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FL180000 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2123 GMT 17 May 82

[Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at the closing ceremony of the
Sixth National Association of Small Farmers [ANAP] Congress at Havana's
Karl Marx Theater -- live]

[Text] Distinguished visiting delegations, party and government comrades,
comrade delegates, guests all.

My situation is similar to that of [ANAP Vice President Juan Jose] Leon I
am given a subject and told to make a speech. However, I must confess that
one is always bound to feel inspired at a closing ceremony like this one, a
congress like this one, and it will not be difficult to express thoughts
and feelings. [applause]

The fact is that today we are commemorating three very important historical
and beloved dates. The first is the murder, in 1946, of Sabino Pupo, no,
[Castro corrects himself] Niceto Perez.

We can say that, as [ANAP President] Pepe Ramirez' report stated, Niceto
Perez' death became after some time a victory. That death was vindicated.
Yet another 17 May, this time in 1959, in the liberated fatherland and
surrounded by the mountains where historical revolutionary battles were
fought, the first ANAP congress took place, as Pepe also reminded us.

It is good to look back from time to time because some of us who
participated in that congress may now find it hard to believe that once
upon a time we lived the way we did in the past. We must look back in order
to be able to fully assess the road which we have traveled over these 23
years. We must recall the first law on agrarian reform and the way things
were at that time, what our thoughts, our concerns were.

In those days we did not even have a clear-cut idea of what we were going
to do, that is, which system of production we were going to choose. The
main goal was to fulfill the promise to liquidate too large estate holdings
and to put an end to the exploitation of our agricultural workers and
peasants once and for all.

However, in those days the most essential issue, the main subject of our
discussion was: What were we going to leave the landowners? What kind of
agrarian reform were we going to implement? What degree of radicalization
was that agrarian reform to have? The fact was that everybody was perfectly
aware of the challenge which that agrarian reform posed, of the battle
which would start with that agrarian reform.

I remember very well that in those days we had a group of agricultural
experts, just to call them something, because more than anything else they
were a bunch of amateurs who liked agricultural affairs. Among them were,
unless my memory fails me, Carlos Rafael, Nunez Jimenez, who had written on
Cuban geography; we also had Che in that group. [lengthy applause]

The topic which most frequently came up for discussion was the ceiling for
land ownership. We took into consideration that certain Yankee enterprises
had up to 20,000 caballerias. Finally we agreed and said: All right, the
ceiling will be 30 caballerias and if the land was well taken care of and
well farmed, the ceiling would be 100 caballerias.

In any other country to speak of 30 caballerias would have been an
exaggeration, but in our country, where there were many large estates of
many thousands caballerias each, the 30 caballerias ceiling was really
enormous. This ceiling was the key factor in our agrarian reform, it gave
an indication of the depth to which we were prepared to carry the agrarian
reform. This ceiling meant the end to all large estates in Cuba and the
disappearance, of course, of all large estate holdings of all imperialist
enterprises in our country.

We made this decision. The group of experts supported by other comrades
continued working on that law on agrarian reform. The important part, in
fact, was not the technical aspects of the law but the contents of that law
regarding the depth of the agrarian reform. It spoke about zones of
development, land distribution, and so forth. Naturally, we had also
reached the decision of putting an end to the payment of rent, to
sharecropping, to squatting, by giving legal rights over the land to the
peasants who held it as rentees, squatters, settlers, and so forth.

This was one of the bases of that law, to free the farmer from exploitation
and make him the owner of his land. However, it was not quite clear to us
what were going to do with the large estates. So far, the only thing that
the law included, the way the experts had drawn it up, was land
distribution. This last idea had always received a great deal of support.

I had been thinking about these agricultural problems for a long time and
whenever I had the time. I remember very well that at the time of the
attack on the Moncada barracks we were already subtly discussing superior
systems of production. We used to discuss land distribution, we discussed
freeing the peasants from the payment of rent, and we also discussed

When I was reading the draft of the law for the last time while traveling
in a plane, I read it once, I read it twice and nowhere could I see the
word cooperative written, so I went ahead and added another paragraph to
the draft law. This was legal because the law had not been approved or
promulgated. I went ahead and included the cooperatives in that law.

It was a good thing, it was really good thing I did because otherwise the
creation of any cooperative would have been a violation of the law, at
least it would seem that way.

Thus one of the superior systems of production was included, one of the
systems, I say, because the other one is the state enterprise. The latter
was not included in the law and it was created later, not against the law
but in a revolutionary and de-facto manner. The first agrarian law did not,
in fact, provide for state farms because the farms were the result of the
evolution of agrarian thought.

The proclamation of the agrarian law naturally awakened great enthusiasm
among the peasants. I used to think that an agrarian reform through land
distribution had a place in revolutionary thought because the peasants
usually demand it and because there are certain political circumstances in
which land distribution is the only option available since it is, beyond
any kind of a doubt, the most politically suitable of measures, the measure
which gives rise to more revolutionary support.

Wonderful! But it could go as far as to liquidate agricultural production.
I knew that in our country the revolution had great support from workers
and peasants and that for merely political reasons we should not create
hundreds of thousands of large estates. In addition to this, land
distribution had one drawback; there was not enough land for everyone. When
land distribution was being discussed, many city residents were hoping that
they would get a piece of land.

The distribution of land at the rate of 1 caballeria per family would
benefit 100,000 or 150,000 or 200,000 families but hundreds of thousands of
families would have no land at all. We would have had to distribute even
smaller pieces of land, further aggravating the situation.

We had no real political need to implement land distribution. In a way, we
distributed the land of the large estates when we made more than 100,000
peasant families into owners of the land which they were farming.

It so happened that in our country agriculture had followed a pattern of
capitalist development. We had sugarcane, rice and other plantations, large
cattle ranches. We had an agricultural proletariat as well. A proletariat
which, headed by the sugarcane croppers, had done outstandingly well in
workers' struggles.

I used to think with sorrow that for these workers, for the workers
movement, for the revolutionary movement, land distribution would have been
a step back. In addition there was my own conviction that land distribution
would have made it impossible to maintain sugar production, and
agricultural production in general, at the level the country required. Our
country could not endanger agricultural production because it depended
essentially on the income from agricultural exports.

I used to try to imagine how a sugarcane field would look divided among 10
owners, each of whom would put in a few bananas, yucca, rice, beans and a
little bit of sugarcane. What would happen to sugarcane?

Then we started thinking about not going into land distribution. We started
toying with the idea of setting up cooperatives, and then we realized -- at
least I used to think that way when I saw a large cattle ranch with
thousands of head of cattle handled by 10 or 12 workers -- that we could
make a cooperative out of that great cattle ranch, that we would be rich
from one day to the other. We used to look at some of the large rice
plantations and the same idea occurred to us. So we decided to set up the
first state enterprises at those large cattle ranches and rice plantations.

However, we did not discontinue our progress toward the creation of
sugarcane cooperatives. No doubt this was a better move than to distribute
those sugarcane plantations, that land. It was better than dividing it into
small plots. Thus we created the first cooperatives, but these cooperatives
had no real basis. They did not have a historical basis because true
cooperatives are set up by peasants who own the land. It was my opinion
that we were going to create an artificial cooperative by turning
agricultural workers into members of a cooperative. From our point of view
-- and perhaps in keeping with that verse of Marti that says "a slave of
the times and doctrines" -- I favored turning these cooperatives, which
were workers cooperatives and not peasant cooperatives, into state

No doubt someone will judge our actions in the future. We cannot judge them
or say that they have been good or perfect. The fact is that this is the
way the state enterprises came into being.

If one is to analyze, after all these years, one is bound to say that the
creation of these state enterprises was an act of great daring because in
those days we did not have proper cadres. We had no managers. We had no
engineers, veterinarians or anything at all. Something similar happened to
our industry.

The real fact is, however, that I felt a rejection toward the idea of a
social setback. In a socialist revolution where the workers did not own the
factories, where no cooperatives of industrial workers were being set up,
[the thing to do was] keep the land that had belonged to estate owners and
imperialist enterprises and turn them into socialist enterprises with the
same status as the factories and industries.

We had the same problem with the sugar mills. When we wanted to find a
manager, whom did we choose? A revolutionary worker. Whom did we choose to
manage the farm? A revolutionary worker. What were the requirements he had
to meet? To be revolutionary. But the fact is that he probably had only
first or second grade, if that. If anyone were to make a historical study
it would be found that some farm managers were completely illiterate. We
had nothing like an engineer, a veterinarian or anything like that. We had
nothing like that either in the factories or the fields.

It is really astonishing how our country managed to do what it had to do
under those circumstances in order to keep industrial and agricultural
production going.

The revolution did not take over the sugarcane fields in the first year.
Unless I am mistaken, this happened in the second or the third year,
because we did not want to disrupt sugar production because of the nation's
enormous dependency on these exports.

