Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana in Spanish to the Americans 1240 GMT 16 Nov 73 C

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro at the closing ceremony of the
13th Congress of the Central Organization of Cuban Workers on 15

[Text] Distinguished Guests, Comrades of the Party Directorate and the
Government, Comrade Leaders of the Central Organization of Cuban Workers
[CTC], Female Comrades and Comrade Delegates to This Congress:

It will not be easy to summarize in a few words the importance, the
magnificence, the meaning of this event. It has correctly been said that
this 13th congress of our workers has been an intense one. This congress
has essentially expressed the level of political and revolutionary
consciousness of our workers. Profound, important and decisive matters for
our revolutionary process have been discussed here and throughout the
process that gave rise to the congress.

The first thing that stands out is the democratic spirit which prevailed
during the work of this labor congress--faithful to the objective of
developing a powerful and profoundly democratic labor movement. The matters
discussed in the theses very closely concern essential matters in the
ideological and political process of our revolution. But the decisions made
here, even though they express--as was pointed out by Comrade Lazaro Pena
in his report--the thoughts on the country's political direction, the
thoughts of our workers were not established by virtue of a party decision,
but have been widely discussed among our workers. No viewpoint is imposed.
It is discussed with the workers. Measures are not adopted by decree, no
matter how just or how correct certain measures might be. The basic
decisions affecting the life of our people have to be discussed with the
people, and especially with the workers. [applause]

Some of the points of the theses were complex matters which required the
understanding of the workers. They required wide discussion. Some of them
would affect certain workers. Some of them implied sacrifices, but any
sacrifice necessary among a revolutionary people qualified to determine
their own fate is not made in the interest of any exploiting class but is
made in the interest of the people. One of the essential points contained
in the theses was this point, this principle: From each according to his
ability; to each according to his work.

This is an essential matter in the construction of socialism and our
revolutionary and socialist workers understood that. In discussing that
principle we have been discussing an essential and key principle of
revolutionary ideology. That every one contribute according to his ability,
that each one receive according to his work is a principle, an inexorable
law in the construction of socialism. When we learn to understand this
principle thoroughly we are penetrating the depths of political thought, we
are penetrating the depths of revolutionary thought and we learn to
distinguished it from another principle of the communist society
established by Karl Marx: from each according to his ability, to each
according to his needs.

This is precisely what distinguishes the socialist phase from the communist
phase of the revolutionary process. It is very possible that all of us
would be more pleased with the communist principle, or that we consider the
communist principle more beautiful, or that we all consider the communist
principle more human. However, communism cannot be established by decree in
a human society.

It is a goal that must be conquered by hard trials during the struggle. It
can only be the result of a process.

Several years ago in our country one could not even mention the world
communism. today it is necessary to explain that communism can only be the
final result of the revolutionary social process. Although we may be more
pleased by the communist principle, and we want to attain communism, it is
necessary to begin by applying the socialist principle. Naturally, since
the revolutionary victory we have been adopting measures and applying
principles which have a certain communist character. There are certain
services which all the people deserve. There are certain services which are
applied based on the principle of necessity. As an example, public health
is a service that is offered to all the people, that is offered equally to
all the workers, without regard to their work or their ability. It is a
service offered to all citizens. Another example is education. Our country
makes every effort to offer the best education to every child, without
regard to the family, the interests or the working abilities of the

There are many services which the revolution offers to all the people.
However in the distribution of income to each worker one cannot apply that
principle. It is necessary to apply the socialist principle. When we said
on 26 July during the commemoration of the 20 anniversary that we should be
able to courageously correct the idealistic errors which we could have
made, that meant that if at certain points we had tried to advance more
quickly than was possible, it was necessary to make corrections. The
consequence of trying to advance more quickly than one can is to expose
oneself to the need to regress. [applause]

Here it is fortunately not a matter of regression. [applause]

It is a matter of making rectifications because we are socialists
[applause] and because we want to be communists [applause--crowd chants
Fidel, Fidel and rhythmically applauds for 30 seconds] and because we will
never renounce the communist objective or our revolution and the
development of our revolutionary consciousness, because we will continue,
above all, to uphold altruism, selflessness and man's solidary spirit.

To apply equalitarian principles to work--that is to say, to work itself
because, logically, during all of these years there have been salaries
geared to production, such as for cane-cutting, or salaries geared to the
quality of the work--to apply the equalitarian principle during the
performance of work without regard to production efforts is an equalitarian
principle that we must be able to rectify.

Marx said that the principle that each one contribute according to his
work, according to his ability [Castro corrects himself] and receive
according to his work was a principle that did not go beyond the narrow
limits of bourgeois law. He said this based on the fact that not all men
are equal, that not all men have the same degree of energy, that not all
men have the same ability. But Marx did not forget that socialism is built
starting with the capitalist society, and over the ruins of the capitalist
society. That is why he also stated the concept that we cited last 26 July.
He said: During the advanced stage of communist society, the day the
enslaving subordination of individuals to the division of work has
disappeared and with it the contrast between the intellectual and manual
worker; the day work becomes not only a means of livelihood but a prime and
vital necessity; when individuals have developed in all respects and
productive forces grow, and the springs of collective wealth flow in
torrents; only then will it be possible to go beyond the narrow limits of
bourgeois law and [only then] will society be able to write on its banners:
From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs.

Many events demonstrate to us that we are not yet prepared to live in
communism. Aside from the fact that in order to live in communism it is not
only necessary to have a communist consciousness but to have abundant
wealth spring from man's work, it is necessary to develop the productive
forces. And perhaps some of us are glad to show our weaknesses and our
defects before such a worthy and representative audience of the
international workers movement.

However, if we are to examine this experience, if we hope to be worthy of
the recognition, it must be because, in the first place, we do not hide our
errors and our failures but because we [applause], but because we have the
courage to admit them and to struggle against them.

When we met with the tobacco workers we cited some of these examples. One
day there was trouble with the water meters. The office in charge of
distributing water and collecting bills decided to provide water free of
charge. Now, this is something very wonderful, very just. Water is an
essential element and yet, what happens? Water waste is incredible. One of
the cities that wastes more water--when it has it and it does not have it
partly because it wastes it--[applause] is the city of Havana. It is quite
true that our water distribution systems are very old and are in dire need
of repair. This is something we hope to achieve as soon as we can. And this
is included among the 500 projects we must accomplish in coming years. But
it is also true that wherever there is no charge for water, many persons
never remember to turn off the faucet; [applause] that wherever water is
given free of charge the effort made by any persons to solve the problem of
water spillage is minimal and there is no awareness of the need to save
water; that the communist distribution of water leads us to waste water
thus demonstrating that we are not prepared to distribute water in a
communist manner. [applause]

What are the results of this and certain studies such as that which took
place in Alamar. In Alamar there are conscientious and hard-working
laborers. But a test was made. It was decided to give a number of families
a certain amount of water, because even a certain amount of water can be
given free of charge. Each one was give 90 liters of water per day. After
that point, each one had to pay for it, and at a high price. In other
buildings there was no charge for the water but the water was measured. And
the result was--and I was there to verify these results--that the houses
that did not pay for water used four to five times as much water as those
that paid for it. And those on which a meter was installed did not use one
liter more than necessary. [applause]

We have plans for installing a water meter factory. What we are interested
in is not charging for the water, but saving it. Charging you for the water
is not the objective. Water is expensive and necessary for majorized energy
equipment. The construction of new towns requires water and many already
existing towns need it as well. The plan is to install--as soon as
possible--a water meter in every home with a water supply. [applause] We
can adopt two systems: Either we start charging from the first liter or we
give a certain amount to everyone and after that start charging, as we did
in La Mar where we had to levy a high charge to pay for the waste.

We have another example. This not [an example] of communist-type
distribution. It was practically semicommunist. We had female and male bus
far collectors.l After a time, with full trust in the people's conscience,
we decided to save on the fare collectors. We must admit that most people
pay for their transportation but there are some who do not pay. There are
some who put whatever they feel like in the coin box. When we examine the
situation, on balance it appears that the number of people who do not pay
is increasing.

Anyone can ask these questions. What is more just, to have 1,000 bus
collectors in Havana or 1,000 persons working in a textile factory? Anyone
will realize that 1,000 workers in a textile factory will produce more for
the people. However, it seems that our community needs to hire 1,000
persons for the unproductive task of insuring that people pay their bus

This is another example which demonstrates--apart from logic and
theoretical arguments which can be easily demonstrated--that we are not
prepared for a communist type of distribution.

