Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services in Spanish 0215 GMT 28 Oct 69

[Speech by Prime Minister Maj Fidel Castro at Havana's Chaplin
Theater--live. Also at the speakers table are Raul Castro, Armando Hart,
Juan Almeida, Osvaldo Dorticos, Manuel Luzardo, Emilio Aragones, Carlos
Rafael Rodriguez, Faure Chomon, Ramiro Valdes, Blas Roca, Raul Roa, and
Jose Llanusa.

[Text] Comrade leaders of the party, comrade leaders of agriculturre and
the sugar industry, tonight we are really filled with profound emotion
because for a good number of years we have worked for this massive battle,
which begins with all its force tonight. Cutting will begin tomorrow in
many centrals of the country but the most critical phase of the battle
begins as of this moment. [applause] Hard work was performed in order to
have the sugarcane necessary for the 10-million ton harvest. We all felt
the burden of the historic commitment contracted by our country and we
evaluated the importance of having that cane at the beginning of this
harvest. It is a great cause for satisfaction to assure you that at this
moment we have the sugarcane needed for the 10-million tons of sugar.

Those figures have been carefully analyzed in all provinces, if anything,
with a conservative eye. How much can we have--or we can begin better--How
much cane do we need to complete the 10 million tons? In the first phase of
the harvest, during the summer months, 126,000 tons of sugar were produced.
We need 7.3 billion arrrobas of sugarcane with yields of 11.75 [percent] to
achieve the 10-million ton figure. A yield of 11.75 is considered to be
conservative. If we analyze the yields of past years, after the victory of
the revolution, what did we have? In the year 1965 we had an overall yield
of 11.94; in 1966, 12.09; in 1967, 12.05 in 1968, 11.97, and only in 1969 a
yield under 11.75. In 1969 there was a yield of 10.64.

A number of factors caused this low yield, primarily, we must say, problems
of poor sugarcane, problems in the manufacturing process, and at the same
time there was no cane from the previous year, or winter cane. We worked
with sprouts that began to grow in May because the rains did not begin
until after a long drought.

On this occasion there is the fact that the harvest will be longer than in
any of the years mentioned. There are some provinces, which because of the
quantities of sugarcane available, will begin with almost all their
centrals in operation tomorrow. That is, they will begin cutting cane
tomorrow. One of those provinces is Las Villas, which will begin with some
41 of its 44 centrals, and Havana Province, which will begin with 14 of its
16 centrals. Two of them will begin operations somewhat later because of
problems of expansion. That means that we have two provinces which will
begin the harvest very early with most of their centrals.

Of these two provinces, historically Havana Province has had a lower yield
in sugar than Las Villas Province. Las Villas, with Oriente Province, has
always been characterized by a high yield in sugar. This is because of soil
and climate conditions. Oriente has been the province with highest sugar
yields historically. Naturally, the early start of the sugar harvest in Las
Villas with all its centrals will have an effect on the overall yield at
the end of the harvest. The same will happen with Havana Province.

However, under no circumstances could these two provinces fail to start
their harvest very early or else they would not be able to grind all the
cane available. In the other provinces, although all will begin with a good
number of centrals, also in the month of November, particularly all those
centrals with an excess of sugarcane, the situation becomes more favorable.
However, the most important thing is the following: Oriente Province, which
historically has had the highest yields--it has reached yields of almost
13--will grind 85 percent of its sugarcane from January on. This means that
it will grind 85 percent of its cane in the periods of optimum sugar yields
and 15 percent before January.

Camaguey Province will grind approximately 20 percent before January and 80
percent after January. The same is more or less true in Matanzas Province.
This means that Oriente Province, the one with the highest sugar yield, and
Camaguey Province, two very important and decisive provinces in the
harvest, will be able to grind the largest part of their sugarcane within
the period of optimum yield. In this manner, if one of the western
provinces, Havana or Matanzas, happens to falls below 11.75 percent in
yield because of the amount of cane they grind during that period when the
yields are historically lower, without any doubt any deficit in the
percentage of sugar will be compensated for by Oriente Province with a
yield which will be amply over 12 and in the province they expect that it
will b no less than a physical yield of 12.75.

In this way, the average will be more or less 20 percent of the can before
January and 80 percent of the cane after January. According to estimates,
there are almost 7.5 billion net arrobas of sugarcane. A physical yield of
75 is expected. On the basis of a polarization of 96 it will be almost
11.90 to 11.95. This is the historic figure used in our country and
throughout the world to gage sugar tonnage. This means that the nation has
enough cane to produce some 10.3 to 10.4 million metric tons of sugar.

The factors which favor a high yield and which counteract the effects of a
prolonged harvest and, in some cases of an untimely harvest, is the variety
of the canestalk [composicion de cepa]. Our country has never had such a
high level of early maturing and intermediate maturing cane in any previous
harvest. Most of the cane was of the 28-78 variety. Almost 80 percent was
of this variety, a type of late maturing cane. Often this variety of cane
affected the sugar yield because it was necessary to cut it early. However,
the quantity of 28-78 has been materially reduced now and more than 50
percent is early maturing or intermediate maturing cane. Hence, this factor
ought to benefit us considerably in the struggle for a better yield.

And now that we have the cane, the basic, decisive thing is to have a good
harvest. It is decisive. It is even possible that if a good harvest is
accomplished, the sugar yield may exceed 11.75 percent. This is precisely
the task we have immediately facing us. The experience of past years, and
above all, the experience of the 1969 harvest, brought us a large number of
facts, figures, lessons, and information which have been evaluated and
analyzed in depth in all the provinces. So much so, that we know perfectly
well all that has to be done to achieve a good harvest. I am not going into
a detailed analysis of all these factors which have been so well studied
and disseminated in all the provinces. But we can say that our workers and
our leadership cadres know perfectly well the factors necessary to achieve
a good harvest. Some of these factors have something to do with the
question of cutting, loading, and hauling the cane, and others have to do
with industry.

We must learn the importance of these essential factors. With regard to the
cutting of the cane, the first factor of extraordinary importance is the
cutting schedule. In other words, all this cane of various varieties, of
various ages, must be cut in each plantation according to schedule. In
previous years, these schedules often were not emphasized, all the
attention they required was not given them. On many occasions the schedule
was changed throughout the harvest, and logically, this is a point on which
there should be strict discipline during this harvest.

