Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


FL291411 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 0100 GMT 29 Dec 84

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at the closing of the seventh regular
session of the National Assembly of the People's Government [ANPP] in
Havana's Palace of Conventions on 28 December -- recorded]

[Text] Fellow deputies: In the past few weeks I have addressed the entire
country on several subjects of great importance, in our view. I do not have
anything new to say, which is why I am going to go over them and talk a
little more about these same matters.

First, I will say that important agreements have been reached in this
National Assembly meeting, very important. I think the housing law is a
historic one, is much broader than the first laws the revolution made on
rent reductions and later on, the urban reform. At that time, the
revolution made laws at the expense of homeowners. At this time, the
revolution is making a law at the expense of state property, without it
going broke.

In reality, the socialist state looks at the housing problem as a financial
income, as a source of profits, even in the best sense, because state
profits are the people's profits. The state annually invests large amounts
of money in housing. In this case, it will mean an end to some income
during a number of years, but this is not an important income.

In our country rent is so low for those who pay it that we cannot forget
that thanks to the first laws many families do not pay rent.

In this case the law will mainly affect the hundreds of thousands of new
housing units built by the state in these past 25 years. In addition, the
state is not seeking any profit from those units which are going to be
built, in other words, no state profit. The state has many and more
important sources of income to fulfill the country's needs, that is,
whatever is invested in future years will be reimbursed to the state with
minimum interest, based on building costs of the units.

This demonstrates what only a socialist system can do. An objective like
this one cannot be attained by any capitalist state. A socialist state can,
if it wishes, establish low rents as all socialist states do. In the USSR
rent is very inexpensive, including heat and other things, so cheap that it
is practically free...that's the way housing is. If it so wishes a
socialist state can also offer free housing. In the USSR's case, I repeat,
it is practically free. In addition, if it so wishes a socialist state can
build houses, rent them, receive income, and, in addition, make a profit.
Since that profit could be used for other things of benefit to the people,
it would not be a departure from ethical or socialist principles.

However, only a socialist state can make this type of law. like the one we
have just adopted, making homeowners of all the country's citizens.

There is something else which happens in capitalist countries. Homeowners
have to pay such high taxes that many families in Europe, United States,
and other developed capitalist countries have to pay hundreds of dollars
each month. In our country, our people will neither pay rent nor taxes on
homes. It will be their home to be paid off in a relatively long period of
time. No one pays taxes, and I think no one will pay. do not think that in
the future, with the development of many other resources, the socialist
state will have to collect taxes on housing. This does not happen in any
capitalism country, it is absolutely impossible.

An investment fund will be created [for housing] and it will grow little by
little. It will grow as our possibilities will make it possible until the
true housing needs are met, which is one of the most difficult problems in
today's world, one which has been resolved only in socialist countries. No
capitalist country has solved the housing problem.

As we just said, this is not a departure from socialist principles and
those of Marxism-Leninism. We do not become capitalists, as stated in a
press agency news report which said we were making some laws which leaned
toward capitalism. We made similar laws at the beginning of the revolution
when we were moving toward socialism. Why are we not going to make them now
that we are moving closer to socialism?

As I explained yesterday, we have introduced some elements such as the
possibility of renting a room for free. That does not mean we deviate from
socialism. As I explained yesterday, that is solved by development.
Whenever we have enough housing and when any citizen can obtain an
apartment at a relatively low rent or price, he or she will not rent a room
from anyone if he or she has to pay much more. That does not worry us, and
development itself will eliminate that prerogative or possibility of
renting a room which makes it possible for some people to earn an income,
there will be a sort of redistribution among the people. That will not
create any kind of capitalism.

Another very important law we have just adopted is the labor code which
consolidates practically all legislation we have been developing during
these past 25 years.

We do not believe our code is perfect, it is the first code. We do not
believe our legislative enactments are perfect either. It is possible that
when we get deeper into this matter some criteria, some regulations will
have to be modified and improved, so that they may contribute to labor
legislation, not only to the determination of workers' rights but also to
the country's development, to the maximum utilization of human resources so
that we may be an efficient nation, disciplined, productive, highly
productive. This is why the code states that it should be revised. But I
believe it is a very progressive legislation which consolidates the
accomplishments of our workers and the rights of our workers in their

In this meeting we also had the opportunity of studying... [changes remark]
learning about higher education, what the revolution has done in that area,
the resources higher education has, the number of students. Doubtlessly,
[higher education] has made a colossal leap. The leap is so colossal that
Pinar del Rio, the Cinderella [province] Pinar del Rio, the Cinderella, has
as many students as all Cuba had before the revolution, almost as many
university students.

Yesterday we also had the opportunity of discussing the efforts made in
universities to overcome deficiencies and mistakes. They are, however, in
the process of being corrected. I believe we have many possibilities in
that area and yesterday I was expressing some ideas about what we should do
about the admission process to higher education, and what is already being
done about raising the level of academic achievements of pre-university
students who later enter the university.

We also had the opportunity of listening to the magnificent report of Pinar
del Rio Province and the pleasure of being able to appreciate the colossal
change in that province in these 25 or 26 years of the revolution. It is a
motive of real pride and satisfaction for all of us, even more when we know
that it is taking place in a country where the major leaps have been made
in social development, education, health, sports, and culture.

What has happened there is a reflection of what has happened in the
country's 14 provinces and a reflection of what has happened in the special
municipality of Isle of Youth; that island has gone from prehistoric to
modern times in just a few years. Pinar del Rio actually went from
feudalism to socialism. It was the property of a group of landowners. They
owned everything there. It was managed by a group of politicians.

Pinar del Rio was one of the last provinces to join the war of
independence. The invasion forces were headed for Pinar del Rio, but when
they arrived there they found great patriotism, great enthusiasm,
combativeness, cooperation, and Maceo waged there one of the most brilliant
campaigns of his life. Once again, Pinar del Rio Province is showing that
enthusiasm, that combativeness, that patriotic spirit, and that wisdom to
confront problems and to make progress.

These things are important. But I believe the most important thing we have
agreed upon today and which will have a greater impact is the 1985 economic
plan and the concepts behind it. You heard the report Companero Humberto
[no further identification given] read which includes a lot of the 1984
plan results. Objectively, the plan results with indexes, increase in
production, in productivity, the social indexes and economic indexes --
they are good, we could say very good.

Which Latin American country can show the growth our economy had in 1984?
What capitalist country -- United States this year had a very strong growth
-- had it? Let us see how much it will be in 1985 and 1986. Everyone knows
that the United States has imposed enormous interest rates because of its
predominant, hegemonic influence in the capitalist economy, the economy of
the Third World. It has been able to impose those interests rates, as I
explained on 26 July in Cienfuegos. It collected money based on those high
interest rates. It affected the economy of its own Western allies, all of
them, in one way or another. They have been able to grow very little.

Unemployment has increased with Japan as the only exception, recording a
little more progress than the other countries...or an increase in its
economy over the western European countries. Doubtlessly, it is one of the
capitalist countries with an efficient economy. This also has an
explanation in the fact that after the war, due to accords or arrangements
made after the war, Japan was forbidden to make military investments. These
were reduced to a very low level up to now. For the last few years, the
United States has been pressuring Japan to increase military spending.

