Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Fidel Castro Speech

FL180150 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 0036 GMT 18 May 81

[Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at main commemoration of 20th
anniversary of the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP), 22d
agrarian reform anniversary and 35th anniversary of the slaying of peasant
leader Niceto Perez; held in Valle de Caujeri, Guantanamo Province on the
afternoon of 17 May--recorded]

[Text] Comrades of the party, comrades of the ANAP, comrades of Valle de
Caujeri, peasants: Today we were going to complain over the delay in the
rains and over a certain prolonged drought that we had noted along the
country, especially in the northern areas of central Cuba and in the west.
Almost every day we would get up looking to the sky and--unlike during the
sugar harvest--ask for rain. And today, arriving here, we find ourselves
with this sudden rainfall which got us all wet. However, we are glad
because we can assert that we have brought water to Valle de Caujeri.

We visited this valley almost 4 years ago in the face of reports that there
were difficulties, that the valley had been impoverished by a big drought,
that family income was quite low and that some families were experiencing

We told ourselves that this was not possible, that it was imperative that
we give help to this region and find solutions to its problems.

At one time, the valley had been very fertile and it had been an important
producer of grains of the former Oriente Province. We know the land is good
but that we fundamentally needed water. At that time, we met with residents
and a program was proposed to transform the area, to transform the valley.
But initially we had to build, and even before building, we had to study
plans for dams and irrigation. Equipment was sent as quickly as possible.
Work was done on the plans and some projects were started. Actually, I
would have liked to have found the program more advanced. But as Pepe [ANAP
President Jose Ramirez Cruz] was saying, work has increased notably in
recent times.

Above all, at that time we were thinking of the possibility that many of
the valley's residents, while we resolved the water works problems, could
join in the construction and improve their income. At that time, we also
suggested that they seek to train and prepare residents of this valley for
handling the equipment. We do not have the slightest doubt of the great
agricultural possibilities of this valley if it has water, and not just an
occasional rainfall like the one this afternoon, but with water that is

Some temporary dams were built. The first big dam was started and it
already is damming some water and, according to what I have been informed,
is expected to be completed this year. We had planned and still plan to
build a larger dam with a capacity of between 25 million and 30 million
cubic meters, which would allow for having water for the entire valley.
However, I have been informed that we are going through some difficulties
be cause of geologic and mining studies that are being done, and that some
indications of copper and other minerals have appeared in the area where
the dam will be built.

In any case, we need the geologists and the mining explorers to accelerate
that work in order to clarify this matter of whether we have copper or
other minerals in important enough quantities to justify not using that
area for the dam, or whether the quantities are not important and then the
dam can be built. We are not going to become sad if a big mine appears
there. Of course, we then would be miners here in Caujeri in addition to
being farmers. But it is necessary that this question be clarified as
quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, the hydraulics comrades are studying other possible solutions
for the water in case that that exact area we had selected cannot be used.
I do not know if the dams can be built further back. Perhaps many small
dams would have to be built and solutions found, but we are not going to
stop--in the face of difficulties--with the idea of turning Caujeri Valley
into a sort of an agricultural garden, into a sort of an economic and
social paradise.

Pepe was speaking of the reasons why this place had been selected to
commemorate the triple anniversary. Indeed, it was not just the fact that
an effort is being made to change the situation of the peasants here and to
transform the valley. Caujeri also symbolized many other things that are of
more political importance. In the first place, the valley and
communications were appropriate for the ceremony. It was easier to gather

However, it was also a case of holding the ceremony in Guantanamo Province.
It is one of the provinces with the richest traditions of peasant
struggles. As Pepe was saying, struggles took place in many other places
for the rights of peasants. He mentioned some of them, Ventas de Casanova,
for example. Santa Lucia, Las Maboa and many other places were mentioned
here. But here, as in other places, was where the land was defended with
energy and courage.

And going even further back, this province also reminds us of great
historic moments. There was a hard struggle here during the first
independence war. Many of our great combatants emerged from this setting,
including the Maceo brothers [applause], who fought for 10 years with the
support of the peasant population. It can also be said that the second big
war for independence began in this province. Marti landed not far from
here, in Playitas. [applause] He described his impressions masterfully in
his diary as he toured these territories.

