Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Text of Castro Speech

Havana Domestic Radio and Television Networks in Spanish 0204 GMT 9 Nov 76

[Speech by Premier Fidel Castro at ceremony held at La Demajagua on 7
November 1976 to mark the installation of the five easternmost provinces'
provincial assemblies--recorded]

[Text] Dear Comrades:  It looks like it is going to rain.  We welcome the
rain because this province has endured many droughts in recent years.  That
is why I will try to be as brief as possible.  Eight years ago, we gathered
here to mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the war of
independence.  Today we are gathered here to declare officially established
the five new provinces of the eastern region.  I must confess, as I have
said before, that it is difficult to adapt ourselves to the idea of the
division of our beloved province.  This was something merely sentimental.
We were so accustomed to talking about Oriente and calling ourselves
"orientales" that it was hard to realize that all of a sudden our province
had become five new provinces. But in reality, it was absolutely impossible
to install the people's government and the appropriate management of the
work and the tasks that will be undertaken in a province as big and as
populated as Oriente was.

That old political-administration division was almost 100 years old. I
cannot recall how many inhabitants it had in those days, but I believe that
the smallest of the new provinces today has as many inhabitants as Oriente
had at the end of the last century. On the other hand, that immense
territory had forced us to create regions each each region was a sort of
small province. By making the provinces smaller, creating larger
municipalities and suppressing an intermediate level between the
municipality and the province, the country is going to gain a lot. The
municipalities gain, the provinces gain and the nation gains. It also meant
a great savings in cadres. It unquestionably created the conditions for a
better political and administrative work.

We also know that the old Orientales, Tuneros, Holguineros, Manzanilleros,
Bayameses and Guantanameros are very satisfied, and even proud to watch
their regions become provinces.  The Santiagueros understand this feeling.
Santiago is the glorious cradle of the revolution and will continue to be
the moral capital of the former Oriente region, and also the moral capital
of the revolution, [applause] because Santiago is for the Cubans what
Leningrad is for the Soviets.

Today the provincial assemblies were installed throughout the country and
ceremonies such as this one have been or are being held right now in
Jimaguayu, Mal Tiempo, Giron, Cacahual and Mangos de Roque as a symbol of
simply the historic continuation of what was begun in the last century.

On you fall great responsibilities, above all on the delegates to the
provincial assemblies and, especially, on the shoulders of the delegates of
the new eastern provinces.  In 1976, around this date approximately, the
former Oriente Province already had a population of 3.34 million
inhabitants in a territory of more than 36,000 square kms, with a
population density of 91 inhabitants per square kilometer, a little more
than the national average of 85 inhabitants per square kilometer.

The population of the former Oriente Province has grown extraordinarily in
the past 20 years, and although I do not have the exact figures now, I
believe we are now at least twice what we were on 26 July 1953.  With the
new possibilities of the revolution, this factor, along with others I am
not going to examine at this time but which include the development of the
province and its cultural backwardness, resulted in a real population
growth in this region of the country.

One does not have to be a sociologist.  It is enough to go through the
streets of any of the cities, the small communities and rural areas of the
former Oriente Province to note the immense number of children everywhere.
This creates a real strain on social services.  Many schools have been
built, but they are not enough.  There are not enough hospitals.  We even
had to give accelerated priority to the construction of hospitals in the
Oriente region.  There are not enough child-care centers.  To this must be
added other needs such as the problems of transportation, communications,
housing, water, and so forth.

The region occupied by these new provinces requires, therefore, a more
accelerated development than the rest of the country, even to satisfy the
growing demand for jobs.  If a few years ago the problem consisted of a
lack of manpower, we are already noticing indications of a supply and
demand of jobs in this region.  Moreover, in recent years this region of
the country has been showing a very unfavorable climatological situation.
These circumstances require that the country make its greatest effort for
development of these provinces.

The imperative need for establishing in Oriente many of the new industries
had already been raised some years ago, although, in some cases, this would
require the transfer of certain raw materials from great distances.  This
is how it was decided to build in Holguin the sugarcane harvesters factory,
a farm tools factory and a hospital furniture factory; the new bottle
factory in Tunas, which is a big installation; the sprinkler irrigation
equipment factory in Manzanillo, as well as a battery factory; the textile
mill in Santiago de Cuba, which is the biggest in the country, with a
capacity for 80 million square meters [of material]; the printing industry
for the Education Ministry in Palma Soriano; another printing industry in
Guantanamo and the factory of (Gris) and malleable iron.  Many
construction, foodstuffs and other industries--not to mention, of course,
the big nickel production plants which necessarily must be installed in the
northeastern part of the province, as well as the future iron and steel
industry which, because of raw materials, must be installed in this
province--have been built.

