Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Television and Radio Services in Spanish 0224 GMT 27 May 69

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Maj Fidel Castro at a meeting in the Havana
Libre Hotel during which the National Institute for Water Resources (INRH)
was merged with the National Agricultural Development Department

[Text] Comrades: Nearly 7 years ago, in this very hall, if I recall
correctly, I think it was here, right? The first anniversary was here. I
think it was in 1963 that we marked the first anniversary of the Water
Resources Institute. Year after year it became a custom to hold a meeting
to review its activities.

This institution has been linked to what have been called water resources
awareness. Why is it called water resources awareness? Actually, water
resources awareness did not exist in the early period of the revolution.
Who taught us to have water resources awareness? The droughts and the
hurricanes. The droughts and the floods.

There were great unforeseen drops in production from one year to another
which considerably affected the nation's economy, of a nation which
depended, is depending, and will essentially depend for many more years on
agriculture. There were years of normal rainfall, years of excessive
rainfall, and years of very scant rainfall which affected sugarcane
production. For instance, the big droughts affected 30 to 40 percent of it.

This means that in a 10-million ton sugar harvest, even having the land
surface to have such a harvest under normal conditions, a drought year
could reduce the output to 6.5 to 7 million tons. This is only to mention
the sugarcane; it also can be applied to milk, meat, pasturage, grain, and
in short, all farm produce.

Our country was not a nation of what may be called scant rainfall. The data
provided by Comrade Faustino here from the research done in the past few
years shows an average rainfall of 1,400 millimeters. A European would be
amazed if you tell him about 1,400 millimeters because, actually, in many
European countries the rainfall is from 700 to 800 millimeters.

But the question refers to a series of different circumstances. A problem
as essential as the amount of rainfall is the distribution of the rainfall.
In our country we have months with as much as 400 millimeter and areas of
the nation on occasion without a single drop of rain for 3 or 4 months.

In general, there is a type of European agriculture which uses land part of
the time, often using the melted snow for planting, or the planting is done
before the snow, and in general, the rains are usually distributed in
critical periods of cultivation.

This does not mean that they do not have better or worse years in those
nations too. In our country, despite the very high average rainfall, the
main problem is the distribution of rainfall. And the consequences of the
droughts are usually disastrous to most of our crops. This is aside from
the fact that as nonirrigated, cultivated, and arable lands increase to
tens of thousands of caballerias every year in our country, we have to wait
for the rains to come in order to sow them. Often, however, the rains come
suddenly throughout the nation, and before sowing begins the weeds have

This creates an infinite amount of problems regarding the distribution of
machinery, manpower, and above all, in the application of technology, the
most advantageous use of fertilizers and herbicides, which is not achieved
in a proper manner as a result of the droughts or excessive rainfall. On
occasion, the fertilizers are diluted or the pesticides are washed out or
the herbicides are washed out.

Therefore, in order to apply technology to obtain the greatest benefit, we
must guarantee moisture at the proper time. Of course this will, above all,
permit us to cultivate and plant during drought months. Moisture can thus
be controlled during drought months. Optimum land preparation can be
achieved and the application of technology can be achieved to an optimum
degree, as Comrade Faustino Perez [president of INRH] pointed our tonight.

These factors cannot be controlled in the heavy spring rainfall months.
This enormously facilitates the use, maintenance, and life of machinery.
What is more, the worst time for planting is when the rains begin. Hardly
any crop has its optimum period for planting during June and July, but
during previous months. The sugarcane which has the most problems with
weeds is that planted in May, April [seems to correct himself], June or
July. The sugarcane which can be cultivated with the greatest ease is that
planted July. The sugarcane which can be cultivated with the greatest ease
is that planted in November, December, January, and February; the months
known as the dry months.

Therefore, natural phenomena taught us and instilled in us the awareness of
water resources. It certainly cost us work and effort to create this water
resources awareness. An event came which decisively contributed toward
creating this water resources awareness: Hurricane Flora.

Hurricane Flora is a type of phenomenon which they say can happen every 500
year, but it can also occur 2 years in a row and then not occur again in
a thousand years. Certainly no one can feel relaxed to hear that Flora can
appear any year and the biggest Flora in 5,000 years, or maybe a small
Flora which always shows up and causes considerable damage.

Hurricanes are a natural enemy of this country, although Comrade Nunez
Jimenez [president of the Cuban National Academy of Sciences] always
reminds us that they help to fill the phreatic layer. We shall retain the
good side of hurricanes and avoid the bad. Hurricane Flora permitted us,
even though it was only for a few hours, to have one of the largest rivers
in the world. At certain points the Cauto River was 80 kilometers wide. Not
even the Amazon is 80 kilometers wide. It went from bad to worse; in a
matter of a few hours an Amazon River formed in Orient Province. We have
not forgotten the opinion of many peasants when they saw the sudden rise,
believing that the North sea, that is, the Gibara Sea, had entered the
land. Flora left a very sad wake of lives lost--more than 1,000 persons.

