Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana VERDE OLIVO in Spanish 4 Jan 81 pp 11-14

[Speech by Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, first secretary, Central
Committee, Communist Party of Cuba, and chairman of the council of state
and of ministers, during the closing address for the second regular period
of sessions of the National Assembly of People's Government, held in the
Palace of Conventions on 27 December 1980, "Year of Second Congress":
"Production and Defense"]

[Text] Never before has this slogan been such a vital necessity.
In our judgment, optimum conditions have been created as never
before for the accomplishment 6f this slogan. Fidel during the
closing address of the second regular period of sessions of the
National Assembly of the People's Government.]


I will not talk at length, so as not to repeat ideas, lines of reasoning,
facts, and positions which have been amply expressed during recent days.
The importance of this summons to the National Assembly among other things
springs from the fact that we completed the Second Party Congress 7 days

The resolutions of the Congress and the circumstances which we are going to
have to face in the near future give this assembly a special character.  Of
course, we all had to work intensely during this year, especially in recent
months toward the preparation of the Congress, in drafting the Annual Plan,
in drafting the Five-Year Plan, in analyzing the long-range plans, and,
moreover, because of the need for convening the National Assembly.  In this
case, the Political Bureau which by custom discusses and analyzes the
various bills, had no prior opportunity to study those bills, that were
going to have to be presented, in a thorough fashion.

We are facing a really exceptional period of time.  The change in
administration in the United States unquestionably implies risks for Cuba,
risks of all kinds Risks of identification of the blockade against Cuba,
risks of activities by the CIA, etc., risks of increasing hostility and
counterrevolutionary activities aimed at Cuba, risks of sabotage,
experiences which we have had earlier but which we must now be very much
aware of in these new circumstances.

That does not mean that we are in favor of seeking confrontations at any
cost but that we realistically analyze the risks inherent in the situation
and that we believe that it is fundamental duty to prepare ourselves.

This change in domestic politics in the United States, which has cleared
the way for the most reactionary, the most right-wing elements in that
country's government, is combined with another series of factors: This is a
combination of the convulsed situation in Central America, the growing
revolutionary fight of the peoples of El Savador and Guatemala, the rise of
the revolutionary movement in Latin America, the growing symptoms of unity
among the revolutionary forces, signifying a multiplication of their
possibilities and therefore also their fighting capabilities, the
international situation, the existing complication in the Middle East, the
war between Iraq and Iran, the hostage situation which has still not been
resolved, on top of which we have other events, as we explained in the
Central Report, which is the case with the dangerous and explosive
situation in Poland, whose final resolution cannot yet be anticipated,
although we do hope and retain the hope that the Polish party will be
capable of handling that situation with its own internal forces.

In addition to that we have the energy crisis, the international economic
crisis, which quite-logically create tensions everywhere.  I have a cable
here which came out 2 days ago, with a comment from a Western agency, an
agency which is quite Western and which defends the interests of the West,
disclosing its ideas in other words, the French Press Agency.  "In view of
the dramatic aggravation of international tension and without any prospect
of being able rapidly to resolve the economic crisis, Christmas in Europe
was celebrated today in a climate of desolation because of the difficult
results of 1980 and the uncertainty and fear connected with the rather
somber panorama presented by 1981.

"The absence of enthusiasm which characterized these celebrations in the
majority of the European countries very clearly expressed the fear aroused
by the predictions of the experts who anticipate a great increase in
unemployment, a new petroleum price rise, further inflation, and a
particularly tense worldwide situation.

"This feeling of fear, which under certain circumstances assumed
characteristics of a real panic, is manifested by a noticeable decline in
commercial activities--between 12 and 25 percent--quite clearly in contrast
to the opulence of recent years.

"The chambers of commerce of France, Great Britain, Italy, West Germany,
Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, and Finland--with their
various indexes and standards--admitted that this year's billing volume
was less than the figures as of Christmas 1980 [as published].

"The public's caution generally is due to the terror inspired by the
specter of unemployment that hangs over Europe.  This feeling became
stronger shortly before Christmas Eve when the 1980 analysis was released
along with the prediction for 1981, as drafted by the OECD for 1981."  This
is an organization which includes the principal capitalist powers,
including the United States.

