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Havana Domestic Radio and Television Service in Spanish 1537 GMT 30 Oct 67

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro at a ceremony at La
Concepcion, Oriente, marking the completion of the organization of a
military brigade with heavy equipment for land-clearing operations--live]

[Text] Comrade operators, comrade workers, and organization of this
gigantic brigade which has been so magnificently presented today is the
result of long work, long intense work over many months which culminated
today in what can be called the official initiation of the operations of
the brigade. I believe that for all of you, just as for all of us, the
spectacle that we are witnessing at this moment is a reason for pride and
optimism. To make possible effort of this nature, the long years of
apprenticeship in the revolution have been necessary. To be able to have
such an organization, to have a contingent of men with the training and
discipline of the men who are going operate this brigade, to be able to
have the competent cadres, to have the organizers of this gigantic effort,
incessant improvement of our people has been necessary right from the
beginning of the revolution. It has been particularly necessary to
institute the process of apprenticeship and to acquire the knowledge of
technology and the methods of organization, direction, and executive which
the men of our Revolutionary Armed Forces have acquired.

This brigade will begin, or it was scheduled to begin, its work on 1
November. It has at this time 159 pieces of heavy equipment. In addition,
it has all the other equipment needed for maintenance, repair, and
personnel care. It is conceived in such a manner that absolutely nothing
willing be lacking in its performance of its tasks with a maximum of
efficiency. It does not yet have all its personnel. In January it will have
250 pieces of heavy machinery and in March, or April at the latest, it will
also have another 250 of the CD-Y military tractors with caterpillar
treads. These will be absolutely new. [applause] Therefore, we will have a
unit which will have 500 caterpillar tread machines in addition to all the
additional equipment and all the trucks and other equipment necessary.

In our judgment, this unit of agricultural machinery is the greatest unit
of this type ever organized in any country of the world, or at least
[applause] we do not have any knowledge that a unit of such size has ever
operated anywhere else. However, the size of this brigade is not due to a
desire to win a sort of international olympic with respect to the size of
an organization of agricultural equipment; no, it has achieved this
gigantic size because of a new concept in the use of machinery. It is the
result of the magnitude of the plans we propose to carry forward. It is the
result of the need for clearing the land (?remaining to be cleared in our)

We thing that as a result of this new idea, the use of this machinery will
yield at least five times more than it could have yielded under the old
ideas in which heavy machinery was distributed by provinces and even, at
times, by regions, and used according to the level of organization, of
experience, of knowledge, present at each place.

Of course, there are several hundred units of heavy equipment distributed
throughout the nation. These in turn will be organized provincially into
large work brigades. But the most revolutionary idea is not precisely the
idea of exploiting the combined strength of all these machines in a giant
brigade or the idea of organizing all the upkeep of these machines under
the best conditions, no, perhaps the most revolutionary idea is the fact
that this brigade is going to be led by officers of our Rebel Army and will
be manned, basically, by soldiers who have gained experience in our tank
units and in our motorized units ion the operation of those machines.
[scattered applause] They are joined by a select group of operators who
requested admission into the brigade and who have extensive experience in
the operation of heavy equipment.

Therefore, today marks the launching of a new type of activity by our
Revolutionary Army, one which entails a very important contribution to the
development of the national economy. Our army men have been participating
with ever-increasing intensity in the economic development activities of
the nation. It is known that our country, though small, has been compelled
to keep an extraordinarily large standing army. It is unquestionably larger
than the relative strength of any other standing army. In this case, too,
the size of our army responded to the magnitude of our tasks, to the
magnitude of a sacred task of defending the fatherland, of defending the
revolution against an aggressive and powerful enemy,.

But at the same time, our army men have not been absent from production
activities and tens of thousands of men have been participating during
these years in the harsh sugarcane cutting work. Ever-increasing numbers of
revolutionary army men every year, as our sugar crops increase, have been
chopping this sugarcane.