The first harvests were not difficult because there was a considerable
reservoir of manpower. The harvests that followed were difficult because
unemployment started to disappear, because the hundreds of thousands of
unemployed Cuban workers started to find jobs thanks to revolutionary
measures. Men with no education managed industries and farms. Dozens,
hundreds of thousands of industrial workers had to be mobilized to harvest
the sugarcane, especially in unpopulated provinces such as Camaguey, what
is now Ciego de Avila Province, Las Tunas etc. When harvest time came the
agony of mobilization began.

We said before that great daring had been required, but there can be no
revolution without daring and those without daring can never be
revolutionaries. [applause] Without daring we would have never started our
war for independence on 10 October 1968 [as heard]. Without daring Marti
would have never landed in Playitas with a small boat accompanied by Maximo
Gomez and no troops. Without daring Maceo would have never landed in
Baracoa. Without daring the revolution and independence would have never
taken place. And without daring, of course, a socialist revolution would
have never begun in our country, just 90 miles off the U.S. coast.

But the fact is that this is how our agrarian revolution started. Then came
the second law on agrarian reform, because what seemed to be little [land]
when the first law was passed turned out to be too much later. By the first
law, the landowners had been given 30 caballerias, and these 30 caballerias
usually encompassed the workshops, the investments made in that land. That
first law applied to a few hundred, perhaps a little over a thousand
owners. The second law on agrarian reform applied to several thousand by
establishing a ceiling of 5 caballerias on privately-owned land.

The state-owned enterprises continued to develop. A great deal of attention
was given to state enterprises. Heavy investments were made in opening
roads, in enterprises, in facilities. The independent peasant was not,
however, neglected. They were supplied with loans, markets, price control.
They were given every possible aid. Living conditions were changed in rural
areas, education and public health were taken there and, in sum, a true
revolution took place in the living conditions of the peasants and in rural
areas of the country.

Nevertheless we must emphasize the merits of our agricultural workers --
the class which, within our proletariat, is closer to the peasants -- the
extraordinary merits of the agricultural workers in our country and their
work for 23 years, the harsh and difficult conditions under which they have

It is true that their life has changed radically. After working for 12-14
hours, after long months of unemployment, they finally started working only
the 8 hours established by law. They received a better salary, social
welfare and education, they and their children received medical care and
their jobs were guaranteed. However, living conditions in our rural areas
were very poor, housing was practically nonexistent and the country had no
resources to carry out a huge housing development plan as required by the
workers of those state-owned enterprises.

We must say that they were the ones who kept the essential sectors of the
economy going. Most of the sugarcane that reached the mills, almost 100
percent of the rice being marketed, almost 100 percent of the poultry and
eggs being sold, the beef that goes to the markets and many other very
important products. Thus, on a day such as this, closing this congress, on
this happy day for our peasants, we must feel gratitude, recognition of the
hundreds of thousands of agricultural workers who, together with our
peasants [lengthy applause] -- who, together with our peasants, made this
great agrarian revolution possible in our country.

They worked under the harshest, the most difficult of conditions. They
lived in sheds and very bad housing in general, and despite the efforts of
the revolution, which has built hundreds of community housing projects for
the families of our workers, and the fact that certain enterprises have
experienced considerable progress in this regard, it is true that so far
the housing conditions of our agricultural workers are, and for many years
will continue to be, very poor.

Nowadays we can go and visit places of which we are proud. Such is the case
of the Los Naranjos breeding station, where recently prizes were given to
workers, technicians and managers of this modern community. The list of
achievements of this enterprise was really impressive.

We have many enterprises of this kind throughout the country, enterprises
which are becoming models for all of us. It is really hard to believe when
we compare current times to the past, because now is all these sugarcane,
rice or cattle establishments there are dozens and dozens of engineers,
veterinarians, irrigation specialists, economists, experienced managers. It
is truly impressive to compare the past to current times, when we have
machinery, when we have harvesters. I remember rice was harvested by hand
in the first years of the revolution. It has been so long that rice has not
been harvested by hand in our country that I sincerely doubt that anyone
can remember the shape of a rice hoe.

In the sugarcane fields the level of mechanization for harvesting,
transportation, irrigation and preparation of the soil is truly impressive,
and it is an achievement we joyously celebrate together with our peasants
today, because these workers, along with the industrial workers, thousands
of whom went to harvest sugarcane, have made it possible for us to expect
an ever increasing progress among the peasant population.

There is no doubt, however, that there has been an imbalance in the
development of our rural areas because state enterprises received most of
our attention. The peasants were not being neglected, but for a long time
we thought -- and I am responsible for this -- somewhat idealistically, if
you wish, but revolutionarily nonetheless [applause], that the changes in
our rural areas would be accomplished exclusively through state enterprises
and that one day we would have all our agricultural sector socialized
through state-owned enterprises.

I recall that at one of the ANAP congresses -- I am not quite sure whether
it was the third or the fourth; certainly not the fifth; it was around 1970
or 1971, I spoke to the peasants about this during the closing ceremony.

No revolutionary thought can be developed in a straight line, like a light
beam. Only revolutionary spirit [applause] and honesty have to be straight
like a light beam. Ideas do not always come precise in shape and form. I
recall the ideas I had in those days, and we used to think about ways in
which we could carry out a revolution the way we had done in Picadura, the
Valle del Peru, the Este de la Habana breeding establishment, Triumvirato,
Escambray. Had the country had the resources, there is no doubt that it
would have been very positive for the peasants, who lived in very bad

In those places we built communities supplied with schools, medical aid
station and every necessary facility. In many places we created living
conditions which could arouse the envy of city dwellers. However, all that
required enormous resources and investments and perhaps very many years
before the land in the hands of the peasants could enter a higher stage of

I remember that I used to think a great deal about this when I was flying
over valleys full of little cottages with small plots of land, or when we
traveled through the tobacco plantations of Pinar del Rio and saw myriads
of little houses in those valleys where the great-grandparents, the
grandparents, the parents and the children, the grandchildren and even the
greatgrandchildren lived. I used to wonder about the history behind this
fractioning of land and to think in that way it would be impossible, very
costly, and would take many years, before we could have a town like
Triumvirato or Picadura in each and every one of those valleys.

And that is why I became persuaded that we also had to take the course of
forming cooperatives in many of our country's areas. And though more than
70 percent, almost 80 percent, of the land, in one way or another, from
acquired land, rented land, etc, [belonged to the state], we were at a
point at which the economy and the population unquestionably required the
technical development of peasant production. In this period we could say
that the parcelled small property had given all it could give or almost all
it could give. Sugarcane was already being harvested by machine in many
areas. Aerial spraying of herbicides and pesticides was already in use.
Irrigation systems were being developed. The application of all this
technology was almost impossible in the midst of such a large amount of

We might say that the peasants' agricultural production had ground to a
halt. The possibility of applying higher-level techniques did not exist.
All those elements convinced me that the true cooperative, not the kind
that we had tried to form in the early years with the agricultural workers,
but the logical cooperative, the historic cooperative was the one formed
with the merging of the land of small farmers.

This was how at the first party congress, the party leadership discussed all of these
problems and the two forms of higher agricultural development were proposed; state
enterprises and cooperatives.

These ideas, these decisions taken at the first congress inspired the line
of thought of the Fifth ANAP Congress. But a principle was set, one that
had always been there. Two things were brought up. When the second agrarian
reform law was passed, it was said that no more agrarian reforms would be
carried out. That is, peace of mind was given to all. And that promise has
been kept.

It was promised that no peasant would be forced to join a farm or a
cooperative. This promise has been kept and will be strictly kept as Pepe
said here at the end of his speech. That principle has been scrupulously
observed. Of course, with the living conditions that used to exist in some
of the towns mentioned, many peasants -- practically all peasants --
clearly saw the advantages for themselves and their families and the
security that joining a farm entailed.

Even when we also decided to follow the course of cooperatives, it was not
easy. We had to convince many comrades and many cadres that this policy was
reasonable. Many peasants, in fact, preferred farms to cooperatives because
of all those advantages that they could easily see for the improvement of
their living standards. The country did not have the resources to do that.
It did not have the resources to build hundreds of thousands of houses in
the countryside in the span of a few years during which he had to continue
to advance. Our country and our economy so demanded.

The cooperative movement began on a modest scale. I have said, and I have
argued, that we really should have begun this movement earlier. I have said
it and I am saying it and I assume moral responsibility a thousand times
over for the delay in the cooperative movement. [applause]

I believe that the first and most sacred duty of every revolutionary is the
capacity to admit any mistake he might have made. [applause] And I always
like to look back, analyze events, and study each one of my actions. In
general, I am very critical. Let us say that I am more critical than I say
I am, and I am known in the revolution for my self-criticism. [applause]

There were two ideas. I preferred state enterprises and at the same time I
had an almost sacred respect for the peasant's tradition of individuality.
And we said: The peasants will surely have little interest in organizing
cooperatives. I would say that I was under-estimating the level of
awareness of our peasants. I was overestimating their individuality. At the
same time, I respected them too much to think of violating their wishes or
feelings in the least. If there was an underestimation of the level of
awareness, there was also deep respect, the respect we have always felt,
for the peasants.

