
not only a merchant marine which has been developed.  We are developing a
gigantic fishing fleet (applause) and there are some indications, some
facts which are encouraging.  For example, there is this message we have
received--it is one of the messages received--from the crew of one of our
travelers.  It says:  "The Cuban crew of the motor fisherman Guasa together
with the Soviet specialists who on such an important date find ourselves
(applause) more than 4,700 miles from our country, greet you and our people
on this new anniversary of our unconquerable socialist revolution.

"We feel, after completing our work off Patagonia, where from the depths of
the ocean we wrest food so that our people will be the best fed in the
world, that our hearts have left us and are there in the midst of the
warmth of that great assembly of the Cuban people to tell them with pride
(applause, to tell all of them, that we have exceeded our goal of 450 tons
of fish (applause) in less than the time planned, and to confirm for you
that our invincible flag will wave over the oceans of the world proclaiming
to all that we children of a small but brave country know how to perform
our duty wherever the country sends us (applause) to obtain through our
sacrifice one more encouragement for our people.  We let you know in the
name of all the Cuban sailors and Soviet specialists who work together that
we say 'for whatever it may be, wherever, however it may be, commander in
chief give us your orders!'  Long live the Communist Party of Cuba!
(applause)  Long live the eighth anniversary of our invincible socialist
revolution!  Fatherland or death!  Fishing, we will also win!"  (prolonged
applause) Cuban fisherman off Patagonia nearly 5,000 miles from home.  Who
would have thought that, after eight years of revolution?  Cuban fishermen
on Cuban travelers fishing for codfish off Greenland in the glacial seas,
after eight years of revolution.  Who would have thought that?  Cuban
fishermen in the Pacific Ocean, who would have thought that?  Who would
have thought it of a country which in spite of its insular condition only
had little boats, mostly rowboats for fishing on the banks off our coasts?

Many thought that since there was no tradition of fishing on the open seas,
an ocean-fishing tradition, it would be impossible for our country quickly
to have crews, workers of the sea capable of adapting to this work and
performing these tasks.  That is why we have this more than justified
optimism, because everything, everything that may be wanted, anything of
which any people or any man is capable no matter how difficult it may seem,
our people our workers will also be capable of doing.  That is why in these
days, dozens of boats with their crews--it is estimated that they number
some 2,000 men--have spent this Christmas and year's end fishing in the
oceans (applause) not only fishing but fishing with spirit, fervor, pride,
revolutionary consciousness!  In the same way, these days, many units of
our merchant fleet were also serving on various oceans.

That is why in the name of all the people, to our ocean fishermen, to the
crews of our growing merchant fleet, our warmest congratulations today
(applause) and although they are far from their country, and although, as
they say, their hearts are here with the people, I can say to them that the
hearts of the people, or if you like, the heart of the people, is also with
them today.  (Prolonged applause)

Today, after eight years, sports activities are engaged in by the immense
majority of the people, who participate in them directly, and by all the
people in the sense that they enjoy them in one form or another.  Some even
swore that the disappearance of professional sports would end sports, would
take away the best incentives from sports.  The incentive in sports was the
possibility of getting a contract abroad for tens of thousands of dollars,
of obtaining large salaries as professionals.  Professional sports were
abolished, particularly in that sport which was the most popular, baseball.
And it was never dreamed that such an enormous mass of citizens would
engage in that sport, and that such extraordinary quality could be achieved
in such a short time.  However, the most interesting thing is that never
had a professional athlete whose business was sports played with such
enthusiasm, with such integrity, with so much courage, as is shown by our
athletes who are not professionals.  This is a lesson, a lesson not only in
sports, it is also a political lesson that shows how a better man can be
trained without necessarily having no place in the mind of each man and
women of the country the vulgar idea of money.

And this fact of sports shows that the man that we must try to train in the
revolution must not be a man similar to the capitalist who, whatever he
did, good or bad, he did always with the idea with the peso in mind.  And
we must train a people who withdrew more from that type of man every day or
we shall never manage to train that superior man capable of living in
communism.  (applause)

The understanding, every day greater, that the masses have of this problem
in encouraging.  In sports, I continue, enormous successes have been
achieved.  In the year just past the Central American Games took place and
everybody knows the most outstanding, surprising role played by our
athletes in those games.  Games were also held in Mexico City and the role
played by our athletes was brilliant.  And our athletes are respected and
are taken into consideration in any international event.  Recently the
chess tournament was held and to judge by the opinion of all the
participants, no event of that nature had been so well organized, was so
enthusiastically managed, that never anywhere had they found such massive
participation by the people in such a sport, or what we could call mental

Physical education will be taught in practically all schools and thousands
of athletic instructors, who will continue to promote sports and physical
education to the limits of their possibilities in our country, will come
out of the Physical Education Institute of the National Institute for
Sports, Physical Education, Recreation.

Our armed forces which you saw parade a few minutes ago (applause) with
incredible perfection and soldierliness, with absolute mastery of their
weapons and movements, that army was only eight years ago the army of
bearded guerrillas who arrived in the capital in January.  (applause)  It
is the army of bearded guerrillas (applause) whose first columns under the
command of our glorious majors, Camilo Cienfuegos and Ernest Guevara
(prolonged applause) on that 1 January, in the name of the revolution,
seized the two most powerful fortresses which maintained that government.
Bearded men, among whom there was not a single one who had ever studied in
a military academy.  That army in these eight year of constant progress, of
constant confrontation, constant tension, through its courses, its schools,
has been training thousands and thousands of cadres.  It has been
developing a most efficient organization.  It has been creating--with the
revolutionary concept of the defense of the country, the concept that all
the people must be and are guardians of the country, soldiers of the
country--the army that today is capable of encompassing and leading all the
combatant people in its ranks in case of an aggression.

In only eight years, only eight years, there have been great changes of a
social order.  In only eight years as a result of the first laws of the
revolution an immense part of the population no longer pays rent for
housing.  (applause) And we could also ask here how many of those here
present because of the urban reform law no longer have to pay rent?  Let
them raise their hands.  It is practically a majority of the population.

And in the years ahead, as we have explained on other occasions, by virtue
of this same law and by virtue of new laws which are proposed in the
future, by 1970 no family will pay rent.  I refer naturally to the families
which comply with the regulations and the laws.  In other words, we are
completely changing the individualistic concept of life, the individualist
concept of goods necessary to man, the individualistic concept of money,
for superior concepts, for a concept which will bring to human society
incomparably greater benefits, for a collective concept of needs and goods.