This year, the air force took over the operation of more than 60
crop-dusting and fertilizer-spreading planes. And practically all the
nation's sugarcane has received one, two, three, and sometimes four urea
sprayings. And this number of planes will increase next year to more than
100 because, in addition to the fertilization of sugarcane with urea, they
will fertilize or cropdust, the thousands upon thousands of new caballerias
to be planted to rice, cotton and other crops.

This service rendered by the pilots of the air force would have required
the work of 50, to 100,000 workers doing it by hand as it used to be. This
has been a great leap forward in the employment of technology. The same
would be true of the number of caballerias that this giant brigade is going
to bulldoze this year, were we to accomplish it according to the old
method, just as the great majority of the lands of this country were

No doubt many of the workers here present, although the great majority of
those whom we see here are young people, will remember the way lands were
cleared in Camaguey Province, for example. Even now, many of those
hand-cleared caballerias have to be recleared by bulldozers and sappers
because machinery cannot be used on such land. You practically have to
bulldoze them again in many cases after they were cleared by hand.

But in order to bulldoze some 15,000 caballerias of land by hand, some of
them with thick marabu brush, the number of men that would have been
required is incalculable. In our opinion, 100,000 men, and possibly 150,000
men, would not be enough to do the job by hand. If you add the job of land
preparation to the bulldozing job and use the old methods, you would need
some 15,000 to 20,000 ox teams.

Truly, to do the work which these brigades will do and to do the work which
the machines will do in planting and cultivating, and the airplanes in
spraying, in areas not only in rice but also cotton, kenaf, and later on in
the year in areas of citrus fruits, sugarcane, pastures, root crops, and
plantains in the western provinces, if this work which they are going to
begin today were to be done by the old methods, we are sure that 250,0000
or 300,000 workers would not even have been enough. This does not take into
account the immense effort that it would have been necessary to make
installations, roads, and in the transportation services for the
mobilization of such a labor force.

I make this analysis so that all will have an idea of the importance of the
work which they are going to perform and the effect it will have in the
economy of the country. There were times in this country when there was a
shortage of labor. There were times later when as a result of the increase
in population and the stagnation of the economy there was a surplus of
labor, hundreds of thousands of surplus workers among a relatively small
population. Today we do not have enough people for all the tasks that we
have before us. Of course, the old methods of agricultural work would at
best have been enough to maintain an undernourished population, to maintain
a hungry population, but to attain the objective sought by the revolution
of nourishing all the citizens of this country in a satisfactory manner, to
attain high and truly decent levels of nourishment, the old methods would
never under any circumstances have been enough, and under no circumstances
would the ration book ever be abolished.

The ration booklet is the result of a desire for equitable distribution
among all people of that which is available. Before the ration booklet did
not exist. There was a much more cruel regimentation which our workers knew
very well, and that was the regimentation of money. [applause] There was no
ration booklet nor was one needed because there was no money, and there was
not money because there was not work. There was no work because there was
no economic development because the tasks necessary for the revolution to
reach levels of well-being were not undertaken. There was not nor could
there be the slightest interest among those who exploited our people in
undertaking those tasks. When they thought, ideas of ways to benefit the
people never entered their minds. The only benefit, the only idea that
inspired the conduct of those gentlemen was the profit in their pocket.

When they arrived in any part of the country, they did not stop to think
what would be the best for the economy or the people, but rather what was
best for their profits. And thus they devoted themselves to extensive
agriculture. They planted some things which they should not have planted in
some places, while scores and scores of thousands of Caballerias fit for
those crops lay fallow in other parts of the country. Thus we found
centrals which had their sugarcane fields on the foothills, of the Sierra
Maestro and those who have sometime gone to the Pion central, crossing the
western end of the Sierra Maestra, have seen those sugarcane fields
hundreds of meters up on the hills, on the hills where it is almost
impossible to work and where sugarcane had to be (?irrigated) two and three
times per year.