It will be necessary and mandatory to continue this policy.  Otherwise, the
demands for jobs in the new provinces could not be satisfied.  This region
of the former Oriente Province has some important natural resources.  It
has, in the first place, great agricultural possibilities.  These provinces
have 42 sugar mills with a potential grinding capacity of 14 million
arrobas daily.  There are big extensions of land suitable for sugarcane
cultivation, livestock, rice and citrus fruits.  They [the new provinces]
have more than 90 percent of the country's coffee plantations and extensive
areas suitable for forestry.  In other words, we must push agricultural
development in the new provinces.  It will not be easy to obtain all the
fruit from the Oriente lands because we have the problem of water.
Construction of the first dams began at the start of the revolution.

In this manner, the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Dam, the Paso Malo dam, the
Buey dam, the Biran dam, the Nipe dam, the Leonero dam, the Bilbert dam
that supplies water to Santiago de Cuba, the Yaya dam in the Guantanamo
region, and many other intermediate and smaller dams were built.  This
program was continued.  For example, the Canasta dam on the Cauto River,
near the Mella, is currently under construction.  The Moa dam for
industrial use is under construction.  I forgot to mention the Pedregal dam
in Guantanamo. Now work is going on in Guisa.  There are plans to build
one at Cautillo.  Moreover, there is a large number of brigades for the
construction of microdams.  We cannot rest a single minute in this work.

The population needs water. The industries need water and, above all,
agriculture needs water. We could say, when we observe these provinces,
when we observe their magnificent soil, when we observe enormous areas
where there is sugarcane with burned leaves at a time when spring is
ending, the problem of this province in connection with agriculture, the
first problem, is water, water and water. A lot has been said and there are
theories on matters dealing with the climate. It is unquestionable that
historically in Oriente the rainfall level is lower than that of the rest
of the country. But despite that, we recall how much we had to run in the
first years of the revolution to move the cattle and adopt numerous
measures due to the floods we had in this Cauto Valley. There used to be
constant floods until [Hurricane] Flora came and brought the worst of all

Some tropical storms used to come, but how long has it been since we had a
tropical storm in Oriente Province?  Some say there are cycles, sometimes
prolonged, of droughts which are a natural phenomenon.  But regardless of
the theories, we cannot sit still.  We must continue to look for
underground rivers and continue to build as many dams as possible.  Today
when we pass by the Sierra Maestra, we can observe that it is raining in
the mountains and we knew that those waters would flow to the Paso Malo,
Buey, Pedregal and other dams, and even though the rainfall may not be
much, that water will not be lost.  From the agricultural, industrial and
social viewpoints, that slogan that said "Let not a single drop of water
flow to the sea" must be applied with priority in Oriente Province.

It is true that there are years such as this one when we have to endure
the pain of watching the dams almost empty at the end of spring. But we
should not lose hope because of that. We must continue to struggle to take
advantage of as many possibilities that might emerge in order to have
larger quantities of water.

This province has important mineral resources.  It is known that in the
northwestern part of Oriente we have one of the more important nickel
reserves of the world.  There, nickel is mixed with iron, with aluminum
and with chrome.  There we have the mineral resources needed to establish
large nickel-producing plants.  It is true that it is painful to see that
we are only exploiting nickel and are not taking advantage of the iron.
That iron ore is being accumulated into what is called the end of the
industrial plants [colas de las plantas industriales], and they will serve
as the foundation for the development of our future steel industry.

Those minerals also contain important quantities of aluminum which is not
yet being used, chrome, as I said, and I forgot to mention cobalt.  We have
reached the phase of the analysis, of the technical and economic studies
for the construction of the first steel plant that will have a capacity for
more than 1 million tons of steel.  It is also painful to see that
practically we are nothing more than producers of raw materials in the
mining field, because what is really valuable is not the nickel by itself,
but nickel when it is forged into stainless steel and when stainless steel
is manufactured into stainless steel equipment.

