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FL310308 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 0156 GMT 31 Oct 80

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at closing session of the 16th Sugar
Industry Workers National Union Congress at Havana's Lazaro Pena

[Text] Whenever I have been called upon to say the closing remarks at an
event of this nature, it has always bothered me that I have not been able
to participate throughout the duration of the event. This has been the case
today. However, I have read with a good deal of interest and attention the
draft of the main report. I have also been informed in a sufficiently
detailed manner about all the discussions. I know, for instance, that there
was a lot of discussion about job safety and health. There was a lot of
participation on this question. Many viewpoints, much well-founded
criticism was expressed.

I also know that several topics were touched upon, that the matter of
gratuities [gratuidades] caused a great deal of discussion. There were
different interpretations. I know that the harvest awards [premios] were
much discussed as well as the coefficients [coefficient] and the demands
from other areas--construction and so forth. It was suggested that the
coefficient be also applied to them. Viega was also explaining to me what
he has said; about the sugar worker with 50 years' experience who wanted to
know when workers like him would be recognized as well; the problem about
the micro-brigadista who said that he had gone and built houses and now
they were not applying the coefficient to him. I know that you discussed
practically everything in the reports. Some of these things, of course,
could be explained; others will have to be analyzed by the party and
government. I believe special attention should be given to everything that
refers to job safety and health, which was one of the points that were
discussed at length. There is no doubt that the party and state are deeply
concerned about everything that might contribute to guaranteeing the safety
of the workers.

The first party secretaries in the provinces were invited to this final
session of the congress. The secretaries of all the sugarcane
municipalities of the entire country are also here. So are the local
officers of the rank-and-file organizations, the directors of all the sugar
mills and sugarcane enterprises, delegates from the sugar ministry from all
provinces, 300 50-year veterans and more than 1,000 workers from Havana
City and Havana Province.

This congress is taking place at a very important moment. There has not
been a more timely congress in recent years than this one. There is a lot
of work, a lot to do. The sugar industry is acquiring growing importance
for our country. It is a sector of the economy which has been called upon
to continue to develop in a vigorous manner both in the agricultural and
industrial fields. A sugar mill reconstruction and expansion plan has been
undertaken. During the current 5-year period we have completed two new
sugar mills and another two are nearing completion. Several sugar mills are
in the works.

We are also planning to begin construction of some 15 new sugar mills.
These are typical, standardized sugar mills, with the same grinding
capacity, the same technology, the same type of equipment. This greatly
facilitates maintenance, repairs. This greatly facilitates construction.
The country had not built a new sugar mill in I don't know how many years.
We repaired and renovated old ones. But I believe that the most recently
built sugar mill was already over 50 years old. Others dated from last
century and were remodeled. Still others dated from the beginning of this
century. It is really satisfying to think that our country is now building
sugar mills as a Cuban project with more than 60 percent of their
components made in Cuba. And we hope to be able to produce at least 70
percent of the components locally: boilers, tandems. We also expect to
build our own automatic centrifuges, and good quality ones at that. We are
thinking of everything. These are not mere ideas. A boiler plant is under
construction in Sagua. A tandem plant is nearing completion in Villa Clara.
The Villa Clara mechanical plants are being expanded. Therefore, we should
be in a position to produce most of the components of a sugar mill. It is
logical that the country develop a mechanical industry to support the basic
industry, that is, sugar.

Now, in this 5-year period which has just concluded, or rather that is
almost over, some progress has been made that can be compared to the
previous 5-year period and to the last capitalistic 5-year period. For
example, yield per caballeria has increased from 46,100 arrobas in 1954-58
to 49,900 in 1971-75 to 58,300 in 1976-80 despite the rust in 1980.

New varieties of sugarcane have been introduced that are more productive
than the POJ-3878. Some of them were developed in Cuba. The POJ-2878 was
almost the only variety planted prior to the revolution, with all the
attendant inconveniences inherent in having to depend mainly on only a few
varieties, no matter how good. When the rust affected one of our best
varieties, almost a third of the country's sugarcane fields were affected.
This variety is now being replaced by some 10 new varieties, and we are
going to try to have many good varieties in order to reduce the dependence
on a few good varieties.

A mechanization policy is being implemented. The conditioning of land has
been 100 percent mechanized. Herbicides are being used. We are using seven
times more fertilizer, and most of it is spread by machines. The area under
irrigation has been expanded.

The number of men involved in the cutting, lifting and loading of the
sugarcane has been greatly reduced in the harvests of these past years. In
1954-58, 387,000 men were used in the cutting, lifting and loading of the
sugarcane, that is, nearly 400,000 workers. In 1976-80, the yearly average
of men used in these same tasks was 190,000. This means a reduction of
nearly 200,000 workers. And yet production is higher. This gives us an idea
of how productivity has increased with mechanization in sugarcane
activities in the years of the revolution.

The average amount of sugarcane ground in 1976-80 is greater than the
5-year periods under analysis. In this 5-year period sugar production is
greater. The daily average of sugarcane ground in 1976-80 was 4.4 million
arrobas more than the average in 1971-75. The average of utilization of
industrial capacity during this 5-year period is 10 percent greater than
that in 1971-75. In 1976-80 the average time lost is lower than in 1971-75
by 2.15 percent. The average yield obtained in 1976-80 is higher than in
1971-75 by 2.49 percent. The average oil consumption in 1976-75 period by
35 gallons per metric tons of ground sugarcane.

There is a great deal of additional data that reflects improvement in this
regard. Of course, all this shows that work in general can improve, and
that it can improve a great deal. I believe that we have to be guided by
figures, data, year by year, 5-year period by 5-year period in order to
analyze the results, the quality of our work. For instance, how much did we
increase sugarcane production per caballeria? How much did we increase
sugarcane production per caballeria? How much did we increase yield, for
instance? In the sugar mills, year by year? How much did we reduce the use
of oil? Or as Martell says, oil, wood and electricity? Because energy use
not only consists of how much oil is used in the sugar mill but also the
wood and the electricity from the national energy system. How much, for
example, did we increase the average number of arrobas cut by hand per day?
Although this is not so difficult. We know, for example, that in this
5-year period the average went up by 53 arrobas, that is, 20 percent over
the previous 5-year period. Of course, this makes sense. There are more
collection centers. There are less canecutters. And there is a better
selection of canecutters. That is the truth. It is only logical that we
have had an increase. We do not know to what extent this is due to a job
better done--by the party, the trade union, the administration--and how
much this is due to the fact that the number of canecutters has gone down
and that the best canecutters were left, those who cut the most. We have to
view this in the way that costs have gone down in agriculture as well as in
industry. We will be able to measure our work through these statistics.
There is no other way. And we have indeed improved from 1976 to 1980. But I
believe that we can improve even more.

In hours lost whether through operations or through breakdowns, we have
sugar mills with less than 1 percent, and there are others with more than
10 percent. Some of them were real headaches. We have to raise these very
sugar mills with problems to the level of the best sugar mills. Of course,
repairs have a lot to to with this. A lot. Also, the quality of the repair,
the time the repair takes, the materials employed, the equipment used, the
reserves available. There is no doubt that a great deal more can still be
done in this area of interruption of operations, breakdowns.

