Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


FL181325 Havana Domestic Television Service in Spanish 2129 GMT 18 May 83

[Speech by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, first secretary of the Cuban
Communist Party Central Committee and president of the Councils of State
and Ministers, at the national commemoration of Peasants Day, held at San
Antonio de los Banos Municipality, Havana Province, the afternoon of 17 May
-- recorded]

[Text] Comrade leaders of the party and the government, comrade leaders of
the ANAP [National Association of Small Farmers], comrade peasants,
comrades of San Antonio de los Banos [applause], fellow countrymen, Comrade
Pepe [Jose Ramirez Cruz] was supposed to deliver the closing remarks of the
ceremony. [laughter] And of course, he did. But as I arrived here, the
first thing Pepe told me was that he had a sore throat. [laughter] And
since Pepe has that kind of hoarse voice, I told him: But Pepe, you always
have a sore throat. No, no, he said, it's just that today I feel worse.
[laughter] I said: No, but when you start speaking your voice gets sharper,
your vocal chords get hot and you become inspired. And sure enough, that is
the way it was.

I have heard manificent speeches. Comrade Manolo's [Manolo Gonzalez]
speech, the speech of the young comrade from the Republic of Chile [cane
mill] representing the vanguard, as well as the speech of Comrade Pepe.
Therefore, I will try to be brief [subdued laughter] because the basic data
which I could have mentioned here have already been noted and I don't want
to repeat them. Pepe gave me three small pages with some information which
he has already given out, [laughter] and I am not going to bore the
audience and the public with the data. I had thought about the same thing
because there are some data here which are very interesting. [laughter,
applause] He was saying that I always have something new. I cannot always
have something new. Some are renewed, such as the ANAP. No, but the ANAP is
a reformation always in full flower and always vigorous.

[Someone shouts from the crowd:] Something new from Nicaragua!

Jose Ramirez Cruz: Yes, certainly. I failed to mention that there is a
representation here from the (?ANAP) of Nicaragua.

Fidel Castro: You didn't mention it, but Manolo Ortega [television
announcer] did mention that we had comrades here from Nicaragua,
representatives [words indistinct]. [prolonged applause] Nicaragua is now
in the agrarian reform phase and in the phase of revolutionary changes, and
it is certainly suffering imperialist aggressions, copied letter by letter
from aggressions they perpetrated against us. Now the Yankees have even
taken away their sugar quota. Of some 60,000 tons Nicaragua had a right to
sell there, they have reduced it to 6,000. And they are threatening new
economic measures.

The Yankees, as is well known, have already organized subversion and
counterrevolution. From neighboring countries they are launching wave after
wave of counterrevolutionary bandits -- the Somozists and the so-called
dissidents who have given each other the devil's embrace. It happened there
just like it happened here.

When the revolutionary laws were enacted, there were some who used to say
they were revolutionaries, including some who had been against Batista.
They used to say no, we would never join them. [laughter] On 17 April --
although they had covered it up, they didn't do it like they are doing in
Nicaragua. We must say that the CIA of 1959 and the 1959 administration was
a little more intelligent than the present administration they had been
toppled on 10 March, when against Batista. They used to say: No, no, we
don't want to have anything to do with the Batista people.] The Yankees
used to say these are democratic people. Can you imagine what kind of
democratic people they were? Landowners, thieves who had become
millionaires while in government, embezzlers of all types, politicians of
all types, but none of them were members of the Batista group. There were
some who, of course, did not like the revolutionary laws. They had opposed
Batista, but as soon as the revolutionary laws were enacted, they changed.
They said they would not join. At Giron they were united. There everyone,
the henchmen -- unbelievable, gentlemen -- people who had murdered their
comrades, they were there together with people who called themselves
revolutionaries at the time.

In Nicaragua, imperialism began with the Somozists. It did not exclude the
Batista men publicly; instead, it began with the Somozists. It organized,
recruited and armed them openly. It initiated all these attacks against
Nicaragua which the pseudorevolutionary elements and later the
counterrevolutionaries joined. Some of these pseudorevolutionaries believed
there was only one counterrevolution. But there were two
counterrevolutions, that of the Somozists and theirs. They did not realize
there was a single counterrevolution. some of them who emerged with the
airs of liberators, emulators of Che, who said they were going to liberate
Guatemala -- I have no idea which countries in the area -- wound up on a
devil's embrace with the Somozists. It is incredible what this lesson of
history can teach us. Those are the lessons the Nicaraguans are learning
today. They are living their own Escambray.

You probably remember what went on here. You certainly can remember. There
were times when there were bandits in all the provinces, including Havana
Province. There were still some weeds and scum in some places suitable for
the bands. Today in Havana there is not even...[leaves thought unfinished]
Well, it is difficult to find a small weed on a small key somewhere. It is
very difficult.

[Changing the subject, apparently in response to someone] Yes, I believe
there are stone fences in some places. The cooperatives are requesting two
bulldozers to reclaim some 30 caballerias, they say. Yes, you are speaking
about Havana now, are you not? Did Havana not finish in first place.
[laughter from the audience] Of course, at a certain time there were
bandits in all provinces. I can remember that when traveling on the
national highway....[leaves thought unfinished] Of course, at technology of
burning the cane before cutting it with harvesters was not in use. But one
could see the canefields on fire between Matanzas and Villa Clara.