We can continue and ask how much fuel are we wasting? How much in the way
of raw materials are we wasting? How much electricity are we excessively

It is clear that with (?light patrols) and simple appeals to people's
consciences, we are not going to save on electricity. I raise this issue
because the electricity problem is an unpleasant one which we will have to
face. It is an unpopular problem, but we have to face it. [applause] We
substantially reduced the rate of an electric company--I do not exactly
recall which. The electrical octopus was using a rate which encouraged the
use of electricity. The rate on the first kilowatts was higher and it
dropped as you used more.

With our revolutionary inexperience we were improvident. We reduced the
company's rates by half and we were left with the same condition which
encouraged more consumption. I say we were improvident because we should
have thought of the day when the electric system would not be the property
of an electrical octopus but the property of the people. Now the electrical
octupus belongs to the people and the people have to pay for the
consequences of any electrical waste.

Increasingly larger investments must be made. This is a nation poor in
energy because it does not have hydroelectric power. This is a long and
narrow island which has no big rivers or coal. We still have not found any
oil and our jungle has no timber. We have to bring fuel from 10,000
kilometers across the ocean and invest hundreds of millions of pesos in
electric generators and equipment. Today, oil is worth three times more in
world market than before the triumph of the revolution. We still have the
old rates, reduced by half, and a system which encourages more consumption.

I am not giving you all these details to mentally prepare you for when the
government changes the electric rates. I am simply explaining--as we do
with everything--because we believe that the government must change the
electric rates. Not the basic rates paid by those who consume relatively
little electricity. We must start by changing the rates at some point and
beyond a certain amount of consumption. Are we doing this for the sake of
charging? No. We know that cigars provide us with a greater income than all
the electrical systems put together. [applause]

We collect more from drinks, and beer. I know what some prices are not
popular. [applause] The idea is to save electricity. And if we increase the
number of electric appliances what is going to happen with the television
set and iron on all day? I seriously and honestly tell you that this is one
of the problems the government is going to try to solve next year with a
study of electric rates. I repeat that we are not doing this with the idea
of charging you but with the idea of saving electricity. When I talk about
saving electricity, the main culprits in the waste of electricity are
production centers, especially management. [applause]

The production centers management is largely to blame for much of the waste
of electricity and for the failure to save electric power.

We realize that an important factor for the existence of any factory or
industry is the saving of electricity. The same [is true] for service
centers and schools. We hope that the workers will wage a battle--among
many others--to make saving electricity possible in work centers.

An important problem concerning the use of electric power, [applause] is to
use electric power during hours of minimum consumption instead of during
periods of high consumption to prevent blackouts. I am going to give you an
example: The water pump equipment used for irrigation, which operates for
12, 14, and 16 hours, should be used during the day and their use should be
avoided between 17 at night and 9 or 7 and 10 at night. Otherwise we have
no idea how much it costs.

Even industrialized countries with large energy resources have problems
during peak consumption hours. It is necessary for all work and service
centers to exercise care in scheduling during the hours of high electrical
energy use, so that all those activities which can be carried out at a
certain hour are done at that time, and all those which do not have to be
accomplished in that period--when there is high electrical consumption--are
avoided to prevent the use and waste of energy.

The state recently made an extra expenditure to purchase the so-called peak
power plants. Almost $20 million was spent in order to have these plants
available during peak consumption hours--until the investment being made in
connection with the electricity problem begin producing.

Plants are being built in Havana and plants are being constructed in
Mariel--the nation has important electrical investment programs. The amount
of electricity generated is three times more than before the revolution,
and the electricity system is being considerably expanded. But it is not
enough to expand and expand, and consume and consume fuel. We must have a
policy to save energy, to save fuel. And the nation's principal fuel
expense is the production of electric energy. Of course, our sugar centrals
consume it, our cement plants consume it, our industry, our merchant
vessels, our fishing fleets, our transportation--in sum everything that
moves in the country, moves by fuel. For this reason a rate for fuel saving
in every industry is essential.

The world has a growing fuel problem. Independent of this situation--and as
a result of imperialists aggression in the Middle East--future prospects
look uncertain, and the world is facing an increasingly serious fuel
problem. A tone of petroleum costs almost 50 pesos on the world market.
According to projections and estimates, before 1980 it will be about $80 or
$90 a ton, and the world will face growing fuel problems.

This is another example of why we should develop a savings policy in all
aspects, and especially with regard to fuel. It is here that the workers
movement can give us extraordinary help. Wherever fuel is being wasted be
it a farm, or a factory, or any place--these are realities which our
workers have to face. But a study of an endless number of facts clearly
demonstrates that our society, our people do not have the culture necessary
for communist life--aside from the fact that an economy sufficiently
developed for communist life is lacking. Realistically, very realistically,
we must implement the formulas which apply to this phase of our revolution,
and implement in every aspect--not only in distribution, not only in wages,
but also in administration-- all the formulas which are applicable to the
socialist phase of the revolution. [applause]

And if we have made mistakes of any type, we must know how to rectify them,
[applause] because, naturally, the workers congress is but a first step.

We have talked a lot; you have been very concerned with the principle of
producing more, of better quality, and at lesser cost. That is what the
workers have said, and that is the very thing that the administration,
which the entire economic apparatus of the revolution must say. [applause]
To produce more, to produce better, at a lesser cost, and to adopt all the
necessary measures.

In connection with this principle the worker movement has suggested a
series of appropriate and adequate measures concerning the relationship
between wages and norms, between wages and the fulfillment, surpassing, or
failure to fulfill the norm, concerning the problems related to extra hours
when there is a real need for extra hours, and the problem of a double
shift when an individual has to stay to work the shift of another who has
not appeared. But, have these measures, these suggestions been made for
personal economic gain? No, and perhaps the most interesting, the most
extraordinary thing about the behaviour of our workers--aside from their
consciousness--is that during this congress, there has not been a trace of
this kind of spirit. [applause]

That kind of economizing is a vice nourished in the hearts of the workers
by the bourgeois and by capitalists. That kind of economizing would be
unworthy of a revolutionary working class which thinks about today, but has
the even more sacred duty of thinking about tomorrow, which thinks about
the present generation, but thinks more about future generations.

It has not been this kind of economizing that has inspired the suggestions
of the theses, but a genuine concern for savings, for production, for
productivity, for the discipline of work. And there has been, at every
moment, the view that an effort must be made to fulfill plans without
overtime. Do these suggestions contradict voluntary labor? No, because
workers have understood perfectly the educational, revolutionary and
communist importance of voluntary labor. And in their resolutions they have
perfectly cited all those cases in which it is fair, adequate and correct
to apply formulas for voluntary labor.

On the contrary, the concern has been that voluntary labor should not be
wasted, turned into a useless expenditure of energy, of human energy and
material resources; that voluntary labor should not be turned into a means
of disguising administrative inefficiency [applause], but rather, that
voluntary labor service educational ends and aims of social benefit which
fully justify it, making its existence meaningful. And our working class,
in bringing up, in clarifying, in holding high the banner and principles of
voluntary labor, has given proof of its high conscience and has paid a
tribute of recognition to an exemplary revolutionary, socialist and
communist: Maj Ernesto Guevara. [prolonged applause]

Voluntary labor will be continued and will be kept clear of lies,
impurities and waste. For this reason we say that this absence of an
economizing spirit has been, in our opinion, one of the fundamental aspects
of this congress, in the application of a correct revolutionary principle.

This altruistic, this solidary feeling, this profound concern for the
collective welfare and for the interests of the working class and the
people as a whole has been manifested in other aspects, in other points of
the theses, because different points entailed specific economic sacrifices.

We have the case of Resolution 270; it was not an easy question. It was not
a delicate question. It was not easy and not delicate because there were
already half a million workers benefitting from 270. And law 270, or
Resolution 270, had to be overcome, had to be abrogated. What has been the
attitude of workers regarding this resolution, an attitude of our workers
who were closest to retirement? It has been a exemplary attitude, a
selfless attitude, a truly altruistic attitude!

It is true that this was perhaps one of the most difficult steps. But our
workers understood that Resolution 270 had to be suppressed because our
economy could no longer endure it. I personally have a great deal of
responsibility for Resolution 270. [prolonged applause] I thank you for
this solidarity and faith. Nevertheless, I will develop the idea I started.

We launched the idea of rewarding and making a special distinction of those
workers with extraordinary merits. [applause] We wanted to tie it not only
to individual efforts, but also to collective effort at a moment of great
increase in emulation.