I was not much of a believer in the cooperatives. When I speak about higher
forms I have always thought and still do that the state enterprise is
superior. I always liked the idea of developing agriculture like industry
and that the agricultural worker was like an industrial worker. The
industrial worker does not own the plant and does not own production. He is
the owner in the sense that he is part of the people.

I always liked, and still do, that form more. Ah, but it was not the most
realistic. The most realistic was this one for what remained of the
peasants' land -- that 20 or 25 percent of land still in the peasants'
hands. The really correct, realistic form.

And since the most realistic is also the most revolutionary, the most
revolutionary idea was to take the two courses; that of the state
enterprises and that of the cooperatives. And these ideas became very clear
to all of us following the first party congress and the Fifth ANAP
Congress. And we began to work in that direction.

In '77 we had advanced very little. According to Pepe's report, there were
44 cooperatives covering 451 caballerias, if my memory serves me right. It
was slow going at the beginning. At first it seemed that it would be hard
for the idea of the cooperative to make any headway.

And we said: No pressures, no rushing. Let the peasants go slowly and
persuade themselves on their own about the advantages of the cooperatives.
And this movement began.

I thought, and I still think, that this movement will take 8 or 10 more
years until the immense majority of the lands that are now in the hands of
the peasants are organized into a superior form of production. And since I
arrived at these ideas, this conviction, I have really been -- as I am with
all my convictions -- an enthusiastic and determined defender of the
cooperatives. [applause]

I believe that our rural areas have a great future and I see clearly that
one day the state-owned enterprises and the cooperatives will give us one
of the most developed agricultural sectors, not only in this continent,
where we are way ahead of everyone else, but of the entire world [applause]
and one of the broadest agrarian revolutions ever, [applause] without
violence, without coercion and within the framework of the strictest
respect for the feelings and desires of our workers and our peasants.

We see all this happening once we build a community in every state-owned
agricultural enterprise and in every peasant cooperative, once we bring
them power, running water, and once the advantages of a modern lifestyle
are brought to every corner of the fatherland.

If the estate owners of the past have already found it difficult to
recognize their own land because it has been filled with dairy farms,
fences, dams, roads and installations which were not there before, I can
really imagine that in 10, 15 or 20 years, once we have developed our
fields to the level we want, no one, not even armed with a magnifying
glass, maps and in broad daylight, will be able to find out where his
estate was, where the boundaries of his estate were [applause], because a
photograph from the air of our rural area would show model agricultural
installations, model communities everywhere. And we will get there. If we
have come so far, we have less than half of the way to go. [applause]

I believe it has been said, not without reason, that this congress is
historical, that this Sixth ANAP Congress is historical, because here we
saw that the idea of cooperatives has won, that in 5 years the idea of
cooperatives had won. This was obvious at this congress and it was truly
impressive to hear the speeches of the presidents of the cooperatives who
spoke at this congress. [applause] because their remarks reflected the
success achieved.

It is truly incredible, no comparison is possible with the productivity,
the production and the income from the communal land, obtained by utilizing
technology. The production of sugarcane has doubled in cooperative areas,
from 40,000 to 80,000, from 50,000 to 100,000 arrobas per caballeria, like
the yield of tobacco, potatoes, root vegetables, vegetables in general,
coffee, or any crop whatsoever which is handled by the cooperatives.

The enthusiasm, the strength, the capacity for development and utilization
of land and all other resources of our fields is very impressive. At the
same time it is very stimulating to see the results that the cooperatives
are achieving.

Together with the improvements of state-controlled agriculture in citrus,
rice, dairy products, poultry, egg production, these developments forecast,
no doubt, an extraordinary progress of our agricultural sector. In addition
they set the basis for the healthy emulation which we want to stimulate
between cooperatives and state farms. [applause]

The comrade from Banes, from Sama, was saying yesterday [sentence as heard]
that they were going to win the emulation because they were going to work
harder than the workers. He was speaking of peasant honor, but we must not
forget that there is also a worker honor. [applause]

We have magnificent, extraordinary workers in our factories and our fields.
A good example of this the millionaire [in Arrobas] sugarcane cutters,
those mobilized by the Central Organization of Cuban Trade Unions, the
hundreds of sugar harvest millionaires, the outstanding workers, the
vanguard workers in construction, transport, agriculture. We know all about
them because of the many vanguard workers we give prizes to every year. We
must see to it that the prestige and influence of these vanguard workers
grow among the workers and the peasants. [applause]

The prestige and influence must grow so that everyone can follow the
example of the best. This emulation will be carried out and it will be
strong. Each one, according to his honor will be healthy, will be
revolutionary, and the country will gain a lot. [applause] Undoubtedly, our
fields and our cooperative and state agriculture are advancing and have
magnificent prospects. We have seen this at this congress. Above all, the
most important thing, the best news, is that the cooperative movement is
advancing tremendously and that its results are extraordinary. This has
caused us great satisfaction. We had a large number of companeros in the
state party's directorate have witnessed the development of this congress.
We have listened very carefully to the report. We can understand the reason
for this victory. ANAP has a lot to do with this victory. [applause]

Naturally during these years of revolution everyone advanced markedly. From
an illiterate people, or let's say from illiterate peasants, today we see
that many peasants' children have become doctors, engineers, economists,
outstanding cadres in the government, the armed forces, the party, the
Interior Ministry and all the institutions created by the revolution. Young
people born around 1959, 1958 or 1957 have already graduated from our
universities. Their numbers are increasing. It's been a long time since
there's been any talk about illiteracy or semiliteracy. Now there's talk
about a sixth-grade education as a minimum. Now the struggle is for ninth
grade as the minimum. Now there is a political and a general culture. These
are naturally reflected in our peasants.

Now there is the political and revolutionary work of ANAP. I think Pepe
complains sometimes about the fact that I use the wrong gender when
referring to ANAP. Oh, well... [applause] It can't be denied that both men
and women belong to this organization. We will, therefore, use the correct
feminine gender when referring to ANAP, Pepe. [laughter] It does
revolutionary and political work, which has a profound impact on our
peasants. It has been serious work. Educational work, cultural work,
technical work, is seen. This work was reflected in the report, in the
effort to create the technical groups and committees, in the amateur
groups, in the sporting events, in the struggle for the sixth grade. In
short, it is reflected in all ANAP's activities in many fields.

Most importantly, ANAP's work has been serious and cultured, with no trace
of politicking or demagoguery. A demagogue would not last a single minute
here. Everyone would find him out right away -- not just demagogues, but
also those who are not serious or truthful. They would be found out much
sooner than it took us to discover that Pepe was limping yesterday because
of a problem with his knee. As the saying goes, a liar is found out sooner
than a lame person. But a demagogue, or one who is not serious, is found
out even sooner.

That kind of thing has not been seen in a congress in a long time. It is
odd, however, that these days nobody is heard speaking nonsense. It would
be very natural. Without meaning to, an individual can say a lot of
nonsense. But nobody stands up at a congress any more to speak nonsense or
confusing idiocies. One does not see them at the congress of the Committee
for the Defense of the Revolution or the youth congress or at this
congress. We are really impressed by these cultural and political advances,
by the quality and seriousness. This is really very stimulating. This is
the result of the work carried out by our party and our mass organizations.
Really ANAP, its directors, and especially Companero Pepe not only deserve
congratulations for having been justly reelected to their posts, but they
also deserve to be recognized for the profound work they have carried out
among our peasant masses. [applause]

We are really impressed. Not only by the cooperative movement, but by the
fact that the idea of cooperativism has shone here. At certain points this
looked like a congress of cooperativists, a prelude to what our peasant
congresses will be in the future. All those who delivered speeches, the
companeros from the mountains, the companeros from the credit and services
cooperatives, the responsibility, the wisdom, the honesty with which the
various views were set forth here, the trust, the freedom, the democratic
spirit of this congress, the honesty. I very much liked the honesty with
which Pepe presided over this congress, the way he interjected his remarks,
the fact that he was not afraid to speak frankly or criticize any problem.
This is how our peasants have been educated, in addition to their
historical traditions, their honor, and their historic conscientiousness.

In truth, we in the party have had a great representative among the
peasants. But in turn the peasants also have a great representative within
the party. [applause] Companero Pepe has represented the party well among
the peasants. He has also represented the peasants well within our party's
midst. This congress, therefore, has had a very favorable impression on us
and on our visitors as well, I think. Time was well spent.

Yesterday we deplored the fact that this congress had not been scheduled to
last another day. The fair organizers were left without a fair, or at least
without peasants at their fair. This occurred despite the noble effort they
had carried out. You had to return. Although out of discipline, you would
have been willing to stay in Havana another day, you were much more
impatient to return to your rank and file than to participate in the fair.
That is understandable. [applause]

Time was properly used, well used. Overtime was used to discuss important
matter. The most important goal was the unquestionable success of the
cooperative movement. This was point one. And this was one of the
achievements which was made evident in this congress. There was success in
almost all the agricultural items -- tobacco, vegetables, fruits.