Maceo, the two Maceo brothers, landed not far from here--in Baraco, near
Guaba--with a group of patriots. [applause] They resisted the fierce
persecution of the Spaniards and, with the help of the patriots of this
region, they were able to succeed. Those were the most difficult days of
the independence war. If Maceo had died in those first days, the invasion
possibly could never had taken place.

If great were the efforts of the people of Guantanamo in our independence
struggles, great also were their struggles in defense of the land during
that sad period in which it was assumed that our homeland had become an
independent country.

The story began with the occupation of the country by the Yankee troops and
the first occupation governments. They disbanded the Mambi army. They
established a new army trained and instructed by them to be at the service
of their interests. They established laws and decrees to open our country's
doors wide to the big U.S. companies. And one of the first things they
occupied were the best lands of the nation. And, of course, they later took
over the mines, the essential natural resources; they took over industries;
they took over the sugar mills; they took over the banks, the

It is said that in those early days of the Yankee occupation, more than
40,000 peasant families were evicted from their lands in one way or
another. The existence of those huge latifundia could not be explained
otherwise in Oriente Province as well as in Camaguey Province, where not a
single peasant family cultivating its own land could be found for miles

That eviction and the subsequent economic and social conditions of the
country forced the peasants to look for new land, and they headed mainly
for the mountains where it was said that there was land which was
state-owned or which belonged to no one. A migration took place to the
areas of the mountains of Guantanamo and Baracoa, part of Holguin and also
around the Sierra Maestra. Perhaps the process occurred a bit later in the
Sierra Maestra. Be that as it may, the peasants came to work in these
mountains very early on.

Of course, they had hardly accomplished a thing, they had hardly completed
their first cultivations, when the "interests" appeared--they came to claim
the lands. Documents of all kinds were forged. Those lands that the
peasants had settled and worked were fraudulently claimed. This resulted in
many struggles, much sorrow and bitterness. But the peasants resisted. It
is known that, for instance, they tried to evict the peasants of Valle de
Cauueri in 1924. The peasants mobilized, organized and resisted and kept
their lands. [applause]

They put up strong and, in a way, armed resistance. Similar events occurred
in (El Binco) and in the famous Realengo Numero Dieciocho, which Pablo de
la Torriente Brau made immortal with his pen. And we know of the struggles
there in 1934 when they tried to evict the peasants from Realengo. They
mobilized massively; they organized and even armed themselves, and they
resisted eviction by force. Thus, the peasants' resistance manifested
itself here in armed form. And we could say that in a certain way they were
the fore runners of the struggles that followed. [applause]

The brutal and cowardly manner in which they assassinated Sabino Pupo in
(El Binco) is well known. [Castro corrects himself] Ah, Niceto Perez in (El
Binco). This happened in 1946. Attempts to evict the peasants continued.
Attempts to increase exploitation of our peasants continued as well as the
attempts to multiply injustice. This had to end some time. Pablo himself
wrote that in Realengo a man with a rifle could resist 10 men.

I recall that those events also influenced us when we were forming our
ideas about what to do and how to solve the situation. The writings of
Pablo de la Torriente Brau, especially what he wrote about Realengo Numero
Dieciocho, exerted an influence on us because we also believed that 1 man
with a rifle in those mountains could resist not only 10 men--he could
resist 100 men. [applause]

That situation could not last forever. And what we could call the final
struggle for our independence, for our freedom, came to pass so we could
have a country, a republic with dignity and justice for which many had been
struggling since "68, for which many hundreds of thousands of Cubans had
given their lives--a republic where the cult to the dignity of man would be
the foremost law of the republic. And the peasants again played a decisive
role in this final state of the struggle. The former Oriente Province again
became the stage for the struggle. The struggle started again in this
region of the country, the region with the richest combative traditions,
the region which offered the right natural conditions for the type of
struggle that had been planned, and at the same time was the poorest region
of the country. Our rebel army began to grow with the peasants. It must be
noted as something truly extraordinary that, although none of us had
visited those areas, that we were not familiar with the Sierra Maestra, the
peasants immediately trusted us. They supported us in the most difficult
days--because we did have very difficult days. They joined us. They helped
us in many ways. They gave us what little they had. We well remember how
owners appeared in the Sierra claiming the lands--in the Valle de
Magdalena, La Plata, everywhere. Those peasants lived in the fear that they
would lose in a single day what they had worked so many years to achieve.
They felt forsaken. They knew that judges, politicians and schemers,
authorities, soldiers would always be at the service of those exploitative
interests at the service of the latifundistas. There was not a single
eviction that did not take place with the use of the machete and the rifle,
by instinct, spirit of struggle. Because our struggle was the result of
objective realities in our society, those peasants joined us and they
planed a decisive role in the origins of the rebel army. [applause]