Then we saw the need for an overall water resources plan, because here
hydraulic awareness functioned as a pendulum. In years of drought the
problem of irrigation was uppermost. In years of excessive rain the
drainage problem took precedence. Then we perceived that it was in integral
problem which had to be given attention and that dams had to be built not
only to have water but also to control the rivers. At that time it was
proposed that the country was to be prepared to endure even a Flora. This
meant that waters had to be controlled, floods had to be avoided, all the
drainage had to be installed for evacuating water in cases of flood, and
also have enough water to meet all the needs of the country. These needs
are agricultural, human, that is for the population, and industrial.

Industrial development also requires considerable quantities of water. At
present, thanks to surveys made recently by the Water Resources Institute,
we know that Cuba's water resources potential, that is the potential water
which can be used, is 22 billion cubic meters. Possibly a bit more.
Generally the comrades of the institute adopted the criterion of reducing
any figure by cutting it 20 percent to be on the safe side, that is for all
the computations they made.

In this manner, our country has a water resources potential of 22 billion
cubic meters, which means, under the circumstances our our climate, the
capability to irrigate all the crops which require water. There are some
crops which do not require much water. They need only a minimum of water.
The intent of the country is to attain total utilization of its water
resources. That means we have available 22 billion cubic meters of water.

It was pointed our here tonight that when the revolution was won there were
30 million [cubic meters of water] impounded for the population's use, and
that installations have been built for almost 1 billion, and that works are
in progress for almost another billion cubic meters this year so that we
shall grow from thousands to thousand, 2,000 at a time, until we reach the
total potential of the country's water. This gives some notion of the
effort's dimensions.

We do not agree with Comrade Faustino's statements that one of the
institute's deficiencies is thought to be its failure to be decisive in
water resources development. Because we do believe very sincerely that the
institute was a decisive factor in water resources development.

In general, in a revolution measures to be taken are incessant; adaptations
must be made to each of the circumstances of the process. Bodies are
established, others are created which operate bodies and many times when
this happens, there is no ceremony. Nevertheless we expressly desired, and
we insisted with Comrade Faustino, that this ceremony take place in this
same site where other ceremonies related to water resources work in this
country took place because we wished to express our gratitude to the entire
country and to all the comrades for the value and importance which in our
judgment the institute's work has been. And we think that this work has
been decisive for the water resources growth of the country. In fact, the
entire agricultural development of our country has attained a tremendous
dimension at the moment.

At the same time, the country has had to concentrate its resources. Many
times the machinery was scattered. Each province had a number of pieces of
equipment managed by the province; various types of construction was done
for various bodies--construction related to agriculture. In order to solve
the tasks we have with the limited resources we have, we were told of the
desirability of unifying those resources. So we unified all the resources
which were employed in farm and livestock development. Heavy machinery,
bulldozers, were managed by the machinery department of the INRH.
Construction of dams was done by the Construction Ministry. Many
installations were done by the province or by INRH.

We decided to united into a single force, into a single organization, the
media which had a decisive effect on the country's farm and livestock
growth, to utilize the machinery in a rational, optimum manner,
transferring resources from one front to another, that is, a bulldozer
could be working on drainage, canal construction, and next be used in
building dams, or road building equipment or vice versa. There is some
equipment which is standing idle and others at a peak of activity.

This is aside from the need to train operators for all the machinery and
the need to study and organize the maintenance and supply of parts, and the
maintenance of all those machines led to the establishment of another
organization specialized in the execution of all these installations
connected with farm and livestock development.

We must say that this new organization has not yet attained full
efficiency. This new one has many deficiencies. We are not going to
enumerate them here because I never miss an opportunity to tell our
comrades where they have fallen short, where they are weak, where better,
and in general always pointing to weaknesses rather than strengths. While
paying recognized tribute to the comrades who worked in water resources, we
must also make the deserved, proper, and necessary request to the new body
to make an even more efficient effort. The time of praise for the DAP has
not yet arrived. We sincerely believe, because the task is huge and hard
and difficult, that the road is long, but we sincerely believe that it will
meet it goals and will attain great efficiency in the tasks assigned to it.
The field is broad and large, the task is enormous, and in no way will it
be an easy one.

Now then, life has been teaching us how these processes are produced. We
are still very conscious of the limitations of the new organization. In
this, there were two opinions: I had an opinion and Comrade Faustino had
another opinion. Comrade Faustino thought that in so far as the connection
between projects and construction, the two organization should be combined.
Actually, although I did not at the outset object to the idea as an
essential thing, I told him that, in my judgment, at the moment he was
proposing this, both institutions should not be merged because I thought
that DAP was not at the time ready to assume the responsibilities accruing
from such a difficult and complex task as the task of the projects was;
that was not ready to keep the projects in good standing.

During this year a great coordination was achieved and we were able to
assign al the projects required to the construction organization. I must
say that this year, a great step, that is, a big effort has been made in
water resources. I cannot say that it was bigger than other years but
still, an effort that has provided more experiences, more resources in
general, more priority work, and reached very large proportions.

Some of the projects now completed did not have the urgent priority of
other projects connected with the 10-million ton sugarcane harvest. But
adaptations, new projects, were achieved and a number of works were
launched with the purpose of completing them this spring, with the purpose
of making them begin to impound water this spring, as part of the plan
which was called "1970 sugarcane harvest guarantee plan," forseeing the
possibility of a drought, the consequences of a drought. A large drilling
plan was accomplished together with a plan for the construction of dams. A
series of dams were begun with the intention of completing them this year,
for instance, among others, the Sabanilla dam, the Nipe dam, Lebrijes dam,
and the Minerva dam. These are very important dams because they irrigate
sugarcane areas which have the greatest problems during droughts. Work
continued on other less important dams too.

