Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Address by Fidel Castro

FL002323Y Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2218 GMT 2 Dec 78 FL

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at the closing session of the 14th
Congress of the Central Organization of Cuban Workers--CTC--held at the
Lazro Pena auditorium of the CTC building on 2 December--live]

[Text] Distinguished guests, comrades of the party and government
leadership, delegates to the 14th labor congress: It is not easy to make
the closing remarks at an event so rich in content, ideas and results as
this one.  I will attempt to give my impressions.  Someone said yesterday
in a conversation that it seemed as if the 13th congress had been held
yesterday and I said: It seems as if it were held this morning.  Five years
of revolutionary life of our workers and people go very fast in this
congress.  But in those 5 years since 1973, how many important events have
taken place?

First of all, we had the first party congress in 1975; the discussion and
adoption of the republic's constitution; the institutionalization; the
politico-administrative division; the installation of the people's
governments; the start of the implementation of the system of management
and planning of the economy; and other important efforts which have forced
the mass organizations to adapt themselves to all these new circumstances
and have required an intense effort by our workers.

An examination of the accomplishments of the trade union movement during
these 5 years was brilliantly described in the main report.  In reality the
progress has been impressive.  I will not attempt to repeat it all, but we
can cite an example in the educational field within the trade union
movement.  We struggle for a sixth-grade education, the struggle that began
in the 13th congress; some said it was impossible to graduate one million
workers from the sixth grade in this period of time. As the main report
stated this is a goal that has been practically attained, that goal which
was to be reached by 1980.  This means that the minimum level of our
workers has been raised to the sixth grade and the sixth grade education
required today is not easy.

Starting from this victory our objective is reaching by 1985 the level of a
ninth-grade education.  Yes, I know that something has been said about half
a million workers having a ninth grade education by 1985. bat is your
commitment, but in reality it is a modest goal. [laughter in the audience]
It is modest.  We agree with you in having adopted a modest goal, but in
general terms we should strive for a minimum ninth-grade education by 1985.

Throughout the world a lot is said about the success Cuba achieved with the
literacy drive and the fact that illiteracy had been eradicated.
Nevertheless, in our judgment the easiest battle was the struggle against
illiteracy.  It was more spectacular, but did not take a long time.
However, I believe the greatest merit should be assigned to the effort of
our revolution following the literacy drive.

It will be a much greater triumph, the one we will achieve when we are able
to say that the minimum [educational] level of our workers is the sixth
grade.  And the day that we are able to say that the minimum [educational]
level of our workers has reached the ninth grade, that will be a still
greater triumph.  Because I am, was and will always be an optimist
[applause], I dare to state that in the next congress in 1983 we will have
made great progress in the battle for a ninth-grade education.  We will
then propose to fight for a twelfth-grade education by 1990. [applause]

Is that impossible? [crowd yells no] Was it not more difficult to reach the
level our workers already have reached?  It was accomplished at a time when
we did not even have classrooms and practically no teachers.  Will it be
difficult when some 26,000, I believe it is 28,000, citizens have already
received in this year their teachers' certificates in this country?  This
is precisely due to the effort that has been made.  A few years ago, 70
percent of our primary teachers did not have a certificate. By 1980 all of
them will have one.  We have tens of thousands attending teacher-training
schools and tens of thousands attending universities and thousands of
primary teachers already training in or preparing to train as primary
teachers in our universities.

The number of schools grows every year.  The number of teachers increases.
We have fewer students.  Therefore the material possibilities and the
objective and subjective factors aimed at stepping up, as much as we want,
this extraordinary program of educational and technical training of our
workers continue to grow.  By then we will be able to show the world what a
revolution of the workers represents and what socialism is.  To this we can
add that there are approximately 145,000 students, of whom 50 percent are
workers, who have already registered at the universities. [applause]

New problems are beginning to arise, which is the number of workers who
have graduated from the worker faculty at the preuniversity level and who
have not been able to enter the universities.  We have the dilemma of
university capacities, limitations, the need to register in regular courses
that enormous bass of students graduating from intermediate or superior
levels at preuniversities and technological institutes.  This forces us to
seek new solutions, new solutions in order to avoid frustrating those
desires, that enormous interest of cur workers for study.  We have to seek
new solutions, new formulas, so that everyone who wants to attend centers
of higher education is able to do so, so that they can accomplish it.  If
it cannot be done in regular courses, then do it in directed [dirigidos]
courses.  These problems were brought up with great enthusiasm by the
comrades of the CTC [Central Organization of Cuban Worker] leadership in a
meeting with the party.  This was done to see if these situations can be
reconciled.  We cannot conceive of it being correct to stop a youth from
continuing his studies.  Thus, we have to think, aside from the number of
worker-students in universities in a permanent status, about programs so
that the workers may conduct directed studies, take tests and receive their

If we now have this problem of an enormous demand for more than 20,000 who
have received their degrees from the worker faculty and have not been able
to register at the universities, you can imagine What it will be like in
1985 when we have a minimum ninth-grade [education] and then a
preuniversity minimum.  No one knows how many will want to attend
university studies.  We believe that our society should work for cultural,
intellectual, spiritual and technical enrichment of the people, without
limits.  So if anyone wants to have the honor--and I say honor because it
is impossible to refer to it in general terms--the honor of possessing a
university degree, we would like to see him have that possibility without,
of course--if everybody has a university degree, everybody will have a job,
like in the past, that corresponds to that degree.... [leaves thought

I bring up this because it is important that we understand that, as long as
there was an enormous scarcity of graduates from the universities, each
graduate could have a job as soon as he received his degree. But the day
when there are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and maybe millions
of persons with those degrees in our society, university training will not
have to be looked at as nothing more than a means, a profession.  But we
must know how to solve this contradiction instead of telling our workers:
If you want to study you cannot do so We must be able to say..  If you want
to study, we will give you the opportunity to study.

This does not imply, I repeat, that the day the situation becomes acute
that all the available jobs will not correspond to those degrees.  I
believe you will understand this idea.  Are we in agreement? [crowd
responds "yes"] We are not working to make everybody physicians, engineers,
devoted to medicine and engineering.  The time will come, it will come,
when even the assignment of a job as an engineer, any type, or physician,
or professor or historian, or economist and so forth will be done in
accordance with the university record. [applause] We will have to find the
way to do it. but, we do not want to depend on this movement at the risk of
becoming a society of intellectuals.  What does a society of intellectuals
really look like?  No one knows that.  But somebody will have to tackle
those problems, the problems of the party and the state and the trade union
movement and so forth in a society of intellectuals, because we are heading
for a society of intellectuals.

But at the same time--this is the good part of it--it will be a society of
proletarian intellectuals and a society of revolutionary intellectuals.
[applause] Therefore, we are not afraid of that [situation].

However, because we have not yet reached that stage and because we still
lack many technicians in many fields and even now lack university
technicians, intermediate level technicians and many qualified workers,
let us return to the soil to suggest that we make a special effort in
giving guidance from this effort to university studies toward the basic
degrees, which the country dearly needs at the present time and, above all,
toward the technology faculty and, within the technology faculty, the
branch of machinery construction.  That is very important.

We have made various efforts and we are advancing in some fields, as in the
field of training teachers and professors.  The registration in agronomy
engineering is growing very rapidly.  The sane is the case with the faculty
of livestock-agriculture.  The registration of students in the school of
economics grows.  Every year the registration at the school of medicine
grows and grows.  Similar success must be achieved with registrations in
the school of technology.  We must make constructive and organized efforts
to expand these schools in our country.

The successes of the trade union movement in recent years are reflected in
may aspects, such as in culture, the beginning [entertainer] movement,
sports.  All records reflect a great growth in all these activities.  New
cadres have been trained.  Our national school has been in full operation.
That does not include provincial schools. Courses are attended not only by
our cadres but by numerous cadres from other countries, especially from
Latin America.  A lot has been gained in experience.  A lot has been gained
in organization.

But, in addition, there is something that is essential in our judgment.  A
lot has been gained in awareness.  A lot has been gained in revolutionary
spirit.  One manifestation of that spirit, which is volunteer work, has
been maintained, improved and enriched.  There are very few things as
impressive as what took place the last Red Sunday on 6 December in honor of
this congress.  It was November.  Thanks for correcting me.  It was 6
November.  What is that?  It was 5 November.  That is correct.  It was on a
Sunday.  Are we in agreement?  It was Sunday, the first Sunday.  I said
there are very few things as impressive as that.  To observe how our people
massively moved toward work centers, toward factories.  What enthusiasm.
All estimates were surpassed.  The 1.2 million figure was mentioned as a
goal, and 1.5 million was reached.  I believe that more than 2 million is
closer, because everyone joined the mobilization.

