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Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services in Spanish 1558 GMT 31 May 70

[Speech by Cuban Premier Fidel Castro inaugurating the new town of Doce y
Medio near Bayamo, Oriente Province--live]

[Text] Comrades, peasants, workers of the Oriente ricegrowing plan and
comrade canecutters and workers of Oriente: Perhaps this mass meeting has
been too long today in spite of our intent. In view of the tasks ahead of
us in the coming weeks. We had thought a minimum of time should be given to
meetings and a maximum of time to work.

Of course, representatives of various contingents are here, but we had not
planned on a mass meeting. It was supposed to have been principally with
the families who are going to receive the dwellings and the bloc
representing the various working sectors of the province. I shall try to be
as brief as possible within the circumstances and explain some things about
the plan and some other matters of interest.

Two and a half years ago, this territory surrounding us from Puente Guillen
to Jababo north and south of the Cauto River, this immense tract was
completely covered with underbrush and was completely unproductive. A
relatively small population lived here and was thinly spread out. Some two
and a half years ago the work of the invasion brigade begun here to develop
the ricegrowing fields of Oriente.

This province has, precisely in this region from the former Estrade Palma
sugar mill, now the Bartolome Maso, that is, from the proximity of the
mountains and circling the Gulf of Guacanayabo past Jobabo, Cuba's best and
most extensive ricegrowing areas, both for soil as well as for climate.

As you know, in almost no other place in the nation an rice be planted
after July because when temperatures go below a certain limit for a number
of hours production and the germination of the grain is affected. However,
in this region of Oriente we can plant in August, September, or any month
of the year. If there is any location where two harvests can be carried out
it is precisely in this region.

The principal rivers of the province pass through this region. The Yara,
Bayamo, El Buey, Cautillo, Cauto, and Contramaestre Rivers, which originate
in the northern watershed, empty over here. This is precisely the area that
used to be covered with water when the floods came. This was one of the
flooded areas during Hurricane Flora. But it might be said that part of the
Cauto Valley was not flooded in those terrible days of Hurricane Flora. We
were already working on a stepped-up works plan in those days. The works
had two goals: One, to contain the floods, and the other, to have water
available for irrigation in the area.

It was here in Oriente Province that the water management plan that has
grown to such magnitude practically began. We began the El Mate Dam, the
Paso Malo Dam. Today they have other names. I am referring to their names
at that time. We began the Gilbert Dam on the Cauto to supply water to
Santiago de Cuba. We launched a number of plans. Some of these works, such
as El Mate and Paso Malo, have been completed for some time now and have
been supplying water. And in a certain sense, they have been reducing the
flood possibilities although we are still far from being able to say that
they control the waters of this region in the event of a very heavy
rainfall. This can be achieved when the whole system of dams is completed.

We can achieve it when the great canal can control the waters from the
northern watershed, when the Bayamo, El Buey, Cautillo, Guanicium, and
other dams are built, and when the Cauto Riverbed is straightened out, for
as you know it has many curves and this hampers the passage of the waters.
Therefore, we still have to wage a big battle against nature in this

Today we are still not even saying that we are inaugurating a town. It is
practically the first phase of a town, the first 416 dwellings. Some 3,000
more dwellings have to be built in this area. Already built are the store,
the day nursery, and a temporary semiboarding school in those buildings
since it is not going to be the final semiboarding school.

I want to say that despite what has been done in the past two years, we are
practically inaugurating a "beginning." At first it was the beginning of
the bulldozing work, now thousands of caballerias have been bulldozed. This
plan is now of great importance.

Here is some data in connection with the work that has been done in this
ricegrowing area. It is easy to talk about it, but there is a great deal of
work to do when it comes to satisfying the consumer demands of our

We might say that the 1968-69 rice plans required more heavy equipment than
all the plans for planting nearly 40,000 caballerias of cane and took more
effort and earth-moving and bulldozing than the 1970 sugar harvest cane
planting plans.

To give you an idea, in Oriente Province the largest plan is underway, but
not the only plan because there are very big rice plans in Sancti Spiritus,
in Camaguey, in Pinar del Rio Province, and smaller ones in Matanzas and
Havana Provinces. To give you an idea of the work required, in this area
along rice production increased and work began in November, 1967.

How did it increase? In the spring of 1967, 2,082 caballerias of rice were
planted. In the spring of 1968, 2,438 caballerias were planted, or 356 more
caballerias. In the winter and spring of 1969, 2,700 were planted, or 332
more caballerias than in 1968. And in 1970, in winter and spring until 28
May, 3,691 caballerias had been planted to date, or 921 more caballerias
than last year. But the total expected to be planted for the whole year,
winter and spring, is some 5,350 caballerias, or 2,580 more caballerias in
1970 than in 1969. This is an impressive increase of some 100 percent over
the total planted in 1969.

When you begin with the figure of 2,500 caballerias in one year and attain
5,000 the next year, mindful of all the work required in a rice-growing
area, you can get an idea of the magnitude of the effort.

Besides the increase in 1969, we proceeded to center our attention on the
cultivated area and eliminated scattered areas. In addition to the areas
included in the 170 plan, there are 550 more caballerias for development
next year.

Similarly, at the moment, 70 net caballerias are under study between the
Jobabo and Tana Rivers and 1,400 net caballerias between the Tana and
Naranjo Rivers south of Camaguey for the purpose of developing them for
rice cultivation.

