Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19720501
-YEAR-
1972
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
SPEECH
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
HAVANA MAY DAY RALLY
-PLACE-
PLAZA DE LA REVOLUCION
-SOURCE-
HAVANA DOMESTIC SERVICE
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19720502
-TEXT-
TEXT OF CASTRO ADDRESSES TO HAVANA MAY DAY RALLY

Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2302 GMT 1 May 72 F/C

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Maj Fidel Castro Ruz at the May Day rally
at the Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana--live, with simultaneous broadcast
by the domestic television service and the international service]

[Text] Invited delegations to the May Day celebration, comrades of the
Julio Antonio Mella International Brigade, [cheers, applause; rhythmic
chanting of "Fidel, Fidel, Fidel"; voice from crowd: "Fidel, hit the
Yankees hard!"] The Vietnamese are already hitting them hard. [cheers,
applause] Comrade national heroes of labor [applause] comrade outstanding
workers from the whole country present here [applause] comrade workers:

Those of you of the Ceiba 3 project [crowd shouts] must now lower your
banner or your placard. At any rate we all know you are here. Everybody
knows it. You can roll up your banner. This will permit those behind to see
the event. [crowd noise]

The workers have awaited May Day with great enthusiasm. This year we again
resume the traditional events commemorating this day. In earlier years,
because of heavy work in the field of the economy it was deemed advisable
not to mark the occasion. However, on this occasion we are in a position to
be able to do so. The enthusiasm of our workers derives from a series of
circumstances. Today we no longer are living in the first years when the
basic problem of the nation was to survive. Then it was patriotic
enthusiasm that moved us to make any effort, any sacrifice in defense of
the revolution and the fatherland. Of course, we are maintaining this
attitude, unchanged. However, currently we are facing the basic task of
developing the nation, of surmounting the many difficulties which a
revolutionary process has before it.

In the last few years we have been able to devote greater attention and
concentration to work. And in the last few years, above all in the last 2
years, we have certainly made much progress. And if these years of
revolution have been an unceasing effort in acquiring awareness, in these
past few years there has taken place what might be called a change in
quality in the awareness of our people. It is evident in many examples and
attitudes of our workers.

This is not just the enthusiasm of one day. In the past few months hundreds
of work places have amply over fulfilled their production goals. And there
are activities whose progress in relation to 1970 are not attaining double
and in some cases triple and production of 1970. In many cases this is done
with the same number of workers and sometimes even with less workers. It
would be an endless matter to list the work places which, because of the
efforts of their workers, have exceeded their plans.

Therefore, our working class responds with growing enthusiasm and firmness
to the revolution's tasks--this workers revolution, this revolution whose
only reason for being is the workers. And this is a revolution of the
workers, for the workers, and by the workers.

There are a number of facts which have also contributed to fanning the
enthusiasm of our workers: the strengthening of the trade union movement
which has taken place during the past 2 years on 26 July 1970, to
strengthen the mass organizations, essentially the labor movement, and to
organize a mighty labor movement on profound democratic foundations.

During the current year, there has been an electoral process among the rank
and file for a second time with the participation of 1,244,688 workers in
the rallies held to present candidates, where a total of 262,967 workers
were proposed as candidates. A total of 164,367 workers were elected union
leaders in 37,047 locals.

Some 18 national unions have already been established with new compositions
in accordance with the economic framework of the country. The intermediate
organizations of these unions in 116 provincial councils have been
established, as well as 561 regional committees and 1.319 municipal
committees. Thus, the labor movement has now gained organization, momentum
and strength, and it is ready for upcoming tasks. Besides, the
participation of the workers in solving problems is a very recent one.

With all this, our working class responds to the realities forced upon it
by the revolution, and it responds to the very hopes of the revolution
itself. There are some statistics that demonstrate to what extent our
workers have improved their welfare and livelihood over the past years. It
will be enough to point out some of the records. For example, let us take
social security. In the past it went up to a figure somewhere in the
100-million-peso range. For example, in that year alone, that is, 1961,
35,000 retirements and 10,072 pensions were approved, which increased the
total expenses of the country in retirements and pensions to 328.76 million
pesos.

In 1972, the budget for retirements, pensions, and other such expenses will
amount to 371,321,000 pesos. During the current year, some 44,000 new
retirements and approximately 10,000 pensions will be approved. In all,
retirements, pensions and other expenses will amount to 328.7 million.
Subsidies for maternity cases, illnesses and accidents will amount to 123.7
million. Other disbursements, such as income for life, aid programs and so
forth amount to 33.3 millions, which increase the country's social welfare
expenses 485.7 million. This is the total for the year 1971. In 1972 the
amount will increase to 531.6 million for this purpose.