It should be known perfectly in each central, and in many of the centrals a
small sign sets forth each one of the varieties of cane and the
corresponding cutting date. We must make sure that each central has a small
sign indicating the date when each canefield is to be cut. In this way, all
the workers of the nation, all the people, and most essentially, all the
cutters will know precisely what cane must be cut at each moment and what
cane must not be cut under any circumstances.

Naturally, there are some exceptions to this schedule. In some cases, for
instance, the cane has to be cut to make a firebreak, because of climatic
factors, because a drought may begin and some can must be cut ahead of
time. There are exceptions to the schedules and the harvest technicians and
leaders know them perfectly well.

However, it is fundamental, it is decisive that each type of cane is cut in
the period corresponding to it. This is a point of basic importance.

There is a point as important as the one we have just mentioned. It is
decisive to the harvest and it is the question of the cane's freshness. It
is the question of the minimum time between the moment it is cut and the
moment it is ground. Every body, all the workers, all the people, have
often heard that if cane is cut and it takes days to get to the mill it
suffers losses in weight and losses in sugar yield. We have all heard this
often. Yet it is possible that the immense majority of us did not know to
what extent delayed cane could affect the sugar yield.

Here we have some facts which we must stress. They are from a study by
Eliseo Acosta, an engineer of Camaguey Province, about the losses in weight
and sugar of the cane per day. In the first 24 hours it loses 1.1 percent.
In other words, if 100 tons were to be produced only 98.9 would be
produced. This is what it loses in weight in 24 hours. In sugar, it loses 2
percent. Hence, in 24 hours the cane has lost in 3.08 percent in sugar

Logically, it is very difficult for the cane to be all there in 24 hours.
Often the cane arrives later than 24 hours. It is logical because of the
quantity of cane and the need to keep the centrals operating constantly.
And thus, one day, two days, and sometimes even three days are needed to
cut it and take it to the central. On the second day the sugarcane once
more loses--in the next 24 hours--another 1.1 in weight and another two
percent in yield. This means that in 48 hours the cane loses 10.39; in four
it loses 14.54; in four and one-half days it loses 18.54; in six days it
loses 22.54; in seven days it loses 25.46; in eight it loses 30.31; in nine
days, 34; and in 10 days, 37.69.

These figures are very important. It means that in seven days--sugarcane
which is seven days late in getting to the central loses 25 percent, that
is, one-fourth of the sugar it would have produced if it had reached the
central immediately after being cut. After 10 days it loses almost 40
percent. These are truly important figures. On all those occasions, for
whatever reason it may be that the cane is delayed 10 days before being
ground--all our workers should know this, all those who participate in the
harvest, all the people should know this--the cane loses nearly 40 percent
of the sugar it should produce. In seven days it loses 25 percent.

These figures by themselves point out the extraordinary importance of
having the cane reach the centrals while fresh; the extraordinary
importance of preventing four, five, or six days cutting from accumulating
on the ground; the extraordinary importance of never allowing more than two
day's cutting to accumulate on the ground.

This means that these figures, of day's cutting on the ground, are
extremely important because when five and six day's cutting accumulates on
the ground at any central we are losing 40 percent of the sugar. Therefore,
if sugarcane is brought, for example to the mill 48 hours after it is cut,
when it has only lost some 6.16 percent, and if all the cane needed to
produce 10 million tons of sugar arrived at the central on an average of 48
hours after it was ground, the sugarcane needed to produce 10 million tons
of sugar with an average of 48 hours after being cut, that same amount of
sugarcane arriving in the central 7 days after being cut would produce
approximately 8 million tons of sugar. See the difference?

Between an average of two days and an average of seven days the same
sugarcane needed to produce 10 million tons would only produce 8 million
tons. This is not taking into account the trouble that cane which is late
in arriving causes in the central, particularly the problems in sugar
installations. It creates and doubles difficulties in the industrial
process. Therefore, it is important that everybody become aware of these
figures and everybody become aware of the decisive importance of taking
fresh sugarcane to the centrals. Everybody should coordinate effort and
work and organize and direct them so that these principles relating to the
work of grinding the cane can be applied and compiled with properly and

These two factors, the cutting program and freshness of the sugarcane, are
essentially decisive factors. However, there are other aspects in the
fields such as the problem of the sugarcane which is left behind in the
field. Sometimes it an be as much as five percent or eight or 10 percent.
Five percent in a 10-million-ton harvest means enough sugarcane to produce
5 million tons. To the sugarcane left in the fields because it is not
properly gathered must be added to the sugarcane which falls along the
roads and borders of the fields and the sugarcane that falls off along the

None of these factors can be ignored, none of these factors can be passed
by because the sum total of that sugarcane left in the field, or along the
road, or along the railway could reach the equivalent of 1 million tons of
sugar. The norms established for the cutting of cane are also very
important: the length of the cane, the cutting of the canestalks low
enough--because there re also parts of the cane left in the stubble and
that is precisely the part which contains the most sugar, and it has an
effect on the amount of sugar produced. The length of cane left on the
canetop is also important.

We had a slogan once: "No cane in the tops and no tops in the cane," but we
reached the conclusion that the emphasis should be placed in not leaving
any cane in the tops. All that cane left in the stubble or in the tops make
up a percentage which when added up reaches a considerable figure.

Compliance with the technical norms of cutting and loading also greatly
affect the industrial process of the sugarcane. If these factors are
heeded, if they are heeded as they should be--the cutting program, the
grinding of fresh sugarcane, the collection of sugarcane in the fields, the
roads and the railways--if these factors are heeded the figure of an 11.75
percent yield will undoubtedly be very much lower than that which we will
achieve despite the length and early start of the harvest.