The most impressive and encouraging fact in our revolutionary process is
that the people, because they understand the revolution better each year,
have not lost their enthusiasm in these eight years.  Each passing year
their revolutionary interest, their enthusiasm, and their fervor increase
instead of decreasing. (applause)

If our mass ceremonies are not bigger, it is because it is physically
impossible.  It is because there is no place where a bigger crowd can
gather nor is there any way to speak to a bigger crowd.  Many times we here
experience a curious phenomenon.  It is that after a few seconds, or a
single second, after uttering a few phrases from this tribune, we hear them
returning from the loudspeakers in the background.  I understand that sound
travels at a speed of--I can't remember exactly, I believe that the
comrades in the air force who handle supersonic equipment can remind
me--but (yells from the crowd) some 330 meters a second.  340, said a
worker, certainly in the advanced courses, (applause) or better, who is
already in the university, studying engineering (applause).  Since from
here to where the most distant microphones are, there is perhaps somewhat
more than this distance, two seconds after ending here, the echo returns
from there.  It is difficult and many times it is a technical miracle to be
able to get good reception.  I imagine all the loudspeakers simultaneously
take part, but when this one here is reproducing the beginning of a word,
that one there is still on the last part of the last word, (applause).

It becomes almost impossible at the end of eight years of revolution.  But
this effort we have been talking about would lack a basis without the
effort in a difficult field of our economy.  (Not further explained--ed.)
We can also say that after only 8 years after the victory of the
revolution, new and gigantic thermoelectric plants have been inaugurated
and are already serving our country.  (applause)

Our textile industry, our steel industry, our machine industry, in these
years have already been able to count on new and large units.  In many
other fields numerous investments are being carried out, such as in the
glass manufacturing industry, the cement industry, the fertilizing
industry, and other products which in future years will be able to count on
new and large units.  In many other fields numerous investments are being
carried out, such as in the glass manufacturing industry, the cement
industry, the fertilizer industry, and other products which in future years
will be able to count on modern production units.  And all this in spite of
the fact that one of the most difficult problems for industrialization is
the lack of technical personnel, the lack of engineers, the lack of highly
qualified workers, on whose training the revolution has worked hard these

By 1968, cement-producing units needed for the economic and social
development of our country will be completed.  This will almost duplicate
the amount of cement which was produced when the revolution became
victorious.  These plants have been under construction for years--planning,
the purchase of the machinery, and the installations, for the populace as
well as the military.  But the time when we can have twice the amount of
cement, which we have been counting on up to now is not too far off.  All
types of construction, social, economic, are made with cement.

Housing units are limited by the amount of cement.  The agriculture
installations are restricted.  We need cement for all this, in addition to
that which we need for fortifications in the defense of our country.  Great
works such as the fishing port, which you all know, with all its shops, and
costing some 37 million pesos, are finished.  (applause)  We have a base
from which to support the development of our fishing fleet.  In other
ports, as Cienfuegos, gigantic installations for shipping bulk sugar are
being constructed.  Cities like Cienfuegos and Nuevitas are being changed
and converted to become important industrial centers of the nation as a
result of investments which are being made there, taking into consideration
the characteristics of those ports.

But the biggest effort, the most gigantic effort, is the one being made in
the field of agriculture and some of the achievements are great.  You will
recall that for the year 1965, the goal of reaching a total of 60 million
eggs was set, with 4 million laying hens.  However, all calculations fell
short.  That goal was overfulfilled.  Nevertheless, though we have 4
million hens on the state farms and production is over the 70
million-average, in 1965, toward the end of the year, we set certain

However, this year, we did not have to set any kind of restrictions in any
month of the year, because this year, right now, there are 5.8 million
laying hens (applause) without counting the peasants' own poultry.  In
other words, 5 million hens which will maintain an average production above
the 90 million-egg average a month.  This is a demonstration of what can be
done with good organization, with the use of good methods, and, with
qualified personnel in any production line of the economy.

In livestock raising, impressive goals have also been reached in the use of
methods.  Just 20 months ago we only had 60,000 head of cattle in the
artificial insemination plan, and at the end of last month, at the end of
the year, we had 1.2 million cattle in this plan.  (applause)  The plan
will continue to be developed, and it will improve our livestock herds in
the coming years and allow us to reach high milk and meat production
levels, thus emulating the fishermen who are trying to raise their
production levels.

If there are enormous riches in the seas which still remain unexploited and
from which the people can obtain food, the potential riches of our land, of
our fields, are perhaps immense.  All this at the end of eight years of
revolution, because we believed that on the victory of the revolution there
existed only two or three insemination technicians, but according to recent
reports of the comrades heading that work, at the victory of the
revolution, there was not a single technician.  At present we have 2,000.
(applause) We will have 5,000 in 1970.  (applause) The number of cattle in
the plans for the end of this year should come close to 2 million.

Of course the effects of these efforts cannot be seen immediately.  An
effort of this magnitude could not be made at the beginning of the
revolution since we did not have the technical personnel.  The technicians
have been trained.  In this field, with this force, the program has been
increased many times over; it has been multiplied, and in the
not-too-distant future we will begin to see the results of that work.

For hydraulic works in the next two years, for clearing of land, for road
construction, more equipment will be received in only two years than had
been received since the founding of the republic.  You can calculate what
this means to the progress of our agriculture.  Calculate it, for instance,
on the basis of the fact, that next year some 15,000 caballerias of cane
and some 20,000 caballerias of artificial pastureland will be planted.  In
other words 35,000 caballerias will be devoted to these two items alone,
without regard to the increases in all the other items of agriculture.  In
some of them, such as the cultivation of fruits, remember that on the Isle
of Pines alone we will have planted by next year more citrus fruit trees
than Israel, one of the biggest world exporters of citrus fruits, now has.
(applause)  Think that a similar plan, a plan of the same magnitude, is
being carried out in the western part of the province of Pinar del Rio.

This means there are two plans of such magnitude, aside from the plans
which are being carried out along this line on the rest of the island.