It was interesting to note.  I said as a joke that on that Sunday there
were more workers at the factories than during the week. [applause and
laughter] Perhaps the most extraordinary thing of all was that there was no
absenteeism on that Sunday, despite the fact that it was volunteer work.
That tradition, that spirit, which Che instilled in car country [applause]
remains alive after 20 years of revolution.  Comrade Veiga mentioned almost
all the main topics discussed in the theses, in the congress and did not
forget to point out the movement of innovators.  We listened to a speech by
the comrade from Guantanamo on the innovators' movement and what it
represents, the same enormous importance that the youth technical brigades

This is what they have been contributing and what they are capable of
believing.  They were asking for resources and facilities, and that is
correct, although naturally one cannot establish a pilot center in every
factory.  We will have to study which centers have the most resources and
facilities in every locality and every region and see how, through those
centers, we can supply the facilities which they were requesting for their

He made a distinction between the technician and the innovator, the one who
invents.  He spoke of enormous possibilities, which is the truth.  We
believe that this movement should receive the greatest attention and
support from the administration and the state. [applause]

The 13th congress was I would say, a more difficult congress than this one.
There were some tricky problems at that congress.  The connection
[vinculacion] between these matters was discussed, (?as it was in this
one).  However, we are not forgetting that some matters were discussed,
such as the famous Resolution No 270, which became unsustainable.  It was
necessary to appeal to the spirit of our workers, to their consciences,
their understanding of the problems, in order to adopt some of the measures
of the 13th congress.

But the connection was the axle, the center and the formula of the
socialist distribution, which has had so many repercussions in our economy.
The benefits of the connection and the application of the principle
corresponding to our phase of the distribution according to work, that is,
the socialist distribution, are unquestionable.  And on some work fronts
the results have been spectacular, as in the case of the port workers.  Of
course it is also the result of a great effort of good organization, but
the fact that productivity increased more than three times gives one the

In practically all sectors there has been an increase in productivity in a
proportion greater than the wage [increase], resulting in a highly positive
benefit for the country's economy.  It is now evident, however, that we did
not take full advantage of the application of this principle.  This
principle must be further improved.  It must continue to be deepened to
overcome those aspects in which errors were committed, in which it was not
applied correctly.  We must not be discouraged by the difficulties in some
cases.  We must continue studying, continue advancing, continue perfecting
it, continue obtaining the advantages of a correct application of this

Agriculture was discussed here.  Much was said about completed fields, of
certain retrogression in the application of the practice of the completed
field which was attributed to certain interests of the administration, to a
certain desire to prevent the effort of the controls which are required.
Some leaders told us that application of this principle in agriculture has
the avoidable consequence of greater administrative effort and greater
control.  Naturally, we must not retrogress in agriculture because, in
reality, agriculture is one of the fields in which we must make a greater
effort for productivity.  The truth is, there is something which socialism
cannot abolish.  There is something which the revolution cannot surmount.
That is work.

And we know what the situation was like in our fields.  Unemployment, on
the one hand, plus fierce competition between workers in search of jobs,
which were relatively plentiful during the sugar harvest period but scarce
during the rest of the year--this was the story of the canecutters at the
time they had to start working, of the wagon drivers who had to be in the
fields at 0200 to begin loading in those times when there were no forklifts
or anything.

Working conditions in the fields forced agricultural workers to ensure
hard, intense activity, forced them to work 12, l3, or 14 hours at an
intense pace.  All of these conditions changed with the revolution.  Lost
time disappeared, unemployment disappeared.  Opportunities for all types of
work appeared everywhere, and not only in agriculture.  Work has humanized.
The workday was reduced considerably.  From 14--not to 8, because there is
talk precisely of an 8-hour workday.  One cannot develop agriculture if one
reduces the workday from 14 to 4 or 5 hours, and does much less intense
work, and has three men under socialism do the work which one man did under
capitalism.  This is not so, of course.  This is not s. But there are cases
where this is so.  There are cases where this is so, but it is not so in
all cases.

Naturally, man has a great ally: technology.  The minute a forklift
appears, force is multiplied. Man's productivity is multiplied, and then
just a few men with a forklift are able to do the job that hundreds of
thousands [as heard] used to do before.  A few men accomplish the job of
loading the cane that hundreds of thousands used to load before.

Then the sugarcane combine arrived and 1 man could do the job of 50.  The
combine is a magnificent piece of equipment.  Then the rice combine arrived
and replaced that hard, arduous task of harvesting rice by hand.  Then the
airplane, which sows rice or sprays herbicide.  Therefore, technology is a
great ally of man and allows us to humanize labor.  It often allows us to
multiply the productivity of labor.  But it takes time to apply technology.
Technology has not been developed for all activities, although it has been
for many.

In our country it is already difficult to find someone to milk a cow by
hand.  This is difficult.  All of the new dairies have milking machines.
However, those who lived during capitalism's livestock era know that one
had to get up very early in the morning, tie up 30 cows in a row--and they
were quite skittish and rebellious--and then milk all 30 to obtain 1.5 or 2
liters of milk.

Technology was progressively introduced into our country.  In the
agricultural sector we could say that technology has been introduced
rapidly--first the forklifts in the canefields, then the collection centers
then the combines and the other agricultural techniques.  However, labor is
needed.  One can use technology.  Technology helps labor, multiplies its
productivity, humanizes it.  These are the characteristics of technology.
But it cannot replace labor.  It can reduce its intensity, reduce physical
effort, but we have to recognize that labor cannot be replaced.

In manual as well as in mechanized and agrochemical activities, we have to
take advantage of the workday and work seriously.  And it is necessary for
the administration to take all necessary steps to exercise control.  It is
necessary for the workers and the labor unions to take all necessary steps
to create this profound conscientiousness and to make demands because we
should all make demands.  I can imagine how difficult it is at the present
time to be a section chief [jefe de lote] because the section chief is not
a class enemy of the worker.  He does not belong to another class.  He did
under capitalism.  Under capitalism the owners were of another class--those
who administered, directed, the section chief, and so on.  They were
called...I don't even know what they were called in that era.  Foremen,
overseers, administrators were in the service of the landowners and the
proprietors.  Today an administrator, the section chief, is not--does not
belong to another class.  He is not an enemy of the worker.  He is from the
workers' ranks, and he is a friend, relative or neighbor of all those who
work with him.  But we must ask and demand of this man that he make
demands.  We must ask and demand that he exercise control, that on the job
he be neither neighbor, friend nor relative of the others [applause], that
his job be to demand, to control.

We must be forceful and very critical of demagogy, irresponsibility, or
weakness, or inefficiency--very critical. [applause] And we should be very
critical of weak cadres--very critical.  This does not in the least mean
that making demands, fulfilling one's duty should be confused with
despotism.  No.  With a lack of brotherhood, comradeship.  No.  No.

The capitalist was the owner.  He was watching over everything.  He had an
employee there, his right-hand man, who had to watch over everything.  Well
then, the administrators and the administrative cadres are the right-hand
men of the working class, of the workers. [applause]

Therefore, the owners, the proprietors, are our workers, and they should
make demands of those who administer' their wealth.  You all know this.
This is how demagogy works.  Our working class, our labor movement, has not
learned so much over the years in vain.