Every year one, two, three, or four workers were killed in those places in
carts or trucks which overturned and in accidents of all types. And was
there any sense in having sugarcane planted over there in the mountains of
the Sierra Maestra when there were thousand and thousands of caballerias of
untilled soil here in the plains of this very region of El Cauto which
could be planted to sugarcane? Those mountains could have been devoted to
the production of trees, for example, which is the most advisable thing to
do with many of those types of mountains, and the most proper thing for the
country. [applause] What machine can be used there? What tractor can plow
there? What hopes can there be conceived for the use of a sugarcane combine
in those places? And in how many places did we find similar situations, in
Orient Province as well as in the western provinces as happens in the area
of Arcos de Canasi in Matanzas, where sugarcane has been grown in hilly
areas which only serve to drain man's energy and destroy nature?

All those absurdities have destroyed many of the natural resources of our
country. How many thousands and thousands of caballerias of rare woods were
cut down and burned to plant pastures in those places where only a few head
of livestock could be maintained on one caballeria while in the plains
there were tens and tens of thousands of caballerias of land with
underbrush and marabu! And why were these lands not cultivated? Ah, because
they belonged to such and such a company which was holding it in reserve,
those other lands belonged to such and other company which was holding it
in reserve, and that other land belonged [applause] to the illustrious Don
such and such who had hundreds of thousands of caballerias of land.
[applause] If you asked who were the owners of these vast tracts of virgin
lands, you would find that there were not over a dozen owners of these
immense plains in Cuba's central region, and it is in these vast plains
that we are going to clear some 4,000 caballerias of land. [applause]

And what were these caballerias of land used for? Whom did they benefit?
Whom did they help? What problems did they resolve for the people? How many
human beings did they feed? How many assets were produced in them? Immense
tracts of land in the plains without a single road, without a single
drainage canal, without a single dame, without a single cultivated
caballeria of land. Was it possible to feed, in a dignified and decent
manner, a population of more than 7 million human beings? They did not
leave us any wealth. They did not leave us a rich nation. No, far from it,
they left us an impoverished nation, a nation with devastated timberlands,
so much so that sometimes you cannot even find wood for boards to bury a
dead persons. [applause] So much so that we still face the task of the
reforestation of more than 100,000 caballerias of forests in the mountains
of the Sierra Maestra, on the mountains of the second front, on the
Escambray Mountains, on the Pinar del Rio mountains, and in other more or
less extensive regions of other provinces.

It was the most complete devastation. How many roads did they leave us?
[shouts from the crowd] how many roads crossed this area? How many roads
crossed the mountains? How many roads crossed the province?

Take this road, how many thousands upon thousands of hours are saved every
month? How much rubber, fuel, work, would you use if on a trip from
Victoria de las Tunas to Bayamo you had to go to Holguin, if on a trip from
Victoria de las Tunas to Manzanillo you had to go to Holguin, to Bayamo,
and then the Manzanillo? And on this road here, [applause] saving more than
150 kilometers, you will be able to go directly to Bayamo or Manzanillo
when the trunk which begins at the river crossing toward Manzanillo is

And to go to Mayari, you had to circle around by way of Holguin. Now a road
is about to be completed which will go from Palma Soriano to the Cueto
area. And not only that, a road is under construction from Santiago de Cuba
to Sagua, saving over 200 kilometers. Manzanillo has been connected with
Niquero, Niquero with Pilon, and Pilon and Santiago de Cuba along the
southern coast. The very famous road from Baracoa has been completed. We
are building the Jiguani road to San German. The Baracoa. Two roads will
begin to be built next year, one south of Camaguey from Sancti Spiritus to
this point, and another in the north from Moron to the Cueto-Mayari.

Therefore, in 1970, you will be able to circle the island without touching
the central highway. You will be able to leave Baracoa and circle the
entire southern part of the island [applause], arrive at Mantue and return
to Baracoa without touching the central highway.