The quantity of new lands which will go into production next year will
greatly exceed that of earlier years.  There will not remain a single
caballeria of land which has not been fertilized, but not only the
canefields, the pasturelands, and the fruit and vegetable crops will
require fertilizer.  For coffee alone in this period this year more than
100,000 tons of fertilizer will be used.  Before the revolution, no peasant
used fertilizer.  Before the revolution, no coffee plantation knew what a
pound of fertilizer was.  Today, now that it is a generalized practice, now
that the peasants have become aware of its importance, in view of the
incredible effects of fertilizer on coffee, their coffee plantations have
been, --as they say.  Coffee plantations which were practically
unproductive, now appear like new, they say.

But is it not only the coffee plantations which will receive these 105,000
tons of fertilizer, or will already have been receiving them since last
October and continue receiving them up to June.  Between 1967 and 1968, as
many coffee plants will be planted as the present total now on all the
coffee plantations of the country.  (applause)  This means that not only
will we be able to meet our needs on a level double what was consumed
before the revolution, but we shall have a surplus to create another
currency, the coffee currency.

This is possible because of another phenomenon of the revolution.  That is
the incorporation of women into the working force.  It would be impossible
to carry out this plan without the tens of thousands of women who will care
for the coffee nurseries, because the plantations to be created in 1967 and
1968 are now being prepared in the nurseries.  Tens of thousands of women
must work on them and how, in the midst of the sugar harvest, could we
carry out such a program without the incorporation of women into the labor
force?  We were slow in seeing this, but the fact that it was realized is
another phenomenon of the revolution.  It permits us to develop many other
plans for which we would lack the labor force.

In eight years of revolution more than 300 million timber-yielding trees
have been planted--more than 300 million in a country where capitalism had
(?plundered) the timber, where capitalism had not planted a single tree so
that now we have to import large quantities of timber, and also pulp for
our books and newspapers.  Despite this fact, with these plans the time is
not too distant when we shall begin to cut the first of these trees, whose
growth we are going to hasten though the application of fertilizers.

We believe that between now and 1970 we can have nearly a billion
lumber-producing trees--all planted by the revolution in those years.
(applause)  One billion, which will be close to 50,000 caballerias--50,000
caballerias of land reforested anew, where not a single tree had been left.
(applause)  Even if it is true that we will not enjoy the fruit of these
efforts, the people--today's children and youth--in the coming years will
understand and be grateful for the effort made by the revolution to enrich
our land, to increase our natural resources, to preserve our soils.  They
will look upon this with gratitude, just as we see today with the sadness
of pained hearts that no one previously worried about planting a tree in
this country, so that today when we need lumber, a large part of it must be
imported.  And sometimes it is hard to get it in the market.

New products, crops which had never been planted in our country on a large
scale--like strawberries, grapes, asparagus,and onions--are being developed
at an incredible pace.  We will continue the development of our
agricultural products, some of them to maintain certain traditions like the
cultivation of grains and especially the cultivation of rice.  Also our
production of cotton is being increased considerably.  Legumes are being
introduced for agriculture and livestock raising.  The production of beans
will also be increased with the introduction of new methods, and eventually
there will not be a single area of agriculture--within our national
potentialities--that has not been developed.

In the Oriente mountains this coming spring a total of 200 caballerias of
summer vegetables will be planted.  These are vegetables that could not be
planted in the plans except in these months.  All of you have seen that
tomatoes and other vegetables have been raised during these months--the
reason being that they cannot be planted in the plains during the spring
months.  However, soils with special microclimates have been chosen and
this coming summer there will be an abundance of vegetables as a result of
this effort.  This year, we will have a good harvest.

This year we will surpass the sugar production of any of the past 5 years.
The comrades from the Sugar Ministry have generally made conservative
estimates on this since if they make a mistake they prefer that there be
more sugar than estimated, rather than less than estimated.  The fact that
in December we produced more than 300,000 tons of sugar is heartening.
(applause)  It is heartening, the fact that even though the harvest was
started toward the end of November, the percent of yield in sugar has
been about 10, which shows us that, by working with good fertilizers and
choosing early maturing canes we can begin the harvest practically in the
middle of November.  Because some sugarcane had already more than a
10-percent yield level by the end of October.  This will allow us to use
our sugar installations and transport facilities approximately six months,
and at the same time it will allow us to fulfill our ambitious sugar
production goal for 1970.  Some 50 new collection centers will soon begin
operation in Camaguey, thus increasing the yield.

In other words, in all the areas there is an enormous increase in
agriculture production that will guarantee the complete success of our
revolution.  We hope by 1970 to double farm production as it stood in 1959
when the revolution triumphed.  This increased production will benefit the
entire population on an equal basis.

I have forgotten to point out to you the special efforts which are being
made also in the cultivation of tobacco, production of which will be
increased considerably and for which there are magnificent markets
throughout the world.  The outlook in this field is very good for our
country.  Along with the development of agriculture is the development of
the machinery industry--the production of farm machinery--to enable us to
mechanize even more our farming, so that we may never run short of
manpower--that we may never lack the manpower necessary for the fulfillment
of our plans.  We must mention something which Comrade Carlos Rafael
Rodriguez told us.  (applause)  He represented our country at the FAO
conference in Uruguay.  He said that all Latin American countries have
jointly received 125 million (no currency designation given--ed.) in
foreign loans for agricultural development, an amount equal to that loaned
to all of the other Latin American countries put together!  (applause)
(This has been in the form of--ed.) equipment which has been supplied by
the socialist camp and material which has also reached us from countries in
the capitalist camp.

What is happening in Latin America?  In recent years, there has been a
slump in food production.  Today, Latin American countries are producing
four percent less than they were producing a few years ago.  This is a sad
reality--four percent less per capital.  It is a sad reality which many of
these sister people are enduring--it is a veritable retrogression in
something as basic as agriculture--the production of food.  Just imagine,
if we invest in farm machinery and in farming in general foreign aid in the
amount reaching a total of that invested by all Latin American countries,
how can we help but reduce each year more and more our infant mortality,
our mortality rate in general, and how can we help but increase the
people's longevity.  I was saying that along with this farm development is
the development of the farm machinery industry and the fertilizer industry.
A few days ago I explained to technological students how, by 1971
approximately, or 1972, we will be using in our farming more nitrogen than
is being used today in the farming done in one of the most agriculturally
developed countries in Europe--France--with a population about seven times
greater than ours.

