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FL242137 [Editorial Report ] Havana Television Service in Spanish at 2056
GMT on 24 February carried live coverage of the closing session of the 15th
Congress of the Central Organization of Cuban Trade Unions [CTC] being held
at the Lazaro Pena Auditorium of the CTC building. At 2100 GMT, the curtain
was drawn and the dals was seen on the stage with high officials of the
state, party, and CTC standing behind a long table. At 2103 GMT, CTC
Secretary General Roberto Veiga invited Evaristo Baranda, a CTC labor
leader, to read the 15th Congress' first resolution. Baranda, read the
names of the members of the CTC Secretariat elected to serve. They are:
Roberto Velga, secretary general; Rene Penalver Valdes, second secretary;
Rosario Fernandez Perera, member; Jesus Escandel Romero, member; Lazaro
Dominguez Amador, member; Juan Iegues Almaguer, member; Francisco Castillo
Falcon, member; Alfredo Morales Cartaya, member; Jose de Jesus Linares
Valdes, member; Ramon Cardona Nuevo, member; Luis Martell Rosas, member;
Noel Zubiaur Mir, member; Omar Mirabal Ferrera, member; and Alfredo Suarez
Quintera, member.

After a prolonged round of applause, Veiga introduced Cuban President Fidel
Castro, who began speaking at 2120 GMT.

Text of Speech

FL242159 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2120 GMT 24 Feb 84

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at the closing session of the 15th
Congress of the Central Organization of Cuban Trade Unions, CTC, held at
the Lazaro Pena Aduitorium of the CTC building in Havana -- live]

[Text] Distinguished guests, comrades who are presiding over this meeting,
delegates: I have had the privilege of participating in this congress and
of listening not only to the main report but to the entire discussion of
the report. It is not easy to close an event such as this. It would not be
easy to collect the great wealth of ideas, concepts, and feelings expressed

I will try to give my opinions and to state my reflections concerning this
historical event.

First, as many of you have said here, we have agreed that the main report
was magnificent and that it explained the problems with a sense of
self-criticism, clarity, and courage. We have agreed that the achievements
we have made, that the difficulties that we face, and that the efforts we
must make in the coming years were stated fairly, with optimism, and to
everybody's satisfaction. The report was, however, not only excellent, but
we feel that the intelligent and able way in which Comrade Veiga conducted
the debates with absolute honesty, total respect for the democratic
principles of the labor movement and the revolution [applause] was such
that more than 100 delegates participated in the debates and we were forced
to ask -- due to lack of time -- many comrades who had asked for the floor
to give up their time because the 5 days of the congress would not have
been time enough.

However, we believe that the basic issues were discussed and that any one
of them was important enough for entire days of study. I am impressed -- I
am sure that the other comrades of the leadership and party are also
impressed -- with the level and quality of this congress, [applause] the
seriousness and profound nature of the discussion, the clarity and
precision of the statements, and their spontaneity and frankness.

We were impressed by many, we could say the majority, of the speeches made
here. Some of them will be unforgettable.

All of us were very moved to listen to the young woman of the pasta and
candy factory of Santiago de Cuba [applause] when she was telling us in
humble, heartfelt words that she was born on 1 January with the triumph of
the revolution. We couldn't help but feel touched by her words when she
asked what her fate would have been without the revolution. [applause]

Her statement was a great satisfaction to all of us when we know that our
revolution has eradicated so many defects and vices of the past and that
now we can say that we are a nation without illiteracy, drugs,
prostitution, gambling, exploitation, unemployment, poverty, hunger,
children without shoes or abandoned, and that 100 percent of the human
beings born during these past 25 years, those born now, and those who will
be born will have every possibility of full physical and mental development
and the enjoyment of the guarantee of a free and dignified life. [applause]

We were impressed by the speech made by Ignacito, as you all know him,
[applause] because of the passion and love with which he spoke of his work.
We were impressed by the leader of the Ciego de Avila varied crops
enterprise [empresa de cultivos various de Ciego de Avila] who was telling
us about the great achievements of in the past few years in yield per man,
and productivity per caballeria, as well as the profitability of the

We were also impressed by the comrade who told us about the extraordinary
success of the rice mill in southern Jibaro and how from large losses in
the past they have been able to increase production, reduce costs, and make
the enterprise cost efficient.

We were impressed by the Santiago de Cuba comrade when she spoke about the
efforts and successes in education in that eastern province. We were
impressed by the comrade who spoke with great clarity and firmness about
the effort made by the health sector in Santiago de Cuba, the excellent
results of the model unit movement, and the effort necessary to spread this
movement throughout the country with optimum quality.

We were impressed by the comrade of the merchant marine and port union of
Santiago de Cuba when, with precise, clear, and eloquent statements, he
stressed the magnitude and quality of this congress. [applause]

We were impressed by the innovators and efficiency experts with their
explanations of the successes attained in that field. When they exhibited
their scale models, representing impressive gains that have been attained
with the sweat, honesty, intelligence, and selflessness of our workers, we
were greatly impressed.