There are important, fundamental problems of transportation because none of
these aspects can fail, neither cutting nor transportation nor the
industrial process. There are train movement schedules, the rotation of
cars locomotives, the state of the railways and all the measures to be
taken, which have been studied and are established and put down in writing.
In the industrial process there are also a series of problems which have
been amply analyzed by the comrades. They have to do with the amount of
sugar which is recovered, and which may even reach 86 or 87 percent. This
percent of recovery is very important and is dependent on the adequate and
complete fulfillment of all the activities in the sugarcane production

The industry comrades consider that a very basic thing is control of the
industrial process, control over each worker, control over the operation of
the equipment and machines assigned to each one of them throughout the
industrial process. This is an aspect in which discipline is essential, and
certainly in the last few years we have often discovered problems of
indiscipline, carelessness, negligence, and other faults of the same order.
On other occasions, it was lack of experience. Everyone knows perfectly
well that a sugar central is a machine made up of a series of equipment
units, none of which may operate independently of the rest. A sugar central
is like a clock in which any breakdown, any carelessness in any of its
parts, stops the process. In many cases the breakdowns are due to
negligence, carelessness.

Problems arise not merely because of defects in the machines, but because
of human errors by the men who operate the machines. Hence, the industry
comrades consider that the control of the process and of each one of the
functions which the worker performs in the industrial process is basic to
the achievement of the optimum yield and maximum recovery of sugar, a
minimum of sugar in the muds in the molasses, and in the bagasse. Here are
included all the problems in the mills, in the boilerhouse, in the
centrifugal equipment. In this case too, the comrades in the provinces have
studied all these processes in great detail. They have made studies and
held many meetings and they have written plenty about all these problems.

The question of discipline is basic here. It is basic that when a worker
ends a workshift he must not turn the equipment over the worker who
replaces him at the mill entrance or in the bus or on the street corner. It
is basic that each worker feel responsible for his equipment until his
replacement arrives, that he tell him all the necessary details, and that
he does not leave his equipment until his replacement arrives. This in turn
increases the importance of discipline and of work attendance. There are
very harmful consequences abseenteism may bring about in the industrial
process. It is necessary to give maximum emphasis to work discipline and we
must incessantly appeal to the sense of responsibility of the workers in
the industry.

This is not a battle of the administrators or the leaders, it is a battle
of all the people and every worker, like a soldier, as he would do in a
trench defending the nation, as he would do against an enemy attack, as the
revolutionary combatants did during decisive moments, he must feel like a
soldier in a trench with rifle in hand, performing his duty! [applause]

On this occasion, as never before, what is required is that patriotism,
that unflagging revolutionary spirit every day. On this occasion, as on no
other one, our workers must show this spirit. And we know what our workers
are capable of in decisive moments. We know what they have been capable of
doing in decisive moments. We know the attitude of being willing to give
their all in a heroic moment. And on this occasion we need that quiet and
silent heroism every day.

We know that harvests were shorter in the past; in the past workers
anxiously waited for the moment when the harvest began for there were many
workers for each worker who had a job in the sugar central waiting for a
chance to get a job in the central. The consequences were always harmful to
a worker who did not always fulfill the demands made of him by the central

Today the problem is not that of the dead season, on the contrary, the
problem is enough manpower to operate the mill. The dead season has long
since disappeared. Today the harvests are long and while sugar workers used
to be employed in seasonal work, they are now considered year-round
workers. Hence, a situation which so troubled and anguished thousands of
Cuban workers--the problem of the dead season--has disappeared. That used
to be a kind of whip which punished workers in our country. We no longer
had a dead season. We shall never again have a dead season. We shall never
again have men waiting in line outside a sugar mill. The old workers who
used to know these problems and the new ones who did not know them no
longer have to suffer those bitter, humiliating circumstances which forced
them into work discipline as a matter of life or death.

It is necessary to know that with the problem of discipline, in a situation
in which those evils disappeared, in a situation in which the worker was
the person who was directly benefitted or harmed for any failure in work,
for any negligence, for any indiscipline, or for any nonfulfillment of
duty, under such circumstances, nothing an substitute for a man's conscious
attitude--a man's sense of duty. The socialist society cannot resort to the
procedures of the capitalists. The socialist society does not have
available to it those coercive means; among the foremost was nonemployment,
hunger, and the terrible consequences for the worker who did not fulfill
the obligations imposed on him by the capitalists.

A (socialist--ed) leader cannot be taken to the executive of a capitalist
firm, of a Yankee company. the revolution cannot resort to coercive
methods. This is why the revolution the revolution which has liberated
people from such flagellation, the revolution which works for the future,
which works for the people, essentially depends not on the will of those
who lead it, no, it depends on the will of all the people, what the workers
themselves are capable of doing.

This does not mean that responsible cadres do not have the right to be
demanding. To be demanding does not mean threatening anyone. Demanding
certainly does not mean punishing anyone. Although, at times, under certain
circumstances, punishment is necessary, but it cannot be punishment, nor
should it be punishment. When it is said that a leader, a cadre, is weak,
it is because he does not know how to appeal to the worker, he does not
know how to point out any weakness or any failure.

We would be dreamers if we believed that we could advance, that we could
become a modern country, a country marching forward, without constantly
resorting to appeals, demands which must be made to each man at his post.

The cadres have the duty to point it out to the worker everytime he commits
an error. There is something essential in man, something which is stronger
than any other drive, something which is capable of doing more than the
threats of hunger, unemployment, and poverty of the past. That factor is
the shame of each man. [applause] It is precisely with that drive that men
and countries have been able to accomplish extraordinary feats; that belief
that each man has in himself that feeling of honor, that feeling of
dignity, the regard that he has for the opinion that others may have of
him. It is very unlikely, almost abnormal, to find a man who really lacks a
point of honor, dignity, and shame.

This has been seen many times. This is precisely what makes fighters, good
soldiers in war, good guerrillas in struggle. It is that factor which makes
man regard his honor much more than this own life. And we could say that
the fundamental duty of the men who lead is to know how to appeal to that
side of man, that feeling of honor, that feeling of the dignity of man. It
is the only drive, the only force-fortunately a decisive drive--the
fundamental drive of people. No man likes it, and it hurts every man when
he has to be reproached for a fault, a failure, a nonfulfillment of duty.
It is very difficult to find a man who does not feel embarrassment, does
not feel hurt, when he is fairly told about a weakness, a shortcoming, an
act of irresponsibility.