They have basically invested their resources in developing and modernizing
their industry while the United States invested tremendous amounts in the
military. Now it is doing it to a much greater degree. As a consequence,
many U.S. industries have become old fashioned, backward, nonproductive,
expensive; U.S. steel industries can not compete with those in Japan or
other countries. All the money the United States has spent during the past
30 years, Japan has invested it in industries, they have developed

There are some who say they have copied a lot of technologies. The reality
is they have developed an efficient industry and, I will say more, with
efficient products. We are acquainted with a lot of their equipment in
different areas; in construction, transportation, electronics and, without
promoting Japanese products and only out of honesty, I would say they are
of good quality. It is the only developed capitalist country able to face
up to the economic crisis with good results.

Well, the United States has had a good growth. There is a great number of
economists who consider another crisis will come soon, above all, if they
do not overcome the budget deficit of around $200 billion which has raised
the U.S. public debt to $1.65 trillion, in other words, a million of
millions plus six hundred and fifty thousand millions.

That is the public debt, so around one-third of the budget's income has to
be used to pay public debt interests.

In January they broke a new record, $28.5 billion in deficits. It is said
that at that pace...[sentence incomplete] Because if October's deficit was
big no one knows how big December's deficit will be. If in only 1 month
they have had a $28.5 billion deficit, it is possible it may surpass the
$200 billion mark during this fiscal year. It could be $205 billion. It is
not known yet how they are going to solve it. U.S. people were promised
that under no circumstances would taxes be raised. How can they lower that
deficit? Of course there are new plans to reduce medical assistance, social
security, and so on, which have already been affected during these years.
There have been talks of certain limitations in the military budget. But I
insist that the U.S. economic situation is an objective reality. The
economic problems are like winds which are approaching.

In my opinion, they are winds that must blow in favor of international
detente, and of the search for some form of coexistence because with that
policy and with those expenses, they will not be able to avoid very serious
economic problems. I am totally convinced of that. If they become involved
in a war, no matter what the cost, it would really be an absolutely insane
act and also an act of suicide, a mass suicide. How then are they going to
face economic problems if they continue with that deficit and with that
level of military spending? It is not necessary to be an economic
specialist. It is sufficient to have basic common sense to understand that.

But not only that. The U.S. trade deficit has now reached $120 billion.
That is how much more they import than they export. They have almost as
many problems as Jamaica or Haiti. They are more less the same, because
they cannot continue to do that. As the U.S. press itself has said, the
Washington newspaper said they were living on the money of others, they
were living on loans, and they were living like the Latin American
countries of 3 years ago, beyond their production and their productivity.

It is indisputable that they are importing without limits. Their own
merchandise is not competitive with much of the merchandise produced by
other industrialized capitalist countries. They have to set quotas, limits
to the importation of steel, equipment, and an infinite number of things.
This contradicts the very theories and principles of capitalism and free
trade, and so on, which the capitalist countries and the industrialized
countries have always defended. Free trade. And they have opposed all forms
of protection of national industries in the Third World.

What sank the Chilean economy? What sank the Argentine economy? The theory
of free trade and competition. Think about it. Argentina produces
automobiles and they are not bad. We have a few thousand of their cars.
Here, they were used as rental cars and for other purposes. That country
produces relatively good cars. But if the tariffs were suspended and the
Argentine cars had to compete with Japanese cars; if Argentine steel had to
compete with Japanese steel in cost; if Argentina's car industry had to
compete with Japan's, which often has robots working instead of men, the
Argentine automobile industry would be ruined, all the country's industry
would be ruined.

And that is what the military governments in Chile and Argentina did. They
opened their doors to merchandise from Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong,
countries dominated by transnational corporations that have invested there
and used their technology based on low wages, but with a much higher
productivity rate.

Naturally, Chile and Argenina and all those countries were inundated with
products and merchandise from Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and all those

The domestic industries in Chile and Argentina were ruined. But not only
that. Capital flight. The United States was paying 12 percent interest
rates and the money was secure. The same thing happened in Chile and
Argentina that happened in Mexico, Venezuela, and many other countries, and
that is that every time someone smelled a devaluation -- because a
devaluation is the confiscation of money deposited in banks -- people would
exchange their money for dollars - that is called free exchange -- and
deposit it in the United States at a high interest rate and providing more
security for their money.

In large part, this debt of $360 billion does not simply mean that they
spent all that money. Of course they spent money and plenty of it. In some
countries they even stole and they stole plenty. But a large amount of
money left the country and was deposited overseas. That is the true
picture. It reflects somewhat the tragedy those countries are experiencing
with their debts; the prices of raw materials and depressed goods; the
increased tariffs of the capitalist countries. All that is behind the
economic tragedy of the Third World, especially in Latin America, which is
experiencing a crisis from which no one knows the way out.

We know of many who are concerned about this problem and who are studying
the fate of this hemisphere in the year 1990, in the year 2000 and in the
next century. There is not an exit from the tunnel in sight anywhere.

Well, in this year of 1984, we have experienced a growth rate of 7.4
percent in our economy. And not only that, it is a sustained high level of
growth during these years, which shows up in data, such as those reflected
here: How many more tires have been produced, how much more cement, how
much steel, how many millions of pesos worth of spare parts, how much was
produced by the food industry, how much was produced by each sector of our
economy. These figures represent real objective growth with no
exaggeration, with no falsified data.

Well, we must now analyze this growth, despite the fact that it reflects a
situation that is very different from and much better than that in any
other Third World country or any other Latin American country, even the
richest ones, the ones like Venezuela that have $15 billion in revenues
just from oil. But despite these revenues, the cables publicize the
economic difficulties, growing unemployment, which has topped 20 percent of
the population, the poor neighborhoods, and all kinds of problems. Despite
these fabulous revenues, Venezuela does not have the growth that our
economy has had. Despite the fact that our socioeconomic development, I
repeat, is far above a view of Cuba is in no way similar to a view of the
other Latin American countries. [incomplete sentence]

The imperialists are masters at making up things. Their propaganda says
something or other everyday.

Recently, I read a press agency report reviewing the whole thing. It
referred to Cuba which, it said, has had rationing for such a long time. It
did not say anything about modern Cuba, which has no beggars, or
illiterates, or skid-row bums, or prostitutes, or gambling, or drugs; where
more than 90 percent of the children between the ages of 6 and 16 attend
school; where social security covers the entire population; where the level
of nutrition is at the top of the list of Latin American nations; where
public health conditions are the wonder of the entire world; where the
infant mortality rate has been reduced to about 15, and about which
visitors, or Latin American women, or the pediatricians of Latin America
and Spain who visit us for a congress are really amazed.

The more they propagandize against Cuba, the greater the surprise, the
amazement of the visitors when they see what our country has really

In their propaganda, when they refer to us it has to be briefly and not
really touch us because we are like a hot potato. [laughter] With all the
lies they tell about socialism, how can they tell the truth about what Cuba
has done, and how can they compare Cuba with our Latin American sister
nations? Their theories are failing, their formula has failed.

We still remember how they talked about the Alliance for Progress as the
great panacea that would save this hemisphere. There was talk of 20 billion
and now they owe 360 billion. And they have to pay tens of billions per
year in interest, if they can pay. And their economic and social conditions
are worse than ever. It is logical that it should not be in their interest
to conduct up studies in this area. But they are aware of the truth. They
know what the truth is. Everyday there is a pile of press reports on the
economic and social condition of Latin America.

Our situation is incomparably better than that of any of the brother
countries of this hemisphere. Why? How?, Now that the price of sugar on the
international market has dropped below 4 I have been told that yesterday or
the day before yesterday it had dropped to 3.2 cents per pound. This is a
level of $70 per ton of raw sugar.