In short, this rice growing area which begins near the mountains and goes
past Jobabo will have 7,000 caballerias. [applause] Therefore, we will
produce more rice in this region alone than we produced in the whole nation

The 1970 plan envisages the planting of 5,350 caballerias--1,000 winter and
4,350 in the spring. The planting will be done in an area of 4,350
caballerias, and therefore the areas planted with winter rice will be
doubled and replanted in July after they are harvested.

Yields have also increased. In 1967 it was 534 quintals; in 1968, 468 [as
heard] quintals per caballeria, humid quintals, in 1969, it was already 762
quintals per caballeria. We should continue to increase the yield per
caballeria and per year. But see how production was some 50 percent higher
in 1969 than 1967. And it is not the same to have 5,000 caballerias with
534 quintals, for example, than 5,000 caballerias with 762 quintals. And
the yield will have to continue increasing year after year, above all with
the new varieties that have been planted with even better varieties that
are not reproducing rapidly.

The irrigation network has been developed in step with the increase in
cultivate areas. The following projects were undertaken in the past two
years; main canals, 141 kilometers; primary and secondary canals, 288
kilometers; third class canals, 2,134 kilometers. The following works have
also been constructed: the Cauto River intake of 10 cubic meters per second
capacity; the Bayamo diversion dam with a 10-cubic meters per second
capacity; the Salado diversion dam with a 15-cub meters per second
capacity; the Hormiguero River diversion dam which is 600 meters long; the
42-kilometer long Gran Canal; and the 26-kilometer long Laguna de Leonero
Dike. [Castro aside to someone: "Have I missed any?"]

Under construction is the Pedregales Dam that will impound some 37 million
cubic meters of water. The Carlos Manuel de Cespedes and the Paso Malo dams
have been used for irrigation.

We have also used the waters of the rivers, the runoff of the rivers, and
also, this year we have begun to use the waters of the Laguna de Leonero.

Dryers: Between 1968 and 1969, eight new dryers have been built, increasing
daily drying capacity to 31,800 quintals. In 1967 the daily capacity was
18,820 quintals. By the end of 1970, we will have 10 additional dryers in
operation. Of these, seven are under construction. By then, daily drying
capacity will total 76,600 quintals, or more than triple the 1967 capacity.
In 1971, two more dryers are planned.

Mills: The present annual milling capacity is 2.76 million quintals, which
does not cover the estimated production for 1970. The construction of five
new mills has been studied. Their annual capacity would be 1,500 quintals
each. We must therefore increase the milling capacity to 7.5 million
quintals from the 2.76 million we used to have. Three of these mills have
been programmed for construction this year.

In 1970 the following equipment has been used to prepare the land for
planting: tracked vehicles, 172; rubber-tired tractors, 877. Until
1967,nearly 80 percent of the areas were harvested by hand. We had much
less rice harvested here then, but it was done by hand. Seed varieties that
were very difficult to harvest mechanically were being used and adequate
harvesting combines were not available.

Only about 20 percent of the rice was harvested by hand in 1967, while in
1969 combined were used to cut practically 100 percent of the cultivated
area. At this moment we have the following combines: 169 (Laverda)
combines, 73 CKG-4 combines, and 104 CKG-3 combines.

Agricultural aviation operations in 1969 included fertilizer application,
crop dusting, application of herbicides and almost all the rice was sown by
planes. It has been estimated that some 27 planes will be required during
periods of all-out need in order to fulfill all the foregoing tasks. To
assure the effectiveness of the planes, the construction of three landing
strips have been programmed for 1970: the Cayama Nueva, La Escondida, and
Cayoma. They will be asphalt-paved and will have their corresponding
installations. One of the strips is almost completed and the others are
underway. A landing strip has been built at Puente Guillen and one was
repaired at Bartolome Maso. This year two operations centers will be built
for agricultural aviation.

Roads: To permit access to this area, which is almost completely isolated,
80 kilometers of roads have been built. Forth-four of these belong to the
Puente Guillen area and 36 kilometers to the Chenique area. This does not
include the highway whose asphalting is about finished, nor the Cauto
Bridge, which as you saw, was virtually completed in the past few weeks in
impressive, record time.

Power grid: 100 kilometers of power grid have been built for transmission
of 33 and 13 kilovolts. They supply power to the following places: From
Bayamo, to the Julio Antonio Mella rice dryer and mill, to the Pastora rice
dryer, to the Yucayo dryer, to the crane of the No 24 dam whose
construction will begin this year, to the town of Dos y Medio, to the
Jucarito dryers, to the dryers and other installations of Puente Guillen,
and to the dryers and town of Guamo. Also completed are 28 kilometers of
the 110-kilovolt transmission line between Baymo and the Cauto intake
works. Part of this grid includes four substations, but of course to bring
this electricity here we first had to build the Rente powerplant and the
transmission lines. All this helps one understand the problem of

As part of the communications project, the following points have been
connected to the national telephone system through a communications center
in the town of Rio Cauto: Puente Guillen, Guamo, El Jardin, and Dos y

Add to this data the heavy equipment used here: more than 100 bulldozers
working constantly, moving tens of millions of cubic meters of earth,
working on drainage, on irrigation canals, and bulldozing the land.

In short, the quantity of work done to cultivate these caballerias has been
really immense, just as is the work still before us to reach 7,000
caballerias. Among other things are the dams whose construction is
starting. We are building the Pedregal and the 24, and we are determined to
make an effort to start construction on the Rio Buey Dam this year.

These works are a mere glimpse of the tasks to e done throughout Oriente
Province. A few days ago, because of the hurricane close to the Manzanillo
are more than 500 millimeters of rain fell in 12 hours. This is half a
meter of water This is what the rain gages say but whoever saw the
magnitude of the flood between Manzanillo and Niquero would question
whether more rain than that fell.