A great deal more can be done to save fuel. We have vanguard provinces in
this area such as Cienfuegos. And vanguard sugar mills. A great deal can be
done about fuel, in recycling [recobrado] as well as fuel. We also have
vanguard sugar mills in recycling and some vanguard provinces.

We must see to it that grinding is not allowed to drop on Monday and
Tuesday just because there is not enough sugarcane.

And what are we doing? What can we cook up? Someone has suggested that
agriculture should have an organization similar to that of industry,
because the sugar mill does not stop on Monday, it does not stop on Tuesday
except for a short period of time for repairs. Logically, agriculture
should be organized the same as industry because the supply of sugarcane to
the mills should not be halted. Concerning Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, we
must work on a Sunday or a Thursday, a Friday or a Saturday.

In sum, some of these traditional problems of tradition must be resolved.
The rest is justified but we have to organize it. The capitalists did not
have this problem because during the harvest everyone was forced to work
whenever a task was assigned. And there was an army of unemployed. But
under socialist conditions, we must be rational in this matter. And we have
to rationalize things. This problem could also be seen in the ports. It
turns out too that there is a traditional system of work. And there is a
need to add new brigades. But the work at the port must not be halted
because there is a foreign ship there charging for extra days. And it has
to be loaded. There is no reason to stop everything at the port on Saturday
afternoon and Sunday. That is not economic. It is wrong. We must find ways
to adapt to this reality. The economy is greatly affected when raw material
arrives late, when a ship is not unloaded, and so forth.

It is the same problem with the warehouses. And formulas are being devised
so that night work can be done in the warehouses because the problem is
that a truck arrives and it has to stay there until the following morning
to unload the merchandise. In other words, there are many things which
cause delays and are obsolete, and we must overcome them. One of these
things occurs during the sugar harvest when grinding drops so much on
Monday and Tuesday and then begins rising on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
and Saturday. Then there is a lot of sugarcane on Sunday. We have these
problems constantly. And we have to eliminate all the causes which, for
subjective reasons, cause a lack of sugarcane deliveries to the mill.

The fact that there is mechanization implies new problems. It makes us more
susceptible to the rain, more vulnerable to the rain. When all the cutting
was done manually and animals were used to haul the sugarcane, harvesting
could be done even in May and June. Now every time we have to do harvest
work in the spring, it becomes a tragedy. The machinery does not work, it
does not operate properly. Transportation suffers a lot. The fields suffer
a lot. On the other hand, we must not lose a single minute during the
drought season and in the harvest. We must not stop supplying sugarcane to
the mills as a result of subjective reasons.

It is already known that we cannot give up mechanization. It would be
impossible and we all understand this. However, mechanization brings its
problems and it is that it makes the harvest more vulnerable to the rain.
And therein lies the importance of finishing the harvests early and
avoiding going into May and, above all, into June.

As soon as the heavy rains begin and the machinery cannot work, it is
necessary to make big mobilizations, seek hoisters, and so forth, in order
to achieve the sugarcane goals.

Since we are vulnerable to the rain and we are forced to make certain
changes because of the rain, we must reduce all those problems in the
supply of sugarcane which depend entirely on organizational factors until
they are completely eliminated; in other words, subjective factors. I
believe we can make a great deal of progress on this and we need to advance
on this. It is imperative.

There are great possibilities in industry [sugar manufacturing process] but
there are also great possibilities in agriculture. We can truly say that
this year was an example of what can be done. Forced by the problems of
diseases, particularly sugarcane rust, stimulated by the best sugar prices
and in consideration of the commitments signed by our country, there is no
doubt that a special effort was made this year to weed the sugarcane
fields. There are some comrades who say that more sugarcane weeding work
was done this year than in the entire history of the revolution. The truth
is that the sugarcane weeding goals were fulfilled and overfulfilled. And
we had a vital need to do it. And the effort was made. Much better work was
done in the weeding, cultivation and attention of sugarcane. A big spring
planting effort was made and more than 20,400 caballerias were planted with
sugarcane. Moreover, something important was achieved when sugarcane losses
were kept to a minimum--losses in the planting.

I was talking with Comrade [Raul] Rodriguez of Villa Clara Province, first
secretary of the party there, and I asked him exactly how many caballerias
were lost in Villa Clara. And he assured me they had lost 38 caballerias of
sugarcane out of slightly more than 1,500 planted. In other words, they
lost less than 1 percent of the sugarcane planted, less than 1 percent.
Losses of 10 percent used to be typical. We have to eliminate that
10-percent loss completely.

The thing that helped a lot in Villa Clara was the planting in sugarcane
shoot beds (siembra en canteros) in the lowlands. There are lowlands which
are flooded when 60 or 70 millimeters of rain fall and this happens
frequently, sometimes even 100 millimeters which is when it is said that 4
or 5 inches fell. With the traditional planting method, new sugarcane is
lost. It is flooded. It is choked.

Some provinces became aware of the need to change planting techniques and
resorted to the planting in beds for which adequate equipment is required.
The planting in beds gives extraordinary protection to spring sugarcane. We
should not fail to use this method wherever there are lowlands.
Furthermore, the planting plans should identify beforehand on which lands
the planting beds system will be applied in each sugarcane enterprise.

According to what I have been told by some comrades, the difference between
sugarcane planted in beds on lowland and sugarcane planted in traditional
methods can be seen in Villa Clara itself. It is an enormous difference in
sugarcane growth and so forth. Therefore, we all are obliged to know what
happened in Villa Clara, why so little sugarcane was lost in Villa Clara,
what measures were adopted there and, therefore, what measures we should
adopt in all the other provinces. And we should not wait 10 years to apply
the good experiences of Villa Clara in, for example, Granma or Guantanamo
or some other province.

That is a demonstration of how agriculture can be improved, above all, to
reduce the losses. Well, 3,000 caballerias of cane that are lost could
represent from 200 to 300 million arrobas in one harvest, and could
represent from 300 to 400 thousand tons of sugar. That is a conservative
estimate. That is correct, 3,000 caballerias could represent from 300 to
400 thousand tons of sugar. And I do not want to figure out what that would
be at today's prices. Someone figured out, I believe it was Martell, an
estimate of the cane lost in a harvest. He figured it out at 20 cents. I do
not want to figure out at 40 cents what 400,000 tons of sugar would sell
for. I do not want to do it because it is a lot. We are not used to such
high figures.

Now in referring to yield per caballeria, we have achieved certain
improvements. Right here we said that what has been achieved during this
5-year period is much more than during the capitalist era, and much more
than during the previous 5-year period.

But from what I have read, 50,300 [arrobas] in this 5-year period is very
little, very little. The cane can have a much greater yield in the worst of
soils. But the cane needs care, needs cultivation, needs effort. It is one
of the most receptive plants in correspondence to the care given to it.
Cane is one of the most receptive plants.