Logically, that principle already had a fault which later became evident:
There were workers with great merit who were not favored by the measure
because the collective merit was necessary. And this idea and this
contradiction demonstrates the dialectic development of events, because an
idea that is good in one sense--just in one sense-- which attempts to unite
two merits, the individual and the collective, can by itself become an
unjust idea when cases with great personal merit are excluded. Then they
express their complaint about the fact that without it being their fault,
they did not benefit from some measure which does not affect them because
their work center does not have such a reward or such a banner.

We ourselves were concerned over the fact that workers whose conduct had
been flawless-- and they were known for this by everyone at the work
center--when they became ill and were absent for less than 3 days they had
their pay docked. This method, this system was due to the fact, or had in
Law 1100 been due to the fact, that there were many workers-- let us not
say many [with emphasis], we can never say many. Many could appear as if it
were the majority of workers. No. There were workers who would get sick on
Monday, and at that time there were also doctors who issued sickness
certificates for their friends.

It had been considered that in the final analysis what was important about
social security was the guarantee against sickness. It was not to provide
for the patient for a day or two, but for the cases in which the patients
really were sick, for a week, a month or whatever time was necessary. The
true essence of social security is a guarantee for the important cases.
That is why that resolution had been adopted in Law 1100. However, who
could think about those workers with flawless conduct, to whom one had to
apply the presumption that they had not been sick when they were off for 1
day. They were very well known workers at the work centers. The same thing
with the cases of those workers who had dedicated all their lives to the
job and had a flawless record when retirement time arrives. It is
unquestionable that that idea entailed its application with exceptions, not
as a hard and fast rule. From that idea emerged a resolution. We are not
going to blame the Labor Ministry for that. We were at fault. When that
resolution was drafted we should have studied it thoroughly, analyzed it
thoroughly and seen under what conditions it was going to be applied. We
have the obligation to prevent that measure from becoming a massive
measure, as was the case with Resolution 270, because of the conditions
under which it was applied. It became a burden to the economy and forced us
to the bitter need to suspend it. It should also teach us that any measure
of this kind that is adopted should be thoroughly studied by all of us
[applause] to be absolutely certain of its results.

That is why this was one of the most difficult points of the theses.
Nevertheless, more than 99 percent of the workers approved it. [applause]
The attitude of the immense majority of the workers who were close to
retirement was truly impressive.

An absolute majority of them approved the abolition of Law 270. [applause]
and the revolution, as we said in another meeting, can never forget and
will never forget those workers because a decision had to be made and it
was a disputed point. Where to begin? Should one accept those who had
already taken shelter under the resolution or not? The party adopted the
opinion that one should not accept those who had taken shelter under the
resolution because the faith and confidence in the measures adopted by the
revolution were at stake and it appeared absurd and inhuman to accept those
workers who had already taken shelter. Afterward came the situation of
those who out of civic duty and revolutionary spirit, and to remain at the
work center, had not sought shelter, although they could have retired. Or
perhaps they were getting near [the point of retirement]. It was an
interminable chain and it was necessary to make a decision, and it was
decided to respect only those who had taken shelter in the benefits of the
resolution. It was necessary to make a clean cut at a specific point.

The workers meetings and the party analyzed the matter of Law 1100 and the
eventual modifications of 1100 which are included in the resolutions. We
are in favor of studying Law 1100 and taking it into consideration in
compensations to workers who, having reached retirement age, decide to
remain on the job so that their compensation percentage will be increased.

However, we must study Law 1100 thoroughly and calculate it correctly, with
a computer at hand, considering how much every measure costs and viewing
the economic aspect of the matter, not delaying this law, no waiting for
the Greek calendars because this is a problem which should be solved as
soon as possible. We should also submit the modified Law 1100 for
discussion of the workers. [applause]

There is another point which was difficult, the problem of the historic
wage. The historic wage had other origins. It was not, let us say, the
result of an improperly studied decision. The historic wage emerged first
as a necessity to establish a certain discipline in wages, starting from
the enormous diversity of existing wage rates, from the necessity of
establishing a scale and the desire and purpose of not affecting the
workers because many of those historic wages were the result of earlier
great struggles of the workers. The revolution did not want to adopt
measure that would affect the workers.

The historic wage arose out of economic necessity, consolidation of
productive units where the workers had different wages. That was the origin
of the historic wage. However, afterwards the historic wage turned into a
vice. New sources of the historic wage emerged and there were even
illegitimate sources of the historic wage. How could that socialist
principle be explained unless one took a stand regarding the historic wage.

However, the historic wage was a complex matter because, although the
number of workers who earn a historic wage today has decreased in total
volume, there were cases of nine historic wages. It was a problem which
affected hundreds of thousands of workers. It was decided not to propose
radical formulas, not to try to solve the problem from one day to the next
because many historic wages had a legal origin and were based on the
confidence of the workers in the revolution. Consequently, at the time we
faced the problem it had to be handled with great care, taking into
consideration the interests legitimately acquired. We had to adopt a
progressive policy to prevent the emergence of one single additional
historic wage in the first place, and to progressively, and by different
roads, advance toward the disappearance of the historic wage.

Logically, with the new scales, by tying wages to production one can,
proceeding by various means, progressively eliminate the historic wage, not
drastically, not in a way in which the workers might feel that the
legitimate interests the revolution had granted once to them have been
harmed, but persisting in the unshakable will to struggle until the
historic wage is eradicated, through various means, including the
limitation of the historic wage and so that every possibility of new
historic wage will disappear [applause] to enable every man to receive the
remuneration for the type of work he performs. If someone at a given moment
holds a very important position and subsequently has to perform a very
menial job, then let him go from a very high salary to a very low salary.

Nobody was born with a position in this. This is not a hereditary right
[applause] and we must apply this general principle even if it hurts, even
if painful individual situations emerge. We have social security here so
there will not be one single destitute person in this country. [applause]
Any formula is better than the formula of maintaining the salary that used
to be earned, and it is better to apply this principle fairly so that
everyone knows this is the rule, that this is the principle, that this is
the law, that this is the will of the workers. Logically, salaries must be
related to the type of work, the quality, and the amount of work a person
performs. If he is in a position of responsibility, an important job, he
must have a higher salary. If afterward, and because he does not have the
aptitude for the job, or if because of errors or pitfalls he is unable to
continue performing such work, he cannot keep the same salary either.

This is an essential principle. Naturally, it will take time. Drastic
solutions cannot be applied in this overnight. But we will have to work
stubbornly in this direction. Here we cited two important examples of
topics decisively supported by the workers, despite the fact that this
implies for many of them sacrifices of a personal nature.

But, at the rallies these topics were not the only ones discussed, many
other points were discussed. They have been taken into account at the
congress and have been borne in mind by the party. And we will bear in mind
the resolutions that have been adopted on these points. This does not mean
that this entire process has revolved around any given single thesis.
Throughout the congress other matters of concern to the workers were
raised. And because a given number of workers showed concern at the
assemblies, their worries have been picked up by the workers movement and
the party. That is how we have, for example, the matter of revising the
wage scale and the qualification yardsticks; of not setting a limit to
overtime in certain activities; the accrual of paid rest for manual farm
workers; the stabilization of salaries in the sugar industry.

There we have another problem, a different one, because 1 day salary
stabilization was established in the sugar industry. A worker representing
the free Cuba unions said here very clearly that during the capitalist era
200 workers used to do maintenance on the central sugar mill, but now that
stabilization exists there are 702 and 708 workers. We did not question
this then because we had many visitors and because we were embarrassed.

It is true that we have not participated in this congress; we were invited
to this congress. Some have asked why we did not speak at it. It is because
we did not come here to speak. We came here to listen to you. [applause]

But it came to mind that if we had asked many of the representatives of the
sugar mill workers how many workers operated the sugar mills during
capitalism and how many operate them now, it could be shown that we are
using much more labor than the capitalists used and that we are operating
the mills less efficiently then the capitalists. [applause]

This does not in any way detract from the revolutionary spirit of our
workers. Our workers are not to blame for this: we are, because we have
been unable to develop administrative efficiency at least on a par with the
capitalists. But we are to blame if a sugar mill becomes full of workers.

