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Castro Speech

FL142245 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2100 GMT 14 Jun 80

[Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro inaugurating health center in Las

[Text] Compatriots of Las Tunas Province: A little over 2 years ago we
visited this province to inaugurate the bulk sugar terminal at Puerto
Carupano. At that time we conducted an extended tour of the province and
decisions were made. For example, [we decided] to build two roads because
we observed that despite the revolution's having built many roads
throughout the country, Las Tunas was not in good shape, road-wise. The
road leading to the Argelia Libre [sugar mill], the Puerto Padre-Argelia
Libre Road... [leaves thought unfinished]

At the time of our visit, the road to the beach--I believe its name is La
Llanita-- was under construction. It certainly is a great beach. I believe
that is needed now is some transportation to go to the beach [applause],
and a few buildings at the beach. At that time we also visited the steel
frame and bottle factories. The bottle factory had just begun construction;
the foundation was being laid. They were excavating the area. The frame
factory was well ahead in construction.

We decided that the bottle factory had to be completed 1 year ahead of
schedule. I believe the schedule called for completion in 1981. I believe
that we will complete the bottle factory this year, this year. [applause]
This bottle factory, of course, is the biggest in Cuba. I do not believe I
would be exaggerating if I said it is one of the biggest in Latin America,
since it can produce many more than 300 million bottles which are essential
for the development of our economy.

During that visit, we also toured the construction site of the Bagasse
board factory of the Jesus Menendez [sugar mill], which will be the biggest
in Cuba in this type of production.

It has two production lines. It is twice the size of the Camilo Cienfuegos
[sugar mill] and the one under construction at the 1 January sugar mill.
These industries mark what we could call the beginning of the
industrialization of Las Tunas. Other factories and mew sugar mills are in
the works for construction here.

At the time we visited here 2 years ago, we toured the construction site of
this health center. Some of the buildings were well ahead in construction,
such as the home for the aged, the hospital. Plans for the health
polytechnic were being prepared at the time. Now it has been completed. The
idea for the Las Tunas medicine school was being studied at the time of my
visit. [applause] I should mention that the Puerto Padre Hospital is also
under construction now. Let us see if we can step up the work and satisfy
more completely the medical needs of Las Tunas Province.

For us it is a great satisfaction to come here today to celebrate with you
the inauguration of this health center, which can be considered one of the
most complete in the country. [applause] That is the advantage of making
everything new. Since there was nothing here, we were able to do everything
at one time, well combined, well coordinated. We will have the entire
center here. The only thing missing will be the school of medicine, whose
construction--the earth-moving portion--had begun. [applause]

These things are easy to say but are more important than anyone can
imagine. I can remember when we inaugurated the Lenin Hospital in Holguin,
that great hospital built with the cooperation of the Soviet Union. Some
years have passed since then. On a day like today the Holguin residents got
together to inaugurate that hospital. Logically, everybody understood the
importance that hospital had for the well-being of the people and the
people's health. Who knows how many tens and tens of thousands of people
have regained their health at that hospital, how many hundreds of
thousands. Who knows how many thousands and thousands of lives have been
saved in that hospital.

Anyone could think that the task of a hospital is limited to saving lives,
regaining the health of people, protecting the health of many, protecting
the health of citizens. However, when we toured the Las Tunas hospital
today we realized that these institutions have a still greater dimension
because I asked almost all the specialists we met during the tour of the
hospital--very valuable and very young specialists--where they had studied
[applause] and where they were from. Some are from Havana, a few, but I met
a large number who are from the eastern provinces, and some of them from
Las Tunas. [applause]

I asked them where they had studied--as I said before--and almost all of
them did either their internship or postgraduate work at Holguin's Lenin
[Hospital]. [applause] Now it turns out that the Lenin has become an
incubator for physicians and specialists, a forge of new cadres, those who
are here to lend their services. Thus, when today we talk about this
hospital being inaugurated and talk about this health polytechnic, which is
already is in operation, and talk about this school of medicine whose
construction has begun. I can imagine the future, a new center for the
training of highly qualified specialists, for new physicians to satisfy the
needs of our people and possibly of other peoples. We now have almost 2,000
physicians and dentists working abroad.

What this hospital means not only for your well-being, and what that school
of medicine means not only for your well-being, is immeasurable. The
hospital which has a school of medicine develops still better physicians
because those better prepared, those with greater experience are selected
as professors of the center. I imagine that many physicians will work as
professors at the center and professors of the school will also lend their
services at the hospital. All that serves to raise the quality.

