Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Speaks To Farmworkers

Santiago Chile PRENSA LATINA in Spanish to PRENSA LATINA Havana 1320 GMT 22

[Text] Punta Arenas, 22 Nov--"I have not come here to teach. I have come
here to do some self-criticizing," said Maj. Fidel Castro, speaking very
frankly to farmworkers of the livestock-raising settlement of Rio Verde.
Rio Verde is 110 kms from Punta Arenas.

After touring the settlement, attending a shearing session and visiting the
workers' houses and the houses that used to belong to the owners, Castro
spoke to the peasants and their families, who had gathered for a barbecue
in his honor.

With Castro was Magallanes Province Intendant Gen Manuel Torres de la Cruz,
who said the Prime Minister's words are a "great lesson" because of the
frankness and objectivity with which Castro discussed the problems the
Cuban revolution encountered at its beginning.

"As I toured these installations with Sergio," said Castro, referring to
shepherd Sergio Ampuero, president of the Management Committee, "and as I
heard him talk about the plans and projects, I thought to myself: This guy
has really got himself into a jam. I recalled the beginnings of our
revolution--that gaiety of the period when we first realized we were now
free to do as we pleased with our economy and our fields. I was thinking
that it is now very important to maintain the discipline that existed
before--to maintain the work organization and to improve it, to take care
of the machines, to increase the number of fields, to increase livestock
raising...and this is a birth. You know what that means: it is beautiful
and it is difficult.

He spoke with unconcealed emotion to the group of peasants, journalists,
and officials. Perched on a chair, he would wave his hands, trying to get
through to an audience which was concentrating more and more on his words.
The speech acquired the force and drama of the after-dinner speech
addressed to the copper workers and leaders in Chuquicamata.

With frankness he recalled errors committed by the revolution, especially
with tractors. He gave an example: "We imported thousands of tractors, but
they were not taken care of as before, and they were used for almost
anything--to go to a baseball game; people would even use them to go see
their girl friends."

"The desire to do a lot in a very short time led us to amass many
resources, and these resources were not put to good use. Workers were
untrained and did not take good care of the machines. It was an awareness
problem...we have learned our lesson. Today our people are doing great
things with a strict work discipline...this is what a revolutionary who has
had a very rough time can tell you."

He said with emotion that this meeting reminded him of the beginnings of
his revolution--what it had been like to "survive" and produce at the same
time. "We remind you of these things today because the dawn of a people
which feels liberated is very beautiful, but it is that very moment which
requires the greatest responsibility, the greatest discipline--which
requires a supreme effort to become aware, a supreme effort in education, a
supreme effort to become responsible, a supreme effort in the struggle to
produce... Demand of those who you may choose as your leaders that they be
demanding in that brotherly, humane way in which one can be demanding with
one's equals. If you ask me, I say to you: I have faith in these people,
faith in its workers, faith in its technicians, who are very important... I
am optimistic about what you can accomplish. I say to you, with zeal, that
I wish you the greatest success."