We are making the estimates for 1990 and with a high percentage of
irrigation we plan to attain 80,000 arrobas. And we will continue to work
to attain 100,000, possibly by the year 2000. This is a projection which is
not ambitious. The 80,000 arrobas is not an ambitious figure as a goal. If
the essential, the necessary, I would say, the very least care is given to
a caballeria of cane, if it has the adequate terrain, if it has adequate
fertilizer, adequate cultivation and if the canefield is weeded, it can be
attained. It has been demonstrated. We have many examples everywhere.

During recent months, in the Cienfuegos meeting there was talk about
attaining 80,000 arrobas by 1985. I believe that objective should not be
abandoned under any circumstances-- 80,000 even in a year of very little
rainfall. I am going to cite an example for this year, but there are many
others like it. I am going to cite the case of the Augusto Olivares
Cooperative in the municipality of Jovellanos, Matanzas Province. am going
to give you a comparison between what they attained last year and this
year. During the last harvest the cooperative cut 2.7 caballerias and out
of that 3.7 percent and 13 percent corresponded to high yield shoots of
leftover cane and winter cane [respectively]. They did not cut any from
spring planting. They attained a real yield of 87,000 arrobas per
caballeria from all shoots. This is important because there is a certain
way of thinking that has been introduced. There is the belief that the
yield can be increased by increasing the amount of leftover cane. That has
no merit.

If the cane is 20 months old, the yield is greater. If we base our thinking
on that, we could plant the entire island with cane. All of it. Then we
would have a lot of land [planted with sugarcane] and cane every 2 years.
But that is not what I am referring to. In any case, if cane is going to be
leftover, no matter for what reason, then it should not be leftover cane of
the 80,000 or 90,000. If we are going to talk about leftover cane, then we
have to talk about leftover cane from [yields of] 200,000. We cannot say I
have 80,000 with 20-month old cane. That is junk, attaining 80,000 arrobas
in one caballeria with 20-month old cane. That is shameful.

I go so far as to accept the idea of having a certain percentage of
leftover cane to save cultivation efforts. That is, if economically or in
any other way it is useful, or because we want to begin the harvest, or for
any other reason. But what cannot be accepted is having leftover cane from
80,000, not even 100,000. That cannot be accepted. They produced 87,000.
Yes, they had 13 percent leftover and winter cane. But the following year
they had practically no leftover or winter cane.

Now for this coming harvest of 1981, this Augusto Olivares Cooperative--in
the 30 September 1980 estimate--100 percent of the total area which is
going to be cut, all of it, 27.2 caballerias are considered to be for
grinding and, of that, only 1.8 caballerias, that is 7 percent, are
leftover and winter cane. In the next harvest they have less leftover and
winter cane. That represents 1.9 fewer caballerias of leftover and winter
cane, that is 6 percent less than the real figure of the 1980 harvest in
that type of shoot.

In this case, 11 percent of the cane to be ground is of the spring type.
The estimate of all the shoots is 103,600 arrobas per caballeria for this
year. [applause] Is it being irrigated? Did we have a lot of rain? No, not
a single caballeria is being irrigated. Did we have a lot of rain? No, we
had very little rain. That is the interesting thing about it. Rainfall from
1 January to 30 September 1979 was 859 mm. That is the rainfall they had
from January to September last year. This year the rainfall is 653 mm, that
is 206 mm less than in 1979. In 1979 this cooperative cut 87,000 arrobas
and it had a rainfall of 859 mm from January to September. This year, when
they have had very little rain, to tell the truth, almost nothing--only 653
mm--they have an estimate of 103,000 arrobas without leftover and winter
cane, practically none.

I believe this is a magnificent example. The monthly rate of rainfall in
1980 has been inferior in all months to that of 1979, with the exception of
March when it was 8 mm more in 1980. In only one month was the rain a
little more, 8 mm, that amounts to a little extra. Fertilization applied by
the cooperative is based on an amount of 9 metric tons per caballeria of
the balanced type. This represents 50 to 60 percent more than the mean
national norm. That includes a double application of 18 metric tons to an
area of 1.8 caballerias, that is, the leftover and winter cane was
fertilized twice. It received more. It is evident that the fertilizing had
some impact. This demonstrates what we have read in some technical books on
fertilizing that in years of drought fertilizing helps make good use of the

Nevertheless, in the case of nitrogenous fertilizer the cooperative applied
it, only in a very limited way, to 33 percent of the area. It is even
possible that by using a little more nitrogenous fertilizer they could have
attained a greater yield.

The fertilizer is there, not for the weed but for the sugarcane. If we
fertilize but do not clear, we are fertilizing weeds.

Clearing and cultivation: Clearing by hand and by the use of herbicides
plus cultivation using machinery and using oxen represented 3.8 total of
the times required to go over the land from January to September of 1979.
The cooperative, in the same period in 1980, averaged 6.7 going-overs in
all, which represents 176 percent of those of 1979. Clearing is being done.

As I was saying, yield in the past 1980 harvest reached 87,000 arrobas per
caballeria. Per the 30 September 1980 estimate, agricultural yield will
average 103,600 arrobas per caballeria during the 1981 harvest. This is
16,600 arrobas more than the actual figure for the 1980 harvest. These
increases apply to all the cuttings. There has been an increase for ratoons
of 22,500 arrobas per caballeria. This means an average ratoons yield of
100,000 arrobas per caballeria.

Growing the sugarcane in a dry area where little rain falls, you have
16,600 more arrobas of sugarcane per caballeria. I believe that this is
proof that it is not rain, it is not natural events that are the
determining factors. It is proof of the potential in our sugarcane lands.
The potential is huge, what with the new varieties, fertilization, and so
forth. But, it needs attention. This is basic.

Therefore, we believe that a lot, a lot can be done in our industry, and
especially in our agriculture. It is important that we are aware of this,
especially now that you are associated and belong to the same trade union:
the industrial workers and the agricultural workers. It is very important
that you be aware of this now that you have received the banner for winning
the 6th grade battle. [applause]

You are no longer illiterate or semi-illiterate workers. In the first
congresses following the triumph of the revolution, there were very few
delegates who had a 6th grade education. And now Veiga has told me that the
delegates to this congress average a 9th grade education. [applause] And
this is very important, of course. This is very important. To increase his
knowledge is not only satisfaction or a moral necessity for man; it is not
only a beautiful conquest for the cultural viewpoint. A level [of
education] is a need, a basic need. Without it, we cannot build a modern
industry, or a modern agriculture. No question about it.

That can be appreciated already in some areas. We made a recent visit to a
horticultural plan where very modern technology was being applied. We could
clearly see that that technology could not have been applied without
schooling, without any real skill, without expertise by the worker, the man
so involved, because those little machines used to plant vegetables
directly are very sophisticated. Instead of having to plant a seed bed, the
tomato is planted directly, the lettuce is planted directly, the cabbage is
planted directly--everything is planted directly with the use of machines
that are perfect, perfect. They have a system by which they drop a seed,
any size you want, no matter how small. It can plant them one by one or two
by two or three by three or how ever you tell it. It plants one row or two
or three or four in a bed [cantero].