The struggle was arduous. It lasted for years. Doubtlessly, the Sandinists
will have to struggle for many years because there they have borders. That
gives the counterrevolutionaries certain advantages because they have a way
of receiving arms and supplies. The counterrevolutionaries here did not
have borders and tried to support themselves with airdrops of arms on the
coastline, but we had almost all of them under control.

But, they also have disadvantages by having borders, because those
counterrevolutionaries develop a border mentality and every time things get
bad they run for the border again. So, the Nicaraguan
counterrevolutionaries have their advantages and disadvantages. But the
most important thing is that the Nicaraguan people are united, a militant
people, a fighting people, a courageous people, a heroic people, determined
to defend the revolution. [applause]

From experience you know that a revolutionary process supported by the
masses cannot be defeated. It is impossible. It is a serious historical
mistake to get caught in that wasps' nest, which is a people in revolution.

History, beginning with the Bolshevik revolution, before that, since the
French revolution....[leaves thought unfinished] There they had to struggle
against the enemy attacking from the border and against internal uprisings,
and they won. The people, the humble people manufactured arms, organized
themselves, and fought and defeated all other powers. The same thing
happened with the Bolshevik revolution. It was attacked by a number of
countries, shaken by internal turmoils and uprisings, and they were

We have the modest example of our revolution, which has for nearly 25 years
resisted imperialism's aggression and is ready to resist more; ready to
resist another 25 years. We can see in history, as an open book, the
Nicaraguan experience, exactly, the same thing. That is why Peasants Day is
also a day of solidarity with the Nicaraguan peasants and revolution.

It has been pointed out here why Havana Province was selected as the host
province of the Peasants Day commemoration. It was its efforts, its work,
the result of its cooperative effort, having 46 percent of its lands, no,
39 percent, almost 40 percent of its lands, 39.4 percent integrated into
cooperatives. Everybody knows that the cooperative movement is more
difficult in Havana. There is a reason for that. In Havana there is a more
developed type of agriculture. In Havana, 3 caballerias, or 4 caballerias,
or 5 caballerias constitute an intensive cultivation of tomatoes or
potatoes, a fabulous source of income. Five caballerias in the mountains in
Oriente is not the same thing. The proximity to the capital [is another
factor]. There is more individual wealth.

These are producers that, although small, within limits have a large
income. Due to this, cooperative work becomes more difficult in Havana
Province. It advances more rapidly in the poorer areas, in the poorer
provinces, because the advantages of the cooperatives become more evident,
clearer, it cannot be denied, are more palpable there. Nevertheless, we
have to say that in provinces such as Ciego de Avila and others, which have
red soil as in Havana and high productivity in vegetables and tubers, [the
peasants] joined the cooperatives I know cases of peasants who were at a
very good economic level, even at a good technical level, and they became
the standard-bearers of the cooperative movement.

In those cases, of course, one has to appeal to patriotism. One has to
appeal to the peasants' consciousness. One has to appeal to their spirit of
progress. One has to use conviction, persuasion. Even though to the peasant
the cooperative might not represent an advance with respect to his
individual status, nevertheless it does represent an advance for the
country, for the fatherland, for the people, for the revolution. But it is
more difficult. Someone asked: What do you expect from this? To gain a
cooperative member in Havana requires the effort needed to gain or persuade
five in any other region of the country. So, having integrated into
cooperatives nearly 40 percent of Havana Province's land represents notable
progress. The national average is 46 percent and Havana has reached 40
already, 39.4 percent.

It was also explained how the plan was so successful in this municipality
how the cooperativized land increased from 30 percent to 53 percent. This
was achieved not only because of the size, but also the strength and
enthusiasm of the cooperative movement in the municipality, and the
intention is to reach a much higher level in 1984; some optimists believe
that the cooperative movement will reach its final goal in 1984. All this
shows that despite the difficulties, the work of organization and
persuasion, the work of the ANAP and the party has a very great importance,
as shown in San Antonio de los Banos, where this notable progress has been
achieved and the idea has been conceived, supported by the party, that
total cooperativization may perhaps be reached by the end of 1984. Well,
you should not be in a hurry; even if you cannot do it in 1984, 1985, or
1986, the movement shows all the quality based on the principles it
upholds. There is no hurry; it may be done in 1990 and we will not reproach
you if you do not achieve it. However, we applaud this optimism and this

The competition between Guira and San Antonio has also been explained here,
and they are municipalities with good farmers. In this provincial
competition within the national competition, there is great merit in the
fact that San Antonio has achieved this result. Some diplomats have been
distributed here to those that have reached over 50 percent. There are
several other municipalities in the province which have reached over 50
percent and which have already received their diplomas. And there is one,
Santa Cruz, which has reached 100 percent.

