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Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services in Spanish 0140 GMT 9 Dec 70

[Speech by Cuban Premier Fidel Castro at the ceremony held at the theater
of the Central Organization of Cuban Workers building marking the
establishment of the Basic Industry Workers National Trade Union and the
close of the basic industry national plenum on production--live]

[Text] Comrade delegates of basic industry workers, comrade leaders of that
industry, comrades: During Saturday and Sunday, according to records kept,
we met for a total of 25 hours. Yesterday we said that we did not know if
we have accomplished much, and perhaps we could have had a more productive
rally. But our impression is that it was a good rally. A lot of work was
accomplished and good work. Of course, it was not possible, since 260 work
centers were represented, to consider each and every center. But, we were
able to analyze some centers of the electric industry, the mechanical
industry, and some important centers of other sectors. Of course,
essentially we reached the agreement that those sectors which we considered
last should be the ones with which we will begin the next plenary session.

We had the opportunity to analyze some important matters. This was the
fourth or fifth rally. The first one was that of the light industry, next
the teachers, next the Cuban Petroleum Institute, and then this rally of
the basic industry. There will be rallies such as this every 13 days. They
will not result in any miracles for our problems and difficulties, but we
believe we have started on the right path in facing our problems. We
believe we have found a good method in attaining awareness of the problems,
in having a better picture of them, and in seeking solutions. To seek
solutions does not mean to find solutions. Some of our problems do not have
easy solutions.

Without any doubt, we have found the best method to cope with them. And of
course, when you have good overall knowledge and when you are aware of the
many details in all aspects of the economic and social life of the country,
you are well acquainted with its magnitude. During this plenum, in
analyzing some of its sectors, we were able to appreciate how these
problems became evident. Some were old problems, others were new, and
besides, some which had piled up. We found the problems piling up in the
electric industry in the tapping department, just to mention one. I was not
too sure what tapping was, but I figured out that these were the service
lines to the homes. If we are wrong, please feel free to correct us.

It had been estimated that each tap would take 15 or 20 service meters. It
was reported that just in Havana there are 400,000 taps, and that these
taps had to be replaced because they had a life of--the man from Santiago
says five, maybe in Santiago they last longer because it hardly rains over
there, or rains less. But they have more fun. [Castro laughs] Many of these
taps had to be replaced every year. When we analyze the (?BRA) which is the
industry producing that type of wire and other types, we could observe the
insignificance of this production, be it for new needs as well as for
replacements of these taps, and the deficit in our imports.

This industry also produces telephone cables. At all these rallies nearly
everybody has requested telephone service. They have requested better
service, extensions, and in general, we find that all lines are overloaded.

Sometimes jokingly, it has been suggested to use smoke signals as a means
of communications. The Patelillo workers submitted their need for telephone
service, and in so doing they outlined the problems that could be overcome
if they had it. During the Cuban Petroleum Institute rally and in this
rally, the Nuevitas thermoelectric workers explained their problems when
they had to call a center. The truth of the matter is that there was a
large number of taps and other needs for cable which have piled up, needs
that have come up.

When the time came to discuss the mechanical industry matters, and railroad
wheels were discussed, it turned out that there were 400,000 or 500,000
railroad wheels in the country, that these wheels had to be replaced every
so often, that our railroad wheel production was very limited, and that our
imports were insufficient. When the time came to discuss the gas tanks, at
the time of the report by the comrades from Rex of Matanzas, we began to
make the necessary estimates, I believe that the number of gas tanks was
around 400,000. Apparently everything we dealt with here [Castro chuckles]
was around the 400,000 figure. There was the need for yearly replacements,
and we also had a large deficit in this type of commodity. Possible
solutions were sought for each one of these problems, of which I have only
listed three, in terms of our production possibilities, our technical
levels, and our scarce financial resources.

Sometimes I have said that if we added up all of the nation's needs we
would have required several gold mines to resolve them. It is precisely in
the research and in the detailed study of each one of our problems that we
become more aware of our difficulties and our realities. Very often what
happens is what is usually called "discovering underdevelopment." I have
noted this among some students who have visited some areas of the country,
the mountains, Baracoa; who have seen the problems in the countryside, the
dirt floors and the huts, and the thousand and one needs backlogged in this
country, needs that traumatize them.

It is just the simple fact that when we discover poverty, when we discover
underdevelopment, we usually have a very clear picture of what we need, we
almost constantly have a picture of what we want, and very seldom and very
few of us, have a picture of the scarcity of resources in our country to
satisfy all our ever-present needs.

A combination of factors, many of which are objective, crop up. Coupled
with these is the permanent presence of the subjective factors--our low
technical levels, our low production efficiency and organizational levels,
our many errors, our careless and negligent actions. And at the root of it
all, of course is ignorance coupled to the peculiar conditions in which our
country has to resolve many of these problems.

In general, the method that I consider best is the method of stressing our
subjective-type deficiencies while placing the least emphasis on our
objective-type problems. If we stress the objective-type problems the
outcome could be one of pretexts, excuses, and reasons as to why no attempt
is made to cope with difficulties, as to why an all-out effort is not made.
If could simply lead to minimizing the weight of subjective factors.

At the recent CTC national plenum, I think it was in September, I said that
our enemies placed many obstacles in our way; that the imperialists, for
example, did everything they could to make us fail, to ruin the nation, to
sink us in misery, to hamper its progress. I also pointed out a matter that
affects nations such as ours a great deal.