We were impressed by the million-mark canecutters, the two times
million-mark brigades of Ciego de Avila, of Havana City Province, the Ernst
Thaelmann brigade with its 3.5 million arrobas of cut cane. We were
impressed by the tens of men and women who have marched in this congress
with their chests covered with medals, honestly earned, which constitute a
demonstration of labor achievements, making them workers worthy of a work
olympiad. [applause]

We were impressed by the youths straining in the socialist camp with their
achievements and advances, with their attitude, which we all witnessed.
They forwarded to Cuba all their wages, totaling 500 pesos each. [applause]
I asked them how they could make such a sacrifice, saying that I was
worried about the effort that the sacrifice represented to them. At the
personal level, what did it represent? They gave the following response:
The people have sacrificed much more for us, and the revolution has done a
lot more for us. [applause]

When we talked to them later on, one of the youths asked what he had to do
to donate 500 pesos. Among them was a comrade who did not make a direct
donation but according to the CTC comrades, he was the one who had made the
greatest contributions to the Territorial Troops Militia. [applause] We
learned about this by chance, which demonstrates that next to the merit
that we sometimes are able to observe, there are any other merits of which
we do not even have the least knowledge. [applause]

With great emotion we listened to the speech by the enthusiastic and
optmistic Comrade Lage, when he reported on the spirit of young workers,
and how one third of our active work force is made up of young men, what
their attitude is, bow they behave, how they have learned from our working
class, and how they pledge to be heirs and followers of their history and
glories. [applause]

Lage also reminded us that our young students are also workers. Every year
the students in the rural schools, polytechnic schools, preuniversity, and
secondary schools participate in 7 consecutive weeks in field work. Thanks
to this we can complete our tobacco harvest, as well as that of other
important agricultural produce such as citrus fruits, vegetables, and so

With emotion and optimism we listened to the always intelligent, calm,
revolutionary and sweet words of Comrade Vilma Espin. [applause] She
explained to us the advances made in this hard battle for the rights of
women and the equality of women. She told us, ratifying the date from the
main report, that 38.9 percent of the country's active labor force is made
up of women. [applause] She said that it was hardly 30 percent at the time
of the previous congress and that in certain provinces such as Havana City
Province this percentage is approximately 44 percent. She was telling us
that 53.9 percent of the country's technical force is made up of women.
[applause] This is very important because it represents an advance not only
in quantity, but particularly in quality.

We have had the opportunity to observe the behavior of women in many
revolutionary activities. Once we said that when society learned to
recognize and use the quality of women it would have unlimited
possibilities. Studies have proven this. We saw this when we created the
Carlos J. Finlay Medical Sciences Detachment. If we go strictly by the
records, two of every three students are women, [applause] because they
have better records, and they are more conscientious and studious.
[applause] In this regard, because of an interest in developing public
health and because of the internationalist missions which are being carried
out in the health sector, we have come to the extreme of protecting men
[laughter] and established a quota: 52 percent women, 48 percent men
because we want them to be more or less equal [parejo] in the field of
medicine, as doctors, and to a certain extent we want couples [parejas] who
are doctors [play on the words parejo and parejas] so that when they have
to fulfill a mission somewhere in the world [Fidel chuckles] or in any
corner of our country, we can send a married couple. [applause] We have
reached such an extreme that now we are going to begin worrying about
equality for men. [laughter, applause]

We have been conducting studies observing the behavior of women, and Veiga
explained to me that in the labor movement, despite the family obligations
and tasks they have, women are more studious than men. [applause] We have
observed that in the Territorial Militia Troops [applause] women are more
disciplined and punctual than men. [applause] And if our fatherland ever
had to defend itself from a direct imperialist attack, I am sure that women
would never be inferior to men in combat. [applause] And if these facts are
so evident and irrefutable, why aren't there more women in the leadership
of the party, the state, and the mass organizations? [applause] This is not
a whim or a simple slogan; it is logic. However, despite all this, we have
not doubt that we are advancing in this terrain. [applause]

We heard here the vibrant and highly- colored [laughter] words of Comrade
Armando Acosta. [applause] He spoke on behalf of that gigantic and
combative organization, the CDRS [Committees for the Defense of the
Revolution) [applause] which the imperialist enemy is so afraid of.
Although we said yesterday to err -- Armando is calmer now [laughter], and
Machadito was telling me. It is because he is reading a paper. [laughter]
If he puts the paper down then he will stir the masses. [laughter]
[paragraph as heard]

I was unable to hear the words full of the wisdom, honesty, and loyalty of
our peasants expressed by Comrade Pepe Ramirez [applause] because I was
absent from the afternoon session yesterday for a few minutes, but I read a
copy of his speech in which he stated that to him the greatest success of
the revolution among peasants was the enormous advance in their political
and revolutionary awareness. At the same time he was telling us about the
great and successful peak of the cooperative movement over the past few
years. This cooperative movement now includes approximately 70,000
caballerias of land and thousands of peasants, and if I remember correctly,
27 percent of our women are cooperative members. In fact, this is pleasant
news because we know its outlook and possibilities. The advance of the
cooperative movement among our peasants is being methodically carried out,
without haste and based on the most unrestricted respect for the principle
of voluntary work [voluntariedad], which we feel is and will be the key to
the success of this movement. If the present pace of this movement
continues within the next 6 or 7 years almost 100 percent of peasant lands
will work under cooperatives. Together with the state agricultural
enterprises, this will allow us to intelligently predict that based on the
agrarian reform law, whose 25th anniversary is being commemorated this
year, our country's land as well as our industry will be completely
socialized. [applause] What was explained here about agriculture allows us
to appreciate what these socialized lands, with the help of machinery and
technology, can offer to our country.