At the time of the triumph of the revolution, sugar was worth about 5 cents
or 6, then it dropped to 4. But at that time a ton of sugar bought 6 tons
of crude oil. And now, at that price, to buy a ton of fuel oil or diesel
oil you need more than 3 tons of sugar.

Why are we doing what we are doing? How can we manage to live as well as we
do and have such favorable economic and social indicators? We should ask
how and draw the pertinent conclusions that I believe we are drawing.

Is our growth rate of 7.4, which is the real growth rate, and all the areas
in which we have shown growth the most appropriate for the future of the
nation? No. This is the first conclusion. In three areas we have not grown
for different reasons. The 1984 sugar plan was not met. It called for 8.8
million, 8.9 [million tons], and we reached 8.2. We had a shortfall of
about 600,000 or 700,000 tons. It is fair to say that we know that the
workers made a great effort, which is true. They did not use crude oil in
1984 to produce raw sugar, which is a great improvement. Six or 7 years
ago, half a million [tons] was used to produce 6 million tons of raw sugar.
And now, zero consumption of crude oil in the production of raw sugar, in
the production of 8.2. But we were 600,000 or 700,000 tons below the goal.
I recall that the difference was even greater. Sugar yield dropped 10
percent. More cane was ground than the plan called for. The weather was
really unfavorable.

This is an important area. The price of sugar dropped, sugar production
dropped, the sugar we needed to export to convertible currency areas and to
socialist countries.

Due to certain reasons and factors, the nickel production plan was not met.
This is another important product that we export partly to the convertible
currency area and partly to socialist countries. Nickel is one of the most
highly valued products in socialist nations.

The production of citrus fruits -- which is another of the important
exports to socialist countries, due to receive specific quantities
according to the annual and 5-year plans -- fell below the planned amount
because of a variety of factors. I am not going to analyze all the
objective and subjective factors. The fact is that the nation was unable to
fulfill the citrus plan at the necessary rate, or the citrus fruit
irrigation plan.

These are three important products. In three we did not meet the plans. In
nearly all others we met or exceeded the plans, but we fell short in three
strategic export products. We increased imports. Our growth required an
increase in imports under our 1984 plan and an increase in exports for
convertible currencies.

Purchases in convertible currencies increased but exports for convertible
currencies did not increase, so the value of the growth rate is relative.
Of course, exports of a few other products for convertible currencies did
increase. The preceding year we had lost virtually the entire tobacco
harvest when a hurricane hit Pinar del Rio. This is why there was such a
large growth rate in tobacco this year because in 1983 almost the entire
harvest was lost. On one occasion blue rust hit us, then the hurricane or
hurricanes. This is why we have such a large growth rate for tobacco. The
comparison is made with a year in which there was no crop!

Exports of fish and shell fish increased, and income from tourism and
income in convertible currencies increased. But three strategic export
products for capitalist and socialist countries were below the plan. And
our very high growth rate required raw materials and other outlays of
convertible currencies that exceeded the increase in exports to the
convertible currency area. So, what is of basic interest is not growth for
growth's sake but the areas in which growth is achieved and to what

There is no question that producing more reinforcing rods is a good thing.
We can build more buildings or we can export reinforcing rods, but we have
to choose. Our production of reinforcing rods has increased and will
continue to increase at a much faster rate. Santillana de Acero will reach
a production rate of 900,000 tons of steel [words indistinct] constantly in
collaboration with the Soviets to this end. Cement production has
increased, if we used all these materials in construction here in Cuba, the
economic growth rate would continue to be high but we would also have to
import tires from the convertible currency are because, if we don't produce
them, we have to import them or the raw materials to produce them. We would
also have to import batteries, spare parts, transport and, depending on
what we are dealing with, pipes, diverse materials, wire, whatever, a lot
of construction materials, because we do not produce all the needed
construction materials. And we would have to import crude oil, too, because
each ton of diesel oil we use costs $235 or $240, I don't remember, but
more than $230 a ton.

If we invest 100,000 tons more in construction -- I am using construction
work as an example -- this is more than $20 million less that we would
have, because if we save that crude oil out of the amount that it is
stipulated we will receive, as I explained at the energy forum, then we can
reexport the crude oil and it is a source of convertible currency income.

If all these production increases in cement, steel, and everything else
were used in construction, and we need to build and want to build; all our
organizations, all the people's government organizations know that we need
to build. And if they don't know it, the voters remind the delegates every
day that we need this, I want this store on this corner, we must have this
thing, we want a stadium here or we need a polyclinic, in short, more
essential or less essential buildings, or we need so many apartment
buildings or a better school or a movie or a cultural center for a museum,
a movie house [words indistinct]. Everyone has a lot to do and wants to do
a lot. Okay.

There may be an improved growth rate, and we could invest everything here
and consume everything here. We could increase textile output and
distribute 1, 2, or 5 or 10 square meters more, or more refrigerators than
we build here.

We have two kinds of refrigerators: those we build here and those we import
from the USSR. One of the components of our domestic production is
convertible currency. Unfortunately, many of our products require some
convertible currency. A part of everything we invest and produce always
requires convertible currency.

Thus, it is very important to know how we are growing, when we should grow,
and in which fields we should grow. Is it advisable perhaps for us to
increase production that requires convertible currency and decrease
production that earns us convertible currency? In a certain sense, this is
what happened to us in 1974: [as heard] Production increased that required
convertible currency or that kept us from saving things we could have
exported, and production of some of the strategic exports decreased for
diverse reasons; that is, production did not decrease but rather the plan
was not met, this is a more correct way of putting it.

This affects us, not only in the convertible currency area; it affects us
in fulfilling our obligations to the socialist nations. It affects our
deliveries of citrus fruits, sugar, basically to the USSR, and nickel. Let
no one think that the Soviets pressure us or make demands. Quite the
opposite. They were absolutely understanding of our problems, as they have
always been during these 26 years, and they made a maximum effort to make
all deliveries of goods already agreed on in 1980.

And it has always been thus. Now, we are men of honor and pride and our
people have very great prestige and respect and are very much admired in
the socialist community. No one has to tell us that an essential duty of
our country, a moral and essential duty is for us to complete these
obligations. But I not only believe it is a moral agreement, I also believe
it is an economic agreement. The more serious we are in the completion of
our obligations, the more possibilities we have of counting on their
goodwill and enthusiasm to help us.

I explained that and I am thinking about one of those workers in Siberia,
20 degrees below zero, producing oil or lumber in any given minute. Of
course, one would feel much more satisfied and morally compensated knowing
that our nickel is arriving there and our sugar is reaching Siberia and
grapefruits from the Isle of Youth and oranges from Cuba are also arriving
in Siberia; and that whatever we have to deliver is arriving.

I said that, but it is also important that we invest those resources in the
best way possible. Logically, two problems concern us. One is strictly
economic, that of convertible foreign exchange although the prestige and
seriousness of the country is evident in the degree to which it completes
its obligations. And there is a moral problem with the countries of the
socialist community, not only moral but also a strategic problem for the
country, economically strategic, in the degree to which we are capable of
increasing production, we will receive many more resources, simply because
the prices we receive for nickel, for sugar, for citrus fruit, for all our
products are much higher than their prices on the international market. And
the socialist community, particularly the USSR, constitutes the fundamental
pillar of our present and our future, of our development; a solid and
tremendous base that we should preserve. We should therefore cooperate and
if our nickel is available to produce better steel of higher quality, the
equipment of the socialist countries will improve, to the degree to which
this raw material is made available.