It is the problems of unbalanced trade in which nations such as ours export
their commodities at ever-lower prices while developed capitalist nations
with which we must trade, from which we must get many of the commodities we
need, sell their goods at increasingly higher prices. The bulldozer that
sold for 15,000 to 16,000 dollars 10 years ago, is now selling for 25,000
or 30,000 dollars. This holds true for practically each unit of equipment,
for each machine, above all for equipment, and many other industrial

Hence, the underdeveloped world with its low technical levels and its
enormous backlogged poverty, has to cope with problems while faced with
trade of this kind which affects a nation such as ours a great deal,
because of the structure of the economy it had developed that depended in a
decisive manner on foreign trade. The weight of foreign trade in our
country and in our economy is tremendous. I knew it and it can be set forth
in these plenums, in these meetings. It can be seen in the problems of each
and every one of the factories. For practically everything depends on some
foreign product, commodity, equipment, or raw material. There is no plant,
no unit, no workshop that does not depend on the means of production that
comes from abroad and which are acquired by just a few of our economy's
commodities, by a very few commodities of our economy.

But I also said that if the unbalanced trade is a tragedy of our people and
if it is very painful to pay double for a machine that sold for 15,000
dollars 10 years ago, and to do so while our commodities, as in the case of
sugar, was selling for many years at 2 centavos and even below 2 centavos,
prices which would have been ruinous in other times and other
circumstances, but which at any rate would really be costly; if this
expensive equipment that is costing us double what it did, that we have to
pay with commodities which they buy cheaply from us; if instead of using
this equipment properly, if instead of taking good care and giving good
maintenance to this equipment, instead of making it last us 10, 15, or 20
years, instead of getting the most out of it, we do not give it good
maintenance, we do not take care of it, and we wreck it in 2 or 3 years,
then the consequences of this situation and of this tragedy of unbalanced
trade becomes incomparable more tragic and more serious.

The same holds true for any other kind of construction equipment, for any
kind of raw material, for any industrial machine, for any farm machinery.
And if imperialism is unspeakable in placing obstacles in the way of the
revolution, if we do not make proper use of our available means, if we do
not conserve them, if we do not take good care of them, if we do not use
them in a correct manner, if we abuse the machines, if we do not bother to
recover the oil to send it to the oil recovery refinery, if we do not have
a tire recapped, if a tire goes flat and we continue to use it, if a
tractor tire is punctured and we do not have it vulcanized, but merely take
it off and put on another or lay it aside, if we do all these things and
similar ones, then what we are doing is helping those who want to sink the
revolution, helping the imperialists by increasing the difficulties.

I recall that during the first days of the revolution some wanted to
minimize the difficulties. [They said that] if there was an imperialist
aggression, there would be no problem. It would be solved because the
socialist countries would aid us. It was true and we had the aid of the
socialist countries. During the economic aggression, when they took the
sugar quota away from us, all the problems we had; when they took the oil
away from us, the aid was a decisive factor worth mentioning, but next to
that, [there was] the risk of creating the mentality that there were no
more difficulties, that all difficulties could be solved as if my magic. In
connection with the defense, more than once I talked against the use and
abuse that some persons concocted or assumed that there was no danger and
that we had only to look abroad for our defense, and that in defense
matters we had to depend on the missiles, and similar things.

We always thought that this was a very wrong, because the only thing you
accomplish with this is to weaken and disarm the spirit and minimize the
dangers without adequately preparing for the struggle under all conditions,
even under the most difficult circumstances. The example that I have cited
is the same, much the same thing we mentioned before, that if we emphasize
the easy things, or if we emphasize the difficulties that we are not our
fault, then the result is that we forget the difficulties, aside from the
objective the faults that we share in the difficulties, and we do not even
(?limit) the effort that we must make on our own to overcome those
difficulties, aside from the objective difficulties. It turns out that
sometimes we help the enemy, we help the enemy in his work. We do not
behave as we should in facing obstacles, true difficulties, the realistics
of the world in which we live, our own realities.

We also said it at the beginning of the revolution. Some believed that the
triumph of the revolution was an act of magic. No, it was not an act of
magic. When we observed anyone making a poor political approach to a
problem, we used to ask: Why turn against the revolution's force? Why turn
against the revolution's prestige? Why? It does not matter, the
revolution's door is great, let us take care of it, let us consolidate it,
let us enlarge it. In the same measure that some people thought that the
revolution did not cost anything, neither did it cost them anything to do
something wrong, terribly wrong, and maybe something worse.

Many times we have had the opportunity of observing those things. It is
true that many people believe that the revolution was a gift of the three
wise men. And they manhandled it as children do their toys on 6 January,
knocking them down and tearing them apart, and then they do not have toys 3
days later. All these experiences we share and learn. At these rallies,
[the surfacing of] all these problems and details help our workers,
comrades in administrative positions, and comrades in many tasks that one
way or another are related because all the activities in the country are
related to each other. They help us to become part of these problems, which
in our opinion stimulate everybody and create a zeal, a permanent zeal in
an effort for better work in all activities. These rallies are good because
they bring us back to earth and make us aware of the details. They separate
us a bit from abstract things, from theory, they lead us to practical and
concrete problems, this world's realities.

The rallies have taken place in an atmosphere of great fraternity, freedom,
and sincerity. They have truly been working meetings, responsible meetings
in which a responsible concern for these problems, and a search for
solutions and an honest search for suggestions to these problems has
prevailed. We can say that these meetings turned out to be some sort of
schools, thy have turned out to be a university. Thousands of
representatives have participated in these schools--workers
representatives, party representatives, from the vanguard movement and the
administration. At this opportunity, something of very special importance
is added, and that is that the first national trade union of this powerful
movement of our workers has been established.