We also heard, with emotion, the warm, fraternal, and loyal greeting of our
glorious AR. [applause]

We were unable to witness the Pioneers' greetings this morning, but the
comrades who were present here told me that they were very warm and moving
as is proper to children and youths who are being educated in the purest
revolutionary principles and whom we are sure [applause] will make up --
amply and with achievements perhaps superior to ours -- the future
revolutionary working class of Cuba. [applause]

Many problems have been discussed at this congress. They were problems that
concerned workers, the revolution, and the life of our society, in our
country as we as abroad, because the working class is the backbone and soul
of our revolution. [applause]

The world is unfortunately experiencing one of the worst economic crises of
the past 50 years. This crisis is basically scourging the Third World
countries which are carrying the main burden imposed by the developed
capitalist countries. But it is also considerably affecting the capitalist
industrialized world, and to a lesser extent, the entire world economy. In
other words, in a way it affects, indirectly and to a lesser degree, the
socialist countries because of the interrelation of the world economy.

This crisis harshly affects all of Latin America. In 1982 there was a
general drop in Latin America's economic production. In 1983 there was a
drop of about 3 percent. What a contrast between the news we received from
the Third World and the news from the industrialized capitalist countries.
What a contrast between the news received from the rest of Latin America
and our country's situation. What we read in the news dispatches deals with
growing hunger, growing unemployment, social insecurity, illiteracy, lack
of sanitation, social and political instability, and all types of problems.
What a contrast with the situation in our country.

While there they talk about high percentages of illiterates, not only tens
of millions children without schools, but illiterate adults. What a big
difference compared to our studies and discussions. Here we have learned
that not long ago we overcame the battle for a sixth grade education, and
that the 1985 goal to have half a million workers with a ninth grade
education already has 583,000 workers who have graduated from or are
registered in the ninth grade. [applause] Over there they have millions and
millions of illiterates and here we have hundreds of thousands, millions
with a ninth grade education. We are not including the university students
whose number exceeds more than 200,000, or the superior level students, or
the hundreds of thousands of qualified workers, intermediate level
technicians who have a ninth grade education or more. We are speaking about
the remainder of the workers in the country. What a contrast!

We hear news about growing unemployment of 15 percent, 20 percent, 25
percent of the active work force in Latin America, and here in this labor
congress the word unemployed has not been mentioned once. [applause] Our
problem is not unemployment, our problem is that in many regions of our
country we need more workers. We discussed it was proper to bring workers
from the eastern part of the country to work in construction projects in
Havana, while there were a number of the so-called interrupted
[interruptos]. What was being discussed here was not an unemployment
problem, but how to attain greater productivity, how to attain a greater
agricultural production, a greater profitability, how to introduce
efficiency measures and innovations, how to introduce machinery, how to get
greater production from each canecutter, how to get each machine to produce
more, that the canecutting brigades Will become millionaire brigades, that
the cane harvester brigades will become millionaires, that the rice
brigades will become millionaires; the same with those who pick coffee
beans, the same with those caring for hens, the same with those picking
citrus fruits, that they will all become millionaires, [prolonged applause]

We do not speak here about unemployment. We speak about productivity. We
well know that in the rest of the underdeveloped countries in the Third
World and Latin America, no one can talk about machinery because it implies
unemployment, because it means profit for the capitalist and harm to the
worker. Here all the people understand, all the workers understand that
machinery means benefits for the people and harm for no one. [applause] The
greater the productivity, the greater the technology, the more production
for the people, and the more benefits for the people. [applause]

That problem can be noted not only in the underdeveloped world, but it can
be noted most significantly in the developed capitalist world. The problem
is that the need for introducing technology and modern systems in industry
goes against the workers' interest. But unemployment is not the exclusive
topic of the Third World, it is increasingly the topic of conversation in
the developed capitalist countries. In Western Europe, at this time the
worst plague is unemployment, which amounts to millions in each country.
Some of these countries have recorded 18 percent unemployment and many of
them more than 10 percent. What a contrast, what a difference compared with
the situation in our country!

In a congress such as this we display our gains when we say that if in 1970
there were 350,000 canecutters in the sugar harvest; today we have 85,000.
Has this represented a tragedy for any worker in. the country? No.

The main report noted the meaning of the benefits to provinces, mainly
provinces such as Matanzas, Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, and Las Tunas, which
every year had to mobilize more voluntary canecutters -- in each province
-- than the total of canecutters being used today. What a contrast between
the benefits which this reduction implies for our people. We have dropped
from 350,000 canecutters to 85,000 and complete larger harvests. Many of
these canecutters have now become harvester operators and others have gone
to work in the areas of construction, industry, or others. These are the
advantages of a socialist and planned economy. [applause]

We need more hands. Why have the Moa workers decided to make a special
effort to reach certain goals? I am talking about the Moa construction
workers. Well, they need thousands of workers, but they have reached
agreements which mean that their efforts will represent the work done by
2,000 more workers. We also need workers in Cienfuegos, Havana City, and
Havana Provinces. We need workers everywhere.

The evil plague of unemployment disappeared from our country a long time
ago. What a contrast between our children who are all going to school, are
being clothed and well fed, and the panorama we see in the rest of Latin
America, the Third World, and even in developed capitalist countries. What
a contrast between the social insecurity of the masses and the social
security which our workers and people have. What a contrast between the
stability of Cuba and the widespread instability on other continents. What
a contrast between the news received on the health status of Latin America
and the Third World and the health status in our country: to know that we
have reduced infant mortality to approximately 17 percent for every 1,000
children born and that we have raised life expectancy to 74 and no doubt we
will continue to raise it. [applause]

It was very pleasant to hear the representatives of the workers of Nuevita
talk about their new hospital and their progress in schools, houses, and
industries. It was very pleasant to hear the comrades of Sancti Spiritus
talk about their new hospital, the pride of that province. It was very
pleasant to hear about the new clinical-surgical hospital of Manzanillo. It
was very pleasant to hear about the successes of the clinical-surgical
hospital in Villa Clara. I am sure that dozens of delegates here could have
mentioned other hospitals and new hospitals.