There is something else that should be said. I believe that the Havana
Province farmers, the Havana peasants, the Havana cooperatives, the
agricultural enterprises of Havana, the farm workers of Havana Province,
the leadership of the farmers and the party leadership deserve special
recognition [applause], because we all know about the conditions under
which farming has developed in the past year. Today is 17 May and in less
than 1 year we have had in this province, during the spring and summer, two
tornadoes or, rather, two great, gigantic storms which flooded the
province, ruined the crops, destroyed homes, communication lines, railways,
installations, and everything. They were two tornadoes that were not so
much characterized by strong winds as by rains, which considerably affected
some plantations, the banana plantations among others. Right in the harvest
season we had three real winter tornadoes. In the so-called dry season it
rained as much in 3 months as it rained in the spring. Although this was a
phenomenon affecting the whole country, it was particularly serious in the
western provinces, particularly in Havana Province. As we know, the largest
tomato and potato plantations are in Havana Province; the largest tobacco
plantations for export are also here in this province, and it was truly a
natural disaster. It was said that it caused us more economic damage than
Hurricane Flora which cost many human lives and did considerable economic
damage; but those winter tornadoes did more damage to the country than
Flora. They took place right in the sugarcane harvest season. The harvest
was going very well indeed until the first winter tornado hit. The outputs
were higher than had been estimated; sugar production was higher than
foreseen in the plans and the plan would be fulfilled and surpassed in one
of the best harvests. But those rains out of season caused a real disaster
to the harvest. There are sugarmills which have been standing idle for 70
days, above all sugarmills in low areas with the plants under water. A
special effort, a heroic effort, was necessary throughout the country, and
it should be said that almost as much cane as was foreseen in the plans has
now been cut. However, the total amount planned to be cut and transported
will not be reached, because there are sugarmills, as I have said, that
have stood idle for 40, 50, or 70 days and it has been impossible to enter
them with a truck, cart, tractor, or anything. Not only the harvest, but
also the yield of the sugarcane was affected. Instead of yielding 12 [unit
not explained] and sometimes 13 or 14, with a national average of something
over 12, the rains caused the yields to drop by 2 in February and this
continued in March and April.

Because of the moisture of the soil and the cane, the sugarcane begins to
grow, as you know it will when there is rain and some heat, and uses the
sugar as a form of energy to grow, and the yield drops. The yield which
should be over 12 is somewhat over 10. This means that the rains have
reduced our sugarcane yield by 20 percent. In 1 million tons 20 percent
means 200,000 tons and in 5 million tons it means almost 1 million tons. It
has affected us in a really very painful way, costing hundreds of millions
in foreign currency, which means that we have suffered a great quantitative
loss in sugarcane, because it affected not just a few provinces but the
entire country.

The rains also swept away the tobacco harvest, they swept away the very
fine tobacco that is grown here for processing and export. You have
witnessed what happened, how the plants were raised again up to three
times; the heroic efforts of the workers and the young students and of all
the people who raised the tobacco plant by plant. When has it been
necessary to make that kind of effort? They put up props and tied up the
tobacco plants one by one, and everyone knows how many hundreds of
thousands of tobacco plants there are in a caballeria. They did it up to
three times, and in the end they lost it all.

The tomato harvest, which was excellent, was swept away, both the tomatoes
for industry and those for consumption. The same happened with vegetable
production. The banana plantations were considerably damaged, as well as
the potato plantations. But if proof is needed of the heroic efforts of the
field workers in this province, it is enough to say that the potato
harvest, in spite of everything totaled a production of 2.4 million
quintals. [applause] The yield per caballeria has been about 5,000
quintals. What would the potato harvest have been this year without the
efforts made by the workers? We would not have had any potatoes now. In
addition, banana production was harmed as well as the vegetables. In the
end, a small volume of potatoes was even exported, so you can understand
the importance it has if we export 1 ton and then they return 2 tons to us.
That is, if 10,000 tons are exported, we receive 20,000 at the end of the

That is why, despite everything, certain quantities of potatoes are
exported. We do not have sufficient refrigerated space to store them all
that time, so we export some and import some. These are the ones we receive
after the harvest year. We cannot always distribute them the same way for
health reasons. We take special care to see that the imported potatoes are
not distributed in areas having a lot of potatoes. That is why the imported
potatoes are usually distributed mainly in the cities to avoid health

But I believe that having attained 2.4 million quintals under those
conditions and a yield [per caballeria] of nearly 5,000 quintals
demonstrate the effort made. We would have attained much more than 3
million in potatoes, much more than 3 million quintals.

Other crops were completely swept away, such as the tobacco and tomatoes.
They were almost completely swept away. An extra effort has become
necessary. That is the one being made now by peasant and state agriculture
-- planting corn, pumpkins, tubers and vegetables such as cucumbers,
tomatoes, and so forth -- in order to be able to supply the population.
When we saw those hurricanes -- and they were real hurricanes because in
Boyeros the wind blew up to 180 kms per hour.... [leaves thought
unfinished] You know the stories about the waterspouts that pass the area,
blowing away everything. It was really cruel.

We held our heads in our hands thinking not only about the damage to our
exports, but the effect it would have on the population. However, a
superhuman effort was made and is being made to minimize the damage. For
the first time, we have had to import tomato sauce and tomato paste in
order to can it and give the population some amount of tomato.

But let us say, how could this happen in less than 1 year? We had a little
drought during May. This extended from the end of December to the beginning
of May. Today it looked like the drought was going to stop, but we have a
good day, a clear day. I remembered the ceremony we had in Caujeri, and I
said to myself: Every time I go to an ANAP commemoration, it rains cats and
dogs. But it did not happen this year.