And we benefit from all of this. To fulfill the obligation also helps in
the development of those countries. Not fulfulling the obligations means
that we become a burden, limiting to a certain degree the development of
the socialist community.

So it is very clear, it should be clear to every one of us, to each citizen
the knowledge of how we grow and what grow for, in what we invest, and what
we invest for, what are the problems we have to solve. We have the greatest
trade rate within the socialist community. I already said it a few days
ago. In 1983 we had 13 percent of the imports. In 1984 it was a little
more, it was about 15 percent. I do not know if it reached 16 percent. It
was a little more because it was necessary for this growth to import a
little more. This is the base and the reason in the present international
economic circumstances and with the price of sugar at 3 cents or so, we
have the best situation of all Latin American countries and even better, we
not only maintain but continue our economic and social development. It is
really a privileged situation.

Our relations with the socialist countries, the trade relations we have
with the socialist countries, the solidarity of the socialist countries
with Cuba shown in these years with a cooperation that has never failed is
what has made this miracle of ours possible. It is not only our merit, our
efforts, our work. We have merits, we have made efforts, we have worked, we
are not going to deny it. But without that solidarity, that cooperation, it
is unthinkable that we could have shown the achievements in the economic
and social areas.

I am not going to talk about the free arms we have been receiving for over
20 years. The Yankees keep track of what arrives and what does not arrive.
They make estimates about how many tons arrived in a given year, 20,000,
30,000, it is possible they may have better data than we do because we
generally do not count them by tons but by thousands of cannons, of tanks,
of all kinds of armaments, and hundred of thousands of other weapons, but
we do not count them by hundreds of thousands, that was in other times. We
can speak of millions. [applause]

Yes, we do not count by tons. In other words, our country...[changes
remark] The revolution, which arrived so opportunely [applause] so
opportunely, spared our people from who knows what kind of tragedy.
However, our people knew tragedies in the past; the conditions for an
immense majority of our people was always tragic under capitalism. Those in
Pinar del Rio can attest to this [laughter] to given an example. [laughs]
The same thing can be said by those living in Granma, Camaguey, and the
central and eastern provinces, and throughout the country.

There was a time when the situation was even more tragic, during the great
crisis, the great depression of the 1930's which coincided with what
everyone calls the (machabato), the (machabato). [repeats himself] I
nearly...[corrects himself] Well, I will not say that I grew up during the
(machabato); I had already grown up before the (machabato). However, almost
all my adolescent years, my youth, I heard about the (machabato). Imagine
how it must have been! It was mentioned as something really bad, in a
country where the people were employed only 3 or 4 months, and faced many
calamities. a was a witness to this.

Well, that represented a decrease in sugar prices, but that 3-cent price is
lower, much lower, much lower [repeats himself] than the sugar prices
during the worst period of the (machabato); the price went down to I cent
and half a cent. The purchasing power of a dollar at that time was far
superior to the dollar's current purchasing power. Suffice it to say that
during the first years of the revolution, when sugar cost 4 cents, it was
worth three times as much as it is now. What was needed to purchase...
[changes remark] during those years a tractor could be bought for $20,000
-- a 120-horsepower tractor. It was the same for all kinds of equipment.
Today, that same bulldozer, let us say a 120-horsepower bulldozer, costs
more than $80,000. Any kind of equipment or product now costs four times as
much. It is no longer only the oil, as I mentioned earlier.

What would happen to our country if those 8 million tons we produce had a
market? Those 8 tons [as heard] do have a market, more than enough, due to
the socialist community, which is our sugar market, where our sugar prices
are paid on a stable basis. We get good, stable prices that are protected
against price fluctuation of merchandise imported from the socialist area.
Either the price of our sugar increases with the price of imports received
from that area, or else the price of our sugar remains at the agreed
amount; and the price of the merchandise imported from the socialist area
remains the same. If we compare these prices with those of the world
market, they are incomparably higher prices, for the sugar, citric fruits,
nickel, our main export products to the socialist area.

Well, let us suppose that we exported 7 million tons at those prices. It
would be barely enough to pay 20 percent of our fuel bill. We will not talk
now about wheat, imported foodstuffs, raw materials for fodder, raw
materials for the industrial sector; for example, all the cotton we import
from the Soviet Union, the hundreds of tons of wheat, butter, other
foodstuffs, equipment, raw materials, textiles, chemical products,
fertilizers, lumber, and steel. We will not talk about all this, of the raw
materials we get from other areas for medicine, or already prepared

The 7 million tons of sugar, at those prices, would only cover 20 percent
of our country's fuel bill; a 7-million ton sugar production or export is
no small thing. That sugar would not have a world market, it would not, due
to a series of factors, some of them repugnantly selfish, such as the EEC's
policy. It used to be a sugar importer and now wants to export 5 million
tons based on subsidies, even though they have no market for it. The EEC
could go to most of the Third World countries, but they lack the means to
pay for the sugar. Anyway, the EEC has started to compete with Third World
countries, with a subsidized production of 5 million tons. That is
capitalism; capitalism is precisely that.

Socialist countries, including the Soviet Union, had plans to increase
their sugar production. Following the rise of the Cuban revolution, they
opened a space for our sugar and limited their development programs. Only a
socialist country is capable of doing this; no capitalist country is
capable of doing this. What the capitalist countries actually did with
sugar, which represents the livelihood for dozens of Third World countries,
was to produce a large surplus, based on subsidies, and to bring down
prices throughout the world. The last agreement could not even be
concretized, it could not be concretized, as reported by the companeros who
participated in the meeting. Australia boycotted the sugar agreement at the
last minute. A struggle was carried out to see if a 9-cent, 10-cent, or
12-cent price could be achieved. Why did Australia do this? Our delegates
there were able to confirm many relations and many contacts between the
U.S. delegation and the Australian delegation.

Well, it is said that Australia is trying to get the Chinese market and it
planned to include our exports to China in the agreement, as part of the
quota. These are demands that are established now and then. However, it was
quite suspicious that when our points were presented at the end regarding
our demands for the sugar quotas, the EEC presented different prices. The
fact is that, due to small details and Australia's intransigent attitude...
[changes remark] We must say this, because Australia is considered a
country that wants to improve its relations with the Third World, despite
the fact that they no longer have a conservative government. However, we
must say it; it has to be said, and I avail myself of the opportunity to
say it. We suspect that the sugar agreement was deliberately boycotted as a
result of the maneuvers between the United States and Australia. The
imperialist policy was behind all this, with the intention of affecting
Cuba, and aimed at stepping up the boycott and creating problems for our
economy. Have they forgotten that they have been doing this [laughs] for 25

In fact, we have become specialists in turning their villainies into
successes for our revolution. [applause] We turned each of their actions
into something useful. I will refer to this later; it is a law of this

I believe that we can now start to turn this into one of our greatest
successes ever, precisely with what we have been discussing regarding
economic matters. However, we still have a question: What would be our
country's purchasing power with these sugar prices, during this critical
situation which prevails in the world? A fifth part of the fuel we
use...[changes remark] We are calmly using fuel in this hall right now.
[laughs] When Valdivia spoke of ways in which people could cooperate to
produce foreign exchange, I almost told him: Turn the light off for 5
minutes [crowd laughs] and we would be producing foreign exchange. We would
also be saving fuel oil [in English]; therefore, [laughs] everybody can do

The companeros from Pinar del Rio have told us that in 1958, prior to the
revolution, only 29 percent of the population had electricity. We would
have to see how much they used, how many kilowatts, and how many types of
electric appliances they had. The population has doubled and approximately
80 percent of the population has electricity. I think that is the figure
that [name indistinct] gave us, but I may be wrong. Anyway, I was
considering this and thought: Well! The Pinarenos have doubled in amount
and use [corrects himself] and 80 percent of the population has
electricity. We would have to see how many types of electric appliances,
televisions, refrigerators, and so on [interrupts himself] I remember that
during the last hurricane a few families lost their furniture, televisions,
and refrigerators. Many of their appliances were replaced; others, who lost
everything, have been given the opportunity to purchase new ones. Many
refrigerators, television sets, and others were seen in the areas of Pinar
del Rio.