Many times they do not know how to appeal to that feeling. Many times they
do not know how to touch that drive which we know is the decisive drive in
the conduct of man and is the only drive to which we must appeal
unceasingly. In that manner, sometimes substantial changes may be achieved
in a work center. Excessive percentages of absenteeism can be reduced in
shops which were disorganized, with problems of all types, with this type
of work. Appealing to the workers, appealing to that sense of honor,
appealing to the same of workers, incredible changes have been made in many
places. We must know how to criticize just as we must know how to
stimulate, encourage, and show appreciation when the worker is capable of
making great efforts, maximum efforts in doing his job.

We have the circumstances that the harvests are prolonged. The dead time
has disappeared. Work is assured during the entire year and, of course, we
believe that the old system of continuous work which still remains in the
centrals, three shifts without relief, must at some time be abolished.
There is the idea that when circumstances permit, further on, a relief will
be created in all the centrals so that weekly rest periods and vacations
for all sugar workers can be guaranteed. Later on, as work productivity
increases and our centrals are modernized, we understand the need for
considering and resolving this problem.

In the coming years the revolution aspires to have not only much higher
productivity in the industry, but also the necessary working force so that
a relief shift can be created and even the total number of workers needed
in the sugar industry reduced. Thus, in the future we will grind much more
cane, have a relief shift, and at the same time conserve part of the labor
force which is needed in our industry today where many processes are
antiquated and where many machines are antiquated. Everybody knows that
before the revolution the sugar industry had practically brought in nothing
new or made any new installations of any importance.

Many of our centrals' machines--the average age of many of our centrals is
more than 40-years--there is equipment which is more than 50 years old. We
must replace this equipment, and now because of the 10-million ton sugar
harvest, large-scale renovation has taken place in the industry. Naturally,
this will continue at an accelerated pace in future years. These factors
mentioned with respect to sugarcane agriculture and industry are decisive
in the fulfillment of this commitment of 10 million tons.

What do these 10 million tons mean for our country? This figure was much
discussed throughout the world. It can be said that many persons abroad,
perhaps the majority of persons, received that we could not fulfill this
target in 1970. The enemies of the revolution naturally took it upon
themselves to make believe that this was an impossible task. At any rate,
the goal was hard and difficult and we had some delays with respect to
installations and, naturally, with respect to the amounts of sugarcane
available. However, this is not only a political or moral question or a
question of prestige. It is a fundamental economic question for our
country. In recent years Cuba's credit has been expanding considerably. You
have seen the large number of machines from various places which have been
reaching our country during these years. What is this the result of? The
result of Cuba's strict observance of its commitments. The result of the
punctual payment of each one of its financial obligations. Naturally, this
contributed very much to the defeat of the economic blockade against our

In the beginning, the situation was such that even with money in our hands
it was difficult for our country to buy a truck, a bulldozer, a crane, or
construction equipment of any kind for industry. Not only that, at the
outset, with sizeable quantities of nickel on hand, it was difficult to
sell our nickel. The force of imperialist pressure was felt. Not only could
we not get credit to pay in four, five, seven, or eight years, often it was
impossible to buy equipment for cash. It was very difficult to export our
goods. Yet the seriousness of our country, the fulfillment of our
obligations kept opening the breach. So much so, that in the past few years
our country has obtained substantial credits payable in three, four, and
five years, and we have even obtained credits payable in as much as eight

We were able to acquire most of the ships of our growing merchant fleet as
well as of our growing fishing fleet thanks to these credits. [applause]
The thousands of trucks, bulldozers, and equipment for the construction of
dams, highways, roads drainage for the nation's agricultural development,
for irrigation systems were obtained thanks to these credits, even when our
sugar production was 5 or 5.5 million tons, even when the price of sugar
was a 1.40 cents or 1.50 cents a pound.

Our country had to undertake scrupulous administration over each unit of
foreign exchange because it was not just a question of paying for what we
were buying, but of paying for new needs. You can understand perfectly well
that a nation cannot develop itself unless it imports much more than it
exports for a period. A nation cannot satisfy its basic needs of food,
clothing, footwear, education, and medicines and at the same time make the
enormous investments it must make for development unless there is
confidence in that nation, unless it has external resources, because every
factory, every power plant, every industry, every unit of equipment
indispensable to an underdeveloped nation, a really underdeveloped nation's
development, which had nothing but an obsolescent sugar industry and a few
factories for converting raw materials, a nation in such condition, needs
to make large investments.

With these credits we not only acquired equipment for agricultural
development, but also for industrial development. The Cienfuegos fertilizer
plant for example, a plant which costs some 40 million dollars without
foreign exchange, was acquired and will be completed by the end of next
year. It has a capacity of almost half a million tons of fertilizer, so
indispensable to agricultural production, thanks to the solid credit and
the seriousness of the revolution.

Our nickel is easily sold today in spite of all imperialist pressure, going
so far as threatening not to buy metals from any European industry which
acquired nickel from Cuba, with not buying equipment made with that nickel.
And so each time our country was ready to close a nickel sale pressure
would be exerted and naturally, since the United States is an important
market for many European industries, they were compelled to turn down our

Today our nickel is not only bought but is in very great demand lately due
to the shortage of nickel, the lack of nickel in the market. At times, a
ton of nickel has exceeded 10,000 dollars a ton. However, our country has
huge deposits of nickel. If our country had industrial plants, it could
increase nickel production to 100,000 or 120,000 one tons a year. Ah, but
to develop these mineral resources the nation needs installations, the
nation needs investments. And these are costly investments. A nickel plant
takes two, three, four years to build. Four years of importing machinery
and building before a single ounce of nickel can be sold.

The investments our country should make in all the branches of industry in
the next few years are considerable, they are large. In the mining
industry, in the power industry, new petroleum refineries which the needs
of the economy demand, new power capabilities, new construction industry
capabilities, new capabilities in the production of nickel and other
minerals, are needed. Our country has to solve many problems, not only in
basic industries such as I have mentioned, or such as the petrochemical
industry, including fertilizers, but also the production of farm machinery,
of combines, the production of basic raw materials, the production of steel
for which we have all the raw materials, and all we need are technicians
and industrial installations.

