Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Rlenum Speech

Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1710 GMT 31 Aug 71 F

[Report of speech by Premier Fidel Castro at the close of the 13th congress
of sugar workers and the ceremony establishing the National Sugar Workers

[Text] In making the closing remarks at the sugar workers congress and the
ceremony establishing the National Sugar Workers Union of the sugar
industry, Part First Secretary and Revolutionary Government Prime Minister
Maj Fidel Castro analyzed recent developments in our sugar industry. He
summarized the most outstanding aspects which were discussed during the
plenary session, and when referring to the immediate future he said: "It
[sugar industry] was, is, and will be the first and most important industry
in th country."

Major Castro explained the favorable conditions of the world sugar market
and our production possibilities. He elaborated on what the future will
bring to our agricultural and industrial complexes, which will unite the
agricultural phase of the cane and the industrial process converting it
into sugar. Major Castro explained matters concerning the world sugar
market. He disclosed how sugar consumption is increasing throughout the
world while production has not increased accordingly.

Premier Castro pointed out that humanity consumes 3 million tons of sugar
more every year and the sugar world reserves reduce by that much. "As you
can see,"he added, "the world trend is demonstrated in consumption and not
in production. During this decade the future of sugar in the sugar market
is very good. Cuba should be the country to gain more benefits from the new
circumstances in the sugar market during the next 10 years."

Fidel Castro pointed out that one hectare of sugarcane properly cultivated,
fertilized, and with good irrigation can produce three or four times more
sugar than one hectare of sugar beets. Then he explained: "That is why it
is more advantageous for industrialized countries which depend on sugar
beets to acquire sugar manufactured from cane in exchange for equipment."

Premier Castro explained in detail the advances that have been made in the
techniques for cultivating sugarcane. He announced: "It is our desire to
have an irrigation system in all of the most important cane areas." He
pointed up the advance made by burning the cane and the results attained in
canecutter productivity. Fidel referred to the conditions which resulted in
the canecutter wandering through our fields looking for work. Castro added:
"Instead of leaving the canefields and sugar industry, the canecutter now
is delivered from unemployment, illiteracy, and the lack of opportunities.
Those were the social motives for the canecutter, and one that created the
canecutter. The revolution changed all those social conditions which were
the sources [of discontent] for the canecutters, and consequently the
number of permanent canecutters began to drop and after several years this
crisis became serious."

"If we want to make rapid advances in the sugar industry, one of the first
problems that we must solve is the harvest," explained Fidel. "We must not
do it with increased numbers of canecutters, we must improve the technique
with equipment and collection centers," stated Castro. He later repeated
the possibility of reducing the canecutting manpower from 300,000 men in
1970 to 100,000 which is two thirds less. He remarked: "This great
qualitative step forward is about to happen in our country. Later, we
cannot stop there, we have to work and try to further reduce that amount."

Castro immediately stressed the social advantages that would be derived by
using a small group of canecutters and the greater benefits that could be
attained in other efforts. He said: "Not a single industry has been
paralyzed this year. How much equipment has been imported that has already
been installed?"

Castro pointed out that a great many efforts are being made in the
construction of roads, dams, and now we are devoting large forces to the
construction of dwellings. Another important announcement was that there
are 300 additional collection centers under construction, which will
increase the total number to 500 for the upcoming sugar harvest. He said:
"If we are planning great harvests, the availability of 500 collection
centers is a great asset. It is a great resource that the country is
preparing for the future."

He announced that during the next harvest we will have an additional 100
Australian cane cutting machines and 20 Libertadora machines which were
built in Europe according to Cuban blueprints. in stressing the
mechanization of the harvest, he announced that this year a region of each
province will be devoted to canefields prepared, planted, and farmed

Castro later outlined the efforts that have to be made in order to attain
great harvests. He said: "It is necessary to refurbish the industry in
order to make this possible. It is necessary to revamp the capacity of
sugar production, because of all this what cannot be understood is man
himself. Man is indispensable, the worker who makes production possible."
He stressed the need to enforce labor discipline and corrective measures at
every mill. He said: "The men, cadres, and leaders must be trained for this

Castro cited the exceptional case that only four comrades have retained
their posts as sugar mill managers during the past 10 years. He requested
that a balance policy be used in preparing cadres and with regard to the
number of cadres leading the industry. After mentioning the great work of
the Emilio Cordova sugar mill, which won the national emulation, he urged
that a study be made of the methods for leading and those that are actually

Major Castro referred to the characteristics and virtues of leaders. He
said that a good leader is a leader who knows and can lead the masses. He
criticized those who use the excuse that they do not want to get in
trouble, thus condoning negligence. He said that this type of person is the
one that is hurting us the most. He said that a good leader must be a good
comrade, good buddy, fraternal, patient, who listens to all, and is not

Explaining what the future mill will be like, Fidel Castro announced that
in the very near future they are going to begin construction of
polytechnical institutes in areas close to sugar mills. He said: "The day
will come when we will have at least one polytechnical institute in each
region of all provinces, where the students can be trained close to
productive work." He added that the teachers could be workers and
technicians themselves.

Castro said: "We must prepare manpower in matters vital to the sugar
industry, but this is not enough. We must know how to take advantage of
manpower." Citing examples of the waste of oil and other resources that
provoke the anger of the people, he said that this is not the case when the
energy involved is that of man. He said: "Man is wasted, the creator of
wealth, but nobody is angered by it." He said that the same things happen
in the case of the person who demolishes a house. Anybody would consider
him to be a lunatic to be put away in a madhouse, or to be a

"We must state that the surplus manpower of the sugar industry could
construct 40,000 dwellings in one year," he added. He repeated: "We must
struggle in the development of awareness in connection with manpower. The
surplus manpower of the sugar industry must be used in the rehabilitation
of industry, whether it be agricultural or sugar industry by giving
maintenance to the railroad system and other investments."

Castro pointed out that we must develop the area of forming a good
construction and assembly brigade out of this human quarry. He proposed the
developed of a good mechanical and construction industry capable of
supporting the sugar industry. He assigned to the sugar workers the
responsibility for the social development of the agricultural areas as well
as those closely related to the sugar mills. "You will have to construct
the dwellings of the agricultural workers, as well as those of the sugar
industry workers, of course, with their help," stated Castro, and added,
"life has taught us that man knows the value of those things which he has
helped to build, or construct."

He pointed out the cases of those who destroy material goods, and said:
"There are those who destroy who are 30, 40, 50, or 60 years of age, but
there are also those who are 5 years of age. The best way to educate a
restless child is by making him plant a tree or look after a garden."

Toward the end of his speech Castro pointed out that the upcoming harvest
must begin in November and end in May. He analyzed the effects of the past
drought on the upcoming harvest, and the possibility of it happening once
more in the next 140 years. Castro praised th4e manner in which the reports
had been presented to the plenum, their objectivity and sobriety, and
announced that the Revolutionary Government will create the harvest sector.
H said that it will have the authority to coordinate and supervise
activities that will guarantee the sugar harvest.

Fidel Castro announced that Comrade Diocles Torralba has been given this
assignment. Diocles Torralba was the chief of staff of the Revolutionary
Armed Forces.

In closing Castro called on all workers of the sugar industry to regain
efficiency, labor discipline, and productivity which have always been their
earmark. He referred to the heroic struggles of Jesus Menendez and other
combatants and added that the sugar industry had always been the most
exploited sector, but had also always been very combative.