The total number of retired and pensioned persons in our country is
365.911. For example, if we add to this the salaries paid by the Education
Ministry--they add up to 232 million per year--plus the salaries paid for
public health services, which amount to 156 million, we have 388 million in
salaries for such services, not counting the expenses for materials and
other matters. This will surpass the 500-million-peso mark invested in
those two services--education and public health. The expenses for social
welfare together with the education and public health expenses amount to
919 million pesos in 1972. Total expenses for these items exceed 1 billion
pesos, they exceed it by a great margin. This means that the workers in our
country at the present time, all of them, practically all citizens in this
country of working age can find employment. All of them, absolutely all of
the workers in our country are included in the social welfare system. All
the workers in our country are included under benefits due to accidents
while at work, benefits due to other accidents, and maternity and old-age
benefits. By means of social welfare, practically no one is without
protection in our country.

These are conditions rather different than those known to our people prior
to the triumph of the revolution. In the same manner, all workers in our
country know that medical attention is guaranteed for them and their
relatives for them and their children, for all citizens of this country, at
a level whose quality has been improved very significantly during the years
of the revolution and will continue to improve progressively to the extent
our economy develops, to the extent our physicians and technicians
increase. But, we must say that now in Cuba, despite the campaigns that
have been waged to deprive us of physicians, there are more than 8,000
physicians throughout the country. [applause]

There is almost one physician for every 1,000 inhabitants. In the upcoming
years, thousands more will graduate, because there are more than 5,000
studying in the school of medicine, which will allow us to progressively
improve the medical services. The workers of our country know that they
have all kinds of opportunities to advance. They also know that their
children have all kinds of opportunities to study to attain the highest
levels of knowledge and technical know-how. It is a great satisfaction that
these facts can be submitted as realities on a May Day such as this.

At the Labor Ministry many measures have been adopted for the benefit of
the workers. you saw that I have just been given a book with the measures
taken for work safety and hygiene. It contains some 135,000 of them; 32,000
measures are still to be applied. Also taken into account is the situation
of workers with less income. Thus, there are 50,000 workers who are
registered in the workers dining halls of the [Castro interrupts
thought]--these are workers with the least income who receive a subsidy to
pay for their meals at the workers dining halls.

The same has been done with this category of workers with regard to the
payment of rent. At the same time the nation has 601 construction
microbrigades working on the basis of "plus-work" and they have 15,832
workers. It is explored that by the end of this year some 1,300 workers
microbrigades will have been organized.

This has permitted us to begin, with great assurance, an intensive effort
to solve one of the most serious problems that has not been solved--above
all because of the lack of manpower. This movement began in the capital of
the republic and has now spread to all the provinces. Oriente Province now
has a 100 workers microbrigades. In the capital of the republic there
practically isn't a single, solitary work place without a representative in
the workers microbrigades taking part in the solution of the housing
problem.

All the service centers are also joining in along with the military units.
This will permit us in future years to radically change the picture in
terms of this difficult problem. The workers microbrigades are an
impressive force that have established a work style. These workers put in
10, 11, 12, 13 and sometimes 14 and 15 hours on the job. They are imbuing
all the construction workers with their spirit.

Wherever possible steps have been taken to improve the condition of the
workers dining halls. And all that is has been possible to do in this
regard has been done, and this will continue to be so. And the workers are
responding in every sense to this effort.

We should point out, for example, that in terms of work standards and
organization 3,149 units have been organized and their work standards
established. They cover 497,509 workers. If we add to this figure that of
the farm machinery and canecutting workers, whose work standards have also
been set, as well as those who work in dairies in Oriente and Camaguay and
other activities where work standards have been vertically established, the
number of workers is upwards of 700,000. In other words, a third of the
total.

In an analysis prepared for 447 units in which the plan for establishing
work standards and work organization had been in effect for several months,
a 20-percent increase in production was noted, as well as a 1-percent
reduction in the work force and a 21-percent increase in productivity. We
propose to organize and set standards in 1972 in an additional 16,210
units--these will not be agricultural units--and an additional 2,165
agricultural units.

By the end of 1973, to honor the 20th anniversary of the storming of the
Moncada barracks, all the work places of the nation will have been
organized and their work standards set. In 1974 the setting or organization
and technical standards will enter a higher stage. For this purpose a broad
plan is underway to train basic as well as intermediate and higher-level
cadres in this regard.

At the same time, our workers are contributing to the sugar harvest. A
total of 1.071 brigades with 35,332 volunteer canecutters are taking part
in the sugar harvest. They were mobilized by the trade unions and were
organized in the battalions of the Cuban Workers Central Organization
[CTC]. As of 15 April they had cut 687 million arrobas of cane. Their
average was 211 arrobas per man-day in the fields. Add to the contribution
of the volunteer permanent canecutters the contribution of the weekend
canecutters who have pitched in with 187 million arrobas of cane.