And it is not just the basic industries but our light industries, too. We
must increase the textile production capability considerably, as well as
footwear capability. Our light industry has enormous investment needs in
every field. This is the case, too, with the food industry's needs for rice
mills, in dairy industrial complexes to process all the milk our country
will produce in the next few years. And all this requires great
investments. And these investments are only possible on the basis of the
seriousness of the nation, of the credit our country has, for our country
must invest in the next 10 years not only tens of millions but billions in
industry, in industrial development which is taking on a serious rate in
the next few years.

To achieve this, we know the number of sugarcane collection centers we must
build, we know the number of bulldozers we must import and combines we must
build to free manpower which is employed today in sugarcane, which we still
cut with primitive methods.

All our people must know the significance, the importance, in a not too
distant future, in a development that is at hand in the next 10 years, of
the financial and economic needs of our country, and such needs can only be
satisfied to the degree that the world has confidence in our country.

This is why we are absolutely sure that this is a decisive test, that this
is a decisive battle for our people's future, that this is a historic
battle, because this 10-million sugar harvest will absolutely open greater
confidence for the nation, it will set the doors of credit ajar for our
country. It will consolidate all the confidence of those who have granted
credits to Cuba and, if under hard circumstances, against a blockade, and
with relatively small production, we still could make our way, if we have
won the position we hold today, how will it be when it is shown that, yes,
our economy can, that our people are capable of economic prowess which the
immense majority considered impossible.

For in the face of the fact, in the face of the figures, there will no
longer be any trace of doubt. There will no longer be any argument, there
will no longer be any way to deter unlimited confidence in the
revolutionary process of our country. There will no longer be any way to
stem the tremendous avalanche of resources we will have at our disposal.

Our country has important natural resources, and it can develop not only
agriculture, which is rapidly advancing to become one of the most
developed, one of the most rapid and most modernly developed in the world,
but also industry and other fields essential to development and the
consolidation and well-being of our people.

I have made lengthy reference to this matter because each worker, each
Cuban needs to know and evaluate these facts, to know the importance of the
10 million. Of course, a psychological phenomenon, an incredible state of
interest and enthusiasm for the 10 million has arisen, a willingness to
take part in this historic battle. This is a phychological phenomenon. It
must be said that at this moment the problem is not who is willing to go
forth and participate in the harvest; at this moment the basic problem is
to find out exactly who cannot go under any circumstances. [applause]

At this moment the problem facing the organizations, the factories, the
labor centers, is how to hold down the pressure. And there certainly is no
place in this country where that problem has not cropped up. The question
of whom we must prohibit from participating in the 10-million-ton harvest
has already been posed, whom we should prohibit, for if they are carried
away by their enthusiasm, their desire to participate, they might neglect
other tasks that are very important.

For example, we would mention milkers, inseminators, to point up only a few
of the tens which can be kept back. There are an infinite number of workers
in many fronts who wholeheartedly want to participate in the harvest. It
could be said that almost no one, no revolutionary wants to keep from
participating. Many ask what could they reply if they are asked later what
they did in the 10 million harvest if they were not permitted to
participate in it. [prolonged applause] This is a formidable fact,

It could truly be said that such an attitude for struggle and work has
never existed in the masses like today. Never like today has there been
such a serious willingness among the masses. Moreover, that effort that in
the early days of the revolution was put forth by only a handful, that
effort which kept growing--in some cases frivolously--that participation in
productive activities, is today a mass phenomenon. Today is genuinely
admirable. For now the willingness is serious, not festive, not just to do
what everyone is doing, but rather a deep-felt conscientious willingness.

This creates very favorable subjective circumstances for the success of
this battle. It is impossible for an army in which every one is aware of
what he is doing and is imbued with the desire to struggle seriously not to
possess, by virtue of all these circumstances, all chances of victory. This
is the status of the masses. It is up to the leaders to direct that army in
an intelligent sound way during the course of the battle.

We must keep in mind that it is not just the 10 million harvest, that other
important plans also are in progress. We have at hand the example already
mentioned, rice. The fact is that we will be the producing double the rice
in 1970 that we had estimated would be planted in 1973. We are 3 to 4 years
ahead in rice. [applause]

Futhermore, if we planted 7,000 caballerias this spring, in the spring of
1970, [there will be] more than double that number of caballerias of
coffee, of rice. [applause] And the yields we are gathering are formidable
to the point that it is already posing a processing problem, it poses a
processing problem. We will harvest 7,000 caballerias at the end of the
year, but unshelled. If this were not the case we could immediately
increase our quota. But it is unshelled because our processing capability
is lagging. This means that we are not going to retreat, but that in the
year to come we must face not only the problem of driers, which is already
pressing, but of mills for processing all that harvest.

Moreover, next year we will have all the rice of new varieties, of
higher-yield varieties. And we are not going backwards, but to face the
pertinent problems of developing the industrial capabilities so as to mill
all the rice until all our needs are met. And what is more, there will be a
surplus of rice. This is one of the things which will be hard to believe
abroad: that this country will have rice to spare in 1971, and that it will
have some hundreds of thousands of tons of surplus rice. [applause] This is
already the case with the harvest of 1970, not with the harvest of 1971,
but what will be harvested from the spring planting of next year--this work
is very much advanced; the machinery has been assured; intensive work is in
progress in the hydraulic works; and we have been able to put forth a
tremendous effort in that cultivation--this implies the tasks that lie
ahead for next year.

By the same token, next year a decisive impetus must be given cattle. And
we must try to plant no less than 20,000 caballerias of masturage next year
to meet the needs of the growing mass of our cattle, for large quantities
of quality feed. And next year we must deal a decisive blow in planting
pasturage, along with rice, as other tillings will develop at the same
time. The planting of citrus, for example, which has not reached its full
impetus yet, has this year already equalled all the citrus planted from
1900 up to now.

In other words, in this year alone, the eve of 1970, the citrus fruits
planted in caballerias are equal in amount to all that had been planted in
68 years. And they have not yet reached their full development,
because,logically, priority was given to cane.

This did not prevent us from working on rice. It did not prevent us from
working on citrus fruits. It did not prevent the serious work which has
been done already with fruits and vegetables with a view to having an
abundance of these products next year.