Other new organizational methods of our workers have appeared. They are
better than the old pools that were better suited for other eras and
situations. A new organizational method that is based on the activity of
the branch of industry in which the worker is active has appeared. It is
not simply his line of work--a driver because he is a driver]. There are
drivers in every field, in every activity. The old system separated the
workers artificially. The old system did not allow us to obtain, in terms
of our country's and our revolution's circumstances, the utmost of
possibilities, contributions, and participation from workers. Workers carry
out their activities in certain branches of the economy. For example, this
is the case of the basic industry workers. There are hundreds of different
occupations in this industry. Yet, all of these occupations are coordinated
whether it is the electric industry, or the mechanical industry, or the
chemical, fertilizer, or raw material salvage industry.

Workers in any of these branches channel their actions and efforts in an
activity that is fundamental to the nation. The same holds true for the
petroleum industry workers, the petroleum institute workers as well as the
education workers.

What is more, the organization of the economy is determined by these
branches as well as the organization of management. And when the question
came up as to what new type of organization should be given to the workers
movement, it was decided that this was the type of organization needed. As
this was recognized there is now a corresponding workers organization for
each branch of activity, for each enterprise, for each ministry. There is a
labor organization in the factory, in the enterprise, in the branch, and in
the ministry.

In this way, every facet of production activity has put labor in permanent
contact with management, in an organization that is ready for action. The
labor movement is organized through the basic channels of productive
activity. This provides the framework and gives workers the possibility of
participating more directly in the basic activities of the nation.

A newsman--I think he is around here somewhere--asked me some questions
yesterday about this movement; he wanted some ideas about it. I told him
that we were in the technological development phase of a very important
sociopolitical. I gave him some thoughts, some views on this subject. I
said that in our society, and as the result of its development, we had to
arrive at a situation in which the working masses could take part, take the
floor, and be represented in many different ways. I gave my opinion as to
the role that each one of the organizations has played.

For example, I said that the working masses are represented in the
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution in terms of territory, as
members of a community, as residents of a community; In the Cuban Women's
Federation, workers are represented as women; In the youth organizations,
they represented as youths; In the student organizations, as students; And
in labor organizations they are represented through the productive activity
of society.

So we see that a worker is represented in the labor union, or in the
defense committee, and if it is a woman, by the Cuban Women's Federation,
according to his or hers special interests.

Of course, we cannot say that student organizations are labor organizations
but they are people's organizations within a society of workers. A
pensioner, a housewife, can participate in these organizations, all within
the concept of working people.

Workers are represented in the labor organizations, in the trade union
movement, as workers taking part in a productive activity. Therefore, the
specific role that the trade union movement must play is a very large one
because the trade unions are representing the working people engaged in
direct productive activity.

Contrary to the classic, bourgeois liberal forms of representation, we
aimed at multiple forms of representation. We wanted the citizen to be
represented in many ways.

There were community problems and we felt that the community should play an
important role within our society. We referred to the community in which
the worker lives. We did not aim at the creation of organizational forms
within cities or regional districts. Some of these organizational forms
such as the city districts are showing the possibility of cooperating in a
decisive manner in the solution of many problems.

Similarly, in conversations with some comrade leaders, I have said that the
concept of the state must be better defined, above all the functions of the
state, I said: Why must all matters be directly administered by the state
in a district or in a city, let us say, Santiago, Camaguey, Santa Clara, or
Havana? That is, a certain branch, the National Institute of Tourism, the
Domestic Trade Ministry, any other activity, any other administrative
branch, those activities that are directly related to the community, the
grocery store, the meat market, the beauty parlor, the barber shop, the
movies, and many other centers which serve the residents of an area.

Take for example that some day there will be 200 places in Havana selling
draft beer. Why should the National Institute of Tourism control and
supervise those 200 centers? Wherever the residents buy a certain product,
a complete administrative setup has to be created to administer 200
centers. Immediately the need for a superorganization emerges to see if the
place is clean or dirty, if the proper service is or is not given to the
public, if the man drinks or does not drink, if he has a special service
for some people but not for others, and if the place is dirty; well, let it
be dirty.

The citizen feels as though he is part of the center. He does not feel
responsible for its cleanliness or service. And the same thing happens with
all activities or this type. We feel that it is not right under any
circumstances that the citizen does not feel responsible for matters of
interest to him. We must develop the ties and the mechanisms that would
make the citizen feel the inescapable duty of being concerned for these
things. In some cities we are trying to develop a program of organizing the
district with the representation of mass organizations--the workers, the
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, women, youths, and
students--in order to organize the district power.

In this manner, many functions were transferred, functions that do not
necessarily have to be under the central government. The National Institute
of Tourism should administer a large hotel, set guidelines, but not be in
charge of all those administrative details. The same thing happens with the
Ministry of Domestic Trade and many other activities, all of which are
similar. The distribution warehouses should set the guidelines for
distribution, but should not administer a small grocery store, or even a
supermarket. If there is a supermarket in a district, why should it have
central administration?

The representatives of these mass organizations would have the task of
looking after all the problems of the community. That is why we must
abandon some plans and programs and simplistic views. Then we have many
problems, such as the problem that the central organization now is not
intervening in the problem of repairs to housing, as in the case of
Santiago de Cuba where the districts have repaired more than 4,000--nearly
5,000--dwellings with very few supplies. An organization of this type
cannot be created without giving it the supplies because it discourages
people. If a district is created and they do not even have a concrete
mixer, not even a truck, well, it becomes powerless. If it does not have
the means, it is powerless.