They are experimenting with planting onions directly, four rows per bed. If
the skill is lacking, if there is no education, that machine is
indecipherable. And then the machine makes mistakes. It is a great piece of
machinery but it really needs a first-rate worker. The distances [not
further explained], the tapes--it looks like a small computer--tell it
which seeds to plant. Then you have to use herbicides because when it
plants four rows of onions it will have a higher yield. There is no way to
get a hoe in there.

The use of that machine saves all the time wasted by replanting. And they
have to be very well-trained people. Luckily, we already have that kind of
worker there. They are very well-trained. There is a party committee on
that farm; the party is doing its work; the trade union is doing very
important work; and they are all enthusiastic people. It is the 19 April
farm, or rather, 19 April plan or enterprise. They are applying new
technology, but new technology needs educated people. An illiterate person
cannot apply this technology. I am convinced of that.

The same is true with the automatic equipment at the sugar mills and also
with sugarcane agriculture: All the calculations needed, the way to work,
the organization of the work, the application of technology, of herbicide,
of fertilizer--everything--and the machines cannot be operated by
illiterates. That is why it is very encouraging to know that our workers
now have a 6th grade education. And watch out, because they are already
getting ready for a 9th grade diploma. [applause]

The commitment made in this very auditorium by the Central Organization of
Cuban Trade Unions has been fulfilled, and it is very important. This is
not a luxury. Let no one think this is a luxury. It brings great moral
satisfaction but it also fills a great economic need, and we cannot cease
to insist on education's material, economic importance aside from its
human, cultural, spiritual importance. You will be better prepared to
understand everything, from politics, the revolution, to the productive

You are now united. There is hardly any difference now. And this is only
right, because agriculture now needs a near industrial worker. The one who
repairs the tractors, the one who operates the tractors, the one who
repairs the combines, the one who provides maintenance for combines, the
one who operates the combines has to meet the requirements of an industrial
worker. The one who organizes irrigation, the one who operates the
irrigation equipment needs the level of education of an industrial worker.

Because of the level of technology, machinery, chemistry, our agriculture
needs an industrial worker of sorts. And the first agricultural-industrial
complex tests are slowly being carried out. These measures have to be
applied slowly so that we may move forward on firm ground. The time will
come when the agricultural and industrial workers will be together in the
same agricultural-industrial complex. This means that they are getting
closer to one another in their technological levels. And I believe that all
of you, that huge, important and decisive force of which the mass of our
sugar workers is made, will be aware of all that can be done and how
important it is to do it.

It is not enough to ask the sugar workers that they be aware of what can be
done. I believe that for years our country, our state and our party have
not been sufficiently aware of the importance of the sugar industry and of
the importance of the work you do. Despite everything the revolution has
done for its workers in general and for the country in general, despite the
benefits which--as has been said here, pointed out at this congress and as
Martell said in his introduction--have ranged from the elimination of dead
time [in sugar harvest] to all the security and advantages that our workers
have today in comparison with the past, I believe that the country should
have done more for the sugar sector. I am absolutely certain of this and I
say it every time I have an opportunity. And I struggle for this as a very
fair thing. Our country truly depends on the work done by the sugar

And if everything is important--electricity is important, education is
important, health is important, the other agricultural activities are
important, all industrial activities are important--and we think with
common sense, we must admit that the sugar industry is the center of our
economy today and our economy depends on the sweat of our sugar workers
because everything else can function well if there is foreign exchange. We
know of many factories whose problem is a lack of raw material and a lack
of resources. But the sugar industry is the great producer of agreed upon
foreign exchange and freely convertible foreign exchange. It is the great
producer of foreign exchange. It is the great producer of the resources
which the country needs for the rest of the economy and for services.

It is true that other sectors work. It is true mining makes its
contribution. It is true that tobacco makes its contribution. It is true
that fishing makes its contribution and other sectors and industry make
their growing contribution. But nothing can compare to the billions of
dollars of foreign exchange of various types that is contributed by the
sugar industry. [applause]

The country should have done more for the material conditions of life of
its sugar workers. It should have done more than it has done. I am
absolutely convinced of this. We still find very poor conditions in our
countryside in general, but above all in the sugarcane fields. And we find
them in the sugar mills despite the efforts that have been made. Despite
the thousands of housing units built in sugar mills by the micro-brigades,
despite the towns built in the countryside, they are not enough. Of course,
the housing problem is always a serious one and the drama, the human drama,
is a tremendous one in the housing sector. And we have needs in the cities
and in rural areas. The resources are not enough to build all that we want.
However, at the time of distribution, it is very important to keep in mind
this reality in our countryside and our sugar industry.

These criteria are being kept in mind in the draft of the next 5-year plan
and in the distribution of housing with an important quantity assigned to
the sugar sector in our increasing annual housing construction plans.
Fortunately, we already have more material resources--more cement, more
rock, more sand--and we are successfully taking steps so that some day we
also will have much more lumber. I say this because we also must be aware,
just as we appeal to the sugar workers, of what we must do for the sugar

There is an extremely important salary measure already applied to the sugar
sector. It is the implementation of the [wage] reform which takes into
account the different activities of agriculture and industry plus the
15-percent premium pay [coefficient] as a wage advantage which the country
pays to sugar workers.

If we go beyond the category of sugar workers, we would be looking for
enormous complications. I caution you of this. We would be returning to the
past situation because if it is applied to one [sector], to another and
another, it would be impossible not to have others asking for it one after
the other.

We simply want to pay better wages to sugar workers. [applause] It is a
need, I repeat, it is a need of the national economy and 1 think the rest
of our workers understand this perfectly well. It is not a privilege; it is
a matter of satisfying a need of the national economy in order to be able
to carry out the harvest under the country's new social conditions.

Harvests were easy when there were more than 5 million people unemployed.
There was no need to mobilize anyone, to recruit anyone or to organize any
brigade of billionaire cane cutters. None of this needed. Unemployment took
care of all this. There was no lodging, there was no dining rooms, there
was no transportation, there was nothing. Unemployment and hunger, supreme
resources of capitalism, organized the sugarcane harvest in those days.

But today man has many opportunities of all kinds. And how can we satisfy
the demand for personnel, for a labor force to cut sugarcane, to plant, to
clean, to run these machines unless we pay better wages to this sector,
which is so vital to the country's economy?

I know that somebody at the congress voiced concern that in implementing
the wage measures, wages would be reduced later, when the fourth brigade
was created. This problem was analyzed when the matter was discussed. And
in order to avoid this eventual wage decrease, it was decided that a number
of wage measures would be implemented in the industry now, and that the
coefficient would be gradually implemented as the fourth brigade was
introduced. This would be done to avoid a wage decrease when the fourth
brigade is established, because, logically, the number of work hours would

Speaking of the fourth brigade, I think that this is also one of the just
and essential measures that the revolution must adopt. More than once we
discussed this problem and, at first, early in the revolution, we opposed
creating a fourth shift. That was not the way to resolve the problem of
unemployment. It was just a way of distributing employment. On many
occasions we told the sugar workers: We are aware of this need, but we
cannot do it at this time.