There is a very important series of tasks in agriculture. We have, for
instance, in cane agriculture itself, the problem of cultivation,
fertilization of cane for 1971. The fact is that we cannot think only of
1970. We must think of 1971. We must think of the 1971 crop in which we
must not allow production to fall. If we already have something more than
110,000 caballerias for the 1970 crop, in 1971 we shall not have the same
quantity of new cane--and you know how much winter cane yields--but we
shall have some 7,000 caballerias more in 1971 than in 1970. The year 1969
was a good year for rain. Therefore, 1970 may be drier.

The question of cultivation is decisive, cultivation with the Herrera
machines. We have had problems and we still have problems with these
cultivating machines, but it has been shown that the caballerias which
could be cultivated with the Herrera machine this year, as compared with
other caballerias which could not be given this kind of work, produced
20,000 arrobas more per caballeria. So that we, by 1971, with still some
117,000 caballerias and the massive use of the Herrera cultivating
machines, which have the problem of the worn-out discs--a problem not
totally resolved, but all the necessary discs are being purchased--so that
the maximum cane can be fertilized and cultivated with these machines, and
what cannot be done with the Herrera cultivator will be done with Peruvian
plows and other types of equipment. I mean simply to emphasize the
importance of the cultivation of cane in 1970, and after, the application
of weedkillers. The number one enemy of the cane is weeds. Weeds can reduce
a caballeria of land which could perfectly well have yielded 150,000
arrobas to 60,000 or 80,000, 50,000 or can even cause its total loss.
Fortunately, next year we shall have weedkillers for all the can beginning
with the month of January. So in 1970 we shall have the weedkillers in our
favor. That is to say, [applause] with a limited number of workers we can
solve the problem of weeds and with this, with a better cultivation,
aerating the soil, forcing in the fertilizer, with the expansion of
irrigated areas, our sugar production must not fall below the 10 million.

It is not a matter of achieving the 10 million in 1970, but of maintaining
it. [applause] We shall have more combines in 1971. Also, before the
combines will come the storage centers, which have already increased
production. But we must work very seriously on the construction of these
collection centers and their installation next year, in the construction of

I am pointing out these facts indicative of the work to be done in 1970
besides the sugar harvest because we must definitely raise productivity in
cane agriculture, the indispensable condition for the further development
of the country. A program for collection centers for 1972 is also ready. It
is possible to have all the centrals with collection centers in 1973, so we
must achieve this position and maintain it, and then expand the centrals in
the next 10 years. Productivity in cane will be increased so that in the
next 10 years we shall double the amount of cane. We do not say sugar,
because as we explained in the city of Santa Clara, a large part of this
cane will be for food and production of honey, for livestock feed, cane
that we shall produce over an area approximately the same, only a little
more, than the area we now have allotted to cane for the 1970 harvest.

It is necessary to work on another series of services, important
activities. I point this out because, although it will be regrettable,
there will be many workers who will have to contribute to this battle
working on other fronts. There are some basic services which cannot be
neglected: the production of textiles, production of medicines, production
of raw materials. This means that we must be able to give priorities to
each of these activities. The comrades who have responsible positions in
the economy must fully realize which activity must not suffer any
detriment, what activity can wait in the mobilization of resources and
forces. Or, in the attitude of the worker who wants to participate in the
sugar harvest, he must know perfectly well whether there is activity for
him, with the production he does, the importance it has for the development
of the country, what must not be neglected.

It is not a matter of winning this battle in just anyway, but in an
intelligent way. It is not a matter of winning this battle while losing
another. It is a matter of winning this battle, advancing in the cane
production and maintaining the effort on the other fronts that are
considered important so that each worker in his job, although sometimes it
may not be the sugarcane field, will be contributing to this battle. The
forces which are already considered mobilized are great.

We believe that by the month of March there will be approximately 350,000
men in the fields, 350,000 men. We must state that for a series of
reasons--organization sometimes, inadequate leadership in others, problems
of canelifting machines, or transportation, and even lack of sufficient
spirit among many of our workers, of going deeply into the importance of
cane agriculture, the importance of work for our country in these
years--the daily cane yield, canecutting, has been low. It has bee low. We
must point out now practically 100 percent of the cane is lifted by
machinery. This means that our workers no longer have to do the work of
cutting and then also lifting the cane. We must point out that already
there is no peasant no agricultural worker who has to spend 15, 16, or 17
hours in the canefields to cut and lift the cane. In other words, many
machines have come to help in this work. The cutting is not mechanized, but
the lifting is almost all mechanized, and when the yield of the cutting is
examined, rally, the yield is low. It must also be said that the
calculations have been made with an average low cane cut yield for this
harvest. We really believe that 200,000 men in the fields, working eight
hours, can cut the cane necessary for the 10 million harvest.

Not all men have the same production capability. Not all have the same
experience, the same skill. In this aforementioned force there are young
comrades, comrades who had not cut cane, students, finally, persons who
face the task for the first time. But those who cut cane know what a man
can cut in four hours, what a man can cut in one hour, and what a man can
cut in eight hours. An average man, we are not talking of super
canecutters. There is a MINFAR brigade which averaged more than 800 arrobas
a day cutting for collection centers in Oriente in August. If you bear in
mind the heat in this province and the month, it should be said that these
comrades are especially equipped with physical resistance, a tremendous
resistance to heat. Well, we are not talking of those canecutters.

There are many brigades of cane cutters showing what a man can do working
in an organized fashion, with enthusiasm, in all seriousness, devoting
himself to a serious effort--the "million" brigades. In many cases those
men cut eight times what another man can do, but it could be ascertained
that an average cane cutter working four hours can cut 120 arrobas of cane
with some difficulty. An average cane cutter can cut 120 arrobas. It can be
ascertained that any average cane cutter can cut 200 arrobas. Even if some
cane cutters are first do not make it, they make it after 10 days, 15 days,
and one month. An average cane cutter can make it. Of course, you have to
go to the fields to cut. Sometimes there are some cane cutters who, we
suppose, find it harder to cut 50 arrobas than 150 because to cut 50
arrobas in one day, one morning, you have to invent stories to get out of
cutting in the cane field, inventing things to get out of cutting.