Consider the levels of technology and production we will reach in our
fields.  Imagine, in addition, what can happen if we add to this a vast
program of hydraulic projects and dams to expand our irrigated lands so
that our agriculture does not have to be dependent on the quirks of nature.
This data is taken from Professor de Maulon, a competent French author and
an expert in agriculture.  We have taken from his writings the figures on
the total amount of synthetic nitrogen being used in France.  Now what is
the enemy doing?  Can we do this perhaps comfortably, without problems,
without hidrance?  No!  We are doing it while overcoming tremendous
difficulties.  We are doing it while facing tremendous (?obstacles) derived
from the criminal policy of Yankee imperialism.

To give you an idea of this, here is a dispatch date lined today referring
to the problems of the fertilizer industry written by Lewis Gulik.  This
gentleman will forgive me if I do not know how to pronounce his name in
English more correctly--the dispatch reads as follows:

"Washington, 1 January, AP--The British are reported today to be
considering offering a credit guarantee for Cuban purchase of a large
fertilizer plant from Britain.  U.S. officials circles have said the matter
is being discussed with the British and apparently a final decision has not
been reached.  The United States strongly opposes such a transaction
because it feels it would punch a big hole in the continuing U.S. effort to
quarantine Fidel Castro's communist regime.  Washington has sought to keep
an economic squeeze on Castro to foster internal pressures against his
rule, make it more expensive for the communist bloc to support him, and
demonstrate to other Latin Americans that communism is not the road to
higher living standards."

What cynicism!  What cynicism!  They believe that with this (?method), that
is, through pressure, blockading, and hampering to the maximum the effort
of a small underdeveloped country such as ours, they are going to
demonstrate that communism is not the road to higher living standards.
What it demonstrates is the cynicism, the shamelessness, the criminal
spirit of the imperialists, the arrogance of the imperialists.  (applause)

What it shows is quite the contrary.  It shows that the enemy who opposes a
higher standard of living for the people is imperialism, that the enemy of
development of the underdeveloped nations is not communism, but
imperialism.  It is this imperialism which openly practices such a criminal
policy as to try by all means to prevent a small underdeveloped country,
which they exploited for 50 years, from achieving a higher standard of
living for the people.  (applause)

It demonstrates that it is not communism which opposes the development of
trade among the various countries--a trade so beneficial to all.  It is not
communism which hampers development because capitalism never concerned
itself with establishing a fertilizer plant in our country.  All it ever
did in one of its many deals with the Batista men was to attempt to build a
tiny factor to produce 30,000 tons of ammonium nitrate.  This was not
completed.  Only now, after many difficulties in acquiring the needed
machinery and the necessary technology will this factor begin to produce
this year.  The entire aspiration of capitalism was 30,000 tons of nitrate
of ammonium.  A million tons is the aspiration of the revolution, as a
minimum--in other words, more than 30 times more.

Imperialism did not concern itself, nor did it concern itself with
developing a fertilizer industry to feed our people.  Now it is concerned
with doing something unspeakable--exercising strong pressure to impose its
policy on another country, which needs trade, in order to prevent industry
from being developed in Cuba to feed our own people.

The dispatch continues:  "The British who need world trade in order to
survive, pursue a general policy of disassociating foreign trade from
political goals, and in the past they have sold Cuba buses and other items.
It is believed that official U.S. circles were informed by the British a
few weeks ago that Britain is considering a five-year credit guarantee for
the fertilizer plant which the Cuban Government is interested in acquiring.
It has been said that the Castro government wants to allot up to 30 million
dollars for chemical fertilizer facilities that would bolster the country's
agricultural output.

"From the British viewpoint, Cuba's finances may be strong enough to
justify an operation of this nature.  In a general way, U.S. official
circles, which up to now have been successful in their efforts to prevent
the concession of credits from noncommunist countries to Castro, claim that
this deal by Britain would be a temptation for more western credits to be
granted the Havana Government.  These circles feel that if the Western
Governments offer guarantees for these credits, the Castro government will
find Western firms much more inclined to sell it what is needs."

Credits to Castro!  As if Castro were going to consume the chemical
fertilizer produced by a fertilizer plant!  In this way they try to conceal
their real intention, which is to deprive the people of these resources,
deprive our people of these resources.  What do they care if some child has
less milk that he should, or an old Cuban receives less than a good diet
requires from what our agriculture and our work are able to provide!

This is the cynical admission of a policy that consists of trying to spread
hunger among the masses and, by means of the blockade, to destroy a
revolutionary regime.  That is what the imperialists expect to do--spread
hunger among the masses.  But they are mistaken.  In the first place, they
will not succeed in spreading hunger; and in the second place, rather than
starving to death--and we will not starve--we prefer to die fighting
imperialism (applause) anywhere in the world, anywhere in the world.

Those who fail to understand why the peoples must make common cause, why
revolutionary movements must make common cause, can find a good example in
this, because no country can live in peace, no country can enjoy the fruits
of its work, no country can aspire to build its future in peace if Yankee
imperialism is not defeated.  (applause)  One today, another
tomorrow--Yankee imperialism has helped the peoples acquire an
internationalist awareness.

To the same degree that we have a common enemy, we acquire an awareness of
the duty and necessity of practicing logical internationalism and the
reason for Cuba's policy, the reason for our revolution's foreign policy,
and the reason for that firm, invariable policy of supporting the
revolutionary movement in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  (applause)

And we know this policy interprets the feelings of our revolutionary
people, our people's revolutionary, internationalist calling.  And if
evidence were lacking, we could ask this crowd whether or not they agree
with that policy--the foreign policy, and the internationalist policy of
our people, our government, and our party.  (shouts from crowd, then
applause)  That is to say, nobody can claim that a group of men, solidly
integrated with the people, the leaders of the revolution, who are
completely identified with the people, interpret the feelings, the will,
and the conscience of the people.  We are very fortunate that our people
have been able to acquire this awareness in the short period of eight
years.  Therefore, were someone to ask about the greatest effect the
revolution had had, whether it is one of the aforementioned successes, we
would say not, that the most extraordinary result of this revolution has
been the incredible revolutionary sense which it has given to the people.