In reality we have observed a great change in Las Tunas Province. I was
trying to remember what Las Tunas looked like in the past. Many of you
remember, not all of course. I see many young faces in the crowd. I can
also see Zayas [not identified further]. [laughter in the crowd] He has a
young face. [applause] He has a young face but is more or less my age,
perhaps somewhat younger. Zayas probably remembers. What does Zayas
remember? For example, I remember that when we landed with the Granma with
a few comrades and two guns Zayas led a revolt. Not only did they revolt
but they seized a garrison. [applause] Not only did they seize it but they
took the two rifles they found there. That is one more example that to make
a revolution, sometimes not even weapons are needed because the enemy has
them and they must be taken from them, which was what we did.

I also remember when those two rifles reached the Sierra Maestra, it looked
like a party when Zayas and Pupo and other comrades arrived. Another
comrade was Garcia, who was very valuable. He died in the Sierra Maestra.
His name was Dominguez, Guillermo Dominguez. He died in the Sierra Maestra.
They joined us with their two rifles. At the time, two rifles were very
valuable to us. They revolted on the 29th at night, prior to the
revolution. [Castro makes an aside to someone on the podium] Well, I have
not mentioned him. I was not making a recount. There were four of them, is
that correct? It was Guillermo, you, Raul Castro Mercader and Pupo.
[applause] They supported our movement under very difficult conditions,
giving a demonstration of extra-ordinary courage. They must remember the

What was Tunas like? It was a town. I cannot call it a city. I would say it
was a hamlet, bordering on a road. That is the truth. We have observed how
much Tunas has changed, with these social installations, new housing. From
here we can see several construction projects, such as the Polytechnic, the
teacher-training school which has been in operation several years and has
occupied an outstanding position in the nation as a good school. We can see
all these projects, construction sites, factories, roads. The province is
changing from one of the more backward in the country, one of the poorest,
that was the truth about Las Tunas, despite the fact that Las Tunas has a
glorious history, an extraordinary participation in our struggles for
independence, in our revolutionary struggles.

Since 1868, throughout that war and the years of independence and in our
revolutionary struggles. Tunas has occupied a prominent position. What did
Tunas have? What had the nation done for Tunas? Practically nothing. The
revolution was what started the development which in recent years has
attained a very accelerated pace. We know, we are aware, of everything that
needs to be done. It is a lot, we said that Tunas does not even have a
hotel and some of what we can call broken-down hotels that it had are being
used today by the technicians. With this development, with this hospital
which needs 170 physicians, with this bottle factory which needs tens and
tens of technicians and the one of steel frames and other factories, and
there is no housing for them. We need housing not only for the technicians
but also for the people.

There is an idea to develop housing construction especially in all
agricultural areas, because, these areas are very poor as you all know.
This is a province with enormous canefields, without housing. We have
assigned priority to the construction of housing in those provinces such as
Tunas, Ciego de Avila--to cite some examples--which are great producers of
sugar but which, nevertheless lack housing, where the socioeconomic
conditions of the workers are still very hard and very poor. We are aware
of that. The province's party has set the goal of beginning the housing
construction this year, at least 10 houses per cane district, which amounts
to 70. In the area where the new towns will be built in the cane and sugar
mill areas as well as in the sugar mills, especially, the ones located more
remotely, which lack protection from the weather, such as Amancio or
Argelia Libre, that is just a beginning because the country's future plans
includes the construction of towns in all those districts.

I told Alfonso [not further identified] to begin the housing plan with
those first small houses. I recalled that since the era of the colonization
around 1500 at the beginning of the 16th century when Diego Velazquez
arrived and founded Baracoa and Santiago de Cuba and some other cities, he
established some sort of urban plan. It showed where to place the plaza,
the garrison, the church, the municipal hall. We also have to prepare an
urban plan for our towns so that the houses that are built are located as
provided for by the plan of the future town.

We are well aware of all these realities but, like you, we are ready and
determined to continue to work and to continue to advance. [applause] With
regard to public health, which is vital and essential. I have brought with
me some data on Tunas' situation prior to the revolution. In Tunas, as
everywhere in the country, public health had similar traits and
characteristics. There was no national policy for the development of
services and, consequently, the province lacked them. The prevention and
curing concept was not being applied in the health services. The population
was not being educated and the masses did not participate in the health
programs. There was no minimum standard of services throughout the
territory. No comprehensive health programs were being developed. There was
no development of specialized services. No programs of control and
eradication of the leading diseases affecting the population were being
conducted. There was no program for maternity, child care, nor for school
children or workers. There were not even minimal facilities for the care of
the ill. No general or specialized health personnel were being trained.
There was an insufficient number of physicians, dentists, nurses,
technicians and so forth.