At the point it was very difficult to train a labor force for this task.
But now we have a better situation with the labor force. Of course, this is
not true in all provinces it is easy to organize a fourth brigade. There
are other provinces where organizing a fourth brigade is a bit more
difficult because they do not have extra workers. In short, we have a given
period of time and only a few mills this harvest--you must bear in mind
that we are talking about trained personnel, not just anyone can be a part
of a fourth brigade.

I believe that at last justice is being done to sugar workers. The number
of workers is being increased. The fourth brigade is being created and rest
during the harvest period is being guaranteed. But of course, the fact that
the number of workers is increasing also means plans must be made on what
to do when the harvest is over and where these workers are going to be
incorporated. Logically, we think that some will go to agriculture, which
needs them. That is, of the surplus, some will go to agriculture and others
to construction. If we are doing things properly, we should not be
basically building during harvest time in the areas of the mills. We must
build, and have all the materials ready and be prepared to build a lot
during the period after the harvest ends. This is what is rational.

Construction and agriculture should give us enough work for all those
workers who are not indispensable in the task of maintenance and
investments in the sugar mills.

Logically, if we think this way, we believe that these matters related to
the protection of the workers should receive very special attention from
the party and the government.

In recent months, we have received a lot of information regarding the
situation of the mills and the sugarcane enterprises. We even have reports
on the development of cadres through these years. We have more experienced
cadres, especially in agriculture.

The party and the government have been concerned about the problems of the
mills. All the mills and the sugarcane enterprises have been visited more
than once. Their difficulties have been analyzed in order to guarantee--and
it has been guaranteed--that each mill has a bus. Some have more than one
and some more than two. There are no longer any sugar mills that do not
have at least two buses. These are used for social activities and even for
production. Sometimes they have to establish a line between two points to
help transportation.

There is not a single sugar mill that does not have its own ambulance or
its own medical service automobile. I know that there were also discussions
about the little car here. [applause] I know they discussed the little car.
[applause] And they told me that somebody mentioned that they had taken a
barber, and because they took the barber, the 50-year veteran worker with
the fractured leg could not be taken quickly.

I meditated on all of this and I said: Well, I think they are going to
regulate it. Now, we must see what rules are made. I do remember that we
thought that this little car could help. If a case came up of a relative of
a sugar worker, or a son, a brother or a parent, anyone who had a problem,
what were they going to do with the little car, if it was at their
disposal? How do you think the little car should be used? It should take
the child; it should take an old person or it should take the lady who may
have a problem. Our idea was to help not only the workers, but also the
neighbors living near the mill when anything new came up in connection with
their health. A very difficult situation would arise if a child were
involved in an emergency and, since he does not work at the mill, he could
not be transported.

It seems to me that when the regulations are written, you will have to
analyze this problem because this was the intention. If you think something
else is better, you must do it. The intention is, however, for the
relatives of the workers to also benefit. We were thinking of the workers.
Now, I do not know about the barber; what he was doing there; whether or
not he is somebody's relative. I imagine it was a worker who needed help.
Really, if we are going to keep this from the neighbors, I say that it is
preferable to have two cars. Look, I think our country has the resources to
assign another one where one is not enough, because there are many
neighbors and many barbers. [applause]

This would be a better formula than to establish the principle that
services are not rendered to the neighbor who lives in the refinery, in the
zone, in the little town, in the community of the mill.

When you are going to comply with this agreement of the congress on
regulations, let us get together on what is the best way, so that no one
will encounter the situation that, because of the regulations, a relative
of a worker needs attention, a neighbor even though he is not a relative,
but who lives there is not helped.

We have attended to the needs of the mills, the social needs that can be
resolved immediately--in some cases a mill needed a (frosten), in another
case it needed a drinking fountain, in another case it needed an air
conditioner in the laboratory and so forth. Certain problems have been
analyzed and attempts have been made to solve them.

A number of measures have been taken. Some have been mentioned here. Five
hundred and forty one university graduates were assigned to the sugar
mills. We spoke with the university; we talked to the youth. We explained
the needs of the mills. We had learned that in the mills in some provinces,
such as Ciego, they had few engineers. There were mills that had none.
Engineers, technicians of various kinds, economists and all that the mills
needed were assigned. It is our intention, for next year, to assign an
equal number of technical personnel, or perhaps greater, so the mills will
have them. Now, you will have to try to attract these young students, win
them over and create for them some minimal living conditions, their
appropriations and administration. The union must see to it that there will
be permanent posts for those technicians the mills need so much. And not
only this.

Thousands of technicians [tecnicos medius] have been assigned to sugar
enterprises. I don't have the exact figures but there were about 3,000.
They have been assigned to farms and mills. There was the problem that when
these comrades completed their work they had to perform their military
service. An agreement was reached. They were offered a postponement of
service, and if they worked several years in the sugar mills, if they paid
a service to the country there, we could consider this to be the same as if
they had done their military service. [applause]

We are going to apply this measure for several years so the sugar mills
will be supplied with the technicians they need. It used to be a problem.
They ended their work, went into the service and these contradictions
arose. Many times, after they concluded their service, they did not go back
to this activity.

We are trying to assure this force of technicians of this benefit, as far
as the service is concerned, if they go there to work a number of years. It
is also necessary to work with those youngsters, try to attract them, try
to win them over, try to get them to remain the years that are necessary at
the mills so that later they will stay. I think that this measure is very
important with regard to the cadres of technicians whom the mills need.

The agricultural engineers have not been forgotten in the sugar area. I
know that many of them were the boys that began to graduate at the (Alvaro
Reinosa) Sugarcane Institute of Matanzas. That after they graduated--we
attended the first graduations--they went to sugarcane fields and they
continued to study in sugarcane fields. Many became engineers, a great
number of them, and many of them are very good technicians and very
enthusiastic and dedicated to sugarcane. They have not been forgotten.
These university professionals were assigned 400 automobiles which will be
sold to them. We want to make sure that the engineers, the sugarcane
technicians are not lacking, as in previous years. Last year, this was done
with the technicians of the sugar mills.

This year, it was done with the technicians of the sugarcane enterprises.
Greater attention will be given to the workers who participate in the
sugarcane harvest. They will get better tools and workclothes, whatever
they need. Some 14,600 uniforms are being made so that two can be given to
each operators, mechanics and chiefs of combine teams. A uniform has been
designed for them after discussion with the unions and workers. The two
uniforms will be delivered this harvest. One hundred thousand sets of
special workclothes are being made for the high productivity machete
workers [macheteros de alta productividad]. This will be the second set to
be given to them. They will begin to receive them at the end of January.
Unfortunately, despite all the efforts made to cut down on time, it has
been impossible to have them ready for the beginning of the harvest. The
high productivity machete workers, however, will receive the first set
which is a clothes design made especially for them.