This phenomenon is similar, I believe, at a national level, regarding those
who have electricity, if you count Havana, where practically everyone has
electricity. Some provinces have less, others have more; 85 percent of our
people enjoy electricity. Even the peasants, tens of thousands of peasants
in the eastern mountains, will have electricity. Some already have
electricity; others will have it soon, through a program which was prepared
for the peasants. How has this been possible? Why has this been possible?
Precisely for the reasons I have already explained. Therefore, we must draw
our own conclusions.

Analyzing the international situation, the economic crisis, current and
future problems and the perspectives after 1990 and the year 2000 in the
Third World and in our country, we have arrived at very important
conclusions, at specific ideas and concepts. It is not that these ideas did
not exist before, as I have explained them in theory to some companeros. On
occasions we have said: What is advisable, theoretically speaking, is to
increase exports, concentrate on the economic aspects and limit social
investments. However, we had not arrived at a conviction, at a generalized
awareness within the party's directorate and the government as we have now.
This had not happened before. In other words, we had only arrived at these
ideas and conclusions about what we should do in the future in theory. Now,
I think...[changes remark] There is a relation between specific situations
and the things that the revolution does and discovers. Moreover, all
revolutions are a source of knowledge, they represent an incredible
learning process. After 5 years, the revolutionaries believe that they have
learned something, after 10 years [laughs] they discover that they had a
lot more to learn, and after 15, 20, 25 years, we have certainly learned
everything in these 25 years.

Nevertheless, I think that in recent times two factors have generated two
real revolutions: one in the defense field, and the other in the economic
field. The danger, the tense international situation, the threats of
imperialist attacks began a real revolution in defense concepts. Things
have changed significantly from the days when the job of defending the
country seems to be an exclusive task of the Armed Forces in the military
field. This does not mean that the people did not take part in defense.
They participated from the beginning in the workers and peasants militias,
in the struggle against the bandits, in Escambray, Giron, then the military
service came and large reserves were created that gradually replaced the
first contingents of militiamen. In this manner, our defense capacity
continued to grow, it did not remain static, it continued to grow year
after year, in experience, the number of troops, efficiency, everything.

Ah, but we all had the concept that public health was basically the
responsibility of the Public Health Ministry, and education of the
Education Ministry, although the masses have always participated in
activities such as the vaccination campaigns, as well as in the defense
activities. It was precisely this dangerous situation that made us all
think, meditate, and analyze, and with the fervor and passion with which we
have been ready to defend our revolution and our homeland, we have arrived
at truly new and revolutionary ideas in the concept of defense. This is
when we replaced the previous concept with the idea of that the country's
military defense, the combative readiness, and everything necessary for
combat and to support combat was a task for all the people. From the time
we arrived at this concept, approximately 4 years ago, more or less around
this date, during the second congress of the party, after a new U.S.
President had been elected, whose policy and programs were known, we began
to take measures, and develop ideas. Could we measure or determine how many
times stronger we are today? If we analyze the number of men and weapons,
we could say mathematically, that we are three time stronger. However, this
is not so. We cannot measure our strength [laughs] by the number of
weapons. We have increased the number of weapons 3 times, but the country's
defense capacity has been multiplied 10 times. In two words, a country that
theoretically could be defeated by a more powerful army, with many more
weapons, with many planes and aircraft carriers, and many (?fronts) a
country that theoretically could be defeated, has been transformed into a
country that cannot be defeated either theoretically or in practice. [loud,
prolonged applause]

It is no longer a matter of so many divisions, regiments, battalions, so
many tanks, so many airplanes. It is about all of the people everywhere,
fighting all types of war. There is no way, and I say this, as I have
noticed it in modern experience, there is no way to defeat a country under
these conditions. This is not Europe, or let us say like some countries
with combative and brave traditions, and brave peoples such as...[sentence
incomplete] Oh, but the armored divisions entered, and in a matter of days
or weeks we were defeated; they penetrated up to here, surrounded even the
Army, and initiated combat. Of course, our Army could not end the war. Of
course not. This was demonstrated in the USSR. Despite the surprise of the
concentration of arms and men with which they attacked the USSR, the Soviet
Army did not break down, it continued to fight. In other places it did not
happen this way. In many places they would say tanks are coming, and
everyone would raise white flags.

Confusion and desperation, this was the psychology upon which the lightning
war was based. A bourgeois regime cannot fight. It all depends on its
morale. In the last world war it was demonstrated that the combat morale of
the bourgeois societies was very low. Meanwhile, the combat morale of
socialism demonstrated its strength. It was invincible. Many thought that
it was a matter of 3 months, that within 3 months I would be called to
Moscow [as heard] and the same would happen there as in other places.
Nothing happened [chuckles], that is, something happened, that the Soviets
got to Berlin and a little further after a while. There are many examples.
Vietnam itself was the admirable and extraordinary proof of a people's
capacity to resist. Other peoples, I can mention the Salvadorans, who have
a small piece of land, and they have been fighting for 5 years in a heroic
manner. This is a great experience.

I can mention the Saharan people who live in a real desert. How they
struggle, what a brave people, so firm. There you have hundreds of
thousands of Moroccan soldiers. They build walls, they invent a million
tactics, they take sophisticated equipment, radar that can see a man
moving. Despite this, their radar and walls are attacked. There are times
when that type of equipment cannot distinguish between a man and a chicken.

I do not want to speak about the tactics of the Saharans, but I want to say
that all of the sophisticated weapons were used by the Vietnamese, the
Algerians, who are a people who should be mentioned for their heroism in
the struggle for independence against one of the most powerful armies in
Europe. In desert areas, areas of difficult access, they persisted and won
the battle. I spoke of the Soviets. We could speak of the Yugoslavs,
directed by the Yugoslav Communists in organizing the resistance there.
They held a great many German divisions in check.

Well, if we went a little further back, and looked at our own history, our
mambises [Cuban 19th century independence fighters], 10 years struggling
against the most powerful army in Europe at that time, because we were the
Vietnam of the 19th century.