There were no specialized institutions for the aged, handicapped and so
forth. In connection with this dramatic reality, revolution has made a
colossal effort over the past 20 years. In 1959 we had 58 physicians and
almost all of them had a private practice. You know the story of the
peasant when he had a sick relative. If he got there on time, he had to
take a pig, hens, all of that to sell and pay for the service. That was the
tragic reality. In 1980 we have 311 physicians. In other words, we have
more than five times the number we had prior to the revolution. These 311
physicians work for the people. We had five dentists; now we have 76. We
had 22 nurses; now we have 226. Nurses aides were nonexistent; now we have
465. We had eight intermediate level technicians, only eight; today we have
543. There were four small hospitals; today there are nine. There were no
polyclinics; today there are 17. Dental clinics were nonexistent; today
there are four. There were no rural hospitals; now we have one. There were
no rural dispensaries; now we have seven. There were no nursing schools;
now there are two. There were no health polytechnic schools; now there is
one. Maternity homes were nonexistent; now we have six. There were no homes
for the aged; now there are six. There were no blood banks; now there are
three. There were 310 hospital beds, including the ones in private
institutions where the rich could pay for them; now there are 1,451 beds
which will be increased with the Puerto Padre hospital. There were no
social care beds and now we have 380.

The hospital being inaugurated today will offer clinical-surgical and
gyneco-obstetric services. It has 630 beds which could be increased to 760
without affecting the patients' comfort. It has equipment of the most
modern technology. It cost 16 million pesos, of which 13.5 million was for
civil construction and 2.5 million for medical and nonmedical equipment.
Some 28 different specialties will be offered in this hospital. Some of
this did not exist in the province.

The home for the aged has 250 beds but could take care of 50 more old
persons during the day. It has medical and nursing offices. It has arts and
crafts areas, a physiotherapy room, recreation area and others. It has
rooms for couples. This institution, which looks like a hotel, has been
built in such a manner that the aged lodged there will have to continue to
be active, so that they will be able to develop their bodies and minds, so
that they may have all they need and be able to enjoy a pleasant, peaceful
and useful old age.

The home for the handicapped will have 100 beds. The province already has a
waiting list of 105. It can take care of 50 others during the day. It is a
medical, psychopedagogic institution whose main objective is to restore the
handicapped to their maximum possible limits so that they can be integrated
into society. This health center improves the province's material base to
face up to the growing needs of its population. Las Tunas was the province
in the country with the fewest hospital beds because it only had 1.7 beds
per 1,000 inhabitants and now has 3.2. What has been attained so far is
just a minuscule portion of what the future holds. The Puerto Padre
clinical-surgical hospital is well advanced in construction. When this one
is completed, the indicator will be raised to 4.02 hospital beds per 1,000
inhabitants, which will be a satisfactory rate.

In addition, it will change an installation into a rehabilitation hospital
which, together with Havana City, will be the only ones having that type of
specialized institutions. [applause] We have visited the hospital wards. We
have seen the equipment. They are the most modern in the world in medical
equipment. This will mean security for this province's population. It will
mean well-being and peace of mind for our people.

We have talked with the specialists and they have greatly impressed us with
their technical qualifications, their human qualifications and their
revolutionary qualifications. [applause] Specialists and technicians have
been trained by the revolution. When talking about this, it would be
convenient to refer to some statistics as to the progress made by public
health during the revolution's years. For example, the present life
expectancy at the time of birth is 70 years. We have the highest level in
all Latin America in life expectancy at time of birth. [applause] It is
almost the same as that in the United States.

In human resources, we already have 15,038 physicians. That represents one
physician for every 650 inhabitants. We have that already. Around 4,000
students are registered in the school of medicine every year and will
continue to be registered and raise the number of registrations in schools
of medicine, by 1985 we will have nearly 20,000 physicians. We should have
that number in 5 years. We will have one physician for every 500
inhabitants, approximately. That figure is also the highest in Latin
America, that is physician per inhabitant. We will continue to increase,
5-year period after 5-year period, until we reach the year 2000. I think
you will be here in the year 2000.

Since Alfonso's revolt, 24 years have elapsed and Alfonso is still here.
What will we have in the year 2000 if we work hard? We have 3,560 dentists,
13,351 nurses. We are building more nursing schools. We have 12,727 nurses
aides, 27,850 technicians and assistants. Those are the human resources the
country has on the health front.

Another indication: The reduction of infant mortality. From more than 60
per 1,000 live births in 1959 to 19.3 per 1,000 live births in 1979. See
how much infant mortality has been reduced: Reduction in the death rate of
preschoolers, 1 to 4 years old: from 2.1 in 1962 to 1 per 1,000 inhabitants
aged 1 to 4 in 1979. Reduction of childbirth deaths: from 13 in 1959 to 47
per 10,000 live births. The eradication of diseases--malaria, polio,
diptheria, tetanus--in newborns. Reduction of diseases such as acute
diarrhea, tetanus and tuberculosis. The percentage of hospital births has
remained above 95 percent in the last 10 years. In 1979, there was a
98.3-percent increase in the number of vaccinations: BCG [no further
explanation], triple, antipolio, antimeasles and antityphoid [Castro has
trouble pronouncing last word] Well, the accent is missing here. A doctor
could tell us. [whispers in background] They tell me it is antityphoid. The
accent on the "o" is missing, [more whispering, laughter from crowd].