We must all be aware of the difficulties we have had to face. What would
the consequences of such difficulties have been on the peasants in other
times? What would these hurricanes have meant to them? They would have
swept away the tobacco and tomato crops. They would have been subjected to
poverty, hunger, total bankruptcy. Today it is totally different. Following
the passing of all those hurricanes during the spring and summer of last
year and this year, the party and the state immediately came to their aid
to rapidly find solutions. Those who lost their homes.... [leaves thought
unfinished] Do you remember how last year most of the houses destroyed by
floods were built prior to 26 July? Do you remember the arrangements made
to buy appliances, clothing, whatever was lost, and supplies? Our people,
our workers, our peasants know that they no longer live on their own,
having to bear the weight of any type of misfortune, of any calamity on
their shoulders. They all know that the people will help them, and that the
people help bear the weight of any type of calamity.

That is why the people support the revolution, not only because it
overthrew the tyranny, not only because it, struggled against imperialism,
not only because it liberated the country, not only because it carried out
the agrarian reform, because it nationalized the enterprises and changed
the living conditions of the workers and peasants, but also because of the
humane nature of the revolution, because of the humane solidarity
[applause] which the revolution has developed, because of the security the
revolution offers every citizen. [applause]

You know that if a child does not attend school it is because the family
does not take him to school and keep him there. The problem here is not to
find a school to send my child to; the problem is to have a child for the
school that is there. The demand has changed. [laughter in the audience]
Things have changed from the demand for a school for the child to a child
for the school. We no longer see. Find a hospital for me... you have to run
behind the politician, or the political boss to get a recommendation to be
admitted into the hospital. Those poor people, abandoned and neglected, had
to do that just to get the worst kind of medical attention. They had to
provide at least three votes.

Today we do not have to look for a hospital for the sick person. Now the
revolution's policy has practically changed to finding a sick person for
the hospital. And better yet, avoid going to the hospital. Let us get
vaccinated. Let us do this other thing. Let us observe health measures to
avoid going to the hospital. [applause] Today we do not have to find
employment for the worker. No, now it is the opposite. Find me a worker for
the employment. [applause] Who would have imagined that in the country of
the off season? A country with a population of 6 million inhabitants had
500,000 unemployed.

In the old days man had to drag his sack and machete. He had to look for a
file [to sharpen the machete]. He had to look for everything. He had to
look for food. He had to walk to cut cane. Today we have the camp, the
transportation, all man needs. The clothing for cutting cane is supplied.
Everything is different. In addition, the canecutting effort has been
almost eradicated.

If in the past 350,000 had to cut cane, today only 100,000 cut cane. Who
would have introduced mechanization in this country? Not the capitalists.
They would have destroyed the equipment. They would have set it on fire.
The worker today receives the equipment as a blessing from heaven because
he knows it humanizes his work, because it makes it easier. The harvester
does the work of 50 canecutters. The peasant accepts it as a happy event.
Let the equipment come. Before now, no one would bring the equipment.

Now this is something similar [to the changes explained before]. We have to
look for a man to operate the equipment. The peasant and the workers, who
in the past did not want equipment, now want equipment. It is the opposite.
The same thing happens with the land. We do not look for land for the man;
now we look for a man for the land, because we need people in certain
crops, in the tomato and tobacco crops. We have to ask the old people,
those in retirement, and pay them for it, which I believe is very good.
[applause] They are the ones with the experience, with the knowledge.

We have to look for students, the school in the countryside, the brigades,
mobilized workers, volunteer Sundays, and so forth. It is different. There
is a vast difference between the conditions of the past and of the present.
Unfortunately, many peoples live as we did in the past. You cannot find a
single neglected person now, a worker without a pension. What pension did
the peasants have? What pension did the canecutters have? The men were
giving their lives in the fields and, at the end... [leaves thought
unfinished] some gave their lives. I remember that there were 6-peso
pensions for canecutters with 35 or 40 years of work.

The revolution has changed everything. It has humanized everything. I
believe that even the youngsters understand that. They did not live those
days, but when we hear a young man, a representative of the youth, say all
he said here, one is led to believe that the youngsters also understand.
[applause] Our courageous youths, who did not experience the past, are
aware of what went on. Not only do you become aware of things because you
have lived them, but also because you learn about them through analysis,
reasoning, logic, traditions, and relatives.

I said the revolution has that strength, that might which marked such a
radical and profound change between the past and present. Pepe [Ramirez,
president of the National Association of Small Farmers -- [ANAP]], spoke
about the agrarian reform and briefly explained what it meant. He mentioned
that 17 May, the day of the death of Niceto Perez, a day of mourning for
the peasants, had been selected to proclaim the Agrarian Reform Law, and
later was used to establish the ANAP. That is why you have one day on which
you commemorate three events. Pepe logically said that 17 May was a
commemoration not only for the peasants, but for the people in general.

The agrarian reform was a definitive act. Apparently it was easy. Now it
looks easy. In those days, however, we had to challenge the enormous power
of the landowners. They owned the country. In addition, they owned the
radio stations, the newspapers, the magazines. They owned the mass
communications means. They owned the political parties. They owned the
administration. They controlled everything. They supervised everything.
Those were the bourgeois, the landowners.