During Hurricane Flora it rained for more than three days. In this one the
Vicana River, which is not a river but a stream, virtually carried away the
town of Media Luna. It was almost unbelievable. I asked: Where are the
houses that collapsed here? Well, you almost could not even see any trace
of the foundations of the houses. It appeared as if there had never been
any houses there. It seemed like a river bed because it really did not even
leave the foundation of some 100 houses and affected many others in the

A stream also did as much in the town of Pilon. We have to build a dam
there. It is one of the ones in the plans for dam projects in the province.
It one of the 170 dams which have to be built in this province. [applause]

And this happens to us in the middle of the final battle of the sugar
harvest. Just as the moment drew near to inaugurate this town, just as two
construction brigades were ready to begin to work at a much faster rate to
build the 1,000 dwellings needed here, the comrades were given immediate
orders to send one brigade to Media Luna and the other to Pilon and not
only that, but to send a third brigade too.

Therefore, we will have to wait at least three months to organize two other
brigades to replace the two and then start building this town much faster.

We send the brigades somewhere and then we have to send them somewhere
else. When we begin to build a place to create better living conditions,
destruction comes to other places. And the destruction is done by a stream
not even a river, which would have been respected. The houses would not
have been built by the riverside had that river inspired any respect.

Now we have to build a town there. Of course, we are not just going to
replace the dwellings that were destroyed, but also expand the Juan Manuel
Marquez sugar mill and build the dwellings for the workers, schools and
other installations. We have to build for the agricultural workers of the
region and we are going to build a complete town of 800 dwellings there.

And we have to build 300 dwellings in Pilon. And of course, since our needs
accumulate everywhere, there is a year-end program for the organization of
brigades for the construction of towns, schools, and policlinics.

Whenever a dam is built we also have to build--not only when there are
floods, whenever we have to undertake a plan of this type like the rice
plan, when crop dusting cannot be permitted while there are persons living
isolated in the middle of the ricelands and practically no work can be done
under these circumstances--and it is not only in these plans, but wherever
a dam is built, hundreds of families live in the area and have to be
displaced and construction is required. And then there is the construction
required after floods, after hurricanes.

Of course, we cannot lage behind the calamity. We must be on top of the
calamity. So far, we have been practically lagging behind and now the
question to be well ahead of calamities, [applause] and, among other
things, to avoid some of these calamities. At least the big floods for now.
We need dams to control the floods. Had the Vicano River Dam been built. We
would not have suffered the tragedy of the Media Luna area.

The same holds true a little nearer. Aside from the caballerias planted
there, some 140 caballerias of rice were swept away by the flood, some 70
caballerias of land ready for caneplanting were swept away. We now have to
plant them for pasture or something else. And also, more than 1,000
caballerias of sugarcane were under water, flooded. And this was a
sugarcane deficit area. Of course, no drainage system an cope with such
heavy rainfall. We can have drainage to allow the fields to drain off
rapidly. We must, at least for now, diminish the floods, and when all the
dams are built, we will be practically able to control the floods.

Somewhat closer to this area we are developing the 2,000-caballeria
vegetable plan in the Vigueta area. There is another stream there, the
Jicotea, which also has a whole slew of curves, and it too went over its
banks and swept away 3 or 4 caballerias of bananas and some other crops. It
did not do more damage because some relatively small canals had been built.
And that was the Jicotea River.

Next to the Jicotea River is the Buey River. Now this is a river to
respect. I have told the comrades assigned to the plan that this river
would wipe out the entire vegetable plan in any hurricane. And the lands
are splendid for vegetables and root crops; 2,200 caballerias of land are
under cultivation there. A drainage brigade was immediately assigned there
to start by mastering the Jicotea because it has a shallower channel than
the Buey. For example, the Buey caused no damage this time. It can do so
with heavier and longer rainfalls. But the Jicotea did do damage. It an be
controlled with proper canals. This will have to be done the first part of
the year because it is planned to begin construction at El Buey and have it
controlled in two years.

On the other hand, the Yara River did no harm. The Yara would have played
havoc with the rising waters. The dam, however, held not less than 30
million cubic meters of water in a few hours, and it did not produce any
flood. The dam was there to hold the water. But we will have to build
another dam on the Yara to impound some 50 million more cubic meters of
water, then the Yara will be completely controlled.

The Contramaestre also did not do any damage. The dam there held 40 million
cubic meters of water that would have run down otherwise, flooding

In other words, the natural realities with which we coexisted. When we were
at the mercy of floods, hurricanes, tragedies, and of course, without any
situations previously, we were neither ahead of nor behind calamity [Castro
chuckles] or tragedy. If his crops were hit, he was ruined. On the other
hand, many of the small farmers whose ricelands were damaged have lost
practically nothing. Prior to this it was always ruin. Now, every time a
phenomenon of this type occurs, credits have always been extended to them,
and they have been given new funds to begin work again. It was ruin that
faced them before. Now, unfortunately, each time there is a tragedy many
problems crop up owing to the shortage of materials. Everybody wants his
problems resolved immediately. The new problems, because there are plenty
of the old problems that have piled up too.