The community forces must be mobilized. As an example we will cite a small
town in Havana Province: This small town does not even appear on the
map--the name is Arango. Another small town which also does not appear on
the map is Penalver. This town is east of Havana, as a peasant would say,
near the Bacuranao River. The road to it is very bad. The peasants talked
about a baseball field when we visited the area. We talked to the comrades
responsible for the road and street maintenance and asked them to visit the
small town, meet with the residents, and offer them some equipment, but to
arrange for the residents themselves to construct the baseball field. Well,
the residents are currently building the baseball field. It mist not be
large but it is just as good as the Havana stadium. They are also
constructing sidewalks in the town, and they will probably continue to
construct other things. They are planning to rebuild the older houses.
Sixty or 80 residents get together and do the work. There is a man who was
mobilized, I am not sure whether it was in Giron or Escambray, a retired
revolutionary. Well, he is the hardest worker, be it with a hammer, a pick,
or anything. Many of these people are in production and they work until 10
or 11 at night. In just a few weeks they have done quite a lot, all with
just a little support, but by mobilizing the residents. If we have to wait
for a construction unit to go with somebody [in charge] then it will take
them 8 months to do it. Besides, that force does not exist, the force that
would build the baseball field, the sidewalks, and the houses. It would be
the classical and conventional method. If we mobilize the forces, then we
will realize the benefits created by work. That community is realizing many
things through their own efforts, things that they have longed for, and
probably for a very long time. The sidewalks are not expensive, but the
problem is the work involved. A baseball field is not expensive, it is the
earth that has to be moved, a layer of grass, but there is a lot of work to

The classical method is to wait for the baseball field and a sports field
to be built anywhere. In this town they are building a garage for a jeep
they use in case of emergency. One of the residents was appointed driver of
the jeep and he is responsible for it. The vehicle has been used 8 or 10
times, I do not know how many. They have used it at night when an emergency
has arisen, when there is no bus running, when there is nothing. They feel
safe. They look after that place better than anybody else. Nobody is
allowed to play with that vehicle because they are the ones who decide who
is to drive it. They all supervise what goes on and clean the vehicle. They
feel that they are directly affected if it is not properly maintained. Now
they are going to build a garage for it. They are building many things, and
this is a town that is not even on the map; it cannot solve the thousands
of problems of that type in the classical manner.

It is unquestionable that we must mobilize the masses' energy. But we must
know how to organize it. We talk about the masses in the abstract. We talk
about theories with theories. We must stop talking about theories in
action. [as heard] It is true that unfortunately there is no book
explaining these problems. As an electrical or mechanical industry comrade
would say, there is no catalog with the simple solution for the many
problems that we have. But we say what can be done with a little
initiative, when we go to the masses, when we call on them to meet, when we
appeal to them to resolve some problem.

Therefore, with regard to this aspect and to the community directly, we
must organize the community and mobilize if for the solution of basic
problems, among them the terrible housing problem. I talked to the comrades
of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution about contacting party
comrades and starting to cope with the problem and beginning to organize
the city of Havana. There are already certain organizational plans underway
in Santiago and it was also done in Camaguey, if the first test is passed
in organizing this super-complicated city of Havana, if the test were
passed successfully the results would be, no, not the results, there would
be no obstacle to the development of that movement. However, the
development must be done carefully. It must not spring from a plan. We must
not imagine that it will emerge as something that has been perfected. It
must develop gradually, it must begin with more elementary, simple ideas,
and move forward progressively. We must not let it happen, as has often
been the case, where a seemingly good idea arises and presto, it is
precipitately implemented and the idea becomes discreted. When the time
comes to apply the idea it has become discreted. It was simply that it
arose full-blown from somebody's head to the world of reality and the idea
died in the world of reality because it lacked the minimum condition of

We must progress from the simplest to the most complex. I have spoken about
the necessity of taking the first steps in this direction. I said that I
think that the movement was going to have extraordinary possibilities. Just
as the movement that I have been trying to promote with factory workers
regarding the housing question. I also want to go step by step. I know that
this is an explosive issue -- gasoline, that only needs a match. It is a
burning, flammable question. In East Havana a movement is underway with 31
factories. I call it a movement [Castro chuckles--] I am not calling it a
project yet, it is a movement. It is organized at the worker level in each
factory. It deals with the terrible housing problem. It is a terrible
problem. I know the problem well. Nine out of 10 persons who approach us
have a housing problem.

Of course, you cannot pull houses out of hats as a magician does. You would
have to be more than a magician to explain that they cannot be pulled out
of a hat or to convince anybody who really has a terrible need for housing,
who is sleeping 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 in a room, who is powerless to do
anything about the problem, that when this person comes to you with hope,
as groundless as it may be, to have to tell him that it is impossible, that
there is no solution to the problem, no solution can be made. We face this
problem all the time. How are we going to resolve this problem? Where are
the construction workers? How many tens and hundreds of thousands of
construction workers are needed to solve this problem?

Pursuing these ideas, as implemented in Santiago districts, as well as
other ideas, the idea arose of using the energy of the workers themselves,
their desire, their need for housing, to seek some formula through which
the workers themselves would be used in the solution of the problem.

Of course, it is not easy. We can build a simple house in the countryside.
There is space. There are construction methods that can be applied there.
It is more difficult in the cities.