Iron by itself is not as valuable as when it is forged into steel and steel
is then manufactured into equipment, because the mineral needed to produce
a ton of steel could be worth $40 or $50.  A ton of steel is worth $200 or
$300 if it is regular steel [acero corriente].  And a ton of steel turned
into equipment costs thousands of dollars.

This is one of the greatest tragedies of underdeveloped countries that
produce relatively cheap raw materials and do not have the possibilities
for processing these raw materials to make them as valuable as possible.
Of course, this road is a long one.  The production of aluminum requires
enormous amounts of energy.  The same thing happens with aluminum.  The raw
material to produce a ton of aluminum costs quite a few dollars.  A ton of
aluminum could cost $800 or $1,000, and aluminum equipment already costs
thousands of dollars because aluminum is used to build airplanes, for
example, and many other things.

Our country, therefore, must not give up and will never give up the hope
that some day we will produce steel, special steels, and also be a producer
of equipment.  Now, what we can do is advance in the exploitation of those
nickel resources, reserve the surplus raw materials, and move ahead as much
as possible in the production of steel.  This region has the privilege of
having those important natural resources.  And big areas of these provinces
aer still to be explored--in Sierra Maestra, Sierra de Cristal, Baracoa and
other areas.

But this province has something very important--human resources. And
industries must be established either near the raw materials or where the
manpower exists. One of the worst inconveniences affecting the people of
this region was the educational and technical level of the people. None of
these industries I have been speaking about, no metallurgical industry
which produces nickel, aluminum, chrome, cobalt, steel or machinery, no
modern industry can be developed, can be installed or developed if there
are not very well-qualified technicians and workers. And in this regard,
this region of the country was very poor. Fortunately, in recent years
scores of polytechnical institutes have been built in this province. Most
of the sugar mills already have their polytechnical institute nearby where
qualified workers and technicians are trained, not only for the sugar
industry but also for many of the country's industries.

We must not stop until there is a polytechnical institute at each sugar
mill and a polytechnical institute near each important industry since we
must work fast in the qualification and training of the people of these

Among the five new provinces, some are more developed than others.  We
have, for example, Santiago de Cuba which is the second largest province in
the country and already has a certain degree of industrial development.  In
the same way, Holguin, with its new industries and above all the industries
in the mining zone, also is acquiring this development.  The Province of
Granma has great agricultural possibilities.  The same is true for Las
Tunas Province.  But neither one will be merely an agricultural province.
They will have to aspire to be agricultural and industrial provinces.

The poorest one of all in industries and natural resources currently is the
Province of Guantanamo.  It is not only the poorest of the five eastern
provinces in natural resources, but also the poorest in the entire country.
It has a relatively small valley for its agricultural land on which
important hydraulic projects are under construction to try to irrigate
everything.  Some land suitable for citrus fruits is being developed in an
accelerated manner, [as well as] certain hilly areas adequate for the
cattle industry, areas that are very dry in the south of the province and
areas that have better precipitation in the northern area.

Its communications are still poor. Although a highway from Guantanamo to
Sagua is under construction, it still has not been completed. There is
still no communication between Baracoa and Moa although it will be
installed soon. However, the population is quite numerous. This indicates
that in the same way that the country's effort is required for development
of these five new provinces, a special effort will be required within these
provinces for the development of the new province of Guantanamo. It will be
necessary to determine on its territory and, above all, provide for maximum
development of its forestry resources. This includes, of course, the
creation of forests; in other words, the planting of forests. There are
areas in Guantanamo Province still extremely poor and this will require the
attention of the country.

Although we must not consider any province by itself, the development of
the mining region and that of iron and steel industry could create sources
of employment not only for the Province of Holguin but also for the other
provinces and, especially, for those provinces that are lacking in natural

These provinces need to have the best cooperation between themselves, not
only in the national sense, but also in the regional sense.  These
provinces are very closely knitted together.  Some are mainly producers of
cane, others have greater possibilities in the production of milk and meat,
others have land more suitable for the production of vegetables and starchy
vegetables, others for fruit.  Thus there must be close cooperation between
these new provinces.  It is necessary to energetically fight any type of
provincial egotism, any demonstration of regionalism, because what would
Santiago de Cuba do without vegetables and starchy vegetables?  For
example, Holguin, or the Granma zone?  In the same manner the rest of the
provinces would not be able to function without the refined petroleum
products of Santiago, the cement production, the textile production and
others of Santiago de Cuba Province.