As our struggle progressed, they joined our army in increasing numbers
along with agricultural workers. It can be said that our army initially
consisted of peasants and agricultural workers. We need not repeat the
history of that stage of our struggle, but when we had developed some
strength and opened a second front with a column commanded by Comrade Raul
[applause] with only 50 weapons, a broad front was created in a short time
all over this region that is now Guantanamo and part of Santiago and
Holguin Provinces. It could be said that conditions were perfectly met for
armed struggle in these mountains, that the peasants were spiritually
prepared and ready for that struggle, that the land was ready, and thus the
Frank Pais second eastern front was created.

New fronts were added in subsequent months. So, we cannot forget the big
support and contribution that the peasants of the Sierra Maestra and the
second front gave to the definitive liberation of the country. [applause]
Therefore, the celebration of the 22d anniversary of the agrarian reform
decreed in the Sierra Maestra, the 20th anniversary of the ANAP, the 35th
anniversary of Niceto Perez and Peasants Day here in Caujeri is full of
symbolic meaning. [applause]

Of course, what happened in '98 was not going to happen on this occasion.
This time the hopes of our people would not be thwarted, though we faced a
very difficult struggle because the most powerful enemy on which those
reactionary classes found support was Yankee imperialism. And a long, hard
and difficult struggle was beginning against that enemy. They would not
admit the most elemental policy of social justice in our fatherland. And,
of course, they saw the words "agrarian reform" as something diabolical. Of
course, the best lands and the largest areas were in the hands of Yankee
companies. The revolution wasted no time--hardly 5 months--in promulgating
the first agrarian reform law, that of 17 May 1959. [applause]

Maybe many did not believe, or some theoreticians didn't,that the law was
very radical, since it limited the maximum amount of land to 30
caballerias. The fact was that some of those Yankee companies had up to
17,000 caballerias of land. The law basically affected the big latifundia.
However, that law has historic importance. Firstly, because it
unequivocally defined the course of the revolution and the revolution's
determination to face those interests at any cost. [applause] And as soon
as the agrarian reform law was promulgated, the imperialists made their
plans against the revolution. The agrarian reform law determined and
unleashed the action of imperialism against Cuba. They began to organize
their plans immediately: blockade, subversion and what would be the
mercenary invasion of Giron almost 2 years later.

But the agrarian reform also unleashed a true revolution in our country
because we came into possession of the big Yankee properties and the big
latifundia. That is, the law did not only free more than 100,000 peasant
families from rent, sharecropping and tenancy payments, or those who were
squatters and felt insecure; the situation of our peasantry did not only
change radically for the first time in our history and they became owners
of the lands they occupied, [applause] but the country as a whole also came
into possession of large areas of land and the socialist development of
agriculture began along with the liberation of the peasants. [applause]

Afterwards, the process of struggle itself determined a new agrarian law
which affected farms bigger than 5 caballerias. That was the second
agrarian reform law which, all things considered, was simply the
continuation of the first.

And who can doubt that that measure definitively changed the life of our
country. As Pepe said, not only the peasants benefitted, but 500,000 or
more than 500,000 agricultural workers found guaranteed work in those
lands. [applause] Among other things, the scourge of the idle season
disappeared once and for all. Hence the law benefitted not only the
peasants but also, in a very direct manner, our working class. A deep
transformation in the life of our countryside began. And of course, it was
not only the agrarian reform, but the whole ensemble of revolutionary
measures adopted along with the agrarian reform. [applause] All the
injustices committed against our workers disappeared. A system of
employment security, of legal guarantees and social benefits of all kinds
was created.

