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[Speech by Fidel Castro; Havana, Granma, Spanish, 10 September 1970, pp

Although this address was delivered only to persons attending
the plenum held in the CTC [Central Organization of Cuban
Workers] on the 2nd and 3rd of this month, the periodical Granma
asked the comrade prime minister for authorization to publish
his speech in view of the great importance of its content to all
our workers. Speech delivered by Major Fidel Castro Ruz, first
secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and Prime Minister of
the Revolutionary Government, at the provincial plenum of the
CTC, held in the CTC theater on 2 and 3 September 1970, the
"year of the 10-million harvest." (Department of Stenographic
Records of the Revolutionary Government.)

All right, comrades, if you are agreeable, I will say a few words
before leaving. (Applause)

Comrade Risquet presented his conclusion in a brilliant manner and
brought out the essence of this plenum and the purposes we pursue here.

For my party, I participated in the conversations along with way,
stating some ideas and expressing some thoughts.

As I told you a short while ago, this plenum marks and beginning
of a battle. We must not fight just one battle in order to advance; we must
fight at least 10 or 12 battles and perhaps even more, as we continue on
our way. One of the first and most immediate battles is the battle against
absenteeism; and then we must also fight a battle to prevent erroneous
interpretations of what has been said about volunteer work, both during my
appearance and that of Comrade Risquet.

There is no doubt that an adequate reaction has not yet
materialized in response to a situation which we described very clearly in
terms of the difficulties we were having. If, in the face of a crisis
situation on the battlefield, the people do not react by attacking, by
counterattacking, by fighting better, then the battle will be lost.

Of course, all of this happened in the midst of a vacation
interval, following a very long period of work. There was the month of
July, with all of the carnivals and fiestas, things like that. it was
therefore quite logical for this type of problem to crop up during the
month of August, wasn't it? Besides, in our prior planning we said: "No, we
will have our vacations for the workers now and after that we will have to
start working hard." But we can indeed say that the reaction was not up to
the difficulties we faced and the obstacles we have before us. There is no
doubt about that.

Now, has there been an increase in absenteeism in recent days,
because of this combination of circumstances and because there was an
insufficient awareness and alertness as to the way in which we must tackle
these problems? There certainly was. And would absenteeism not decrease
quite naturally, in the month of September? Something like that could
certainly be expected. Absenteeism would drop off the moment all of the
workers returned from their vacations; and it would also drop off further
following the return of many of the members of the "Lenin" Column from the
places where they had been assigned; besides, the absenteeism rate would
drop when people finally got tired of abusing absenteeism. In other words,
the month of September was bound to bring some improvement.

But this is not enough. It is not even enough to win the battle
against absenteeism. This is only one aspect of the problem. But we do
believe that it is of primary importance because it has something to do
with the way in which the workers must react to the difficulties
confronting them.

The Objective Conditions Under Which the Labor Union or Party
Leader Must Do His Work Are Difficult

Well, now: we have an infinite number of problems. We certainly do
have problems... In other words, we have objective problems of all kinds,
as we told the Women's Federation. But these problems are worsening
gradually as we fail to find ways to get people to come to grips with this
situation. Now, we have many problems of a subjective nature, besides. All
of this has an effect on output and it also influences the attitude of the
worker toward his work; this bring up an infinite number of questions, some
of which have been brought up here.

Although it is certain that we mentioned only a portion of these
problems here, although it is certain that dozens and perhaps even hundreds
of comrades would have many things to say about certain types of
difficulties in their places of employment or anywhere else, we have, in
spite of all this, been able to bring out sufficiently clearly what is
involved here in essence and we have been able to list a series of
questions which reveal to us the magnitude of the struggle we must fight in
order to overcome all of these difficulties.

There is no doubt that the objective conditions, under which the
labor union leader or the political party cadre must work are difficult. If
you have an administrator who is indolent, if you have an individual who is
incapable, if you run into a series of real difficulties -- such as those
we can see here, today, for example, when we visited the factory of the
lady comrade who told us yesterday that the roof was falling down and that
everybody got wet when it rained -- if you take all that into account, then
you will realize that we do have problems here.

We want to visit some of the places mentioned at yesterday's
meeting today, if we can. She told us that officials had come there on
several occasions to try to do something but nothing was accomplished and
the situation actually continued for 4 or 5 years. I invited Comrade
Almeida to join me and we went there to try to work out an immediate
solution to the problem. It so happened that it was raining when we went to
that factory and, while we were there, there was quite a bit of water all
over the place. Some people might earlier have thought that all this was
exaggerated but when you go there you see what the situation is really
like. There was an awful lot of water leaking through! it was then that we
realized how difficult the struggle of the labor union leader is, how
difficult the battle of the party cadres is at that factory, where this
situation has been going on for 5 years. A factory employing as many
workers as this one did not even have a dining room for the workers; or
other factories, like this one, might have a worker dining room but the
food is so bad that the comrades simply do not eat there. The cafeteria
there was very poorly supplied with food.

And so, the people who work there simply get wet; the product of
their work also gets wet. And in the end we lost because all this costs us
foreign currency. The machines are in danger of wearing out because of the
moisture and humidity there. Besides, there might be accidents or fires due
to short-circuits in the electrical wiring, things like that.

So, what do they do about this? This has been going on for 5
years. And you ask yourself a question: can one, for example, speak in
terms of the struggle for savings, the struggle for foreign currency, the
struggle for development, the struggle for economizing, in a situation
where you have a mass of 400 workers who get drenched every time it rains?
Can you speak of all this when you see how we keep losing all of these
critically needed production items?

There is no denying that all of his makes the work of the party
and the unions very difficult.

The opposite of all this, of course, would be to have everything
running perfectly. We would indeed be idealists if we were to pretend that
everything would be running smoothly then. This is much more difficult than
we realize. The fact is that the change, which has occurred in the
country's life, is so great that we, we of the revolution, in a certain
sense are now receiving the positive fruits as well as the negative fruits
of the revolution which we are making.

We Are in Effect Moving from a Virtually Slave Production Method
to a Free Production Method

The revolution first of all created unusual disorder in the
country's life; it produced an unusual change in the production method. We
are in effect moving on from what was virtually a slave production method
to a free production method. This is the essence of the problem. Of course,
this did not involve men and women in shackles and chains; it was a more
subtle form of slavery but no less efficient. Man deprived of all personal
wealth or social wealth, forced, for reasons of sustenance, to work or die
of starvation or watch his children and family die -- that was the
situation we had. He was forced to engage in punctual and disciplined work,
on pain of death. We had half a million unemployed; men were fighting for
jobs in factories; men congratulated each other when they found jobs in
factories such as the Matanzas rayon factory, where they were practically
being poisoned day after day.

Now, what has happened since then? The condition created by the
Revolution eliminated those ominous circumstances. Today work is voluntary;
we might say although there is still some work to be done on the farms even
on Sunday. But work today has become practically voluntary for any citizen
of this country under present conditions.