There are cane cutters who are moved to talk at the time of cutting. We
could say that the silence when cane is cut is a good measure of the
application to the job. Talking, they spend energy, air, they break the
rhythm of breathing and even waste more saliva than usual. There are cane
cutters who walk 300 meters to find a file. Sometimes they lose the files.
The one in charge of the files is never to be found. And so often time
passes and it is not worthwhile to go to the fields to do that. It is not
worth it, that kind of activity lacks sense.

And so we have the extremes. The one who talks a lot and cuts little, the
one who cuts 400, 500, 700 arrobas. The differences are incredible. It is
very hard. a man can be said to be 10 or 20 times stronger than another. No
one would be willing to admit that another is 10 times as strong as he, as
resistant, as healthy. With normal health conditions, there can be somebody
who says well, two, three but not 10, 20 times. Cane cutting is, without a
doubt, very hard work, it is monotonous, but if one goes to cut cane
thinking of that and not thinking of what it means--that this is precisely
the road to liberate ourselves--that cane cutting, that is almost like
slavery. This kind of hard work, if the meaning, the importance, of each
machete blow, each stalk cut, is not understood, above all at this time,
then it can be seen that someone may be so foolish as to go to a cane field
and not cut cane.

There are many factors which hinder cutting; the organization, the lifts,
when transportation fails, when the lifts fail, when all that fails. So, we
believe in the psychological and subjective conditions to expect each cane
cutter to raise his average. Above the men who have been mobilized, and the
mobilization today is strong, above that figure, other very important
activities are affected. And really we must not think of multiplying the
number of men but to fundamentally multiply the rhythm of the arms which
are going to cut cane.

Our main reserve in this harvest [applause] our main reserve is precisely
the increase in productivity of the cane cutter. We know, for instance,
what 10 arrobas, 20 arrobas more mean. If 300,000 men cut 20 arrobas extra,
it is the same as 60,000 men cutting 100 arrobas, but it is not a matter
only of the 60,000 men, but that 60,000 men in the fields mean 80,000 in
the harvest plus the services, transportation of all kinds for those 80,000

The most economic, useful force is to mobilize the potential resources in
man. It is not a matter of asking a man what he cannot physically do. It is
a matter of asking him to do what he can actually physically do without
uncommon efforts. We do not ask for uncommon efforts. We ask for normal
efforts and we must achieve the increase in productivity at all costs. This
harvest battle has to be a struggle, an offensive whose rhythm is to grow
unceasingly, not stop, not stagnate. From the first day of the harvest, day
by day, month by month, we must sustain the increase in the cutting rate,
the rate of cane ground, to reach a climax in February.

In February we will have all sugar mills full, take advantage of February,
March, April to beat, if possible, the rains. That is to say, an offensive
that stops, an offensive that weakens, fails. No one cuts more the first
day than after 15 days. But without a doubt, day by day you can cut more.
One arroba more per day. Some one who cuts 80 arobas on the first day and
proposes to cut one more arroba per day--a single one--he is not asked to
be a Samson in the cane field, but to cut one more little arroba per day
when he has more experience, more training. After 60 days he would be
cutting 140 arrobas, after 3 months he would be cutting more than double
with one arroba more per day. And this is not an extraordinary effort, but
each cane cutter and each soldier in this battle has to make a little
greater effort each day. It can be almost said that with the same effort
plus training he can cut one more arroba.

And the goals must really be not a watchword to say I got here and I am
done, no, the goal must be all that can be given, and if one an cut 120,
one an cut 130, cut 130. Think that each man not used in the cane cutting
is a man used in the rice fields, a man working in the agricultural and
economic plans, in other basic staples of the economy. One hundred thousand
men cutting an extra arroba per day means 1,000 men. Three hundred thousand
men who cut one more arroba per day means 3,000 more men per day. Men of
100 arrobas, let us say. That is, that the 300,000 men cutting one arroba
more make the effort that 3,000 more men in the file would.

[This means] a small effort by each one who has already made a great
sacrifice by going to the canefields. So this is our fundamental resources.

With this harvest that is beginning we shall have a long period of labor.
We shall have traditional dates at the end of the year, Christmas Eve, New
Year's, 2 January. Where should we be on 24 December? [crowd says
something] Cutting cane. Where should we be on 1 January? [crowd answers:
In the cane] Where should we be on 2 January, commemorating the anniversary
of the revolution? [shout from crowd] In the cane. [applause] And this will
indeed be a real commemoration. This will indeed be a remembrance worthy of
those who have struggled and have fallen for this cause. This will indeed
be an (?advance) of conscience.

And why? Perhaps because we would not want to celebrate that date in any
other way, with fiestas, with meetings? Perhaps because we would not want
to commemorate the traditional fiestas? No, but because necessity imposes
this activity on us. Necessity imposes this duty on us. If we interrupt
this monumental effort, if we interrupt the offensive on those days, we
shall run the risk of losing the battle.

And on that account, in the centrals which are grinding on the day of the
greatest reason for grinding, that is, the 25th; when all have a date there
in the cane fields, the 23d, the 24th, and the day of the maximum reason
for grinding for all the mills, 2 January; when everyone has a date there,
on 1 January, and on the 31st, everyone has a date in the canefields.

Is it that perhaps we shall not have fiestas? It is that perhaps we shall
not have celebrations? Yes, we shall have them after the harvest. We shall
have them in July, with the 10 million. [applause] We shall keep the pig
for July. We shall keep the Christmas Eve beans for July. We shall keep the
nougat for July. And we shall keep the other things for July, that is,
Bacardi, cognac, beer, and all the things that are necessary. [applause]

There are workers who have worked without rest in these years, making
roads, dams, engaging in innumerable activities, followed by the coming
harvests. I do not mean that the work will end, that many other great tasks
do not await us. But the logical moment, the right time to take a break
will be when the battle of the 10 million is won. Then we shall indeed have
a great 26 July. Then we shall have fiestas in Santiago and all the towns.
Then we shall have carnivals and we shall have everything in the month of
July. [applause]

And we shall have fiestas in all the towns and in all the sugar mills, and
on all the farms, and without doubt, when that moment arrives, with the
logical and natural satisfaction and joy of all the people, these will
undoubtedly be some of the happiest fiestas that we have ever had in our
country. [applause]

So, forward with a prolonged harvest! With arduous work, serious work,
responsible and conscientious work, work of significance for our people. We
do not have the slightest doubt that many people throughout the world are
watching Cuba. We do not have the slightest doubt that many people will be
watching this commitment, this historic challenge. We do not doubt that
many people will be watching to learn what capacity our people have to
attain this advance, just as we do not have the slightest doubt that the
enemies of the revolution, the imperialists, will also be watching very
closely and be very concerned.