It can be said that one of the first things that the revolution did or
tried to do and was able to do to a large extent was to build hospitals in
the countryside, especially in the mountains. [applause] Fifty-three rural
hospitals and more than 150 medical stations were established early on. We
brought medical care to the peasants because we lived for 2 years in the
mountains and were able to see the degree of neglect in which our peasants
and agricultural workers lived in terms of health care. A doctor never
visited those places. [applause] A peasant might be able to sell something
he owned in case of need in order to walk miles and miles to receive
deficient medical care that he had to pay at the expense of feeding his
family, his children. If he fattened a pig, he did so thinking of the day
when he would have to sell it to get to a doctor. [applause]

Another of the first things that the revolution did was to send teachers to
the countryside and the mountains. [applause] All this was prior to the
literacy campaign. And sad to say, we practically did not have any teachers
to send in those early days to the mountains. We did not have too many
doctors to send to the mountains and the countryside. While we were trying
to solve those problems of our society, the imperialists were trying to
take away our doctors. In fact, they reduced the number of doctors we had
by half and they tried to take away professors, teachers and technicians of
all kinds. It was certainly a situation very different from today when we
have doctors not only capable of going to the mountains but also capable of
going to Angola, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Yemen, Nicaragua and any country where
they are needed. [applause]

As a result of the revolution's work, we have teachers not only capable of
going to teach in our mountains--highly qualified teachers, all of them
with degrees--but also capable of going to teach to any corner of the world
where they might be needed. [applause]

But in those early days, our youth were hardly trained; our technicians
were not trained to fulfill those tasks in our own country, in our
countryside. It was always easier to find technicians to work in the
cities. The literacy campaign followed. It was another revolution in the
same year as Giron, when more than 100,000 youths and tens of thousands of
teachers joined to inflict a historic defeat on illiteracy. So much so that
the campaign has been considered by many countries in the world as a model
of what the struggle against literacy [as heard] is. [applause] That was
only the beginning in eradicating that ill. Because it is a fact that when
the revolution triumphed, more than 40 percent of our countryside's
population was illiterate and the rest was virtually semi-illiterate.

Those were the beginnings of the educational revolution which made it
possible for us to have today among our adult population a 6th grade
minimum. [applause] How different the times. Today, tens of thousands,
hundreds of thousands of the children of our peasants and our agricultural
workers are studying in secondary schools, in the preparatory schools, in
the technological schools, in the middle-level schools. It can be a
vocational school, or a Camilo Cienfuegos Vocational School, or it can be a
teachers training school, or it can be a nursing school, or they can be
attending the universities. Thousands and thousands, and perhaps tens of
thousands, of children of our workers and peasants are studying in our
universities. [applause]

There is not a single place in our country without a school, without a
teacher. Hundreds and hundreds of rural secondary, preparatory and
technological schools were built. In our countryside alone, here are more
than 550 basic secondary and rural preparatory schools. [applause] Tens of
thousands of miles of roads and highways have been built. Before, who would
have dreamt of getting here on a paved highway? [applause] Hundreds of
microdams and dams were built which today number 512 all over the country.
Hundreds of communities have been created for agricultural workers and
peasants, although in this area the most remains to be done yet.

Almost all agriculture has been mechanized. Today there is no plowing
without machinery. There is no work without machinery. Approximately half
of the harvest is now done with harvesting machines [applause], and almost
100 percent of the loading of sugarcane. The agricultural worker and the
peasant have been freed from the hardest asks. All kinds of equipment are
used today in cultivation. Chemical products are employed. There are no
longer rice fields that are planted by the fistful, not even with
machinery--almost all the rice is planted by airplane. And the spraying is
done by airplane. And the harvesting is done with harvesters.