Many persons thought it was impossible to complete these dams this year.
The technicians even placed bets on it. Some said yes, and others said that
it was impossible to complete them this year. I must say that actually, all
the dams, not just those four, but 15 dams are in condition for completion
this spring and they cold be used in case it is necessary.

I say in case it is necessary because July and August may be dry months or
they may be wet months. I hope they are wet, of course.

Many of these dams are well ahead and are ready to provide emergency
service. We will therefore follow a cautious policy, everything will be
made ready, all the steps will be taken, all the risks will be assessed, to
complete all the dams which must be completed.

In figuring the progress of the works, some will be completed at the end of
May, others in mid-June. The question is to have water impounded in July
and August and also to have in November, December, January, February, and
March, and complete some of the finishing work later, perhaps in March or
April, once we have guaranteed a water supply in the summer months if they
are dry, and during the next drought. This, the purposes for which these
dams were built, will be achieved.

The effort has been great, the success has been great, and yet I expect
that an even greater effort will be made and that the success will be even

Certainly, the 10-million-ton harvest forced us to very great efforts in
drilling, dam, and drainage projects. The 1970 harvest moved us and we had
to work under this great pressure. This is not to be the case in 1971, but
this does not mean that we are going to relax. We are going to have even
more resources. But we will be working under less of a threat in each one
of these projects than we have been because of the 1970 sugarcane harvest.

Of course, there are important plans, among these are the rice plans. This
year the nation will have nearly 10,000 caballerias cultivated in
rice--between 9,000 and 10,000 caballerias. We hope to exceed 15,000
caballerias next year. Nearly 50 percent of these will be double-crop
lands. Therefore, next year we will plan more than 20,000 caballerias of
rice, counting the single and double crop lands.

We must say that this year most of the planting is being done with variety
IR-8 which has very high yield. But at this moment we have 11 varieties
which are even superior to IR-8. Of course, these varieties are at the
grain level, three of them having a very short cycle with 10 grains each.
We have planted 10 plants of each one. Fortunately, the 10 have cropped
from each one. [as heard] Therefore we will harvest quite a few from seven
other varieties and 45 kilograms from one. The yield land the quality [of
these plants] is superior.

Therefore, in 1970 and looking toward 1971, we will acquire the status of a
big rice-growing country. Almost nobody has realized that alongside the big
cane plan, another plan has developed even more than the cane plan, and it
is the rice plan.

If somebody wants to know what work is really like, he ought to find out
about the rice plans. Rice has to be planted in very low-lying areas, in
areas in which millions of cubic meters of drainage work has to be done,
thousands of "factory works" as Faustino pointed out. In El Cauto, 1,350
"factory works" had to be done. The dike work has to be done and someday,
of course, we are going to do all this rice cultivation on level terraces.
We have had some experience now and we are going to have the 17,000 rice
caballerias that the country will have on level terraces.

This will require further work. The work now cannot be on level terraces
but with the traditional work of the dikes, following the level curves, the
irrigation systems, the drainages. However, we are marching forward to the
development of the most modern ricefields in the world. These ricefields
will surpass the productivity per man of the United States. I say this now,
as our country is beginning to receive the first of the 2,500 (Sami) dual
traction, 90-horsepower tractors which are acquired for the nation's rice
plans. We will have 2,500 machines of the best that exist. Machines capable
of pulling a 6-disc plow, or a (?mudder tiller), or a scraper to level
terraces, or landplanes, any machine, and to go into the paddy and to
(?mud) not only with its mudder wheels but also with its rotovator; it is
sealed underneath, and has dual traction at 90 horsepower so that not one
horse will have to go into the ricefield. [applause]

New varieties of the highest yield are growing with a watchman overseeing
them so that not even a bird can come close. [applause] Our country will
have these recourses in this branch of agriculture. Now that the main
effort has been made in sugarcane, the effort begins in pasture feeds, with
two enormous plant this year, one in the Camaguey area known as the
10,000-caballerias of pastureland for fodder, and another in the Sancti
Spiritus region with another 10,000 caballerias of pastureland for breeding
and fodder.

In the Sancti Spiritus region there will be 2,500 caballerias of riceland
and we hope to have it by next year. This region has a water potential of 3
billion cubic meters, with the Zaza, Agabama, and other rivers, almost one
seventh of the country's water. Large dams will be installed there and one
about to be initiated with the good will to close it off, is nothing less
than a dam--we mean to dam it next year--with 700 million cubic meters of
water. When I say dam it next year I don't insist that it be 100 percent
complete, but we have decided to make the maximum effort to solve the
problem of that dam, so that there will be no shortage of water. And the
one in Sancti Spiritus, as I said, will be a herculean task; therefore we
have wanted to use Comrade Faustino's experience, making him responsible
for the Sancti Spiritus plan.