In future congresses, we will continue to listen to good news and about new
children's hospitals, clinical-surgical hospitals, and polyclinics of all
kinds. We are sure that we will hear news about the success of emulation in
the health sector. We are sure that we will hear news about the success of
model units in the area of health because we have not limited our successes
to one area of the economy.

While we were talking with some foreign visitors, we told them that despite
the imperialist brigade and its constant conspiracy against our economy,
despite sabotage activities which even reached the extent of introducing
plagues and diseases to plants and human beings, our economy in 25 years
has grown at an average rate of 4.7 percent, We told them how in the past
year, despite the winter storms, we achieved 5-percent growth and are
getting ready for a similar growth in 1984. We told them how our budget has
no deficit and what we hear about budget deficits -- beginning with the
United States which has a $200 billion deficit, and continuing with almost
all capitalist countries, and, of course, the Third World Countries.

Our enemies have not dared deny our successes in the fields of health,
education, sports, culture, etc. But they do dare question our successes in
the field of the economy, one of the areas where we have made the greatest
progress. If we had not made progress in the field of the economy, not only
with an increase in productivity, with an economic, industrial, and
agricultural development, but also with respect to better trade relations
and our ties with socialist countries. [sentence as heard] We have recorded
impressive gains in the economy, which explains how nearly 600,000 workers
can work in only two spheres, education and health. [applause]

How could we maintain our schools and hospitals, and keep our people well
fed and well dressed and with shoes on if we had not attained those
successes in the economic field? But if they feel that our successes in
education and health have been good, then they had better get ready to
observe our progress in those two fields in the next 15 or 20 years.
[applause] Let them be ready for that! We will virtually be able to tell
all the capitalist countries, virtually all countries, in the next 15 or 20
years, not only will we be in first place among Third World countries, but
we will be above you all. [applause]

And we can already say that to so me of them. We can also tell them: In
education, not only do we hold the first place among Third World countries,
we are above you. [applause] That is the progress we are making. That is
very important for our workers, to have that conviction, to have that
security, to have that peace of mind, to have that happiness.

The elements are present. When we began, we had nothing. There was almost
30 percent illiteracy in the health area [as heard). We did not even have
teachers to send to the mountains, to the rural areas. In order to
eradicate illiteracy, we had to have the students become teachers. Today we
have 250,000 professors and teachers. Naturally, all of them are working
and studying. We have 47,000 of them studying. Of the 250,000 teachers,
107,000 are taking advancement courses, conducting studies at various
levels. A total of 19,000 primary school teachers are currently studying at
the university to obtain their primary school credentials, In another 15 to
20 years, primary school will be taught by people who have obtained their
degrees and have graduated from the universities. [applause]

We have a veteran army of young professors and teachers, that is, an army
of young veterans, who have gained much experience in recent years, when we
had to improvise a teaching staff, form the educational detachment, and use
much imagination to face the influx of students in the primary and
mid-level grades. Now we have that force, because we practiced the
principle mentioned here.

Companero Valdivia was among those who said it: The important thing, the
essential thing, even more important than the equipment, the technique, or
the laboratories is the man, the teacher, the doctor, and his attitude and
behavior. If we are aware that we are instilling in those teachers and
doctors an increasingly revolutionary spirit, what doubt can we harbor as
to what we will achieve in the area of education in the next few years?

The same can be said about the medical field. We have already said this on
previous occasions: We began our health plans with only 3,000 doctors,
because of the 6,000 doctors that were here, half went to the United
States. The others remained. That is how we began, yet today we are in
first place in the Third World and ahead of several developed countries.
Today we have almost 20,000 doctors. In the next 16 years, we will graduate
an additional 50,000 doctors. And what doctors! [applause] What doctors,
what quality, based on the selection we are making on the basis of their
records and vocation, among pre-university level youths. Then there are
also the qualifications, the norms, the programs. So important in this
regard is what was mentioned here yesterday about the special attention
that both the doctors and instructors in the teaching hospitals must give
to the students who make up the Carlos J. Finlay Detachment, whose first
contingent will begin its 3d year with the next course and will enter the
hospitals. Let us take care of them; let us make demands on them; let us
pay attention to them; let us instill in them the best virtues of our
working people and the revolutionary spirit of our workers, our youth, and
our internationalists. We will see whether or not we can become what has
been called a medical power. [applause]

We have already (?started) with the family doctor. This is something new.
We have begun with 10 of them in Luyano neighborhood [words indistinct]. We
already have the first 10 doctors and nurses. We are testing this concept:
A doctor and a nurse will provide direct care to 120 families, acting as
protectors of their health, in addition to the entire health care network,
which will provide support for their work whenever they need an X-ray or a
laboratory test at a clinic, or whenever a patient has to be hospitalized.

I was recently talking to these 10 doctors and, frankly, to me they looked
like preuniversity students. They were really very young, these six women
and four men. [laughter] Six women [words indistinct], that is, six women
doctors, and four male doctors.