It is said that without a doubt we have this stabilization. We were told
that there was not sufficient manpower in the mills, that stabilization
should be established, and stabilization was finally established. Now we
will have to see what is to be done with stability in order to apply this
principle. But I am not saying we must find a solution overnight. No
solution we week can be reached overnight. All solutions must be studied
carefully. [applause]

Of course our sugar industry is a great disgrace. It is a disgrace for the
country that its main industry should be a seasonal industry. Naturally
this gives rise to very serious problems because this industry works only
half the year, and the revolution also has sacred duties to the workers,
such as finding a job for all workers, and employment which must be as
stable as possible. We must think of ways to find stable jobs for the
workers of the sugar mills. We even hope to turn every sugar mill into an
agricultural-industrial center in which during the idle season not only is
the sugar mill itself repaired, but also all machinery, the irrigation
systems and all of the equipment. In sum, we have to look for some type of
activity because it is obviously very unprofitable for a sugar mill that
used to be maintained by 200 workers to now have 700 regular workers. At
(?least) the worker said 400 were enough.

He did not explain very well why he said 400, but he said 400, in all
honesty. It is true that if today we had more construction material, the
work we could give the sugar mill workers when the sugar mill is idle would
be construction work. We surely need construction of all types everywhere.
But unfortunately we do not have any surplus material in order to give
surplus sugar mill workers construction work.

Naturally, we believe that the decision adopted is correct; that is, to
study the problem and to see how this principle is applied in relation to
the sugar mills. anyway, we cannot maintain a clear conscience when we face
the reality that thousands of sugar workers are being underutilized,
workers who are on the sugar mills payrolls by virtue of the stabilization,
not measures that imply abandonment of any worker. The revolution will not
leave them unprotected. It will never leave one single worker abandoned to
his fate in this country. [applause]

Let us devise a formula. Let us devise formulas. Let us look for solutions
that would be not only just, not only human, but also profitable. And let
us not follow the line of the least effort, of the easiest solution, eve if
it turns out to be extremely burdensome for the country. Some of these
problems also result from underdevelopment. To the extent that we develop
new industries at the sugar centrals; to the extent that agriculture is
revolutionized; to the extent that agriculture is turned into industry and
the industry around all of the sugar centrals we will have more job
opportunities and we will have more solutions for this type of problem.
However, we must be duly concerned about this matter.

Also raised were the cases of loss of the ability to work because of
sickness or accidents on the job not attributable to negligence on the part
of the worker, and that these cases be taken into account for the purpose
of remuneration. It was proposed that total deductions not be made in
connection with the work the person was performing previously. This is a
just concern, as are the restoration of wage scales and the matter of
double occupation. the teachers' time fund is an old problem that is
brought up at all assemblies, from production assemblies, to the culture
congress to today's meeting. Medical teams, the elimination of checks for
the journalist sector [retired journalists]--which I understand is now
going to be discussed at the newsmen's congress because the newsmen are
workers who also have their congress. And the elimination of food and
lodging bonuses apparently has been a very popular proposal in this

And some of these measures which once were taken with very good intentions
later became an ordeal. Many of these are matters which were not considered
among the topics but were raised by the workers and discussed in congresses
and which our party will study very carefully with the intention of solving
everything it can solve, discussing these matters with the comrades of the
labor movement. One cannot have rash solutions to the problems concerning
some of these subjects, such as medical teams, for example, because it has
to be determined how many doctors we have available, what the [medical]
service situation is, and what the situation is in each of the hospitals.
But we must analyze the solutions wherever possible. We must also consider
in a positive way the problem of double employment and all those actions
concerned with the problems of the economy, production and services. We
think it would be unjust for a retired worker from the sugar mills to work
in a technological [institute] during the day and not be paid. He should be
paid. Logically, if he is receiving a certain salary [from the mill] and we
then give him another job, it would be quite proper to pay him for the 3 or
4 hours he might work.

The problem with the teachers is something more than one of funds based on
time. Teachers have a very precarious salary scale, especially the public
teachers. You know that a large number of the teachers have no certificate.
But, they start with a very low salary. Certainly we must assess this
problem with the teachers and try to find some solution. Their work has
become quite intense. The successes in education in the past few years have
been extraordinary and encouraging for the country in every respect. I am
certain that all the workers absolutely agree that a study must be made to
see how we may better help the teachers. [applause]

While the preparations for this congress were going on, party leadership
analyzed several of these matters on which you have passed resolutions. For
example, the party leadership adopted general measures to restructure the
salary scale, revise classifications, improve pay for abnormal work
conditions, apply the method of payment according to output and increase
state rates in units which advance into technical organization and
establishing work norms. I know you have understood this last point
perfectly well, but I am going to add some further information. To a
certain extent we are tied down because some norms are very low. Some are
more adjusted than others. Logically, a contradiction would arise if it is
shown that the [production] norm is low and is overfulfilled. The result
could be that the norm should be raised. Right now you propose in the
resolution an idea--that of increasing norms. It remains to be seen what
criteria you will use to apply the matters of the norm, the salary adjusted
according to the norm and the norms to which it will be adjusted. You know
that some norms are undoubtedly low and the labor leaders will have to
honestly determine if the application of some of these principles cannot be
translated into increased salary and increased production. In any case, we
believe that the norms are set, in one way or another, and no matter how
much you try to improve them they will continue that way.

And when really technical norms are set, productivity will logically be
increased. But we have been thinking that in those work centers where
technical norms are implemented and, as a result of truly technical and
scientific norms, productivity is increased, a salary scale should be
applied different from the scales in work centers where elemental norms are
applied. That is the principle. Have you understood it? [applause] In other
words, when technical norms are set in an area, regardless of problems, a
salary scale is introduced greater than in an area where technical norms do
not exist. That is the reason for the increase in state rates in the units
that go into technical organization and establishing work norms.

We have expressed the party's desire to analyze together with the leaders
of the labor movement every one of the matters that you have proposed in
the resolutions, with the aim of solving them. Studying them carefully, of
course, with the greatest possible urgency. There is already a policy
within the party leadership on many of these matters. Are you sufficiently
bored? [applause and shots of no]

It would be interesting if we were to go from this congress and the entire
process that preceded it into real maximum progress for the revolution, to
point out some things that must concern us and provide some interesting

There is one thing without which none of the resolutions we have adopted at
this congress would have practical possibility. The questions of giving
each according to his work, of paying for extra hours or for double shift,
or of revising a salary scale would be of no use if we do not maintain a
financial balance. The application of material encouragements has no value
and no effect in a situation of rampant inflation. If we have been able to
discuss the problems and the adequate formulas and solutions, it is
because, as a matter of fact, money is beginning to have some value. In a
situation where anyone could have his pockets full of money, none of these
formulas would stand a chance.

Something else must be said. Under capitalism money is everything. Money
means life and death for the people. We pointed out our weaknesses and our
discipline. But, the capitalist system functions under certain very
powerful motivations. In the first place, capitalism has an army of
reserves in the labor force--the unemployed. And there is no discipline
more efficient than the fear of losing one's job, which in capitalism is
the equivalent of dying of hunger. [applause] At the doors of every factory
there is virtually a line of unemployed waiting for the opportunity to find
a job. That mechanism facilitates capitalist discipline. Furthermore, a
worker under capitalism who does not have a job or has no money dies from
hunger and his family too dies from hunger. Should he, his children, or his
family become sick, they die; likewise, if he has no job or money. The
prospects for living, for taking care of his health, for obtaining security
against old age and accidents, and the prospects of educating his children
depend on his job and the money he has in his pockets.

Under socialism this does not happen. Although socialism is still not
communism and although distribution that is [words indistinct] is still not
the same as in communism, unemployment, insecurity, fear of eviction, fear
of illness, fear of accidents disappear under socialism. Everyone is
assured of a job. of medical attention under optimum conditions--and much
better than the capitalists have for themselves under capitalism. We can
proudly say that our medical services are much more efficient than the
capitalists have for themselves and their families. [applause] The
revolution has eradicated and attended to diseases. The infant mortality
rate in our country is already equal to that of developed countries; in
other words, it is at a minimum. And our medical services are improving and
will improve each year. We even recently established house calls from the
polyclinics for the elderly and children. [applause] Socialism offers all
this security to the people and their families.

Under capitalism, man's first motivation is survival, his health, his
children. He fears not having a cent in his picket when a relative or a
dear friend of his is ill. The capitalist system's labor discipline feeds
all these terrors. In other words, they are the inhuman conditions of life
and death of capitalism, and that is what prevails in the capitalist
discipline. Those defects do not exist in socialism. Those motivations do
not exist in socialism. Under socialism, money is not indispensable for all
these things. Of course, these things are important and of interest to the
workers, but the most pressing problems have disappeared having been solved
by the entire society. That is why the contribution of workers' awareness,
the workers' political education and their attitude become irreplaceable
elements in socialism, since the workers' motivations are different [than
under capitalism.]