But now we are behind and we are remedying matters to the best of our
ability. In Media Luna some 30,000 persons received a shipment of
merchandise--rice, foodstuffs of all kinds, at least 15 pounds. I believe
they received some six pounds of rice. In short, everybody received a
supply. And since they were isolated, the helicopters came. Of course, when
we got there we found that despite their anxiety, the workers had
tremendous morale and very high confidence; a conviction that they would
receive aid, as they effectively did not receive. A number of truck
trailers and bulldozers were rapidly used. Two bridges were carried away.

However, the brigades are on their way to building that town rapidly. Today
we [words indistinct] may be behind but at least we are behind. Now our
problem is to get ahead of the situation, to control all these matters once
and for all, to control all these floods once and for all, [applause] to
master nature. [applause] Unless we master nature, nature will master us.

Then, as I said, we have a lot water management works to undertake in this
province. We have to build 160 dams to begin, big drainage projects are
needed in this province, in the whole area of Manati. It has to be done in
these enormous ricelands, in the territory from this point where we are now
at 1,009 to the Maceo and cristino Naranjo mills, from these two mills to
the Mella mill. A big drainage program must be undertaken throughout the
Bayamo area, in the Veguita area, the Yara area, throughout all those
places I mentioned, and also in the Manzanillo area. Dozens and dozens of
bulldozers, road scrapers, cranes, and other equipment are needed for these

In addition to the dams and the drainage systems, which are very urgent
because we have other economic problems, food-supply problems, we must
build roads. What are the chances for this town and this rice plan without
highways--highways that have taken longer to make than the highway will
take [as heard] because it will be built at a faster rate--without the
bridge over the Cauto. How could these ricelands have been developed?
Nothing could have been built here--neither dryers, nor this equipment
brought here, nor that fertilizer, nor anything.

When spring came, [one could not travel] even by horseback. And there lies
the importance of the highway. It cuts by more than 70 or 80 kilometers--I
do not remember exactly--the distance between Tunas and Bayamo because you
had to go around Holguin.

It not only means hundreds of thousands, may be millions of hours, fuels,
work, and equipment saved, but it also allows the development of all these
regions. So we had to build this rice mill and this road, and this road is
but a minimum solution of the problems of the province.

In order to finish the harvest we have had to build hundreds and hundreds
of kilometers of roads more than we had originally planned. Mountain roads
have already been built. We had to use the mountain brigades in order to
speed up the harvest. We have a town with 3 million inhabitants and routes
of communication are not completed. We are building a road by the coast,
another road over the Sierra Maestra range, and another over the second
front region, but that is not much; we hope to save many lives on all our
main roads and now on this one.

The new roads between Tunas and Holguin and Tunas and Bayamo will save many
lives and prevent many accidents. All of our merchandise has to use that
road; it is the only road we have and is too narrow. This province needs
several superhighways. It needs one to join the west area of the country.
The central highway must be converted into a two-way road. We have to build
another superhighway in the northern region. We must develop the roads
between Santiago and Guantanamo and make them two-way roads. We must
develop road to Mayari, to the northern region where the world's largest
nickel deposits are located; develop the roads in Los Banos, Holguin, and
throughout this region. Those roads were planned over 40 years ago when the
trucks weighed 4 tons and were much slower than today's and possibly they
had more careful drivers than what we have today. We must recognize that
there are many serious and responsible men; they are very responsible truck
drivers but we only need 10 percent or 2 percent of the people on the roads
to be crazy to kill good people, hit vehicles which are observing all the
traffic rules, turn anywhere, and what is worse, they are carrying 20 or 30
passengers. When they are carrying passengers they exceed the speed limit,
especially the younger drivers.

They had no problem getting a license, no problem in becoming a driver.
Today it is a log easier to wreck cars and to endanger the lives of other
workers. But in addition to these narrow roads built over 40 years ago, the
fact that we are used to these asphalt trails does not mean that our roads
needs are satisfied. So the provinces needs a better road network. There
are close to 40 brigades, not that many, for the rest of this year. Next
year we will have some 30 heavy brigades which will almost triple the road
construction capability.

We are also going to expand the nine drainage brigades and the number of
dam brigades. In addition, we are going to repair I do not know how many
kilometers of railroad tracks. Eventually we will have a rail system better
than the one we have now to take care of the transportation of our
products, and above all, the large number of passengers who will travel
between the eastern and western regions. We all know how much these old
trains and roads tire the travelers. We know that it will require a lot of
work and effort. You know it full well. We must do in a few years what
should be done in 50 or 60 years.

Now we have the means to do all that; we have the resources to overcome our
problems and get ahead. Our problem really consists of determining how to
use the resources. We have talked abut the tractors that we have used. In
fact we used some 700 double traction tractors. However, in the next few
months of this year and the beginning of next year we will have some 500
tractors with 90-horsepower engines; really fine equipment especially
designed for rice with double traction, cabins with a ventilation system to
protect against mosquitos, indeed fine equipment. We are also going to get
90-horsepower engines to be used in the province's sugar harvest so we will
have land available to root vegetables and pasture. That is an impressive
amount of equipment. [applause]

We are also getting buses and trucks. So that testing the new services, the
new dam brigades, new road brigades, modernization of old brigades, new
irrigation system brigades, addition to the brigades I mentioned before.
[as heard] The new trucks are much heavier, they are 12-ton trucks, better
quality. In general the new equipment for road construction is very good.
The same applies to the town construction, school construction, clinics,
stores, and even movie construction equipment. The needs of towns cannot be
satisfied with old equipment. We must have new, modern factories for
prefabricated materials. We must be equipped with modern equipment to
satisfy our needs. We must organize at least 20 construction brigades with
completely new equipment.