This is due primarily to the fact that many vital daily problems
have been resolved. Many of the problems facing the baker in the past have
been solved; they include the housing problem which was solved for many;
they include medical care, education, social security, and decent
guaranteed living conditions for everyone. We do not have any more beggars,
prostitutes, old and disabled, orphaned children, or destitute people
anywhere in the country. The current younger generation has never known the
scourge of unemployment. On the other hand, the availability of a quantity
of money above and beyond the volume of available goods produces a
situation in which money -- which is the medium through which work is paid
and through which certain commodities can be purchased -- have taken on a
relative value. We can buy goods and services, which are available to us,
up to certain limits.

There is no denying that, if we had much more merchandise and many
more material services available, that factor would not have any effect
within a situation in which many, many families have a money surplus. Of
course, not all families have such a surplus because we still have cases of
workers whose wages are barely enough to pay for their family expenses.

But there is n denying that the circumstances, under which men are
today forced to work or persuaded to work, are fundamentally factors of a
moral nature, factors of awareness, healthy habits, a sense of social and
human importance derived from each man's job.

An Unusual Change Had Occurred in Production Methods and Relations
and in the Distribution of Social Wealth

Now, under these conditions, we experienced a complete change in
working conditions. In other words, some people without moral conscience,
without a grasp of their social duties, may today take the liberty of
downgrading work, they may refrain from working, they may let the others
bear the extra burden of work, they may cheat -- things like that.

But, let me repeat, there has been an unusual change in the manner
and in the relationships of production and of the distribution of social
wealth. Besides -- as I said yesterday -- when all the means of production
became collective property, the use of these production means and of human
resources in the production and distribution of goods and services creates
an administrative problem on a gigantic scale. I said that many of these
things are beyond the grasp of the human brain. Our merchandise stockpiles
today are something which no human brain, no group of accountants can
grasp. Likewise, you cannot go to the moon today without computers because
of the large volume of calculations required and because of the speed with
which complicated problems must be solved; all of these are things which
are impossible for the human brain to cope with. Nor could we control the
economy, inventories, requirements and resources, on the enormous scale
required by the socialist economy, without computers, without calculation
centers. Even the imperialists, the developed capitalists, had to develop
computers, without which they could not manage their business. General
Motors today could not function without computers. And there is more: that
huge Yankee plane, which landed recently, which took a million pieces to
put together, parts which must arrive in a simultaneous flow and reach the
assembly shop through various channels, where the efforts of thousands of
engineers and technicians involved in the production and assembly of the
component parts is concentrated, for the series-production of these
aircraft, that plane would be impossible without computers.

Compared with all this, our work is on the artisan level. We work
on an enormous scale because our problems are the problems of millions;
goods must also be counted in terms of millions; nevertheless, our methods
are still artisan methods, and this goes both for our administrative and
our management methods.

Large-scale administration in itself constitutes a science. And we
really do not have this type of scientist available to us. We can thus
almost explain the volume of confusion, errors, and mistakes that occur in
this connection. But there are also problems of an ideological type,
problems of a political type; there is the petty-bourgeois spirit which is
still widely encountered in public administration; there is the problem
that some public officials sometimes seem completely divorced from the rest
of the workers. It is true that there are many administrators who come from
a worker background, who have the habits and the spirit of proletarians;
others, however, are like parachutists who drop out to the sky with lack of
sensitivity and with unquestionable indolence, without the slightest
proletarian spirit.

There is no doubt that this anti-worker spirit, this slight
downgrading of the workers, can be found in a number of our government
management officials. Some of these things were brought out here.

I Believe That the Best That Is in the Law Must Spring from the

In addition there is one thing we explained yesterday and that is
that the administrative method does not solve, nor can solve this entire
problem in a revolutionary process. This is very clear indeed. Not even the
most efficient administration can generate the control, the vigilance, the
efficiency, aggressiveness, and energy of the masses required in order to
surmount the difficulties confronted.

Thus we see that we must fight a battle in every factory, in every
government agency, in every fundamental aspect of our political, economic,
and social life, basing our efforts solidly on the masses. This must be a
real battle and this meeting here today is just a first step in this
battle. Our coverage of the absenteeism problem is just a first step here.
The thing against which we must fight most vigorously at this time is
absenteeism. But this still eaves us with all of the other problems, such
as the achievement of maximum efficiency in organizational terms, optimum
utilization of material and human resources, the great battle for labor
productivity, which we must fight in the months and years to come, a battle
without which our problems cannot possibly be solved.

We are doing the work we are doing now, not be confining ourselves
to simple public statements, but by analyzing, by getting together, by
studying all of the problems, all of the causes, by working to get to the
root of things, and by acting. The fact is that we must not only invest
time in discussion and analysis. We must also take a series of specific
measures in all areas. We are trying to promote these measures in
agriculture, in industry, in the provinces, everywhere.

In other words, we are at this moment under the tremendous
pressure of an effort involving analysis and meditation with regard to the
measures that must be taken for the sake of the development of the
revolution in this phase and in the years to come -- plus all of the
concrete work that has to be done immediately.

These ideas in effect summarize our principal difficulties today.
And as the inhuman factors, which used to force men to work, disappear, the
alternative to this turns out to be the maximum development of collective
consciousness and the employment of the coercive force of the worker
society directed toward those who think they can live like parasites, who
think they can live off the had work of the rest of us, who refuse to do
their most elementary social and human duties.

The law which the workers want against loafing and loitering --
which Comrade Risquet talked about -- is no easy thing. In the preamble and
in the precepts of the draft we are going to have to make some changes and
we are going to have to add some other points concerning the present
situation, points we must bring out in the light of new experiences and

The best thing to do perhaps might be to gather a series of
opinions, before drafting this law, to go into a kind of consultation, a
survey among the workers who would give us a whole series of opinions and
criteria. Once we have gathered all this information, we could draft the
law, basing it on the essence of all of the comments we have collected. And
then, finally, we could submit it to the workers for their consideration.

We must keep in mind the international political aspect; we cannot
allow the bad attitude of a minority of maybe 5 or 10 percent of the people
to influence the world's judgment of the Cuban working class.

I believe that the best aspects of this law will spring from the
workers themselves. I believe that there should be broad coverage on
television and radio and all of the points should be brought out. I believe
that we must get the workers themselves to talk on television, on the
radio, and in the newspapers about all of these problems; we must bet them
to express their opinions as to what should be done about loafers and
absentee workers. In this way we have to bring out very clearly that this
is a countrywide thing, not an administrative thing; we have to bring out
the point that this law springs from the will of the Cuban working people.
This is very important for international considerations. The enemy will
surely immediately come out with statements such as: "Under capitalism
there is no need for any laws against loafing." Of course, we all know that
capitalism is inhuman; we know that it forces the people to work with all
of its criminal and impersonal methods; we also know that it forces many
people to wait for many years before they can get a modest job. Under
capitalism, millions of people are deliberately kept in ignorance and these
millions are then used to do the roughest jobs; an army of unemployed is
maintained in the meantime as a manpower reserve.

In a rational and just society, the majority can see to its own
interests and has the right and the duty to adopt measures of a coercive
nature against the very small minority which refuses to do its social duty,
after the hateful prerogative, under which a few men were able to exploit
others, had been erased from the land. The capitalists cannot promulgate
laws against idleness because they themselves are the idle and the
parasites of the society in which they live. The first big law against
idleness was promoted by the Revolution in order to abolish capitalism.