Of course, under socialism we see a total identification of man with
production media, the total indentification of man with the country's
wealth, the total identification of man with his country's destiny, with
the political process of his country, with the political problems of his
country; that is to say, the worker becomes, goes on to be, the owner of
the wealth and has a hand in forging his nation's destiny.

But the moral factors, the factors of conscience, the cultural factors are
irreplaceable under socialism. We should not think, even for a minute, that
we are going to solve with money those problems that only the conscience
can resolve. What we should do is use material incentives intelligently and
combine them with moral stimuli, use them as reinforcers. We should not
believe for an instant that now we can manage today's man, the socialist
man, by virtue of material incentives exclusively, because material
incentives do not have the attraction here that they have under capitalism
where everything depends--life and death--upon the money in one's pocket.

In any case, an abundance of money, a superabundance of money, becomes a
factor that discourages work in many persons, not all. We cannot for an
instant forget the tens of thousands of workers, the hundreds of thousands
of workers, the immense majority of workers of this country who are willing
to do--in every sense, at any instant and without a material incentive of
any kind--whatever is necessary, to work harvesting sugar, defending the
country, anything. This we can never forget, as some workers said, when
there were no home appliances, when there were no microbrigades, when there
was no housing, when there was nothing--what was done by our country's
workers, by which they acquired the extraordinary conscience they have
today, which we are proud of. We feel proud before our visitors with whom
we should not be--even if we are--bashful. We do not hesitate also to
recognize our weaknesses.

Since 1970 there has been a process of deflation, a decrease of money in
circulation; that is to say, we were millionaires in 70 and 71. Now we are
less so. Of course, the economy has continued to grow. In 1971 it increased
5 percent; in 1972 it increased 9 percent; so far, in 1973 it has grown 13
percent; the accumulated total is 30 percent [as heard] in 3 years.

Of course, one of the sections most responsible for the economic growth has
been the construction industry. Of course, we must plan for the coming
years a modest but steady growth, as we said in the commemoration of the
20th anniversary, about 6 percent a year. This is equivalent to doubling
all production in 11 years. It is not a growth rate to be scorned. It is
not sensational either, but we should not...if we can surpass these rates,
we should, but planning very realistically. For this reason we say 6
percent a year for the next 20 years.

Wages have increased these last few years, at at least what is paid in
wages. In 1967, in salaries alone 2.773 billion were paid. For 1970 the
amount was 3.111 billion, in 1971, 3.187 billion, for 1972 3.367 billion.
This year the estimate is 3.690 billion in wages.

Even though wage allocation is greater, there has been decimation. Later on
I will explain why. First I want to add that social security amounts to 547
million because social security increases yearly by 11.100 million.
Payments to peasants for agricultural produce: 240 million, and other
payments to the people, private carriers stipends, students and so forth,
277 million, which amount to a total of revenue received by the population
amounting to 4.750 billion pesos. That is the money received in 1973 by the

The wage allocation has increased some 907 million since 1967. Despite
this, the money in circulation has decreased because the people have been
spending more than they have received. This process started in 1971. In the
second half of that year 150 million were collected--oh, I forgot something
you will surely want to know: how much money the people had at the highest
point. They had 3.478 billion. That was the highest figure. Now we are
poorer--in the second half of 1971 a total of 150 million was collected. In
1972 the amount was 680 million. In 1973 400 million. a total of 1.230
billion has been collected in a little less than 2 1/2 years.

Naturally, this is money that has been collected from the people and
eventually goes on to enrich them because, although it may seem
paradoxical, the more money we had in circulation, the poorer we were. That
is to day, this money was not collected by latifundists or by the
bourgeois; it was the revolutionary state itself-you! [applause]

As you know, this has been done in two ways: increasing the goods to be
distributed among the population, and increasing the price of some
nonessential articles. When I say nonessential; not milk, bread, food,
rather cigars, drink, and so forth. But the people sold nothing. [as heard]
And the effects of this progressive decrease in money are already beginning
to be seen. Do you understand? [chorus "yes"]

We are delighted that our workers have this data and understand this
because it is the only way to go forward. We are not speculators. We do not
like expensive things. That that sea of money was being felt by our
economy. Tell me, in the middle of that sea of money, what good would all
the agreements of this congress be? We already know that if there is more
money than goods and services, interest is lost in money; that money which
in no way resolves some vital problems--because those vital problems are
already solved for you by society--everyone can feel at ease with his
children, with everything, one does not need money for that.

To educate a teacher costs a lot. To educate a nurse costs a lot. Think of
the years after elementary school, then high school, then a qualified
woman, and the need for teachers that we have. But if someone had a good
salary--a young man--and he married the teacher, he tells her not to work,
it is not necessary. And the country loses the teacher. And the country
loses the nurse. Naturally, if the country loses a teacher or nurse, it
does not lose her only in terms of money, but also in terms of traces of
"machismo" and superman concepts of the past, and all those things we still
have left. [applause]

What do we do with this? Return to capitalism? [cries of "no."] Where women
live off their husbands? Where a woman is an adornment at home? [cries of
"no!"] I am sure that Cuban women at least will not agree with this.
[prolonged applause] We must not forget that now we have two women in the
CTC Executive Secretariat.

But all this superabundance of money was being felt in economic terms.
There was a need for a working force--in some places critical, sometimes an
important service-- and no workers could be found. There was a lot of
money, which is one more example of our lack of preparation for communism.
Because Marx said: "When work is not just a way of life but the primary
vital need..." and when the young man who marries sends the teacher home,
we can see that work is still not as Marx said, "the primary vital need."
Not just "a way of life," he says "vital."

That was the situation. Textiles were at a standstill. Such a factory lacks
manpower; those who were working have left; of the 100 workers 60 have not
shown up for work; there was no stability among the workers. That is the
logical result of the superabundance of money. Do you realize this? [crowd
yells "yes!"]

Now we are beginning to see things happening in the opposite direction. We
notice a great demand for work. All of a sudden we are faced with the
problem of trying to find a job for everyone who asks for one. Well, we
will have to pick our brains and solve it. However, this is better than
having the factories idle due to a lack of manpower. We do not want a
manpower army in reserve. That is clear. Besides, the revolution will not
resort to such measures because these are capitalist measures. [applause]

Anyhow, we must live. We must meet our material needs. We must move
forward, overcome underdevelopment, defeat poverty. Therefore, we must be
realistic and understand all this to see what measures we are going to
implement and why. We must know what is good and bad for our economy. We
must know how many of us and to what extent we are revolutionaries and
communists, and what we still need to make us true revolutionaries and
communists. [applause]

At present there are 2.248 billion pesos in circulation on the street. This
has dropped some: a little less and we will have what is considered by
experts to be within the normal limits of money in circulation.

It is considered a great thing to reach normal limits, no doubt an
improvement. Without these normal limits none of the economic agreements
you have approved would have any practical function. I am talking of
economic agreements. They could not operate. They would have no validity.
There is a very important principle concerning financial balance: the
amount of money in the hands of the people should not exceed normal limits;
what is paid in wages and the total of available assets and services to the
people must balance, (?if we do not want) to squander money. If we start
paying wages that are greater than available goods and services we again
become millionaires; that is, plenty of paper and few assets and services.
Therefore, it is very important to maintain a balance between the
population's total income and available assets and services. This is a
basic principle. Do you understand this? [crowd yells "yes"]

I have here a list of what the people spend. But let us say, cost of urban
reform is low, it is 60 million, 46 million for movies and theatre, 70 for
electricity and gas. These are not income items. We even have statistics of
what is spent on haircuts, at the barber shop, transportation, those who
pay their fare [laughter and applause]

Next year we still are planning to collect some more money. This is good to
place ourselves within the limits. That is, if the experts are not mistaken
about the limits.

Now let us see what the obligated funds are due to increase in wages for
next year. Not to mention prices. Of course, some prices are high, but
others have remained stable. They have not been touched in a long time. Do
you want to hear some good news? Let me tell you that the comrades of the
service sector have proposed a cut in the price of alcoholic beverages.
They have a surplus. If we cannot export it, it is better for the people to
have it. This is another principle. We must get used to seeing something in
the warehouses, because if there is something there, the people are in the
habit of asking why [laughs] why not reduce the price? We must get used to
having something as proof that what is earned in wages has been balanced
out in the treasury. [applause] The stock they have available is more than
sufficient and they will have a small reduction. But then, how much will
have to be set anyway next year for additional wages to the population. The
increase in the work force is--113,500 workers--$177 million pesos. This
happens every year and when there are more, more [will be spent].