Today the imperialists attack one country and tomorrow another, or several
simultaneously.  They are sworn enemies of the people.  They are the sworn
enemies of the people's well-being.  Will the success in persuading the
British Government to their way of thinking?  We doubt it.  We do not
believe they will have any success, however much pressure they may bring to
bear.  Why?  Because no country can forego trade, because such a policy is
criminal, because such a policy is absurd.  Such a policy creates conflicts
and problems in the world, and no sovereign nation will tolerate such

For your information, we should say that they have also been exerting
pressure on the Italian Government.  They have been pressuring Italian
firms, for we are negotiating with several countries.  Many are interested
in selling us fertilizer plants (applause).  We are planning to install at
least three such plants within the next four or five years.  They will have
a capacity of production at least 200,000 tons of ammonia annually.  This
does not include the plant which will be built in Neuvitas and which was
purchased in France through the Soviet Union (applause).

Europe is constantly seeking to become more independent of the United
States, and many people in Europe have faith in Cuba.  Many want to sell
their products to Cuba.  Those 100,000 tons of for the coffee crop, the
program to fertilize all canefields this year with an eye to the 1968
harvest, has been made possible by European firms selling us fertilizer and
giving us credit for the purchase of fertilizers.  Talks have even been
held on the possibility of giving us credit not just for one year, but for
two years.  We would then have sufficient fertilizer for everything: for
our canefields, something for our pastureland, our orchards, vegetable
crops, and for our grain crops, and we would not die of starvation.  That
imperialist stupidity, that criminal imperialist policy will not win over
Europe's vital need to trade with the world.

There is something which the European countries are learning from the Cuban
example:  it is that if there are revolutions in Latin America, they have
very little to lose, and much to gain from them (applause).  Yankee
imperialism holds economic sway over this continent.  It receives
preferential tax treatment and it imposes the trade conditions.  Many of
these Latin American countries have to go to Europe in search of dollar
currency to pay for Yankee merchandise and at Yankee interest.

Cuba's example is teaching Europe that revolutionary independence, that is,
the independentist and liberating revolution of the Latin American nations
is to industrialized Europe's advantage (applause).  The European countries
must not be deceived by the imperialists.

In reality, the revolution in Latin America affects the interests of the
imperialist monopolies in Latin America.  It does not affect the people,
but the U.S. imperialist monopolies.  Nor does it affect the people of the
United States, because the people of the United States are a victim of
those same monopolies, of their wars, of their savagery, of their crimes.
I do not mean the people, because the people of the United States, without
imperialism, could also benefit from the revolutionary process in the
underdeveloped world.  But the people of the United States are victims of
that imperialism, and even if the people of the United States are not
ready to liberate themselves from imperialism, Europe is ready to liberate
itself from that hateful and repugnant Yankee tutelage.

It is not in vain, that the imperialists are hated in every part of the
world.  Everyone knows the Yankee imperialists are hated in Cuba, Vietnam,
Korea--but is is a universal hate.  One can talk to a Greek and he hates
the Yankee imperialists.  One can talk to a Frenchman and he hates the
Yankee imperialists.  One can talk to a Spaniard and he has a fierce hatred
for Yankee imperialism.  They are tired of being humiliated, or marines
committing crimes and abuses everywhere.  And that is why we are calm,
undisturbed, because we know that Europe will not give in to the pressures
of the Yankee imperialists.

A little rain is threatening (shouting in the background)  You will decide
if I stop here.  Well then, we will get wet.  (The crowd shouts "no")
Remember.  (applause)  This is what the revolution has done.  How has it
done it?  By what methods?  How has this awareness been created?  How is
the process being carried out, through what road?  In those eight years,
the unity of all the revolutionary people was produced.  In those eight
years...(some interruption takes place and crowd begins shouting)  Look, do
not worry.  Do not worry.  I am going to tell you something.  One thing.
Look there is something I want to tell you.  (crowd still shouting)  Let us
see how much rain you can stand without moving. (Castro laughs)  Let us see
those of fatherland or death in this downpour.  It is all right that the
planes cannot fly because of a little rainfall, but that we cannot have our
rally because of a downpour, that is not acceptable.  Furthermore, this is
good for the pasturelands.  Because we are going through a drought period.

I was telling you that--I was telling you that this had been achieved
because of the peoples' unity.  Did the nation perhaps have an organization
which united all the revolutionary force?  No!  One of the important things
of the revolution during these eight years was that it united into an
organization all the revolutionary forces and created for the people an
apparatus of unity and revolutionary guidance.

And here in our Central Committee are represented the men not from the
organizations, because we no longer talk about the old organizations, but
the men who in one front or another fought for the revolution.  They fought
for the revolution ideas.  The people became united, their forces became
united, an organization was founded.  That organization was founded at the
same time that an awareness was being created in the masses, and this has
been one of the things that has made possible the peoples' advancement.

Never in the history of our land have we had greater unity--a revolutionary
union of classes--in other words, a unity among the humble, unity among the
oppressed, unity among the exploited.  This has been an important factor
and will continue to be in the future.  We have established a real
worker-peasant alliance.  Why?  Because it has been established upon a
revolutionary basis--on Marxist bases, on Leninist bases.  The peasants
were free from exploitation.  No mode of production outside o what they
were willing to do was imposed upon them.  They received free land.  They
ceased paying rent of any kind.  The peasantry, made up of more than
100,000 families in the rural areas and above all, in the country's
mountains, is a class that is solidly united to our proletarian class.

The revolution has helped them through all available means.  It has given
them credit.  It has given them roads.  It gives them facilities,
technology, medical attention, and educates them, and their children.  We
can say that at the conclusion of eight years, our working class has a
magnificent ally and a magnificent comrade in revolutionary arms in our
peasantry.  It has been the peasants, (applause) whose best representatives
are the members of the militia in the mountains, who liquidated the bandits
organized by the CIA.  (applause)  They are the ones who marched here today
in one of the units.

This solid alliance is indestructible because it is based on a
revolutionary policy--a policy which is really Marxist-Leninist.  These
peasants, whom the big landowners and the bourgeoisie tried to confuse by
telling them that they were going to take the land away from them, know and
have absolute confidence in the revolution.  They know that two agrarian
laws have been implanted, that this had to be done.  They know that in
future years there will be an evolutionary process. What do we do with a
peasant who has grown old and can no longer work?  We buy him out.  In many
instances, we will give him a certain amount of cash and also a pension.
What do we do when a peasant's sons are all studying technology?  We give
him money.  We help him.  What do we do in the case of a peasant whose land
has lost its usefulness due to erosion?  We buy him out.  In many
instances, we also give him a pension and we plant trees on his land.  Our
comrade, Pepe Ramirez, explained to us that more than 1,000 small ranches
have been acquired in the Sierra Maestra in this manner involving old
peasants whose sons are studying, whose lands are producing nothing because
of erosion.