There are at present four higher medical sciences institutes with 11
medical schools and two stomatology schools as compared with one medical
school and one stomatology school in 1959.

In 1979-80, we have 13,052 students in the centers of higher public health,
of whom 11,056 are studying medicine, 1,852 stomatology and 144 nursing. In
1979 classes were taught in 61 hospitals, 10 stomatology clinics, 14
community polyclinics, 7 hygiene and epidemiology [Castro has trouble
pronouncing last word, crowd applauds when he makes it] centers and in 12
research institutes. From 1959 to 31 December 1979, 13,958 doctors and
2,973 stomatologists graduated. In this same period, 4,516 specialists have
graduated, of whom 4,146 took medical specialties and 370 took stomatology
specialties. There are at present 2,284 residents, of whom 2,073 are
completing medical specialties and 211 stomatology specialties. In 1979,
the largest number of blood donations was recorded: a total of 354,734,
which is equivalent to 3.6 donations per 100 inhabitants.

I recall a few years ago we had reached 100,000, and now we have exceeded
300,000 donations per year. These donations not only help save lives in
emergencies but they also are used to prepare products which are of
decisive importance in the treatment of diseases.

Contagious diseases were truly a scourge for the Cuban people, especially
for the peasants. Acute diarrhea hit children the hardest and was the prime
cause of infant deaths. In 1962, 2,723 deaths were recorded because of this
disease in children under one; 2,723 deaths. And in 1979, the figure was
140. From 2,723 in 1962 [applause] to 140 in 1979. An enormous difference.
Almost total suppression of deaths on that account. And let us not speak
about what it was like before the revolution. And dysentery, perhaps as no
other disease, is the most manifest indication of underdevelopment, misery,
malnutrition and lack of education. In 1962, 645 cases of tetanus, which is
very lethal, were reported. They have dwindled through the years and
reached 31 in 1979. That is, [interrupted by applause] from 1962 to 1979,
we came down from 645 cases to 31 cases. Tuberculosis--another communicable
disease. It demanded early on from the revolution that we expand or build
new special hospitals. Today, with the exception of one, all tuberculosis
hospitals have been turned into clinical-surgical hospitals and homes for
the elderly or research institutes.

Mortality went down from 16.6 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1959 to 1.8 in
1979, one of the lowest in the world. In 1975, this rate was 19.1 in Chile,
18.3 in Guatemala, 7.8 in Venezuela and 7.6 in Puerto Rico. But what is
more important is that mortality has reached such a low rate that it places
Cuba in the top position in the world. [applause]

That is, not only have new hospitals been built; diseases have been
eradicated as well. And we have applied preventive medicine, because more
than having hospitals, more important than having hospitals is preventing
the citizenry from having to go to the hospitals. That is why we have the
best health statistics in Latin America. There is no comparison possible.
We can analyze some of this data. For example, infant mortality. These
numbers are per 1,000 live births: 94.3 in Paraguay, 80.7 in Guatemala,
72.4 in Peru, 63.3 in Chile, 52.5 in Colombia, 43.7 in Venezuela--despite
its oil--and 19.4 in Cuba. [applause]

Mortality among preschoolers, Rate per 1,000 preschoolers ages 1 to 4: 24.2
in Guatemala, 13.9 in Ecuador, 9.5 in El Salvador, 9.2 in Honduras, 7.5 in
Peru, 5.6 in Paraguay--it is because they die before reaching preschool
age--4.9 in Colombia, 4.8 in the Dominican Republic, 3.8 in
Venezuela--despite its oil. In Cuba, it is 1. [applause]

Maternal mortality. Rate per 10,000 live births: 47.8 in Paraguay, 23.2 in
Peru, 17.1 in Colombia, 14.5 in Guatemala, 13.1 in Chile, 9.5 in El
Salvador, 6.8 in Venezuela, 4.7 in Cuba. [applause]

Life expectancy at birth: 48.3 in Bolivia, 52.2 in Haiti, 55.7 in
Guatemala, 56.2 in Honduras, 58.1 in Peru, 60.7 in El Salvador, 63.4 in
Colombia, 63.6 in Brazil. I do not have the figure for Venezuela but I have
read it somewhere, about 63 or 64--despite its oil. [laughter] Cuba: 70.4