I am reading his commitment here. [audience laughs] He has not wished to
pledge the 700 million cubic meters. [Castro laughs] One must tell the
truth. I think he still keeps the perogative of doing it without promising
it. Let us take advantage of all his experience, as I think that we can
develop very modern techniques here. That region is going to have rice,
livestock, sugarcane, tobacco, almost all the headings of agriculture. We
have asked Comrade Faustino to take with him a group of experienced
comrades because the Sancti Spiritus region is, I think, capable of major
advances of a technical type of irrigation problems.

But to return to our subject, great plans are afoot in matters of
pastureland, with great momentum. We must say that in the rectangular area,
in July, there will be 1,500 tractors for one plan alone. All the
bulldozers working in the canefields will go to the rectangle. When the dry
season begins in November they will be clearing brush for riceland in
southern Camaguey. In this way, almost all the Las Villas bulldozers are at
this time in the Sancti Spiritus area, on the high ground, bulldozing for
pastureland. When the dry season begins they will be bulldozing for rice.
We intend to use a minimum number of bulldozers for ditching in the
ricelands; we shall employ cranes and scrapers, the ones we have, new ones
to be taken there, and some which our comrades in the machine center wish
to build this year.

They wish to build 50 scrapers which are used top cut ditches. Scrapers
builders better be alert as the machine center can reproduce any piece of
equipment and make a few small changes in it. They say it is to adjust it.
It seems that they modify it slightly to avoid copying it outright.

They have made a bucyrus well driller in a jiffy, one which very much
resembles the U.S. well driller. [audience laughs] Any resemblance is mere
coincidence. [audience roars] Further, they have been building a deep-well
pump which also bears a horrifying resemblance to some pumps which I am not
going to mention here, [audience laughs, Castro laughs] to avoid creating
too many problems. We are going to use scrapers; and dynamite too, if we
can obtain all the dynamite we need. This is a foreign trade task. We have
already used 2,000 tons of dynamite to dig ditches, clear brush, and other
work. They are going to receive another 2,000 tons, and next year they will
need much more. Dynamite is used to blast open ditches, saving on
bulldozers. Next year we will have a problem with bulldozers because the
160 of the 4-93 type which are coming will be used with Henderson combines
in Camaguey Province to cut sugarcane. We are thus inventing every method
possible to execute all these tasks with new techniques, and certainly
ditching with dynamite has been a great success. It has been of great

The plans for the coming year will be perhaps not as tight as those for
this year, but will be larger than those of this year. We shall also have a
very large number of perforators to drill extraction and immersion wells.
The former will give us what we need and the latter will supply the
underground dams provided by nature with surplus water, preventing it from
running off to the sea.

The situation with regard to other crops is a good one. Citrus plans,
citrus planting, are going ahead with intensity; so is coffee, plantains,
and pineapple. All these crops which can be seeded are being developed to a
maximum. There are some impressive pineapple plantations. The ones our
comrades have in Ciego de Avila are famous, and have been praised by those
who pass by them. Millions have will recall that we had a slight
problem with [obtaining] some Callena Lisa pineapples, but we obtained 10
million seedlings of them. And we not only obtained them but they have been
planted and are growing with a fine technique. All those crops are

In the past 15 months, the main crop has been sugarcane. But we are almost
through with sugarcane. In the past 15 months, 41,200 caballerias net of
cane have been planted. Net means that losses to dryness, rain and other
factors have been taken into account. The effort was greater. Whenever a
caballerias was lost, it was replanted. [repeats figure above] This is more
than a half million hectares. When we explain this figure to some visitors,
they are amazed.

Now with the sugarcane planted in the last 15 months alone, with this new
cane, Cuba would next year be the world's leading sugarcane producer.
Almost all the provinces have reached their goals. Las villas made its
planting goal and exceeded it; Havana province also; Pinar del Rio which
has a small sugarcane plantation; Matanzas Province has 171 caballerias to
plant, which will be done by 31 May; Camaguey yesterday had 22.8
caballerias to go, out of a program of 12,000 caballerias of sugarcane.
They will finish before 31 May, and only Oriente Province has a larger
quantity unplanted. It will have about 1,000 caballerias left to plant on
31 May, and will do so in June. Over 43,000 caballerias will have been

This is a respectable figure if we bear in mind that much of this cane was
planted in soil which had to be bulldozed, reclaimed, and sometimes
drained; it was not land easy to cultivate, but difficult to reach. So the
country will have 117,000 caballerias of cane for the 1970 sugar harvest,
and more than 40,000 caballerias will be cut for the first time. Much
fertilizer has been used, with high density [planting], and generally
planting has been done with proper soil preparation and superior care as
well as with selection of seeding stalks and selection of varieties, cane
was removed. There has been considerable reduction in the percentage of
28-78 cane, POJ 28-78 in the country, and the make-up of the varieties has
been improved considerably.

So we move toward 1970 with 117,000 caballerias of sugarcane--a respectable
figure. Nevertheless, we cannot say that all has gone well. Many persons
ask us how the sugar harvest is proceeding this year. This year's sugar
harvest has been the agony of this country.