How long will this process last, 20, 30, 40, or 50 years?  It will last
always, because each time that a peasant sells, we will buy his lands.
Nationally owned lands will be expanding on the basis of absolute respect
for the will of the peasants.  Compared to the peasant-style of production,
we have made a different kind of agrarian reform.  We have undertaken a new
kind of agrarian reform.  Lands consisting of the peoples' farms--the
national lands, the lands which belong to all of our society, the lands on
which our reforestation plans are being carried out, where great
large-scale plans are being implemented make up 60 percent of the land.  We
do not divide the latifundios, this would have been a suicidal measure for
the revolution.

None of the large-scale plans which we are carrying out would have been
possible.  We were not, however, going to turn the farming proletarian
class into peasants--this would have been a step backward.  This measure
has permitted us today to lay the social basis that allows us to think in
terms of the plans that we are carrying out.  We are simultaneously
working, however, with the small farmer.  We give him credit and technical
aid, and we try to increase his production capacity in such areas as the
growing of tobacco and coffee, in particular.

The peasants are also doing a great deal in the livestock industry.  We
have not encouraged the merging of lands held by the peasants.  Credit and
service cooperatives for the use of technology and the use of machinery
have spontaneously developed.  However, the will of these peasants has been
respected to the utmost.  Subjectively, their minds are more at ease, their
minds are developing.  We have a recent example in Pinar del Rio in a plan
which we are carrying out in a valley consisting of 300 caballerias where
900 families live.

We are carrying out there a technological development program in
production.  We are building schools and nurseries for all of the
population, for the children, the newborn, primary and secondary school
children.  On 28 January we shall have the satisfaction of inaugurating
several centers and two schools proposed in the plan.  The plan will be
completed by the end of the year so that all of the child population will
already be in school.  The children will have breakfast, lunch, and dinner
at school.  The primary and secondary school children will sleep at school.
They will go to the school centers from Monday to Friday.  In other words,
this community will be worthy of 1975.

Now here is a curious thing.  A piece of land was lacking to build a
nursery in a certain area, a piece of land to build the laundry for the
nursery.  And a bigger piece of land to build a bigger school.  It was
impossible to convince anyone to accept payment for the piece of land
needed for these.  (applause)  The people were aware that those projects
would benefit their children.  They benefited the whole community and the
subjective effect it had on these peasants is incredible, for there are
things in human society which are yet to be seen.  We must see how a human
society acts when the vital needs of the family are completely met, in the
best way, and when money increasingly loses its meaning.

There are those who (word indistinct) because there are two kinds of human
beings--the optimists and the pessimists.  We revolutionaries, in general,
are members of the optimists party.  The skeptics, those who do not believe
very much in man, join the party of the pessimists.  There are those who
believe that when a community like this one receives free housing and free
electricity, and their children receive clothing, shoes, food, and
everything else in school, and when money has less and less value, the
people will react by becoming lethargic, indifferent, and lazy.  There are
those who think that only the lash of necessity, only the lash of hunger
makes the human being work, makes the human being produce.  We, sincerely
affiliated with the group which believes in man, the group of optimists,
think that this is a very poor concept of the human being, and that those
who believe this are unaware of the great capacity of man for moral
development.  Because of this, he is a man and not an animal.  (applause)

We believe that the concept of work in changing.  We believe that man will
become ever better.  We believe that to the extent to which work ceases to
be a necessity, to prevent his children and wife from dying of hunger, to
the extent to which work ceases to be for man a means of exploitation, as
it has ceased to be in our country, to the extent to which man sees work as
a marvel which creates well-being, resources, and happiness, he will have a
higher concept of work and he will feel an ever-increasing love for work.

Therefore, we are not afraid.  Therefore, we are continuing on this road.
We have the right to be optimistic because what do those who do not believe
in the people say? What do those who believe people are moved by primitive
instincts say of this feeling of solidarity?  What do they say of the
generosity capable of making them offer to give their lives for other
people, as for instance, for the people of Vietnam?  (applause)

Only man is capable of this noble and general sentiment.  What cannot be
hoped for from man who is capable of giving even his life--the most
precious gift of a living creature--for someone else, because of a sense of
justice, and mortality?  How can we fail to expect better and higher things
from him?  We Cuban revolutionaries, who have participated in this
revolution, have acquired the right to be optimists.  We have an abundant
right to oppose the pessimists, because experience has confirmed that our
optimism is not unfounded, that our optimism is based on humanity, on the
capacity of the human being for moral and intellectual development.

We have said that we are Marxist-Leninists, and being a Marxist-Leninist
(applause) implies, first, taking from Marxism its creative essence, it
dialectic essence, its basic principles and applying them with a
revolutionary criterion, and applying them with a dialetic sense too, to
concrete reality.  We  the interpretations given by others
to their realities as concerns the form and manner of building socialism
and communism, as concerns the form and manner of applying Marxist ideas.

When we say Marxist-Leninist, as revolutionaries, we are adopting a
thoroughly revolutionary position and we are developing our paths, we are
developing our ways, we are applying the ideas to our situations, and it
must be said that we are optimistic, it must be said that we are pleased
with the way the revolution is progressing, the way awareness is
developing, the way our interpretation of Marxist-Leninist ideas is being
shown to be correct and the way evidence is being provided for the
importance that contact with the people has had for this revolution--the
close contact between the leadership and the masses, which is an
indispensable condition for the best progress of a revolutionary process.

That has taught us a great deal.  We have a people that have acquired great
awareness, a people that have acquired a great spirit and are developing
it, a people that share intensely in the problems and matters of concern, a
people with an extraordinary revolutionary vocation, an extraordinary
internationalist vocation that develops further every day.

These meetings have made their contribution during these eight years.  It
is well to speak of this too.  As the revolution progresses it is well for
us to analyze our great gatherings too.  These meetings do not lend
themselves well to calm reasoning.  That is very had; it is not always
attained.  These mass gatherings lend themselves more to agitating than to
reasoning.  One can discourse better in a theater; one can discourse better
at a meeting like the one at the university stairways.  It is not easy to
discourse, to create the conditions necessary for through analysis, at a
gathering of this size.