But this would have little importance without the network of secondary
roads which has been under construct8ion throughout the countryside. In the
past eight months, 41 new road construction brigades have been organized
and by May of next year we will have 59 road construction brigades. If you
want to have an idea of what the 59 brigades will be doing, I will give you
an example. Every three months they will build roads equalling the distance
between Havana and Santiago [words indistinct] [applause] In other words,
there are 41 brigades working at a fast clip and when we have 59, every
three months the equivalent of the central highway will be built. The
central highway was built sometimes in the 20's and for 40 years we have
been hearing about the central highway. Well, and good, but now every three
months we are building more than half of the equivalent of the central
highway and (?maybe by next) year, I repeat, every three months we will be
building roads and highways equal to the length of the central highway. And
we believe that at that rate there will not be a single corner of the
country which will be without roads. There will not be single valley, not
even in the most remote mountains of Oriente or Las Villas or Pinar del
Rio, without a good road or a good highway.

The work is being carried out equally throughout the entire country
[applause] according to the needs, not as it was before, when a highway was
built for such and such a potentate or highways solely and exclusively for
tourists were built, and not to places where there was agriculture, not to
places where there was poverty, not to places where there was need, not
even to create minimum conditions for living conditions or to save lives,
or to take someone to a hospital, if there were hospitals to which someone
could be taken. [applause] Splendid highways were built, such as the Via
Blanca north of Havana with Varadero. And in Havana there appeared to be
many highways, but truly, what existed were a few highways to those places
where the lands belonging to the great magnates were located. In Havana
Province we have found areas which are almost as isolated as the areas of
the Sierra Maestra. There are mountainous areas in the province so isolated
and so lacking even a single road that [applause] no difference could be
seen between those areas of Havana Province and the areas of the mountains
of Oriente.

In that manner the roads which are so indispensable for economic
development, and particularly for agricultural and social development, did
not exist. And we ask ourselves, if this highway did not exist, how could
we begin this gigantic task today? How could we have gathered these
machines here? How could the construction of canals and water projects,
dams, dikes, bulldozing, housing, ricefields, have been begun if that link
did not exist? How could so many people have gathered here this morning?

Anyone can understand the importance that these tasks have. And we ask: How
many dams were there in this country? How many dams devoted to irrigation?
There were some dams for the water supply of some cities. Yes there were
some little dams such as the one of Charco (?Duno), which is always dry, a
little dam in the Holguin area for their water supply and some others.
There were 30 million cubic meters of impounded water. Now one dam alone,
the Paso Malo dam on the Yara River, has a capacity of 90 million cubic
meters, and it is already finished. [applause] On the Contramaestra River
we already have a dam of 250 million cubic meters capacity. This means more
than eight times the capacity of all the dams which were built in this
country in almost 60 years. Could there be water for the cities and
agriculture under those old conditions? Could the rice needed for this
country be planted under those conditions? [shouts of "No"]

Could milk, meat, root crops and plantains--the food that this country
needed--be produced? [shouts of "No, no"] Anybody, anybody could understand
this, land particularly the workers of the fields understand this and they
understand it best of all in years of drought such as this one. They
understand the tragedy of the extremes of the great and destructive floods
and the great and destructive droughts. We have spoken to you of two dams
which together are 11 times greater than all that were built in 50 years.
Of course these are not the only ones that we have mentioned, these two
dams for agriculture. We completed a dam which was begun in the Escambray
before but it was not for agricultural purposes, it was for hydroelectric
purposes, and not even the builders thought about using the water for
agriculture. At present the water supplies the city of Santa Clara and will
irrigate over 1,000 caballerias of land.

But I was saying that I have told you about some of the dams we have build,
but could the conclusion perhaps be drawn that these dams are enough? That
perhaps we have done such a great thing? No. What has been done is
approximately 25 times, if I am not mistaken, all that had been done in 50
years. It is, however, a trifle compared to what we need. Our agriculture
cannot continue to fear hurricanes, floods, droughts. Our work must not
hinge on whether it rains or not, whether 45 or 60 days or 90 days pass
without rain, even in midspring, and that all that has been planted is
lost. The time to plow the land lost, the time to plant the time to
fertilize it, even the time to weed the soil, land then not to harvest a
single grain. We cannot live with such uncertainty. We cannot work
enthusiastically with such uncertainty and we must take every measure to
insure, despite the vagaries of the weather, that we harvest each grain we
cultivate, that we make use of each caballeria of land that is worked.