Economicism [economicismo] is easy.  You know that.  And one of the weapons
of capitalism, to prevent and delay the revolution, is precisely

Economicism has caused headaches for more than one revolutionary process
before the workers were able to gain an awareness of their role in society
and in the revolution, in their revolution.  As long as the revolution is
not their revolution it is not a revolution, and as long as policy is not
their policy it is not policy for the worker.  He is correct in demanding
all that he can demand, but when the revolution is his revolution and when
policy is his policy, there is a complete change in the situation.  Then he
can no longer be in conflict with his own interests.  The contradictions
between the interests of the workers and the interests of the exploiters
are legitimate, but contradictions would be absurd and impossible between
the workers and their interests as workers in this identification which is
produced under socialism.  That is why one must be demanding.  One must
criticize demagogy and weakness and tell the administrator "demand of me,"
tell him "demand of me because that is your duty.  And if you do not demand
of men, you are not a good administrator." [applause]

The working class, the worker, the laborer does not need godfathers as
administrator.  He does not need them.  There it is; this is another of the
important roles of compensation [contrapartida] which the labor movement
has.  This subject is interesting, very interesting, especially when
visitors and representatives from many other countries are present.  Yes,
yes.  I must say in the first place that we have never had economicism
problems in our revolution, never. [applause]

Since the first outbreaks, since the first moments when we became aware of
this problem, in the face of certain erroneous slogans, one had to see the
understanding, the clarity with which these problems were seen by our
workers, and we have not had those problems of economicism in the
revolutionary process.  And if cur labor movement is characterized by
anything, it is by this high conscience which it has.  This is a very
interesting subject.

The workers, the laborers and the labor movement have two tasks, two tasks.
The first duty of the workers in the revolution is to build socialism.
That is their first duty [applause] And anything that contributes to the
building of socialism because it is their socialism, their society, their
wealth.  It belongs to no one else.  It is their wealth, the country's, the

He has, as it has been clearly stated here, another role: of guarding the
interests of the workers, the specific workers of that branch, of that
center, their rights, all the prerogatives which the socialist state grants
then, protecting the interests of the workers against any incomprehension,
arbitrary action, injustice.  He must be a defender of the interests of the
workers as workers, all their problems as they have been discussed in this
congress, as they have been discussed in the theses, all the legitimate and
just interests of the workers in all fields and in every sense.  Duties and
rights of the workers, explaining them, presenting them, demanding them,
defending then--this is the task of our labor movement.  Of course, if
someone comes from a capitalist country ... and the capitalists want to
campaign against the labor movement in socialism and they pretend to
present it as an appendage of the administration.  That is what the
ideologists and propagandist liars of capitalism invent.  But one must not
be discouraged by this.  We tell this to the representations of the labor
movement who come from the capitalist countries.  What happens is that in
socialism there occurs the miraculous identity and identification of
interests between the workers and the interests of all the people, who are
naturally working people. [applause]

There occurs the fabulous social miracle in which the working people for
the first time become the owners of their work, owners of the country's
wealth.  And that is why we have this picture in the socialist society and
why we have this labor movement.  This labor movement would be the ideal of
a capitalist, the ideal, naturally, a labor movement speaking about
production and of increasing productivity and of improving quality and
promoting culture, but also a labor movement incessantly speaking of
increasing the wealth.

That is what a capitalist would like, but it does not enter the mind of a
capitalist because to a capitalist the union is the devil reborn. [laughter
and applause]

Who speaks of strikes in a revolutionary process, in a socialist process?
Under capitalism there is nothing but talk of strikes, strikes at any hour,
strikes everyday.  Everyday something is idle under capitalism.  One day
the television statists are idle, the next day it is the air controllers
creating catastrophes, creating chaos in the world because the air
controllers are on strike.  Another time it is New York, which was left I
know not how many weeks without newspapers because they were on strike in
New York.  The most normal thing in the capitalist society is this chaos
and disorder, and it is logical.  It is logical due to the contradiction
which exists between the worker and the capitalist.

We, the revolutionary rulers--I am not referring to others, just to us
alone because there are many revolutionary and socialist rulers in the
world, and 5 cannot say something here which might allude to others--we can
self-criticize.  We can criticize ourselves, but not others, because then
it would not be self-criticism but criticism. [laughter]

We, we are the ones who are inefficient, inefficient.  The inefficiency is
in us, the administrators, the leaders.  We could do things much better,
but we do not.  We could be much more efficient but are not.  If we have
the cooperation to promote the economy, to promote the work, to promote
everything--which a capitalist never has--and having all these advantages,
although we are advancing--no one will deny that we are advancing and
advancing a great deal.  We are nevertheless absolutely convinced that we
are working under optimum conditions, from the human viewpoint, from the
subjective viewpoint, from the viewpoint of the worker, who is the creator
of the wealth.  We may have other problems--underdevelopment, blockage,
many other things--but the contribution, the effort, the cooperation which
the worker offers for everything--no other society in the world has had it.
No leader in the world has had it. No capitalist has had it, never.

Ah, but a capitalist is like a wild beast defending his factory, defending
raw materials, defending costs, defending everything, based on a ferocious
contradiction with the worker, defending his interests as a capitalist with
the help of everyone: the army, the police, the judges, parliament, the
press, everything, in the service of those interests.  He is a wild beast,
and he is efficient.  We cannot deny that the capitalist administering his
factory wants everything efficient.

What must we ask of the socialist administrator?  We must ask him to be
more efficient than the capitalist, more efficient, as a rule.  Not because
he is a proprietor, because he is not the proprietor of any factory, but
because he is administering a factory of the workers, he is administering a
factory of the people.  If it is a thermoelectric central, a truck, or a
bus, it does not belong to any transnational or multinational
transportation company.  Nor is he defending any foreign mine or factory,
or sugar central.  And precisely because the workers understand this and
see it so clearly, one goes to a factory and finds the workers tremendously
interested in production, fond of the factory, full of love and in high
spirits to do whatever is necessary.  This means that the workers, in their
role as workers, are seeing this much more clearly than the administrators,
who are from the working class--because they are from the working class
[applause]--in their role as administrators.  Not that I want to criticize
them gratuitiously, but I have seen this.

Additionally, where did our administrative cadres come from?  As a general
rule they did not come from the bourgeoisie.  They came mainly from the
ranks of the workers.  They had no experience, very little technical

But the cadres have been developing.  One has to admit that these opinions
cannot be generalized.  I refer to a certain attitude.  I am speaking,
meditating a bit on the attitude with which each person should do his work,
the attitude with which the workers should work, those who are directly
involved in production, and the attitude with which those who are in the
administration should work, because I am certain that if we were more
efficient we would take optimum advantage of the extraordinary subjective
factors that exist in a socialist process in favor of production.

I believe we have a magnificent labor union movement.  Of course, it should
continue improving, perfecting itself, but it is a magnificent labor union
movement.  We can say that our revolutionary process can feel truly
satisfied with the role that our workers and our labor union movement are
playing. [applause] Let no one think that the labor union movement is an
appendage of the administration. Let no one think so.  And, looking at this
closely, nor should we speak of appendages but should say, in all fairness,
that the socialist administration, the socialist state, is an instrument of
our workers. [applause]

In our country the administration is an instrument of our workers, of our
working class and its political and labor union organizations.  That is
what can be said.  In any capitalist country it is difficult, very
difficult, absolutely impossible, for the workers to discuss as they do in
our labor unions, for them to participate as they do in our labor unions,
in a word, because in a capitalist society they have no participation
whatsoever.  Here they participate in all sectors--in directing the state,
in the party, everywhere.  In the state's executive body and, what is more
important, in the executive committee of the Council of Misters, at all
their meetings the leader of the Cuban labor union movement is present and
participates. [applause] He is present to coordinate constantly and propose
and remind them of the general and specific interests of our workers.

We are very happy with our congress and with the large attendance by
representatives of the international labor union movement, representatives
of brother workers of the socialist countries, and representatives of the
brother workers of Latin American and African countries and those of the
so-called Third World in general.  We are very happy, very satisfied
[applause] that they have been able to witness the development of this
congress.  And I would like to point out that one of its characteristics
was the broad democratic spirit and the spirit of criticism and
self-criticism.  Starting with the rank-and-file when preparations began 1
year ago for the congress, using fully democratic methods, the delegates
have discussed with utmost freedom as much as they have wanted, any subject
that they wanted to discuss.

They have elected their leaders.  We feel that they have chosen them very
well.  There were votes...some of the most outstanding and valuable leaders
of our labor union movement had a few votes cast against them.  I remember
that when the number of votes were being read there was even some
murmuring, and I said: very good, very good.  First, because the right to
vote against someone is one of the most sacred rights of any delegate.
[applause] Let's begin by respecting this, by feeling satisfaction over
this.  Second, because the work of a director is a difficult and complex
task, a hard job.  And the positions of leaders often conflict.  Regarding
opinions, there may be cases where they did not agree with a comrade who
was certain that he was right, who felt that an injustice had been done.
Regarding promotions, nonpromotions and demotions, all of this might occur.