On the 13 March we explained the problem we had in connection with the 1969
harvest. We also explained the causes of how we had relegated,
underestimated the importance of the '69 sugar harvest, and concentrated
attention above all on the '70 harvest goal. There were provinces in which
nobody really thought about the '69 harvest, they did not even remember it.
It required a greater effort. Despite the fact that it began early, it fell
behind schedule. As we were saying, a number of factors added to this. A
number of mills had been expanded and testing began of some tandems and
machinery, with all the difficulties this involves in adjustments,
including the handling of this equipment. Some of the other mills were
under construction and could not operate. Others had to be shut down early
in the harvest for expansion work. Transportation equipment was beset with
problems. Problems which piled up on holidays--for lack of repairs.
Problems also accumulated in transportation: carts and trucks. Last year
there were also difficulties in obtaining certain accessories such as cart
and truck tires, in addition to the wear on carrying equipment during the
entire second half of last year, when neither loaders nor trucks nor carts
or anything ever stopped moving. There are problems of parts, some being
objective and also plenty of the subjective type, of efficient personnel,
in some cases for the operation of that same equipment.

I should like to talk about a loader. A caneloader is nothing but a
hydraulic crane, and everyone knows that handling a bulldozer or a truck is
much easier than operating a hydraulic crane. Here we [need] crane
personnel--we have had many hydraulic cranes in water resources
installations, dams. And another very serious problem is selection of
personnel to handle these hydraulic cranes. There are thousands of them in
Cuba, and many operators are not expert handlers of them. Sometimes the
quantity of parts that wear out is excessive. The quantity of oil used is
greater; the amount of breakage is greater.

If these are added to lack of maintenance along with lack of mechanics for
repairs, problems of organization, in other words, the objective factors
are added to the subjective ones and tied in with the efforts on all the
other fronts, and the effort put forth in drainage and all types of
projects, and above all the effort in the plantations with a view to 1970,
all these factors had their effort on the harvest. It is true that in March
and April milling was stepped up--it was stepped up. Nonetheless, in May
the problems started, the problems we had began to crop up.

In Las Villas, Camaguey, and Oriente, heavy early rains came. We had feared
early rains. In other words, although on the one hand we wished for rain,
on the other we would have wanted normal rains. It has rained tremendously
in Las Villas Province during the past few years. And in Oriente, where
there was a drought during the first 3 months, toward the end of April and
in May it has really rained a lot.

This explains why the Paso Malo dam is putting out water now, and why the
Carlos Manuel de Cesnedes has a large volume of water. Early rains in May
lessened the pace of the harvest and even cut into the sugar yield. Thus,
we have the figures and their problems here: Up to yesterday 3,428,300,000
arrobas of cane had been milled. This is equivalent to 85 percent of the
cane. But this year also arose the problem of yields. Last year the yields
were 11.97 but this year they were 10.85. In other words 1.12 less sugar.
This means a little over 10 percent less. This year, with 3,623,000,000
arrobas, we had produced 4,277,482 tons of sugar.

Comparing the sugar yield, 458,000 tons more of sugar was produced last
year. In May, though, yields dropped with the early rains, plus the
problems that had accumulated--the problems of the '69 harvest have been

On occasion there are no figures for some years. And all this has to do
with trading. And, all in all, the country has the power to use or not to
use discretion in respect to sugar. But anyway accounts must be very clear
in respect to realities and the effort we must make. This is why we deem it
advisable for the actual sugar and cane production to be known--the milled
cane, the percentage of milled cane, which at this time is 85 percent of
the harvest.

Thus we are facing, in the next 45 days the very serious problems which
imply ending the harvest and cultivation of cane, which assume tremendous
importance, and the starting of all repairs of all the centrals as they

In other words, if this is the year of the decisive effort, these then are
the months of decisive efforts within the decisive effort. There is no
doubt that we still have may weaknesses. We have weaknesses in resources,
which are objective; and we have subjective weaknesses--in organization, in
control, in efficiency--and we face a serious task. But of course this is a
serious country, a country of honor. And there will be nothing nor any
circumstance that will make this country go back on any task and any

To run up against some critical point is the lot of the profession of the
revolutionary. Naturally next year the figures will be coming to light from
the first day. We want the entire country to know how the harvest
progresses day to day, and how it progresses in each province--and, if
possible, in each region and if possible in each central. In other words,
we will employ broad discretion in respect to sugar and we will publish the
data daily in the newspaper, so it will not be just a few of us that have
the information and so everyone will have it and opinion can likewise
participate with its authority and its moral sense in the unfolding of the
1970 harvest.

Of course these figures on the sugar that has been produced and what we
need to produce are under our economy's requirements. And duty largely ties
us in with this 458,000-ton shortage--due to various processing-type
problems of harvesting and organization, organization of the transport that
carries the cane, organization of the means that gather it and the
maintenance of equipment.

We believe that all this was affecting the production of sugar. There were
objective factors, I repeat, but also subjective factors. But after all in
this harvest there were not delayed spring or winter cane, simply because
more than half a million, or rather, more than half a billion, that is,
more than 500 million arrobas of seed cane were used. The cane seed that
was used--the second spring cane period--was sown in 1967, and besides in
this second period, sowing was principally with winter cane, also of 1967,
so the harvest was begun only with shoots. The spring cane and the winter
cane--all were under ground. At the same time, last year's rains began in
May and cane is of age when it reaches the retroactive cycle, so the cycle
of this type began late. The harvest began with spouts which were 7,8,9
months old.