We have inflicted many defeats on imperialism; the revolution, the
consolidation of the revolution, the resistance to its aggressions, its
blockades, Giron, and many other episodes. But without a doubt none of the
successes attained by the revolution, none of the victories, will distress
it so much, will bother it so much, as this victory, because they staked
everything on the failure of our peoples. They, together with the
latifundists, the companies, the plantations of the capitalists now gone,
staked all on our losing this battle, on our inability to manage their
centrals and fields and produce cane for the 10 millions and cut and mill

They staked all, they believed in the superiority of their system, their
selfish system which enslaves and exploits man, their selfish system which
forces man to work under pain of hunger, poverty, and even death. The
reactionaries have staked much on discrediting the revolution, on
detracting prestige from popular movements, but they staked all that the
masses, that the humble workers of this country, that the peasants, that
the youths of this country, would not be able to carry forward the

We do not believe that the only meritorius or difficult task of the
revolution has been the 10-million-ton harvest. No. The ideological battle
against imperialism, the disappearance of prejudice, to grind into pieces
all the reactionary lies of imperialism and the exploiters, to resist its
economic blockades, its campaigns, its attacks, resist its aggressions, are
merits of no little consideration; but the revolution needed this other
trial, decisive for today, decisive for tomorrow. And we are certain that
the matter of the 10 million tons will resound more in the world, as far as
the Cuban revolution is concerned, than any other act of the revolution
during these years.

With serenity, certainty, and confidence we will fight this final battle,
with the immense satisfaction of seeing a people in the attitude in which
our people are today, with the immense satisfaction of seeing the spirit of
the masses, the disposition to struggle and work with the immense
satisfaction that this battle will be above all a victory of our ideology,
a victory of conscience, a victory of the most revolutionary ideals of our

When a few minutes ago I was pointing out this fact, the subjective
factors, the attitude of our people, I could not but dedicate a second of
my thoughts to those who struggled and sacrificed themselves for this
cause. We have had the privilege of arriving at this harvest, we have had
the privilege of arriving at this battle. In the past, when one spoke of
the merits of citizens, he spoke of the activities that they exercised at
one time or another, their merits in guerrilla warfare for the country, in
the struggle to take over the power, in the struggle against imperialism,
in the battles of Giron, Escambray, in the struggle for development.

Those were all glorious pages and historical episodes. From now on, this
battle, this historic harvest shall be a point of reference also for the
youths and for all our people, and it will begin to become a very important
merit in our country, a very important historical merit, a very important
merit for coming generations. The participation of each of you, the
participation of our people on the sugar cane front, or assuring the
harvest, or in the other activities that consolidate the development of our
country and consolidate our revolution, will undoubtedly be something that
will go down in the history of our country. For this reason it is just that
we remember those who made possible our participation in this historic
event, who gave their lives throughout this struggle, throughout these
years, fighting underground or in the mountains, fighting against
mercenaries, against saboteurs, fighting.

And those who gave their lives not only in combat with arms in hand, but
also those who have their lives working. We remember also many comrades
who, setting up industries, building a sugar mill, lost their lives, or
building a dam, a road, in work accidents; these anonymous heroes who also
gave their lives and their blood for the future of our country [applause].

Let us remember especially one who undoubtedly would be the happiest of all
revolutionaries in the face of this great spirit because of this event,
because he, more than anyone else, preached and insisted, the pioneer, the
standard bearer of this type of work, the standard bearer of this struggle
to obtain awareness to lead the people in a conscientious way, in the way
of duty and labor.

May we tonight remember Che with deepest fondness. [one minute of applause]
As a pioneer of volunteer work, he could, with a few dozen men, go into the
cane fields to cut cane, or work on the docks with a wheelbarrow, or in the
mines, always full of faith, full of confidence in mankind, of confidence
in the awareness of man. How much would he have enjoyed seeing the people
of Cuba today in this spirit, with this disposition, with this intention to
massively fight its fight, its decisive battle in the economy of the
country, its decisive battle of work.

And who will essentially accomplish this harvest but the volunteers? The
category of professional cane cutter disappeared long ago. Those who had to
cut cane because of economic needs. It can be said that the immense major
portion of this 10-million ton harvest will be done by volunteers.

How would this harvest have been possible without this movement, without
this spontaneous participation of a people with a sense of duty and

How could we have won this battle, by what other way, with what promises
could we have impelled anyone to put forth that effort if it were not a
cause, a feeling, a perspective, a feeling of human solidarity; if it were
not for that magnanimous feeling of working for today and also tomorrow,
working for a cause, working for an ideology, working for the fatherland?
How would it have been possible in any other way? How would it have been
possible to achieve this?

Moreover, in this effort we are engaged in, of the 10-million--very
difficult--we are gaining more than the 10 million, something which is
worth more than those 10 million: this leap of quality in conscience and in
enormous spirit.

And we have gained an awareness of our potential. We have gained
experience. All our cadres have gone deeply into problems which had never
been gone into deeply. They have looked into the industrial problems in a
way never before looked into--in all the problems of organization, of
technology, of all issues.

Our cadres have matured very rapidly. It must be said that our party
plunged itself fully into the structure, which ceased being exclusively a
superstructure. It went fully into the essence, the pith of the problem, in
organizing and directing the work, in organizing and directing the struggle
for development, in organizing and directing production.

But we have not only gained in awareness and quality, we have prepared
ourselves for the next decade. In 1970 to 1980 it no longer will be a
people that are ignorant and inexperienced that launched themselves into
the effort of these 10 years. Now we can launch ourselves forward. In the
next 10 years it will be a much more experienced, much more trained, much
more conscious people, just as it will be a much more fighting people.

And if the revolution was able to emerge victorious in these past 10 years,
in the next decade we will more righteously be able to say that nothing nor
no one can hold it back. Ever. Fatherland or death, we will vanquish!