Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana GRANMA in Spanish 31 Oct 84 p 2

[Speech by Fidel Castro at the CEMA meeting in Havana on 29 October 1984]

[Text] Speech by the head of the Cuban delegation, Commander
in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Central
Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and president of
the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba,
concerning points I, II, and III on the agenda for the 39th
Session of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, on
29 October 1984, year of the 25th anniversary of the triumph
of the revolution.

Esteemed delegation heads,

Esteemed comrades,

I am very sorry to have to deliver a final speech after the tremendous
effort you have made in today's historic and fruitful session, but I must
comply with the program. I hope I have your understanding.

First of all, I want to express deep appreciation for the warm and
fraternal words of solidarity with which the delegations have expressed
themselves concerning our country in their speeches today. They encourage
us greatly, and we will never forget them.

Although the report by the Executive Committee points out how many aspects
of our work must improve and even undergo profound changes, as was pointed
out at the economic summit conference held by our countries last June, the
thing that stands out in that report, as was noted by the conference
itself, is the socialist system's prospects for solidity and firmness in
contrast to the instability and contradiction that are increasingly
becoming persistent marks of capitalism.

We are meeting here to carry forward the summit meeting's mandate and to
examine and put into practice the related organizational measures that were
adopted at the session's 38th special meeting. In doing so, we are certain
that if the world, with our socialist countries in the lead, succeeds as we
believe it will--in rejecting the Reagan administration's senseless
positions, which would lead to nuclear devastation, we will be able to
carry forward development plans which have now been outlined through the
year 2000 with systematic improvement in the national and multilateral
efficiency of our economies. They will ensure a steadily rising standard of
living for the workers and the entire population.

In my remarks opening this meeting, I referred to the complex international
conditions which must be overcome by our economies and which are imposing--
primarily on the Soviet Union and the other European members but to an
equal extent on the others--tremendous costs and efforts in connection with
indispensable national defense.

Although the Cuban economy, like those of Mongolia and Vietnam, lags
considerably in comparison with the economies of the European member
countries, we too, like the rest of our community, are acting to accelerate
our economy's transition to the intensive path of development, and we
intend to continue working for the optimum utilization both of our modest
scientific-technical achievements and of those offered to all of us,
through cooperation and integration, by the potential available to CEMA's
member countries in this sphere.

For that purpose, there is available to us, first of all, that effective
instrument of coordination and integration constituted by the coordination
of our national economic plans. We are grateful to comrade Baibakov,
chairman of the CEMA Committee for Planning Cooperation, for his report to
our session on that subject. As far as Cuba is concerned, we also declare
our satisfaction with the progress made in coordinating plans for the
period from 1986 to 1990, although there are deficiencies with respect to
some countries. Several countries have already confirmed their willingness
to continue through the next 5-year period the trade relations currently in
effect in our bilateral relations, in contrast to the unequal trade that
governs relations between the developed capitalist centers and the
underdeveloped or developing countries that trade with them.

At the same time, the process of mutual acquaintance and willingness to
integrate that exists between Cuba and several member countries is
progressing so fast that the prospective plans for cooperation through the
year 2000 have now been concluded between the Cuban economy and the Soviet
Union, Bulgaria, the GDR, Romania, and Hungary, and progress is also being
made with other member countries.

I would like to reiterate our gratitude for the spirit of fraternal
cooperation which governs relations between Cuba and CEMA's developed
member countries and which was confirmed at the summit conference. Without
it, our economy, whose basic export product--sugar--now has less purchasing
power in the capitalist markets than it had 50 years ago during the Great
Depression, would be condemned to stagnation and, even more, to
backwardness. When we inaugurate the nickel plant in Punta Gorda--built
with the Soviet Union's help--and lay the first foundations for the CEMA I
plant within the next few days, we will have the opportunity to see
tangible and eloquent proof of the fruits of cooperation by the USSR and
the brother countries of the socialist community.

We realize that this fraternal relationship creates unpostponable
obligations for us. The report by the Executive Committee draws attention
to persistent and substantial delays in deliveries of goods as one of the
defects in CEMA's economic activity. Cuba is among the member countries
guilty of that nonfulfillment. Not only for natural reasons of poor weather
and even because of activity by the enemy, who creates hardships for us
with ominous repetitiveness but also for reasons related to limitations
regarding certain resources that we have not been able to overcome and to
shortcomings in our own plans, there are several instances in which Cuba's
exports to the member countries, although increasing in all cases, are not
fulfilling the commitments assumed in the trade agreements.

I would like to express to you our determination to improve those negative
elements until they are eliminated.

We approve all the measures that are included in the Executive Committee's
report and summarized in the resolution on machine building, the
electronics industry, and other industries. We do not participate in every
case as exporters, and we intend to expand our participation in CEMA's
integration efforts in the future and make a modest contribution in many
areas, as we are beginning to do already in the electronics industry. In
any case, we benefit as importers from the improvement in production, an
example being the decision to build heavy tractors of 500 hp and up and
trucks of 110 tons and more, which we now find ourselves forced to import
from the Capitalize countries in conditions of unequal trade.

Our contribution toward satisfying the rational needs of CEMA's member
countries with respect to energy, fuel, and raw materials is shown in the
increased production of nickel that we are bringing about through bilateral
and multilateral efforts and in geological prospecting aimed at discovering
raw materials that could serve the socialist community We are engaged in
those activities with the cooperation of the member countries. In this
connection, we are pleased with the modest increase in our country's
petroleum production that has come about with the Soviet Union's
cooperation and with the indications that fuels exist in other parts of the
country. Meanwhile, acting through the National Energy Commission and other
instruments, we are devoting our efforts to the conservation of fuel and
other raw materials. It is significant that in the sugar industry alone, we
have succeeded in reducing fuel oil consumption by half a million tons in
comparison with the amount we were consuming in 1980 for the production of
raw sugar, and also that in the first 4 years of this 5-year period, the
economy has grown at a rate considerably higher than the rate of increase
in fuel and electricity consumption, something that never happened in any
period prior to the revolution.

We also assign importance to the introduction of design, and especially
industrial design, into the entire production process with a view to
conserving raw materials in our equipment and other manufactured products.
We are sure that the program being prepared by the CEMA Committee for
Cooperation in Technical-Material Supply--which we will discuss at next
year's session--will contain measures that will also be useful to us.