Deaths from tuberculosis: Rate per 100,000 inhabitants: 19.1 in Chile, 18.3
in Guatemala, 16.9 in Paraguay, 11.7 in Colombia, 7.8 in
Venezuela--despite... [laughter], 7.6 in Puerto Rico--The Yankee
colony--5.2 in Costa Rica, and 1.8 in Cuba. [applause]

Deaths from tetanus: Rate per 100,000 inhabitants: 11.9 in Ecuador, 7.0 in
Paraguay, 4.8 in the Dominican Republic, 4.8 in El Salvador, 3.8 in Costa
Rica, 3.1 in Colombia, 1.6 in Venezuela, and 0.2 in Cuba. [applause]

Deaths from measles: Rate per 100,000 inhabitants: 79.9 in Guatemala, 48.1
in Ecuador, 12.9 in El Salvador, 11.8 in Paraguay, 8.1 in Honduras, 6.2 in
Venezuela, 4.0 in the Dominican Republic, 2.4 in Colombia and 0.1 in Cuba.

Reported cases of polio: 2,502 in Brazil--now, those are the reported
cases. Don't believe those people's statistics --558 in Colombia, 131 in
Peru, 73 in El Salvador, 32 in Bolivia, 28 in Venezuela, 1 in Cuba.
[applause] One case only and it was because of family neglect because they
didn't vaccinate him. Only one.

Reported malaria cases; Brazil--now, these are the reported cases. I
repeat, because if there are no doctors no one knows what is ailing the
patient [laughter]--89,959 in Brazil, 83,289 in El Salvador, 37,306 in
Colombia, 18,463 in Peru, 15,087 in Haiti, 9,616 in Guatemala, 4,759 in
Venezuela and 289 in Cuba--and these are workers who have come from abroad
and they are immediately treated and cured. National cases, none.

Here we have percentage of deaths from infectious and parasitic diseases
around 1976. We are not talking about 1980. We have been doing better each
year. In Honduras 44.8 percent--the death percentage from infectious and
parasitic diseases--62.5 in Guatemala--take a look at that percentage-38.6
in El Salvador, 24.5 in Chile, 21.4 in Costa Rica, 24.6 in Venezuela, 54.2
in Peru, 50.7 in Ecuador and 2.1 in Cuba. [applause]

There is another interesting figure for this decade, very interesting. For
example, calories per capita per day. Calories: 1,700 in Haiti, 1,812 in
Colombia, 1,858 in Bolivia, 2,156 in the Dominican Republic, 2,084 in
Ecuador, 1,988 in Guatemala, 2,350 in Peru, 2,049 in Honduras, 2,388 in
Venezuela, and 2,728 in Cuba. [applause]

Grams of protein per capita per day: 41 in Haiti, 46.1 in Colombia, 48.4 in
Bolivia, 44.8 in the Dominican Republic, 47.3 in Ecuador, 52.7 in
Guatemala, 64 in Peru, 52.1 in Honduras, 62.6 in Venezuela and 70.1 in
Cuba. [applause]

And this data is taken from international publications which deal with the
health and nutrition of our countries. And when we say per capita, we mean
per capita. That is, there is a fair distribution. When they say per capita
over there, you know perfectly well that it is the per capita that existed
here before in Alfonso's time. [laughter] Some got three times as much,
others got nothing. It's true. Hence, these are eloquent figures. No one
can refute them And this is possible only with the socialist revolution.
There is no other way, Under capitalism [applause] and under capitalist
domination, it is absolutely impossible. [applause]

These are the advances of 20 years of revolution. In these 20 years, what
have other Latin American countries achieved? What has imperialism
achieved? See what a disastrous health and nutrition situation those
countries are experiencing.

Even very rich countries, which waste millions that are the product of the
plunder of underdeveloped, non-oil-producing countries of the Third World.
And they cannot achieve [our figures] because the society of selfishness,
the society of the exploitation of man by man, the society where the human
being is worth nothing, cannot solve these problems nor will they ever be
able to do so, because they are not even concerned about these problems and
that is why, despite the billions that imperialism invests in destabilizing
our country, obstructing our plans, waging campaigns against the revolution
to miserably deceive the peoples, these figures are too eloquent for anyone
to dispute. [applause]

If we look at the figures for education, the difference between those other
countries and us is amazing. If we look at the figures for employment, it
is the same thing, not to mention drugs, prostitution, gambling and all
that. Not to mention it, because over there they exist in astronomical
figures. [laughter] In crime, too. We also have our own delinquents. Well,
we used to. We have reduced those a bit. [applause, shouts of "Let Them
Go!"] Now, wait a minute. We have to be fair. Not all the lien have gone.
Not all the lien have gone. Neither have all delinquents gone.