According to the reports we have, the results are encouraging. In many
places they are already asking when the program will be conducted there.
That is mostly a workers' neighborhood. Next year, we will go to some
cooperatives and agricultural communities. This experimental plan will be
implemented in all the provinces, and even in some schools and factories.
In the future, we will have a doctor in every factory, right along with the
workers, [applause] in every school with a qualifying enrollment, and in
the every community. Right now this means guaranteed employment for 20,000
doctors and 20,000 nurses, to the extent that the test we are conducting
succeeds. We must add that no other country has implemented this system to
complement the network of clinics and hospitals. According to my estimates,
of these 40,000 doctors and nurses, at least 30,000 will be women. If half
the doctors are women in addition to the nurses, of the 40,000 three
fourths will be women. Work is currently underway in the area of scientific
research, at the medical research centers, and in many fields. This will
enable us to guarantee the goals of the revolution.

At a recent meeting with the education cadres of Cuba's western provinces,
we defined their goal. We will not call it educational power; we will label
it something else, However, we will struggle to hold a top position in the
area of education. We have said as much to the teachers.

We have also talked about cultural power. The delegates who spoke here on
behalf of the cultural and artistic sector expressed their confidence that
we can and must become a power in this field as well.

We must also continue struggling in the field of athletics, where we are
already ranked in the world's top 10, developing it systematically.

However, there is no doubt that in the areas of health and education -- the
areas important to our enemies -- we will be political champions, gold
medal winners, in another 15 to 20 years. [applause]

It is also encouraging to see the effort that is currently being made to
develop new and important industrial projects. With the cooperation of the
Soviet Union, we are constructing the first electronuclear plant. It is not
being built by a foreign company; it is being built by a Cuban construction
company. Thousands of workers are involved. It is a complex and difficult
project. Naturally, it is the first one that we are construcing, and such
tasks require a high level of quality that we could not accomplish without
the cooperation of our Soviet brothers. [applause] We will have several
hundred Soviet technicians and welders there working alongside thousands of
Cuban workers. I am sure, however, that for reactor three and reactor four,
and for the second electronuclear plant, there will be many Cuban welders
accomplishing those tasks. [applause]

We are going to have the cooperation of the Bulgarian Brigade [applause],
which more than 20 years ago did me the honor of becoming my namesake. This
had much significance, because it was before the triumph of the revolution,
while we were still in the mountains. [applause]

They have already helped us and will continue to help us with their brigade
and, as the head of the brigade put it; Mr Minister, it has 82 members, the
same number of men who were on the Granma expedition. [applause] If this is
the way it will be, with help from the Soviets and Bulgarians, the Granma
of Juragua, where the nuclear center is being built, will also have its 1
January. [applause]

A large refinery is being built in this same region of Cienfuegos.
Yesterday, we were saying that by the end of the year we plan to dedicate
one large nickel plant, and we are already building a second large nickel
plant. Other important projects are under construction. In western Havana,
there is the new thermoelectric plant that will have a capacity of 1,200
megawatts. There is the thermoelectric plant at Matanzas, the enlargement
of the thermoelectric plant at Nuevitas, and the new thermoelectric plant
in northern Oriente, in addition to the sugar-processing plants and dozens
of other industrial projects that are under construction or on which
construction is about to begin.

There is quite a development program. We are already working on the next
5-year plan, and we are working on a long-range plan. We already have a
general idea of what we are going to do in the next 15 years, that is, up
to the year 2000. There is no need to become impatient, the year 2000 will
be here soon. Just note how quickly these 25 years of revolution have
passed! We speak now not of 25 years, but of 15. [applause]

The outlook is truly promising. We should not be such staunch CTC members
[tan cetecistas] as to believe that no difficulties will crop up.
Difficulties of one kind or another can always crop up. A plague might hit
us, like others have, either because of natural causes, or because the
enemy introduces it. We do not have the slightest doubt that several
plagues that have hit us were introduced by imperialism.

This is why when the resolution on Decree 56 was being discussed a very
accurate analysis was made. A correct solution must be found for the
problem of laid off workers. We will have to review this law, but we must
not renounce its principles under any circumstances. We must not renounce
anything that provides guarantees for the workers [applause], if a problem
such as that which appeared at the tobacco factory were to surface, for

We must find a way to eliminate the @trials [juicios] that might have come
about as a result of this law. We must view what modifications it needs,
how to enforce it. We must look at the characteristics of each chapter,
what should be done in specific cases, and how to effectively reduce the
problem of the laid of workers, because there always will be laid off
workers. This is a subject that has been brought up at this congress. We
are compelled to look into it, with the aim of retaining the virtues of the
law and eliminating the vices that might stem from it. [applause] The
situation is not the same, for example, in a textile factory that runs out
of raw material. It is difficult for that worker to promptly find another
job by herself after she is laid off.

The situation is also different in the construction field. It has been
mentioned here that with the increased availability of construction
material some 60,000 homes are being built independently each year.
Logically, a bricklayer or a carpenter is in great demand now. If a
bricklayer or carpenter is laid off for one reason or another he will
immediately find a new job, perhaps even with another worker who has saved
some money and has been able to purchase the material to build a home
independently. This can be detrimental to large industrial projects, or to
important hospital or school projects that we are carrying out. This
problem can appear especially in Havana, where we have the most
difficulties in the construction field.

An explanation was given here of the reasons for laid off workers, but I
would like to say that the situation is not the same in all cases, and
therefore we should analyze each case individually and seek to apply a
resolution in the most effective manner. We have accurately interpreted the
concerns expressed about this problem, and know that it is our duty to
resolve them.

I have spoken of the great, magnificent outlook for the country, but this
does not mean that we should believe that everything will run very smoothly
and without any problems. We must always predict problems as much as we are
able to and never dismiss the possibility that they will occur.