There is no excess of space in the cities. [Castro chuckles]. There is a
shortage of space in the cities. Expansion is horizontal as well as
vertical. We have to begin with four-story dwellings and then move up to 6,
10, 12-story dwellings, as high as earthquakes and hurricanes permit.

Earthquake-proof dwellings must be built in Santiago. This limits
construction. Buildings there have to be constructed carefully. In the rest
of the island the limiting factor is the hurricanes. This limits the height
of buildings. But it is the problem of the elevators that is the present
limiting factor. We have contracted a factory to make an elevator. Not to
invent one, but to copy one.

However, in cities where it is possible we must build with prefabricated
panels. A different type of dwelling must be made in Santiago and there is
a plant that turns out specially made solid houses and every dwelling made
in Santiago must have this solidity because it is loaded in a quake-prone
area of the nation.

I said that this movement must be developed carefully because it is like a
powder keg. The housing shortage being what it is, if the orders are
issued, all the factories in the country will organize on the spot and if
this is why we do not want to issue the order. We want to move slowly
although we see very clearly that the movement is a powder keg and that
this is the way to a solution, for other reasons that I will explain later.

There are factory workers who end their shift at 1500. They say: "At 1500
we will go over there to work." The factory has about 100 workers on a
shift. If the industrial workers get busy on construction you can be sure
that they will make a million.

A shift of 60 to 80 workers who go to work on their housing after work is a
splendid work force and we do not have it today. Right now it performs
other activities after work. I am sure that housing needs are so urgent
that the workers will mobilize and spend 2 or 3 more hours on it. This is
very certain. We have to hold them back. And other workers who leave work
at 1800 can organize a small group there and they can work for an hour or
two, also on Saturdays and Sundays.

Of course, I do not want to push this too much, no, not every push it at
all. I do not want to exceed the limits of the test. I do not have any
doubts as to the work force. But if the movement gets too strong then we
can create a tremendous bottleneck in materials and all the other things.
There may be a lack of cranes and other things. That is why we must move

In Santiago I suggested to the cement plant workers that they could spare a
little 20- to 25-man work force to begin the work. Thus the ideas arose. I
am pointing them out because they are all related to this movement of
getting the masses to solve their problems in a concrete manner. Of course,
we are talking about workers here. There are very powerful industries. Of
course, the comrades of the metal and refining industries near Guanabacoa
are very gentlemanly and they found that there was a work center with a
large number of women and they said: "We are going to have to do this
work." They said it was fair because women could not contribute the
strength they had. I thought that this was very good and very noble but I
also reminded them that they might also have some relative who could give a
hand there if she did not have a house. What are we going to do for the
girl comrade who works in that factory? [applause] Well, if it is a young
woman, then the boy friend might also go and do his share there.

I met a worker at the Mella factory who told me that in (Ingelmo), when I
was talking about (Ingelmo), it was a building that the (Ingelmo) workers
were going to give them. The building was collapsing and they were going to
make a new one. It was an experiment. A building was being built next door
using a new technology. Then I asked him: "Where are you going? If you are
building houses over here, then your wife has earned one over there. Where
are you moving to?" I said that this was a great thing, the possibility
that families will appear through the work centers and with them other
possibilities [for construction volunteers]. As in that case, the
possibility may arise in other factories where a lady works or the factory
where her husband works.

The community in the district: I said that the city must now spread a
little, but someday the cities will have to grow internally. The day will
come. Now we cannot demolish even a single wooden shack. We must not touch
anything. But the day will come when we can raze an old city block, and we
will build new dwellings. If housing should spread horizontally it would
occupy the whole area of this province, to cite an example.

In other words, we must seek formulas for vertical construction in
congested areas with reduced area. Cities may spread out in other areas of
the nation. Of course, there are some cities, the two largest, Havana and
Santiago, and it could be said that they both lack sufficient area in which
to expand. Santiago has mountains as its limits as well as the problems of
special construction but apparently there is space in Santiago too.

The community must begin to solve housing repair problems and it must begin
erecting buildings, including large buildings.

Some day the small brigades also will have to be there with their cranes
and some special workers, and they will have the support of the community.
For the system is to involve many persons--even those who have retired
already but can still work 2 or 3 hours--and it is healthful to do it. And
they do so happily. We previously mentioned the example of the small

At a given moment we must set the community to building. The other problem,
then, is housing control. It is impossible to control from one center the
housing of a city as large as this. Would it not be better for this kind of
activity to be controlled by the community, and within the community, by
the district? This would avoid thousands of problems that arise in this
connection. The main thing is that in the future it will be hard to find an
empty house--such as the kind of house which used to belong to the persons
who emigrated. There are only a few of these. This happened when the way
was opened for all who wanted to go there, to the United States, and to
leave us here--we who did not want to leave.

Thus, these were the houses that remained empty. When this migratory
phenomenon ends, what houses will stand empty here? None, why? That will
happen only if someone moves. But we have been thinking that, along with
this movement in which workers participate to solve the housing problem,
the factories should control the housing. If housing is being built--say 30
houses--if a worker leaves a house for one more distant, the factory would
take it over for another worker. It should not pass to a universal pool.

In any case, the issue is that if they are not workers of a factory or
performing a service, or another type of work in the community, the
district can control the housing in cases where they are not industrial
workers or retired persons, in a word, in cases where houses are left empty
because the occupants take another house.

But the housing problem in general should be controlled through the
factory. Cases not covered by the factory should be dealt with by the
community--where a man's neighbors live.