It is necessary for the party to maintain a vigilant attitude to avoid all
these problems of regionalism or egotism, and to bear in mind that it is
not right to supply the province itself with vegetables and starchy
vegetables first and to forget other regions that need these supplies.

Of course, this does not exclude the sincere emulation between provinces
and the efforts that each province must make for its own development.  It
is necessary for the party of each new province and the organs of the
people's government of each new province to give great attention, analyze,
study, promote research work in the search for natural resources and in the
analysis of the possibilities of those natural resources.  It is not
necessary to wait for the top leadership, the central government, to order
the initiatives.  Each province must have the greatest knowledge of its
possibilities, of its possible lines of development and to struggle,
propose and correctly insist upon the development of those possibilities.

It is clear, of course, that the national resources must be distributed in
accordance with a number of factors, such as the economic possibilities,
the greater advantages, the social situation of each region of the country,
but this does not deny or exclude the need for each province to give its
attention, analyze and prepare its possibilities, and to struggle for them.
It is the duty of the central government to work for an equitable
development of the whole country, but at the same time it is each
province's duty to work and struggle for the development of each province.

It is not enough for the party and the people's government to exclusively
show concern for local problems, the administration of all they have.
There are many things that the people's governments must consider.  Not
only do they have to show concern for some because they fall within the
jurisdiction or administration of the people's government, but they have to
show concern for all the economic branches and all developments that do not
necessarily fall within the administration of the people's government.
They must show concern for the universal development of the provinces.

We have said on other occasions that you will have to confront numerous
demands and necessities with really limited and scarce resources.  Pressure
will be brought upon you with the problems of the social club, the school,
the hospital, the water, the street, the houses.  Pressure will be brought
upon you for the sake of a better and more efficient administration of each
of the stores, recreation centers and production centers that are directly
subordinated to the people's governments, but this does not mean that
anyone has the right to forget a national industry or a sugar mill.  It is
necessary that the people's government and the party have a universal
approach to all the problems of the province.

The party secretary and the party leadership in the municipality must be
alert to the functions of all the municipality's industries, and in those
municipalities where there is a sugar mill the party must be
perfectly informed of all the sugar mill's problems, both in the
agricultural and industrial order--such problems as what can be done to
have more cane and what can be done with that cane to obtain the highest
industrial yields.  The party must be fully informed in each municipality
and in each province and must have the most profound knowledge possible of
all the principal economic activities of the municipality and province.

The application of this principle is essential for the people's
governments that are being established.  Next to this, the party must give
guidance in the meticulous study of the possibilities of its province and
its municipality, and must try to develop them to the maximum.  Some of
the installations that were projected several years ago were based on the
old political-administrative division.

That is how a certain number of schools of a specific type and a certain
number of schools of another type were determined.  That is why, for
example, the first program for construction of vocational schools included
six provinces--vocational school sin all provinces and bigger schools in
the three largest provinces.  That is why now Holguin has a vocational
school for 4,500 [students].  There would be another one for 4,500 in
Santiago but it had not yet been built.  It was decided to build two
schools, one in Guantanamo and another in Santiago for 2,500 each.  There
was time to adjust the program.  Now then, we believe and are in favor of
each province having its own vocational school.

So far as teacher training schools are concerned there is no problem.
They have been practically built given the anticipated needs in all the new
provinces.  Right here we already have a teacher training school.  We have
one in Guantanamo, in Santiago, in Tunas, in Camaguey, in the region of
Ciego de Avila, in Cienfuegos, in Villa Clara. In other words, we have
today already built or have under construction teacher training schools in
all the new provinces.  But we would like for all the new provinces to have
a vocational school also.  If previous [total] capacities were for 25,000
students, capacities would rise to some 37,500 students if we had
vocational schools in all the provinces.  This does not hurt anyone.

But today we have Granma and Tunas without vocational schools.  Ciego de
Avila, Sancti Spiritus and Cienfuegos have no vocational school.  Five of
the 14 provinces have no vocational schools.  It seems to us that we must
struggle so that each province can have its vocational school.