Reduction of absenteeism--here is an optimistic estimate: This will
represent 37 million more in wages because of the confidence in the
agreements of the workers congress. [applause] Changes in work positions,
.5 million; Social Security Law 1100, 40 million. In all the obligated
expenditures total 254 million more pesos in 74 than in 73. Is that clear?
Therefore, 254 million more will have to be disbursed-- even if we do
nothing but employ those who have to be employed and retire and pay
pensions to those who retire. These inevitable expenses.

If necessary we will use different standards than those approved in
principle by the party in keeping with the proposals of the workers and
those approved by you: elimination of the first two groups, classification
reorganization, vacation pay-- but here vacation pay is wrong. In reality
it is a deduction, and if that is so, I fail to see why it has to be added
to the expenses. Well then, the elimination of the first two groups, the
scale which affects agricultural workers, 10.5 million; expansion of the
technician wage scale to expand the technicians' wage scale so that there
can be more adequate wages for more skilled personnel--this would amount to
67 million. This is theory, no? These decisions have not yet been made.
They are being considered positively. Expansion of the wage scale of
personnel responsible for the direction of production would amount to 65
million, revision of standards, 7.2 million; pay for abnormal conditions,
50 million; overtime and double shift pay, 55 million; linking of salaries
with norms, 44 million; technical norms 2.5 million; others, 13.6 million.
this totals 341.8 million, the application of all this would signify a
total of 569 million more in wages in 1974.

Here when we speak of expanding the scale of personnel responsible for the
direction of production it involves the chiefs of brigades, who must have
wages equal to the wage of a tractor operator. What does this mean? It
means that we must be very careful in preparing all these agreements. What
does it mean [word indistinct] we must begin studying the centers of
production and applying these agreements here, where every wage increase
will be accompanied by an increase in material production, so that material
production will be expanded to the same extent that wages are increased.

Of course there is production which is not translated immediately into
[Castro corrects himself] which can be produced in wage increases, and not
in increasing the assets available for the population. For instance, a
thermoelectric plant being built in 2 years does not yield an immediate

There should be wage increases in construction, but there are constructions
which do not immediately increase service to the population. But, in short,
these measures can only be applied progressively, carefully, beginning with
all those work centers where the work force is fundamental, where the wage
increase is immediately converted into increased assets available to the
population. We must carefully evaluate and discuss all of these measures
and their economic consequences with the labor leaders to prevent the
agreements, which may be formidable instruments to raise economic
efficiency, from leading us to a new inflationary process in which wage or
salary disbursements are not consistent with the production of material
goods. And above all, we must be careful to have a financial balance. We
would be doing nothing by implementing the agreements if we again encounter
a financial imbalance. It is very important that labor leaders understand
these details.

In any case there is an increase in the production of material goods. But
what we cannot do is increase salaries above material production, because
the country must also make large investments for development and this is
very important. Sometimes, our production of material goods does not limit
the labor force. In all cases, the limitation factor on the labor force for
the production of materials is work. There are many industries which have
reached their capacity for work and can provide no more. In other
industries the limiting factor is raw material, which is costly, scarce or
not available. There are cases of inability to utilize an industry for lack
of raw material and the industry must be used for other things because of
the labor force problem. Where raw material is the limiting factor, it has
to rely on the possibility of acquisition of the raw material abroad.

Naturally, if sugar production increases and exports of sugar increase, we
have one means of increasing imports of raw materials. Imports can be
increased as exports are increased. However, it is not easy to resort to
imports. Why? I am going to show how prices have been and are in the world
market. To cite a few examples, it is said there is a lot more money. We
are going to bring more import goods. This, in the first place, depends on
our exports.

Here are some examples: Beans: The price per ton in 1969; 121.5 pesos; the
price of beans which must be purchased for 1974; 574 pesos per ton. Corn:
The 1969 price in the capitalist market, 58.8 [Castro then corrects
himself] 58.08 and the price for 1974, 131.55 per tone. Wheat: 71.76 in
1969 and 159.45 for 1974. Rice: In 1970 the price went as high as $90 per
ton; the price for 1974 will be 400 pesos. Vegetable oil: 228.51 in 1969;
the price for 1974 is 329.22. Powdered milk: 128 pesos in 1969; 603 pesos
in 1974. Vegetable flour: 93.60 in 1969; 191 in 1974. Fishmeal 129.80 in
1969; 386.2 in 1974. Phosphoric, a raw material, 22 pesos in 1969 and 50 in
1974. Urea nitrogenized fertilizer, 80.3 in 1969; 141 in 1974.
Superphgosphate, 67.67 in 1969; 120 in 1974. Rayon fabric, 643.3 in 1969;
964.69 in 1974. Wool fabric, 871.23 in 1969; 1,370 in 1974. Cotton thread:
227.52 in 1969; 379.98 in 1974. Acetate yarn, 1,314 in 1969; 2,284 in 1974.
Nylon fabric, 1570 in 1969; 4,155.77 in 1974. Acrylic fabric, 2,380 in
1969; 4,732 in 1974.

And that is the way goods go. What does this mean? There is an inflationary
process going on throughout the world. Some basic raw materials, such as
petroleum, are being sold at very high prices. And the chemical industry
has a heavy influence on the world's economy. There is a general shortage
of foodstuffs in the world. Many of the products cannot be obtained,
regardless of price, such as vegetable flour, fishmeal, powdered milk and
others. But above all the prices of raw materials for industries have
increased extraordinarily. However, the production of eggs has been
maintained, the price of eggs has been unchanged through the years
[presumably in Cuba]. The people still receive milk for the children at the
same price at which it has been maintained through the years.

Naturally, the economy must face all these cost increases. If the prices of
imported goods are compared with the prices obtained for sugar based on the
limits of the world market, it would be the equivalent of selling sugar for
3 cents [presumably per pound]. In fact, it was difficult to reach an
agreement at the sugar convention because the importing countries wanted to
set a top price that was unacceptable. We had to accept a top price for the
sugar and then proceed to buy all these raw materials and goods according
to those fabulous prices they [presumably the sugar importing countries]
set. Therefore, there was no agreement. Thus it is an extremely complicated
situation. It is not an easy situation.

That is why we cannot say we solve the problem by importing goods to
balance any wage increase granted. This is different from an objective
limiting factor, and we must bear this in mind.

The other data we have given you further emphasizes the need to seek
economic efficiency at all costs and give force to all the criteria and
viewpoints that you have analyzed in this congress. [We must] seek more
production and better quality at less cost. A comrade said that the workers
had participated in these discussions as true statesmen, and that is true.
It is extraordinarily important that the workers consider these matters
with extreme seriousness.

In the battle to produce more and in better quality at less cost, all these
facts point out the importance of working for the economy in general and on
agriculture in particular. They point out the importance of working on the
plans for sugarcane, livestock and rice. They point out the great
importance of the enormous efforts by the unions in the tasks of saving and
increasing production.

This congress has adopted resolutions on participation by workers in the
economic effort. One of the resolutions studied the necessity for the
workers' participation in the proposals made by the leadership of the
productive units, by enterprises and even by ministries. The party's [PCC]
leaders are in complete agreement with this resolution of the workers'
congress. But there is more: At the regular meetings of the Executive
Committee of the Ministers' Council where proposals are studied and
important administrative and economic decisions are made, we favored
requesting participation by representatives of the workers' movement in the
meetings of the Executive Committee of the Ministers' Council [long

This makes a reality of an old revolutionary hope to give the organized
workers maximum participation in economic spheres as befits a socialist
process. You have reached another important agreement: To strengthen and
maintain the action of the microbrigades on the basis that their work is
the correct method and an adequate solution to the housing problem.

Currently there are more housing units under construction than in any other
year of the revolution. The majority of these housing units are being built
by the microbrigades.

If we only had more materials! With the agreement of the workers congress,
with the labor force we would be able to liberate by applying those
resolutions, [look at] the number of housing units, grade schools,
children's circles and social buildings we could achieve through such work!
Anyway, we must not feel discouraged. Significant investments are being
made to expand the material basis of the construction works, in order to
have more gravel, more cement, more rock, more sand, more materials of all
types. The time will come when we will be able to give a renewed and
greater impulse to construction works with the microbrigades to solve the
housing problem. [applause]

It is important that this movement does not languish. Those of you who are
unfamiliar with it will be invited to visit and become acquainted with the
development of Alamar, which is one of those being built. You will see who
functional and spacious [the housing units are] and the social living
conditions that are being created there by the workers for the workers, in
a borough that the bourgeois and the capitalists had not even dreamed could
have the facilities, the beauty and the spaciousness of this development
[project] being built by the industrious hands of our workers.