We have been able to see numbers that show how agricultural production has
grown in the past 5 years. Some points of conflict have also been
discussed. The first point was the situation in the mountains. It has been
clearly seen that there is a need for a quick and serious study of the
situation in the mountains and for coordinated efforts by all the
organizations involved, to solve the problem in the mountains. The reason
for this, as it was explained yesterday, is that we have to develop the
coffee sector as well as our forests.

An exodous would leave the mountains without the necessary labor force to
care for the forest. A big exodous would leave the mountains without the
labor force needed to grow coffee and cacao. Yesterday we determined our
objectives in the mountains; coffee, cacao, forests -- that is, timber --
and for the peasants to produce all that they consume.

We have said that the mountains also have other useful possibilities, as
resources for tourism. We said that the revolution provoked an exodous from
the mountains when it created new living conditions and possibilities in
the plains. We recalled our experiences in the mountains. There were many
huts occupied by peasants who had gone there from the plains. There were
rural workers who had gone there pressured by end-of-harvest lay-offs,
unemployment and hunger. These rural workers had gone to the mountains and,
enduring great difficulties, they cleared the land, built their little
homes, planted seeds, used fire. Then, very often someone would show up and
claim the land.

During the capitalist era there was such social pressure that the workers
would go to the mountains as if it were the place of hopes, the promised
land. The number of workers who went to the mountains constantly increased.
Then, the situation was reversed.

It is clear to us, it is clear to this congress, that we must find a
solution to this problem. Some efforts have been made, but they are not,
evidently, enough. We will have to prepare a special program. We have to
fix this to solve various problems that range from nails to materiel
necessary to build roads and to maintain the ones that we have. already
built. We have to solve housing problems. There has to be a more complete
cultivation program for the mountains.

Once the surveys are over, we will have to determine what types of
facilities the mountains should have, what living conditions should be
created for the workers in the mountains, if we really want to stop the
exodous. This is in addition to political work and the work of ANAP.

Based on this, we concluded that we must develop the cooperative areas in
the mountains, considering that with the exception of places where there
are state enterprises with special conditions, mountains are more suitable
for cooperative-type production. This is very clear to us.

Another point of conflict, of much conflict, is the matter of the peasant
free market. Yesterday I expressed some of my thoughts on this matter. I
associated these thoughts with others. This took place among us. We have to
state here some thoughts to make them known to all the peasants and to the
people. This is a debatable issue. And probably there are many expectations
about it.

There are many people wondering about what will happen to the peasant free
market, and what will be the magic formula that this congress will produce.
The formula must be magic because unless it is magic, it will not be
possible to produce the prodigy that is being expected of this institution.
It is expected to have many products, and cheap, too. And the famous
miracle of the fishes and the bread must be repeated and we should be able
to say: Fine, this turkey here will multiply itself into 50,000 turkeys,
and these turkeys are to have a market, refrigeration and everything else.
[applause] And there should be much turkey, and cheap.

Marketing includes many interesting aspects. First, there is the
intermediary. Who is to be blamed for the intermediary? The intermediaries?
No. The peasants? No. Then, who? We are! We who created this market are to
be blamed for this. Well, historically we are not the inventors of the
market. But, we will see if anything comes out of this market. Of course,
the intentions were good when this market was created. No one had
intentions of creating the intermediary. There was talk about the
objectives and production was encouraged. The idea was to see if the black
market was eliminated, to see if some of the products that the peasants
were not harvesting could be reaped, if the peasants could somewhat limit
their consumption and bring products to the market.

A bit of all this may have happened. But it also happened that they began
to bring many products to the market which were previously delivered to the
collection centers [Acopio]. The little pigs were delivered to the
collection centers because of the problem of the price. Someone raised the
question of the price having been lowered. We have also been discussing
this. We do not yet know what we will do but something must be done about
the little pigs. However, there was a problem because quality pork was
being sold at 60 [cents] and one could not sell a product of equal quality
at a higher price. In a nutshell, we do not know how we are going to solve
this but something will have to be done to increase the collection of the
pork somehow.

It so happens that although this pork is not regarded as being of great
quality, it seems it is the best type for roasting, do you understand?
Maybe the other type is better to make ham for sale to the public. But it
seems this is the kind that the people like for roasting. It has a special
characteristic. We will have to do something. We think that we will do
something about this pork that the people like for roasting. Maybe we will
have to increase the price of the other type of pork, too. However,
something will have to be done.

Products which were previously delivered to the collection centers began to
appear on the free market. That is not fair. A product is not sold to the
population, at its official price, so it can be sold on the market at a
high price. Of course, the worker with a lower income will perhaps go
without a piece of pork, or a chicken or one of the products that was
delivered to the collection centers.

This was a negative element. It was believed that the contract with the
collection centers would operate well, that there would be controls at the
collection centers, that control would be exerted by the people's powers or
at the National Association of Small Farmers [ANAP], and so forth, and that
the deliveries to the collection centers would be maintained. There is no
point in taking the products out of the collection centers to take them to
the free market.

Another very negative phenomenon occurred. It was the most negative of all,
i.e., the presence of middlemen. And we said that we were guilty of this
because, apparently, this market cannot operate without some type of
middleman. Why? Because the peasant does not have the means to come to
Havana from Batabano or from Guira de Melena, or from Matanzas Province,
because he has to bring five or seven chickens, and he says that he cannot
make a trip just for seven chickens when the chickens can be sold on that
market at 10 pesos, and so forth.

The middleman sprang up immediately because it seems that the middleman was
needed in that market. Otherwise, how can plantains come from Holguin to
Havana? And the person who picked them up had 50,000 plantains in storage.
Eight multiplied by five totals 45 [as heard] or 45 000 pesos, gentlemen.
Not even a farmowner got that in the past. A farmowner did not earn 45,000
pesos. And that person must have obtained a profit of some 30,000 pesos at
least, and tax free, tax free.

Peasants in Holguin say there are no plantains there and I think there have
been few plantains in Holguin lately. However, pass by the market here in
Havana. At those prices...! Since the last hurricane, and until enough seed
is produced in this province -- If this type of plantain -- some time will
be required. There are no bananas. However, such is life. Bananas are
preferred everywhere in the world. However, since it was more abundant and
more productive, it seems that some families here in Havana preferred the
other type of plantain, probably because they do not see it very often, and
they pay more for it than for bananas. The other type can be eaten as a
vegetable or a fruit. The ones that are known and consumed throughout the
world are bananas. However, the price of this type of plantain became
astronomical and a middleman brought them from there.

The same thing happened with other products. Actually, already 90 percent
of the items on the market came via middlemen. Many peasants refused to go
to the market out of a peasant sense of honor. Additionally, there was the
way that some of those individuals looked. Their appearance was
hair-raising. Those individuals looked like former convicts, like the
devil. With long hair. I have seen some photographs. I remarked that one
seemed to have come from Mariona jail. I said where is this one from, from
Combinado del Este? Where is he from? There were decent peasants there.

Who supports the middlemen, besides the fact that they were needed? The
so-called small tract farmers must not be confused with sharecroppers. The
words sound alike but they do not mean the same. The sharecropper may be a
small tract farmer. Maybe he is a sharecropper there who does not belong to
ANAP or anything else, and is there a small tract farmer. There are many
types of parceled land farmers. A few were there as legally and I imagine
that there were many illegal ones who have a piece of land here and there.
Some stole water from the aqueduct to irrigate. There were all types. But
the small tract farmers were the ones who do not even have a backyard at

However, they came up fast with the free market. And they got an incubator
and some fertile eggs. When the engineer asked where they obtained the
fertile eggs, they said that it was from the store when actually no fertile
eggs are sold in the store. The fertile eggs can be found in the breeding
and rebreeding centers and in the special farms. They must have obtained
the fertile eggs improperly from some place. And the client also obtained
it somewhere. All this is connected with illegality, corruption and so
forth, or theft.

So, the small tract farmers sprung up here and there. It seems it would not
be advisable to be a small tract farmer on the black market in the future.
Now then, there may be some who may belong to ANAP.

At one time there were those who had a plot of land and worked at a sugar
mill. They had to belong to the labor union of the mill. At any rate, ANAP
will now have to make a study or analysis of the small tract farmers to
find a way to legalize them. However, according to the new ideas about this
market, the so-called small tract farmers must not exist. In other words,
only those who belonged to ANAP can exist. Those are the ones who should
have the right and not anyone who wishes to be a small tract farmer or
calls himself a small tract farmer. This will be one of the first measures
to be adopted.

Now then, there may be many cases of people like this who belong to ANAP.
Why? Because there are thousands of caballerias loose in the countryside.
There is talk of the caballerias of state enterprises and of the peasant
associations. However, there are thousands of caballerias and thousands of
people going around like loose wheels in the countryside and who have lands
which are not under the control of the agriculture ministry or ANAP, and
this is not advisable.