Who has forgotten the Yankee enterprises? Mr so-and-so and Mr
what's-his-name? Or such-and-such sugar mill? Before you could say anything
to Mr so-and-so, you had to take your hat off with a lot of respect,
without forgetting to say mister, which means master.

Then, they were almighty, the judge, the rural guard. Everybody had to pay
court to them. Everybody tried to make them happy. They used to give
presents every so often to the policeman, to the judge, to the member of
the rural guard. They were the owners.

Those latifundia were enormous; some had 200,000 hectares. We spoke here
about the cooperatives in the entire country. Eight or 10 companies owned
nearly as much land as we have integrated into cooperatives by the
country's 70,000 peasants. Who would dare challenge those enterprises? Who
would dare challenge the owners of those latifundia? Who would dare put an
end to that? Today it is easy to say, but what significance would such a
measure have had at the time? That is, to eliminate all the large national
latifundia of the national landowners. It was a great measure. It was a
revolutionary measure. It was a definitive measure of the revolution.
Following the Agrarian Reform Law in May, immediately after that the
imperialists began organizing the Giron expedition, the
counterrevolutionary bands. It has been historically demonstrated that the
agrarian reform was the action that forced imperialism to attack the Cuban

The industries had not yet been nationalized, not even the sugar mills
themselves. The first law that emerged and gave a severe blow to the
oligarchy, and imperialism was the Agrarian Reform Law. It really was a
very revolutionary law which marked the beginning of the present situation.
But we do not like to just analyze history. You do not like to just analyze
history; you like to make history. In reality, you have made a lot of

The peasants closely allied with the workers, as Jose [Ramirez] pointed
out, have made a lot of history. Who put an end to the Escamray [Mountains]
bandits? It was the armed workers and peasants. Who put an end to all those
bands that were devastating all provinces in the country? It was the armed
workers and peasants. Who fought in Giron? It was the armed workers and
peasants. Who fought and fulfilled glorious internationalist missions? It
was our workers, our peasants, our working people. [applause] our heroic
youth. History was not written in 1 day; history has been written over the
past 25 years. It was not only the struggle on the Sierra [Maestra mountain
range], the clandestine struggle. We have to bear in mind these 25 years of
history written by our workers and peasants, that is, manual and
intellectual workers. We cannot forget our intellectual workers. We cannot
forget the teacher at the primary school teaching the peasants' children,
the workers' children. We cannot forget the physician who cares for their
health, the engineer who organizes the projects at work. We cannot forget
that the sector of intellectual workers is growing. We cannot forget the
writers, the artists, who also contribute to the well-being and happiness,
to the culture of our people. We cannot forget them. Thus, we can say that
our manual and intellectual workers have written these 25 years of
revolution. [applause]

But you want to continue to write history. For that you do not need help,
With what you have, you have more than is needed. [Apparently Castro is
referring to something said to him by someone in the audience] There are
more than enough volunteers here. [applause] There are large numbers.

In Nicaragua it could be greater than in Giron. [Apparently still speaking
to someone] They have not concentrated in one area as they did in Giron.
They have dispersed the cancer. That takes a long time. But that is
imperialism's strategic error. It is a great strategic error. They build up
their hopes. They are cynical. This cynicism is demonstrated when they say
that all that they are doing is not aimed at overthrowing the Nicaraguan
revolutionary government, but to stop the Nicaraguan revolutionary
government from helping the Salvadorans. It is not to overthrow it, but
they are making the best effort to liquidate the Nicaraguan revolutionary
process. That is imperialism's great strategic error.

Let us return to the Peasants Day commemoration. I praise that
revolutionary spirit [applause] when someone mentions Nicaragua with that
admirable internationalist spirit. As I was saying, you want to continue to
write history, you, the peasants. What I mentioned about the heroic effort
of Havana Province in the face of the hurricanes, it is also a way of
writing history. That history, many times unknown, anonymous, also is as
meritorious as the one written in the battlefield.

The heroism of the daily work is very important. Gentlemen, the Cuban
people are courageous. It is not difficult for the Cubans to be courageous.
The Cubans are hard workers. It is not difficult for the Cubans to work
hard. What was happening was that the working people were worthless in the
capitalist society. They were looked at with contempt, with disdain. That
society praised those who were scoundrels, parasites, and tried to instill
that mentality in the people.

But a lot of spiritual, moral and revolutionary firmness is needed to
fulfill the daily work, the daily effort, for that daily anonymous heroism.
Not only those who can win great battles, not only does the heroism of
risking a life merit our recognition, but daily heroism also merits our
recognition. The canecutter who cuts 100,000 arrobas and even 200,000, who
gets up before dawn and finishes his workday by sunset - and we have
thousands of those, tens of thousands -- who work in the harvest and makes
life possible for our people, the peasant who weeds the furrow, the peasant
weeding the field, those are the daily heroes. They are part of the heroic
masses. Without them, the revolution could do nothing, could not move

How could we have the schools we now have? How could we have the hospitals,
the medical services, the sports we now have? How could we move the
country's development ahead? How could we acquire that equipment without
that effort, that daily work of the masses? But there is another way in
which you are writing history. I believe that by developing the cooperative
movement you are writing a brilliant page in the history of our country, of
our revolution, and of our countryside. [applause]

With the cooperative movement you are writing a brilliant page of our
country's history, We really feel very satisfied, highly encouraged about
the way we are doing this. In the past, I said that we should have started
to work in that direction before, but that we should not rush into it. Even
though we have delayed the process, we have advanced a lot in state
agriculture and not much in cooperative agriculture. We had to do it
slowly. It had to be done on firm bases and according to the principles of
persuasion and voluntariness.