Privilege Can Be a Factor of Exploitation of the Working People

Now that we have abolished capitalism, who are the only exploiters
left to us? Who can exploit us today? Those who claim to enjoy privileges
over the rest of us cannot exploit us today. Privilege can be a factor in
the exploitation of the working people. We must always and energetically
fight against any manifestation of privilege.

Our managers must set an example in terms of work and sacrifice.
And this is something we must achieve all along the line. (Applause)

We have, for example, the housing problem. At the beginning of the
revolution, there were tens of thousands of apartments and homes available
because we did not have enough tenants who were prepared to pay the
exorbitant rents. The Urban Reform Law at that time remedied the situation.
Many families were able to obtain housing and the building, in which they
lived, suddenly ceased to be an obsession and an instrument of exploitation
for millions of people. However, the situation today is different. The
population has grown and we have not been able to keep up with this growth
by building the required number of housing units; we have some tremendous
tensions here. In this situation, the administrative official or, worse
still, the political leader who gets preferential treatment when it comes
to housing allocation -- before the eyes of thousands of people who have
not even a room to themselves, before the eyes of the whole people -- in
this situation, such officials harm the authority and prestige of the
Revolution tremendously; this immediately brings to the fore the worm, the
disaffected, the loafer, the ragamuffin proletariat, all of the enemies of
work who immediately use this situation as an argument against the
Revolution and in order to demoralize the revolutionaries.

Fortunately, our vanguard is not a vanguard that has been
corrupted. Our vanguard basically consists of people who have come from the
working class. The vast majority of the militants of our party was selected
at worker assemblies. Those who have administrative positions or management
posts were selected by the party, considering their revolutionary
background and their conduct within this process. If there are exceptions,
if, unfortunately, there are manifestations of privilege and even
corruption, such as we have had them, then we must wipe them out and stop
this sort of thing with all our energy.

If a cadre or a militant of our party has strayed from the correct
path, then we must change him, we must immediately oust him from the ranks
of the party.

Thus we see that this moral factor will not be difficult to bring
about. The battle against all manifestations of privilege will not be
difficult to win. All right: the other battle is much more difficult. This
is the battle against that segment, against that minority which still does
not have sufficient awareness, which does not have the necessary education,
which is maladjusted and not properly adapted to a society of workers; that
battle will be much more difficult.

That minority exploits us because it does not work; these
individuals just hand around, they drink and eat, they go to the movies,
they get on the bus and take a ride, they watch a public spectacle, they
get medicines if they are sick, their lives are saved, if necessary, and
they are even buried free of charge when they die. This indeed does happen
among us. But there is somebody who has to produce every one of the goods
and services taken up by individuals such as these.

That is the kind of fellow who can be our exploiter today. We must
rebel against these manifestations of exploitation with as much hatred as
the worker who rebels against the imperialist monopoly, against the
landowner, against the bourgeois exploiter, against the thieving merchant.
This is a manifestation of delinquency in a collectivist society which we
must prevent. I absolutely and fully agree with the ideas expressed by
Comrade Risquet, to the effect that this is fundamentally a political
issue, that the measures to be taken must not only spring from the people
themselves but must be educational, that 90 percent of the battle can be
won through discussion and through the simple approval of the law, that
this law applies to a minority, that we must know how to implement the law,
that we must know how to make distinctions, and that we must avoid a
mechanical approach to this problem.

Besides, gentlemen, I believe that we must get the workers
themselves actively involved in this. After all, everybody knows what
happens in every factory, in every place of employment; everybody knows
what happens to everybody, to the liar and to the good fellow, to the
honest and to the dishonest. Everybody knows all that in all of the places
of employment.

One of the Things We Must Try To Do Is to Solve the Dining Room

We must at all costs avoid oversimplified solutions; we must at
all costs avoid a mechanical approach to this issue. We must more than ever
before act on the basis of a political criterion, we must take intelligent
measures and we must ceaselessly differentiate. Besides, the problems vary
from one place of employment to the next. And there are labor centers which
have difficult problems; there are many places of employment which do not
even have a guaranteed lunch food supply. There are workers who, after
working 8 hours a day, must spend another 4 hours traveling from one end of
town to the other, and they must do this under very difficult conditions.
Of course, all of these are administrative and objective factors which we
were able to see for ourselves in one particular factory.

And I told them: if you could see the people working in that
factory, getting drenched every time if rained, if you could see these
people keeping up the work, then you could only say that they have a
profound belief in the revolution. It would not be difficult to say: these
are just lowly workers, they don't know what they are talking about; but if
you realize that these people have been working under these conditions for
5 years then you get the full picture of what is going on there.

Of course, there are many other positive things which sustain the
people -- but these others are factors that make for discouragement and

And then, of course, situations vary from one place of employment
to the next. There are still many, I repeat, who do not have dining rooms,
who do not even have a supply of lunch food. There are also some which are
much better than others and we saw those, too. One of the things we have to
try to figure out is how to solve the dining room problem so that, as time
goes on, every worker dining room will become a reasonably pleasant and
good restaurant.

Unfortunately, we do not have all of the means with which to
accomplish this; this is no easy thing.

There are some things which the country can improve relatively
quickly. The fishing fleet keeps growing; we have a high dairy industry
potential which we must make use of; our beer breweries can considerably
increase the output of malt for the worker dining rooms. Today we have more
means then ever before for a continued increase in the production of rice
and for giving drastic impetus to the production of vegetables and other
foods. But in the immediate future it will much more difficult to increase
the output of meat because, although we have genetically improved our
livestock for the production of milk, pastures have not been getting our
full attention in recent years; animal births were not sufficiently
numerous and [illegible words in original] have been high because the
per-animal weights were low. It is to this issue, and to the increase in
pork and poultry output, that we are now devoting maximum attention.

Thus we see that we can increase the output in many, if not all
major food items, relatively quickly. We must push hard and we must see how
we can accomplish this because we must increase the number of available
spaces in our children's facilities so that the women can go to work; we
must increase the capacity of our school dining rooms for the same reason;
and we must increase and improve the worker dining rooms, many of which
still do not have their allocated quotas.

Thus we see that we are going to carry out a policy aimed at
improving the situation of the workers, first of all in terms of food and,
then, in terms of transportation. We are developing a plan with the
livestock breeding centers in the province of Havana in an effort to supply
a milk quota to the worker centers where the workers are doing hard work
and where the health of the workers requires a better diet. We have asked
the Ministry of Labor for a list of these places and centers which must
have priority for health reasons.

Of course, we must not concentrate on this priority alone. There
may be centers which may be on the priority list but which we cannot take
into consideration here because of the type of work they are doing,even
though they do not have enough. If we can make any improvement at all
anywhere -- with some additional supplies of carbonated beverages or a
little milk -- then we must do so, even though the particular facility may
not have priority on the basis of the work it does. There will be
employment centers where the work will not be as hard as in others, and
there may be situations where the former will have something while the
latter will not have anything.