There is the risk that some work centers could make so mush progress and
resolve the main problems and that this could damage the work spirit of the
microbrigades. This would not be right. It would be indeed good for them to
solve their housing problem, but it would not be good for this microbrigade
to disband or to become discouraged. What is right is that when a
microbrigade already has built such a number of housing units that the
situation becomes less pressing for their work center, their proletarian
spirit, their solidary spirit will go to work to build housing units for
other labor sectors [applause] which, as is the case of the teachers, do
not have a powerful construction force available because most of them are
women--and they say they are overworked. I do not know how they are going
to solve the housing problem. Of course, the day we have more productivity
in construction and we liberate the labor force, we could also have state
government brigades build housing units for such cases.

In the same manner that we had brigades building for technicians because
the technicians came and the least we could do was to give them housing, in
the future, using prefabricated [elements], with a raise in productivity,
we not only must work on housing with microbrigades, but we will have to
have government brigades also contributing to the solution of the housing
problem, particularly for those sectors that do not have the possibility of
adopting the microbrigade plan because of the characteristics and nature of
their labor force.

That is why it is necessary that the microbrigades do not lose strength and
we transfer this force, keeping it linked to its work center. We must
prevent at all costs a rupture of ties between the microbrigade worker and
the center because this link with the work center is the soul of the
microbrigade. We have even reached a consensus regarding qualification, so
that when persons are rated as constructor they may reap the benefits of
this increase in their capability as a constructor at the microbrigade.
When they have a salary that is below the level of that corresponding to
them as qualified workers; that their qualification be borne in mind and
their salary be raised, but we must not separate this worker from the work
center. If we separate the microbrigade worker from the worker center we
kill the microbrigade. We see no other solution, the day we are able to
form state brigades we will build more housing units. But for the next 10
or 12 years at least we believe that the microbrigades will be the soul of
housing construction. And of many other types of social constructions
linked with housing. Of course, the day we have materials, the surplus
forces of the sugar mills will be able to recommend to the labor movement
to [word indistinct] to continue the microbrigade movement.

Setting up contract wages for construction-type work has been discussed.
There are times when the problem of a particular construction does not lie
within the work force, but in the materials. To apply the contract wage
formula it would be necessary to guarantee the materials. There is a plan
now to experiment with a few priority constructions, and to begin to test
his method of construction-type payments with these priority constructions.
Constructions which will be built with guaranteed materials, because
otherwise the contract-type payments would not be effective. These
constructions have work force problems but no problems with materials
because they have been accorded priority. According to the construction
union, the construction sector is going to begin testing this constructive

The problem of home electrical appliances has been discussed. We realize
that the solutions you have arrived at are adequate. Of course, some
contradictions have come up. One worker even said that those pleasant
persons, who were well like by others [Castro chuckles] would luck out in
some distribution. Well, I am sure this is an exception to the rule, as
Comrade Lazaro said. Now, if the lucky one can deceive the masses, how far
can he reach with the public official? Because if he who distributes is not
the masses but an official, and if the masses can be exploited, when the
masses make one mistake the official has made a thousand. [wild applause]

Do you believe that the housing units being built by the microbrigades
should be distributed according to a new procedure? [crowd shouts no]

Of course, everything in life has its problems. Among other things we
realize that this will mean additional work for the labor leaders. And of
course for those products which begin to be available, there is no reason
to distribute them at the assemblies: watches, pressure cookers [and so
forth]. We should be vary happy that we no longer have to distribute them
according to that procedure. When we get around to having a surplus of
television sets; wonderful! More than 100,000 are already being distributed
yearly. But the television sets have basically been distributed through the
labor centers. These 250,000 television sets have wound up in the hands of
workers' families. Regarding refrigerators, there is no oversupply but
their number is increasing. We are going to continue distributing them
through the labor centers. And then we we will start getting color
television sets. The first color television sets will start to show up.

Perhaps one day we will have motorcycles to distribute, or even--after
other basic needs in the country have been taken care of--several thousand
cars may one day be available [for distribution]. What does this mean? It
means that some items will be scarce while we begin liberating ourselves.
As long as the scarcity persists, however, preference must be given to the
workers. In a people made up of workers there were several articles which
were sold only in certain stores. This was very irritating. Once we find a
better procedure--if we find one while maintaining the same principle--let
us implement this more convenient procedure which will save you all that
work at the centers.

For the time being, however, do not give up those items you have selected.
Bear with this work in the labor union sector [applause] until we find a
better system, based on the same principles. Of source do not start
thinking about cars too rapidly. The country is going to import some rental
automobiles to replace the old junky vehicles which run through the streets
of our capital, and which are very expensive. [applause] We are also going
to import some cars for technicians. To sell vehicles to technicians who
need them according to the type of work they do and to improve their output
is not a privilege. I am sure you all agree to this. [crowd shouts yes] For
example, doctors who are making house calls.

The have been given cars at cost and on easy payment terms. They pay part
of the maintenance and fuel costs. The car is theirs and they undoubtedly
take good care of it. Besides, they drive the cars themselves and they are
very thrifty. We give them also because these are luxury items and they
must be distributed wisely, where they will yield more benefits to the
country. I know you have never said so, but we are aware that the labor
movement also needs some vehicles. [extended wild applause and cheers]

Of course the arguments presented by Comrade Lazaro and by the labor
leaders are very wise ones. When we asked them how many cadres of permanent
and professionals they are going to have--and we are seriously concerned
with not inflating the workers' movement payroll--they explained that
sometimes they need three cadres when one would be sufficient as a result
of [lack of] resources to work with. And this also came up in the
discussion with municipal committees. We really understand that you must
save up on cadres, you must have the greatest productivity. We do not
promise you immediate solutions but we do assure you that throughout the
year 1974 we are going to make an effort to give the workers movement the
minimum indispensable automotive resources they need for their work
[applause] and with a view toward increasing your output as working cadres.

You have reached agreements about the qualifications; you even have a draft
bill approved here in the congress, which in all probability will be made
law by the Revolutionary Government. [applause] The matter of qualification
is very important It is estimated that the workers movement has to qualify
over 100,000 workers within the next few years, not counting the qualified
workers who graduate from the polytechnical schools and the technological
institutes, that is, out of the regular schools, as regards qualification,
we will be able to do wonders in future years because the polytechnical
schools and technological institutes are mushrooming all over the country.
And each year we are going to give more emphasis to that sector: the
schools. Around 150 polytechnical and basic high schools are being built in
the country per year. That is, the equivalent of 150 units of 500 students.
In the Oriente Province alone, in a single year, almost 20 polytechnical
schools have been built in sugar centrals. In Arquitex the Textile
Technological Institute has just been dedicated. And, in Ariguanabo the
polytechnical school with room for 1,000 students will be opened in
December alongside the factory. The material base for the professional
training of our youth is increasing significantly. This same material base
can be also utilized by the workers. They can be there as teachers,
alongside the factories. The teachers can be used for the qualification
courses. The multiple ways of cooperation between the worker movement and
the qualification plans of the youth can be studied. As we said before the
value of this congress is mainly that it is a first important and decisive
step in the task of seeking the maximum efficiency of our economy. To seek
the maximum efficiency of the economy becomes a fundamental task of the
revolution in the coming years. [applause] A taks for the party, for the
workers movement, for the youth organizations and for the mass
organizations. Work is already being done in the preparation of the 76-80
plan which will be the first 5-year plan of the revolution [applause], and
which in broad form will be approved by the first congress of our party in
1975 [cheers and rhythmic applause]. And this plan will unavoidably be a
taut plan, a strong plan which will guarantee the progress of the country
in the next few years. That will require the maximum effort from all of our
people. We hope that th labor leaders will take part in the drawing up of
that plan, that in the analysis and discussion of that plan all of our
workers will participate. [applause] The economic battle is fundamental and
that battle will only be won with the maximum participation of our working
masses. It will also be necessary to strengthen the administration. Another
one of the virtues shown by this workers process in which --as Lazaro
said-- there was no evidence of any antiadministrative spirit.