A population of 1 million inhabitants against 300,000 Spanish soldiers.
Thousands of Cubans, barefoot, without clothes, without bullets, put the
Spanish Army in check. Less than 15 years later in 1895, they started to
fight again. They tried to start the war again, although the country had
been left exhausted. Cuba was in a different situation than Algeria. In
Algeria there were the people and the National Liberation Front. It was
part of the people's struggle. In Yugoslavia, it was part of the people
because they had some reactionaries and fascists who collaborated with the

In El Salvador, there is an internal struggle and several revolutionary
organizations, while our country is a complete people of 10 million
inhabitants, united, one party, and one Army, one mass structure, one
government, in complete unity and without a bourgeoisie. Socialist property
[applause], working people, peasant people, students of a country where
your neighbors, the women, the children, are one compact unity with one
doctrine: to defend their fatherland. [chuckles] Well, a people could be
exterminated if they were attacked with 10 atomic bombs, but here not even
one time when it could have been possible was any one very concerned about
it. No one was scared; they was no panic. This means that we have acquired
an extraordinary defensive potential and the participation of all the
people. It has been demonstrated that all of this was accomplished during
the past year. Our level of organization, all of the factories, the farms,
the party, the mass organizations, the defense zones in each corner of the
country -- in plains, in mountains, in the canefields, in the rice paddies,
in the swamps, in the hilly areas, in the entire state, in the popular
forces -- each municipality, and each province, are all organized and
prepared. We are still preparing and will continue to do so. I said this
when I spoke to the students. I only want to say that even if there was a
socialist country in the United States we would have to be armed, keeping
up our guard so that no one would be tempted to wander [andar] Let there
not be a cultural revolution within its socialism. In short, I do not want
to become involved, but you all understand. [applause]

For the time being, this is a definite idea and we will not lower our
guard. Even though the policies of our powerful capitalist, imperialist
neighbor were to change to the extreme of becoming socialist, we will never
abandon these ideas and concessions. We could coexist, if they want, and
live in peace, in mutual respect. However, our people must always be
guaranteed the right to exist as an independent country, as a just
revolution. [applause]

Now, we feel more assured and confident due to this indestructible force we
have created and which we intend to continue developing. Within this
sphere, we will also introduce the principle of the optimum use of our
resources: material, economic, energy, and so on.

However, not only do they pressure them, but also adopt measures and ban
steel imports if the country has Cuban nickel, or ban imports of equipment
if it contains Cuban nickel. They work to obstruct our sales of nickel with
great detail. Not only do they exert political, diplomatic, and economic
pressure, but also adopt measures against the move. The situation is the
same if we sell rum in a country of if the country has any kind of
relationship with Cuba. If we sell tobacco or anything else, they spend a
great deal of time exerting pressure, attempting to prevent us from making
a sale. Although this has been going on for many years, we have been able
to sell. We don't sell more because we don't have more; if we did, we would
sell it.

Naturally, since the United States is a very important, the most important
market in the world, its threats and pressures include economic reprisals.
That is an imperialistic tendency. We have seen that in the case of UNESCO.
They threatened they would leave, claiming UNESCO is too politicized
because it seeks to end the information monopoly that the transnationals
have. Good gracious, for the best ideas that UNESCO has. It is an
institution that has prestige and has made a great effort to promote
education and culture in the Third World. However, the United States is
really intent on finishing off UNESCO if it is not willing to subject
itself to imperialist policy.

The United States threatened to leave and it is expected to leave by year's
end. Since it contributes 25 percent of the organization's expense funds,
this represents a serious threat to all UNESCO programs. However, the force
of it lies in the proportion of the U.S. economic contribution to UNESCO.
Afterward, the British Government said yes it would also leave next year.
The conspiracy against UNESCO is coordinated. The FRG also said that it is
thinking about [words indistinct]. The most astounding thing is that this
morning I read a cable that said Singapore will withdraw from UNESCO.
[crowd murmurs] This is a far-away city [corrects himself], a British
colony, a current neocolony where transnational companies have also been
installed. Singapore will withdraw from the UNESCO. Maybe we will hear from
a duchy or an earldom. I hope Luxembourg does not withdraw from the UNESCO
or the Republic of San Martin. What is its name? [unidentified voice says:
San Marino] San Marino. I do not say this with contempt for any small
country because to begin with, we are a small country. What I mean is if
Singapore withdraws from UNESCO nothing will happen. [laughs] Absolutely
nothing, even though I do not know how much it gives to UNESCO. However, if
the United States says it will withdraw from the UNESCO -- my goodness!

I think that the UNESCO director has adopted a courageous, dignified, and
firm attitude. He has been supported by the international community. I
think that the vast majority of the Third World countries should support
him; many industrialized countries should support him; revolutionary
countries should support him; and socialist countries should support him so
that he can withstand this onslaught, this conspiracy. I avail myself of
the opportunity to extend to UNESCO and M'Bow our sympathy, our most
decided support -- it could even be done in an official way through a
message from our National Assembly. [applause]

We are Third World countries and our resources are limited. However, even
if only symbolically, our modest contribution to UNESCO should be increased
by 5 or 10 percent. [applause] This organization has supported the Third
World countries' educational, cultural, and scientific efforts. The UNESCO
director visited Havana not long ago. He supported the declaration of
Havana as mankind's cultural heritage. He has made efforts to assist us.
People like him who hold a positive stance should be encouraged.

Now, back to our topic. As I was saying, when it comes to exerting economic
pressures the U.S. power is tremendous. That's why I mentioned UNESCO as an

We must continue to do this and simultaneously implement the principles of
savings and the optimum use of resources in this sphere, as well as in all
other areas. The companeros in the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed
Forces [Minfar], as well as in the Interior Ministry, have been analyzing
and making very important contributions to this proposed plan and policy.
They have made important contributions in savings within their field
without experiencing any loss of strength.

Currently, what do we consider most important, of higher priority, and what
things can wait? [Words indistinct] fortifications are a number one
priority, while, based on the principle of optimization, material for
educational and social programs can wait longer. Yet, you also see that the
international crisis, the economic catastrophe the world is experiencing
today, the intensification of the imperialist blockade against our country,
and the maneuvers to reduce the price of sugar have led us to another
profound revolution in the economic field [applause], in ideas and
concepts. I must say that on this, as in the military field, we once said
our people will struggle. But our people were not totally organized to
fight, only in theory, because we were already thinking in terms of a war
with the participation of all of the people but had not materialized the
concept. In the economic field there were also some ideas and concepts.
However, in reality, as I said, there was no collective awareness and
spirit, and total determination to implement these ideas. This situation
has led us to...[changes remark] and I think that it will have the same
consequences it has had in defense: that the revolution of economic
concepts will have the same results as the revolution of the defense
concepts. The results will be seen in the long term, with long-term work.
However, it is necessary for us to understand that this concept includes
all of us, absolutely all of the people. We have fought the war of all the
people and now we will fight the economic battle of all the people, the
economic war of all the people. [applause]

This is clear. The concepts are clear; they are the same ones we presented
at the energy forum in our speech for the students and we are emphasizing
them today. We have reiterated them at this meeting. These ideas are
already included in the plan. Moreover, great progress has been made in the
preparation of the 1986-1990 plan, the forecast plan. The 1984 plan is in a
very advanced state. We have come to the conclusion that we must
immediately redraft the entire plan, the 1986, the 5-year plan, the
forecast plan, on the basic idea that I enunciated at the energy forum.

Savings constitute our most immediate source of resources and are our best
way of increasing our income. The aims -- there are three -- are to resolve
the age-old problem of convertible foreign exchange; to deal with the debt
problem -- as I explained earlier Cuba's convertible exchange debt is the
lowest in Latin America -- and we fulfill our obligations abroad as we have
done until today. Several days ago we commented that we are the only ones
who can pay the debt and we are willing to pay. We are willing to pay and
we can pay. The rest, in many cases... [changes remark] I really don't know
what will happen.

We seek to guarantee the amount of convertible foreign exchange that the
country needs to draw up plans in a rational way, complement our raw
materials with those we bring from the socialist countries, import products
from the socialist countries, and import what we need from covertible
exchange regions, which represent approximately 15 to 17 percent, or 18
percent at the most. This varies according to how the plan is developing.
We need that foreign exchange.