There are 294 brigades that have cut more than a million arrobas. There are
18 "twice mission" brigades, four "thrice million" brigades, four that have
cut 4 million arrobas. [applause building up slowly] And the "Segundo
Congreso" Brigade of the Centennial Youth Column [CJC] and the "Heroes de
Agramonte" Brigade of the CJC have cut 6 and 7 million respectively.
[applause] The "Heroes de Bolivia" Brigade of the CJC has cut the
impressive figure of more than 8 million arrobas of cane in this sugar
harvest. [applause] Several of our macheteros have cut more than 400,000
arrobas. There is Orlando Rodriguez, a volunteer canecutter of the
Transportation Workers Union of Oriente Province, [applause] Juan
Torreblanca and Jose (Abrup) of the CJC's Ignacio Agramonte Brigade,
[applause] Mike Ferrer of the Heroes de Bolivia Brigade, also of the CJC,
[applause] and Candido (Orenco) Camboa, a mountain-country peasant from the
ANAP [National Association of Small Farm Owners[ of Oriente Province.
[applause] There is a large group of canecutters with more than 300,000
arrobas. There is Pedro del Toro, regular canecutter. Juan Torreblanca and
Mike Ferrer of the CJC, Juan Momeda Santana and Ramon Rodriguez, volunteer
canecutters of the CTC, who have already cut more than 1 million arrobas of
cane in all the harvests in which they have participated. This is the first
time, of course, in the history of our country that such quantities of cut
cane have been amassed. Of course, new technical factors have had something
to do with it, but the amounts are impressive no matter how you look at
them. These men represent the spirit of our workers, these men represent
the best of our working class. And they demonstrate very highly their
quality. There are millions of workers participating in the emulation of
historic dates. With all this enthusiasm and encouragement, our workers are
preparing for the 13th congress, which will be an event of historic
significance. It will be held at the end of the current year.

Just recently, our youth held its congress, which was characterized by an
outstanding spirit and a very impressive quality. It represented the spirit
of today's youth in our country. We must mention a significant occurrence:
17,000 students of the University of Havana are presently doing productive
work, that is, they are combining their studies with many different
activities in work centers, and this has represented a contribution of
great technical value for our factories. At the same time, 11,300 workers
have registered in the workers faculty. [applause]

There is no doubt that this is a phase of the revolution of education. At
the beginning of this event, enthusiasm could be detected among the first
rural secondary schools--Ceiba 1, Ceiba 2, Ceiba 3, 8
October--participating in this May Day, not only as students and workers
but also as students of high awareness. Some of these schools are already
fighting for 90 percent promotion in the school term. [applause] The Ceiba
1 school is at the 95-percent level of promotion in the latest tests. We
want our students of rural secondary schools to attend these May Day
festivities in future years, and we want the placards to show the
promotions they have attained during the year. [applause]

We know about the enthusiasm, the energy, the seriousness with which those
comrades are fighting for promotions in their studies. We have never seen
anything similar to this. We have never seen anything similar to this in
the midst of the student community. This is a real assurance for the
fatherland. Their voices can already be heard and these are only four
schools. In September of this year, no less than 40 new schools will be
completed with a minimum capacity of 20,000 students. [applause] These
great schools, one of which is being constructed with the generous
cooperation of a brigade of international youths [applause], are the best
in quality, the pride of our fatherland, where the children of our workers
will study. Schools such as these were never before known to exist in our
fatherland. They were not even known to the children of the privileged
minority, of the bourgeoisie, of the landowners. This we can emphasize with
pride on this May Day.

By September 1973 there will be no less than 100 schools of that type that
will be dedicated. [applause] I am choosing a very conservative figure, a
rather conservative figure. It is possible that the amount will be close to
150. We are maintaining a rather fast pace in this field. Suffice it to say
that at the beginning such possibilities were feasible for 1975, and now by
the end of 1972 the rate will widely surpass what at the beginning was
considered to be a dream by 1975. This is possible to a great extent due to
the spirit of our workers, particularly the construction workers, who are
contributing with 10-hour workdays. Today they paraded before this stand
with great organization. [applause]

In paying tribute to them, we wish to say that they have officially changed
th workday to a 10-hour workday. These impressive successes reflect the
construction potential. We also wish to point out that in response to the
call issued to the 10th grade basic secondary school students to solve the
great and difficult problem of intermediate level teachers, thousands of
students have already applied. This is also a very encouraging thing.