We expect the closest cooperation and working relationship between the two
representatives of our people: You, the representatives of the workers who,
with your hands create the riches, and the administratives, representatives
of the socialist state. [applause] Representatives of the socialist
administration, we have increased the administration budget; [applause] now
the administration must be strengthened. Female and male comrades, our
party feels proud of the results of this congress, of your work, of your
successes. It has been an extraordinary proof of political and
revolutionary maturity. It has revealed in all its depth the awareness of
our working class. Today you chose the CTC leaders. The party was not alien
to the nomination, but the party did not interfere saying who should be
elected. The party interfered by asking the maximum leaders of the workers
movement what the working masses' feeling was, what the labor unions'
feeling was and what the feeling of the working leaders was about the
nomination that would be presented to the congress. The leaders who today
form the national committee, speaking on behalf of the workers, said
unanimously that the Cuban workers feeling was that Comrade Lazaro Pena
should be the CTC secretary general. [prolonged applause] Comrade Lazaro
held an important post in the party leadership, but due to the extreme
important that this workers movement has for the revolution, the party
leadership accepted that Comrade Lazaro be nominated and work directly with
this workers front. This election was carried out in a totally democratic
way; a way that mirrors the feelings of the workers. This is the task of
the party: to guarantee the democratic spirit of the process, to interpret
and support the will of the masses and to orient that will toward basic
problems. This election is, primarily, homage to a comrade who has devoted
his entire life to the cause of the workers. [rhythmic applause] It
constitutes recognition of this position as a teacher of the workers cadres
[applause], because from what the labor leaders tell us, Lazaro has been
like a teacher to them. During these months with him they have learned more
about the labor movement and dealings with workers, and labor union matters
than they had known in their entire lives. But it is also recognition of
Comrade Lazaro Pena's extraordinary talent for dealing with and leader
workers. [applause]

Comrade Lazaro has been the soul of this process which preceded the
congress, since the work on the projects to the actual holding of the
congress. [applause] However, together with Comrade Lazaro Pena, a group of
young labor leaders have been elected. Agapito will not take offense if I
call him young too, because here, because of his enthusiasm we all consider
him young. [applause]

But there is a whole contingent of young cadres with wonderful
qualifications, with a wonderful attitude, with a solid reputation among
the workers, who, we feel certain, will learn much from Comrade Lazaro
Pena. For this reason, one of Comrade Lazaro Pena's tasks will be to form
in his style and through his example, this valuable contingent of young
cadres who are the hope for the Cuban workers movement. [applause]

We are pleased to see the way the congress has developed and we are
pleased--highly pleased--by the comrades whom you have elected. We are
deeply pleased by the democratic spirit of this workers movement, and we
can state that, if we decided in 1970 to create a strong, a powerful
workers movement, then deeply democratic, solid and indestructible bases
for that workers movement have been laid today. [applause]

The enthusiasm and the quality of the delegates who are attending this
congress fills us with hope. We are deeply pleased with the assurance and
the confidence with which they have acted, with which they have worked and
with which they have spoken here; and we do not have the slightest fear of
being in error when we state that our workers movement and our party have a
magnificent repository of enthusiastic, hones and revolutionary fighters.
[applause] Never before has our workers movement had such perspectives.
Never has our workers movement been as solid as it is today. Thus, the
revolution can count on another force. The party can count on one more
force in the tasks it must accomplish.

It will be your duty to continue on this road upward, to strive, to study,
to prepare yourselves, to follow this magnificent tradition which you have
set in this historic congress.

This congress has been, moveover, magnificent proof of the internationalist
spirit. Our workers have enthusiastically and decisively supported the
cause and the struggle of workers all over the world. [applause] Here, in
front of representatives from almost 70 organizations, you have expressed
that internationalist spirit in the wonderful demonstrations of friendship,
of affection and of solidarity with the USSR workers [applause] and with
the workers of all socialist countries. [applause] You have expressed your
unconditional support of the workers, the fraternal people of Chile,
[applause] of the heroic struggle of the Arab peoples, [applause] of the
dear people of Vietnam, [applause] of the fraternal people of Puerto Rico,
[applause] of the fighters who struggle against neocolonialism, colonialism
and racism in Africa. [applause]

You have expressed your pride in the Cuban workers who in different parts
of the world are fulfilling their internationalist duties [applause] in the
medical teams which serve in the fraternal country of Syria [applause], in
the construction workers who work in the Democratic Republic of Guinea
[applause], in the doctors, technicians, teachers and others who are
currently working in equatorial Guinea, or in Algeria, or in Yemen.
[applause] You have expressed the wish that brigades of Cuban construction
workers march to Vietnam [applause], as they will soon march with their
equipment to contribute to the reconstruction of that fraternal country.

These feelings honor us, honor our working class, and fill our party with
satisfaction and hope, because without that internationalist spirit there
could never be a communist conscience. [applause]

Even though we are a small country and still a poor one, it cannot hurt us
in the least to give some of our resources to aid other revolutionary
peoples who are even poorer than we. Moreover, if a nation has the duty to
aid others, that nation is one such as ours, which has known at close hand
the fruits of proletarian internationalism [applause] and has been helped
as much as we have [applause]. That Lenin's great country aided Cuba in
decisive moments, with all its strength, it is only fair that we also help
other revolutionary peoples as much as we can. [applause] However, this
congress has also been a demonstration of magnificent internationalist
spirit from another angle with representatives of almost 70 labor
organizations gathered here. [applause] It is with real pride that we have
seen representatives of the most prestigious and most solid organizations
of the world labor movement file past this rostrum. We have had the
pleasure of listening to the secretary general of the World Union
Federation, Comrade Pierre Gensous [applause], and Comrade Aleksandr
Shelepin, the chairman of the USSR All-Union central Council of Trade
Unions and member of the CPSU Politburo [applause], who conveyed to us the
sentiments of fraternity and solidarity of the Soviet workers. Leaders of
labor organizations from the fraternal socialist countries, leaders of the
labor organizations of Africa, Asia and Latin America and leaders of
important international organizations have spoken before us. We have had
the opportunity of hearing the moving and profound words by the
representative of our fraternal Puerto Rican workers; we have heard the
representatives of the Arab peoples, the peoples of Vietnam, Korea, and of
the African workers. We have U.S. labor leaders here among us. The
representatives of the heroic workers of Chile are present. [applause]
Comrade Hortencia Bussi Allende has honored this congress with her presence
[extended applause] and her daughter Beatriz. [applause] All of them have
had exceptionally warm and affectionate words for us--words full of
fraternal encouragement.

As each of them took his place at the rostrum, we could see, as in on open
book, just how far the solidarity of our people and our working classes has
developed with the most just and most revolutionary causes throughout the
world. [applause]

Our country has fulfilled and will continue to fulfill its internationalist
duties. In recalling those Cubans who are performing their duty in other
lands, we must not forget our comrades of the Revolutionary Armed Forces
who, in one way or another, are also doing their duty as technicians in
various countries. [prolonged applause]

This congress has dedicated special attention Chile. Workers throughout the
world were urgently called upon today to show solidarity with the Chilean
people and to struggle actively against the criminal fascist junta.
[applause] We are sure that the labor movement throughout the world,
particularly the labor leaders from European countries who so worthily and
brilliantly represented their union organizations here--we are referring to
the labor representatives from capitalist countries who are also here among
us [applause]--we are sure that these labor leaders will take up that call
as their own. [applause]

Thousands of Chileans, and not only Chileans but also Latin American who
were living in Chile, have been dragged in and out in prisons, persecuted,
or expelled by the fascist junta. Many countries have offered them
hospitality. Many of them wish to come to our country and reside here, as
long as they cannot return to a liberated Chile or their own liberated

We have housing problems, but we propose here to the workers, to the
participants of this congress, that the labor microbrigades in Havana offer
an apartment in each building that they complete in the future to a Chilean
or Latin American family. [prolonged rhythmic applause]

There are almost 500 microbrigades in Havana. This would mean that in less
than a year there would be 500 apartments for the use of those who come to
reside here from the fraternal republic of Chile. [applause] We do not have
much, but we gladly and with revolutionary spirit share the little we have
with our Latin American brothers from any part of the continent who are
being persecuted. [applause]

Ladies and gentlemen: I have but to express to all the labor
representatives present here our deep gratitude for your presence in this
event, and to express to you all, on behalf of our party, our most profound
gratitude and or most sincere congratulations for the success of this
congress. [applause] Long live the Cuban working class! [vivas] Long live
the internationalist proletariat! [audience cheers] Fatherland or death! We
shall triumph!