In a nutshell, we must detect the illegal cases, correct the illegality and
set order in our countryside. All land in our country must be under the
control of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform [INRA] or ANAP. There
cannot be any loose plot of land. [applause]

The disorder will end once all peasant land is held by cooperatives. Many
times I have looked at a small farm and thought that it belonged to a
peasant. However, the data and the statistics show that many of them do not
belong to ANAP and are illegal or that there are small tract farmers on
them and many individuals are neglecting the land.

Anyone can realize the advantages the country will have once this type of
property disappears. There are many improprieties that provide a basis for
the black market and other things. This will cease to exist once our
agriculture is organized under cooperatives and farms. Maybe there will be
thefts. That is something else. Maybe somebody will steal and sell but not
engage in commerce. We can't imagine leaders of a state enterprise or of a
cooperative being involved in this sort of cheap dealing.

There are many small tract farmers and sharecroppers who create chaos and
disorder. Apparently, in the new market this sort of people have no room.
We have already identified the problem; the middleman and the small tract
farmer. These institutions must begin disappearing from our agriculture.

Look at this: The people want a market, with many products and at low
prices. This is a fact. With this type of movement, the middlemen seize
control of the market. Some of them would have been brilliant in the New
York stock market, let me tell you. [laughter] They say this is the price
and if you don't want to sell, don't sell; and the peasants there were
getting into trouble with this lumpen that had seized control of the market
and were saying: These are the prices, the price for chicken and so forth;
and as the number of products increased, they increased the prices. They
imposed their law on the market.

There is the story about the head of garlic being sold for 1 peso. I have
already spoken about this. A small criticism because since those days we
could already talk about garlic for 1 peso, and the plantain in Havana at
80 [cents]. There were exhorbitant prices. This provoked rejection, and
claims and people began to give their opinion. It was often said; prices
must be brought down. But if prices go below a certain limit, then products
disappear, or are sold in the black market at different prices. The markets
used to be call free and many of us reasoned that the moment a ceiling
price -- not a ceiling price -- the moment that prices are regulated, then
it is no longer a free market.

I don't know the official price for a 3-pound or a 4-pound chicken. If a 20
percent price drop is imposed, it is probable that the chicken will not be
taken to market and that it will either be sold on the black market or the
peasant eats it himself. After all, it is the peasant who produces it.
There would no longer be a free market. If the prices were too low, then no
product would show up, or they would be available for 30 minutes only while
a long line would quickly be formed and squabbling ensured. In addition to
the monopolistic actions of the middlemen, impositions were placed on the
market but, supposedly, the supply and demand principle would regulate the
situation. &:Jr We, a group of companeros of the party, of state
institutions and ANAP, were discussing what to do with this. I proposed in
the youth congress a high tax so at the least the state and the people
would receive something through the tax. We were thinking of various
formulas without regulating the market. That was the idea that we had; to
have a high tax without regulating the market; to have a 40 to 50 percent
tax, the formula of a high tax. It was known that those who sold in the
market took in 140 million pesos and less than 1 million was paid to the
state. Perhaps at official prices these products would be worth 30 or 40
million. The profits were more than 100 million. That is a huge amount.
That money in the hands of a few people is a real problem.

Well, the idea was to obtain part of the profit. That measure had the merit
that it sought to collect funds, money. It had the disadvantage that the
prices could continue to be high and even increase. That measure was also
going to be accompanied by the prohibition of the small tract farmers and
the elimination of the middlemen. We had thought that since middlemen are
needed, things would be organized in such way that the associations of
credits and services, with some resources and means, would essentially be
in charge of taking the products to market. We have based this on the idea
of maintaining a market. We have used this idea as a basis. Now then, the
ideas that we had and the conclusions that a group of companeros had
reached were delivered to the delegates of the congress.

Yesterday, we were able to see that the peasants do not like that idea of a
high tax. They, the delegates do not like it above all because of an
essential concern; that the tax will be transferred to the price and along
with this the anger and criticism of the population. I understand this
essential concern of the peasants, many of whom do not even want to know of
that market. This is mainly true of the cooperatives. From the remarks of
many presidents of cooperatives I noticed that they practically hate the
market. And not without reason. However, we have the market. The people
want a market of products but they do not want to be robbed; they do not
want the products to be too expensive. They want them to be cheap. The
products cannot be as cheap as the consumer wants them. If they were, no
one would take the products there.

That is why we were able to see that most of the delegates, or as a rule,
the delegates of the congress want the market to be regulated. They want a
ceiling to be set. As a rule, the people also want a ceiling to be set.
That is why we find ourselves facing three ideas. That of the state, the
Finance Ministry which is the idea of collecting a tax; the idea of the
congress and the delegates and the idea of the people. Therefore, we have
to reconcile all these ideas. The congress has served so that we can review
our ideas on this subject. I said that we drew up the idea as a group and
we thought it was good and 40, 50 or 60 million pesos was going to be
obtained by the state to carry out the idea. I think we should carry out
and find solutions that are in agreement with the views of the peasants who
are the producers and that are as close as possible to the views of the
people. We have the duty to bear this in mind because in no way can we do
anything that is an imposition in the face of the views of the congress and
the people. Therefore, we have to undertake the task of drafting formulas
that are in accordance with the views that have been expressed. Naturally
some of the things that have been proposed are not possible. It would be
very difficult for products to be sold up to a point after which there
would be high taxes. There are formulas which in theory are good but in
practice cannot be applied. They cannot be administered.

We have to go back and analyze this, taking into consideration the opinions
expressed by the delegates and the people. It would be a mistake for the
consumers to believe that there could be a free market as well as a cheap
market. I repeat, if we impose a rigid ceiling, the products will not go to
market. They will simply be taken to the black market and used, or not
reaped and not used. If we impose a ceiling, it must be flexible in
relation to the official price of those products. Furthermore, in Havana, a
city with 2 million residents and few farmers, we have to impose a higher
ceiling. If not, the products would not be brought to Havana.

If the measure regarding a ceiling is adopted, and this has to be discussed
with the ANAP committee, the ceiling has to be flexible, and in my
judgment, I know that when we analyze it, it will be at least twice the
official price. In Havana it would have to be even higher. There could even
be margin for a small tax, but not a high tax. The ceiling has to be such
that the product is made available. Maybe it will be too high and we will
reduce it, maybe it will be too low and we will raise it. Nevertheless, I
want to add something; the ceiling cannot be inflexible. It can go up
according to the scarcity of the product at certain times of the year, and
it can go down. We must forget inflexible ceilings. But I say, and I
discussed this yesterday with a group of comrades, if we decide to set a
ceiling, then the ceiling must be flexible if we want products to be
available. In Havana this ceiling has to be even broader if we want the
products to reach Havana, because the Havana farmers would not be able to
supply 2 million residents. As we said yesterday, it is not the same thing
to take products to Ciego de Avila with 74,000 residents as it is to take
them to Havana with 2 million residents. When the studies were made at the
markets, it was found that products were coming from Cienfuegos, Ciego de
Avila and even from Holguin but, of course, these products had a higher
price in Havana.

Havana has a higher average income than the other provinces. If Havana
wants a free market and if Havana wants to receive the products, then we
would have to have a higher ceiling.

Depending on the decisions reached, it is very important that these points
be known to the delegates at the congress and the people.

There has to be a middleman, but not those they had there. ANAP has to
solve the problem and make these products reach the market. The state has
to give ANAP resources and facilities. Undoubtedly, one farmer cannot send
four chickens to market; 10 or 20 peasants would have to get together and
send 100 chickens, finding the way for these chickens to get to market. If
not, the market will not function. Not every farmer owns a truck and that
is why the products always end up in the hands of the middlemen. There are
two basic ideas, one is for the middlemen to disappear and the other to
create a mechanism to bring these products to market. This is essential.

Now, regarding the future of the market; the people want to have the same
opportunities the parallel market has. On the parallel market they sell
expensive, really expensive, and even some products that are scarce. But
all that is collected at the parallel market goes to the country's funds. A
people's resource is collected. That is why the people don't complain about
the parallel market; they may think that it is expensive, but everything
always seems to be expensive. Everyone who buys believes this. But the
parallel market has existed for many years in the country and everything
that is collected there goes to the people's resources. It does not enrich
a particular group; it gives wealth to no one in particular.

As I said yesterday, the day that all the farmers belong to cooperatives --
or at least the majority since we cannot expect all of them to belong to
cooperatives -- in a state enterprise as well as in the cooperatives, the
self-consumption will become collective when the cooperatives are developed
and the private producers disappear from this country, from our fields.
With the free market the farmer will not be able to satisfy the demands.
For a free farmers market you need individual producing farmers and in the
future there will be no individual producers. Therefore, there is no reason
to have a free farmers market. We will have farms and cooperatives and the
farms at this time do not participate in these free markets. The
Agriculture Ministry opposed this for a very good reason.