I believe that our achievements should give us great encouragement. Here is
a list, for example, of all that has been saved. One of the topics in the
central report and at the Congress was what we have saved in fuel in the
past few years. This is an impressive example of improved efficiency. To
cite the case of the sugar industry, according to the central report,
430,000 tons of petroleum were consumed in 1979, but only 23,000 were
consumed in 1983. This is one-twentieth of the 1979 figure. What an effort
it represents by the workers, technicians, cadres, and the administration;
an effort by all to be able to reduce by such a large margin the use of
petroleum in the production of crude. [as heard]

Last year a savings of 500,000 tons of petroleum was made, and this meant a
great deal to our economy. As the central report explained, 200 million
pesos were saved in supplies alone, as well as 50 million in raw materials.

The asset of having profitable enterprises was also discussed, as was the
effort made toward making all enterprises profitable, with the exception of
those that it is felt should be subsidized due to economic policies. So we
will make profitable all the enterprises that can be made profitable, which
means a majority of them.

We spoke about the advances achieved in the organization of our work. The
minister who is president of the work committee fully explained the efforts
that have been made and that will be made in this field. We have made
important achievements, but we cannot remain idle. We discussed, for
example, the problem of the double school session. It was rightfully said
that the workers were worried about this. This is logical because the
number of working women and mothers has increased, and they have problems
with their children. The youths are in class in the morning and on the
streets in the afternoon. I passed by Vedado Street, meditating on what was
said during the meeting, at approximately 2100. I found a group of
youngsters there, playing ball -- or something else -- in the center of the
street. I thought to myself, this will surely not be solved by the double
school session. [laughter] This was not 1500 or 1600, it was 2100 and they
were on the street. However, there is no doubt that the double session
would represent a great benefit for all our workers and improve the quality
of our education.

We face an uneven situation. The place with the most students in a double
session this school year is the city of Havana. It has 91.1 percent of its
students in double session. Then there is the province of Matanzas, which
has 86.5 percent in double session in primary school. Our goal is to
establish a double session in urban primary and secondary schools. I am not
talking about rural secondary schools, which have another system. The
province of Havana has 71.5 percent,Camaguey has 78.1 percent, Diego de
Avila has 55.1 percent, and Pinar del Rio has 40.4 percent. I forgot to
mention the magnificent news that the people in Pinar del Rio gave us
regarding their initiative [applause] on education, the 25 primary aspects
and the 30 secondary aspects [applause]. And I believe this experience
should be implemented everywhere. They have 40.4 percent enrolled in double
session. I already mentioned Camaguey, which has 78.1 percent.

Our concern is the provinces which have the least. Sancti Spiritus is not
the least; it has 36.1 percent. However, we have Santiago de Cuba with 22.6
percent. Due to the 25th anniversary we appropriated certain resources to
Santiago de Cuba to see if within a short period, 2 or 3 years, it can
raise the number of students in double session to the levels we have in
Havana. We also have Holguin, with 18.2 percent, Granma with 16.7 percent,
Guantanamo with 11.7 percent, and Las Tunas with 10.9 percent. In other
words, there is a great disproportion among the provinces.

Of course, we are happy that the city of Havana has 91.1 percent, because
there are more problems with traffic and accidents, and other normal
problems for the teenagers living in a large city. However, the figure
shows the need to make a great effort toward improving the use of the
double session, mainly in the provinces which have fallen behind. We will
have to include this in our annual plans to see how quickly we can start
implementing the system in these provinces, mainly in Guantanamo, Granma,
Holguin, and Las Tunas.

As for Santiago de Cuba, I already explained that certain resources have been designate
for it. I also forgot to mention -- you will excuse me -- the small companeros in the
Isle of Youth. [shouts and applause] I forgot them because they are so far developed
in terms of a double session and schools. They have 91.9 percent; they rank first in
our country. [applause]

We have enough teachers -- I gave you the figures -- and we have all the
possibilities. It is simply a matter of locales, installations. We will see
if we can bring good news to the next congress regarding this struggle of
the double session.

Another matter that requires a special effort this year, and which I wish
to discuss with the congress so that we are all aware of it and can make
maximum efforts to overcome it. is the sugar harvest. We are late with the
sugar harvest. There are some 200-odd million arrobas less. Man is not at
fault for this. There have been great organization and efforts. We have had
some industrial problems in certain provinces, we have had weather problems
-- not heavy rains, torrential rains, or floods like last year, which not
only damaged the sugar harvest but almost destroyed the tobacco, tomato,
and potato harvest. Fortunately, we have not had this problem, but we have
had persistent rains almost since the start of the harvest -- in some
provinces more than others. In some provinces the rains delayed the start
of the grinding process, in others they stopped it entirely, and they have
been generally disrupting the harvest.

Not only the cutting and transportation of the sugar cane have been
affected, but yields have been affected as well. Yields were 1 point lower,
not 1 percent less, but 1 percentage point less. In other words, when it
should have amounted to 11, it totaled 10. This has affected the sugar
production so that in relation to the plan, we have a deficit of 423,000.2
tons of sugar. This was as of 20 February. Frankly, our magnificent
situation this year and the assuredness with which the economy is operating
might be seriously affected if the sugar plans are not fulfilled, because
all this sugar has already been sold. At this point, we have a deficit of
almost 5 million tons of sugar. I have presented this problem here because
in view of this situation, the sugar cane harvest demands special effort
and attention during the remaining days of February -- which are few now --
and in March and April, so as not to go too far into spring. The effort
that the people of Holguin have made in recent days due to this congress
must be imitated by the entire country in the next 2 and 1/2 months
[applause]. This is essential if we are going to recover from this deficit.
We have the sugarcane. Now it must be cut, transported, and ground.