Programs also were drafted years ago for physical education instructors
schools.  Many already have been built and it seems to us that each
province should have its own physical education instructors school and that
each province should have its school for sports initiation.  And it remains
to be determined what are the country's requirements for child-care center
instructors schools, for example, because it seems to us that these school
institutions give life and possibilities to all the provinces.  The
students of a vocational school should not have to travel far.  Each
province should be able to train its professors, teachers, physical
education instructors, athletes.

We already have in an advanced stage the sports initiation school in
Santiago with a capacity for 1,500 students, and one in Holguin with a more
or less similar capacity.  These schools are under construction in other
provinces of the country.  And if each province had a sports initiation
school, some would have a capacity for 1,500 and others for 1,000 since
there cannot be 20 different projects adapted to the population of each
province.  In some cases the school would be somewhat small and bigger in

If at a given moment there is a surplus of professors in one province they
could go to another one.  Moreover, we must not only consider our
requirements.  Situations arise also in which other countries ask us for
teachers; they ask us for physical education instructors, they ask us for
technicians, and so forth.  But we believe that each one of these
institutions should exist in all the provinces.  If now we only have in
these five provinces two physical education instructors schools, students
from the provinces should go to these schools until we can build similar
schools in all provinces.

If we now have only two sports initiations schools, they must be placed at
the service of all the provinces.  As I was saying, if all the provinces
had a sports initiation school, the total number of students in sports
initiation schools would be about 17,500.  This is not a high figure.  It
is not an exaggerated one.

In the same way, we believe that all provinces should have a
vocational-military school; in other words, the Camilitos schools.  In the
beginning, big schools were built.  Many of these installations will be
diverted to other uses, including university utilization.  And smaller
schools will be built.  The ideal thing, in sum, would be that each
province have its teacher training school, its vocational school, its
physical education instructors school, its Camilitos school, and its
sports initiation school.  And with this concept, we should try to see that
these installations exist in each of the provinces to promote maximum
educational, technical, cultural and sports development of all the
provinces.  And, of course, I have not mentioned all types of schools.

One of the principles of socialism is to seek a balanced development of
the entire country.  This is one of the fundamental principles of
socialism.  And we must adhere to this principle.

In a few days, the people's government national assembly will be
established.  Therefore, this is not the time to discuss all these topics.
But I wanted to devote myself to some of these ideas because it seems to me
they are essential ones.

Go ahead and work.  Work with enthusiasm.  Devote to your responsibilities
the maximum effort and the country will support these new eastern

One hundred and eight years ago, in this same place, next to that sugar
mill whose remains can be seen around here, and with this same bell, the
people were called upon to join the first war of independence.  There is no
better place than this one for such an event as this.  Near this location,
the Granma landing--whose 20th anniversary will be commemorated in a few
days--took place.  You are well aware that this region of the country is
dearly loved by all of us.  Our memories are closely tied to the old
Oriente Province.  This province has sufficient history to distribute among
the five new provinces, and there is a lot of history in each of them.

These lands of Granma Province not only were the scene of our landing, but
also of the most difficult months of our struggle following the landing.
Manzanillo was the first city to make contact with us in those days.  And
as the war was extended, the other cities joined our effort until we
reached Bayamo, a city with great historic merits.

There was much discussion as to which should be the capital
city--Manzanillo or Bayamo.  Both had historic merits.  Any one of the two
deserved to be the capital of Granma Province.  The decision was made
keeping in mind the geographic, communications and other characteristics
that were considered in all the provinces. The people of Manzanillo
understood.  But we should tell them today that Manzanillo, although not
the capital, will never be forgotten by the revolution.  [applause]
Innumerable combats were waged in this Granma Province that includes Bayamo
and Manzanillo and on its mountains and plains.  This province has memories
not only of the past history but also of the present history.  You have
many historic sites.  There are many historic sites you will remember.

It is for us reason for deep satisfaction that at a time when we will soon
commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Granma, we can proclaim that the
Province of Oriente was not divided, but it has multiplied and it delivers
to the fatherland five new, vigorous and mighty provinces.  [applause]  It
is a tribute worthy of La Demajagua, worthy of the Granma and worthy of the
Sierra Maestra.  We wish you all the success and victories which we are
certain you will achieve.  Fatherland or death, we will win!  [crowd shouts
"Venceremos"; applause]