It is because of this that we should do giant work on hydraulics. We have
talked about road construction, but we ought to say that all this effort,
all this bulldozing, will be done in even greater extent, beginning next
year, on dams for agriculture.

I was saying to you that there were 30 million cubic meters of water in
some little dams to partially supply the water needs of some towns. And did
you know how many cubic meters we figure we will need, or that we may have?
If we use all the rivers, all the places where dams could be built, and if
we also exploit subterranean water, we estimate that we may make 15 billion
cubic meters of water available to guarantee, [applause] in a complete way,
the agriculture of the nation--in such a way that in the future nothing
will depend on the weather, because practically all the sugarcane, all the
rice, all the produce, all the fruit orchards, all the principal items of
produce, will be irrigated, and a certain percentage will go to the
pasturelands to guarantee the feeding of the livestock even in the worst

So that we will have water to irrigate not less than 254,000 caballerias of
land. (applause) And in how many years do we hope to attain this goal if
there were 30 million in 50 years? Thirty million is 500 times less than
what we think we can do, than what we think we need. In other words, we
have to do 500 times what has been done in 30 years.

And how long do we think it will take to reach this goal if we get down to
the task vigorously? Well, we who are optimistic, so the speak, but who
base our optimism on unlimited confidence in the people, believe that we
can and therefore must aspire to accomplish 250,000 caballerias of land,
this is equivalent to all the land that can be irrigated. It is equivalent
to twice the Aswan dam that is being built in Egypt on one of the largest
rivers of the world. We do not have any great rivers. The Cauto is
practically a creek which dries up when it does not get the salt water that
backs up from the sea. We do not have a single great river, but we have
thousands of small rivers and creeks. We have a relatively abundant
rainfall, although it sometimes falls too abundantly when it is not needed,
or not at all when it is needed the most. We do not have a Nile, but you
all recall how, during hurricane Flora, all this area became an immense

We do not have any great rivers, but we have great floods. We have
floodings of the small rivers, which become dangerous at those times. They
endanger the people's lives at those times and they endanger the fruits of
their labor. Of course, when we have all the dams finished, we will be free
of droughts and floods. All that water which, without control, advances and
becomes a veritable catastrophe, and that gigantic wave which you here call
"the blow of water" [golp de agua] will no longer happen when all the water
system of the Oriente region is finished.

We can even begin to drain off the water impounded in the large dams and
regulated the amount of water impounded, when great storms threaten. There
will be increases in the amount of water in the streams, but no matter how
much it rains will there in any manner be catastrophic floods of the same
magnitude as before. The number of pieces of equipment, bulldozers, and
trucks that we have assigned at this time to water projects are not enough,
but in this field also, in November and in June, 500 10-ton-trucks will
come to this country. (applause) We hope, from now until the end of 1969,
to bring no less than 1,500 trucks of that size into these plans--1,500
10-ton-trucks. (applause)

In addition, we will have some 300 bulldozers. One thousands five hundred
10-ton trucks could move 150,000 cubic meters of earth daily, and if we
calculate that the Mate dam has some 4 million cubic meters of earth, if I
am not mistaken--and I cannot be too far from the true figure, Comrade
Faustino is over there and he says that it is correct--that the mate dam
used by 4 million cubic meters of earth, in effect every 30 days after the
end of 1969 we will be able to move the earth needed to build the dam of El
Mate, whose capacity is more than 200 million cubic meters of water. This
means that as of the second half of 1969, we will moving the equivalent of
earth needed to build a dam equal to the El Mate dam. I am not referring to
capacity of water, but to the amount of earth used in the dam. Sometimes if
is necessary to use more earth for less water, other times less earth for
more water.