These are the deficit figures: Pinar del Rio, 3,700; Havana, 35,100;
Matanzas, 35,900; Villa Clara, 17,000; Cienfuegos, 32,000; Sancti Spiritus,
30,800; Ciego de Avila, 65,000; Camaguey, 94,200; Las Tunas, 41,000;
Holguin, 41,200; Granma, 10,300; Santiago de Cuba, 21,100. Paradoxically,
in Guantanamo, the smallest sugarcane producing province, where there
hasn't been much rain, where there hasn't really been any rain, they have
surpassed their goal by 4,200 this year. [applause] It wasn't in vain that
the people of Guantanamo spoke of conducting an efficient sugarcane
harvest. This was their purpose. And it must be the purpose of all of the
country's sugarcane producing provinces. [applause] Naturally, the
companeros of Camaguey must make the greatest effort, because their harvest
was delayed 1 week due to the rains. The deficits that we might have in the
sugarcane harvest can cause us considerable damage. I think that we will
confront these difficulties and will make the necessary effort. [applause]

As I said earlier, if one compares Cuba's situation with that of many other
countries, our prospects are truly good, even in the midst of this
catastrophic international economic crisis. However, the world is not only
experiencing an economic crisis. There is also a serious political crisis.
We said it on the occasion of our 25th anniversary: This entire economic
situation brings marked political and social instability to almost every
part of the world.

To Yankee imperialism one would have to say: If you don't want any broth,
you will get three bowls of it. [laughter] They don't want revolution, but
they are starving the world. The U.S. Government is mainly responsible for
this crisis. The Third World's debt totals 830 billion dollars. The
interests are huge. Latin America's debt totals 350 [billion].

The representatives of 30 Latin American and Caribbean nations met recently
in Quito, where they drafted a document containing harsh political and
economic wording. We regard this declaration as a type of rebellion by the
various governments in the face of untenable situations related to the huge
debt and the high interest rates, the protectionist policies implemented by
the industrialized capitalist countries, and the unresolvable problems that
are being created. Logically, hunger engenders instability and revolutions.

As we said recently in an interview, Cuba does not want to export
revolution, but the United States cannot prevent it. Who could create the
conditions for revolution? If anyone creates these conditions, it is
imperialism with its policy of exploitation, with its economic policy.
Almost simultaneously with the Quito Declaration, former FRG Chancellor
Helmut Schmidt in Europe publicly declared at a gathering of personalities
in Brussels something very significant: He said that the U.S. economic
policy, with its huge budget deficits and its high interest rates, is so
selfish that for the Western world it implies greater danger than the
Soviet threat.

Just imagine what it means for a former FRG foreign minister to make such a
statement when so many lies have been told, so much slandering has been
done about the alleged Soviet danger, or Soviet threat, to justify the arms
race and the warmongering policy of imperialism. The fact that a prominent
Western leader has said that this policy is even more dangerous than the
Soviet threat means quite a lot.

The countries feel strangled, not only the Latin American and Third World
countries, but many developed capitalist countries and U.S. allies as well.
That is the truth. All this increases unemployment, budget deficits,
inflation, economic recession, and the like. That is, there is not only an
economic crisis but also a political crisis in the world. There is an
unleashed arms race; hundreds of thousands of millions are invested in
military spending amid this economic crisis. There is a real danger of war;
an imperialist policy that is growing in aggressiveness, which is evident
to us from the news we read daily; deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe
carried out to provoke the Soviet Union aid the socialist countries; a
shameful and open intervention in Nicaragua with the use of Somozists and
reactionary bands; a growing participation in the genocidal war that the
Salvadoran reactionary government is waging against the Salvadoran people;
intervention in Lebanon; and the wretched and cowardly crime, committed in
the tiny country of Grenada and against the small population of Grenada --
small in number but morally very big. [applause] We could even describe it
as the tiny state of Grenada.

This has taught us more than any book or conference can teach us about
imperialism and what can be expected of it. It is characterized by a
treacherous, dishonest, selfish, and aggressive policy that we have not
hesitated to describe -- at certain times -- as fascist. All this has
considerably increased tensions in the world and the dangers of a war --
regional war or a major nuclear world war. These are realities we cannot
forget for a single moment.

The realities that we have mentioned here have compelled us to make a huge
effort and to invest much in defense. Even before this reactionary and
fascist administration took over in the United States, we were working
intensely on strengthening the country's defenses. We recalled how on I
January 1979 we made the first call for the organization of the territorial
militia units. Following this call some 600,000 men and women mobilized,
the necessary cadres were organized and trained to direct these forces, and
the necessary weapons were purchased. We include the reserves in these
600,000. We also purchased weapons for 500,000 militiamen.

On 26 July we made a second call for another 500,000 men and women to join
the territorial militia units. We can announce that we already have in our
country the weapons for this other half million men and women [applause],
and should we find it necessary, we will continue putting forth every
effort to strengthen our defense and prepare our country against any
attack. We would not hesitate to make a third call and find the weapons for
this third group of militiamen -- we can no longer say men and women but
must say women and men [applause] -- because in the second contingent, of
every four combatants, three are women. [applause]

Parallel to this we have made great efforts to increase the fighting
capacity of our Armed Forces. The efforts of our companeros in the military
sector, involved in organizing, training, and supplying the territorial
militia units with cadres, have been enormous.