And, indeed, we are advancing on those bases. I believe it is a great
success; I repeat, that we can talk about 46 percent of the land integrated
into cooperatives. But above all, we can talk about the rate of speed being
observed. The distance of the journey is not as important as the speed that
has been attained. We have traveled a long segment as noted by the 46
percent, but more important than the segment traveled is the quality of the
work and the rate of speed attained in this process.

However, we are not a hurry. In order for it to be successful, we must
develop it as we are doing. Pepe pointed that out to me. He said if it
moves too rapidly and we cannot supply the resources, then it becomes a
problem. In a certain way, the rate of speed is determined by the resources
we supply.

If a cooperative is established and there is no tractor, no material
resources for housing, no materials to solve problems, then it could
produce a certain degree of discouragement.

The country is interested in the cooperative movement. The people are
interested in the cooperative movement. Our workers are interested in the
cooperative movement, because that means using most of the best lands in
the country for the production of foodstuffs.

As you know, a large part of the country's best lands are being used for
planting cane, and we cannot ignore that. What would become of the country
without sugar exports? In reality, we produce calories for more than 40
million people in the world with what we export in sugar. We cannot ignore
that; we cannot say this cane land has to be used for planting tubers,
vegetables, potatoes. No, we cannot do that. We have even been forced to
expand the lands for cane with a view to the country's development. We have
made a great effort in that. The cooperative movement among the cane
peasants had demonstrated that -- how much more land could be used that was
not being used. The cane cooperative and the cane peasants have already set
the goal of 85 for area devoted to planting cane.

A large part of our lands, of the peasant lands, are devoted to the
production of tubers, to the production of vegetables, to the production of
fruits in general, to the production of tobacco, and so forth. These
productions are very important for the country, and the people hear about a
plan of establishing 100 cooperatives that would produce more than 100,000
quintals of tubers, vegetables and grains yearly. That is a good future for
our people; and there is a big productive potential in the peasant areas,
in those 130,000 or 135,000 caballerias the peasants have. There is a very
big potential for foodstuff production, for agricultural production in
general, which are essential for our people's standard of living, for our
people's nourishment. That is the reason why the people, the country are
interested in the development of the cooperative movement.

But it is necessary that the peasants become interested in it, that the
peasants realize all the advantages in it. It is necessary that all
children be able to holler like that boy over there, who hollers with a
strong voice, [laughter in the audience] a voice that demonstrates that he
is well fed. Do not silence him, do not silence him. [probably addressing
the audience]

It demonstrates vigor, energy, strength, and good nutrition because from
all the way over there it sounds like he has a microphone. [laughter] Well,
anyway, it is important that peasants see the advantages of the
cooperative. And the advantages are many. It means that peasants already
have 260 sugarcane harvesters. They themselves are driving them. How much
work do they save the peasant? How much do they increase production for the
peasant? How much do they add to peasant income? They have 260 cane
harvesters, and many cooperatives already have trucks to haul cane. Many
cooperatives have the equipment to break up and prepare stone. Before they
used to have to walk and wait for a tractor to come over here or over there
in isolated areas. Now we have the equipment. The availability of machinery
is enormous.

How can you use a cane harvester, an aircraft, or a good irrigation system
in isolated parcels of land? It is impossible. We see this here in Havana
Province. And it is a province which has considerable agricultural
development. There is this plan called the integration plan [plan de
compactacion] on how to integrate. Because anywhere a road has to be built,
wherever a channel has to be dug, wherever an irrigation system has to be
set up, you find a peasant on the way, his house on the way. And that has
given way to the so-called integration plan, so that channels may be dug
where they have to be dug, so that irrigation systems may be set up, so
that machines can be used.

If a cane harvester needs a proper field to be used, how can an isolated
parcel of land have a proper field of cane? How can it cut cane? How can
the cane harvesters be used in an isolated cane field? It is impossible. If
the fields are grouped together, then the cane harvester can be used. Then
the peasant does not have to cut the cane by hand. Then the peasant does
not have to go about asking the worker to leave his industry job to cut his
cane, because it really would not be fair. If the peasant owns what he
produces then it would not be fair. The peasant would have to say: Listen,
I will pay you a salary to cut cane for me. As you know, there were some
who were used to having their cane cut. They didn't do anything. There were
some who didn't hit a lick. [laughter] Well, they played the role of the
old landowners. But they were even worse than the landowners, because the
landowner would say: You work here for me but I keep half, or I keep a
third, or a quarter. The landowner would put a man to work and keep a
quarter of the produce. But if a peasant doesn't work and wants the city
worker to come he keeps 100 percent. Even the old landowners didn't do
that. He would keep 100 percent of the production and pay the worker a
salary. No, that is not the same thing.