Then, this quantity of sugar, I repeat, does not meet the requirements of
the economy. Nevertheless the country will adopt the pertinent measures to
have the necessary sugar and to have the sugar which our economy requires,
and of the sugar which we must load and the [word indistinct] of sugar
which we must export this year, fulfilling commitments, and receiving the
pertinent exchange.

And what we shall do is to advance the harvest of 1970. We have more than
enough cane for 1970. Besides, from the climatic point of view, the rain is
good up to this moment. It seems that it will be a year of rain, of good
rains. In general, it is acting thus, with some exceptions and some
caprices. In the Havana region, for example, in the south it has rained
very well in the north it has not rained as well in the month of May as,
for example, in the month of April. But, in general, it has rained well,
and after all, if all the attention that it requires is given to the cane,
if the weeds are fought, in much cane--it is necessary to clean out the
weeds because there is much cane, many caballerias of cane in the country
and in these months weeds grow fast also, especially in rainy years, but
the country has a considerable quantity of cane for 1970, so that the
strategy which we shall follow is strategy without an alternative because
the country has to have the minimum necessary for the economy and has to
fulfill its commitments. And what we shall do is advance the harvest of

And thus, in some centrals, for example, repairs have been underway, making
important enlargements. These require adjustments. There are other centrals
which have too much cane for their capacity; all right, these
centrals--very few centrals--will begin the harvest of 1970 in the month of
July, in July of this year. Four centrals will begin milling early in July.
We shall produce sugar and we shall also produce syrup. The cane will give
a little less sugar; it will have a greater production of syrup, but there
will be enough cane because for this purpose we shall sow the most enormous
sowing that has ever been made. and for this purpose, we have the 117,000
caballerias that the country has for 1970.

If the rains are good, there will be cane for more than 12 million tons,
and there is not central that can grind all the cane that is presented
under these conditions. So the choice is to begin the 1970 harvest early.
There are some provinces that have little increase, as, for example, Havana
Province. Havana Province is to have some 800 million arrobas of cane next
year, and its capacity is reduced, so there must be a long harvest.

The sugar industry will have to continue being enlarged. but in the future,
we shall think more of new centrals because most of these are more than 30
years old--in this country no central has been built since 1930--and some
centrals have possibilities for enlargement and these we have continued
enlarging, but with many headaches.

And we shall enlarge the industrial capacity and the expansion will be
primarily based on new centrals: at the side of the old one, the new one.
One will function while the other is being build--centrals with more modern
techniques, of greater productivity value, with the maximum possible use of
automation. Our sugar industry has operated with close to 100,000 workers
and it could be operated, if there were adequate conditions in the industry
and if there was a modern industry, by 30,000 workers. Thus, the old
industry forces us to have 70,000 more workers.

The country will continue increasing its production of cane, but without a
great increase of acreage. We repeat, cane will be moved to flat areas.

Cane will have to be mechanized and, with an area of some 130,000
caballerias, in 1980 we will produce double the cane of 1970. But we are
not thinking of much more sugar; we are thinking of the cattle herds of the
country. Our sugarmills will produce 10, 11, or 12 million tons of
sugar--whatever is required and reasonable to produce for this date--and
the rest of the cane, an approximately equal quantity, for the production
of milk, of meat, of eggs, of poultry, of everything. Because, we repeat,
cane is the source not only of carbohydrates, but also of the proteins; it
is our soybean and our corn; with a production per hectare which surpasses
several times that of any of these crops. From cane come the proteins, that
is, the cane syrup and sugar also plays the role of carbohydrates in the
production of fowl and in the production of hogs.

In other words, with an area a little greater than the one designated today
and all situated in even terrain and mechanized the country 10 years later
will produce double the sugarcane that it has, or it will have, produced in
1970. That is to say, this will be cane not of 10 or 11 months, this will
be cane of 18 to 20 months. With irrigation (?ditches) there will be no
need every year to clean 100,000 caballerias, one half. We shall cut some
60,000 caballerias, but with no less than 250,000 arrobas per caballeria.

The results of the application of technique to sugarcane are mathematical.
A determined preparation of the land, a determined variety, a determined
level of fertilization, a determined age, a determined tillage, a
determined wetness, give mathematical results. And there are in the country
certain varieties which in 18 or 20 months produce up to 300,000 arrobas
per caballeria. To calculate the production for 10 years later, in 250,000
arrobas per caballeria, is in no way difficult.

With mechanization, with an expanded and more modernized industry, the
perspective for the sugar industry is truly good. Decisive proof is the
next harvest. Some think that the 10 million are for 1970 alone. No, no; it
is that we are thinking of more later on. It is not like some think, that
is, that this is for one year. After this will come the harvests of 1971
and then the harvest of 1972. There will be no reductions here except that
imposed by the expansion of the industry. It will be necessary to under
[thought no completed]--there are sugarmills here situated on mountains
where not even (?lifts) can be used. And these mills are untenable.

The country's labor force is needed for the whole development of the
country, and this labor force will be freed only with the mechanization of
canecutting, which today takes up the best energies of the country; which
today takes up the fundamental human resources which the country needs for
the whole of its full development.