So, we see, that we must try to work out the most equitable
distribution of these products we can achieve. I believe that we can,
within a year, provide one-third of a liter of milk for 100,000 workers, if
we complete work on our dairy facilities. These are the ones which, we were
told here, could be finished faster by the construction workers if there
were less absenteeism. If the construction teams increase their
productivity; if the dairies are built at a faster pace at "Nina Bonita,"
at "Nazareno," at "Flor de Itabo," at "Picadura," and at "Nina Sierra." The
fact is that we do have the cows -- and not only the cows but we are also
getting the milking machines. Similar plans can be worked out in all
provinces of the country. We have a larger number of milk heifers in all
provinces now and with the help of these animals we can supply not only the
worker dining rooms but we can also increase the consumption of children
and the population in general; besides, e can reduce present imports of
this product. The problem resides in the milking equipment and in its
proper installation.

We are also studying another formula. Perhaps the Artemisa banana
fruit plan can organize the distribution of this product to the worker
dining rooms. The same is true of the soda bottles from the "Albert Khuntz"
plant; in this way we can continue to study ways of improving food and

We propose to organize some teams for the construction of dining
rooms where there are no dining rooms, taking the model supplied by
Construimport or some other model as basis.

While I was here, a worker handed me a little slip which read:
"Comrade Fidel; unit 209, the old Edimira factory, in San Jose de las
Lajas, invites you and the comrade from the Lincoln refinery, who described
the dining room difficulties there, to see for yourselves how workers of
this unit built our dining room, from the bottom up, through volunteer
work." In other words, there are ways of doing this.

Then we are going to find out how many compressors we need, how
much cork, how much raw material to make iceboxes, or how many
refrigeration storerooms are needed. We are going to find out how much we
need for a factory with 250 workers, or with 500, 750, or 1,000 workers. We
will have all thee data within a few days and we will try to get the
necessary materials together.

We are also studying the problems of factory transportation. We
have already assigned some transportation facilities to some of the
factories. We began with Santiago de Cuba. Why? To supplement the rest of
the urban transportation network, to transport the workers in the night
shift, and to carry those workers who have the most difficulty in getting
to their jobs.

We have the project all drawn up; but the 300 medium--sized buses,
which we are building this year, will be only a drop in the bucket because
the tremendous rural transportation requirements come on top of the factory
transportation requirements. What are we going to do with this
transportation equipment? We are going to turn it into the collective
automobile of the workers. The bus, with its driver, making its run,
picking up workers. Those who can get to their jobs easily will do so along
the normal routes. The buses assigned to the factories will be set aside
for those workers who have the most difficulty in getting to their jobs.
And we are going to use these vehicles for the vacation plans of the
workers and for the worker families in the summer and during hours when
these vehicles are not used to carry workers. In this way we can coordinate
our vacation plans.

In Some Items, Such as Cigars and Alcoholic Beverages, We Must
Seek a Solution in Terms of Prices, Not in Terms of Rationing

Gentlemen: we also believe that we can achieve a certain
distribution system through the factories. How are we going to distribute
those refrigerators which are now being built in Santa Clara? Well, one
portion we must put in the apartments of the farmers as part of the
agricultural plans which we are carrying out in building up the farm
settlements. Now, we have approximately 15,000 such refrigerators to
distribute in 1971. How are we going to allocate those 15,000
refrigerators? It occurs to me that we should sell them through the
factories, on the basis of quotas to be assigned proportionately to the
employment centers; tickets would have to be distributed at these
employment centers and with these tickets the workers could then go to the
distributing unit. How should we sell almost half a million pressure
cookers? It occurs to me that we should sell them likewise through the
employment centers on the basis of allocation slips. (Prolonged applause)

Then, what are we going to do? Well, the absentee worker will not
have a change to get a refrigerator. We know that there is no possible way
for him to get his hands on one of the refrigerators... (Applause)

And when we have enough output of furniture and other durable
consumer goods, we will likewise distribute them through the factories.

The solution suggested by somebody with respect to cigars is
somewhat similar; but we are going to have to discuss the cigars; this is
another one of the discussions we must hold: what to do about cigars. I
suggested to the comrades that they collect data from tens of thousands out
of the hundreds of thousands of people whom we would have to employ in
this, if we wanted to keep up exports and consumption, especially in view
of the growing consumption rate.

Thus we are going to try to solve the cigar and beverage problems
in terms of a price solution. There are of course people who do not smoke.
They will save their box of cigars and they will exchange it for beverages,
gentlemen. It would be preferable for the worker to be able to consume his
beverage at a modest price and to pay a little more for his cigars. Even
boys are acquiring the habit of smoking because they can get cigars at 20
centavos. It is better to try to allocate milk, malt, and other food items
to the worker dining rooms than to invest additional energy in a
consumption effort which, as science tells us, is highly harmful.

Finally we believe that, in some items, such as cigars and
alcoholic beverages, we will have to find a solution in terms of prices,
not in terms of rationing.

When I spoke on the 26th, I said: "We do not like the price
solution. Why? Ah! Because then you would run into all of the inequalities
that spring from wages; we would have a situation in which only a segment
of the population could buy meat, milk, etc., because the prices are so
high. But everybody needs these vital food items. The same is not true of
cigars; the problem here is between those who smoke and those who do not
smoke, those who should receive quota allocations and those who do not need
them. If we try to solve this problem through rationing, then everybody
would smoke more and we would only be preserving the health of the loafers
and idlers. We must use refrigerators and food, we must use the allocation
of these items in order to improve the situation of the workers -- but we
must not use cigars for this purpose. The cigar problem we must solve in
some other way, through prices which would first of all limit consumption
and which would also enable us to harvest the surplus of circulating money.
This means that these measures must be analyzed and discussed with the
workers themselves. They have enough sense to decide whether it is or is
not correct for the country to assign 100,000 or 200,000 persons more to
this sort of work -- people whom, moreover, we do not have available anyway
-- and whether or not other resources should be allocated to this effort in
order to increase the consumption of what is essentially a harmful product,
at very low prices, and at the same time to maintain the export volume,
which we cannot do without because this is a source of foreign currency for
our development. Some people ask for rationing; all right, let us ration
cigars. But then you are going to have a black market; you are going to
have people who will swap their beverages for cigars. We are quite aware
that such a situation would develop but we are going to discuss and analyze
the problem the way it should be.

We Can Continue to Fight Against, Isolate, and Remove the
Antisocial Element, and, If Necessary, Apply the Most Energetic Methods

Getting back to the issue of the absentee workers. First of all,
we will deprive them of the right to acquire durable consumer goods.
Support the time comes to repair a certain house in the district; well, at
that moment we will say, you don't deserve this sort of thing, fellow. We
are going to give priority to the other fellow because he is a better
worker, because he does his job; this is why he gets his house repaired
ahead of yours. But necessity alone is not sufficient reason. We must keep
in mind that, among two people who have the same degree of need, we should
give preference to the fellow who accomplishes his work assignments here in
the district. And then we will tell the loafer: all right, you have been
loafing on the job lately; look, we are going to take away your right to
your food allocation in this dining room because you only come 2 or 3 days
each week. This is a slightly more drastic weapon. We can go a little
further and we can even take your personal ration card away from you.

And we will also take wages into consideration, if necessary. Does
this mean that the family is going to suffer? No, because this is where
Social Security comes in. It is preferable to support the family of a
loafer -- you understand? -- and to send the family an allotment so that
they can get what they need; this is better than to support the idler who
simply takes his money and walks out. (Applause)

Captain Jorge Risquet: If these fellows don't work, they won't get

Major Fidel Castro: They are not getting paid now, are they? But
we are also going to have to take certain steps in the vanguard factory...