What is the state? The state is everything. And the state must likewise be
the community--must assume its attributions, its functions--and it must be
distributed, divided up. It must get inside the problems of the community.

What entity would be better than the community for attending to all the
problems so closely affecting it? The rest can only be done by means of
enormous administrative mechanisms. And whenever these enormous
administrative mechanisms can be dispensed with they should be. They are
unnecessary and they could be ineffective. Even if you find the most
intelligent and effective people in the world and place them there, they
could be ineffective.

Let all the central organizations administer everything that is of a
national order. Things can only be administered in accordance with their
administrative nature. The day should come when the city handles the
administration of many things. Why not have the city administer urban
transportation? Let the city and the people of that city handle that
problem. Why should it be necessary to have a national organization to
administer urban transportation? In any case it should be administered by
an interprovincial enterprise. Railroads, ships, all centers, all
institutions which by their nature can only be administered nationally
should be administered in this way. But why administer a sugarcane juice
stand--just as an example? I do not mean to scorn the sugarcane juice
stand, because it can be highly useful to the people around it. They can
call over and ask for a clean glass. Yet every passer-by leaves litter.
Picture how things are. He does not feel that he is part of the community.
No. But since all these problem of the community affect the community, no
one should feel alien to the problem, because he would end up at the
vigilance committee. Just see how things are going.

Since they have representatives there--nonprofessional representatives,
gentlemen, a minimum of professionals in the district, a minimum--they
would name a district president. And they would name and remove him at
will. A regional organization must also be established in the city, and we
should press this movement forward as far as we can. We do not want to be
mentioning ideas in advance. We do not want to go too fast. But we feel
there is a splendid opportunity to give this movement we are referring to a
broad development, a strong impetus, and a broad institutional development.

And this applies to all orders, and all paths. It is good to learn from
reality. It is very good to start with facts. If one starts with schemes
and seeks to clothe reality in a scheme, the result would most likely
resemble a 15-year-old boy cressed in the suit of a 5-year-old boy; he
bursts out of it; he cannot adjust to it; it does not fit.

Even in a shoe factory, if a 2-millimeter mistake is made in a mold, this
gives the wearer a corn. Just 2-millimeters' difference in a plastic shoe
factory mold. The mold must be returned for a difference of 2 millimeters,
or else it would cause a corn or a blister on one's foot. And yet we want
to adjust to any mold--just like that. And this, instead of developing
realities and adjusting to them. So we must go very deeply into all this.
We must convert ideas into realities.

I do not have the slightest doubt that we can go far, far, far, far down
this path in organizing the country's social and institutional life, and
that our revolution will find the most suitable and adequate forms for its
identity and its history.

And we shall build an advanced society. Let us not limit ourselves; We will
achieve the building of an advanced society. We have only hinted at some
ideas along that path. These are derived--these are the results of a
movement that stems from the mass organizations and the [?working movement]
to achieve the creation of a genuinely advanced social and political way of
life. That life will contain nothing bureaucratic.

Let us not talk yet of an economic and social way of life which is highly
defined -- which is what socialism and communism is. We are going to give
form to socialism. We are going to give form to our communism. And when we
say ours, do not think that we are going to depart from doctrinal theory.
No, on the contrary, we are going to give socialist ideas, communist ideas,
and revolutionary ideas maximum development in reality--and the concept of
the masses and the participation of the masses as well. The theoreticians
need not fear. We are not going to make accusations against them. We are
not in competition with them. The liberals need not fear, the manufacturers
of abstract theories need not fear, and there are some in the world who are
terribly uneasy. They are people who have not experienced even 10 minutes
of a (?war) and a revolution. If they experienced 10 actual minutes of a
revolution, they would burn faster than a butterfly caught between an
electric circuit.

Indeed, all that they have experienced is fantasy--imaginative, but
meaningless. Let us leave the histories to write the theories, this does
not mean despising theories. No, it is despising those who want to make the
realities of life a simple, abstract speculation. No, no, theory has great
value, particularly the theories of Marx, Engels, and Lenin. [applause]
Here exist the scientific laws of politics and development. And the essence
of Marx' ideas was precisely the idea of development. And he analyzed
historical events in great depth. Moreover, he was a zealous advocate of
concrete forms. He envisaged that development as part of the social
revolution. And this explains Marx' aspiration for the Paris Commune. He
said: In the commune lies a new form of organization that surges forth in
the revolution. And then, when the Soviets arose in the Soviet Union, Lenin
said: There is a new form of organization which no one has invented.
Rather, it surged from the reality of the struggle of classes and the
revolutionary battle.

Genuine theoreticians make no effort to try to draw realities from their
minds, instead they try to draw their mines from realities. In other words
to find a mind with ideas that are derived from realities, from the
principles deriving from realities, and from the laws that derive from

There are some who try the opposite: to impose on reality the abstract
ideas of their own minds, not to impose on their own minds the ideas of
realities, the principles of realities. This inverse action is the sad role
of many who strive through meditation during a long, difficult night to
formulate a principle and try to translate it into reality. That is
antidialetic and anti-Marxist.

So, as we were saying: do not fear. But what we are absolutely convinced of
is that we are going to find that form, and we are going to find those

There is no need to hurry. There is no need to--better said--we are going
slowly because we are in a hurry. As was said, or as they claim was said--I
do not know what it is in English. There was an English parrot, or
something, who was quoted as saying: "When they see my fling, they said I
am in a hurry."