However, this does mean that we are in a position to build a Mate dam every
month as of the second half of 1969. [Applause] A Mate dam per month means
approximately the equivalent of 3 billion cubic meters per year, 3 billion
cubic meters per year. Therefore, as of the second half of 1969 we will be
building a number of dams 100 times greater than what was build in 50 years
before. [applause] This means that in one year we will build 100 times more
than was built in 50 years. Multiplying 100 by 50 we get 5,000. We will be
creating water resources at a rate, shall we say, 5,000 times greater than
that before the revolution. We still have many needs, but I ask you--you
who are already part of a country which was acquired the experience of
eight years of revolution, you who have been learning many things, who have
been learning to think and to analyze, who have learned to read and write,
many of you in these years--how can a nation obtain what it needs in order
to live decently without highways and roads, without dams, with the land
thicketed over with marabu brush, with the lands put to absurd use, with
crops planted that ought not have been planted there, not sowing what ought
to have been sown? How can it do so without a single dam, without roads,
clearing land with axes, plowing with oxen, without irrigation, without
fertilization, amid naturel catastrophes, devastating floods, annihilating
droughts besetting the crops? How can we have what we need to live
decently? It is possible?

Can you understand or cannot you understand? Do you understand, soldiers?
Do you understand, workers? That it is impossible otherwise, and this will
give us an idea of the magnitude of the job. It gives us an idea of the
importance of the task. It gives an idea of what we ought to do in order to
live decently [applause]: to build every three months the equivalent of the
central highway in roads and highways; to builds every month the equivalent
of an El Mate dam; to clear every year what would have required 300,000
workers to do by hand, plowing with oxen, cultivating without machinery and
without planes.

So that now we can have a clearer idea of what we had, the accumulated
poverty in this nation, the unexploited natural resources, the devastated
natural resources, such as the hills, and how we have to remake all this:
we have to sow the hills, work hard an intensively in the coming years
using the resources which our revolution can now count on, pressing full
steam ahead, using machines in the best way, caring for them with the
greatest attention, giving them scrupulous care, with the maintenance shops
right next to the trucks and bulldozers, with the mechanics there at every
moment, with conditions and personnel adequate so that even when they have
to move continually they will and, in short, the most human conditions
possible under the circumstances the brigade has to work in along the
length and breadth of the nation. With these new machines, with such a
gigantic organization, with such an impressive discipline, with such young
and revolutionary personnel, we can [applause begins] leap forward!

This brigade begins with a revolutionary idea, organized by a revolutionary
army, with the cooperation of an entire revolutionary people! [applause]
and nothing and no one can ever stop it! And these lands which we toured
only a few years ago in amphibian cars amid the desolation and death of
hurricane Flora, these lands will have to wait scarcely any time before
they become enormous mechanized production centers, largely irrigated in
the first phase and completely so in the future, fertilized with the use of
surface and air machines. This land will become a region where abundant
food will be produced for all the people, for the only beneficiaries of the
work of the revolution, the revolution who work. [applause]

And it will be filled with roads, and it will also be filled, and in the
not too distant future, with decent housing, schools, and all the other
installations, because next year two large cement plants will be finished
and we will finally have double the amount of cement that we have had up to
now. [applause]

And now, the misery still to be seen, the jumbled huts that get soaked
every time it rains, the tragedy of housing being suffered by hundreds of
thousands of families--for, according to estimates, we need 1 million new
housing units in the rural areas and the cities. But, as we said on 26
July, the big housing construction programs will begin in the rural areas,
and this is correct, this is fair, and all the people will understand it
because that is where there has been the greatest amount of poverty and
need. Some day, it will not only be roads and highways and housing,
electricity will also invade our rural areas. And if we ask when, that
depends on how we work. Every person who asks himself when should also ask
himself what he is doing so that we can achieve our goals as soon as
possible. [applause]

We all have the duty to work because everything we do is for everyone. When
the time comes to distribute a pound of rice, no one is asked what he did.
He is not asked where he worked and where he earned the right to eat rice.
When he produce rice, it is rice for everyone. And the rice to be produced
on the land you are going to clear will be consumed by all the people. That
is why if no one is asked how he earned the right to consume that rice, if
no one is asked what he did to earn it when he is given something, it is
correct and fair for us to proclaim, time and time again, that the duty to
work is the duty of everyone. And since we all have the need to consume, we
all have the unavoidable moral duty to work. [applause]

Not everyone works in our country, and not everyone earns the bread, rice,
milk, meat, and the vegetables he eats.