Eleven thousand uniforms are being made for lift [alzadoras] operators.
They will be given two sets during this harvest. Twenty-three thousand
shirts and 11,000 pairs of pants are to be delivered to [female]
agriculture workers of the sugarcane enterprises; one pair of pants and two
shirts for each [female] comrade. During this harvest, 3,000 pairs of pants
and 7,000 shirts--one pair of pants and two shirts each--will be delivered
to each [female] comrade.

We have produced 80,000 pairs of boots with protective toes to hand to the
high-productivity machete workers. Work is being carried out on the
production of special clothes for sugarcane agriculture workers, for sugar
industry workers and for mobilized volunteer workers. These cannot be
delivered during this harvest because of capacity problems with the textile
equipment. But as of now, we are already working to have all this for the
1982 harvest, at the beginning of the harvest. This includes, not only the
high-productivity machete workers, but also the sugar agriculture workers.

We hope to be able to apply this policy to all sectors some day: this same
policy, on work clothes. It seems to me that the first thing a socialist
state should do is to give priority to work clothes. [applause]

But we are beginning with the sugar sector. We have tried to make the type
of clothes in some cases uniforms, designed to fulfill the conditions of
work, quality and, at the same time, aesthetics. There are some who say,
when they see the KPT-1 outfit, they are going to go out in it.

I think there was an exhibition around here, isn't that so? Light industry
believes that the material will be completed by June of next year, perhaps
before. But by 1982, we will have all this resolved.

Generally speaking, we have improved the quality of the machete workers'
gloves and we have produced enough for left-handed people, because, for
some reason, left-handed people were forgotten before. Right-handed gloves
are of no use to left-handed people thus, left-handed people were without

In matters of production, nothing can be forgotten, not the smallest
detail. We will eliminate the use of Chinese machete No 4 [mocha numero
cuatro China]. As you know, there is Gallito 3 and Gallito 4. Everybody
knew that the Gallito 3 was good. The Gallito 4 was not so good. We have
problems with it. Imagine, you have to cut cane and the blade is not so
good. This is like trying to fight a war without bullets, or without

A total of 245,000 pesos were set aside to buy quality machetes. That is
why this year, we will use Chinese machete No 3 and other machetes from
elsewhere, but of the highest quality.

This year, the regulations by which files are issued to the machete workers
are being eased. Steel brushes will be installed in the shelters to clean
files and lengthen their usefulness. In each shelter and sugarcane
refinery, grinding stones will be installed on sawhorses [burros]. [Castro
clarifies himself] Not on stone donkeys. [applause] It is the famous donkey
of history. Don't think I don't know this donkey. Ever since I was a boy, I
have seen it being used to grind with its little wheel. But it so happens
that the donkeys disappeared and the stones disappeared too. And this is
where files are ground well. In the cool of the morning, grinding stones
will be installed on sawhorses so that workers will not have to use only
files for this purpose.

Work is being carried out on the production of 55,000 clay canteens
[porprones de barro], which the machete workers will use to carry water to
the fields.

We are producing 75,000 protection boots to be used by the
high-productivity machete workers.

We are working on the production of 3,800 saddles, which will be sold to
the chiefs of sugarcane fields because, it so happened that the men had
none. They had a horse but no saddle. We have thought of the field chiefs
who need their horse and saddle.

We have assigned 25,000 kerosene stoves to be distributed among the workers
of the sugarcane enterprises where firewood is used for domestic fuel.

We knew of many workers who spent half of their workday looking for
firewood for their kitchen.

All of these measures were adopted. Some quantities of merchandise were
sent to already existing stores. The clothing that came from the GDR was
assigned to the sugarcane area.

Also this year--and Comrade Veiga already talked to you about it--we will
have an incentive plan. Prizes will be given to the best machete workers,
mechanized workmen, including the central workers, isn't that so?

That is, there will be prizes. This year, for the first time, at harvest
time there will be a purchase option for 300 automobiles so that workers
may buy them. As you know, up to now automobiles have been sold mostly to
technicians. Options on 300 automobiles which are going to be distributed.
[as heard]

We are going to distribute approximately 500 air conditioners on purchase
options. They [the buyers] must be high productivity macheteros. As you
have read in the news papers, air conditioners use up energy.

New products also will include 1,500 motorcycles. We will include some 500
trips for two to socialist countries. We have begun to make reservations,
especially at tourism-- workers' tourism to socialist countries is growing
each year--so that workers who have had a high degree of income in a
harvest may say: All right, I am going to take a trip to the USSR, to
Czechoslovakia, to some other country. I know the workers who went to the
Olympics were very satisfied when they got back.

We also are looking into the supply of construction material. We are
looking into the supply of furniture. We are coordinating efforts to put
the highest number of possible options at the disposal of workers who are
outstanding in the harvest, those who also presumably have greater incomes
with the wage reform and their high productivity. We are especially
satisfied that a worker may be able to buy an automobile.

This is aside from the normal number of motorcycles that are distributed to
the sugar mills and the farms. As you all know, all the motorcycles are
distributed among the workers except in Havana because of traffic problems.
Motorcycles are distributed in the outskirts of Havana only. Other
motorcycles are distributed to workers in the country's interior. Thousands
are distributed every year. These motorcycles which are given as prizes for
the sugar harvest have nothing to do with the share of motorcycles and
trips given to each sugar mill. We are trying to ensure the tourist trips
be taken as an option to the prizes of workers and their relatives.
Therefore, this is in addition to the number of these articles or services
assigned to each sugar mill.

For the first time, something has been done in this sugar harvest other
than using some reserve equipment. It was absurd that the Cuban people, who
own more than 150 sugar mills, had to start a sugar harvest without a
centrifuge, a vacuum pump, a speed reducing device [reductor de velocidad]
and so forth. For the first time, we have started to build a reserve. More
than 10 million pesos in convertible foreign exchange were set aside for
this. This is the type of equipment we have to acquire in convertible areas
in order to build a reserve. This reserve is not to-be used up. We must not
believe now that at the slightest problem with a pump we are not going to
repair it but to ask for a replacement. No. The reserve is for when we have
a fundamental need or a problem which can't be truly solved. So the
ministry can now have a centralized reserve. I believe it was explained to
you here that we have a program to begin installing automatic centrifuges
at the sugar mills. Last year, we had difficulties, as you all know, with
certain imported centrifuges. We hope to have less problems with them. I
just thought of Manuel Garcia Marquez... [corrects himself] Juan Manuel
Marquez who had a terrible problem with the centrifuge and there wasn't a
single centrifuge in this country. We had to ask for the assistance of some
Polish technicians because they were the suppliers of the centrifuges.
Although the centrifuges imported from Poland are good, we had problems
with them this year. It seems that there was coordination among different
factories and we had problems with the centrifuges here last year.

Special measures were adopted this year so that the same thing wouldn't
happen. If one truly doesn't want to have problems with a sugar harvest,
one must foresee them at least 1 year in advance.