On the other hand, the response to the call continues to be reflected in
production increases in many fields. We pointed out last year the
improvements of the first trimester. Now we are in May. Here we have some
reports on increases in efforts made during this first trimester as
compared to last year's. In agriculture, plantings have increased by 53
percent more than the first trimester of 1971. There is a significant
increase in the planting of cane, rice and other crops during the first
trimester. The harvesting of some products, increases in the production of
some items, the production of eggs, and other items have increased by 7
percent as compared to the previous year. The collection of milk has
increased by 28 percent in relation to the first 3 months of the previous
year. There has been an increase in the tobacco harvest. It has apparently
been helped by a good climatic year and much better work. It will be some
60 percent higher than last year. [applause]

Fishing production has risen by 23 percent compared to the first 3 months
of last year. Many industries have increased production. Some of them have
considerably increased it. Metallurgy and mechanical industry: 38 percent;
oil refining and byproducts: 10 percent; electric power: 14 percent;
chemistry: 7 percent; textiles and hides: 14 percent; foods: 4 percent;
beverages: 37 percent; construction materials industry: a 43 percent
increase above that obtained in the first 3 months of last year.

In some work places, such as Antillana steel, production of steel
reinforcement rods, an essential product for construction, has been
increased by 74 percent compared with the first 3 months of last year.
Unfortunately it is reaching its full capacity.

Construction of machinery: 50 percent. During the first 6 months of 1972
[as heard] the construction sector increased its level of activity by 78
percent compared with the same period last year. This reflects what I
pointed out earlier about the cooperation of the construction workers.

However, despite the increases in many lives, or to put it better, despite
the increases in social security, education, public health, which are noted
every year, this year of 1972 shows a tendency which had started toward the
end of last year: It has to do with internal finances, to the collection of
money.

In the first 3 months 140 million has been collected. You know that there
is a lot of money circulating and we know the drawbacks in this. In earlier
years the money in circulation increased. By the end of last year it began
to diminish. This was despite the increase of certain expenditures. And
this year the figure for the first 3 months was 140 million. It is supposed
that this year no less than 600 million pesos will be taken out of
circulation. [applause] Although it seems paradoxical, this is good news.
[applause]

Now then, to a certain extent this is due to the price of certain
nonessential articles --beverages, and the like. At one time there was a
broad discussion here as to what to do with cigarettes, whether the prices
would be raised or not, and so forth. There was divided opinion on this.
Well, on May Day last year we proposed to the workers that a formula must
be sought for the additional quantities, because (?we still do not have)
additional quantities. However, I hope that we will not have too many
illusions about this. Part of it has to meet our export needs and part of
it, of course, will be distributed at other prices. I mean the surplus
part. Everyone will be guaranteed what they have today at today's prices.
The extra amount will be sold at higher prices and we will continue to
collect money, which is good for all of us. [applause] Are we in agreement?
[applause] It is good for all of us. If you agree [applause] we will give a
vote of confidence to the comrades of the Interior Ministry [as heard] for
their unpleasant task of setting prices for the surplus. What you have
today at the present prices is guaranteed.

After all, gentlemen, this is not a food. When it comes to food that's
something else. When nutrition improves in the work places, when many work
places get new foods, milk for example--and many workers who have hard jobs
are getting a supply of milk--this will not increase the prices at the
workers' dining halls by a single centavo. As to the policy on education,
medical care, the improvement of conditions everything that can be done.
[sentence not completed] But there is still a lot of money in circulation
and it would suit everybody to collect some of it. And the more we collect,
the better it will be. It will help us resolve certain problems. Some jobs
are harder than others. It becomes difficult to find personnel. And this
will permit us to manage the economy easier for the welfare of all.

Now then, we should say the following: Of the 140 million that have been
withdrawn from circulation, 13 percent has been due to higher prices of
some articles, and 87 percent is due to the increase of goods and services
placed at the disposal of the public. [applause] Some 87 percent!
[applause] This is an increase in goods and services placed at the disposal
of the public! And those that have money have been investing it because
many, for a time, were making more than they spent and they did not have
anything to spend it on. This is the origin of accumulated money.

There were times on other occasions in which we changed the currency. We
did this in Cuba. We did this when millionaires were . In other words, we
did so when the question was that it would affect a class--the rich ones.
And many of them had taken the money from the country or had it hidden in
their homes. And the law came and those who had it in the bank did not have
any problem.

The revolution was always interested in creating confidence in savings and
in those who secured their money in the bank. But not it is not a matter of
the money of the rich. It's true that there have been speculators. We know
that. We know about those who have been selling things at high prices
around here, things that were obtained by one way or another.