We are in the same position. We are going slowly because we are in a hurry.
But at least we have here the first union and a new form of union
organization. Now there is already a national parallel union organization
similar in every respect to the Ministry of Basic Industry, here is the
representation of the worker through his branch. And we already have
representatives of the electrical and chemical industries--each of the main
industries--or of the industries represented in this assembly of 960
centers. Thus everyone has someone with whom to talk. The ministry has
someone with whom to talk, and the union has someone with whom to talk. The
two can begin to talk of the problems [applause]--of the basic industry. We
are seeing that each minister has someone with whom to talk. The
regrettable thing is that I do not have someone with whom to talk. For this
is a premiership in the abstract. In other words, there is no one with whom
I can talk--only the comrades of the shorthand group there--who are writing
down my speech. I am not one of their employees. No, I will try to talk to
them. I must have someone, at least, with whom to talk.

Anyway, this is a point bearing on what I was saying: That each person is
now beginning to have someone with whom to talk. In other words, they are
engaged in concrete activities while I am involved in abstract ones.

No, I must participate a little in each activity, learn a little about each
one of these activities. Yes, someone with whom to talk. In recent days we
have had many assemblies. The minimum time each of these assemblies has
lasted has been 25 hours. And it seems that they will continue. So, this is
the situation.

Well, to return to the subject. We have now formed a national union. This
is a step forward, and other steps will be taken successively. As I said,
we do not want to go too fast, to present ideas too far in advance, but
this is indeed a step that can and should go very far.

Talking to a reporter today, we explained what an administrator was. We
said: The administrator represents everything there is in a factory. He is
the indirect representative of the workers. He represents all the workers
in the country there in the factory. In other words, his position is not
one he himself had chosen. He had to have very specific functions, while
the worker there represented the factory workers -- a direct representative
of the factory workers. By the same token, when he comes here he represents
the factory. And when a delegate is designated, that delegate goes as a
direct representative of the workers of that industry, that ministry--in
this case, the basic industry.

All of them represent the workers directly--directly in production, I told
the reporter. And there is no contradition--better said--it is a good thing
that there is a contradiction. [As heard] There everyone represents
someone. The administrator in the factory logically administers in the name
of society. In the union, he is the collective representative of all the
workers. The vanguard movement represents the vanguard workers. The
secretary of the nucleus represents the militants of the nucleus. And the
representative of youth represents the youth movement. Though the
representation does not end there.

And, definitely, the administrator is the indirect representative of the
workers. For the workers must be represented at all administrative levels.
And, in our opinion--and I am just expressing a concept, an idea. In regard
to this issue, we must institutionalize this some day. We must make that
direct representation participate in drafting the country's laws, the
revolutionary government's measures. [applause]

However, the fundamental measures must still be subject to an even more
complex plan -- that is, discussion with the working centers, the
discussion of the fundamental laws in the working centers. This is why we
believe that there are extraordinary possibilities, because then no one
will be able to talk about democracy--but let this be understood: workers'
democracy--not bourgeois or liberal democracy.

The liberals, the bourgeois have no right, except the right to disappear as
a class. [applause] Rights are the rights of the laborers and the
workers--and the relatives of the workers. The student who is a son of a
laborer, a worker, has the rights of a student in a working society, and
this applies to the relatives and the aged.

Thus, we shall be developing this type of form that derives from our
realities, our process, our responsibility. What we have requested is a de
facto right--we who direct the revolution--by reasons that are de facto and
in fact, [as heard] that is how it is. This began with a small guerrilla
band in the hills. And prior to the hills, with some bullets, some rifles,
and thus a revolutionary process originated.

This process must continue. This process gave us all de facto roles. It was
not an institutionalization. It did not start from an institution.
Institutions must stem from facts, and institutions must be developed. The
basic mission of all of us is to persevere on this path to stay on this
path. And we must proceed slowly so as to reach our destination soon,
slowly so as to reach our destination well, slowly so as to reach our
destination soon and well, and also, slowly so as to reach our destination

Actually, we fee optimistic. There is long and laborious work ahead, and
[Castro laughs] there must be meetings, and meetings, and more meetings.
And these must be fruitful meetings, let us say, having social productivity
without affecting economic productivity. And, in addition, these must be
economically productive meetings.

The question of productivity was discussed at this meeting--in the meeting
of the council of the CTC--and today we are fundamentally concerned with
that problem: The question of productivity [word indistinct] all the
speeches are published. It is not a question of having to conceal anything;
but it is simply this; In this case, when I spoke, I beseeched you to keep
in mind the need to speak publicly for all of the country.

However, the problem is that when one talks for all of the country, he
talks for the entire world. It is not a question of our being interested in
talking for others--to publicize. No, that is not the fundamental problem.
The problem interests us within the national framework, but when something
is national it becomes international, too. That is the problem. And there
is more freedom when one talks within an established framework.

Furthermore, if we analyze everything, we do not have to supply the enemy
with any kind of data. Since we talk broadly, the enemy can take down some
data; he can use the information in planning his strategy. There are times
when circumstances dictate the imperious need to talk for the whole
country, and then if the cases arises, the enemy draws some profit from
what is said.

We remember perfectly well that [Unreadable text] sought to profit from the
26 July speech to discourage us, to launch a large campaign--the electoral
process was in progress in Chile--and to use all of that for
counterrevolutionary objectives.