The face of our countryside has thus been changing [applause], our life and
work has been changing in these past 22 years. And there is not a single
barefoot child, a naked child, a child without schooling, a begging child
to be found. There are no young girls without any prospects, or girls
forced to go to the city to live off anything they can find, as happened in
the past with many daughters of our peasants. When they leave their
families today, it is because they are going to a teachers training or
nursing school or to a polytechnic institute or a university. [applause]
Along with the agrarian reform, this is what created a great revolution in
our countryside that began on that 17 May. [applause]

[Text] Not only did cultural, material, human conditions change into
concrete, objective facts such as the reduction of infantile mortality to
less than 20 for every 1,000 live births, [applause], but the life
expectancy for any child born in our countryside today, the child of a
peasant or worker family, is over 70 years. [applause] Not only did
communications and transportation improve in the course of these years, the
consciousness of our peasants and workers changed radically. The country
changed into a country with dignity. Abuses stopped, beatings stopped; the
use of the rifle stopped; impositions stopped; humiliations stopped; lack
of respect for the families stopped--because the rifles and the arms came
into the hands of the workers and peasants. [applause]

They, the workers and the peasants, became the authority in our country.
They came into the possession of force. And our people not only intensified
their patriotic feelings but also their internationalist consciousness to
an extraordinary extent. [applause] I am certain that here at this very
event there are many who in one way or another have rendered
internationalist services. [applause]

This colossal transformation of our countryside was made with the effort of
all and the support of all, but the ANAP, which today is 20 years old,
played a very important role. [applause] It is hard to sum up in a few
words all that the ANAP meant in this transformation of our countryside.
The ANAP played, first of all, an extraordinary political role in
organizing and uniting the peasants, in educating and creating a
revolutionary consciousness in our peasants, in mobilizing the peasants
[applause] in permanent, determined and unhesitating support of the
revolution. [applause]

It played an important role in the development of the worker-peasant
alliance and it played an important role in measures of all kinds:
economic, social, educational, cultural, health measures that the
revolution brought to our peasants. [applause]

It must be said that the ANAP never failed to fulfill a single task that
the party assigned to the peasants. [applause] It can be said that the ANAP
has been a bulwark of our revolution. [applause] And the ANAP is not made
up of small bourgeoisie; it is not made up of intellectuals, although the
intellectual level of the ANAP cadres has developed a good deal; ANAP is
made up of peasants. [applause] In the course of 20 years, along with the
interests of the workers and the interests of all the people, the ANAP has
known how to defend, consistently and loyally, the interests of the
peasants. [applause] It has been the voice, the conscience of our peasants
throughout the revolutionary process. And it is fair to say that ANAP has
had a great leader in Comrade Pepe Ramirez. [applause] He has invariably,
efficiently and brilliantly discharged his duties at the head of the
peasants during these years. He never removed himself from the rank and
file. He never lost touch with the peasant masses. Few cadres move around
in the country's interior and talk so much with the peasants as does
Comrade Pepe Ramirez. [applause]

And I can attest to two things: that he always disciplinedly followed the
guidelines of the party and that he never failed to defend the interests of
our peasants nobly, loyally and with revolutionary spirit. [applause]

Our country is living today what we could call a stellar moment. The
efforts of these years have not been for naught. We are making progress. We
can say as much in all fields. [applause] And we march confidently toward
the future. The results of our efforts can be seen.

We have practically concluded the sugar harvest at the end of April. We had
never concluded the harvest as early. [applause] We never had done such a
great effort in clearing the fields and in the cultivation as was done for
this sugar harvest to make up for the tremendous effects of the rust. We
had to confront a plague that considerably reduced our sugarcane
production, but we did confront the plague. We tried to compensate by
making an effort in the clearing of the fields, cultivation, fertilization.
Even the sugarcane with rust that remained was taken care of and
cultivated. We struggled to make the most of the sugar harvest, to do the
grinding on schedule, to finish it early, because we were committed to a
great planting, the largest in history, for this spring. Because we
promised ourselves to do away with all the remaining sugarcane affected by
the rust and a sugar harvest program was drafted and was fulfilled. And the
grinding was accomplished by the largest utilization ever of the industrial
capacity we had, the highest ever in the country--not the highest of the
revolution but the highest in the country's history. [applause]

The capitalists never ground at a 89-percent performance rate and there
were provinces that ground above 90. This, despite the fact that our
harvests are mechanized and that the rains which do not stop a yoke of
oxen, or two or three yokes of oxen, with a cart, do stop a tractor when
they are heavy rains. And this same rain that does not stop manual
canecutting does stop the harvesters; it stops the harvesters, the
tractors, transportation, everything. And although heavy rains fell
throughout most of the country on some days during the sugar harvest
months, although there were days when the rains prevented us from grinding
above 60, despite all this, the 89 percent in grinding was maintained
thanks to the serious, conscious, revolutionary effort of our workers and
our peasants. They showed all that we are capable of doing when we set our
minds to doing it [applause] and how well things can be done when we set
our minds to doing them well.