However, with the cooperation of the ANAP, of the peasants, with their
cooperation toward the revolution's policy, with the measures that we have
been taking, and above all with the measures that eliminate the surplus
currency in circulation, the speculators will have increasingly less
changes of survival. They will not have anything to offer on the black
market.

I think that even if they sell the cigarettes from the surplus supplies
that are to be provided at a higher price, they will be selling them a
little lower than what some speculators used to sell a pack of cigarettes
for on the black market. [Castro chuckles, applause]. Sometimes they sold a
pack of cigarettes for five or six [pesos] or I don't know the price. We
know about the prices some of these crooks charge around here. But then,
the speculators will be losing their materials base, just as did the
parasites, the ones who made deals--we all remember some of those who made
thousands with a hole-in-the-wall business. They made 40 times what a
worker earned. When the revolutionary offensive came, all this began to
disappear.

Thus our society has won the battle against parasites, against speculators,
and in the long run it will win a total victory. [applause]

This is why on other occasions we have stated that we never adopted the
measure of changing the value of money in order to solve the problem of
excess currency on hand, because, in many instances, in the great majority
of cases, it is money saved by working families. This is very important.
There are now many things going for the benefit for the worker as a result
of the contributions of society as a whole. We have mentioned retirement,
social welfare in general, education, public health, many other services,
recreation facilities and housing, which as you know is very cheap in our
country. In many instances, as a result of the law, there is no rent to be
paid. The new housing has a very low rent based on 6 percent of the income
of the head of the family. This will merely amount to the cost of the
material in the years ahead.

Along with all these essential things, furniture factories are being
constructed to solve the furniture problem along with housing. There are
many services rendered to the workers of the country at no charge. There
are some other services rendered on the basis of wages, but our revolution
always separates the essential form the nonessential. It has paid
particular attention to those items that are essential by making sure that
they benefit all workers of our country. This is the policy that has been
observed and will always continue to be observed.

Thus, even in a situation of increased expenses due to public services as a
result of increased production, our financial situation is improving
remarkably. But, it will take time because the money now in circulation is
abundant. It is a situation of great progress with respect to 1970. During
1970 great efforts were made in one direction; however, many fields were
seriously affected. Our country needs to progress in all fields.

We have had, as you know, setbacks as regards sugar production. We have
suffered them over the past 2 years. The years 1970 and 1971 were the two
driest years known. This affected initially the production of cane. Last
year it had a more adverse effect on the cane plantings available for this
harvest. This is a phenomenon of nature which is believed to occur every
140 years. According to the mathematicians, two such droughts of this type
should occur perhaps every 140 years. You will recall as well Hurricane
Flora. Those who figure out such things state that this should occur only
once every 500 years, but it happened, it still tool place.

This has been an adverse factor in the midst of the people's efforts during
the last 2 years. But, together with this circumstance, this year began
very unfavorably for the sugar yields owing to weather conditions. The
sugar yields traditionally hold close to 12 [percent].

For example, at this time last year they were above 12 nationally, and this
year they barely held 10.5 percent of sugar yield. As a result of the
yields obtained due to weather conditions this year, the country has lost
at least 1 million tons of sugar, just in the yields of available cane
without considering what the two droughts did in connection with the
quantities of cane available. We have to say that this has been the adverse
factor. We have, of course, taken all measures to offset this. We have had
the cooperation of the socialist countries, broad cooperation. They have
been affected to a certain extent by the availability of sugar.

We have been forced t change the domestic consumption of sugar production.
It has affected us from the standpoint of dollar exchange as well. We must
not be worried, although we must fight. With respect to the planting of
cane, we must say that last winter 9,000 caballerias were planted. This is
quite a large amount. During this spring, at the end of last month, there
were more than 6,000 caballerias planted. Practically, all the soil is in
constant utilization, and a large amount is ready to produce something more
than 13,000 caballerias of cane during this spring. This, together with the
winter cane, will amount to 25,000 caballerias of cane planted in the
current year. This will be one of the highest amounts. Great effort is
expended in the planting of cane, and great efforts in cultivation, weeding
and fertilization of cane are also made.

Next year, of course, as a result of better weather--because this weather
that has affected the harvest has on the other hand been favorable to
planting and cultivation--and as a result of better work, we will have a
greater availability of sugar than we had this year. Thus, we expect to
begin overcoming this setback in sugar production by next year. If next
year we overcome this point and continue to maintain a growing pace in all
other aspects, there is no doubt that our situation will continue to
improve considerably. [applause]

We have had unfavorable weather that has greatly affected us. However, we
have not lacked for anything. It has not brought hunger in our country,
precisely because we have had the understanding and cooperation of the
socialist camp despite the fact that the sugar industry is our main
commodity. [applause] Our people face this setback and face it determinedly
and resolutely to achieve new goals and objectives. The perspectives are
good as we can clearly see that we will emerge from this problem that we
have had this year. We will have more resources to defend ourselves from
these changes or phenomena of the weather.