We also have plants under the Ministry of Transports that will produce 300
microbuses this year and 600 next year. With those to be imported we hope
to have 2,500 rural buses within 18 months. These do not include buses for
urban use. We are, therefore, receiving much construction equipment. Our
basic problem will be how to employ this equipment.

We could continue to speak about these things, but let us talk about
traffic accidents. A very painful accident occurred yesterday, a collision
between two trains in the Alto Cedro area. A train was bringing Havana
canecutters, the Lenin Contingent, to help in the harvest in Orient
Province. A group of "one million" brigades was on the train. The train had
stopped at Alto Cedro. Another train came along, possibly without right of
way. The matter is under investigation, an exhaustive investigation is
being made to determine who is at fault. This train approached at 70
kilometers per hour. There was no time. The other train was standing still.
Fortunately, many of the workers were not on the train at the time, but
others were. The result, three seriously injured, three seriously injured
comrades. Besides, well, fortunately up to now no dead But some workers
suffered injuries to their hands, workers who spent months cutting cane
must now go to the hospital to discover one morning that they have lost a
hand or a foot. It is a very sad thing, a very painful thing. One who is
returning after months, who belongs to the brigade of advanced workers,
finds himself there, mutilated.

Then about 100 on other workers with slight injuries. We saw many of them
yesterday. One hundred workers, and we were lucky. There could have been a
catastrophe. Why? because of the eternal lack of responsibility. The
externally carelessness. We believe there was carelessness on the part of
the approaching train, also on the part of the train that was standing
still. It should have put out warning flags or something. Another thing is
the speed on these lines; approaching a place where it must stop at such a
speed. This is a lack of sense of responsibility that we see daily. One has
no right to do this when one has the lives of dozens and sometimes, as on
trains, hundreds of persons, in his hands.

Meditating on these problems, we are deeply impressed by the spirit of
these men. They had been traveling for 48 hours already, plus the accident.
They were waiting for a cane train to come along to continue their trip.
Despite the fact that many of then had bruises, their spirits was
excellent. They talked about cutting the very last cane. Nothing
discouraged them. They were going forward. I am certain that some of these
men will have to kept back by force so that they will not go to the cane
fields before receiving first aid. They will have to be held back. Their
spirit was very impressive, a spirit like that which is seen among people
during catastrophes, in times of war. A proletarian spirit, really.

This kind of worker is what our party craves and what our revolution needs
so badly. But this kind of worker is not scarce. There are tens of
thousands of workers of this kind, tens of thousands of vanguard workers of
this equality. It is precisely in these vanguard workers, these workers of
maximum quality, that we have our support in the task of development.

What do we mean by this? Here is an idea we were analyzing with Comrade
Guillermo. We have, as an example, the Ubeda battalion. Many of them are
here today. They are leaders in canecutting, planting, harvesting, in
everything, men whose time has no limit, who would stop at nothing, who are
not afraid of any kind of work. Some of them work at times with machetes,
with hoes, and some of them are machine operators. Some of them operate
trucks. We were saying that we have very good men with a great sense of
discipline and responsibility, yet they are producing very little.

We were saying that, as an example, this new brigade, will consist of 90
12-ton trucks--it will work at the El Buey Dam--more than 20-bulldozers,
and all the necessary auxiliary equipment. We have to form brigades for
super highways. Why do we not select men from this contingent, train them,
train them [applause]. In two words, sometimes it is necessary for an
operator without training to take over a 180-horsepower bulldozer. No, we
need to select all those who work with the equipment--there are many very
good ones--so as to have their record. We must also select those who are
not showing a sense of responsibility, who do not maintain the equipment,
who do not show a spirit to work. We are even planning important changes in
the work methods, in work hours on some of this equipment. We are seriously
considering--this would be much better, we have seen this--a single shift,
but well worked. One man with the responsibility for his equipment, without
constantly changing the operators of those trucks, of those bulldozers.

We are planning a brigade for Banes with 15 12-ton trucks, 5 bulldozers--36
pieces of equipment in all. We will select 60 men from the Robles
Battalion, the best men. Each piece of equipment costs 15,000 or 20,000
dollars, 30,000 dollars, depending on what it is. In selecting and placing
men who are very good workers, who have a conscience, who have a sense of
responsibility, with our most productive machines I am certain that instead
of building 20 kilometers will build 60 and the equipment will last twice
as long, it will be given better maintenance, the men can be given better
attention, and the work will be of better quality.

We now have 16,000 workers at El Datil. It is possible that with our system
we will be able to use 10,000 or 12,000 to do three times as much work as
we are doing now. At times, at a dam it will be preferable to have more
trucks than needed. It is almost preferable to have idle equipment than
idle men.

Manpower is beginning t run short, especially capable men, men with
technical training to operate the equipment. We may have too many pieces of
equipment at a given moment, but from now on there will be a shortage of
manpower. Productivity is necessary, and better workmanship, better
training, and selection lead to better production. These men often are
working on a dam, on a highway, and the rains force them to stop their
work. We need to organize their vacations so they coincide with the period
of major equipment repairs.

Besides, when they cannot work they should take part in study courses to
improve their cultural level, their technical level. All should be
organized so that they will not have to stand with folded arms waiting for
the rain to stop. Fewer men with much better training, more technical
knowledge, much more discipline, much more concern, for each brigade.

And speaking of equipment, Oriente will have to organize in the next 5
years, and perhaps before, at least 150 construction brigades. Men who will
operate cranes, who will practically work like machines using prefabricated
materials to build dams, roads, bridges, drainage, irrigation systems,
apart from industrial construction brigades.