And then, of course, we have to ask and insist that the leaders make
demands.  There should not, there cannot be, weak leaders, [applause] There
should not be any leaders who avoid confrontations.  There should not be
any leaders who avoid problems.

No leader should be thinking of the congress.  No leader should be
concerned if he has worked conscientiously, responsibly, seriously, and
honestly.  He should not be concerned over the votes cast against him.
Naturally, the criteria of the immense majority of our workers are
revolutionary, Just criteria.  Above all, they are just, and they evaluate.
And we expect our workers to be demanding of their leaders.  If demands are
made of them, let them demand in return.  Let every men's labor be given
the value it deserves, because men, as men, can make mistakes.  This is to
be expected.  In fact, it is quite common.  But the important thing is
being upright, the purity of one's principles, being honest.  Then, of
course, the leader's role if not only to direct of make demands but also to
be understanding, to help, to teach.  Above all, we should demand that the
leader be honest and that he should avoid politicking or demagogy of any
kind.  But then, in reality this kind of leader cannot exist in our country
because the masses would reject them, because our masses are allergic to
demagogy and dishonesty. [applause]

We are personally familiar with the work of many of these leaders that you
have elected.  The electoral process in our country is a complex and
rigorous process.  First of all because in our country no one aspires, no
one can aspire.  This is unknown in socialism, an individual aspiring to
fill a post.  In the revolution this is inconceivable.  An individual
running for a post, hanging up a poster stating 'vote for ugly joe', 'vote
for so-and-so.' [laughter] That does not exist in the workers movement and
you all know how candidates are nominated to the popular power.  What
brings attention to a cadre is his policies, his conduct, his work, and the
people's, the masses' and the workers' opinion.  For the time being here no
one aspires.

It must be taken into account that our labor movement experienced a harsh,
very harsh blow just after the 13th congress.  That was the death of
Comrade Lazaro Pena. [applause] We all remember the pain with which our
people and especially lur workers received that tragedy, that irreparable
loss.  How difficult it was to find a cadre to replace Comrade Lazaro Pena.
Under those circumstances of the concern of all of us, the party's
decision, it was not we who handpicked or chose a cadre.  We met with the
labor movement directors in a completely free fashion and we asked them to
assess the matter for hours until they reached almost unanimous views to
nominate and elect a comrade to replace Lazaro Pena.  The movement's
directors thought and meditated carefully and chose Comrade Veiga.

I think that one of Comrade Veiga1s greatest accomplishments was to have
assumed such a difficult task, virtually impossible for a young cadre from
the labor movement to replace, or occupy the office that Lazaro Pena had
filled.  And we have seen him and the leadership work collectively during
these years, making a really enormous effort without the authority, without
the experience, without the universal recognition that Comrade Lazaro Pena
enjoyed.  Despite these difficult, adverse circumstances they have done an
extraordinary job and we know them because we are in contact with them,
because they participate in the highest level state meetings, because we
have seen these comrades work.  We have observed their conduct, their
concern, their honesty and their firmness.  Whenever a problem concerning
workers, affecting workers has been discussed, they have known how to
respond perfectly to their dual responsibilities as national leaders, state
leaders, party leaders and labor leaders.  Without ever ignoring the
general general interests of the revolution, their basic mission in the
directorate and party and their role has been to be attentive to every
detail and everything that concerns the workers directly.  We are witnesses
to that.  That is why we congratulate the congress delegates and we
congratulate the National Council for their election of the secretariat and
the National Committee. [applause]

During the congress various problems have been brought up throughout the
process by various work centers, by various people.  Some of those problems
were discussed here.

For instance, women's difficulties were broached.  This is a problem that
has been discussed--I remember well--especially since those production
assemblies that were held after 1970.  In many places the Saturday issue
was vigorously discussed and after studying this issue we have always
reached the conclusion--especially in the processes in which a large number
of women participated--that it would be impossible to adopt a measure to
eliminate Saturday [work] and reduce the women's workweek to 5 days.  We
reached this conclusion [murmuring among crowd] just in case. [as heard]

We reached this conclusion.  In many industries this could not be resolved.
Other initiatives and other proposals arose because the proposal did not
come from the women's desire to seek any kind of privilege.  It stemmed
from problems that they had at home and especially from the problems that
they had with their children.  These problems have come up regarding
vacations as well.  We know that many labor centers are filled with
children during vacations because they do not go to school and their
mothers take then to work centers.  That is why vacation programs have been
outlined.  To help with these problems of working mothers a large effort
has been made and is being made with the care centers [circulos] by
constructing care centers.  But I remember that one of the things that was
most discussed was why schools or halfway boarding schools [semi
internados] did not operate on Saturdays.  This has always been discussed
and if it does not seem possible to reduce the work week, let us analyze
this stage and this situation.  We have to try to find solutions to this

Teachers, as you know, had a very intensive program and this can be seen
during the teachers' assembly meetings.  When the light industry assembly
meeting was held you heard some proposals and when teachers' assemblies
were held, other proposals were made.  They complained that they were
virtually going berserk between their meetings, their various obligations
at school, the union, occasionally the party, the youth, the FMC
[Federation of Cuban Women], the CDR's [Committees for the Defense of the
Revolution], in addition to the education programs.  The teachers were all
going to go berserk.  They had to be trained and during these years they
have made a great effort to get their diplomas. But Comrade Fernandez was
telling me that they are partially at fault because this problem has not
been solved.  They probably were analyzing, analyzing for the future.  He
said that in 1980, not in 1979--he did not say what month--the Education
Ministry would be able to open elementary schools on Saturday. [applause]

You applaud but I am certain that if this were a Pioneers' meeting, there
would not be much applause. [laughter] Therefore, at least this news, how
we are going to solve it, I think has to be well thought out--whether or
not it is convenient to hold school--but at least there is hope of finding
a solution to this problem of the difficulties which mothers have with
their children on Saturdays which has been broached so many times.

Matters related to the care center are also discussed.  They are broached
in such a way that we think we should strive to see what things can and
should be done to respond to the very just concern which the working
mothers so often voice regarding these matters.  Those who say that they
have three shifts have to work various shifts and the possibility of the
night care center and the center at such a time. [sentence as heard] In
all, I think it is our duty to find some solution to this problem because
the socialist state cannot be incapable of finding some kind of solution to
this oft-repeated problem of working mothers.

Vacation time problems were discussed here.  We cannot realistically
promise that vacation facilities will largely increase.  I think this
tragedy of the vacations will be with us for a long time, perhaps all of
our lives, and notice that I am optimistic.  I have already said that,
because there are some conceptual problems.

We have been analyzing this.  It is not a matter chat the vacation centers
have lost facilities which, in fact, they have, because those facilities
are being used for international tourism.  There has been some loss.  It
can be debated whether it is more convenient to have more facilities to
receive more foreign exchange from tourism.  We do not like tourism.  We do
not really like it.  Tourism merely an economic need of the revolution.

We are not as we have said on other occasions, an oil-producing country.
We cannot make profits easily.  One of our natural resources is the sea,
the weather, the sun, the moon, the palm trees, and so forth.  These are
natural resources of our country and we have to take advantage of them,
even if we do not like tourism.  We say: Well, what?  Is tourism going to
corrupt us?  And we say: Are we so small and so defenseless that it is
going to corrupt us? [cries from audience: No] And I ask workers if
something is going to corrupt us [cries from audience: No] And if we are
not strong enough [cries from audience: Yes].  We think we are and we can
receive tourists and anybody else, receive anybody else here.  I say this
because it is on the discussion table whether we receive some people from
[words obscured by applause]

What I want to say is, let us start with a principle.  Let us start by
saying that the revolution has a policy, a firm and revolutionary policy.
Besides that, the revolution acts along with the masses, placing its
infinite, absolute and total confidence in the masses.  That is why we said
some of these things about tourism itself.  A revolution that is going to
be 20 years old, strong, solid, indestructible, which has been able not
only to defend itself victoriously and overwhelmingly, but also has been
able to help other revolutions defend themselves. [applause]