That spirit is also present in all the other sectors of the country: in the
industrial workers, the construction workers, in our teachers, doctors,
intellectuals, and in the cadres of our party and state. One can see it in
all the provinces, how our party is devoted to work trying to face the
tasks and carry them out; how it is trying to resolve all those things
which, in one way or another, affect the people; or which, in one way or
another, benefit the people. They are devoted to work, day and night,
Saturdays and Sundays. This is how we have seen them work in all the places
we have been to, to accomplish the tasks we have now, at this very moment.

We are getting ready for...we are already involved in the greatest spring
sowing in our country's history. The largest accomplished in the past was
somewhat more than 20,000 [caballerias]--21,000 or 22,000. This year, to
finish overcoming the effects of the rust, we plan to cultivate 29,124
caballerias. And we are already coming close to one half of this goal,
proceeding carefully. The spring rains are late, as I was saying. In some
provinces more so than in others, a struggle is underway to keep our losses
at a minimum and to fulfill this goal. A great effort is being made in this
direction by our farmworkers and peasants.

In all the provinces, the tobacco crop has practically been the highest in
history. That is to say, we confronted the second plague and conquered it.
We also confronted the other plague, the swine fever that cropped up in
this very area. At the present time, it is totally under control. We could
say more: It was under control in a matter of weeks, although, naturally,
this type of epidemic compels one to be on the alert, to be watchful, to
increase security measures to keep it from spreading to all the areas where
an outbreak could occur.

The citrus fruit crop has been one of the largest. The crop of tubers and
vegetables also promises to be the largest. The plans to increase our milk
production are also advancing, and in more than 10 agricultural products we
are going to have larger crops than in any other year.

Under these circumstances, at the present time, which we referred to as a
stellar moment of the revolution, we are commemorating Peasants Day. Should
we then be satisfied and content with what we have achieved? Have we
advanced enough, or can we advance further? I believe we can advance
further in everything. In everything. [applause]

We can be, and must continue to struggle to be, even more efficient. We
must improve services and production: the educational, medical, cultural,
sports, and recreational services. We must improve the efficiency of our
agriculture and our industry and the efficiency of our construction. Today
we are speaking of a minimum 6th grade education for our qualified workers,
but of course there are those who are not able to achieve this. So when we
speak of a minimum 6th grade education, we are talking about qualified
workers. We are already struggling for a minimum 9th grade education in the
next 5 years, so perhaps within 5 years one will be able to speak of a
minimum 9th grade education.

We can achieve even better figures in the health sector with the efforts of
our doctors and medical workers. Better figures in education, in
everything. Naturally, we cannot accomplish in just a few years what was
not done for centuries. Some things will take us more time, such as a
solution to the housing problem. It will take us more time, but we have not
been wasting time. We have been building cement factories, developing rock
and sand quarries and other construction materials.

But here, among peasants, there is still a lot more we can do in the
agricultural sector. Our fields are not yet totally transformed. One can
still see many thatched huts here and there, many isolated small homes
without running water, electricity or telephone. Many children still have
to walk long distances every morning to go to school or to see the doctor.

Our lands are still not producing all that they should produce. When we
speak of higher forms we are not doing so whimsically. We are not saying so
for doctrinal reasons; we are doing so because it is necessary. We would
not be able to use rice harvesters today if, instead of the large rice
paddies, we had miniature ones. There would be no way to reap it, to sow,
fertilize or spray it by plane.

How would we be able to use high-yield equipment in the preparation of
lands if, instead of large areas of sugarcane, we had small cane farms? How
would we be able to make plans for irrigation and use high-yield equipment
if we were working with small plots of land? How would we be able to
electrify our fields if we were working with small plots of land?