Agriculture is of great importance to our country. And, agriculture has
those inconveniences that depend upon imponderable factors. To a certain
degree, men can foresee these factors--not in 1 day or 1 year, but rather
through hard work as we are carrying out in our country. During the current
year, the capacities of the dams in our country are greatly increasing. On
30 April, fulfilling a goal, an objective, a resolve, in a period of 18
months the Zaza dam was completed with a capacity of 1 billion cubic meters
of water. [applause] The Jimaguayu dam was also completed. By 15 May the
Pedregal dam, the Youth dam, and the Alacranes dam in the northern part of
Las Villas Province with a capacity of 400 million cubic meters will be
completed. The possibilities of increasing the number of dams with a total
capacity of more than 1.7 billion cubic meters this year alone continue to
grow. They are beginning to retain water this spring. This water will be
destined for the cultivation of many products, mainly rice. Together with
the Zaza dam, a canal many kilometers long is being constructed for the
purpose of providing water to rice farms in July.

Thus, our country is laying solid foundations as it moves forward. There is
a program for constructing 500 dairies this year, a figure which we
contemplate increasing to 700 annually beginning in 1973.

Also underway is the program for the drainage system of highways, roads,
freeways. And industrial factories are being assembled--many of which have
been awaited for years.

So, conditions are being set for building the new factories our country
requires. Hand in hand with this there is serious work underway for drawing
up the 1973, 1974 and 1975 economic plans, and also for insuring the supply
of the means to guarantee the implementation of those plans. At the same
time, we shall begin studying--with all the data and experience gained--the
1975-80 5-year plan.

Thus we can tell the country that the revolution has been moving forward,
creating foundations and conditions for the work of forthcoming years in a
much more serious, secure manner.

At the start of the past decade what paraded here were tanks, artillery
armaments and men armed to the teeth. Who can forget 1959, 1960, 1961,
1962, Giron, the October crisis, rebel bands in virtually every province,
sabotage, crimes forcing us to invest the bulk of the country's energy in
the struggle.

Now we are incomparably stronger, now we are incomparably better defended.
Our revolutionary armed forces now have developed technologically,
organizationally, effectively in all fields. Over these years hundreds of
thousands of men have acquired the knowledge of weapons. Today our country
can mobilize and place under arms 500,000, 600,000 men in a matter of
hours. [applause] Moreover, we could ask right here for all who have
received military training during these years to raise their hands.
[applause] Practically all our people can be mobilized in a matter of
hours. [applause] And thousands of cadres have studied intensively.

Our defense has grown stronger. Imperialism is no longer as powerful, not
in the least, as it was 10 years ago. We are not downgrading imperialism.
We despite it but we do not play it down or underestimate it. [shout from
the audience]

The Vietnamese are lashing it, as a vanguard worker says. [prolonged
applause]

Imperialism is weaker, and the revolutionary camp is stronger. The
socialist camp is much more powerful. These factors, the correlation of
international forces, the strengthening of our defense apparatus allows us
to devote a considerable part of our effort to development in this decade.
And we feel sure the revolution will move forward in a sustained,
uncontainable manner.

Our relations with the countries of the socialist camp are stronger, more
solid, more developed. The level of ties, the level of communication and
comprehension is greater than at any time in the past. Moreover, the
economy of the socialist camp has developed, and it has developed
considerably over recent years. [applause]

The road for us will not be easy, naturally, but it shares as a sure path,
if we work hard and perform our duty.

There is the possibility of combining our development, our development
plans with the socialist camp's development plans. This gives strength to
the revolution. This is important, above all it is important for the
imperialists. It is important for our position to be understood, and for
there not to be any confusion about it, as there is no reason for there to
be any in connection with the revolution's international position and our
position vis-a-vis imperialism.

The imperialists and some of its lackeys constantly get together to
cackle--about the problems of the OAS and all that. We respect the
countries and the governments that have shown more friendly positions
toward Cuba, for some countries have done this and have waged their
struggles.

Furthermore, imperialism has had increasing contradictions within the heart
of the OAS--its colonial ministry. But we do not take part in deals. We do
not connive. We do not support any reformist policy. We in our country,
concerning the concept of the international movement, support the
revolutionary policy. [prolonged applause]

And in Latin America we favor a revolutionary policy, [prolonged applause]
for we know that reformism resolves nothing, that the problems are to deep
and serious, and only genuine revolutions can resolve them. Imperialism
encourages reformism. And the more that imperialism's discredit mounts and
its influence is lost, the more its efforts will be aimed at discouraging
revolutions and at encouraging reforms, always striving to preserve its
domination as much as possible.