We are not going to live in complete isolation [asepsia] and so we say:
O.K., we must welcome tourists.  Well, we are going to receive tourists and
we hope to develop this source of income, A gold mine would be much better.
It would be much better to find one of the hills of Pinar del Rio. which
instead of limestone is pure, solid gold. [laughter] We say, well, it does
not matter, we are not going to use the sun or the moon or the stars or the
beaches or the white sands of Varadero, 50 on and so forth, No?  Well, no.
But we have to be realistic and know the facts and that is why we are going
to receive tourists.  Are tourists going to influence us?  It could be the
other way around.  The other way around, gentlemen.  Whoever is right
[applause] Whoever is right, whoever is ideologically and politically
strong, whoever is revolutionarily secure [applause] can receive anybody.
And it is difficult, it is difficult at least for now throughout this
entire hemisphere and in a large part of the world, to find a nation with
so much self confidence as the Cuban people.  Looking back to the subject
of vacations, we said that some things [cosas] happened, some things
happened.  They were so few that it would be better that they had not
happened and had been preserved. [sentence as heard]

Actually, the first constructions that the revolution built for tourism
were not built for international tourists but for national tourism.  The
hotels that were built were for the people.  The tourist centers were for
the people.  There were not made.... [Castro leaves thought unfinished] The
need to develop international tourism emerged later.  A big hotel
construction program for national or international tourism has not been

Perhaps an accelerated development of international tourism [changes
thought]...we have yet to see.  Perhaps many people want to come here.  Of
course, whoever comes here knows that he is not coming to see casinos or
brothels or things of that sort or to climb Marti's statue or anything like
that, [applause] (?No, sir), no drugs or gambling or prostitution or
anything like that, of course, but perhaps there will be a need to build a
certain number of hotels quickly.

Based on our economic situation we should give precedence to investments in
international tourism rather than national tourism.  We have to continue
thinking about what the socialist solution to the vacation problem is as
this becomes a right and a possibility of all the people because if we
continue with the previous criterion that one can go to the beach only in
July and August--and all workers and all families want to go to the beach
only in July and August because it also coincides with vacation time--it
will be impossible to ever resolve the the vacation issue with these [as
heard] criteria.

We have to take advantage of the installations on hand all year round.
There can be no other way because, otherwise, for everyone to go with their
children in August would require that a New York city be built in Cuba.  It
would require building on the beaches--and I do not know what beaches,
because we do not have that many and they are not that big--building the
city of New York outside the city for vacation purposes, not to live in.
And we have to build the city of New York.  Yes we have to build it in the
next few years; that is to say, practically as many houses as there are in
New York but to live in, not for vacation plans--one must be realistic--to
live in those houses, not for vacation plans. [applause]

We have to delve further into how our urban affairs must develop, whether
the school pool programs can also serve adults as they have begun to do in
Santiago de Cuba and some cities in the interior.  We have to see how to
solve amusement and recreation [problems] and even how to use facilities
all year round and how we can make life more enjoyable without having to
think of the impossible and mad, absurd longing to build New York in
Varadero or any other place, any other little beach like Aguanabor or
somewhere else.  This is the problem we have to think about.

Of course we have to stop the loss of housing resources, even study how the
hotels that we build for international tourism can be used for national
tourism--that is, for workers' leisure--as far as possible, I say as far as
possible because the perfect and ideal thing that we would all like most
from a humanitarian standpoint is not within this country's reach, such as
making vacations available to everybody and making them cheap and all that,
because each one of these problems is tied in with another problem.  Then
we have money left over. [sentence as heard] No money is collected.  We
fall into an excess of currency.  We have to analyze this whole problem.
It is not a question of being able to do something which nobody wants to
do.  But this is what has to be considered and you have to think about it.
A commission has been created precisely for this.  When this problem was
brought up the political bureau created a commission to study this.  Well,
we are going to study it, find ways, answers, at least clear, logical
answers as to what to do, how we are going to do it, what possible ties
exist.  But I am telling you the truth, I am telling you the truth.  If we
have a certain number of facilities at the hotels which we are building for
national [as heard] tourism, with the hope of using them in July and August
for national tourism, and there is a sudden flood of international tourists
and the country needs this resource, we would have to give preference to
international tourism.  We would have to do this. [applause]

Vacations are enjoyable and necessary.  Precisely another problem that has
been discussed is the matter of unpaid vacations.  The problem exists.  The
political bureau discussed this problem when we were discussing the social
security bill.  Well, we owe 110 million pesos in vacation time, some 110
million pesos in vacation time that have not been used.  They [presumably
the workers] continued working, they continued with the production process.
Well, this is not the object of vacations.  I think that one of the first
things we have to do is solve this problem.  Some assemblies, some work
centers, said that these unpaid vacations should be paid at the end, when
retirement comes around or something like that, because some are owed about
6 years or [changes sentence]...  I do not know how much.

I honestly said I did not know we were stealing from workers.  I did not
know it because I believe that if someone has a vacation and does not take
it, he works that month and gets paid the same amount that he was going to
be paid if he took his vacation, then we are stealing from him.  That is
the truth.

We could not suddenly say: Well, take this 10 million [not further
explained] out because it is not convenient to solve this abruptly,
unthinkingly.  Though it is a theft I say, technically, it is a theft--no
one had the intention of stealing but they have ended up stealing that
vacation.  This is one of the first things to be solved, to achieve.  Only
under very exceptional, very justified circumstances implement the
principle: Look, do not take your vacation now, but take it later.  Insure
that everyone takes his vacation, if not in Varadero, then at home or in
the park or at the movies or at Lenin Park or walking down one of Havana's
avenues or by the levee, [laughter] but let us begin to insure that
everybody takes his rest.  This is the first thing.

We would then be having illusions if we think that everybody picks those
two months and then the rest of the year many of those facilities are
empty.  Can we solve the problem this way?  Would it not be better to be
realistic, to think?  I was saying this: If we have to give preference to
the foreigner, we will do it, although we would prefer to have a worker or
a conscientious laborer there.  That is what we would like most but there
are other problems which take priority.  We prefer that this worker have
medicine when he needs it; that he have the best medical treatment when he
needs it; that he have the best specialist when he needs it.  We prefer
that his children have all this care. [applause]

We prefer that this worker's children eat, that they drink milk, that they
receive a good education, that they prepare for the world of tomorrow.  We
prefer that this family have security, employment; that is to say, there
are things which have priority in which we have to invest this country's
foreign exchange and resources because when we receive $1 million or $20
million, that goes directly to the country's economy, to the country's
development, to pay for a new factory, to solve transportation or other
problems such as spare parts and so on and so forth. And that is why we
have to be realistic.  Then, it is impossible.  Some things cannot be
thought of.  I think we have to develop a concept, a concept of how
vacations should be in our circumstances, vacations under socialism in a
small country which has almost 10 million inhabitants.

I was explaining to some people that we have as many inhabitants per sq km
as China.  Historically, it has been said that China is an overpopulated
country.  Well, if China is overpopulated, so are we, because we have more
or less the same number of inhabitants per sq km.

I cited another example: When we export 7 million tons of sugar extracted
from our fields, despite the density per sq km, it is just as if China were
exporting 700 million tons of food, I do not really know what China
exports, but 5 doubt that they export 7 [as heard] million tons of food.  I
doubt it.  However, in other words, we in our small country, our people,
extract from our land food to export in considerable amounts per capita.

These are the current realities.  Just imagine if we were to continue with
the old capitalist concept of how to spend our vacations.  That cannot be.
We have to meditate on this.  This problem is of the type that one has to
analyze thoroughly and for which a solution has got to be found.  I do not
have such a solution myself but I do believe that we have to think about
it.  We also have to at least educate ourselves concerning the facts so
that it will not seem that it is because of somebody's ill will that hotel
rooms cannot be found during the month of August.

The problem is whether to charge more or less.  Well, we agree that
vacation plans should not cost much, but if we gave everybody inexpensive
vacations, I do not know where the money for that would come from.  Really,
I do not know.