"After admitting that the Western economy has entered a phase of economic
recession, which will be expressed by a reduction in the gross domestic
output, the OECD estimated that the number of 23 million unemployed, at
this time, could rise to 25.5 millions in 1981, a record figure since the
and of the war, hitting 7.5 percent of the active population.

"Most of the European countries will close the 1980 balance sheet with
definitely negative results in the matter of inflation--and with a deficit
in their balance of payments which has reached record levels.

"The prospects of seeing the reappearance of a legion of unemployed
resurrected the specter of hunger of misery which was known in Europe
during the years prior to the two world wars.

"That situation, the focus of foreseeable of social tensions capable of
spreading like a duststorm, can become further aggravated if the prediction
of some experts--who anticipate a new rise in petroleum prices--should come

"Some British and German experts agree in estimating that the price per
barrel of petrpleum will come to $50 in 1981.

"The feeling of sadness, prevailing at Christmas 1980, marked by austerity
also expresses the fear that exists in relation to the tense international

"On that continent, which suffered through three wars in one century,
public opinion with particular worry follows the evolution of the Polish
situation, aware of the fact that possible Soviet military intervention can
precipitate a crisis with unforseeable consequences.

"Europe also with alarm views the period which will start on 20 January
next year in the United States, when the Republican Ronald Reagan enters
the White House to replace the Democrat Jimmy Carter.

"Reagan, considered in Europe as a representative of the extreme right wing
of the United States, arouses fears because of his apparent tendency to
harden the United States position towards the USSR to the point of
provoking a worldwide crisis that would be difficult to manage during this
time of precarious political and military balance between the two big

Regarding Latin America and Cuba we must realize that, although an
improvement in the situation can be achieved on the international level,
including certain agreements on arms control, I think at any rate that the
policy of that administration will be hard, very hard, even openly
interventionist toward Latin America and that it will also deal sternly
with Cuba, since they consider this hemisphere to be their own private

In other words, we must realize that, although nothing may happen in Polan,
although there may be an improvement in the overall international
situation, and although progress may once again be made in the SALT
accords, etc., which will be useful and fundamental for peace throughout
the world, I think that, at any rate, the policy of that administration
toward the revolutionary, progressive, and democratic movement in America
will be a hard-line policy and will feature an alliances with the forces of
the right, with the reactionary forces, with the fascists in this
hemisphere; these are the facts of life we must start with.

This is why, now as never before, the slogan of production and defense has
become a vital necessity.

We have just passed some laws.  We consider this law on the environment to
be very important, some day perhaps it will be called historical.  I
believe that the amendments improved it; we have more freedom to keep
organizing the way in which we will advance the application of the system
spelled out in the law since the cabinet has been given basic
responsibility in this matter.

We have approved the 1981-1985 Five-Year Plan, 1981 being the first year of
that plan, plus the budgets, etc.  These plans are realistic, and that
applies to both the plan and the budget.  I believe that we must right now
start to implement the principle to the effect that plans must be carried
out and I think that this 1981 plan can perhaps be overfulfilled; in the
final analysis we have to fight to overfulfill it.  We must also try to
overfulfill the 1981-1985 plan.  As we said in the Central Committee
Report, we must commit ourselves through plans which will be carried out
and overfulfilled, we must not commit the party to things that cannot be
accomplished and that however does not relieve us of the duty to do our
utmost; our duty is not just to carry out the plan, our first duty is to
make a maximum effort and if we do our utmost, these plans can be

It was correct to act with caution.  If in any case we do what we propose
to do, we will achieve a considerable advance and we will be moving into
improved conditions for progress during the 15 years between 1985 and 2000
because we will already have been doing long-range work during that period
of time.  Conditions are much better for achieving a direction in the
economy and in the services, and in everything, and for attaining much
greater efficiency.  We will begin to harvest the fruits of what we have
been planting during this 5-year term which is about to end, with a country
much better organized and with cadres much more experienced, with a much
superior overall experience.