How would we be able to take water to them, to improve living conditions
for women and children to save them the trouble of going to the well or the
river to seek water? To allow them to have an iron [word indistinct] in a
matter of minutes [word indistinct], as well as refrigerators for their
foodstuffs, recreational facilities for children and other facilities for
their education? How would we be able to revolutionize the lives of our
peasants based on small plots of land?

And, most important of all, how would we be able to increase the
productivity of the land, the productivity of labor... [applause] if we do
not use the techniques and machines that are at our disposal? One cannot
spray herbicide from a plane if one is working with small plots of
sugarcane, because along with the plane [as heard], it would defoliate the
plantain, yucca and other things. It is impossible to use these techniques
to increase the production of the lands and the productivity of labor by
working with small plots of land.

One might believe that in the mountainous areas it would not be that
important. In addition, I understand that there are no special technical
reasons to hope for a state enterprise in the mountains. But I am
completely convinced that cooperatives, even in the mountains, will yield
much more than individual production. Even in the mountains. [applause]

We are told that there are areas in the mountains where there is a shortage
of milk; that there is a lack of sufficient protein at times. And I wonder,
why? Even when we were at war, we seized large herds of cattle and gave a
cow to many peasant families and in the midst of the war they produced
milk. So I wonder why the milk needed for the children and the families in
our mountains is not produced, without their waiting for a can of condensed
milk from Bayamo. Or why is there a lack of protein if pigs and poultry can
be raised? Why? [applause]

From our experiences with cooperatives in the mountains, they guarantee
this self-supply. It is not a matter of each person in a small plot of land
saying: Here I will plant coffee; here I will plant pasture; here I will
raise a hog; here I will plant a tree. Soils are different and a
cooperative makes association possible, as well as mutual aid. Above all,
the right crop would be planted in each place. If that plot is not good for
coffee, then coffee is not planted there. Then plant trees, for instance,
because we are in great need of trees. We must reforest the mountains. If a
group of peasants in the mountains gets together, they can say: This area
is good for pasture, not for raising cattle as a major activity, but it is
good for the production of milk. The suitable area or areas are then
dedicated to planting coffee, cacao or vegetables. Even though we cannot
send a plane to the mountains to carry out technical agricultural tasks or
take a komatsu [tractor] there, we can still make rational use and increase
production in the mountains in many ways. [applause]

It leaves room for the possibility of improving the living conditions, of
gradually resolving the light and water problems. Why, as we near the year
2000, will we still think about families without either running water or
electricity to turn on a television set, to have a refrigerator, to turn on
a fan, an iron or even a sewing machine, if they have an electrical one and
do not wish to move the treadle? Anyone can understand that for these
families, for the peasants, for the peasant women, for the peasant boys and
girls, this does not offer any prospects. And I am sure that even in the
mountains, the cooperatives are a superior form of production that can
resolve many social, nutritional and economic problems. [applause]

Not only that, but I think that in the mountains, cooperatives constitute
the best way, because there the state enterprise cannot do what it does in
the plains, where it has at its disposal every technique to achieve huge
productivity. This is an additional reason why the peasant areas in the
plains would produce much more and resolve many social and economic
problems on the basis of the cooperatives.

As you know, this movement is advancing in accordance with the principles
of the most absolute determination as well as on the basis of political and
educational work by the party and the ANAP. There is advancement. It began
little by little, but above all, there should be guarantees that this
movement will advance on very secure and very solid bases.

At present there already are about 20,000 caballerias of land. Sixteen
percent of the parcels, of the peasants, have integrated cooperatives. The
results have been spectacular. I have been able to appreciate this during
my visits to the cooperatives; how practically everywhere they have
improved the production of their parcels after joining the cooperatives,
and how living conditions have improved in every sense for the members of
the cooperatives.