There is not enough today, but in the not too distant future there will be
enough for everyone. If everyone is going to receive the benefits, it is
the unavoidable moral duty of all to add their little grain of sand. It is
not a matter for just a handful of vanguard men to spend their lives at
work, mounted upon the machines, shaken by the roar of the motors, or under
the sun with a plow behind a yoke of oxen, or on a tractor or in a plane,
doing dangerous jobs.

There is one thing which must be said in honor of the men who make up this
brigade. It is that they are already beginning to work with a new concept
of work, with a new concept of salaries; that they will not be men who will
say: "I will go there because I will earn another peso," but rather: "I
will go there because I have a duty to the fatherland." [applause]

"I will go there because I have a duty to my people; I will go there
because I have a duty to my conscience; I will go there because I have duty
to history; I will go there because I have a duty to the dead," that is, to
those who gave their lives for the revolution; "I will go up there because
I have a duty of those who gave their everything to give the people this
opportunity." [applause]

Who would have dreamed of that some years ago? Who would have dreamed of
that endless line of powerful machines? Who would have dreamed of that
gigantic organization? The bourgeoisie thought that only they knew how to
organize, and they have never organized anything in our country that had
even one-tenth the power and the hundredth part of the organization of this
brigade, [applause] which is led by humble men of the people who fought in
the war and in peace work intensely with the thought of the fatherland held
uppermost in their minds, led by a major who, before joining the ranks of
the Revolutionary Army in the Sierra Maestra, was an agricultural worker, a
bulldozer operator, precisely.

This man is today the major who commands this gigantic brigade of 500
machines, [applause] Comrade (?Maru), as we know him, familiarly. All the
general ideas of supplies, all the material and technical preparations, all
the selection and recruiting of the personnel is handled by another young
comrade, a major in our army, Comrade (?Laipe), [applause] who learned in a
capable manner, at the head of the transportation of our armed forces. He
learned in a capable manner the management, the direction, and the
maintenance in optimum conditions of the thousands and thousands of pieces
of equipment of our Revolutionary Armed Forces. And with them are a large
group of old and good fighters of the war in the Sierra Maestra. [applause]

This same concept of the brigades will be applied to the large hydraulics
brigades. Next year we will organize several large hydraulics brigades with
this same concept, with this same method. And when this gigantic brigade
returns victoriously at the end of next year and returns to Oriente and has
completed its clearing mission, it will enter into the construction in this
province of the big dams being planned. [applause]

During these years of learning, we have already done what had never been
achieved in our country in the field of organization. With what
spirit--which we are certain they will--have should the comrades of this
brigade work? With what spirit? With the spirit of revolutionary soldiers,
with the spirit of an army in full war--war against the Marabu, war against
underdevelopment, poverty, misery; a war to master nature. And with what
spirit? With the spirit of the guerrillas of the Sierra Maestra! [applause]

This brigade, this gigantic brigade, which bears the preliminary name:
Invasion Brigade. [applause, indistinct shouting] Say it yourselves,
comrades. [shouting] What name is the one under whose inspiration and
example this brigade should work?

[shouting] Che Guevara! Therefore, this brigade will have--by our desire,
by your desire, by unanimous acclamation--the name: The Che Guevara
Invasion Brigade. [applause, chanting]

The history of this brigade begins to be written here, and it will be a
beautiful and interesting history. The first pages began to be written in
the months preceding its organization, when it had already bulldozed 417
caballerias of land and build canals equalling the movement of 285,000
cubic meters. That is to say, they began by surpassing the goals. They have
begun before beginning. They have fulfilled goals before the day officially
set for the beginning, which was 1 November.

The history of the brigade will be written day by day. Pictures and
documentaries will be made in all the regions where you will go to work,
and the process will be followed step by step, from the marabu fields to
the rice, cotton, and sugarcane fields, the orchards, and everything along
its path.