Let this be clear, we are thinking of revolutions. And we are encouraged to
see all contradicting manifestations, all-out oppositions to imperialism
among the governments that were imperialism's accomplices in expelling us
from the OAS--manifestations of a spirit of national independence, which
can become deep contradictions and which can go forward and become a
revolution. [applause]

Cuba was not only expelled from the OAS, but Cuba was attacked
economically. Cuba was robbed of its sugar quota, which was distributed
like the sharing out of a victim among hungry buzzards. And like hungry
buzzards, oligarchical governments distributed among themselves the spoils
of Cuba's economy. They not only became accomplices but profiteers of the
economic aggression against Cuba, [applause] of the imperialist aggression
carried out with the complicity of its partners.

Cuba was deeply wounded, attacked, affronted, and we have no interest in
halfway terms, we are interested in no deals of any king. We believe that
the peoples will have to demand accounting for these wrongdoings. And we
believe that some day Cuba's rights will have to be fully redeemed. And we
will not be satisfied except with the full redemption of Cuba's rights.
[prolonged applause]

We are in no hurry, and we shall wait calmly, as we have a solid political
position, a solid revolutionary position. That is why we have not entered
into any kind of connivance.

Our stand confronting imperialism is well known and very clear. Imperialism
is showing its irritation. It was recently reported that Mr Nixon had
instructed his warships regarding Cuba's capture of a pirate ship.

Some U.S. papers have criticized his measures, his orders to ignore--beyond
the 3-mile limit--whether a ship had attacked Cuba. We can assure Nixon and
the Pentagon that we will chase any ship attacking Cuba as far as it is
necessary. The Pentagon's instructions--regardless of what they may
say--cannot scare us. But they have the guts to say that it a ship should
be attacked outside the 3-mile limit, even if the ship had attacked Cuba.
[incomplete sentence as heard] Who do they think they are? Who do they
think they are? This does not scare us, so let them take all the necessary
measures if they do not want one of those ships to go to the bottom. When
we prevent an attack on our country it will be they who will have to take
measures.

If they are planning to provoke us or trick us, if they are planning to use
their warships against Cuba, let them not forget that they have the
Guantanamo base here, which is a part of our territory they have usurped.
They should not believe that because they have such a powerful fleet, they
can protect ships carrying out piratical attacks against our country,
because even if they have more ships, more powerful fleets, their ships,
airplanes and installations at the Guantanamo base are within range of our
artillery. [applause]

And we say clearly: If they sink a Cuban warship while protecting pirate
ships, their installations and ships in Guantanamo will have to answer for
that action. [applause, shouts of Fidel, hit them hard] Nixon's policy
cannot be any more cynical, shameful. He is using all sorts of tactics to
achieve by diplomatic means what he has not been able to achieve by force.
He is trying to see how he can protect himself from one side so that he can
increase his aggression against countries such as Vietnam and Cuba.
[applause]

Of course we have no doubt that the maneuvers of Mr Nixon will fail
completely. And to prevent confusion, let us repeat--confronting the
international schemers face to face--that we have full and absolute faith
in the Soviet Union's foreign policy. [applause] And we know that the
maneuvers of Mr Nixon will clash with the principled policy of the Soviet
Union in the international field. [applause]

So, the desperate efforts of this gentleman will not achieve anything. If
he thinks he can commit acts of violence, force, threat and blackmail
against small countries, he is mistaken. Let him remember Giron. Still
more, let him remember Vietnam. As if he had not had enough failures and
adventures, he has resumed the bombing of North Vietnam--not to save his
face, because not even his face can be saved now.

After 2 years of killing, after--not 2 years--almost 4 years of massacre
and bombing against the people of South Vietnam, he renews the bombing
against the north. For 4 years there was talk about an alleged
Vietnamization, which is the most cynical and shameful thing that has ever
been pronounced in international policy--the use of technical means,
preparing Vietnamese to fight against the Vietnamese fatherland and the
Vietnamese revolution.

All this had to be undone and is being undone. The patriots, the
revolutionary and liberation forces of the Vietnamese people--who a little
more than a month ago initiated explosive fighting against the imperialists
and their puppets--are virtually destroying the military mechanism which Mr
Nixon had been preparing there for some years. And they themselves can no
longer hide the fear, the terror, and horror of the puppets.