Captain Jorge Risquet: Yes, but not for it.

Major Fidel Castro: Yes, of course. We are going to exclude it.
This entire range of things, for which we must continue to fight, by
isolating and removing the antisocial element, by applying even the most
energetic measures, must be achieved so that we will not have a recurrence
of cases where individuals are counselled dozens of times each year without
ever bothering to report to the factory. They not only rob society through
their conduct but they also make the others lose time.

We have to be a little more forceful here. And we can be more
forceful today because we have developed sufficient awareness in the
majority of the workers. The difficulties, the problems, the complexity of
the revolutionary process helps us develop this consciousness. This is why
we must say that this is a very difficult process, an extremely difficult

Now, here is another question: the battles for the solutions of
the economic problems and of the production problems must be fought in
concrete terms, not in abstract terms. The problems must be solved, factory
by factory. This applies to the problem in the graphic arts field and it
applies to the Tellez factory where a number of difficulties camp up. We
must fight this battle concretely, in thousands of production centers
throughout the country. The administrative agencies must do some concrete
work here and we must all do a concrete job here, problem by problem. These
problems -- I repeat -- cannot be solved in abstract terms but only in
concrete terms.

We Must See To It that Our Officials Have a Clearer and More
Precise Idea and a Much More Lively Understanding of What Is Going On

In our judgement, this plenum has been a great experience, a very
rich one. And I ask myself what would have happened if we had held a
meeting of the sector in question -- for example -- the construction
sector, or the light-industry sector, with the representatives of the
corresponding administrative agency.

Of course, it is always better if the various sectors are present
because then there will be an interrelationship between them. And very
often the problem will be seen in clearer perspective and we will have a
better discussion when different branches are represented on the same
occasion. But, just imagine that eight or 10 of the most important sectors
of the economy were represented here, along with the corresponding
ministers and vice-ministers, and that a problem-solving meeting were to be
held, in concrete terms, in each one of the production centers. (Applause)

In other words, the kind of meeting where we would not be
discussing absenteeism or volunteer work, the kind of meeting where we
would not discuss the law or what we should do about cigars -- although
these are still things that have to be discussed.

Developing this type of analysis and discussion would be of
tremendous interest because the comrades could then state all of the
problems and the minister or vice-minister or the enterprise manager or
corresponding functionary from the foreign trade sector or some other
government agency could present the information available to him; he could
explain what we are doing or what we are not doing and why; he could tell
us what we could do and what we are going to do.

We could thus extraordinarily improve the government in this way
and we could see to it that we all become aware of our reality.

I want you to know that it pains me very much to see a factory in
which workers get drenched while they are on the job. I think that no
minister has the right to run his ministry so long as there is a factory
under his control where the roof could come down on the workers. I really
think so! I believe this sincerely! (Applause)

We must make sure that our government officials will have a
clearer and more precise idea of what goes on, a much more accurate grasp
of what goes on. We must see to it that the ministers inspect the
employment centers. Let them come here because this is where they are going
to learn what goes on. Actually, if I want to find out what the problem is,
I don't go to the ministry -- I go to the particular work place involved.
This is where you learn all about the difficulties and problems. This is
where you learn your lessons; this is where you get your experience; this
is where you pick up the proletarian spirit.

We Must Go to the Factories Where the Workers Are in Order to
Become Aware of What the Workers Are and Need--Instead of Arousing an
Awareness in Them

We talked of inculcating the proletarian spirit, of creating an
awareness. This is all wrong. We are in a situation today in which we must
go to the factories where the workers are in order to become aware of what
the workers are and what they need -- instead of bringing them a
cut-and-dried consciousness. The man who hauls sacks for 8 hours, on his
back, on his shoulders, the man who works on a platform all day, the man
who is constantly hammering away to do his job, the man who works with fire
and iron, that is the man who has more proletarian awareness than we
because he is here, at work, in the daily struggle, experiencing all of the
problems and all of the realities, suffering from his inability to see many
things which nobody explains to him and which he cannot resolve himself.

By going to the factories, we can improve our elements of
judgement, the same elements of judgements which the workers cannot
develop, and we can pickup the ideas of the workers, the very ideas which
we cannot have. We can do this especially here, in the daily struggle, as
we watch a worker whose trousers are torn, as we see another worker whose
shoes are torn. I am sure that when you see this sort of thing and when you
are sensitive to it, you immediately become preoccupied with this problem;
you get a first-hand view of something that you cannot find out otherwise.

And then we must also promote contacts between workers; the
consequences of the torn shoes must be communicated to the shoe industry
workers. We must promote contacts between factories and we must promote
associations between factories. Sometimes many factories depend on just
one, little factory. You have to go directly to the source. And you have to
say, look: this is the unit which, according to the plan, should produce
this product for me. When are you going to turn it out for me? When? If you
do not have the necessary manpower, as in the case of the small workshop
which produces ink-rollers for the graphic arts industry, then you have to
say. Look here, we are sending you three men here from the factory for
which you failed to produce this inking-roller, without which that factory
will have to shut down its production. And if you are missing a little
bushing, then you have to go to the unit that is supposed to produce it.
You have to establish interconnecting relationships between factories; you
have to set up negotiations between workers who are fighting for their
factory output. The fundamental duty of worker is to fight for production.
Why? Because only through production can we improve living conditions. Only
through production can we have more shoes, more clothing, more of

So, don't think that these are simple problems.

In the case of the shoes, we have quite a few solutions. Plastics
will be a big help; next year we are going to be able to produce about 20
million pairs of plastic shoes. In this way, the problem of women's and
children's shoes will be greatly alleviated. What with plastic, leather,
and other types of shoes, we will approach an output figure or 40 million
pairs. That is more than four pairs per capita. Now, we have to fight to
improve the quality, especially in leather shoes. We have to make sure that
they will not come apart in a couple of minutes; we have to make sure that
they will not just be junk. And we must study all the factors that
influence this.

As far as fabrics are concerned, the problem is more difficult.
Although we are solving the manpower problems, the installed capacity is
insufficient; the machines and factories have been in operation for many
years; many of them are of United States origin and the raw material is not
always within our reach. The fabric production problem is further
aggravated by the amount of clothing to be distributed for certain
activities, such as the various harvests, which take up considerable
quantities of fabrics and ready-make clothing. The population has grown and
we have been importing less fabrics because we were having problems in
maintaining certain import levels. And the per-capita rate here is very
low, gentlemen. The per-capita clothing and fabric allocation to the
population is impressively low. This is one of the problems to which we
must devote our preferential attention.

There are two tremendous problems at this time: one of them is
housing and the other one is fabrics. The government, the country's
management agencies, those who run the economy -- all of us must find out
how the housing problem can be solved, how we can solve this problem which
is becoming supercritical; and we must also find some solution for the
fabric problem, we must somehow alleviate these problems during the next 2,
3, or 4 years, while we create new industrial capacities, so that we can
then once and for all solve these problems.

In other words, some of these problems require a very special
effort by a part of the nation and this also requires optimum utilization
of funds and resources.