Naturally, for us who live under blockade conditions imposed by the United
States, policy in that direction becomes more difficult to implement. At
the present time they are even persecuting all of our trade operations. If
we sell nickel to Italy, the U.S. Government sends a message saying it does
not understand the move; if we send nickel to Japan or any other country in
the world, an army of government officials are specifically devoted to the
task of pressuring all Western governments so that they don't buy nickel
from us.

Of the increase in exports of marketable products is difficult for any
Latin American country due to fiscal protectionism and other factors, it is
more difficult for us. Let's be aware of that. However, I am fully
convinced that we can win that battle provided our production is adequate.

Considering the types of products, our cigars have not been replaced by any
others in the world. Imperialism took tobacco seeds from Pinar de Rio and
made very effort to produce Cuban tobacco in Jamaica, Santo Domingo,
Nicaragua, and wherever they could find a small island resembling Cuba.
However, they have not succeeded in competing with Cuban cigars. It is well
known the world over that if the tobacco under consideration isn't Cuban,
then it isn't tobacco, so to speak. Something similar happens with French
cognac. It has been said that if the cognac isn't French, then it isn't
cognac. I am willing to admit that French cognac is good. However, the
Bulgarians also manufacture a cognac of a certain quality, as do the
Russians in the Caucasus and Armenia, as well as in Moravia. They
manufacture real cognac. It's easier to make a good cognac than to equal
the quality of Cuban tobacco. Nature has a hand in this. This is the result
of the privileges with which nature endowed our island. The good quality
tobacco that we produce breaks any and all U.S. blockades because while
traveling, many Americans purchase small boxes of Cuban tobacco in Europe
and other parts. Many Americans who work at the offices dealing with the
blockade also smoke Cuban tobacco. [applause]

Despite the fact that they stole the label for our rum, we kept our rum and
the manufacturing experience. Our experience has been so outstanding that
we have begun to produce some whisky too. It has proved to be marketable,
so much so that I have already been asked to export it. Let the Englishmen
not be alarmed because we have no plans to ruin them with our whisky. This
whisky is a national product and has found its own place in the market just
as our books and the ammunition we manufacture at our new plant. There is a
growing number of tourists visiting us.

In addition, many new products are now being exported. I will not mention
these products one by one so as not to cooperate with those blocking us.
There is a foreseeable market for these new products. This demands agreater
effort on our part. We must maintain a high quality in order to remain
competitive. Every manufactured product demands quality. We are also
considering the factors that will determine quality. For this reason, there
is a very real possibility that we can increase our revenues by increasing
our exports of marketable products. We also have an excellent market that
cannot be blocked by imperialists; that is, the domestic market. All that
we can produce will save imports of marketable products. This market cannot
be blocked.

We can save convertible exchange by another means; that is, the
substitution of imports. We can save exchange by not spending it, even if
we must spend 15-20 percent of the exchange value to purchase raw material
for this particular area. We can also save money by importing less. Another
way is to save fuel. Every drop of fuel that we save means cash not spent.
In addition, we have plans to increase our oil production. We are making an
important effort to raise this production to 2 million tons in 5 years. We
are working hard in prospecting for oil and gas with some chance for
success. But let's not count on this. Rather, let's think that we are like
Japan, which has no oil.

Japan imports many raw materials. Natural resources are not the only assets
that exist. They are important; they help. However, one thing has always
been confirmed throughout the ages and more so in socialism; it has even
been proven in capitalism: The important thing is man, the people. The
source of wealth is within ourselves, in our intelligence, skill, efforts,
discipline, and organizational capacity. We are a resource. Let's forget
about gas and oil or miracles like those because it has been proven that
having them does not resolve anything. We know of many oil-rich countries
that are financially bankrupt and it becomes clear that oil is not the key
to resolving the problem.

There are some oil-producing countries that have enormous debts: I believe
our friends the Venezuelans owe approximately $35 billion more or less and
I say more or less because in some countries it is very difficult to
estimate the debt. The government owes, a company owes, private companies
owe, transnationals owe, everyone owes money. When they get ready to
negotiate their debts, one of their worst problems is knowing the actual
amount of the debt. Therefore, there are indeed good prospects for Cuba.
Even though it is harder for us to advance, this should not discourage us.
Difficult tasks have never discouraged us.

Then, in the savings field, in the development of production for
large-scale quality exports, and in the substitution of imports, we can do
a great deal. We have already implemented a number of measures in this
regard and will implement more, regardless of what persecution measures
imperialism may take against us. We will thank them for helping us develop
and revolutionize our concepts.

That is one aspect of the problem. I already mentioned the second one: We
must fulfill our obligations with the socialist countries. We have no
financial problems with the socialist countries, particularly with the
USSR. They [United States] wanted to know how much we owe the USSR. Our
debt with the USSR has no effect on this. We have never had financial
difficulties with the USSR. They have always given us all kinds of
privileges: they have renegotiated the debt, extended it, and postponed it
without interest payments. That is no problem. They give us billions in
credit every 5 years. They grant us increasing resources on credit. For
example, we are building the refinery at Cienfuegos, finishing the Punta
Gorda plant, making electrical installations at the Santa Clara mechanical
factory, and working on the nuclear electricity plant, which will produce a
savings of $500 million in oil when the four units are in operation. The
second unit is in the planning stage and in the future the third unit will
service Occidente. Soviets are cooperating with us in exploring for gas,
oil, minerals, and in oil pipeline projects to transport the oil that they
are producing. When that project produces 2 million [unit of measurement
not given] that oil cannot be transported in open coconuts. We will have to
begin using pipelines. Soviets are helping us build the super tanker port
and there are a number of other economic goals. We receive all of the
credit we need. We receive all of the financial assistance there is.

Based on a fundamental sense of honor and concern for Cuba's interests, and
out of consideration, respect, and cooperation with the socialist
community, which needs our products, we must simply and rigorously
establish the sacred principle that we must fulfill our obligations with
the socialist countries. [applause] If we have a bad sugar harvest because
there are hurricanes, natural catastrophes, a drought, pests, or anything
else, we cannot take sugar away from the USSR to sell it on the world
market. If we need foreign exchange we must receive it some other way and
not by the simplistic, comfortable, irresponsible procedure of taking away
part of the Soviet people's sugar supply to sell it on the open market.
That is not the way to solve the convertible foreign exchange problem. That
is the second point we have enunciated.

The third problem is as important as the previous two or even more
important. I am talking about our development programs. What should we do
with the resources -- and we have many -- we have? What we receive from the
USSR on a 5-year period including merchandise, freight, and credit totals
approximately 20 billion rubles. That is what we receive in equipment,
factories, fuel, wheat, foodstuffs, raw material, lumber, and steel:
approximately 20 billion rubles. That is approximately what we will receive
in the next 5-year period. That has been analyzed and discussed. There was
an excellent CEMA meeting here. It was an excellent opportunity to review
and earnestly discuss the problems and future outlook for relations between
the socialist countries and for ourselves as part of that community. That
is the great privilege of our revolution. How many Third World countries
can say today that they have the honor of being part of the socialist
community, of having unlimited markets there? It was always a struggle for
Cuba and the Third World countries to find markets for their products. We
now have markets open to us. The prices are excellent.