The issue of the traditional salary [salario historico] was also brought
up.  I see that that was discussed here.  Some, because of their long
service, have a different viewpoint.  In general, the opinion is that the
traditional salary issue has given us so many headaches and has created so
many inequities that it has even forced us to the National Assembly law [as
heard].  It is for this reason that we should firmly and conscientiously
struggle against the creation of a new traditional salary.  This has been a
long battle.  If we start going back on this we will never win this battle
and the chaos that the traditional salary represented will continue.
Remember that the traditional salary issue was discussed in a more drastic
way right here during the 13th congress.  There was talk about making it
disappear, but nobody has made those salaries already in existence
disappear because we know how hard it is, how hard it is.  We would be
creating other problems.  Let them be improved, be qualified and so forth.
But we got to the point where we resigned ourselves to this principle: Do
not create any new traditional salaries.  I am telling you this.  And we
began to implement this policy everywhere.  Within the party, in the
party's directorate, when discussing a cadre, [we would say]: We need this
cadre for this or that; he is very good for this or that but, oh, he has a
salary of this much and it is higher than he would earn here.  And we would
say: Well we shall do without this cadre; we will not bring him over.  When
the difference is not too big, we dare propose it to the cadre in question.
We tell him: Listen, you are going to earn a little bit less but here is
some specific job.  But when the difference is marked, we do not even dare
propose it because perhaps the man will come, but the man comes and goes.
He has a traditional salary.  His traditional salary is relatively high.
And this man comes to work within the party and after 1, 2, 3 or 5 months
we have reduced his salary by half.  He has very probably acquired
commitments with some aunt, grandmother or great aunt and all those
commitments one sometimes acquires.  Then all of a sudden you cut [his
salary] by half and you either make him go crazy or commit suicide.

We ourselves within the party have been inflexible--not a single case.  I
think this is what all organizations and everybody should do--implement the
law and implement the traditional salary principle in strict fashion in
order to prevent the oration of new traditional salaries.  There is no
other way of winning this battle and we should not let this problem defeat

There was talk here about the measures pending from the 13th congress, of
which there were several: the issue of the revision of qualifiers
[calificadores], the adjustment of pay under abnormal conditions.  It is
true that it has not been possible to implement some of the ideas of the
13th congress, Veiga explained in the central report that this meant an
extra 300 million in wages per year.  Well, over a period of 10 years this
amounts to 3 billion.  There had already been a salary increase that
exceeded that which had been estimated in the work-salary relationship
[vinculacion].  The work-salary relationship has not always resulted in the
expected amount.  These problems have been explained, and we have been
cautious in connection with this.

The problem of category one and two in the area of agriculture still
exists.  Some of these problems are still pending.  We know this and we are
aware of these problems.

The wage problem is one that has to be handled very carefully because any
isolated measure always results in unforseen repercussions.  We know this
because we have made mistakes.  We have gone on occasion to a given place
in a very important given area.  We have raised the minimum salary to solve
the problem and instead what we have done is make the problem worse.

For example, we raised the salary of university professors because we are
interested in improving the universities, in obtaining professors and so
forth.  We are aware of the implications this measure bad: Now everybody
wants to be a professor at the university; many do.  Those working for
JUCEPLAN [Central Planning Board] make less but we need economists there

We recently discussed this matter with an arbitration board.  As the board
saw it, we were going to need the Supreme Court or something at that level
to solve the problem.  We were under the obligation of giving high salaries
because someone was a university professor and we needed him at an
important social research institute and the salaries at the institute are
different.  So we had no way of solving the problem because if we ask an
individual to leave the university to go to the institute, we would be
cutting his salary.

We have to study the salary problem together and very carefully.  It would
be easy to say yes, of course, with pleasure, we would gladly raise the
salaries of all the groups.  There are problems.  Whenever I visit
factories I am told about them.  It happens that no one wants to be a lathe
operator's aide, and the lathe operator, who is a skilled worker, has to
go around carrying all sorts of loads because no one wants to work for the
salary of an operator's aide.  This type of problem has to be studied.
They must be solved but in a rational way and in line with cur resources.
When dealing with salary problems, corrective measures should not be
isolated.  Let us see if we are at least able to make salaries function in
the agricultural sector.  I know that some of the jobs in the agriculture
sector are soft.  I have seen places where the pace is hard but there are
jobs that are not hard.  There are some jobs where everything has been made
easy, working hours, the pace, everything was made softer.

So let us see.  We cannot make promises.  This situation was vigorously
presented during the agricultural workers congress.  We are not going to
make promises.  We are going to study the problem without making any
promises.  It would not be honest to make any type of promise during this
closing ceremony.  Promises could result in things that cannot be carried
out and that would entail financial burdens that will create other types of
problems.  We do promise to study this concern of some workers.

Policies on special payments for persons working under abnormal conditions
are being applied.  This is one of the responsibilities of the state, to
solve labor and employment problems in various jobs.  There are jobs that
are more difficult than others.  There is no question about that.  The
state needs some resources to be able to pay adequate salaries to alleviate
labor and employment problems in some jobs.

Yesterday we spoke about the housing problem, the microbrigades issues.
You already know about this, but since this ceremony is being broadcast to
the nation and since there are thousands of microbrigade workers who are
concerned with this problem, I am going to repeat some of the statements
that were made yesterday.  To find a solution to the housing problem we
must have, first of all, a very large housing program.  It has been
estimated that we have to build 100,000 every year.  We have talked about
this goal more than once.  We have not reached it yet.  There is a program
that considers building 50,000 houses by 1980.  This is a hard program but
we have been developing the material basis for reaching this goal.  We are
nearing the completion of two cement factories and so forth.  We are
adopting every measure to be able to fulfill this program.  We expect to
continue increasing the housing construction program until 1985, when we
should be hitting the 100,000 level.  A great effort will be needed to
build these 100,000 houses every year, and even with this 1985 level of
100,000, we will only have satisfied 85 percent of our housing needs by the
year 2000.  This is a serious problem that will take much time to solve,
even making great efforts.  We have approximately 25,000 microbrigade
workers.  They are building approximately 20,000 houses every year.  We
have considered the pre-fab method in the housing construction program.

We have also considered the distribution procedure, which envisages the
construction of houses by state workers.  In building houses with state
workers we own assign homes to any worker--even if he does not live in an
area with a microbrigades--such as teachers, health workers and so forth
who practically do not have any chance to get a home otherwise.

Here we have two situations: payment to the work centers--not to work
centers but to the constructions of the microbrigade workers, [sentence as

We have said on several occasions that investments have to be so big to
solve the housing problem that this program must be reviewed on an economic
basis.  The construction of 100,000 houses every year represents an
investment of 1 billion pesos per year.  The country cannot spend 1 billion
pesos every year and get practically nothing in return from housing.  We
have proposed to respect the present system. All those who obtained their
homes through the urban reform, let them enjoy them as long as they need
them.  He who obtained his home on a percentage basis, let him keep it that
way.  However, at a given moment--it could be in 1980 or 1981--as this
housing construction program is increased, we have to change the payment
system concerning the new houses to be delivered. I am not talking about
the houses that have already been distributed.  I am not talking about the
homes that families are already enjoying.  I am talking about the new
houses.  Payment should be established on a square meter basis and not on
the basis of a percentage of the salary of the head of a family, as is the
case with the microbrigades.  We are not to apply that system because those
payments amount to nothing.

To tell the truth, not even in 40 years does it amortize the cost of the
materials for that house, what the house has cost.  Neither the country nor
you, the workers, or your workers' income can invest 1 billion per year in
order to collect 20 or 30 million or even 15 million for these houses,
Amortization payments must be made on these houses, We may set a 12-, 15-or
20-year amortization period, whichever is decided, but in such a way that
the payment of rent per sq m amortizes that house, amortizes the investment
over a certain number of years.  This is what we are proposing.

Of course, since we began with the microbrigade, it was believed that it
was with plus-work [plus trabajo].  But as I said yesterday, you all know
well that many centers were built [hechos] with plus-work, others because
they [presumably workers] were in excess.  What they had was plus workers,
not plus-work. [laughter] That is number one,

Then, although it has been said that the microbrigades were working too
much, they have shown a phenomenal spirit and they constitute one of the
country's most constructive forces.  Well, afterward, when it became
necessary to organize a microbrigade for every important work center, there
were not enough materials for all microbrigades and they had to reduce the
time presumably of work] but they have helped with industrial and social
works, and with everything.  It was initially suggested that the
microbrigades be turned into state brigades.  Naturally, this posed a
serious problem when it came to having the same system of construction,
distribution and collection.  This, of course, caused great concern among
microbrigade workers.  If the decision had really been made at the congress
to turn the microbrigades into state brigades, we would have run the risk
of losing a large part of that force because the microbrigade workers are
interested in preserving their connection with their work centers.  Many of
them already earn better wages in the construction area than rather because
they have become qualified workers.  Others will charge the same wage for
construction work that they earn at their centers.  So were faced with
these problems.  We analyzed and thoroughly studied this issue.