We stage many big functions.  Sometimes it is the young people--tremendous
gatherings--at Artemisa, at various place.  And we must begin modifying
some methods, in keeping with new situations.  I am going to give an
example:  military parades.  We are contemplating the advisability of
holding them at intervals of two years or longer.  Why is this?  You will
understand, because I am going to explain it to you.

We are engaged in a tremendous effort of national economic development,
centered chiefly on agriculture.  This spring we will mobilize 150,000
young people for six weeks in the fields.  We will mobilize tens of
thousands of soldiers; we will mobilize technicians.  This past year almost
30,000 soldiers and militia members or Oriente, after the hurricane that
hit the province--although it was not like Hurricane Flora, it did go
through the coffee-growing regions while the picking was in full swing (as
received--ed.).  It did not cause a disaster, luckily, but is did some
damage, it did some to the plantations.  We did not want that to affect our
program.  What did we do?  We mobilized almost 30,000 soldiers and militia
members for an immediate rehabilitation program of cleaning up and
fertilizing the coffee plantations.

This coming year, or rather this year, all these programs of planting
timber trees and coffee plants, in the various tasks, require a great deal
of manpower.  Soldiers are taking an increasing part.  The air force
comrades will be responsible for spreading by plane nitrogen fertilizer on
some 70,000 caballerias of cane.  The comrade army engineers are building
roads in Las Villas.  During this dry period they are even using their
equipment to help clear land.  Next year we will have more equipment;
military equipment will be for military purposes, but right now, the armed
forces' military equipment has also been used in agriculture, building
roads, and clearing land.

The comrades of the armed forces have to spend a great deal of time
preparing their parade, to achieve this martial air, this coordination.
All units and many cadres have to spend a great deal of time on it.  So
what should we do?  We are destroying many streets.  Those tanks are very
heavy.  Actually tanks are very destructive of sidewalks.  They use up
material, spare parts, fuel, and particularly, they use up the efforts of
our cadres and of our armed forces.  If we are going to devote our
undivided effort to increasing the creative work of the revolution, we
could hold the parades every other year, and then every three or four
years, or on the occasion of the 10th or the 15th anniversary (applause).

We are not going to stop commemorating this day.  But, for example, we
could have the worker-technological institutes or our technological
institutes in general, the young people who are studying and who are also
prepared for war, parade here next year.  We could alternate.  We have many
other things to exhibit.  Of course, we are proud of our armed forces, of
their discipline, and of their technological skills.  True, this shows the
enemy that we are not without weapons.  True, this encourages the people
and give them a greater sense of security.  But we must take these factors
into consideration, and our comrades could parade very two years, three
years, or whenever necessary.  One new little weapon did go by today.  It
was a new kind of rocket artillery.  The people know which one it was
because they have already seen it.  It is not necessary to mention the new
pieces here every time.  They know them.

We could show new agricultural equipment, sugarcane combines, weed
choppers.  In alternative years we could also parade all the advances we
have made in the mechanization of our agriculture (applause).  We believe
that you understand this and will certainly agree.

Mass meetings:  As I said, on the 28th we will initiate this plan in San
Andres.  We have asked our provincial comrades not to hold a big meeting.
It should only be large enough for the townspeople to attend.  More
(people--ed.) are not necessary, because things can be explained better
that way.  The young people do not have to hold such an enormous
mobilization every year.

This uses up resources, fuel, transportation, and effort.  We must devote
all these to the tasks of production and to the creative work of the
revolution.  We are no longer in the early years.  In the early years many
meetings were held.  We had to speak constantly over television and

Mass meetings on certain days:  of course, we have to meet on 1 May, 26
July, 2 January.  We remember many mass meetings that were held throughout
the years.  We also recall the tremendous effort--the effort required to
speak to a meeting of this size.  We have done this many times, but
the years change.  The years of agitation are receding and are gradually
giving way to reason and to profound analysis of our problems.  Many, many
ceremonies are held every year; (in my case) on 2 January, 1 May, 26 July,
28 September and many others.

We must also, I am not going to say suspend, commemorative ceremonies, but
is it necessary for the people and for ourselves to change the system a
little.  There have been eight years of revolution, seven years of struggle
against the Batista tyranny.  Some 15 years have passed in arduous
struggle, in exile, in the struggle in the mountains, in the struggle at
Giron, in the struggle against imperialism, the struggle against
everything.  This does not mean, however, that we are tired.  But we do
believe that we must increasingly distribute the tasks of the revolution.
Our revolution (background noise) has a magnificent aspect:  as it has
united, it has divided; as it has united the people, it has divided the
functions.  More cadres have arisen.  Although the tasks are many, although
a great many of our comrades from the land remained in our armed forces,
the comrades who participated in the struggle for the conquest of the land,
who had to remain there, there are ever more and more cadres.

I said that it united the people and divided functions among the various
men of the revolution.  Even this situation cannot go on forever.  We must
not only divide the administrative, political, military, and economic
tasks.  This task too, of orientation, of conversation with the people must
be shared.  This we can suggest: today, eight years since the revolution,
we must increasingly share the functions.  Each day must be filled with
collective-type work.  There must be ever more men prepared for all tasks.

It is the same with our gatherings.  Other comrades must come, too, to
speak.  (applause) One day it will be Fidel, another day Raul, another day
Comrade Dorticos, and other day, another comrade.  (shouting from the
crowd) Another day it will be Almeida (applause).  Another day it will be
Ramiro, another day it will by Guillermo, another day it will Armando
(crowd shouting), the Central Committee, in short, as you say.  Still
another day the slogans will change, and instead of the slogan "All With
Fidel," it will be "All With The Party!--All with the Central Committee of
the Party!  (applause)

We must get used to this.  Nothing can be more important, more healthy than
this.  And furthermore nothing is more equitable.  In what sense it is
fair?  In the sense that the comrades see it as a privilege to use the
rostrum?  No!  In another sense!  Because the comrades,many of the comrades
had to dedicate 15 years of the revolution to that daily practice.  How
much time to study during those 15 years?  Over the shoulders of a small
handful of leaders, a weighty decision has fallen.  We run the risk of
falling behind, we run the risk of being left behind, and the more the
functions are divided, the more collective experience will be accumulated.
The more the functions are divided among the comrades, the more time they
will be able to dedicate to their own individual training.  The worker is
trained, all the masses are trained, all the leadership should also be

There are some comrades in the armed forces who have had to study as
commander trainees for months.  Two comrades from the Political
Bureau--Comrades Almeida and Guillermo Garcia--have just finished a
year-long course (applause).  They have just finished a year-long course,
studying in a school in the mornings and afternoons.  They have been
studying military matters.  The leaders also have to study political
matters, and economic and technical matters.  Other comrades from the
bureau have had to study too.  Raul and Sergio del Valle have even planned
a course of study for this year.