There is no news report which does not speak of the cluster of men on
buses, hanging from helicopters, trying to flee by any means. The puppet
army is disintegrating under the destructive blows of the revolutionary
forces in Vietnam, whose thrust is simply unstoppable. [applause]

That is why Nixon criminally renews the bombings in the north. He again
bombs Vietnam, Hanoi, Vietnamese ports. He slays thousands of men, women
and children. He attacks the civilian population. Why? For what? In defense
of what? Imperialism still causes bloodshed by its adventures and misdeeds.
But is is unquestionably defeated. And the maneuvers of this political
busybody--we all know what a political busybody is and this is an election
year in the United States--will not prevent the defeat of the imperialists,
regardless of their threatening and arrogant declarations. They are
defeated and no one can stop their defeat. [applause]

As an expression of our solidarity with the people of Vietnam, as soon as
the bombing was resumed our party offered the Vietnamese party and
government a medical brigade to help the victims of the bombing. A brigade
of Cuban doctors leaves for Vietnam Wednesday. It is composed of six
surgeons, three anesthetists and six nurses--15 Cubans who will be making
their modest contribution and trying to save some lives. If the Vietnamese
people need more doctors they will have more. If they need plasma and
blood, they will have our plasma and blood. [applause, shouts of Cuba,
Vietnam, together they will win]

Our solidarity, support and faith in the Vietnamese people and their
leadership have no conditions or bounds. And this is our position. Our
position regarding imperialism is upright. No secret talks. We have said
that we can wait as long as necessary--2 years, 6 years, 10 years. What
need do we have or relations with Yankee imperialism? What need do we have
of fixing things with Mr Nixon? We will wait quietly until realistic men
rule that country one day. I do not say revolutionary, only that they show
awareness of reality and that that country can no longer--as much as it
tries--continue to be gendarme of the world. Its crimes and maneuvers will
be defeated; they are defeated beforehand, they are doomed to failure.

We need to point out, as you already know from various news dispatches
published in the press, that we will begin a prolonged trip abroad in the
next few hours. We will visit nine countries. It is not that I like trips.
You know that for many years we have not moved, we have traveled much
through the provinces. Late last year we visited Chile. Our international
relations, the level of these relations, the present magnificent state of
our relations with the revolutionary movement, with the socialist
countries--and within the jsocialist countries especially the Soviet
Union--the interests of our country and the socialist camp inevitably
require the acceptance of the invitations we have received repeatedly for
years.

If acceptance of the invitations are divided, one country today and another
in a few months, the trips would than have to be frequent. For this reason
we have made every possible effort to answer in this trip--I am not saying
all only within the area we are going to visit--all the king, generous and
fraternal invitations extended to us.

For this reason we will begin a trip that will start with the Democratic
Republic of Guinea--a revolutionary bulwark of Africa--[applause], the
Republic of Algeria, [applause] with which our country had had close ties
since the years when it was fighting bitterly for its independence--also a
bulwark of the revolutionary movement of the Arab countries--the socialist
republics of Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary [applause], Poland, [applause], the
GDR, [applause, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union, [applause] For us
this will be a long trip in which we will work to carry out the programs
that have been drafted. We waited until 1 May so as to be able to
participate with you in this workers holiday. [applause]

There are still pending tasks. The harvest is still to be completed. There
are still 700 million arrobas of sugarcane to be cut. Measures have been
taken; instructions have been issued. On 7 May an assembly will be held,
with the sugar mills which still have cane to be cut, under the slogan of
the pressing irrevocable need of the country to cut even the last cane
because of the sugar problems we explained previously. We urge the workers,
especially the sugarcane workers and the macheteros, to fulfill this goal
which must be met and is vital to our revolution: to take the proper
measures to cut even the small cane that remains standing, even the last
cane weighing half a point must be cut. [applause] And we propose this
objective as a commitment or our workers on this 1 May. On 7 May we will
not be able to participate in this assembly. The other comrades of the
revolutionary leadership will participate. The sugarcane planting program
must continue and this also applies to all the programs described.

Even though this trip will be long and hard, we consider that it will also
be made in a revolutionary, humane and fraternal spirit concerning the
parties and the peoples of the countries we shall visit. We will leave
confidently. The revolution is solid, strong. A revolution is not something
to be achieved in a day, in a year, it is forever. It is an eternal drama
in which the main actor is the people, the workers. A few years ago none of
us could think of leaving the country, due to the imperialists, their
threats, their things. This is not so today. Despite the imperialist
threats and problems, we know that there is a solid nation, a solid
revolution [applause] and a solid leadership [applause] with more than
enough men capable of accomplishing any task, handling any situation
[applause]

Therefore, we bid you farewell for a while, until we soon meet again:
Fatherland or death, we will win.
-END-


LANIC |