On these realistic foundations we also calculated what the possible
earnings from our exports might be.  But the fundamental thing in the
reliability of our plans is based on the medium-term agreements with the
socialist countries, for example, the realization that right now we have an
assured fuel supply until 1985; not only do we have this assured supply but
we must also save as much as we can because, according to the agreements
between the Soviets and us, the savings we make in our plans we will be
able to convert into additional earnings for Cuba.  We must therefore
realize that saving fuel during this 5-year term signifies earnings in
terms of other commodities deriving from our savings.  This is very
important in our work.  A large quantity of raw materials, semifinished
products, equipment items, foodstuffs, and other consumer products has also
been agreed upon.  In spite of this worldwide situation we thus have a
solid base for our work regarding an important portion of the economy.

We will be continuing to face difficulties deriving in the capitalist area
from price variations, from unequal exchange, from the ups and downs in the
sugar industry, etc., but we fortunately are in a year when prices have a
tendency to go down, which therefore does not obligate us to fill ourselves
with ambitions and to want to draw up vast plans which later on will not
have a solid foundation; it is more important for us to be able to
overfulfill the plan and to do more than we have agreed to do, but to work
on secure foundations.

This plan will call for hard work.  For example, in the sugar industry, we
have a strong commitment to increase the output, especially if we keep in
mind the great need for cane which we had to plant anew and the cane which
we yet have to plant in order to close the gap.  The sugar industry plan is
very strong.

Now, if we come out with the harvest we have proposed, if we plant the
30,000 caballerias of cane which we must plant during this next
spring--26,000 planned in advance and,4,000 which will not be put in
because of the cold weather this year, basically due to the weather which
paralyzed the machinery almost throughout the country--well, then we forced
to make a supreme effort.

Out of the 300 180-horsepower Komatsu tractors, which were procured, more
than half are already here.  There has been a little delay in the shipment;
we had hoped to have all of them by 30 December and some of them, the last
ones, will be here in February, with all of their harrows, their
accessories, to help us make this effort.  The machine will have to be used
in an extraordinary effort since, according to the plan, we require 900
million arrobas more cane in 1982 and the 30,000 caballerias are
indispensable for that and we have to plant them early, also taking into
account the planting we are going to do between now and May; early planting
must essentially therefore have been completed for the harvest by 30 April.
A special effort is required in relation to the machinery, a great
cooperative effort, and outstanding job by the CEATM [State Committee for
Technical and Material Supply], the workshops, the spare parts unloading
procedure, because this first period of the year usually coincides with a
relatively poor flow of spare parts; we have to use those mostly in the
most critical places.  The two provinces which must make a maximum effort
are Camaguey, where we need a very big planting program, so that the people
of Camaguey must make a very special effort, and also Villa Clara.

I am convinced that, if we accomplish those two tasks, we will have
overcome the biggest obstacles during this 5-year term, because we would
get the biggest cane growth in 1981-1982.  It is indispensable, because we
must in 1982 increase sugar shipments to the USSR by half a million.  If we
do not achieve that increase and as the sugar price in 1982 drops, then our
situation in the convertible [currency] area will be seriously complicated.

The commitments we have for 1982 force us to make this effort during the
first year of the 5-year plan in the sugar industry, where we must close
the gap, etc.  In the years 1980-1981, shipments to the USSR will be
limited to 2.5 million [tons] which will be below the previously
anticipated figure; but in 1982 the figure will already be 3 million and we
cannot fail, we cannot reduce this figure by a single pound of sugar, a
single gram of sugar, because that would not be right, nor would it be
honorable.  So we are going to have to reduce sales on other markets and in
the convertible currency area.

Now, the harvest is going well.  I believe that this harvest is beginning
to show and must show, in the end, what we can still do to improve our

The effort connected with this harvest actually started with the other
harvest; even then there were things that had not yet been corrected.  If a
motor for a sugar mill in Matanzas arrived in Marcli and if 20,000 or
30,000 tons of sugar were lost, that situation was not remedied.  If there
were problems with the boilers at "Amancio," or at "Argelia Libre," or
"Bolivia," or "Guatemala," wherever, that has not yet been corrected.