What were the results of this system with the Communist Brigade of
Cienfuegos? An impressive organization. Impressive productivity. They came
to Oriente to help for 2 weeks without falling even for a day. They were
ahead of their equipment. Here, often we are behind the equipment. The
machinery is taken away and the construction is still behind. The Communist
Brigade of Cienfuegos has always been ahead of the equipment. [applause]
This is the spirit, the only way to advance. The construction brigade
should be made up of the most conscientious of our workers.

Nearly one of 10 workers must be a builder, must be a mechanized builder to
fulfill social, industrial, and all needs. It will take years to reach
complete mechanization. If only the cane were as easily mechanized as rice.
At that time the combines did not exist, they were not known then. Much
building has to be done. Distribution centers must be built, factories must
be built, installations must be built.

In this province alone, hundreds of dairies must be built yearly, hundreds
of dairies. It is not enough to have cows and milking stations. Mechanized
milking stations must be built. Otherwise, we would not have enough of a
work force to attend to this problem, these dairies. There are many
heifers, many cows almost ready for production but how many dairies do we
have apart from the old ones? So we need to build not only rice driers,
rice mills, not only this type of construction, dams and others, water
systems, irrigation systems. Yet, the needs are immense. And we cannot
advance socially or economically if we do not develop a strong building
force, or if at least one of 10 workers is not working in that area with
machinery. And we must begin to create that spirit in the workers. We have
many very good workers.

We have to be careful, however, who we give a piece of equipment to:
whether to the first person who comes along or whether it is not better to
transfer a proven worker to work on that bridge or that machinery. If we do
this, I am fully convinced that we will build three times as much. We will
advance at an incredible pace not only because we will have many more
pieces of equipment, but because these pieces of equipment will produce
much more, will be much better maintained, will last much longer, and a
construction work of much better quality will be achieved. We will advance
and we will fill this province, in the same way that the rest of the
country must be filled, with towns, highways, schools, hospitals. We will
build real towns where workers will have all the conveniences of a city,
and perhaps a little more. These apartments have everything that a house
has. They even have television antennas; and all that. [applause]

But above all, there are other more important things than that, things of
much more value, such as the policlinic. There will be school dining rooms
so that the children may go to school in the morning and return home in the

They will be given breakfast, dinner, and supper at school. [applause] And
the more we work, the more we produce, the more milk we produce then more
and better nourishment can be provided for all those children at school.

We have been thinking of a solution for washing clothes, well, we have the
full circle: the very necessary--the school, the policlinic, a supermarket
must be built. When we have 1,400 [families] we will have to build
something much better than we have now. A moviehouse must be built.

In this town of 1,400 houses and 10,000 persons, it will be absolutely
necessary to provide some of these services, too. But we are also studying
the possibility of installing a series of washing machines and dryers to
resolve the laundry problems of families, of mothers. These serious
problems with all these things-- only a few cities in the world have this!
approximately 15, 20, 30 machines. They will serve more efficiently where
the clothes an be taken, washed and dried in a matter of minutes. The rest
can be done at home since it takes more times.

We must build school dining rooms, workers dining rooms. All this will
permit us not only to evaluate in a marked degree the living conditions, a
revolutionary change, a complete and absolute change of living conditions
of the workers in the countryside, but it will also permit us to increase
productivity, to incorporate en masse the women into various productive
activities. Now, having to care for their children, with all their
problems, they cannot participate in productive activities, in schools and
in other services in which women may take part; there are many such
activities. And our country must create all necessary conditions to
liberate women from the slavery of chores, to permit them to improve their
living conditions, to have more time, and to participate in the social
production of the country.

These are possibilities and things to be done. We have done a few things,
but we have not really done much; we can say that we have done nothing. If
you go to any town, go to Manzanillo, a town that is always full of
enthusiasm, where 20,000 or 30,000 people mobilize for anything at all.
Well, in Manzanillo there is not even the band that used to play on
Sundays. Because some of them retired, I do not know why. Gentlemen, how
many things must be done.

Problems pile up: sewers, water, aqueducts, streets to be repaired,
athletic fields. What we could do with a few bulldozers in this province.
With a scraper, a little truck, a small sports field in virtually every
village where young people, children, even adults could go. It would cost

We are not going to build a stadium everywhere. Remember that in a big
stadium one can only see a baseball or football game. Rather, let's build a
volleyball court and such. We are going to ask the comrades of the National
Institute for Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER), under our
policy of reinforcing the cadres and of accelerating the development of
Oriente Province, we are going to ask the comrades of the INDER to send a
comrade that they have--they have a lot of experience in this--to conduct
some studies of the beach areas.

Many place, beaches, this entire region of the Puerto Padre which alone has
100,000 inhabitants--there must be more than 300,000 inhabitants counting
only the young people--has a splendid beach. But not far off, the Llanita
beach with beautiful sand, as good as Varadero, still has no access. Only
with a raft or a boat can one arrive from the other side, due to the lack
of an installation.

We also have the beaches of El Pesquero, Miramar, Guarda la Vaca without
any development. The population of Mayari, Corintia, the population of
Manzanillo, zones with beaches which are 30 or 35 kilometers away, also are
without installations or roads and have only a few sports installations.

We believe that the organization that will be here will have to be
regulated. We proposed to study the regulation supplied by the comrades of
the INDER closely. It seems good to me, though surely there will have to be
some changes to bring it into line with practice and experience of how life
should be governed here.