Apparently the shot went wild; yes, apparently the shot went wild, for the
attitude they assumed was so crude that they actually failed to reach their
target. Later, it appears that they repented somewhat, having tried to gain
so much. In point of that, the masses showed them frank, sincere, honest
revolutionary conduct, attitude, and method. [applause]

Fortunately, we have here an audience of workers, the majority of whom are
in the basic industries. It is fitting to tell these workers that they have
some of the hardest work--they are men who work with quite a high level of
technical training. They work with iron. In other words, this is truly a
proletarian public. And this is very good, because we wanted to present
some proletarian analyses here, some analyses of our present difficulties.

As in the 26 July speech I mentioned previously, we talked of the
problems--there have been two speeches. The first was on the problem of the
harvest, the 10 million. When it became evident that we would not reach the
10 million, we had to face that reality. Then, on 26 July, we noted all the
troubles that had become evident--problems of producing fundamental
products, nonfulfillment of plans, and serious difficulties of the moment.

And since then, we have been working hard. Some 4 months have passed. A
serious effort has been put forth on all fronts, as much as is humanly
possible. There are limits to what is humanly possible. Yesterday, when it
was already 0100 and everyone was falling asleep and several persons wanted
to broach their problems, we explained this. Or, they did not just want to
bring up their problem, but to talk about the problems that interested
them, or rather, to present their ideas, not their problems, which is not
the same thing.

We have been carrying out a very serious task, a big effort, and in this
effort an ever-increasing number of comrades and organizations have been
joining in. Furthermore, I believe that we have been working more
seriously, with more concern over the problems, and more awareness of the
problems, with more desire to overcome the past, present, accumulated, and
future difficulties than at any other time of the revolution.

The need for raising production, to seriously increase the production of a
number of products in which there was a serious shortage--textiles, shoes,
and other products -- was stressed.

The production shortage was made known here yesterday when the problem of
the production of glass, glass jars, at the Orlando Cuellar glassworks was
reported. Also reported was the arduous work being done by the comrades,
the ministry, and everyone to begin to get that plant out of the mire it is

Also made clear at the ICP [Cuban Petroleum Institute] meeting were the
problems of the gas plant, because this is an old plant, and because of
everything in general. Everything was ready for the new plant that was
being built, and then it had technical difficulties, and another solution
for building this new plant had to be found.

In other words, during the different assemblies it was found that some very
important industries have problems. Also made clear were the light
industry's problems regarding some things greatly affecting the consumer.
Textiles, for example, the (Argiuanabo) factory, the millions of square
meters of material which were not produced there. (Ariguanabo's) problems,
the problems of the labor force, the administrative problems, the [words
indistinct] and the problem of the (?architects) at different plants. A
serious effort has been made and is being made in that industry which is
related to the amount of woven material available in the country. Shoe
factories, for example. In other words, special efforts are being made with
those industries which greatly affect the consumer.

Production has increased in many centers. Some centers, for example, the
wheat center in Santiago de Cuba--I cannot remember whether it was in
September--broke historic production records. Other plants increased
production. A strong movement against absenteeism began. This is not a law
yet, of course, but the workers have been demanding laws, strict laws, to
fight absenteeism. This process, however, was one in which opinions were
considered and which was discussed at all the work centers. More than laws
to fight absenteeism, they are laws to fight vagrancy, and specifically
this [word indistinct] and vicious type of vagrancy.

These projects must still be analyzed. Concerning this all kinds of
suggestions have been made. Remember the Santiaguero Hector Pabon?
[applause] His suggestion was to use a strong hand with absentees and not
give them sermons and so on and so forth. And also, the solution being
proposed--that of setting up a little room with a little bed and telling
the absentee: Well, now you are going to live at the factory so you will
not absent. [Castro laughs] In conclusion, all kinds of suggestions have
been made, the interesting aspect being that they reveal the worker's
willingness to tackle the problem of absenteeism, the problem of vagrancy,
the problem of parasitism in all its forms, right? Who but the workers that
toils with his hands and stains his shirt with sweat can be more aware of
this problem?

Also the teachers. Here at the meeting their concern over activities
obstructing their work was made clear. The influence which certain
things--like television and certain cultural activities--may have--what I
mean is not television as such, because television is a great instrument,
for example, right now television is the instrument for broadcasting this
speech. However, certain deviations, and certain activities having a
negative influence, and which are called the effects of environment on the
child are what I am referring to. And on this the teacher's position was
strong, just like the farmers who sees that the Bibijagua ant cats up the
little plant he has been cultivating.

Well, the teachers also participated in the meeting. I think that teachers
should have the opportunity to express all these opinions of theirs at a
congress of educators to be held--we wanted it to be in December, but it
seems it will be held in April. A congress of educators, the teacher's
assembly was very interesting.

Many school principals, that is female and male school principles, with
great firmness, great capacity, great concern expressed their opinion. In
fact they have already been working in the building of something else--in
building character, building revolutionaries in the schools--and they have
struggled under very difficult conditions. [applause]

This teachers congress is going to be a very important event because I
think educational norms will be established, and also very revolutionary
ideas on education will be developed. And, of course, a large
representation of the workers, of the labor movement, must be present at
this congress for education is a task requiring the support of all, and the
workers support is basic. If the teachers have problems, they need the
entire society's support.

This congress will be held--comrades of the ministry, will it not be in
April approximately?--in [words indistinct]. But they are going to have a
meeting at the end of this year, right? A meeting to prepare for the

We are saying that the workers position against vagrancy, absenteeism, and
parasitism is strong, just as the teachers position is facing the other
problem. The workers feel the effects of this, the consequences of this,
for the worst job is left for the best workers. In conclusion, many
examples can be given on this. [to be continued]