We made a tremendous effort from that moment on in order to solve all of
those problems ahead of time.  And we made an effort to do all the
planting; we planted more than 20,000 caballerias, the year with the lowest
losses of cane, because it is important not only to plant but to plant in
such a way that we will not have any losses; then there comes the cleaning
effort; and after that the cultivation effort.  All of this began with the
last harvest, because in agriculture it is not enough to plant 30,000--you
have to plant them in an optimum way; you also have to optimize the
cultivation area, fertilization, and clearing.  This year's operations were
the best in the history of the revolution and we can see that in the cane
we have; we have cane, we do have cane.  And that rainfall, which delayed
us a little bit, made the winter planting more difficult for us and will
give us more cane [as published].

This year we had to make a major effort in crop cultivation, fertilization,
and clearing, a big effort.  That is indispensable.  We will achieve it and
we will be able to do this to the extent that we finish the harvest early.
There are some sugar mills which have fallen behind, to put it quite
simply; but to make sure that they would not fall too far behind, we had to
tell them: "Do not stop," because they were flooded.  "Guatemala" is an
example with 9 inches of rainfall in December, sometimes 30, 40
millimeters, this time 9 inches.  "Urbano Noris" had 24 days of milling
more than 1 million, and on one day it milled it 1.54 million arrobas and
that had to be cut back--the entire province is milling very nicely--to 20
or 23 percent capacity because of the rainfall; but we are sure that they
are going to catch up.

We bad a culmulative total of 88 percent in December.  Last year we did not
reach 88 percent on a single day.  Many provinces are above the figure of
90 percent.  The sugar mills themselves are showing that their milling
capacity is greater than would seem in terms of statistics because I could
not imagine that that "Urbano Noris" could ever manage to mill 1.54 million
in one day.  Many sugar mills have been milling above the 100-percent mark
of their potential; it is thus encouraging for us to see how the harvest is
coming along.  We have an idea that there might be a little bit of a
drought and that there might be something of a cold spell.

We have had more than enough machete cutters almost everywhere.  The
productivity per machete cutter and per machine has gone up.  There are
places where they were running three machines before but they are now
running only two machines and they keep one in reserve.  This is how the
harvest is going.

Right now and during the first few days of January, the rest of the sugar
mills are going to join up.  It might therefore be that some of them are
going to have to be milling also in May, that is, some of them; but not the
whole country will still be involved in the harvest in May or during the
first half of June--that will not be the case.

We have to stick to our intention of essentially completing the harvest by
30 April; exceptions will apply only to those sugar mills which had fallen
behind, sugar mills which are in areas where it rains less in May than it
rains perhaps in December--they are going to be milling in May.

But I believe that the response we are observing here is proof not only
that we can do more or better things; this is also evidence of the state of
mind of our workers and our people.  Although it is true that we are going
to face a period full of risks internationally and a big effort in our
economy and services, the revolution has never been what it is today, it
has never had the strength it has today (applause).  Never!  Never, never
has the state of mind of our masses, of our workers, of our working people,
of our young people, of our women been what it is today!  That is
indisputable.  This spirit has been growing stronger throughout the year
and during the congress we saw the high point--we might say--of that
spirit, in other words, it reached its climax at the congress.

The congress has had a profound impact on our people (applause); more than
we ourselves had figured on.  The simple innumeration of the fruits of our
people's work over those past 5 years, looking at them together, is
impressive.  And the successes in the services, above all in education, in
public health, are likewise impressive.  In public health, infant mortality
was reduced from 27 down to 19 in just 5 years.  This is a tremendous
result.  Well, it will be impossible to obtain greater successes.  A
reduction from 19 to 17 or 16 is more difficult.

The number of sixth-grade graduates will tend to decline because there are
less boys of that age; they have moved on to other levels; but then we are
going to have to start in terms of quality, how to improve the quality of
that education, how to improve the quality of those medical services.  It
is impressive to realize that we already have one doctor for every 600 or
so inhabitants and that in 5 years we will have one doctor for every 400 or
so.  These are really big successes.

But on top of all that we have the work of the mass organization, the
progress we have made here; the rise in the cultural level; the victory, in
the sixth grade, of the workers, of the housewives, of the peasants; the
improvement in our people's political culture and the strengthening of its
political awareness.