As I took a look today into a storehouse of the MINAZ [Ministry of
the Sugar Industry], and saw the number of tools stockpiled there, I
realized clearly how, in an effort to achieve a 10-million ton harvest, the
MINAZ, just one sector of the economy, got everything and more, and
obtained steel which it could not use, along with machinery which it has
still not been able to install. They do not even know where to put all the
supplies they received; on the other hand, there were other factories that
could have put this equipment to better use; in other words, the resources
dedicated to the 10-million ton harvest plan could have been better

Resources Planning and Distribution Must Be Greatly Improved

But now, the technocrats, the "smart people," the "scholars," the
"superscientists" tell us that they knew what should have been done in
order to produce a 10-million ton harvest. But they only proved that they
really did not know what should have been done, first and foremost; second,
they showed that they exploited the economy, that they shipped large
quantities of supplies to certain sectors. Very often there were not enough
steel plates to put together a sugar cane planting machine, while others
had tens of millions of tons of steel stockpiled, uselessly.

In other words, we must greatly improve our resources planning and
distribution effort.

Let me tell you that the problems we face are not easy; the
problems we face are difficult and they are complex. There are some
difficulties which are objective; we must find out how to tackle these
difficulties; and there are other difficulties which are absolutely
subjective. It is in these subjective questions -- the attitude of the
worker, productivity, organization, administration, management, the conduct
of the manager himself -- that we must concentrate all of our efforts in
the immediate future because this is where we can make headway.

I told you earlier that this meeting has been extraordinarily
helpful and illustrative and that we must hold other, similar meetings.
From this experience we will derive the possibility of setting up another
assembly, of another type, not to discuss volunteer work or absenteeism --
I repeat -- but to discuss the problems of each major employment center

It is a shame that the worker movement is not further developed
because we could analyze all of these things if we could get a
representative of the labor union section to come from all of the principal
factories, in other words, if the labor union representatives could come
here, along with the management nucleus and perhaps even the factory
manager. (Applause)

We have shown that everybody can have a change to talk if we set
up a few microphones here and there and if we have some of our lady
comrades circulating on the floor with these microphones. And if we have a
little more light, then we can see everybody in the back of the room. And
if necessary, we will spend 3 days discussing things. There are so many
lessons to be learned! There are so many things to be brought out and so
many ideas to be heard!

Now, what would this mean? We would be teaching our workers to
solve these problems, to contribute their ideas, to discuss, to meditate,
to develop an overall idea of the interrelationship between everybody and
all industries, all branches; we would be developing a better knowledge of
the problems we face, we would have better arguments with which to fight,
to talk, to struggle.

I understand how hard it must be for the comrades from the labor
union here and for the party comrades, in this factory, where the ceiling
is about to fall down and where this sort of situation has gone on for 5
years; I understand this. It must be very difficult. You have to be a
superrevolutionary, a genius, to come up with a good argument here because
all of these things are difficult to understand.

I said that there are persons who do not have the slightest idea
of the complexity of such a process, persons who cannot explain all of
these difficulties and inefficiencies to themselves and who therefore lose

Our country has come to this point, our country has gotten as far
as this, our country has stiffly resisted the world's most powerful
imperialist country for 11 years, a country which can do us tremendous
economic, military, and ideological damage, a country which had completely
indoctrinated us in its own capitalistic, egotistic, and reaction culture,
a country which has spread its vices among us; the fact that our country
has been able to resist demonstrates the force of this revolution, the
power of this revolution. But we have demonstrated a much greater capacity
for confronting the enemy; we have proven that we are prepared to die, that
we are prepared to do things, and that we are prepared to make great
sacrifices; we have demonstrated our capacity for development and for
employing the tremendous energy and initiative of the masses in coming to
grips with these difficulties.

I would say that this is a kind of atomic energy which will crush
everything in its way, once we release it. We must then learn how to
develop the science of releasing the nuclear energy of the masses.

Our party and our revolutionary organizations must develop that

Today the comrade baker said that we have a social security
charter and that we enjoy rights so generous that they are not even equaled
in other communist countries. Ah, what a shame it would be for the
Revolution if it had to retreat on this road! What a shame it would be if
we would have to back up in our efforts in the field of education, medical
care, housing for everybody, children's facilities, school dining rooms,
ball games!... No!

There Cannot Be a State More Democratic Than the Socialist State
-- Moreover: If the Socialist State Is Not Democratic, It Will Fail

We would get much further if we win this battle through the effort
of the masses. We would get much further if we introduced the
democratization of this entire process to its highest degree. There cannot
be a state more democratic than the socialist state; there cannot be and
there must not be such a state. Moreover: if the socialist state is not
democratic, it will fail. This is because the socialist state is society
organized for the solution of the problems of the masses, through means
which involve awareness and consciousness, not the life-and-death issue, as
under capitalism.

If we used capitalist means for solving our difficulties, what
communist man, what man of mentality, culture, and superior awareness are
we going to create in this way? We are not going to create anything in this
way! We cannot be socialists with capitalist methods.

If socialism is not a mass-socialism then it will fail because it
must work for the masses and it can solve problems only with the masses.
Here we are not dealing with a capitalist who makes money by looking out
for his own, by watching over his factory, by employing all of the means of
the capitalist economy; we are dealing here with the administration of the
economy by the entire people; this is a job for the people as a whole.

Without the masses, socialism loses the battle: it becomes
bureaucratized, it has to use capitalist methods and it has to retreat on
ideology. Thus we see that there cannot be any society more democratic than
the socialist society simply because socialism cannot triumph without the

Now, if there is no contradiction within society, if there are no
parties representing landowners, nor business owners, nor bourgeois, nor
bankers, nor anybody, if there is only one party, if there is only one
ideology, if there is only one society, as we gradually eliminate all of
the remnants, why not establish maximum participation of this society in
its struggle for its life if this -- in my judgment -- is the most
beautiful thing the socialist society can have?

This is not a situation where a group of super intelligent men
lead the masses who are passive toward their well-being. No, that would not
be a revolution. Besides, this could not exist in everyday reality because
nobody -- I repeat -- could resolve these problems with administrative

In a collectivist society, battles are won only through the
broadest participation of the masses in the solution of their problems.
Just remember that.

Socialism can advance only and the tremendous obstacles, which
socialist faces, especially in an underdeveloped economy such as ours, can
be overcome only through the broadest possible participation of the masses.

We must wipe out administrative methods because they will never
lead to any real solution. During the first phase of the revolution, we did
not have any ideology. What did we have? We had terrible ideological
confusion: many people were influenced by reactionary, capitalist,
egotistical ideas and things like that. Today we have a people who has
advanced extraordinarily. During that first phase we had to eradicate
administrative methods completely and we had to establish mass methods
everywhere, on the district level, in the cities, on the regional level, on
the provincial level, and nationwide.

We could not do this overnight. It would be ridiculous for a
handful of us to closet ourselves and draw up a constitution which would
work miracles. I believe that we have to proceed step by step, although in
a relatively short time. In other words, step by step does not mean that we
are going to wait 10 years to do this. No! We have to begin with some of
these mechanisms; we have to organize the district, we have to hold
plenums, such as this one, with the principal functionaries responsible for
administration on the production fronts. All of these are steps along this

One of the fundamental steps is to create a powerful worker
movement so that we can say that, along with the defense committees, along
with the Federation, we have a powerful worker movement. This is one of the
first steps in democratization. We have to begin with the workers; we have
to begin with the labor unions. We must hold absolutely free elections.