The case of the Espana sugar mill began in March during the sugar harvest.
Thousands of tons of sugar were lost. We are aware of the problems that
many sugar mills had, from the Guatemala sugar mill with its boilers, the
Nicaragua with its breakdown and operation problems, the Amancio with the
problem of the steam, and the Free Algeria with all the unbalanced
situations it had. In sum, we know a lot about what was occurring in each
sugar mill because of the efforts that were made last year in the sugar
harvest. We said: Well, we must analyze the problems and with this
experience in hand and the cooperation of all the organizations, we have
made a special effort. We have been on the watch for this. What happened to
the machinery at the Haiti sugar mill? Well, it was so old, it had the
old-style machinery. It miraculously operated in that mill this year. There
was no solution because these machines are old and are usually repaired
with cannibalized parts from others which are replaced by turbines at the
mills. We had to purchase a turbine for the Haiti sugar mill in a hurry.
Then comrades, we were all closely following the date on which it was
purchased, the date on which it was to be delivered, the date on which it
was taken to the pier, the date it was shipped and I also recall that,
finally, when we got the good news that the turbine for the Haiti mill was
coming on the ship, the ship broke down and had to go back. [laughter]
Well, how long did it take to repair that ship and when did it get underway
again? Anyway, I believe that if the turbine has not reached the Haiti
sugar mill, it will get there. The foundations and everything for it are
being built.

I also recall that a ship coming from England was bringing I do not know
how many supplies. Well, its generator broke down. What a coincidence that
the generator would break down when our time was limited and it was
bringing many materials we needed. Great efforts were made through the
Transportation Ministry. The problem was solved. A boat was leased; the
merchandise was loaded and it departed for Cuba.

Then we had the problem that the Polish centrifuges arrived but not the
slates [pizarras]. Then all the steps and measures were taken to bring them
by plane. What I want to say is that there is not a single detail to which
we have not been attentive. There is not a single sugar mill to which we
have not been attentive. We know what has been happening. We know all the
problems they have and when the repairs will be completed. I believe this
has been done better than ever. For this reason, a meeting on the sugar
harvest has not been necessary this year because we have been working for
months on every detail including the very important aspect of recruiting
the work force and the availability of this force. The party and the state
have been working on all this.

I hope that in this harvest we will have fewer problems than in others and
fewer problems than last year. Nobody has the right to rest on his laurels.
Nobody has the right to overlook a single detail. Somebody recently was
telling us about electrical problems in Tuna and that they needed at least
three trucks and three station wagons because since this depended on
Santiago de Cuba, the electrical problems of Tuna were greater. The Tuna
electrical problems are like a dog which has bitten us for several
consecutive years. I would say that this dog must be cured of its rabies at
least--this dog of the electricity in Tuna. Well, the vehicles have already
been assigned for Tuna. There is no reason to overlook a single detail and
if a single detail is overlooked, it is somebody's fault. [applause]

If somebody does not speak, warn or shout in time--you do not know
how-valuable a shout in time is because any problem can be solved in time.
Problems can be foreseen and this is fundamental. There are some sugar
combines in reserve, not as many as we would want though. There are a few,
some dozens only. There are a few cargo trucks and lifts because if we have
early rains, we have to stop the machines and mobilize the personnel. Then
we have the problems of the lifts. This is one of the difficulties that I
said existed with the mechanization and the rain. If we have an early
spring when we have yet to produce 700,000 or 800,000 tons of sugar, we
would be forced to mobilize more and we would need the lifts because since
the combines cut and lift the sugar cane, we would have to cut it manually
and then we would need the lifts. Of course, we must be prepared to carry
out the sugar harvest with the best security.

This question of 700,000 tons... [Castro changes thought] the failure to
produce 800,000 tons is a disaster because then a rash of failures to
comply follows. It is not only a question of the economic harm to the
country, but also of the situation in which the country is left when it
fails to meet its commitments; the moral situation in which the country and
its prestige are left when it cannot meet its commitments. So we cannot
afford the luxury. [Castro changes thought] in the future we will even have
to work with sugar reserves, with large reserves, let us say, with larger
sugar reserves in the future.

However, a large demand for sugar has arisen during these years and,
logically, the reserves were limited. It is indispensable that every mill
begin with clockwork punctuality on the scheduled date. We must have all
the means, the entire work force. There was talk here of testing the mill,
passing the hand over it as Martell once said, quoting the old sugar
workers, and not testing the mill the day it is scheduled to start.
Furthermore, we have even recommended that every new mill set that date
ahead of schedule, because every new mill always has many problems. Some of
them were detected last year. This year we must do this on time with the
two new mills. The batalla de las guasimas and 30 November.

The harvest must begin and end absolutely on time. One must always have
days to spare. That is why some of them will start ahead of schedule. Those
who had set the 25th will start on 20 November and so some of them will
start ahead of schedule. We must avoid reaching May still with the harvest.
We must avoid this, because every time we reach May, all sorts of
inconveniences arise. When the rains begin, the yield drops substantially.
Besides, we have a tremendous planting plan for next year. As you know,
great extermination efforts have been required to eliminate the rust and we
still have somewhat in excess of 15,000 caballerias of Barbados 4362
totally infested with rust. This year we have to begin the harvest with
15,000 caballerias of Barbados 4362 still infested with rust.

However, we plan to not have a single sprout of cane of this variety left
by next spring. Therefore, there is a program to plant 26,000 caballerias
during the spring. To support this planting program, 300 tractors of 180 hp
were imported as well as hundreds of pieces of matting [estera] and rubber
[goma] equipment that will be available next year. If we work well and from
the beginning--starting now, as soon as the dry season begins-- we should
be in a position to fulfill this plan.

However, there is something else. As a result of the rains, the cold
weather planting is far behind schedule. Almost 12,000 caballerias were
expected to be planted by this date and the total to date is 7,700. The
cold weather planting program is up to 61 [as heard]. We have made many
inquiries about this matter and, fundamentally, the difficulties have been
caused by excessive moisture in the soil, which has made it difficult to
prepare the land. In many places the platoons waited entire weeks to begin
breaking the soil. Consequently, the cold weather program has fallen behind
schedule. The areas with the greatest delays are Camaguey, Ciego de Avila
with approximately 40 percent of the cold weather plan fulfilled, Tuna with
a delay, Sancti Spiritus with a delay, Villa Clara with a delay. A special
effort is required to make a maximum of cold weather plantings. It is a
known fact that the cold weather sugarcane [cana de frio] is important for
the subsequent harvest in 1982. And we must begin thinking about 1982.

However, we must warn as of now that independent of the maximum effort we
make regarding the cold weather planting, any cold weather caballerias not
planted will have to be planted in addition to the 26,000 caballerias in
spring. [ applause] So, if 1,000 2,000 or 3,000 caballerias are left, the
total will then be 27,000, 28,000 or 29,000 caballerias or whatever. This
will demand a special effort. However, above all, a special effort will be
required to conclude the harvest on time.