But the congress has an impact not only on our people; it had a much
greater impact on the 150 organizations which are with us in this historic
event.  The congress thus assumes an internationalist character and nothing
could be better during a time such as this one and under circumstances such
as these.  And so we made use of the presence of 150 organizations
representing the most progressive, the most revolutionary, and the most
democratic throughout the world in varying degrees.  Before them we began
to mobilize world public opinion, to warn of the risks to Cuba and the
situation as a whole.  We are pulling ahead of imperialism and we are going
to keep moving ahead of imperialism (applause).  I would say that our
congress serves to alert the world and to raise the spirit of the
revolutionary and progressive forces which were still somewhat discouraged
by all of those risks, by all of those potential problems due to the
complexity of the world situation and the triumph of the right wing in the
United States.  And we can see how this spirit was raised; our congress
helped raise the spirit of all revolutionary and progressive forces all
over the world.

Only by way of exception can we say that we have some organizations here
that were not entirely satisfied with some positions but at any rate the
congress does have an impact on them likewise and when they witnessed this
incredible act in the Square of the Revolution, well, they could not help
but experience profound respect for the Cuban revolution, for our party,
for our people (applause and exclamations of "Fidel, Fidel, Fidel!").  And
deep down in the consciences of those dissenters, those very few
dissenters, they had to admit that, behind our party, stands the entire
people and that there is an insuperable link between the party and the
masses and that the revolution has extraordinary strength.  And this is
true and it will turn into a source of material strength if they attack us.
This was demonstrated in April and May with the maneuvers of those who were
organized in Guantanamo; when they saw the people out in the streets, when
they saw the masses pouring out, they arrived at the conclusion that they
had failed in every way and they stopped their maneuvers; this was a battle
which we won with the help of the masses.

I also believe that this strength, as observed by the visitors who were
here, is beginning to become the front line trench in the defense of the
revolution and the country against possible imperialist aggression.  As
they realize that they are going to run into a strong nation, that hard
shell that can stick in their craw, there will be a decline,in the
possibility that they might embark upon an aggressive adventure against
Cuba.  In other words, in doing that, we are already defending ourselves.
And I also believe that we have optimum conditions because the response of
the masses to the idea of the territorial militia forces has been
extraordinary in support of the task of strengthening the country
militarily; the readiness to train, the readiness to contribute resources
toward this end is also very great.  And so we are going to train, we are
building big trenches starting right now to slow the enemy down or to make
him pay dearly, very dearly, for any aggression against our fatherland

We must keep up our guard, we must multiply our vigilance because
aggression can come not only by force of arms or naval blockade but also
through the introduction of diseases and plagues among our animals and our
crops because those people have no scruples of any kind whatever; through
sabotage of the economy; by starting all over again the history of
assassination attempts aimed against leaders and all that sort of thing.
It is very important for us to see where we are going and this is what we
are going to find out.  But right now we have no fear of whatever may come;
we shall see what we shall see.  As we said in the Central Report, they
will have to assume responsibility for their acts.  In connection with
these counterrevolutionary activities, which are manifesting themselves, we
have to adopt a very harsh line and we have to crush the slightest symptom
of counter-revolution (prolonged applause).

Another result of the congress is that our links with the worldwide
revolutionary and progressive movement have become very much closer.  And
here is something very valuable and very decisive: Our links with the USSR
and with the socialist camp have become extraordinarily closer (applause).
We know the impression which the delegations of the USSR and the socialist
countries took back with them regarding our congress and it really could
not be better.  And they expressed that, they felt stimulated, because in
Cuba they were able to see the strength of the ideas of Marxism-Leninism.
When there are problems anywhere, Marxisir-Leninism does not lack
invincible strength and the principles of Marxism-Leninism have been
applied correctly.

We ourselves said that we have not been perfect revolutionaries, we have
not been perfect in the application of those Principles, but we can indeed
say that we have been honest and that we have tried to be consistent.  But
that thing about Cuba right at the doorstep of the United States, a country
that is to rich, so powerful, that for such a long time influenced Cuba and
our people, the fact that there is a stumbling block such as Cuba today,
that there is a rock such as Cuba today, can be understood only in the
light of the principles of Marxism-Leninism.  The role of the party, its
links with the masses, the correct application of those principles, the
absence of favoritism, correct action, consideration of merit, collective
leadership, democratic centralism, honesty, conscience, discipline, plus
the extraordinary social and human content of the revolutionary
undertaking--those are the factors which have given this enormous strength
to our revolution, and there is no mystery in that.