Where we have a worker center that elects a Mujalista, that is
where we get a political red light that means backwardness, confusion, and
poor political work; where we find that an absenteeist worker is elected or
a character who is not really a worker, that is where we also get a red
light; where they elect a demagogue, an agitator, who might appear to be
exploiting some justified irritation, that is where we find that our
political work is weak.

And I am sure that a proletarianized worker center, which has
developed a degree of awareness, will not elect a loafer, will not elect a
Mujalista, nor a demagogue, nor a liar, not a fellow who plays politics
because the workers have enough instinct, enough mental clarity to
recognize these types of people.

Let Us Trust Our Workers and Rapidly Hold Elections in All Labor
Union Sections

Gentlemen, we are going to trust our workers and we will rapidly
hold elections in all labor union sections -- let us call the elections now
-- that is to say, in all factories. In all factories! (Applause) And let
us hold these elections in an absolutely free manner so that the workers
can nominate their candidates. Nobody can buy the masses; no demagogue can
fool the masses.

We must do the same thing with regard to the election of the
outstanding workers. And then, gentlemen, we must subject the manner in
which the workers elect their leaders with absolute freedom to an
absolutely democratic voting process. When they elect a man unworthy of
representing the cause and spirit of the proletariat -- and I am sure that
this will happen only very rarely -- this will give a picture of the
political situation in that center and we can say that this center is
politically poor, that there is not enough awareness, that the workers
allowed themselves to be deceived, that they fell for a demagogue, a liar,
a phony, an ambitious climber, a conceited person. This will not weaken the
revolution; instead, it will help us keep the revolution alert, vigilant,
and aggressive within the masses.

We are going to begin with democratizing the worker movement. if
the worker movement is not democratic then it simply will not serve its

When a worker has been truly elected by a majority vote of the
other workers, then he will not just be a "Mr Nobody" as he takes over his
office; he will not just be anybody. He will be an individual who has the
moral authority of those who elected him and when the revolution drawn a
line he will defend that line, he will promote it and fight for it. If that
leader departs from the spirit of the revolution, the masses can remove him
at any moment.

We must spell out what kind of functionary can be removed at any
particular moment of the day or night. We must then hold an election at
that particular work center in order to have the workers give a vote of
confidence or no-confidence so that on one, who happens to be elected on
one day, will go away, thinking, that his job is safe now for a whole year
to come and that he can do anything he wants. No! Another meeting may be
called 3 months later, or at any time, and another election may be held in
that section, and another candidate may be nominated or the original office
holder will be approved in office. But we are going to apply democratic
procedures. If the worker movement is not democratic, I repeat, it simply
will not do.

We can apply the same basic principle to socialist society which,
we can say, will fail if it is not based on the masses. And in order to be
based on the masses, it must be democratized to the maximum, it must do
away with administrative methods.

If we get millions of people to think, then there will be no
problem that we cannot solve. If we get millions of people to work
conscientiously, there will be no administrative problem which we could not
solve. The fact is that a misfit could not last in office; a minister who
does a bad job, a regional leader who abuses the people -- they could not
possibly last. None of the things they institute could last, gentlemen, if
the masses truly participate. Then there could be no waste, no loss, there
would be no equipment rotting away on the pier.

None of these things would happen the day we really get the masses
to think conscientiously and to take action! (Applause)

We believe in this blindly and we think that there is a wealth of
intelligence among the people. We have had a series of manifestations here,
we have heard comrades speak with a magnificent spirit, conscious comrades
with a clear idea, who impressed us with the way in which they stated their
problems. Thus we see that there is an infinite reservoir of intelligent
thinking in our working class.

The capacity to think does not belong to a leading minority. That
is humbug! The capacity to think is found among the entire people. And we
could seek out all of this intelligent thinking. A man does not have to
hold office to think intelligently. You don't think that an advanced worker
could come here and state a problem, as it happened here? Well, I certainly
believe that, when we hold meetings of this kind, involving the party and
the labor union, we must, as we did in this case, invite the advanced
workers, even though they may not hold any organizational office.

Of course, the most probable thing is that the most talented and
the best workers will be selected for these jobs. The most probable thing
is that they will be found in the Advance Bureau or in the labor union. But
you might have a very well trained and revolutionary worker who still does
not hold any office. This might be because, in view of the job he holds in
the factory, it would not be advisable to give him a post within the union.
That may be. There may be workers who are best relieved of all such
activities but who could still help us discuss some very important issues.

Now, if we move along this line, we will win the battle. And we
believe that we are going to win the eight or 10 or 12 battles which we
have to fight along this line.

As far as the workers are concerned, their Number One contribution
is to democratize themselves; this is the most important contribution and I
am talking here about the phase of democratization of the revolutionary
process. They have to establish a strong and very powerful worker movement
which, no matter how strong or powerful it may be, will have to be 100
percent democratic. Don't forget that. If the worker movement is to be
strong and powerful and efficient, it must be absolutely democratic.
Battles must be fought with ideas, with words, not with fists. The
demagogue must be fought with arguments; let the revolutionary not be
timid! Let the revolutionary be trained also in the art of discussion and
in speaking the truth.

We Must Train the Leaders, the Cadres, and the Militants in the
Art of Discussion, in Defending Their Viewpoints, Their Position, in the
Art of Reasoning and In Ways of Seeing All These Problems

We have seen comrades here who engaged in discussion; we have
heard many arguments. But we must train even the leaders, the cadres, and
the militants in the art of discussion, in the art of defending their
viewpoint, their position, in the art of reasoning and in ways of seeing
all these problems.

In this way, I believe, this plenum can truly be a historic kind
of plenum. We are not going to supply the title for that plenum; we will
leave that to others; it will be historical to the extent that we manage to
continue to work along this line.

The discussions and all of the other aspects of this plenum will
be published. It is not that the things I say here are spoken with more
freedom and sincerity than when I talk on television or over the radio.
When you talk on television, there are thousands of people watching and
even the enemy is listening in; the enemy from without is listening in.
Still, the revolution has no reason to fear anything along these lines.

I think you people have been doing a good job here. Of course, the
speakers did get much more time than originally planned. It is true that
the comrades who spoke toward the end were rather pressed for time. That is
regrettable because there are perhaps many of these comrades who could have
contributed some good ideas if they had spoken earlier. This tells us that
we will have to have a strict time schedule next time. Whenever there are
interruptions, we are going to have to clock those interruptions with a
stopwatch and these interruptions will not count; it is of course necessary
from time to time to ask questions and you can get a lot of good out of
questions, too. So we have to regulate the time schedule. I believe that we
can have a good discussion without dragging it out until 0300. We might
have to run over into Sunday and then we will simply say: everybody
volunteer for a meeting at the CTC. (Laughter and applause)

Now, we could hold one of these meetings some Sunday, starting at
0800; we could run it from 0800 until 1200, from 1400 until 1900 and from
2100 until 2400, on various occasions, and that would give us 12 hours.