But also in the villages, the local organizations, if we now bring in new
equipment, with the help of some of the equipment we are releasing, until
we an supply them with better equipment--we can turn them over to JUCEI
(Coordination, Execution, and Inspection Board). We can organize permanent
groups and workers for maintaining the houses, repairing streets, and
developing some construction.

Of course we cannot abandon the brigades that are building the villages,
the mills, factories, bridges, and highways. We cannot put them to building
stadiums. But with the local resources available, we could ask for the
cooperation of the people themselves. Of a factory with 30 workers, we
could ask them to give us two workers, for a greater effort from the others
if a project, a primary school is to be built, because for all these
constructions we have needs for a work force.

And, at the level of the villages, a number of needs can be met--a series
of improvements--a sports stadium. On another occasion it could be a movie
house in a village of 30,000 inhabitants--20,000 inhabitants, 40,000,
50,000,--a movie house, and an old one, and with long waiting lines.

And, in fact, it is true that we must work. But not only in the
countryside. Cities must be built in the countryside, and cities themselves
must be changed. Actually, there are cities that date back to colonial
times, the era of the colonies. However, they have too few things to
deserve being called cities.

And hospitals, splendid hospitals, they all have a fine hospital. If you go
to Bayan. There is a splendid hospital there; in Hoguin, a formidable
hospital; in Sagua, many places, but that is not all, not the sole
necessity. There are recreational needs, sports, all kinds.

And when one speaks of a beach one does not talk just of entertainment and
recreation, but rather something healthful for the people. We are
surrounded by the sea, but what percentage of the eastern population can go
to the beach?

In a word, these are the realities. We understand that the province has
remained somewhat behind in development. This is not because the province
has not received resources. In the first phase more than 30 hospitals were
built in the highlands, and the roads are being built.

The resources were insufficient for the size of the province, for the size
of this province, for the things that had accumulated in this province.
Experience was short, the technical levels of the province are low, the
qualifications of the labor force are relatively low. And this is why we
advocate the need to raise the technical levels, above all, in all sectors,
but also in construction.

This is reflected in the new centrals, in the new equipment--these need
highly trained workers to handle them. This is a new industry which is
being built and more must be built--a large number in the future.

To man it, including mechanized milking, one must know how to handle
electrical equipment. There are some that are quite complicated and one
must learn to operate these. They cannot be turned over to just anyone.
They must be tended, they must be maintained.

Life is modernized, sirs, because it is no longer a matter of the ox. When
a tractor arrives, a mechanic is needed, one who knows how to work on the
engine, the electrical systems of the motor. Moreover, thought life with
machines has great advantages, it also necessitates the need to raise
technical levels.

When it is just a matter of a cart and an ox, it is hardly necessary to
repair an ox--it is virtually a four-legged truck, just give it a little
food. However, a truck must be repaired. A bus indeed has to be repaired,
also a bulldozer, just as it used to be done on a road, with only a pick
and a shovel. Well, then they did not even repair a man, if he got sick
there was not even a hospital.

But this other thing is done with a machine, and machines require all kinds
of maintenance, repairs, knowledge. It cannot be done without adequate
technical training. And this goes for everything. This province must be put
forth a great educational effort--not only because it is the province that
has the largest number of youths, young men and young women--but also
including the adult population.

I believe that one of the big tasks of the workers and unions organizations
in Oriente Province is the struggle to raise the cultural level, the
technical level of our workers. [applause] And this is not only due to the
all-important issue that there is a relationship in respect to productivity
here, for one thing is tied with the other: the technical level, the
machine, and productivity. And this goes hand in hand with the level of
awareness, the spirit to work, the discipline of work, productivity, and
the raising of the workers technical and cultural level in Oriente.

We must remember that the technical level is low. It is one of the
provinces that had the most illiterates, it is one of the provinces which
has the fewest schools. And all this comes to the surface when the time
comes to produce, the time to create conditions for raising production, to
transform the province. For we simply have to transform the province.

And if the directive of "changing the setback into victory," is a directive
for all the country, it is more important for Oriente Province. And it is
where we must do more, where we must change the setback into victory.
[applause] The province with the most natural resources, the province with
the most human resources, the province which has played a very important
role in our revolution, the province where enthusiasm is constant, the
province in which the spirit of the workers is splendid.

And we say this because we have seen it, we have felt it--enthusiasm,
working spirit, good will, the desire to accomplish. What is our weak
point? Technical levels. We do not lack resources, machine know-how, their
location of the labor force, and the selection of the best for the most
productive equipment. So, by uniting the human resources, we could
transform this province, which is the biggest in the country, and even the
most difficult.

It is no easy task to dominate those rivers; to dominate those plains that
flood is not easy. To dominate these vast expanses by building roads and
highways is not easy. To dominate all these accumulated needs for sewers,
water lines; housing, hospitals, schools, everything is not easy. But we
have the force. We shall have the resources. We have the spirit, but we
must add training, technology, better organization, to put our minds to
work to always seek better and better solutions for the problems.

And we must be selective and accomplish all the things we have brought up;
and we have won the battle here. We transformed the province. I have said,
to express my faith and belief in the spirit and capacity of Oriente, that,
that we must, we must transfer the Sierra Maestra of the south to the
north--transfer the Sierra Maestra of the south to the North. [applause]

With the means we shall have if we win the battle of cultural-technical
progress and place men of "fatherland or death" in each one of these
machines--make these wild beasts of the machete into wild beasts of the
machine and these wild beasts of the hoe into wild beasts of the machine
that [applause] can perform the work of 200 men, for one of those men
manning a steam shovel can do the work of 200 men using picks and shovels
to dig the foundation of a building, though of course it must be a man who
is a responsible worker and cares for the machine, and then it works like
200. Perhaps 300 men. We shall transform this province.