You may have heard some of these cooperatives mentioned for their sugarcane
or vegetable yields. One sees what the land can yield. For instance, a
paper recently published the news that a cooperative in Havana with three
caballerias had obtained, if I am not mistaken, about 13,000 quintals per
hectares. The figure was so high that I refused to... [corrects himself]
the figure was 13,000 quintals per caballeria. The figure was so high that
I refused to believe this--to the point that I will try to confirm this.
The figure is really high. But then some companeros told me about some
farms, some plots of land that have also produced 10,000 and 12,000
quintals per caballeria. This is not achieved without technology. This same
cooperative also obtained high carrot yields, I think. Others have obtained
high sugarcane or vegetable yields.

There are huge possibilities of increasing supplies to the population. The
problem is not resolved by selling a head of garlic for 1 peso. That does
not resolve the people's food problems. [applause] The problem is resolved
by large-scale production, immense production, the supply in the necessary
quantities of whatever is needed. To do this, it is essential to have
maximum yield from the land and maximum yield from work. The preparation
tasks needed are the same whether 3,000 or 10,000 are produced. But with
low productivity in both the work and the land, we do not resolve any
problems. This is why the results obtained with the first cooperatives are
very important and very encouraging. This is why we must insist and we must
struggle with full revolutionary awareness that this is important for the
country's future advancement, to guarantee supplies for our people so this
great revolution made in our fields in these past 22 years does not stop.
This revolution began when the agrarian law was passed. But there is still
much to be done; there are many things lying ahead of us. This is important
also in order to change the look of our fields, the part-of our fields
where there are small plots of land. It is necessary to move toward higher
forms of production. I am convinced that the peasants will understand this
better everyday. The results will be better seen every day. We have great
trust in our peasants and we know that with them we can get anywhere, even
to the end of the world; we can reach any objective, any goal. [applause]

On a day like today, when we can examine our achievements and the abysmal
change wrought in the lives of our peasants, now that that for which so
many generations of Cubans fought for has finally been achieved, it is just
and pleasant to remember that their blood was not shed in vain.

This is why today it is so pleasant to remember Niceto Perez, Sabino Pupo,
Grabiel Valiente--who died just a few months before the revolutionary
victory--(Lino) Alvarez, (Romerico) Cordero and so many others who gave
their lives for justice in our fields, who gave their lives for our
people's progress, who gave their lives for the well being of our peasants
and of our agricultural workers. [applause]

Whenever we think we have fulfilled our commitment to our glorious dead, we
feel a satisfaction inside of us. It gives us great satisfaction to be able
to say that we have come through, that we are coming through and,that we
will continue coming through, and to say it here, in Caujeri, around these
mountains that witnessed the heroic march of the Maceo brothers, Marti and
Gomez, and to say it to those who died during our war of independence, to
those who endured the calamities, humiliation and misery of the disgraceful
republic, to those who fell during our revolutionary struggles, and to
those who fell fulfilling sacred internationalist missions. [applause]

We have spoken here about cur aspirations and struggles of the past to have
this present. We wanted a completely free fatherland. We wanted a country
owned by the people, where all the wealth could belong to the people and
not to Yankee companies, to the people and not to the exploiters, where the
wealth could be at the service of the people.

We wanted to eradicate disease, illiteracy and ignorance. We wanted to
improve the material and moral conditions of our people. We wanted a
revolutionary society. We wanted to march through new paths. We wanted to
have the right to sow our future. We struggled for this in the past. That
is, yesterday we struggled to have this present, but now we have to
struggle to defend these achievements, these rights, this present and an
even better future. [applause]

If in the future [as heard] we knew how to fight for our aspirations, let
the enemy remember that we will defend with 10 times as much ardor what we
have conquered. [crowd chants: Fidel, for sure, sock the Yankees hard"]

This is why today we must proclaim, and comply to the letter with, the
watchword: production and defense. [applause] Production for the people,
and defense for the rights and achievements of the people.

I think that throughout the history of the revolution, there has never been
an indication that this is a people that can be easily dominated, bent or
humiliated. There is not the slightest indication of this. [applause] The
enemy can only fabricate illusions for itself. The enemy can only lie to
itself regarding Cuba. Cuba will never surrender. Cuba will never yield its
principles. Cuba is and will be revolutionary forever. [applause] And it is
and it will be that way because that is our conviction, that is our noble
objective and we are prepared to defend it to the last drop of blood.
Fatherland or death. We shall win. [applause]