The idea of creating the Territorial Troops Militia, MTT, was strongly
supported by our people, especially our workers. We must note the annual
contribution of the workers to help defray the expenses incurred by the
MTT, which add up to approximately 20 million pesos a year. This year's
congress has delivered a check for more than 20 million pesos. [applause]

Not a minute is wasted by our party's directorate when it comes to the
country's defense. I understand that some delegations who have noticed the
unity of our people, the enthusiasm of our workers, the spirit of this
congress, and the total and indivisible unity of our party and people,
commented that in order for the United States to invade Cuba, it would be
necessary to kill all the Cubans first. [applause, chanting]

However, in reality it would be impossible to kill an entire people, and
since our people will not sit back and let themselves be killed [applause],
and since before dying our people would kill millions of Yankee soldiers
[changing and rhythmic applause], millions of soldiers that imperialism
does not have because it is involved in many adventures throughout the
world, there is not even the most remote possibility that our people can
ever be defeated or that our land can ever be occupied. [applause]

As long as there is a man or a woman with a rifle in his or her hand, the
struggle will continue in our country. [applause] This is something that
the Yankee imperialits undoubtedly know: Not only Cuba, which has a large
population, many years of experience, and much more military might, but
even smaller countries like Nicaragua can never be occupied by the Yankee
imperialists. [applause]

Candino proved this many years ago, and by coincidence, the 50th
anniversary of his death coincided with the second day of this congress. If
the Yankees were to invade that country now, the Sandinists would also
prove it to them. [rhythmic applause, chanting]

But it is not just Nicaragua. In El Salvador, where the number of
revolutionaries is even smaller, and their military strength is more
limited, the imperialists would not be able to solve, by means of
intervention, the problem posed by the revolutionary struggle of the
Salvadoran people. [applause] We are deeply convinced of this. That is why
we are readying ourselves. If they believed that with their disgusting
crime in Grenada they were going to weaken the Cuban revolution, they find
that today, a few weeks after Grenada, the Cuban revolution is even
stronger. [applause] If they believed that they were going to weaken the
Nicaraguan revolution, they find that today, a few weeks after Grenada, the
Nicaraguan revolution is even stronger. [applause] If they thought that
they were going to weaken the revolutionary movement in El Salvador, they
find that today the Salvadoran revolutionary movement is even stronger than
before. [applause] Thus this heinous crime in Grenada will have served them
no purpose other than to plunge their reputation deeper into the mire and
to multiply the spirit, tenacity, will to fight, and revolutionary firmness
of the revolutionaries. [applause]

Therefore, in the midst of the satisfaction, the joy, and the [word
indistinct] that this congress leaves us, we must be aware of these
realities, and must continue working more than ever to accomplish the goals
of our production and defense slogans. [applause] May our mottos come out
of this congress strengthened. [applause]

We would like to express to the misnomered foreign delegations -- because
we regard them as our brothers -- [applause] our acknowledgement and
deepest gratitude for having attended this congress.

In the atmosphere that has been created, I have often thought about the
views, ideas, and opinions of many of our guests. In my view, this congress
teaches us much about each other. What is the similarity between a workers'
congress under socialism and a workers' congress under capitalism? Our
brothers from the socialist countries have a lot of experience. I suppose
our brothers from the capitalist countries must be surprised to see our
workers, over 2,000 delegates, talking about productivity, profitability,
reduction of production costs, increasing the quantity and quality of
production, and increasing and improving services. That would be truly
unusual in a society where there is an insurmountable contradiction between
the capitalist owners of the means of production and of the wealth produced
at the hands of hard-working and honest workers [applause], an
insurmountable contradiction between the interests of the capitalists and
those of the workers. That is also how our congresses were prior to the
revolution: They were characterized by the unions' tireless struggle in
defense of their interests, in opposition to those of the capitalist

This is how it is today in the capitalist world: The labor movement defends
its interests vis-a-vis the businessmen or the state-run companies, which
were passed from the capitalists to the state after they were ruined so
that the state could bear the losses. We know the problems and concerns of
unions in the capitalist world. There must be a reason why capitalists seek
to divide the labor movement. They are trying to divide it internationally.
There must be some reason for the CIA and imperialism to work everywhere
creating groups and trying to develop disruptive unions in order to divide
the workers. This is an unending struggle that will never cease as long as
the capitalist system exists.

It is amazing and strange to see a labor movement discussing the problems,
issues, and interests discussed here. Everything is possible when the
working class feels that it owns the means of production and the country's
wealth! [sustained applause] Only then will the workers meet to discuss
savings, productivity, profitability, and better services, for they will be
their savings, their productivity, their profitability, their wealth, and
their services. This is only possible under socialism. [applause] There is
no solution, and there will never be, to our people's problems, to the
Third World problems, or to modern society's problems without socialism.

We thank the invited delegations for providing us with this chance to show
them in all honesty, sincerity, and fraternity what our country is like,
what our revolution is like, what our people are like, and what our working
class is like. [applause] We have discussed our economic, political,
social, and defense problems at length in front of them, in total freedom
and liberty,

In concluding this congress, we thank them for the privilege of having
shared these last few days with the prestigious representatives of the
international labor movement and with the representatives of hundreds of
million of workers throughout the world. We thank them for the
encouragement that this has given us and the hopes they leave with us,
including the awareness that workers throughout the world should unite and
remain closely united. [applause]

Just as we thank the dear invited delegations for this honor, we must also
thank our workers, represented at this congress by over 2,200 delegates. We
express our gratitude to them for the pride we feel after having observed
the quality of this congress and their behavior. [applause] Fatherland or
death, we will win! [shouts of "We will win!"] [applause]