The resources are available, and it is in the spirit of the revolution to
help Oriente with all these resources in the same measure that Oriente can
assimilate them, [applause] in the same measure that Oriente can assimilate
them, [applause] in the same measure that Orient can use them in an
effective way, in the way that Oriente can prepare itself to receive all
these resources.

And, sirs, many of the problems which weigh on us daily are not resolved in
another place, they must be resolved where they arise. The housing needed
by the 3 million families, the persons [corrects himself] of Oriente,
almost 3 million, must be constructed here, just like the dairy which will
turn out nutritive products.

Of course, some products are produced for export like sugar. And perhaps
there may be a surplus of rice from the 7,000, There may be an excess. And
there may be other things, But one is...a large part of the measures we
adopt and the actions taken to meet the needs that press upon us daily must
be done here. And it is up to you to do so.

The other provinces have their needs. some of them do not have a very large
labor force. [applause] There are plans in all the provinces. A number of
brigades or workers cannot come here every year to help you as at this time
at the end of the harvest. The province has almost 3 million. But where are
the communications? You remain scattered, isolated, much land under-used
due to lack of irrigation, drainage, adequate natural conditions. The
population is too scattered, there is a longstanding under-use of man and

We must change these conditions to translate into reality that which we see
here; Buildings like this, even prettier ones, built much more rapidly than
this, and many more buildings than this, infinitely more buildings.

For we have seen. I was also on a visit to the region where Sabinilla de
Biran dam is being built. We saw there a village that had not been
completed, a number of housing units that must be completed rapidly, the
school yet to be built, the roads still to be built everywhere one goes.
Wherever one goes one encounters reality, poverty.

If everywhere in the country there are many thatched huts, this province is
full of thatched huts. And they are miserable thatched huts, many more
wretched than anywhere else--on the edge of the roads, in the plains,

These are the real conditions. Yet we still have what has been done, even
in that of a village like this. Though it might be 5,000 caballerias of
rice it is a splendid achievement. It is no little thing that has had to be
accomplished to achieve this, to have 36,000 caballerias of cane as we have
at this time. No, that is not a little thing, but there is the tens of
thousands of pasturage that we must plant, and there are also the green
vegetables so there will be no shortage of greens and vegetables, never, at
any moment--rice greens, fruits, and vegetables. These are solutions, not
of minifarms, but solutions like this rice project.

Just imagine, this production in minifarms would need 30,000 caballerias.
And under what conditions? You cannot say that all that can be planted with
27 planes, 27 pilots, or 30 pilots planting 7,000 caballerias can be sown
grain by grain as had been traditionally by a man following an ox opening
up a furrow.

That would not net enough for even a family, and it will yield even less
for those who are not of the family--for those producing shoes, cement,
housing who need nourishment. In other words, we have to create all those
conditions. And we have the resources in the province, we shall have them,
and they are at the disposal of the province, and the same measure that the
province assimilates the, I repeat, that the province struggles, that the
province is capable of using them for its development and for satisfying
all its needs. And I see that there is spirit, a lot of spirit in Oriente.
No one tells me this. I see it. I tour the villages and hamlets.

On occasion along a highway, on others along an embankment, others by a
fourth path, where there is not even a landmark, that is the only way to
know, to see. I think we should all do that because one can get a clear
grasp of a problem. It is not the same to be told about a problem as to see
it concretely. We see there is even more than enough spirit. The spirit of
a person of Oriente is formidable. I believe we must transfer that spirit
into advancement, into organization, into a higher cultural-technical
level, into efficiency in work, and in the optimum use of the machines. And
I am sure that we will change this province. The people of Oriente blazed
the paths in the last century, being the first to begin the struggle for

The people from Oriente Province also set the example in our last struggle
for our independence, in this phase of the revolution: In combat, in the
fight, in the sacrifice. It was because of that spirit that we fought in
'95, and in '68. With that spirit we struggled in the mountains. We must
struggle now for the construction in behalf of development, in the
transformation of Oriente Province. [applause]

To bring the Orientales these ideas, so necessary, so fundamental; to tell
them they will have all the needed resources; to urge them to do so this
work; is probably the only thing that may justify this meeting on a day of
the final struggle of the harvest even though it is a small meeting we have
had to meet with workers representatives, with workers vanguards. A meeting
would not have been necessary to inaugurate a town. Many towns have not
been inaugurated, we have build factories, enormous ones that have not been
inaugurated--the Rente thermo-electric plant, the Mariel thermo-electric
plant. The revolution is not characterized by going around cutting ribbons
to inaugurate something or a bridge. This enormous bridge would have been
inaugurated at any time, that highway, those dozens of highways that are
being built.

But really we have not come to inaugurate a town; we have come to tell the
Orientales these ideas, to make this plea, this call, this inauguration or
commencement of something far above any of this; the way, the labor
methods, the spirit of labor that will allow us to fill the entire Province
of Oriente with projects like these and even better ones than these. The
struggle was started over 100 years ago, it was started by Cespedes and
carried on by Maximo Gomez and Maceo and so many, many brave ones. That
struggle, which lasted so long, was just for this opportunity, and this
opportunity is in our hands now and we must know how to make use of it. The
spirit is there, it is in our hands to know how to carry it forward.
[applause] That is basically what I wanted to tell the Oriente workers.
Fatherland or death, we shall overcome. [applause]