That document will be a historic document, and we are certain that the
experience we are acquiring here will also be useful tomorrow to other
nations. We do not keep to ourselves the secrets of our successes, but we
feel the desire to offer them to our peoples, such as the heroic peoples
who are now fighting against imperialism, such as the heroic people of
Vietnam [applause] and the nations fighting today to achieve this right we
have achieved.

Its history will be written, and all of you will be proud of that history,
and the people will be proud. You will undertake another historic invasion
effort. The veteran forces of Maceo and Maximo Gomez crossed these fields
line the wars for our independence. [applause] The Cuban cavalry and
infantry passed victoriously through these fields, and in very recent
years, the columns of Che and Coamilo advanced in victory, commemorating
the first march. [applause]

Che and Camilo are two formidable symbols of this generation--Che and
Camilo, who are, as we told the Isle of Pines youths, like twin brothers in
glory, virtue, bravery, and greatness. History was written in these fields,
and the generous blood of revolutionaries was shed in these fields. To pave
the way to organize and advance this invasion brigade, the invasions of
1895 and of '58 were held. This one will also be historic, because you will
climax the more than 100-year dream of the fatherland. You will wage
today's battle: the battle of creative and productive work, which is also
an historic battle, which requires sacrifices, tenacity, constancy, and a
truly revolutionary spirit. [applause]

And not only will you wage the battle of today, but with weapons in hand
you will make the fatherland stronger for any other type of battle
tomorrow. Consider that every caballeria that is cleared will make the
revolution and the fatherland stronger! Consider that each caballeria
cleared and planted will make the revolution stronger against imperialism,
against any aggression, against any blockade! It will make us stronger to
resist, all of us.

We know that in any circumstance we are all prepared to resist, and we will
resist. We will resist everything. We know that nothing will be able to
crush the revolution, but we also know that every new effort we make makes
us stronger. It makes our revolution stronger; it makes our revolution more
secure and it makes our revolution freer; it makes our people more the
masters of their fate; it makes our people more sovereign masters of their
ideology and their revolutionary conscience. [applause]

And the right to be a free people, the right to be a revolutionary people
is not won in the fields of battle alone. The battles we4re not waged to
make battle. They were not waged to shed blood.

They were waged for a future, for a better future for the people. They were
waged to break all the ties and all the chains which prevented us from
doing this. Here, therefore, the only chains remaining are those with which
our tank-towers (rastratanques) will carry their eight-ton ball. All the
chains that prevented us from building our fatherland, our future, have
been broken. All the bonds have been broken.

What does being master of our destiny mean? To be master of our destiny is
this: the right to build a fatherland worthy of this people, the right to
join the universal movement of the peoples against colonialism, against
imperialist exploitation, against slavery. [applause] It is the right to
have a revolutionary conscience and to be loyal to that conscience, to work
with the spirit with which the soldiers of the invasion brigade will work.
That is being master of our destiny. That is why we can proclaim with joy
another glorious day in the history of our fatherland, one which marks the
date on which the Che Guevara Invasion Brigade began its march.

Forward, comrades! Let nothing and no one stop you, no task, no difficult
obstacle! Go to Isle of Pines and Pinar del Rio and return in victory to
the heroic eastern province from which they left in '95 and '58 and whose
epic history you shall emulate from this moment on. Fatherland or death, we
shall win!

[Havana Domestic Radio and Television Service in Spanish at 1500 GMT 30
October 1967 began live coverage of a gathering at La Concepcion, about 50
kilometers east of Bayamo, Oriente Province, to launch the work of a
"machinery invasion brigade" which is to carry out land-clearing operations
in the area. Premier Fidel Castro was announced as the principle speaker.
The television cameras showed the area as Castro, riding a jeep, reviewed
heavy land-clearing machinery lined up in ranks near the speakers platform.
Some of the equipment appeared to be military tanks converted for land
clearing use and most of the people to be seen at the gathering were in
military uniform.

[After reviewing the equipment, Castro returned to the platform. Shortly
thereafter, a parade of cowboys passed the stand. On the stand with Castro
were President Dorticos, Cuban Communist Party Organization Secretary
Armando Hart, and Deputy Premier Raul Castro. Premier Castro began his
speech at 1537 GMT.]