Speaking of this, we say this as a joke--or maybe we are serious--we say
there is a new category--funny thing--the patriotic lumpen. [laughter] Oh,
yes. There are lumpen who say: I am lien but this is my country; this is my
fatherland. [laughter] And they don't want to leave. [laughter] But there
are delinquents in prison who also say: This is my country; this is my
fatherland. And their attitude is... [interrupts thought] I think it is
only fair that we take this into account. It is only fair that we take it
into account. [applause] This is the category of the patriotic inmates. Of
course, now we can employ them in more construction jobs. We have to
consider that many of them have learned construction skills. Many of them
worked in this center, and they did a good job.

Many of them are working. It must be said that the majority--given the
alternative of leaving prison, of being released and of traveling to the
Yankee paradise--the majority said "No!" This is something important. I
believe that what we have left here are people with whom we can work
better. [applause]

And naturally, we have to take that into consideration, as our plans, our
rehabilitation plans improve and we can offer them job opportunities in
work they can do. It would be better to have shops inside prisons, better.
This does not at all mean that we can ease up on the fight against
delinquency and lumpen. We cannot, much less now that the lumpen and the
counterrevolutionaries are becoming one. No, we have to keep up and
continue this very hard struggle, very hard struggle; there is no doubt
about it. But we must take into account these factors. How to deal with a
certain type of people. There are others who are lumpen and have not left
because they have not been able to. Also, the Mariel flotilla started
losing transportation capacity. And we cannot get our hopes too high,
although the house-cleaning has been considerable. You people of Las Tunas
know this perfectly well. [applause]

Before, they used to take our doctors, engineers, teachers and highly
qualified personnel. Now, they had to take the lumpen. [laughter] That is
the truth. Those with their heads filled with illusions. Yes, we are an
underdeveloped, small country. We are not an industrialized, rich country.
We have to confront the biggest imperialist power in the world, the country
with the most industrial and technical resources in the capitalist world.
And we have always accepted the challenge. We have always accepted it. I
remember those early years of the revolution when we only had 6,000
doctors. And they took away 3,000; they took away 3,000 doctors. They left
us with hardly any doctors in the first years. And we accepted the
challenge. We worked with revolutionaries. It is revolutionary doctors we
care about. [applause] That is what we care about. That is the doctor the
people prefer and the people want. And fortunately, we have many
revolutionary doctors. [applause] And we have thousands of internationalist
doctors. [applause] The situation is now better than ever in that area.

We have over 15,000 doctors now trained by the revolution, and 4,500
students enrolling each year. In 1985 the number will be about 5,500 per
year by 1985. How can we fail to accept the challenge? We will accept All
challenges the society of opulence, the society of lies, the society of
selfishness, the society of vice, of deceit want, [applause]

Now they are saying that we have sent them some criminals. That is a lie.
That is a lie. No one has been released from any prison; we have pardoned
no one who is responsible for a deed of blood. That is a category apart.
Safely tucked there. [laughter] Now, there may be an individual who a long
time ago committed a deed of blood and did his time. And now that he is
completely free, he wanted to go to the Yankee paradise. Well, good luck to
him. What can we do? [shouts, applause] So that you can see what
imperialist mentality is: They are apparently horrified, saying that we
have sent them criminals over there. [laughter]

You can see the hypocrisy and phariseeism of the imperialists. When the
revolution triumphed on 1 January, characters who had murdered thousand of
Cubans, who had tortured thousands more of Cubans --Ventura, Carratala,
Masferrer--all these people. All these people were received over there with
open arms, And real criminals took refuge there. Thousands of murderers and
thousands of cases of torturers. The same thing happened in Vietnam. They
took with them thousands of murderers. And also in Nicaragua. Wherever any
government of terror, of blood, has existed, they receive them over there.
And now they want to create a scandal because they say some criminals have
gone over there. Really, what went over there... [laughter] I am not going
to say they are criminals because a criminal is someone who kills you, who
is in prison. After an individual has served his sentence, well that's it.
He has canceled his debt to justice and the law. And he should have the
same right as any other citizen: Of traveling to the United States.
[laughter]. Throughout our history, thieves have taken refuge in the United
States. But not chicken, goat or hog thieves, no, no, guys who took
hundreds of millions of dollars to the economy of the country. And where
did the Batista followers end up with the money stolen in Cuba? And where
did all those billionaires of the previous governments of this country end
up with the money stolen in Cuba? They ended up in the United States. And
the U.S, received them with open arms. Well, let them now receive the
lumpens, the thieves of chickens, sheep, hogs and other things. [laughter,
applause] Why yes to that one and not this one?