And we understand the socialist brother countries which are now so
profoundly preoccupied with events elsewhere, although they do not say so,
and we realize that they felt profoundly stimulated by what they were able
to see in Cuba, here, just 90 miles from the United States.

So we face this new situation by starting a mobilization of worldwide
public opinion, with close bonds with the revolutionary and progressive
forces, which consider Cuba a bastion of the revolution, which considered
Cuba a loyal and indomitable friend of the revolution and the worldwide
revolutionary movement, which increased their sympathy for Cuba, their
concern with Cuba, and their solidarity with Cuba; our relations have been
growing stronger during this difficult moment which may come, more than
ever before, in dealing with the socialist camp and the USSR.  And this is
very important because we are living in different continents, under
different circumstances, and it is very encouraging that they understand
our positions and that they support us (applause).

But we must strengthen ourselves not only through this trench which I
talked about, and by creating the militia units and strengthening our
defenses, we must also strengthen ourselves by perfecting our work, by
improving our work in all areas, in economic activities, in the service, in
the schools where the teachers must teach and work hard, in the hospitals
where the doctors and nurses must work hard, on the bus where the driver
must get up early to pick up the public on its way to work, in a
restaurant, in a hotel, wherever a service is rendered, that is where we
have an opportunity to strengthen the revolution by improving our work.  In
the field of the economy, we must do this by attaining our goals, milling
down to the last planned piece of sugar cane, milling above the 85
[percent] figure, above the 90 [percent] figure when we can do so,
optimizing the extraction of sugar everywhere, because that is where we are
also going to be strengthening the defense of the revolution, because that
is where we are going to become strongest in every respect, also by
creating more resources.  If we have to buy steel to make grenades because
we have more millions of persons ready to fight than we have rifles, then
this is where we are going to get the money; if we are going to have to buy
uniforms, if we have to import some fabrics for militia uniforms, then this
is where we are going to get the money; to get medications, to get some
reserve stockpiles of some things in case of a blockade, etc., we will be
strengthening ourselves by working well in the economy and we will be
strengthening ourselves by working well in the services.  We are going to
raise the morale of the people and the confidence of the people in itself
and in its capabilities.

In our judgment we have thus created optimum conditions as never before
toward the accomplishment of this slogan: Production and defense.

On the other hand, we have a very great moral duty to respond to the
reaction of the people, to the confidence of the people, to the joy of the
people, to the happiness of the people, which was represented more than
ever before in the Central Committee with the inclusion of workers, of
women, of internationalist fighting men, of outstanding comrades in various
fields.  Now we have created conditions as never before under the
revolution, at a moment when Cuba has greater responsibility than ever
before with relation to the world and in a new situation which presents
obvious risks.

I believe that we have a minimum, elementary moral duty and we must ask
ourselves what more we can do, each of us, wherever we may be; we must
pledge ourselves to redouble our efforts, to be more thorough, to be more
responsible, to be more serious, more devoted, more self-sacrificing, more
committed to our cause, our revolution, our people, more demanding, more
exemplary in every way.  We must pledge ourselves to this, not from a
platform or in a speech, no; we must intimately draw these conclusions and
pledge ourselves before our consciences (applause).

The period we now have ahead of us, a period of work, struggle,and trials,
in reality is extraordinarily interesting.  I believe that, since we are
first of all revolutionaries, we do not feel unfortunate when we realize
that we are facing a great effort, a great task, or a great challenge;
instead we feel stimulated, we feel satisfied, because, in our lifetime, we
have had an opportunity to prove ourselves, an opportunity to tackle new
tasks, and an opportunity to overcome them.

Our people has achieved an extraordinarily high level in history, an
extraordinarily high standing in terms of revolutionary conscience,
quality, and conditions, which inspire confidence in us, which inspire
security in us.  We may--as we said in the report--be physically wiped off
the face of the earth but the example of Cuba, we can say right now, will
be immortal (applause).  There is no way of forcing us to turn back, we
will not bow, no matter what.  And our cadres, our party cadres, our
government cadres, we are sure that they will rise to the challenge and to
the high level of our people (applause).

Fatherland or death! We shall win! (prolonged applause)