So with what can we replace the farmers market in the future? This is the
idea that we expressed before the congress yesterday. Today I repeat it so
that our people will be informed of the subjects discussed.

In the future the free farmers market will become something else. They will
become parallel markets for agricultural products. Why? Because even if we
produce enough garlic, and we must struggle to produce enough garlic, so
that just like eggs, we can sell the garlic freely and it will not go to
the free market. Even if we organized a big state production of sheep or
turkeys, ne of these products would not always be available. This would
also include rabbits. No one here could responsibly offer all the residents
all the rabbits, turkeys, goats, sheep and so forth they may want, at the
prices put on these products that are subsidized by the state. Tomorrow we
could offer all the free products at a set price. If the price were
regulated, then mathematically we would know the prices that we would have
set for the products to be free in this manner. This would affect the
low-income families. We would have people with high incomes who would be
happy, especially some of those who steal, who have a business and make
money. But what would happen to those low-income people? We can't do it
this way. Capitalism does it this way, but capitalism and socialism are two
different things and capitalism does not solve the problem. It tries to
solve the problem with production. There was a time when the eggs were
rationed. After a time we reached such a high production that they could be
sold freely. But there are situations in which products have to be rationed
and later they will become free but, of course, not with prices like 40
cents per egg, but at the current price. There are not only many free
products but there are times when the production is such that we have so
many potatoes, for example, that the cold-storage rooms can't hold them;
there have been times when potatoes were sold for a penny a pound. Many
times there are many surplus agriculture products. Sometimes we have had to
replant because of bad weather or a cyclone and a complete harvest is on us
at the same time. When there is a surplus of products they are not thrown
away; they are sold at a lower price. But there is no doubt that the
inflexibility of the prices forces these situations. Sometimes we have to
be rationing other things because prices are pretty sacred.

Under these conditions, in the future, no matter how much successful state
and peasant agricultural production is, some products will be scarce, some
of them. These could be turkey or rabbits. Let's just say someone decided
he wanted to eat rabbit. He has to have the chance to eat his rabbit, goat
or sheep. Or what if he wants to make some kind of herbal sauce and the
herb is not available at the market, not just any kind of herb. [laughter]

Something else is also known as herbs [hierba]. [laughter] That type will
not be grown here. [laughter] I meant some mint leaves, for instance.

A few days ago one of the companeros was looking for guisaso de baracoa [a
type of plant]. According to him, this is good for kidney stones. Since all
the medicines that they had been giving him were not helping his kidney
stones, he remembered that in the rural areas they say that guisaso de
baracoa is good for this condition. I remember that too because I used to
pick guisaso de baracoa to take home. My father used to drink a tea made
from guisaso de baracoa. So there may be some case like this. I myself saw
a recent case of someone who was thinking about guisaso de baracoa. Here in
the agromarkets they have not heard about guisaso de baracoa. Well, there
will always be some product like this.

We think that in the future the peasant market will be replaced by a
parallel market of agricultural products. Also, the cooperatives, and the
farms too, with their surplus production, or with products known as
marginal because their production is not basic. All of these, however, must
still be analyzed carefully, in order to determine what is marginal and
what isn't. Frequently the principal product is forsaken in order to
produce a marginal product and the pesticide, the fertilizer, and so forth
are taken away.

But once our country is organized into farms and cooperatives, we will be
able to handle trade with 1,500 or 2,000 cooperatives. Trade cannot be
handled with 150,000 small farmers; that is unmanageable. Ah, but once we
have 1,500 cooperatives operating in addition to a certain number of state
farms, all the presidents of cooperatives and the secretary of the party
nucleus can gather in this theater; they would all fit. They could then
discuss everything -- production plans, deficit products, prices, policies
-- in 3 to 10 days. Then, incentives can be provided for both cooperatives
and farms. [applause] We can reward those who produce surpluses of these
so-called marginal products as well as those who produce turkeys, goats,
sheep and chickens. Whatever they please. If they want to produce
pheasants, they can do so. The state has a pheasant farm and several
restaurants here serve pheasant. Then the organization created now with
these markets, which ANAP would essentially have to assume, would be
assumed by the state in the future, once the cooperative movement has
advanced sufficiently. Then the state would assume the responsibility. It
will pay higher prices for these products than the prices listed by the
storage centers and it will sell them at higher prices, at parallel-market
prices. The revenues, of course, will accrue to the state, in other words,
for the entire people, for the expenses and needs of the people, for
development plans, for health and educational plans, for the country's
defense plans and so forth. That is the idea we set forth yesterday at this

Today, just as we have a parallel market for various industrial products
and foodstuffs, in the future we should establish a parallel market of
agricultural products. We will do everything necessary so that there is a
sufficient supply at certain prices, neither give- away or cheap prices but
certain prices. These were the ideas that prevailed yesterday regarding the
future of the peasant market. Whatever we do, we said that the people's and
the delegates' views must be taken into consideration. We warned, however,
that the ceiling price cannot be rigid. It must be flexible and broad.
Otherwise, the products will not be available because no one will harvest
those products at gunpoint so they are turned in. Supposedly, the producers
must turn their products in voluntarily because they want to do it and
because it is profitable to them. Furthermore, the ceiling prices in Havana
must be broader.

Let us try to define this matter as quickly as possible in order to
establish the new regulations so we can see what happens. If the ceiling
prices are too low, they would have to be raised. If they are too high,
they might be lowered. But these ideas must be made very clear and the
dream that a free market with many low-priced products can exist must be

I think that, regarding the free market, we must learn from the lessons and
from the negative and positive experiences derived from the creation of
this institution. It must be given a socialist character in the future. It
should no longer be an institution of private farmers, because the private
farmers will gradually join the cooperatives. In the cooperatives,
self-consumption does not result from a small plot of land.
Self-consumption is collective. This is one of the characteristics of our
state enterprises and our farms. I don't know if anything else need be said
about this very famous free peasant market. [applause]

Taxes are another issue which we might say cause conflict. Taxes don't
cause conflict because the peasants are unwilling to pay or because the
peasants are unaware of the need to pay. It is just that collecting taxes
is very difficult. It would be ideal to collect on the basis of revenues.
But then, who keeps the books for 150,000 peasants and small tract farmers?
These are even more small tract farmers. Who would keep their books? Who
would keep track of their expenses and profits? It is practically
impossible. It was decided that the only way to collect this tax was on the
basis of the gross sales.

Some companeros suggested collecting on the basis of the land and its
profitability. Well, that would require years of work, and a colossal
organization that would cost more than would be collected. There is only
one practical way; this much sugarcane was turned into the sugar sector;
this much product was turned in to the tobacco storage enterprises, to the
cattle sector or to the storage enterprises. Then the estimate about what
was to be done. There was no other way. We made this decision and a scale
was analyzed. Here at the congress a peasant from Guana, a delegate from
Guana, voiced certain reasonable concerns. For instance, they have to pay
certain quotas. He talked about the mountains, and said that a peasant who
earns 3,000 pesos has to turn in about 300 of these. He voiced this concern
which, I imagine, is a concern of many other peasants. Those from the
mountainous areas expressed greater concern because they say that
mechanization is not possible in the mountains, life is harder there and
production costs are higher. They presented their views very logically. It
is more expensive for them to produce cacao, coffee and even vegetables. He
even suggested that their vegetables should have different prices. We told
him that in the mountains these vegetables should be for self-consumption,
not for marketing, that it was not advisable to encourage the production of
vegetables in the mountains. He expressed his views and he was listened to
very carefully.

The presidents of the cooperatives -- Companero (Elias) and several other
presidents of cooperatives -- expressed their concern that the tax on the
cooperatives would affect the cooperative movement. They said that a tax on
gross sales would reduce the cooperatives' profits, especially those of the
sugarcane cooperatives. Certain cooperatives are more profitable than
others; certain products are sold in larger quantities but with less
profits, et cetera. Here again, there were two ideas; those prepared by a
group of comrades and the congress' ideas. There was a reason for holding
this congress and we wanted to hear all the opinions; we wanted this topic
discussed. So I think that, just as in the case of the peasant market, we
must change certain ideas about taxes.

In the case of the cooperatives, we must analyze the possibility of
establishing a tax on profits. This is what the presidents of the
cooperatives defended here wisely, logically with good arguments. We must
meet again to discuss this matter of taxes, on which there has been an
agreement in principle. We must discuss its form, its basis. We must meet
with the ANAP directors in order to adopt the definitive measures, while
taking very much into consideration the criteria set forth at this

Not all the points caused conflict. There were other positive issues, solutions which
were very well received and which will be very well received by all the peasants. One of
these issues was social security. Speaking of social security, I would first like to
repeat from this podium what I said at the congress yesterday; that the tax is a matter
of principle, of education. As a result of the most recent wholesale price reform, the
peasants' income is much more than all revenues collected in the form of taxes. Taxes
do not account for even 10 percent of what our workers, of what our country, with everyone's
effort, peasants included, spends in the fields. The country spends and invests hundreds
of millions [no currency specified] to benefit the peasant population. This tax will
amount only to several tenths of a million. It is important for the peasants to know that
this tax is a matter of education, a matter of principle. It will be a source of satisfaction
for them. However, the revenue collected will be several times smaller than what
the country invests in our fields. It is a very small portion amounting merely to several
tenths of a million.