Next year we can do an even better job of clearing than this year, better
work than this year, which I said had been the best of the last few years.
However, this year we concluded the harvest in late May and in June in many
places. We must conclude the essential part of the harvest in late April
and early May, in its essential part, to be able to devote ourselves to
this great planting program. The advantage to this is that it will be the
dry season and we will be able to have all land broken, prepared, furrowed
and planted with beds [canteros]--in the places where we are going to do
the planting with beds. I repeat to all companeros here, to all those
responsible for cane agriculture, that they must even know as of now what
caballerias they are going to plant with beds to avert losses. What is
important is not only to plant 26,000 or more caballerias--almost
30,000--because the amount we will have to plant will be approximately this
figure, over 28,000 or 29,000 caballerias in spring, if we want to support
the 1982 harvest as we should.

However, our ability to make this planting will depend on the harvest and
the discipline with which we carry out this harvest. Now then, the amounts
of sugarcane and sugar we require for this harvest will depend on the
discipline and efficiency with which we carry out this harvest. We have
commitments to fulfill, important commitments to fulfill. As you know, in
our agreements with the socialist countries, they have preferential prices
for our sugar. It is also necessary to export certain amounts to the area
of freely exchangeable currency. Suffice it to say that, at the current
sugar price, 500 arrobas of cane are the raw material to produce
approximately $500 worth of sugar. Not to export 500 arrobas is a crime.

It represents the raw material for $500 of sugar at the present prices
which, according to predictions, will remain more or less high throughout
the next year and which, according to predictions, will be high in 1982
because there is a sugar crisis in the world-- lots of people with
problems. I am not saying that we are going to rejoice about this, but I am
saying that we must take advantage of this situation. [laughter, applause]
That we must do--we must take good advantage of it. [applause]

Sugar currently is at a very, very high price. Suffice it to say that, as
regards world market prices, in 1981 a ton of sugar will be equivalent to 5
tons of sugar in 1977. With 1 ton we will be able to obtain the revenues
that in 1977 we obtained with 5 tons. How are we going to leave even one
stalk on the boundary? How are we going to leave even one stalk in the
field? How can we not fulfill mill standards under these conditions, which
do not happen every day? At least the sugar that worries us so much, that
on the world market, will have high prices in 1981 and, according to
reasonable estimates, it will also have high prices in 1982.

I am not referring to the sugar that we sell to the socialist bloc, which
we sell at a preferential price that is higher than that on the world
market. When prices on the world market increase above socialist bloc
prices, the prices that the socialist bloc pays also increase. In other
words, we have good prices guaranteed for the sugar we sell to the
socialist countries. The tragedy has been with the sugar that we sell to
the areas with freely convertible currencies. We cannot miss these chances
at a time when the price in 1 year is equivalent to five times the price in
another year. Then the country should partly make up for the efforts, the
credits, the resources it has had to use in the years of low sugar prices.
The country has had to make enormous efforts in the years when sugar prices
were ridiculous.

So it would be senseless, we would not be agile enough or sufficiently
intelligent if, knowing about these circumstances, we did not make the
utmost effort. This was one of the points I wanted to stress at this 16th
Sugar Congress. I do not think there is a better place in the world to
bring this matter up. [applause]

We must think about 1981 and 1982, but also about 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986
and so forth, until the year 2000. [applause] As regards sugar and the
sugar industry, we must think at least as far ahead as 2000. Otherwise we
would not be optimistic about the 50th anniversary, right? Are there not
300 50-year workers here? [applause] When the revolution triumphed
[applause] when the revolution triumphed these 50-year companeros had
already been working in the sugar industry for 30 years.

The last thing I wanted to mention is that certain points are considered
important in order to achieve what we term an optimal harvest. I will list
these points:

First, strict compliance with the mills' starting program and creation of
all the necessary agro-industrial conditions. We cannot fall behind
schedule by even 1 day.

Second, strict compliance with the cutting program.

Third, controlling unprogrammed burnings through sanctions.

Fourth, not grinding old cane under any circumstances. [applause] Also, the
adoption of all necessary disciplinary measures wherever this might happen.

Fifth, reduction of foreign matter as much as possible, both because of the
quality of the cut and because of the work that is to be carried out in the
storage centers with the cleaning of the cane.

Sixth, guaranteeing the quality of sugar, just like last year.

Seventh, maintaining the policy of saving fuel.

Eighth, the 1980 wheat-planting plan has fallen behind schedule. It is
necessary to make a maximum effort in November and December.

Ninth, this year's cleaning process and effort must be bigger, as it is for
next year. This is why we must end the harvest early, in order to fulfill
the big spring planting plan of 26,000 caballerias or more.

As regards the industry:

First, grinding at top capacity;

Second, reducing sugar losses in the technological process to a minimum;

Third, strict discipline in operation of the factories;

Fourth, strict fulfillment of the maintenance program during operation;

Fifth, ensuring critical and basic spare parts.

Sixth, developing an aggressive policy in connection with breakdowns

Seventh, assigning priority to the production of refined sugar, as to
quality and quantity, due to its strategic importance in guaranteeing our

Eighth, stressing the production of all by-products--torula, alcohol, boxes
[tablero], animal fodder;

Ninth, maintaining the already developed policy of controlling and saving
water during the process;

Tenth, it is necessary to work hard to keep the mills clean. The fact that
they are food-processing factories must not be lost from sight; and

Eleventh, guaranteeing to the workers the fulfillment of protection and
hygiene measures, both in the agricultural and industrial areas.

To this we must add.

First, cultural concerns must be maintained. They should not be relegated
to second place.

Second, the administrative personnel should participate in the production
meetings. [applause] They should participate actively.

Third, constant attention should be given to spare parts for combines,
lifts, trucks and all machines.

Fourth, the maintenance of the railroads must not be abandoned.

Fifth, authority and responsibility for the sugar harvest is the role of
Minaz [Ministry of Sugar Industry]

These are fundamental points and issues.

I think we have reason to be optimistic regarding the development of our
industry. I believe we can still improve many things and we will do so. In
many things we are way ahead of the capitalists, but it is necessary to be
ahead of them in all things. Each mill must operate like a clock-work. The
levels of culture and awareness that our sugar workers have today is higher
than ever. They are not the slaves of the past century; they are not the
illiterates or half-illiterates of the days prior to the revolution. They
form a conscientious and revolutionary working class that is advancing
toward the ninth grade [applause] in cultural level and toward a doctorate
in revolutionary awareness! [applause]

Comrades: We are sure that in this battle next year, a battle that will
begin soon, on the eve of our second congress, for this 5-year period that
begins, with the beautiful and noble tasks we have ahead of us the sugar
workers will be at their jobs making efforts with a spirit of production
and with the heroism they demonstrated when they were being exploited by
the capitalists and which they demonstrated during the days of the glorious
struggle of Jesus Menendez. [applause] They will rise to the heights of
Moncada, Granma, Escambray, Giron and the internationalist struggles of our
people. [applause]

We have absolute and infinite confidence in our sugar workers! Fatherland
or death, we shall overcome: [applause]