The country considers mechanization a fundamental matter and is paying
maximum attention, and it has not the slightest doubt that it will solve
and achieve complete mechanization of sugarcane.

This process is not easy; we already have the combines; we are trying out
the prototypes with a great amount of efficiency, nevertheless, the matter
is not being done hurriedly, because we cannot begin to construct the
machines en masse until such time as the prototype is well proven, with al
the modifications and with all the improvements required. Despite the need
we have for the machine, we cannot begin producing them en masse without
first making sure that all the mechanical requirements have been satisfied.
Therefore, the problem of mechanization is being approached with much care,
but with the absolute assurance that it will be solved.

These are the perspective, as I was telling you, and the tests we have
before us; undoubtedly, a whole series of experiences, which shall be
collected and analyzed from this harvest, will have to be used immediately
in the organization and in the preparation of the next harvest which,
besides, will begin early. One part in July, a bigger part of September,
and the bulk of al the mills from the first of November on. Of course, the
objective factors are much better prepared for the 1970 harvest than for
this 1969 harvest.

But al the experience which many companions of ours have picked up at each
sugarmill [central] at each storage center, at each (?loading area), at
each (cos), all these experiences will have to be well analyzed and used
to advantage in organizing, in the best possible way--any I say in the best
possible way because the 1970 harvest constitutes a serious trial for
our country.

In all the factors which have played a part, be it that the cane does
not arrive early at the mill, or the railroad transportation, of all the
factors which have played a part in creating a determined difficulty in the
present harvest. [as heard] In other words, if it is true that many things
have gone well, and many things have meant impressive advancements this
year, we cannot swell with pride and say that everything has gone well. We
cannot swell with pride and say that we have acquired the capacity of
carrying, all along the line, the labor which the country demands. And we
say the labor which the country needs because the problems of development
are very serious.

It is no wonder that a nation stays a century behind. It is no easy thing
this struggle of a country to reach this development under present-day
conditions, especially under the economic hostility, including the
hostility of powerful enemies.

This naturally calls for great effort, an effort like those this country
has made in every one of its decisive moments, like those waged by those
who fought in our wars of independence, like those exerted by those who one
day set for themselves the task of launching the revolution in this country
and fought under trying conditions, facing harsh trials.

This people has been exerting a great effort. But we do not think, not in
the slightest, that the effort we are putting forth now is a grandiose one;
we do not think that this people is putting forth the greatest effort at a
given moment. And if we want an example of an even bigger effort, there is
the effort of the Vietnamese people during the years, confronting
[applause] hundreds of thousands [applause] of imperialist soldiers.
[prolonged applause]

We do not think we are performing the biggest effort even in the most
efficient way. We have 10,000 machines in the DAP [Agriculture and
Livestock Development]--10,000 machines of varying power and potential; on
some occasions there are huge bulldozers, trucks, cranes.

We talk of thousands of kilometers of roads, or tens of thousands of
caballerias, of all the cane we have sown, all the canals we have dug, all
the dams we have constructed. And we say: Indeed if that is compared to all
what we were able to do before, it is much more.

When we heard the speech of Comrade Faustino on what the hydraulic
institute has done, beginning virtually from scratch, we cannot but be
impressed with the relation between the steps that have been taken in a
number of fields. And if we look at the figures alone it would give us
reasons to feel satisfied on all fronts.

Nonetheless, we must compare our work with the work done on occasion by
other people. Sometimes we must build a factory, lay down a waterline,
build a bridge, raise a prefabricated piece that weighs 2, 5, or 10 tons.

Sometimes it is a crane like the one being used in building the Cienfuegos
fertilizing plant that can lift 120 tons. We have machines that lift 120
tons land set in place heavy structures. And our effort perhaps look big to
us but if we look back and see history of what other people have done, we
see that some build enormous pyramids. yet others, even without oxen,
without even the wheel--in the history of the pre-Colombian civilizations
in Latin America, or America that was not Latin but Indian in those
times--we find that at times they built buildings for which they moved
stones that weighed 30, 50, and even 100 tons. And impressive monuments
remain that reflect the effort made by these people.

If ask ourselves how is it possible to move a 100-ton stone without dray
animals, without even the wheel; if we ask ourselves how human effort at
one time was able to move weights that reached 100 tons great distances
without the wheel and dray animals, alongside these realities of other
people who, often inspired by a religious-type fanaticism, carried out
those tremendous tasks--and when the history of the human species and of
the effort of peoples teaches us that that was often done in a
non-thinking, often fanatical way--we cannot feel especially impressed by
the thought that we are laying a pipeline or, aided by powerful machines of
hundreds of horsepower, we are building a road, a highway, or a dam,
bulldoze some few tens of thousands of caballerias, knowing that we have
machines to do this with, knowing the resources we have.

For there are millions of horsepower used by moving levers, pushing
buttons. And we could even say that sometimes we do not know how to use
those powerful machines with all the effectiveness required.

Thus, indeed, if we examine the figures, figures can impress us.
Undoubtedly, if we compare the increase of hectares put under irrigation in
Cuba with those of Latin American, it is pitiful. If we compare the
increases in roads, the increases of land that is cleared and placed under
production, there is no comparison possible in figured, since Cuba alone
exceeds what all the Latin American countries do together.