Where is the morality of this position? Where is the morality of this
policy? It is complete hypocrisy, total phariseeism. The thing is they did
not take the doctors of Las Tunas Hospital or of any other place. That's
the thing. [applause] The doctors and the technicians in general have had a
great attitude, a great attitude. Those who have said they want to emigrate
are a small number, and of course, in the case of university technicians we
cannot say right away --we'll have to see how they are doing. In general,
there are different views on this but at least a number of years of service
is essential. [crowd shouts "Let Them Pay" ] I have heard this a lot, the
theory that they should pay. We would have to see how we would work it out.
[applause, chants] But as a general rule, the attitude of the
professionals, of the university technicians is great. This greatly pleases
us. But it is the product of the years of revolution. Now we are better off
than ever. We can accept any imperialist challenge, any challenge.

We even have some unemployment problems. Sometimes it is not easy to place
into a basic industry an individual who has been demobilized from military
service. This is because the population has grown; it has increased and the
number is very large. We have had to make an enormous effort to have
schools and it is not always easy. If we have an unpatriotic individual, a
weakling who is holding a job and who wants to go to the Yankee
paradise--good luck to him, good luck to him. And then we will place the
demobilized individual in his job, one of those unpatriotic individuals who
if this country is invaded will be a fifth columnist.

He won't fight; he won't even manage to throw a rock. We prefer an
individual demobilized from military service, a combatant, a soldier, a
Cuban capable of fulfilling an internationalist mission, capable of
defending his fatherland until the last drop of blood-- one who knows how
to fight, how to work, who has another mentality. It is preferable to have
this man in that most. [applause]

As an employment policy, we have given deserved priority to those who
fulfill military service. We must give them priority when they seek
employment. We have a number of schools with several thousands of them
training after service as construction workers, machinists, as workers of
the mechanical industry and I think we will manage very well. Therefore, we
should not worry if we lose a few soft parts. We are left with the muscles
and the bones of the people; that's what we are left with--the hard parts.
[applause] The hard parts of a people are the ones which are able to
overcome everything. Those hard parts, which are many, have to be respected
because they have an impressive strength as was shown in the battle of the
masses in April and nay. We are also left with the brain and the heart and
the feet firmly planted on the ground. [applause] Plastic surgery for the
soft parts. [laughter]

This is the reality and this is how we are facing and how we will face in
future years this imperialist challenge. But I think they are going to
gradually learn the lessens. The imperialists are a bit mentally retarded
but they will have to learn what the use has been of their 20 years of
hostility and struggle against us. That has made us stronger and it will
make us stronger. What did they feel toward Cuba? Scorn, the most complete
and absolute scorn when they imposed, when they intervened in our war of
independence; when they snatched victory from us; when they prevented
Calixto Garcia from entering Santiago de Cuba; when they used our
territories to establish naval bases; when they imposed the Platt Amendment
with scorn. And with that scorn they controlled our country for almost 60
years. But that ended more than 10 years ago. [applause, chants] We are
ready to defend that morality and that dignity whatever it costs, whatever
occurs. But what cannot be said now is that they can feel contempt toward
our people. They must be aware of who our people are, of our strength,
combativeness, morale, and dignity. [applause] They cannot scorn us. From a
scorned people we have become a kind of ghost for the imperialists. They
have lost sleep with their stupid policy of hostility and aggression
against our fatherland. We hope they will learn. We have time for them to
learn if it takes another 20 years, another 40 years and even 100 years.

We are ready to face this challenge this time and we know that as the years
pass we will be less alone, less alone in this hemisphere. We will see how
long the decay, these selfish societies, these exploiting, miserable
societies will last. Let us see how long they will last, if they need
another 20 years, another 40, 100 years. Because we know that we ourselves
will be able to resist. Real freedom is not an easy path. [applause] Real
justice is not an easy path and our history teaches us this. Our history
teaches us this. The independence struggle began here in 1868, around here
where you live, around these lands which were covered with the blood of so
many heroes. The 1868 struggle began and they fought for 10 years but they
did not achieve victory. They waited almost 20 years and they did not
achieve victory as a result of the Yankee intervention. It can be said that
it was after 90 years of struggle in the past and present centuries that we
were able to be owners of our destiny for the first time. [applause] Truly
owners of our destiny. Our historic responsibility is to know what to do
with this freedom and how to use the opportunity that we have achieved in

But no [Antonio] Guiteras sugar mill belongs to any Yankee magnate, no
Argelia Libre mill, no Jesus Menendez mill, no Amancio [Rodriguex] mill,
Colombia mill, or Peru mill belongs to any Yankee magnate. None of these
lands belong to any Yankee landowner, any big landowner. They belong to the
people. They produce for the people. They are sugar mills of the people
which produce for the people. They are factories of the people which
produce for the people, hospitals of the people which work for the people.