This reasoning has to be used to be able to use the machines. The machines
are what free men from the most arduous tasks and enable them to use a
plane in fertilizing or in applying herbicides or any chemicals. Machines
can be used, but it requires that lands be integrated. In other words, if
we do not integrate lands there will be no progress for the peasant. The
peasant wants progress and the cooperative means great progress.

The advantages are unquestionable. Of course, if you have X number of
caballerias and 20 workers, one has to (?appeal) to that man's conscience.
Tell him: Well if the revolution granted you these rights and these
opportunities and all, we must understand one another. We are building
socialism. We are trying to eradicate man's exploitation man. It is not
fair that anyone hold to the principle of the exploitation of man by man
and become wealthy on the work of the rest.

The cooperative movement is a great step forward. And in time we must
establish the emulation, that is very important -- Emulation between the
farm and the cooperative, and the peasant too. We have to be concerned not
only with the welfare of the cooperative members, but we must also be
concerned with the welfare of the workers. If we build housing for the
cooperative members, then we must try to build housing for the workers. If
we improve the living conditions of one group, then we must try to improve
the living conditions of the other so they may be more or less even.

Now, in the social aspect, the cooperative also holds great advantage. It
allows for the establishment of peasant communities and resolves problems.
But what happens in the mountain regions and in many isolated areas? There
are teachers with six pupils or five pupils. I believe there exists a case
-- I can't recall where, they told me about it recently -- of a teacher who
teaches her three children. She has her three children in the classroom.
And she collects her salary for her three children. But they are isolated.

There is a, school problem. There is a problem about what to do. There is a
problem in providing medical services. But we hope that the day will come
when we will have a doctor in each cooperative. As you look at all these
plans for medical training where thousands are entering studies, we believe
the day will come when there will be a doctor in each cooperative. Is there
someone who will complain about the polyclinic being 10 kilometers away? Is
there someone who will complain about having a doctor nearby? To have a
doctor available for any sudden illness, Doesn't that give you a feeling of
security? We believe that in the future each community will also have its

Just as we believe that soon the first assignments of technicians will be
made -- technicians, agricultural and livestock engineers -- to the
cooperatives. We were discussing that recently -- to bring it up to
(?proper) levels.

There is the matter of supplying electricity. How can we supply electricity
to farm areas that are far apart? It is very expensive. It is practically
impossible. The only way to supply electricity to peasant families is
through the cooperatives and through the communities. Of course, there are
some lucky enough to be located near the highways and they have
electricity. Perhaps an electric line became available or was legally put
through or something like that happened and they have electricity. But many
peasants do not live near the roads or highways or near power lines. The
only way to get electricity is through the cooperative.

The cultural development, the standard of life, the opportunity to have
potable water and the best health conditions cannot be achieved if the
cooperative movement is not successful. In other words, whichever way you
look at it, the advantages of the cooperative movement are tremendous.

The cooperative movement constitutes an important page in the history of
our revolutionary process and you are writing it now. But besides that, you
are giving a political lesson on how to form a cooperative movement --
through impression, conviction, and persuasion. The examples of some
municipalities which have won vanguard status demonstrates that with a good
political and persuasive effort and with the support of the party, the
bodies of the state, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of the
Sugar Industry great progress can be achieved and this cooperative movement
can be sustained until it achieves complete success.

What does this require? We have made some tours here in Havana Province, a
province we have known well for many years, ever since the first great
plans were implemented. It has made great strides. We can say that Havana
Province produces at least eight times as much milk as it produced under
capitalism. And you know how much we had to invest in dairy farms. And now
we don't milk cows by hand, we do it mechanically. The province has very
modern dairy farms and high quality and high production of potatoes. It has
achieved great successes. It has greatly advanced in pork, eggs and poultry
production and in the production of tubers and other assorted vegetables.

This is one of the most advanced provinces of the country in agriculture.
This province is full of roads. I remember that the first little cars given
to the cooperatives were given to Havana, because in Havana you can get to
almost any place in a little car. This is not true in other provinces. They
have fewer roads. Take note of the number of dams that have been built in
this province, dams and microdams, and the number of roads, highways and
installations. In other words, it has a very modern agriculture, but it is
not yet complete. If you travel around, you will still find many isolated
places and that is a problem of small holdings, making it impossible to use
technology and machinery.

We still have to mention the standard of living. I remember that a couple
of years ago, when those great cattle-breeding and agricultural plans were
drawn up, they were accompanied by the people. For various reasons, various
difficulties and, it might even be said, because there was not a very clear
awareness of that, we now see that the agricultural plans are being
developed while the people are not developed at the same time. This is
unavoidable, because the farm worker in Havana Province has competition
from the industry, competition from the factories, all types of
competition. If we do not improve the standard of living, above all the
housing of the Havana farm worker, it will be difficult to find a solution
to the problem.

Certainly housing is being built all over the country, mostly economic
housing. The Sugar Industry Ministry is building thousands of those homes
for farm workers, in addition to homes for the peasants. We are aware [of
the problem] and we will see what can be done in order that, simultaneously
with this cooperative movement and in support of the cooperative movement
throughout the country, but particularly in this province, those plans are
accompanied by housing plans.