Regarding the microbrigades we have reached the following conclusion: In
the event a microbrigade is turned into a state brigade because it is
needed for some specific project, it will continue to be connected with its
work center and will not be affected economically so long as the workers
remain at the construction site.  If a worker remains at the construction
[site], he will not be affected economically.  What is inevitable is that
payment be made for each construction.  It cannot be any other way because,
otherwise, it would clash with the economy's system of direction and
planning.  So payments have to be made per construction.  And in the
future--once a formula is established for the payment of rent in the new
houses handed out--that rent paid must be the same for all workers,
regardless of whether the house was built by a state brigade or by a

During the discussion of this problem it was mentioned that the suppression
of the microbrigades constituted a matter of concern not only for
microbrigade workers but also for the centers at which they worked because
the factories receive a number of houses.  So we have thought that a
different formula can be drafted, establishing the principles that payment
be made per construction and that the rent paid by whoever receives the
house be the same, using the same system whether the house was built by the
microbrigades or the state brigades; establishing that workers should not
be affected economically--we have also explained how we did this without
violating the traditional salary principle--and establishing that the
microbrigades' connections with their work centers can be maintained.
These are the ideas we have.

However, we believe that in order to preserve the tranquillity of those
work centers at which these microbrigades have worked, it would be possible
to allocate a certain percentage of the constructions made during the year
to the work centers.  We must carefully study the way in which to
distribute the other houses built--which may amount to 50,000, 80,000 or
100,000.  And we believe that the best way is precisely through the work
center because an official assigned to the unpleasant task of distributing
houses runs the risk of making a good number of enemies for himself and of
eliciting the suspicion that he is granting privileges.

There are protests even when the collective [colectivo] at the work center
distributes the houses.  There are workers who do not feel satisfied and
who believe that the collective was unfair and made a mistake.  But then it
is not the same thing when a factory's entire collective makes a mistake
and when an official of the (?government) is the one distributing the
houses. [applause]

We believe that the central state and the people's government should always
have a reserve of houses in order to resolve problems because there is the
case of [word indistinct] people to whom houses must be given.  There are
cases of (?disaster), cases of families that must be moved because a
factory must be expanded, another construction must be made or whatever.
The state powers should receive a number of houses, a percentage of the
houses built--which need not be very high--in order to be able to resolve
this type of problem.

Also, in the case of new industries, like Moa [nickel industry], houses are
built for those who are going to be working there.  We believe that in
general, and except in those cases where a few of the houses would be
centralized, the ideal distribution method should call for the distribution
of houses through the work centers.  This is why we would not have any
objections if a number of those houses currently under construction by the
microbrigades--be they 15,000, 20,000, 80,000 or 100,000--were distributed
through the work centers so that there will be no anxiety among the workers
of those centers who have been benefitting from the microbrigades' work.

Therefore, as much as possible, we shall seek a wise solution to this
problem so that it will not create anxiety or lead to desertions from the
microbrigade forces, which are among the construction industry's most
important forces.

I wish to stress--I would really not like to extend myself much more, as I
think I have spoken at length and we are at the closing of this
congress--but I do wish to stress the fact that whenever an appeal has been
made to the workers there has always been an immediate and revolutionary
response at all times, from the beginning of the revolution to this day,
and increasingly so.  I remember when we held all those production
assemblies at all unions after the difficulties of 1970 and I remember the
results of those meetings, the workers' response, the advances made since
then.  I remember last year during the past sugarcane harvest, when we had
a very difficult weather situation and a huge amount of sugarcane.  A
special and extraordinary effort was needed.  The agricultural workers, the
sugar workers, the transportation workers were all asked to make that
effort and our sugarcane harvest exceeded 7.3 million tons of base 96
sugar.  We achieved the second most important sugarcane harvest in the
country's history or the second largest sugarcane harvest in the country's
history in the midst of the worst weather conditions.

Then there was the time that an appeal was made to port workers in order to
resolve the problems of the ports and the demurrage, or when an appeal has
been made to the construction workers.  During the first half of this year
we visited a number of works.  At many of these, the possibility of
advancing the program was studied.  The program was advanced by as much as
1 year at several of them, among these the Santa Clara textile factory,
which was scheduled to be concluded in late 1980 but which will be finished
in late 1979 instead.  The possibility of advancing Las Tunas bottle
factory was discussed.  The possibility of advancing the Regla wheat mill
by 1 year as well as several other important projects was also discussed.
The workers immediately and enthusiastically responded.  We have to say
that some of the works have been completed already according to schedule.
Others are well underway.  You are aware of the commitment of the
construction workers toward priority endeavors.

We have mentioned the problem of the KTP-1 [Soviet-manufactured sugarcane
harvester model number] spare part in this phase.  This is also a serious
problem.  We have obtained an immediate answer from the mechanical industry

We also recall the efforts that workers in many centers have carried out,
their efficiency, the savings in raw materials in response to a meeting of
the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution where we noted the
difficulties we would have and the need for savings.  There has not been
hardly one single occasion on which the workers have not had an
enthusiastic and immediate answer to the appeals of the revolution.

Now we appeal to the iron and steel mechanical workers to give a push to
the production of parts and spare parts, to prepare a large number of
skilled workers for the mechanical industry, to see if we can get out of
the spare parts agony for good.  This problem blocks our transportation
services, our buses, our construction equipment, everything.  Spare parts
are very expensive.  The cost in foreign exchange, the need for spare parts
that we sometimes have, even for equipment received from the socialist
field, all this obligates us to make an effort and we are going to do it.
We are going to do it.

We have the will to give the mechanical industry involved in the production
of parts whatever help is necessary so that we will not only have all the
parts we need, but so that we may even become exporters of spare parts,
exporters.  Let us see how we can get out of this predicament.  It happens
that in the construct Ion of a part the raw material cost is 10 percent of
the value of the finished, product.  We have to spend only that 10 percent
and buy the raw material to build the parts here.  For this we need
qualified and skilled workers.  We are working on this with the comrades
From the labor movement and from the iron and steel, and mechanical

This congress has had this watchword: To favor the solution of our vital
economic problems.

As comrade Veiga said, the congress has put an emphasis upon its support
for what we have proposed as the only reasonable thing we should do.  We
have to concentrate our efforts and our minds on development.  We have to
think more about development than about consumption.  The country must
overcome difficult obstacles, especially in the foreign exchange field.  We
have to increase our exports in this area, [and] in the socialist area
also, of course.  We have to increase our exports.  This is what we were
testing the National Assembly.  If we have new cement factories and do not
use it all, then we could export cement.  If we do not use all our textile
production, then we can export it because those factories can generate
foreign exchange.  We have proposed the goal of exporting one meter of
fabric for each three meters we produce so that we can pay for the raw
material and for the fuel we need.

We have to create an exporter's mentality, Our mentality is that of an
importer.  We have to think more about development than about consumption.
This is the task, the mission.  This is the most sacred duty of this
generation of workers: to consecrate ourselves to the development of the

This does not mean that we are not going to improve our situation nor that
it will remain stagnant.  We have undoubtedly made improvements.  They have
been modest but they have been steady and in many fields and we will
continue improving.  But the important thing we must have in mind, what we
must understand, is that the efforts or this generation must be dedicated
to development.  This must be our attitude. [applause] Other generations
will live better.  Of course, this generation also lives better than the
previous one. [applause]

We all would like to be born in the year 1995 or in the year 2000, who
knows?  We could say that those who will be born later will be better off.
Yes, they will be better off and this should make us happy. [applause]

Many of our fellow countrymen who were born at the beginning of this
century, many of those workers who had to suffer calamities, oppression,
humiliation, abuses and injustices from capitalism would have wished to
have been born now.  Our children of today do not suffer misery, do not go
naked, do not have to beg, are not unprotected and do not have to face the
constant threat of death from illnesses for lack of medicine.  Our children
are much better off today than they were in the 1930's, the 1940's or the
1950's.  They are much better off.

There is social security, medical assistance, employment and many other
things.  This generation is much better off than the previous generation.
The state has to make great investments in education, public health,
national defense, in everything, but especially in development.  The state
has to make great investments.  We have to do it.  If we do not invest in
development, what are we going to do?  Could we put 2 more meters of
clothes on ourselves and stop making fabrics?  We cannot do it.  In
reality, our revolutionary process--which has faced difficult
conditions--has been unable to avoid many sacrifices because we have had
international solidarity.