And speaking of Raul, he asked me to ask you to forgive his absence here,
today, where he can take part (applause) and that is the comrades also take
part in sports and among them Comrade Raul (as received).  We believe this
is a good habit and he suffered a small--it is not a fracture or anything
of the sort--I believe that it is a--what do you call that?  (Castro speaks
to someone) a strain of the external ligament of the knee.  That is the
thing.  (applause)  This happens frequently.  You saw yesterday at the ball
game how two ball players were carried out on stretchers--Urbano and Tony
Gonazlez.  Since many of you also go to the stadium (Castro does not
complete sentence--ed.).  And that is why he has not been able to be here.
(someone shouts)  After a little while . . . .  (Castro pauses as someone
continues to shout)  These things which we are planning will mean an
advance, and the revolutionary leaders will also be able to dedicate more
time to their own training and new cadres will confront these tasks and

What I am saying reflects nothing more than the dialectic, dynamic, and
revolutionary spirit of this process, because we are not conservative even
in our habits.  We have been creative in our own revolution.  We have to
revolutionize our habits.  We must be perpetually revolutionary, and we
must remain revolutionary within the revolution.  We must improve ourselves

If we have dwelt on the successes we have achieved, on other occasions we
have also shouted out our criticism, our errors, and our difficulties.  Let
us not think that we have achieved it all.  Let us not think that all tasks
have been performed.  We will have progressively more tasks.  The contents
of the revolution will be progressively richer, its work more profound, and
its functions more collective if we want to progress in every field.  This
anniversary has been observed under--rather with a very vivid memory of
dear comrades, such as Camilo (applause), whose legendary spirit has been
present during these ceremonies.  Likewise, Major Guevara (loud and
prolonged applause) whose picture has been prominently displayed at this
ceremony--a revolutionary ceremony, a ceremony that is characterized by the
spirit of solidarity with the people who are struggling, a ceremony
observing the first socialist revolution in Latin America, a ceremony
observing the anniversary of the event which created hope and gave courage
to the fighters of this continent.

This is why our message of solidarity and encouragement is addressed to the
Latin American revolutionary fighters.  (applause)  Our message of
solidarity goes to the heroic fighter, Maj. Douglas Bravo, (applause) whose
decided, firm, and deeply revolutionary gesture contributed toward saving
the Venezuelan revolution from a crisis.  Our message also goes to Luben
Petkoff, to Prado, (applause) and all guerrilla fighters in Falcon and
Bachiller.  (applause)  There are some who would like to catch up with
these revolutionary fighters.  There are some who slander them miserably.
However, we who are acquainted with this situation know that history will
not even bother to record the names of the slanderers and the detractors,
because the men who, alongside the people, write history will sweep out
slander and the slanderers. (applause)

We do not conceal the fact that in the face of difficult and traitorous
positions, our party and our people morally support the heroic Venezuelan
guerrilla fighters, (applause) who have saved the revolutionary standard in
that fraternal country and given it its highest expression.

Our greetings to the Columbian guerrillas, (applause) to Fabio Vasquez and
his comrades in the national liberation movement, (applause) to the
splendid fighter and guerrilla leader, Marulanda.  (applause)  Our warm,
fraternal greetings to Cesar Montes, who has taken the place of the heroic
fighter Turcios Lima at the head of the FAR.  (applause)  Important
fighters have fallen, but the revolutionary standards they raised on high
have not fallen and never will.  (applause)  And our special, warm
message--for it comes from deep inside us, from the affection born in the
heat of battle--our message, wherever in the world he may be, to Maj.
Ernesto Guevara and his comrades.  (applause lasting about six minutes)

The imperialists have killed "Che" many times in many places, (boos from
the audience) but what we hope--what we hope is that someday, where
imperialism least expects, as it should be, Maj. Ernesto Guevara will rise
from his ashes, a warrior and a guerrilla--in good health!  (applause)
Some day, we will again have some very concrete news about "Che."

In closing--Vietnam.  (applause)  We have talked a lot about Vietnam.  We
have analyzed on numerous occasions the entire significance of the
Vietnamese heroic struggle-what Vietnam means to the world, to the
liberation movements, and to all of the nations which are being harassed by
imperialism.  (We have pointed out--ed.) how in Vietnam a battle is being
fought on behalf of all mankind.  How Vietnam, which heroically and
victoriously confronts the most powerful, the most aggressive, and the most
hated imperialists in the world, also is fighting our battle.  The heroic
struggle of the Vietnamese people has been creating a tremendous impression
throughout the world.  It has been so devastating, that it has reduced
imperialism's prestige to the lowest plane in its entire history.
Considering the degree to which imperialism has been escalating the war and
the recent perpetration of its criminal act of bombing the capital of
Vietnam, imperialism's prestige has plunged even further.

(Vietnam--ed.) has won the sympathy of the world, as well as the minds of
thinking people.  (Imperialism--ed.) has incurred the most radical
pronouncements from Bertrand Russell and Paul Sartre (applause) and
hundreds of intellectuals in Europe, Latin America, and the entire world.
Our zeal and our solidarity with Vietnam does not have to be reiterated,
because it is so natural and so logical for a country like ours, which is
also threatened by similar dangers, to feel deep solidarity with Vietnam.
A country like ours, which sees in imperialism the enemy of all people,
feels a natural and logical identity with Vietnam.

Vietnam faces a struggle to the death--a decisive battle, a battle which
grows deeper and more intensive.  This is why, more than words--we would
like to offer a gesture toward Vietnam that will say it all-it is that this
year, this year, let us dedicate this year to Vietnam, (applause) and let
this year be the year of heroic Vietnam.  (applause)  And that, which says
it all, is the proposal we make you:  Let 1967 be the year of heroic
Vietnam, (applause) and let those who agree (?raise their hands).

Fatherland or death, we will win!