[Applause] This is revolution, this is socialism, this is the great truth
which the imperialists cannot conceal from other peoples, no matter how
hard they try and in spite of the flood of lies they manufacture daily.
They are constantly misinforming peoples. In this manner they may confuse
one or another idiot, but no one deceives or confuses the people.

We must work hard, with great efficiency and precision. Only working and
striving can we make progress. All the new things we see in this province
are the legitimate fruit of efforts and work. This is one of the most
important sugar provinces and has great potential. We know that last year
you produced more sugar than in 1970, and that this year you produced more
sugar than last year. But we have also had difficulties in industries--
this boiler was not ready, there were problems in shifting the tanks, there
were other types of problems such as the number of technicians in the sugar
mills being too few. We have been receiving information from all the sugar
mills and have been taking steps. Because if it is true that we produced
this year more sugar than last year and more than in 1970, we still did not
harvest some 70 million arrobas of sugarcane, enough cane to produce some
90,000 or 100,000 more tons of sugar.

Even now, we are going to stop operation in this sugar mill and dedicate
all our manpower to weeding sugarcane. The planting, weeding and harvesting
of sugarcane are essential. The eastern provinces are behind in their
weeding. Tunas, Holguin, Granma, Santiago, and especially Guantanamo are
low in their sugar production. At this time the weeding of sugarcane is
essential, both the chemical and physical means of weeding. Next year's
sugar production depends on this. If we take advantage of the current
steady rains and weed the sugarcane we can increase production next year
when sugar prices are good. We must be aware of this opportunity to benefit
from a price three and a half times higher than it was 2 years ago.

We cannot guarantee that this price will remain high for a long time but we
cannot lose this opportunity and we must prepare for the coming year. This
is why we want this province, in which we have had industrial problems, to
take all the necessary steps so that January will not find us building a
boiler. It must be ready before November, January must not find us
installing a piece of machinery. It must be in place before November,
before the harvest begins.

We hope that this year we shall have a much better sugar production than in
previous years. We must produce 80,000-100,000 tons of sugar more than this
year. [applause]

We are rapidly replacing the sugarcane affected by the rust. It has been
almost completely substituted by other varieties resistant to the disease
and next year there will not be a caballeria of 43-62 sugarcane [not
further specified] which was affected by the rust which reduced cur
sugarcane production and the sugar yields this year.

During this year we will plant some 33,000 caballerias of sugarcane between
old and new areas and next year we hope to plant 36,000 caballerias. We
will have the means and equipment for this task.

We were successful in the struggle against, swine fever; we successfully
controlled the outhreaks. Our country is the only one to achieve this.
Other neighbors, when the pest arrived, were left without pigs. The
discipline and organization of our people made this possible. This is the
second time that this pest has appeared.

We have discovered chemical means to confront tobacco diseases. It is
really very suspicious that so many pests have appeared at the sane time
when we know that imperialists planned the use of bacteriological warfare
against our country. They have thought up all crimes possible against our
country to destroy our revolution. We have confronted all these problems
and we are in shape to have a better sugar harvest, but Las Tunes must play
an important role.

We would like to see this enthusiasm and working spirit win the right to
commemorate a 26 July here. [applause, chanting] Think about it and strive
for it we know that you can; we know that you want this opportunity.

We cannot close this ceremony today without expressing our deepest
recognition to the building workers who made possible this remarkable
project and to all the people of Las Tunas who enthusiastically
participated in this task which benefits you, and which is so important to
all the people. This afternoon it is a cause for pride for all the people
of Las Tunas for all our people and for our party.

There is something I left for the end, since this is the anniversary of the
births of Antonio Maceo and of Che. Fate made it possible for two
extraordinary men to born on 14 June, two titans in our hemisphere: Maceo
and Che. [applause]

Che was a doctor, an invader and an internationalist. He was a worthy man,
an unmatched fighter, hard, competent and demanding. As a doctor he served
our troops during the first months until he became troop leader. His name
will be the name of this handsome hospital, [applause]

If Maceo were here with us, he would firmly support this suggestion, Maceo,
who was so brave, pure, loyal disciplined and grateful would recall with
us, with the same gratitude we recall the gesture of this son of the
Argentine people who joined us, risked his life many times with us and gave
his life for the cause of liberating this continent.

We express our gratitude with the same admiration and respect Maceo had for
this great internationalist, Maximo Gomez. [applause] Maceo is ours, his
glory and his memory will be honored, but in a different manner. His glory
and his memory will be honored in our work, in our struggles, in the
fulfillment of our internationalist duties and mainly with our patriotism.
[applause] We are ready to make true those marvelous words: Whoever tries
to seize Cuba will gather the dust of its territory bathed in blood, if he
does not die in the attempt. [applause]

Projects like this are a worthy homage to the memory of Maceo and Che.
Fatherland or death, we shall triumph.