Yesterday we went to see a herd which had been brought into the country. We
were seeing, for instance, that in Dagame -- you know that Dagame is all
rock and you know that in Havana we cure the stony lands; there is no stony
land there that we do not use, because we cover it with peat and earth and
we plant grass -- there was a dairy farm. The rocky land had been small
holdings which did not yield anything, absolutely nothing. But it is an
enormous territory of hundreds of caballerias and there is not a single
house. And that is the best cattle-breeding plan of the country with an
extraordinary breeding potential. Its earlier phases were accompanied by
the small hamlets, just as the [Valle de] Picadura plan and all the
breeding groups in east Havana Province and everywhere else were
accompanied by small hamlets. We must be aware of the need to build
housing, both in state and cooperative agriculture, so that the day will
come when this province is a complete garden. We should not found only
schools and cattle farms and build installations and roads, but all of this
must be provided with electricity. We should have the goal of adequate
housing for all farm workers and peasants.

Pepe [Jose Ramirez Cruz] said that he felt optimistic about the progress of
the peasants and the progress of the cooperatives, and we can say the same.
We are, in fact, very satisfied and very optimistic about these people. To
tell the truth, the central task of the ANAP and the peasants is the
development of the cooperative movement, in quantity and in quality.
[applause] Every year on 17 May we will have the opportunity to see how the
movement is going. When we are recalling the heroes who gave their lives
for the revolution, when we are recalling Niceto Perez, when we are
recalling the Agrarian Reform Law on the Peasants Day, we will be seeing
the work for the progress of the cooperative movement. But the goal should
not only be quantity, although volume is important, but also the quality of
that progress. Every cooperative that is founded should be a real bastion
and a success; it should have the necessary resources and the progress
should be clear, obvious and unquestionable to the peasants so that there
can be no one opposing it under any pretext or for any reason. Quality is
very important; the way the organization is going, the economic
effectiveness of the cooperative, productivity and controls, how all this
is functioning.

Pepe gave some figures about a number of cooperatives, I believe there were
723, which had closed their balance sheets on 31 March. Those cooperatives
had had very good economic results. They had produced almost 74 million
pesos and had obtained benefits for almost 24 million pesos. Thus they had
obtained benefits of almost...of about...of over 300 pesos for all the
cooperative members. [sentence and figures as heard] Of course, part of it
was distributed, another part was spent on certain outlays for sport and
culture and, above all, on the purchase of equipment, amortization of
assets, etc. This is really a very good result, and we should measure the
quality of the cooperative movement according to these results.

Twenty-four years have gone by since the Agrarian Reform. How can those
times of 24 years ago be compared with the present? How much progress we
have made! That cannot be described because we have made progress in
experience, organization, and cultural level. At that time we still had
illiteracy, an illiteracy which was 40, 50, 60 [percent] perhaps, nobody
knows. And now we have such municipalities as this one -- and this was one
of the reasons it is the host [of the ceremony] -- which has the ninth
grade, the ninth grade, gentlemen. What cultural progress! [applause]

Now we have many teams and much experience and that is the reason for
Pepe's optimism and ours. It is based on experience and on the conviction
that we achieve the things we propose to do. We know that the little
cooperative movement of a few years ago now comprises almost 50 percent of
the land. Possibly next year, in 1984, it will surpass 50 percent of the
land. Every year it will be larger than the last, in 1985, 1986, 1987,
1988, 1989, and in 1990. Let us see what we are going to have in 1990; who
doubts what we will have in 1990? It has been said here that in 1985 we
will have 100 cooperatives of over 100,000 quintals and that 3 of those
will have 500,000 quintals. This is very good news for our people and for
the workers. In this way we can measure our work each year, how much land
has been incorporated, how much we have advanced, how many cooperatives
have 100,000. There is no doubt; the years will go by and we will see the
final success of this movement which is so revolutionary and so fair and so
useful to our fatherland and to our revolution. [applause]

We have now learned that there are no obstacles and that nothing can stop
us on the road, not even the threats of the imperialists. We have worked
hard and created things and we love that which we create, we love the
fruits of our sweat, but we love the dignity of the country still more, the
sovereignty of the country, the rights of our country. If we have to
endanger all this, we will endanger it in defense of the sovereignty of our
country, the independence of our country. [applause]

We are doing what we ought to do, working hard on the one hand and
preparing ourselves on the other hand to defend the revolution. This has
been inseparable. [applause] This has been inseparable from the history of
the revolution during all these 25 years; the work tool in the hand and the
rifle beside us to defend ourselves. We will have to go on like this for
who knows how many years. But we have advanced a good piece of road. We
have advanced for almost 25 years, and whatever the dangers and threats,
the Yankee administrations will not succeed in intimidating us; they will
never succeed in forcing us to yield. We will continue to advance.

We will continue advancing with the effort and sweat [applause] of our
peasants [applause] and our workers, our manual workers and our
intellectual workers. Therefore I share your optimism, I share your
enthusiasm and I express to you the very deepest conviction of our party
that the peasants, together with the workers, will continue to write, day
by day, glorious pages in the history of our fatherland through their
heroic work, confidence, and faith in the revolution. [applause] Fatherland
or death, we will conquer! [strong applause]