Captain Jorge Risquet: And we could have some sort of artistic

Major Fidel Castro: All right; we might have some sort of piped
music, at least, might we not? Or we could invite 150 artists who can play
the guitar for us. Do you get what I mean? And then we could have our

Generally speaking, why are we so afraid of meetings? Because we
have held automatic, mechanical, boring meetings at which the same old
stuff was discussed over and over again. But meetings, such as this one,
gentlemen... Look here: we have spend many hours here and I swear to you
that I prefer this meeting to the best movie. Here is where we really learn
something. Here is where life is revealed.

Those of us who are passionately interested in any group effort,
those of us who are interested in politics as a whole, well, we get
tremendous stimulation here by discovering things, by seeing things, by
learning things.

It is true that we would like to be in many places at once; we
wish we could go to all of the factories and all of the places where people
work. We wish we could be spinning tops, not yoyos of the kind mentioned by
a worker here, but spinning tops (laughter). That is not the same thing:
the yoyo keeps coming back, but that is another thing (laughter). (Shouts
from the audience: "It goes up and down")

I would do everything I possibly could to visit all the factories.
Would I do this just to please the workers? Certainly not. I would do this
to learn, to see what the problems are, to gather all this experience, in
other words, you learn a lot of things every day in each one of these

And do you know how we could learn how to become efficient and how
our ministers could learn how to become efficient functionaries of the
people? Do you know how? By going to the factories. By going to the

(Comments from the audience: "Like Che, like Che did!" Applause)

Che, One of the Strongest Advocates of Moral Incentive, of the
Merits of the Worker, and of Volunteer Work as Well as of Contacts Between
the Workers and of Democratic Procedures

Che, who was one of the strongest advocates of moral incentive, of
the merits of the workers, and of volunteer work as well as contacts
between workers and democratic procedures felt all of these things very
profoundly. This is why it was very logical for our baker here to recall a
statement by Che who said: "There are still many people who are
unemployed." In other words, we assign these people to a factory but they
are not producing. What was that quotation again, exactly?

Baker: "We have done away with unemployment but there were still
many underemployed whom we can involve in productive work."

Major Fidel Castro: Many unemployed, yes, that's what he said.
That is true.

And he felt all these problems; he lived all these problems. He
was always trying to set an example of how to act.

And, as I talked here in this factory today, I said: "You have to
establish contacts." And you told me: "That is done by the CILOS [Local
Industry Committees]." And I said: "What do you mean: the CILOS?" "No,
these are the CILOS which Che said we would have to establish among the
factories." That is true; we have to establish connections between
factories likewise.

Let me restate this idea, then: to be efficient functionaries of
the people, the best the men in government can do is go to the factories.
Let them discover truth, such as it really is; let them discover the
difficulties; let them encourage the workers and offer explanations.

They asked me for a cutting knife but what can I tell them in
reply? At that moment I would have wanted to be an official from Machinery
Import, an official of one of its agencies or enterprises, and then I could
have said: "Yes, gentlemen, these cutting knives have been requisitioned;
we expect them from such and such a factory, or we cannot get them, or we
have received so and so many, or we are looking into the matter." The fact
is that nobody expects anybody to be able to do any cutting here without
knives. And that is the truth.

Our ministers would then struggle for better solutions on the
levels where the pertinent decisions are made. They would say: "Gentlemen,
please take this or that or the other thing into account because it does
have an effect in this particular case." They would do this sort of thing
all the time because a serious problem might come up at any moment and if
the government management agency responsible in that particular area is not
aware of this, then what could we do? If, at the time the decisions on
resources are made, we are aware of the problem, if we are not aware of a
priority requirement, a tremendous requirement, then plans are made in a
mechanical and inefficient manner. Why? Because all of the ministers begin
clamoring for heaven and earth and for as many millions as they can get.
And when you try to get them to cut their requirements down, they will say:
"That's impossible." And so you have to cut here and cut there and cut
everywhere. Sometimes you even cut out a cutting knife. A cutting knife
which was cut out at the very moment the import plan was drawn up. yes,
yes: a cutting knife cut out before it is even a knife (laughter). That is
the problem. And so, there are no cutting knives for the machines here. But
I cannot imagine that these machines will work without cutting knives. This
is like a textile plant without thread. It simply won't work. Its like a
paper factory without paper.

If the ministers were much more informed and if they were up to
date on the reality, such as it is, they could draw up a much more
efficient and much more balanced plan. And everything would be properly
settled; everybody would be much more familiar with what the problems are.

You might think, sometimes, that when somebody discusses a
particular problem in a particular factory, he knows what he is talking
about, right? Far from it. We have just about encyclopedic ignorance when
it comes to factory problems. We wish we knew the truth about all of the
problems of all of the factories; we are sure that we could help solve some
of these problems to the extent that we get information on them. But I
would like to say the same thing also with respect to all of the other
comrades: as you gradually acquire more information about these problems, I
am sure that you will be able to do something to solve them. But I do not
think that anybody can do anything to solve a problem he is not familiar
with. That is a fact.

I think we have imposed sufficiently on your patience. We hope
that you will leave here full of encouragement to continue working. I do
not want you to think that we have solved all problems; we have not solved
anything; we have taken a small step forward. Now it is up to you to take a
step forward,now it is up to you to continue; this is just a beginning. You
must start to work on the most important and most urgent things; you must
begin to meditate, to think, to look around. All of these experiences, all
of these matters, all of these questions must be taken up. Begin to prepare
yourselves so that, when we return for another meeting, we can take up
concrete production problems. But this has to be concrete coverage, without
journalism. In other words, we can have newsmen here but we don't want any
publicity or we want just a minimum of publicity.

I am sure that the newspaper men are more interested in what we
discuss here than in what they could possibly put down on paper. I am
absolutely sure because I saw yesterday how interested they were in the
meeting and in all of the topics taken up at the meeting.

We will do this without any spectacular approach, without
publicity; we will do the job as it has to be done. We have demonstrated
that a large mass of people can reason. The only thing we have to establish
is the proper procedures so that everybody will have a change to speak and
to explain; we want to develop some controversies, we want to conduct some
discussions with a certain framework, and we want everybody to express
himself with absolute freedom. When the time comes to discuss problems, we
want you to come up with specific ones. You can introduce problems from
this factory or from any other one. In other words, if we meet at a given
moment, if we have, for example, 67 percent of the non-sugar industry in
the province of Havana, and if we take up industries that account for 60 or
70 percent of our national output, and if we solve the problems of these
industries and if we fight a concrete battle... But, gentlemen,nobody can
fight a concrete battle here by himself. Risquet cannot fight it by
himself. Risquet tries to find the manpower requested and I can do
something along these lines too. But if we have all of the other comrades,
all of the other ministers and vice-ministers here, fighting a concrete
battle in each one of these places -- ah! Then I am sure that we will,
within a year, have a situation radically different from the situation this

It will be interesting to see what we can do and how we can
advance with the help of this policy within a year. Here is how we can
gauge this: we will be able to say that we are producing a thousand-odd
pressure cookers per day; and we will be able to say that we are turning
out 60 refrigerators per day. That will be something. Everybody here
applauded when we talked about refrigerators because these refrigerators
mean that 15,000 families will benefit by having a refrigerator in their
homes. And 400,000 families will benefit from having a pressure cooker at
home. But then you also have to have something to cook in that pressure
cooker -- something delicious, if possible! (Laughter)

All right, comrades, that's all. We shall see each other soon.

Fatherland or death!

We shall win!