We start with the principle that everyone contributes with something. One
with low income contributes less, one with high income contributes more;
not in proportion to the income bracket, but with the use of a scale
instead. We must not forget -- and you know this as well as we do -- that
there are some farmers with an income of 30,000 or 40,000 pesos per year
and others who are millionaires. Of course, they have not stolen. Within
the rules of the revolution, with the prices set by the revolution, the
market and the facilities of all kinds that the revolution has given them,
there are farmers who have hundreds of thousands of pesos. There are some
who receive 50,000 or 70,000 pesos. This could be the farmer with four
caballerias of potatoes and a big tomato crop, or other products --
carrots, for example. Logically, the tax has to increase so that it will be
much higher in those cases where the income is large, a millionaire's
income. There are farmers who could be making 10 times what a prominent
medical specialist earns. He could be earning 20 times what a worker earns.
I believe all of you understand perfectly that this tax on the individual
farmer must be on a graduated scale. Low for the low-income farmers, who
still have to contribute something, and higher for those with a larger
income Therefore, I repeat, your suggestions will be taken into
consideration in finding the the solution to this, and the solution will
be, more or less, based on this idea. However, take the documents. Read the
free market document and explain the suggestions made. They should be
known. It would be good for the farmers to learn about this document, while
we adopt the other provisions.

Returning to social security, it will surely be very well accepted by all
of the peasants. There was very little discussion about this. For the
income to have some effect, it was suggested that it should be based on the
cooperatives' gross sales, because this social security law benefits the
agricultural production cooperatives and therefore they must also help.

We discussed the minimum. Someone suggested it; he was discussing it with
the companeros and we share this concern as well. We want to see how this
minimum can be increased and how the maximum set for a certain number of
cases can be increased, as well. We will also take into account the
opinions of the congress. Among the documents you have received, we
mentioned all that are related to the sale of farms, the provision or
services and so forth. Several positive solutions are drawn from harvest
insurance, which could be voluntary, it was agreed. Only when a loan is
requested will harvest insurance be required, because, as you know, during
the past 23 years no one has ever insured a crop -- the state has had to
insure all crops in case of cyclone, plague, catastrophe or misfortune. We
are pleased with this. We have demonstrated support for the farmers, love
for the farmers and proletarian solidarity with our farmers. [applause] But
anyone can understand that the idea that insurance for a crop must come
from the crop itself is a proper concept. This is the principle that
regulates all insurance institutions. This was discussed and agreed upon
during the congress yesterday.

We are very satisfied with the usefulness of this congress. It has taught
us a new lesson and has put us through another test. When many of us were
analyzing the problems and seeking solutions, within the complexity of the
problem, we drafted some ideas and proposed some difficult matters to the
congress. There is no doubt that you corrected those ideas and that you
persuaded us of other alternatives and better solutions. Here we gathered
not the wisdom of a small group of men but the wisdom of thousands. The
ideas of thousands of men who have the right to know -- better than we,
under certain conditions -- what the right solution should be.

In regard to the negative aspect of the free market, I and the other
companeros understood that there was wounded pride among the peasants -- a
wound, a sore, because their very just and very honest basic concern with
this proposed tax on the free market sales -- even if it means 40 or 50
million -- is, nevertheless, going to place them in a delicate and
embarrassing situation with respect to the workers and the people. It
seemed to us that this concern had to be taken into consideration. I
believe that it has been a good lesson for all. When we think we have found
a good solution, we should meditate and then meditate again. This is true
democracy. [applause] This must always be the style of our party and of our
state -- not to impose but to persuade and be persuaded. Our role is not
only to constantly persuade but to allow ourselves to be persuaded by the
people as often as is necessary. [applause] The greatest wisdom has always
and will always reside with the people. [applause]

As Pepe said, rigorous inspections and measures have not been taken against
the free peasants market alone. A general policy of struggle and demands is
being carried out against demonstrations of the profiteering spirit,
against any demonstration of corruption, immorality, robbery. Measures have
been taken against the famous queuers; inspections of different kinds and
by different branches were undertaken at the milkstands, in the stores, at
the plaza called La Plazita, and this policy will be continued. This will
be done systematically. Why? Because there are many violations. There are
many administrative violations and they have to be combatted. The
administrative violations permit and facilitate fraud, and, subsequently,
robbery. We have to fight against theft and all illegal activities that
have profit as the motive. We cannot allow the triumph of anti-social
elements, nor can we allow them to corrupt our society. [applause] While
those who are corrupted are an insignificant minority, we can win any
battle against them. Now, if the corrupted were a majority it would be
difficult to win a battle against them. There are cases of corruption in
many places. It is sad; we have seen cases of corruption in judges,
lawyers, police, workers, the simple and intellectuals -- among all. That
is why we have to be implacable against those lumpen, against the thieves,
against those who want to make thousands and hundreds of thousands of pesos
by violating the law, because they will later corrupt, and usually
beginning in a very subtle way; as a friend, by lending money in need and
then not asking for the money back and then lending more money. We have
learned of cases, among our companeros, who, little by little, in a very
subtle manner, fell into the hands of these lumpen. Such a lumpen could be
the administrator of an establishment where, if the regulations say that a
bottle of rum should contain 30 shots -- this is just an example, just to
give an example; it is always good to accompany a thought with an example
-- then they take 35 shots from the bottle; they steal from the people who
then keep the difference. Above the cost of 30 shots of rum, carta blanca,
if you wish, they keep the rest.

Then there is ice cream. The carton gives 50 scoops. They cheat the people
by skimming, reducing the scoop. Thus they get 60 scoops. This is an
example of the methods used by some, which are difficult [to detect]. Or
the number of pizzas, [applause] the amount of cheese on the pizza.

There was a manager to handle money, specifically at (El Aguar), an ice
cream parlor. I am not going to give the name of the individual, because I
do not even remember it. It is not worthwhile to mention the name or the

Then, with the ice cream business, the assistant manager was also corrupt.
At times, he took in 300 pesos a day. He sold huge quantities of ice cream;
400 pesos. The assistant manager was also corrupt. Several employees were
corrupt as well. The man hid been corrupting his assistant and all of the
others and had been distributing 15 or 20 pesos. He actually had a free
market there, for the sale and purchase of people.

Today we do not have capitalists. The people have to administer their
property. Every manifestation of corruption of this kind is serious for the
people. It cannot be tolerated. It cannot be permitted.

I think that we have to learn from experience. We have greater controls
today, but we have to multiply, increase them and wage an implacable
struggle. Socialism cannot permit this cancer to corrode it, to devour it,
because there are thousands upon thousands of installations, tens of
thousands, that must be administered. When there is cheating at them, it is
the people who are being robbed; only the people.

People of this type, undesirables, steal. Could one count on a man of this
type to defend the fatherland? To carry a rifle? Those lumpen are the
foundation of the counterrevolution. They are the foundation of the

At times, the evil spreads somewhat because of a lack of inspection and
controls. We have to fight consistently against this. We must not permit
anyone to cheat a child of a little bit of ice cream. We must not even
allow a drunk to be cheated. Why should the poor drunk be robbed?
[applause] If that man went to while away an afternoon and, in addition to
paying dearly for the rum -- because rum is expensive here -- he is cheated
[does not complete sentence].

There are thousands of establishments, of stores. We have to be inflexible.
The evil has spread somewhat, but we are also to blame. We placed the
church in the hands of the empire -- have you ever heard that saying? --
because of the system that was used to recruit the personnel of the food
distribution system. I do not want to speak badly of the food distribution
system personnel. In fact, I believe that the salaries of many of these
people are small and should be reviewed. There are many good people and
honest workers. However, there are lumpen as well.

Why is this? We know that this was brought to the labor ministry's
attention long ago. However, since it was not a priority activity, the food
distribution and service system has been neglected. If one takes a poll,
one would discover all kinds of people. It is disquieting to find that
there are persons with records of common crime, with records of
counterrevolutionary activity. What can be expected? It is necessary to
completely revise the manner of recruiting these personnel, because in all
neighborhoods, everywhere, there are honorable people, many honorable and
decent people. I know some retired people who could take this
responsibility. In fact, in this case, as a special rule, I would not
reduce their retirement pension because of what they are to be paid in
wages. [applause]

Even by special measures, a way must be found to recruit honorable people
for this food distribution and services system generally and to continue
the struggle. When inspections are made, many irregularities are found.
There are differences. Some are administrative violations. That is improper
and should be punished, but it should not be handled in the same way as the
robberies, as the violations that are carried out for profit seeking
purposes. We have to be much more severe with those who commit violations
to steal than with those who commit violations without seeking gain.
However, these other violations must also be combatted, but in a different
way. They must be combatted because administrative violations make it
possible for robberies to be carried out, because of the lack of
restraints. We have to work against them, though not in the same way as we
treat the thief; but they must be punished, because it is necessary to
teach the workers to do things right, to obey the law and to follow
regulations. They often think that these regulations are not important.
They are, because otherwise, they make it possible for other people to

It is not a case of carrying out a witchhunt. In fact, we know that we are
going to identify all who are committing violations. Sooner or later, we
will find them all. We will work patiently. [applause] We are going to find
them all.