We have had the socialist bloc's cooperation and, most importantly, we have
had the Soviet Union's cooperation. [applause]

In the midst of the economic blockade, of the difficulties caused by the
elimination of markets, how important our economic relations with the USSR
have been for us.  The fact that they buy our sugar, all the sugar we may
wish to sell them, the fact that they have supplied us with fuel, the fact
that they pay us prices that are well above world market prices, all of
this has greatly helped our country, has helped our economic and social
development plans.  Had we not had this, then we would have been able to
talk here of terrible sacrifices in order to wage the revolution, in order
to be able to maintain our independence and even to defend ourselves.  How
much would we have had to pay for weapons.  We would have had to buy on the
world markets--and each tank, each cannon, each plane is very expensive.

To the extent that we have had the international solidarity of and good
relations with the socialist bloc and have maintained optimal economic
relations with the Soviet Union, we have received help so that today we may
feel satisfied with our advances.  We are able to say that there are no
more illiterates in this country.  We are able to say that we are about to
reach the sixth grade and then another one.  We are able to say that we
have tens and tens of thousands of workers studying at the universities.
We are able to say that there is practically no unemployment, no beggars,
there are none of the past calamities.  We are able to say that we have the
lowest infant mortality rate in all of Latin America, comfortably below
everybody else's.  We are able to say that we have 1.04 million students in
high school. [applause] We are able to say that we are getting through this
world economic crisis in which we see nothing but calamities everywhere:
unemployment, dismissals, conflicts.  We are developing our 5-year plan in
a quite satisfactory manner.  We are advancing.  We are having increasingly
larger and more stable sugarcane harvests.  We are constructing important
industries.  We do not deny that we have certain difficulties.  We cannot
say that the path is easy.  It would be a lie to say that the path is easy.
The path of development is a difficult one.  In today's world it is
difficult precisely because of the unequal exchange between the
industrialized capitalist world and the Third World areas and we partially
depend on that trade--but only partially.  We cannot avoid that.  But
thanks to socialism in our country, thanks to our relations with the
socialist bloc and with the Soviet Union, thanks to the efforts of our
workers, the country is advancing and, regardless of the nature of its
difficulties, it will continue advancing.

And we are already preparing not only for the next 5-year plan but also for
a 20-year forecast plan, so that we may know what we are going to do in the
next 20 years, being able to say we are going to look 20 years into the
future.  Under capitalism the country had to look 20 days into the future
every year, 20 or just 10 days.  Nobody knew what would happen in 20 days.
But now we will be able to define our path and work in all of the country's

One of the main virtues of the revolution is that it has worked throughout
the country.  It has taken its revolutionary work, its schools of all
types--its technological, preuniversity, vocational, sports and high
schools everywhere.

The appearance of rural cities has been changing.  Industries are being
taken everywhere.  Here we have delegates from everywhere.  From Pinar del
Rio--how much that city has changed over the past 7 or 8,years--or from
Manzanillo or Holguin [applause] or from Tunas, Villa Clara, Cienfuegos,
Guantanamo, Santiago, from any of them, but particularly from the poorest
and most forgotten ones.  In all of them an astonishing change is
noticeable--day care centers, the hospitals, university schools, the
universities, university sites and university schools are now found in
practically all of the provinces of this country.  So for the first time
our nation has seen a just distribution of the means of production and of
social benefits.  And we will continue working in that direction.  The
union movement's role in this is decisive.  Believe me, the, revolution
could not even begin to conceive of anything without the union movement.

Never mind what an administration may do.  The worker is the key element,
the decisive element.  If we want to improve our services, if we wish to
implement a more efficient educational system and continue with this system
of improvement, if we want that service to be among the best in the world,
that will depend essentially on the teachers and professors.

As we said at the opening of the present school year, if we want to
continue improving our public health services and provide it with the
utmost efficiency, that will basically depend on our doctors and on our
health workers.  Without their enthusiastic support and effort, nothing
could be achieved.

And if we are going to promote construction, if we are going to improve
transport, if we are to improve the ports, whatever we do, the workers, the
human factor, the creators of the goods and services that the people
consume, constitute the fundamental element.  It is precisely the union
movement which unites all of our workers.  It is for this reason that it
[the union] is of enormous and decisive importance, without which the party
and the state could not confront this huge task.

The party's ranks are increasing among our working class.  The main
emphasis of this growth is being placed on winning workers over.  Thus, we
expect that there will be an increasing worker composition of our party.

The coming years will demand efforts and work.  They will continue to be
difficult years.  There will be no easy years.  But they will be years of
continuous and certain advancement for our people and our revolution.  We
are not promising anything easy.  It would be demagogic to say that the
years ahead for this generation will be easy ones.  They will be years of

Once again I repeat that we will have to dedicate ourselves to development,
mainly for the benefit of the future generations.  But the present
generations will also benefit by the immense spiritual and moral
satisfaction derived from fulfilling the historic role it is fulfilling.  I
believe that all future generations will always remember gratefully and
acknowledge what this revolutionary generation is doing. [applause]

Revolutionary, yes, truly revolutionary.  This generation has a high spirit
and a highly internationalist awareness. [applause] Its spirit reflects
what our working class is today.  Their conduct under the revolution, their
work, their spirit and eternal enthusiasm reflect all that our workers are
today.  The internationalist combatants [applause] who fought in Angola and
in Ethiopia [applause]--most of whom are workers and members of the
reserves and reservists of our glorious Revolutionary Armed Forces
[applause]--reflect what our workers are today.  Their attributes are also
reflected by the thousands of civilian technicians, construction workers,
doctors, health workers and teachers who render their services in many
parts of the world.  The increasing demand for Cuban technicians
constitutes an honor and a source of satisfaction for our fatherland.  Many
countries ask us for technicians, for technical cooperation and for
doctors.  Thus, export of technical services and constructions [servicios
tecnicos y construcciones] is becoming an important economic resource for
our country.  What do you think of this?  Before there were no doctors to
send to Baracoa but now our doctors are all over the world.  Our builders
can be found in several parts of the world and the demand for them is

Look, I tell you the truth: I prefer this resource to tourism.  I prefer
it, but we are not going to give up the other one either.  We need all the
resources.  [applause] We need them all. [applause]

But they are afraid of this country.  Afraid, but afraid of what?  Of a
country whose combatants have shown all that they are capable of being,
whose internationalist workers have shown all that they are capable of
being. [applause] And this is the good thing about this period of the
revolution--that it has gradually left behind it certain idealistic,
utopian and unreal stages, all of which, nonetheless, originated from the
most sincere revolutionary spirit.

Those mistakes have been gradually corrected.  We have had to establish
certain factors, certain material stimuli, certain concepts of how
distribution should be brought about under socialism and how things should
be administered under socialism.  We are accumulating and using these
experiences, but at the same time our conscientiousness and revolutionary
spirit are intensifying.  Thus, much fuel, so to speak, has been put into
the fire of revolutionary fervor.

We have exhibited this same spirit, this internationalist spirit, in
connection with voluntary work.  In other words, alongside the measures
imposed on us by reality are measures that increase and strengthen our
communist awareness and cur revolutionary spirit.  And this should be one
of our permanent indexes.

Speaking of indexes, there is one that speaks of a revolution.  It can
speak at each congress of the party and of the workers: We are becoming
increasingly revolutionary. [applause] We are becoming increasingly
Marxist-Leninist. [applause] We are becoming increasingly internationalist,
[applause] And we are becoming increasingly communist. [applause]

We have held our workers congress amid a number of important and
significant historic dates--the 22d anniversary of the uprising in Santiago
de Cuba [applause], the 20th anniversary of the battle of Brisas, close to
the day when we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the revolution.  We close
this congress today, 2 December, on the 22d anniversary of Granma.

On a day like today, a group of us went into the forests.  Those were truly
difficult days.  We had great obstacles ahead of us.  We had many enemy
soldiers facing us.  There was hunger, there was night.  We were tired.
There were many factors.  Perhaps none of us could imagine then that 22
years later we would be closing this great congress, this great meeting.
We have come a long way since then because we have lived together with you
from 2 December 1956 to this congress of today, 2 December 1978.  For that
reason--after obstacles and difficulties were overcome--we can say that we
have been, that we are and that we will be optimistic.  Fatherland or
death.  We shall win! [applause]