Nonetheless, this is no reason for us to feel vainglorious over this. We
often relate and show what the revolution does simply as an evincing of the
truth that people can accomplish great things by means of the revolution.

After the revolution, they can resolve their problems, but without our
goat, we do not have so much to boast of. Thus we marked the period of the
revolution. there is nothing before us that prevents us from realizing the
great objectives of this country, nothing that prevents us from working for
the future of this country--no Yankee boss here telling us what to do, not
structure of archaic property that makes it impossible for us to attain our
objectives. Yes, the enemy tries to hinder us, but we are masters of the
country. We are masters of the natural resources of this country. We are
masters of the machines. We are masters of the factories.

They try to sabotage us, sometimes the economy, sometimes in industry, but
there is little that they can do. The country is sufficiently armed to be
able to defend itself from these enemies. So the people face only the
obstacles which our own subjective limitations can create for us, our own
incapacities, our own ignorance.

Although the acts of the revolution in themselves are great, I do not
believe that there is reason for vainglory. I do not believe that there are
reasons for feeling excessively proud of ourselves. I do not even believe
that there are reasons for feeling that we are exceedingly revolutionary.
Yes, there are tens of thousands--there are hundreds of thousands--of men
who guard this country and make a great effort, but we are all the
vanguard. There are some who make more efforts than the others, have a
greater sense of responsibility, a greater sense of discipline. We have
asked ourselves, for example, about work discipline, how discipline in work
is progressing, in the central, in the factory, in the gin, in
transportation, with each machine. Before when we were slaves of the
capitalists, when we were administered by the owners, and hunger awaited us
around the corner and there was unemployment, disease, ignorance, and no
future and on occasions degradation for many persons and even suicide. This
is not today the situation of a country which is master of its fate, and
works for its future.

Up to what point have we been able to be aware of this reality? Up to what
point have we been capable of taking stock of each and every obligation?
Because sometimes when a man is careless about a key, in giving more or
less steam to a boiler, in doing or not doing an activity, al this has
repercussions on the economy. All this has a repercussion in production,
and this is not a country of slaves. Today, hunger threatens no one. No one
is threatened by disease or accidents or disability or old age, there is no
threat of any danger, of those dangers under which man lived in the past.
No danger of threat menaces any one's family. No child is an orphan in this
country. No family is unsheltered in this country. The revolution has
created the conditions of security so that it can be said here and here
there is no homeless person, and here there are no orphans, but we ask
ourselves without those conditions of the past, do we today know how to
conduct ourselves as a people who is master of its destiny. Today de we
know how to conduct ourselves as men who respond to our conscience?

To what degree are we a people that can feel proud of this in reality, it
is not this way, it is not yet this way. And this does not deny the heroic
vanguard effort that hundreds of thousands of persons are making in this
country, who have spent 4 months cutting cane--workers, fathers of
families, students, making big efforts, students that the country needs to
train, because if anything is lacking, it is knowledge. But up to what
point in each front have we been responsible? Have we known how to
organize, have we taken into account that any carelessness is affecting the
effort that others make with sacrifices? Up to what point do we take care
of the machines which the people gave us, the trucks, the lift, the

Up to what point? And I believe that we must ask this question and not live
on the glories that we have achieved. We have achieved few so far. And we
have achieved fewer than we should have. And out duty is to do the maximum
if reason cannot be to seek the maximum of happiness for this country, if
we even realize that we are held as an example for a entire continent, if
we are called to be beacons for tens and hundreds of millions of men, the
most elemental sense of revolutionary duty obliges us to remember it--no
longer to work only for our future, to work for an idea, to work for a
cause, which is the cause of justice, which is the cause of truth, and we
revolutionaries have to know how to conduct ourselves as flagbearers of
this cause. I speak to the revolutionaries, no worm or semi-worm or
anything of the kind. We have ruled them out long ago. They do not interest
us. Let them go to their Yankee paradise. We are interested in the genuine
people, the revolutionary people, and it is the people to whom we are
talking in these terms.

Thus, objectively--the things we have been able to accomplish more or less
well, and those we have not been able to do well, and the resolve we should
have in knowing how to meet those obligations--considering the fact that
this has been called the year of decisive effort--let this not be a
watchword, let this not be a word that is painted on walls, but rather a
genuine act of conscience in everything we do, whether or not it concerns
the cane, and let it rule everything that one way or another can affect the
effort of others.

Today we had taken as a fundamental objective, or appearing here, the
solemn ceremony of the joining of two institutions, to present with the
utmost candor our opinion on the merits of one of those institutions, the
work accomplished by the comrades of it and Comrade Faustino, though we
forthrightly believe that this is not a new hydraulic apparatus that has
emerged, since it is the same hydraulic apparatus with the same hydraulic
will and the same hydraulic workers, except that today it can count on more
human resources and added material resources and is part of the overall
effort being put forth in the field of development of the country's
agriculture, and that hydraulic projects will grow. That was our objective
tonight, but at the same time figures, regardless of what the enemies could
say, and to present this problem before the people, though of course there
are not always pleasant circumstances amid which to present things.

Fatherland or death, we will win. [applause]