It is not a matter of starting a crusade and of throwing a lot of people
into jail. We would not like to have to put a lot of people in jail. There
may even be some we can treat with consideration -- those who have
committed some of these violations and who become remorseful and go to
their superior or to the responsible person in charge and say: I have
committed this violation. With those people we can be lenient; transfer
them, give them another job, but treat them less severely. We would not
publish their crime. This would be good, because we would be saved the
trouble of putting a lot of people in jail.

Now the others, the ones who are caught, will definitely be dealt with
severely. There is still time. The measures that are taken are designed to
be exemplary, to serve as an example and to make it clear to all who are
acting irresponsibly that misdeeds will not go unpunished. The idea is to
make sure that they understand this. [applause]

We have a way to discover all of these cases of robbery. We have a way to
discover them. They are not avoided merely by adopting measures. Many
measures can be taken, but if 3000 common criminals are incorporated into
the system, what can one expect of them? That they will be converted into
saints? If in addition to the fact that they do not become saints, those
individuals feel free to do what they want, they will harm us. We are
especially harmed by those who organize a mafia.

I gave an example: the distribution of cars. The country distributes
thousands of cars. Well, it does not put them on the open market. The state
could also organize a free automobile market; 25,000, 30,000, or 40,000.
Who would buy them? You know very well who would buy them; the lumpen. The
man of the 300 pesos-a-day deal would buy them. Automobiles are sold
cheaply here, almost at cost. Easy payment arrangements are given. Why? So
that they can be bought by the technician, by the meritorious doctor, the
vanguardist, the millionaire machete wielder [applause] -- that is,
outstanding professors and instructors, manual workers and intellectuals,
on the basis of merit. Thus, this year the country has a consignment of
some 10,000 automobiles. At least two out of three will be purchased by
workers. Two out of every three, by construction workers, sugarcane
workers, transportation workers, workers from different organizations. I
think that these are the people who should have the opportunity to own an
automobile, not the lumpen.

You know that motorcycles are also distributed among the workers at the
sugarmills, at the factories. Many workers have them. The lumpen do not get
any, but if they have money they go out with their cash to buy and to
corrupt, to purchase motorcycles and automobiles, and to pay 20,000 pesos
for an automobile. They have corrupted vanguardist workers, doctors,
forcing them to become involved in lucrative activities. These persons have
purchased the cars for 4,500 pesos and sold them for 20,000. In other
words, this is a corruptive, distorting thing. We have to be implacable in
taking actions against this, so that when we see an individual in a new
car, we will know that it is a technician or a distinguished worker and not
a thief.

What need do we have for individuals who corrupt a worker that, because of
his merits as a worker, has received a reward from society, by having
access to an economical automobile? Well, as I said yesterday, all who have
sold a car should know that the one who bought it will lose the car
[applause] and the one who sold it will lose the money, because there is a
clause. They are sold cheaply, but this is done to prevent people from
profiteering. When one wants to reward a worker, he is given facilities to
purchase a car. This is what the worker deserves, but the intention is not
to give him 15,000 pesos.

There is a clause that says that the person who wants to sell a car must go
to the state, to Autoimport [central enterprise for the supply and sale of
light automotive equipment and parts] and sell it there. Then Autoimport
will again distribute it as a used car. This is a clause that has been
included in the contract ever since the sales of those cars began.

This has been violated. Little papers have been given. We are familiar with
the little tricks that some people have been using. However, the purchaser
will lose the car and the vendor will lose the money. Don't doubt it.

I imagine that tomorrow there will be quite a few hurrying [laughter] to
arrange and rearrange and see what can be done. There is a legal procedure
and it is necessary to go there and comply with the procedure.

Well now, who does his purchasing this way? Who have we discovered doing
this? Who has 15,000 pesos to purchase an automobile? The lumpen. The
intermediary of a few months ago. The one with the 50,000 plantains. The
one from (El Aguar), that one bought about eight. What do you think? And he
was buying them for sport. He liked the new ones.

It is necessary to fight against these things. If is also necessary to
defend those workers. We have to watch over the attitude of our workers,
the morality of our people respect for the law and the revolutionary spirit
and conscience of our people. That is why we have to fight against that
profit seeking spirit. Let us hope that many people fix these things, so
that the number of people against whom we will have to take drastic
measures will be reduced. However, we will not be deterred. We will follow
a policy of distinguishing between the honest man, who is at times
irresponsible, and the thief. The thief is the one who will not have any
chance in this country. This is a policy of all, of all of the mass
organizations. We have to wage this struggle together. It is not a matter
of the police, or of the Interior Ministry alone. It is a matter for the
mass organizations and for all of the people.

I think that we are coming to the time of the reception and to the end of
my speech. I wish to tell you of an opinion that I think is shared by all
of the companeros who were present here. It is that we have been greatly
moved by the words spoken here, by the speeches made. We have been greatly
impressed. We feel a tranquillity, a great confidence in the future, when
we see cadres such as those that we have seen, with maturity, resoluteness,
wisdom, honesty and valor. When we have organized our peasant agriculture
into cooperatives and when we have the best peasants, like the ones who
have been present here, at the head of those cooperatives, the problems
that we are facing today no longer seem serious; an intermediary here, a
person who does something there, over there someone who wants to make a
deal, a squatter here or there, etc. What a magnificent prospect there is
for our country, with the participation, with the future that is being
built by men and women like you. [applause]

We have advanced greatly and we will continue to advance. Our path will not
be easy. Let no one think that our path will be easy. As we have said
before and as we said in October; we must prepare to face difficulties. We
have difficulties now and there will be even greater difficulties to come.
Even if we do things perfectly well -- and we must try to do them in a
perfect way -- even if we work with maximum efficiency, the objective
problems in the international situation and the imperialist measures...
[changes thought] increasing economic measures against us and we know that
they are implementing more measures. We know this. They recently took the
ridiculous stand of prohibiting trips to Cuba by Americans. Was there any
American tourism in Cuba? They have implemented all kinds of measures that
we know about and alongside these measures there is their hypocrisy. They
talk about negotiating positions. What negotiating positions are they
talking about? What proof do they have of this? Negotiation and discussion?
A few days ago the President of the United States said that Cuba would be
very well received in the Western community if it were to break its ties
with the socialist community and join this sphere.

I don't know, sometimes it is hard to understand the mentality of these
imperialist personalities. Perhaps they even think that they are making us
an offer or are praising us: They promise us paradise, that rotten and
sickening capitalist society. [applause]

Whatever our defects and errors and the immaturity of socialism, we must
ask; how was socialism built? What you mentioned yesterday, what Comrade
(La Plata) said, what many other delegates said, what the [word indistinct]
comrade said about the admiration and infinite happiness they felt in
having had the privilege of experiencing the revolution and participating
in the construction of socialism -- whatever our limitations and defects,
our society is very superior to that which many of you or your parents
knew. In fact, some of you present here knew of it. When you compare it to
the dignified life, the possibilities, the happiness you have had -- and
not only because of material goods; material goods alone don't make
happiness. [sentence as heard] Happiness is a sense of justice; dignity;
the lack of shame; respect; the love of others; brotherhood [applause];
morality; the feeling of being free, equal and respected; the feeling of
being part of the world that one lives in and part of one's own people,
working with them like bees. There are many things. We understood very well
what the delegates said when they talked about them. We too have known
them. We have known the inferno of capitalism and we will never return to
it. [applause]

Moreover, these imperialist leaders are disrespectful and rude, because
this offer is tantamount to telling a country to become a traitor and to
sell itself. We can tell these imperialist gentlemen that what we feel in
regard to this offer is great scorn. [applause] If there are men and
governments who have sold, rented or surrendered themselves to imperialism,
the U.S. Government has more than enough reasons to realize, after 23
years, that our people, party and leaders will never rent themselves
[applause]; will never sell themselves [applause]; and will never
surrender. [applause]

We will face all difficulties, all pressures, all economic and political
attacks or attacks of any other kind. We will continue onward. The
revolution will continue to move forward, obtaining new glories and
victories. Our workers, peasants, intellectuals and students -- closely
united -- will march forward victoriously and nothing and no one can stop

Long live the solid, indestructible and eternal alliance between our
workers and peasants. [applause, crowd shouts: viva!] Fatherland or death,
we will win! [applause, crowd shouts: We will win!]