We have resolved the problem of exchange relations -- that terrible problem
of unequal exchange that the Third World nations have with the
industrialized capitalist states -- by trading with the socialist
community. We have those resources and that privilege; a united people; a
revolution; a cultural level higher than that of Third World nations and
some industrialized states -- some European industrialized states have
illiterates -- tens of thousands of technicians, engineers, doctors,
teachers; on any given farm there are dozens of veterinarians, agronomists,
and irrigation specialists; in the oil field we have geologists, I think we
only have one; and hundreds of college graduates in all fields of endeavor.
There are more than 240,000 students attending universities. Of these,
close to 100,000 are full-time students. However, we have also always
received the technical assistance that we have requested from the socialist
area in any field: electricity, steel, agriculture, in any field. All of
their technical know-how has always been placed at our disposal.

We can make the best use of these resources and possibilities. We can find
final, strategic solutions to our economic and development problems. This
is what we have been presenting. This is the task that we must carry out
not in 1 year or a 5-year period, but in three 5-year periods at least. We
must work hard in the 15 years that remain before the year 2000. We must
work diligently, vigorously, and intelligently. This is what we considered
approximately 1 month ago when we met to analyze these problems. The
meeting included the Polithuro, all companeros, the executive committee,
vice president, all ministers, chiefs of the various party sections, and
representatives of mass organizations. Our meeting, which lasted 3 days and
more than 30 hours, was held on the 22d, 23d, and 24th of November. We made
some decisions and expressed many ideas, most of which we will consider
later. We have already adopted the first idea: the 1986 plan, which deals
with what we must do in 1986 considering all of the data from 1984. A
commit tee was created and began its work. This committee was presided over
by Companeros Osmani and Humberto [Osmani Cienfuegos and Humberto Perez,
vice presidents of the Council of Ministers]. All of the other vice
presidents of the Council of Ministers, the ministers, and all party
leaders participated in the meeting. They were assigned the task of working
as if in an emergency, in a permanent meeting, in order to (?awaken) the
leaders of the people's power in every province.

We finally completed the meeting, redrafting the plan with a clear mind,
particularly in the areas of priority investments related to exports of
marketable products. These investments ensure exports to the socialist
countries. These investments represent important works for the population.
Absolute priority is an economic objective. This is the policy we will
follow regarding investments. Our immediate goals are to save fuel and
materials. We also had to consider all inventories and a series of measures
that were explained here this afternoon.

This work really bore fruit. First, it generated great enthusiasm and
interest among all companeros. In this revolution of concepts, methods and
ideas on how to draft, execute, and control plans have also been
revolutionized. This control is to be exerted with the participation of all
sectors of the economy and the government. This is a task for all of the
government. This plan has also become a task for all of the government and
the people. This plan must be for all of the people.

Another idea, spirit, or let's say, defect that was overcome is the fact
that during all of these years in which we began our planning and
development efforts, a sectorial spirit prevailed in all organizations and
ministries. As a result of this, when our plan was drafted every year each
organization defended its sector in relation to the planning organizations
and tried to take advantage of the resources available. When you have so
much in exchange because the educational, sugar, public health, and basic
industry sectors each demand its share of attention. Each sector believed
that its problems were the most important in the country.

While we admired the earnestness with which our companeros defended their
respective areas, we forgot to apply a fundamental principle of socialism.
Socialism does not only mean to nationalize plants, industry, lands, mines,
and all of our resources, as well as our means to production. Socialism
means coordinating and uniting the efforts of all and using the resources
of the entire country with everyone pulling in the same direction rather
than each pulling for himself. It is very difficult to make headway if
everyone pulls in a different direction and we found out about this when we
revised and reviewed the history of every plan in each year.

It is really difficult to wage an economic war with our limited resources.
We completely abolished this idea, spirit, and style and agreed that we
must have a single plan supported by all because the economy is the economy
of all. For instance, the sugar industry has to become aware that its
economy and its sphere of action was not the sugar area only, but the
entire country's economy. A similar thing happened with agriculture, basic
industry, and the food industry. All of these sectors must struggle for the
country's economy.

The resources were to be distributed with this in mind in order to do not
only what was good for an area, but also what was good for the country. In
this spirit we worked and redrafted this plan and will draft the plan for
1986, the 5-year plan, and future ones. All of this will be carried out in
this spirit, methodically, and developing all these basic ideas. We have
devised this plan as the first result of our efforts. Is this plan perfect?
No, because we still have not prepared the plan for the coming year. [as
heard] Decisions had been made with an eye on the coming year with regard
to some equipment purchases. For this reason, we rationalized the plan. We
now have a full year to prepare a much better plan, a plan whose every
detail will be carefully considered and with no strings attached. We have a
full year to prepare the plan for the 5-year period and the other tasks.

Everything involves our goals, what we are doing right, what must be
improved, organization, the steps to be taken within businesses, exports,
duties, relations; in sum, the entire system and all mechanisms
incorporated in our struggle.

In fact, all those industries were considered in the current year's plan.
We have many industries; some are already finalized, others are in the
process of being finalized. They could, by 1986, generate a significant
amount of convertible foreign trade.

In keeping with that spirit, I said that we will work to draft better
plans. The one presented today is in that line with this aim. I said that
all the criteria explained here were followed. Each industrial investment
in every industry was analyzed individually. One hundred and eighty-five of
them are on one list.

What did we do? Among other things we reduced the 1985 construction plan by
320 million [as heard]. That represents approximately $70 million in saving
in fuel and materials that could then be exported. We saved $70 million
alone in products that we ceased to import. This is in the construction
sector alone.

Now, no important project was sacrificed, none. Not even large-scale
projects which represent long-term and costly investments were affected.
Those projects continue including the electronuclear industry with all that
it implies and the projects and imported material needed to set it up. We
are still carrying out projects such as the oil refinery, Punta Gorda,
(Cameun) [not further identified], and all other investments that we are
carrying out in conjunction with the USSR. There are also all the
investments that generate convertible currency.

The main social projects are being carried out. Some of them were mentioned
here, including electrosurgery, children's cardiovascular surgery, and the
related programs. In my opinion, the fact that I out of every 100 children
are born with congenital heart defects is very important. Out of every
150,000 or 160,000 newborn babies, 1,600 are affected.

Based on his international experience, a very qualified Czechoslovak
specialist told me that unless those newborns receive special medical
treatment, 80 percent would die during their first year of life. A large
number of the others might die later. We are setting up cardiovascular
treatment for adults and also for children in the William Soler Center, the
main center for this type of treatment.

This measure should help reduce infant mortality. However, do not think
that it is easy to reduce infant mortality from our current level. These
are very special cases. However, I believe that such medical treatment
could roughly reduce mortality by an estimated 3 percent. If we reduce the
rate to 15 percent through other means, we could also reduce the percentage
through prenatal genetics which we are already implementing.

We continue to reduce the mortality rate. Each additional point will be
very difficult to achieve. It is said that we will apparently reduce it to
15 percent; we could possibly settle for a small fraction under or over,
but Pinar del Rio is at 13.7. It is the Cinderella province. Others are
around 13 percent. We have to find out what areas have the highest
percentages; this is a challenge. This is the beauty of this and all other

Well, this is a very important social program. This concerns all families
in this country; it concerns all the people. I believe that it is more
important than any other project. Well, I believe that they are all
important. I will not single out any as an example. Let us say that the
cardiovascular center, this service that we are establishing, is more
important than a recreation center.

In the same vein, research centers, health projects, also have a great deal
of importance. The medical school program and its implications are
important. Also important is the development of the university's technical
school. Our goal is to have a student body of 50,000 in that school.
Experts in electronics, computers, science, and all kinds of engineers will
be trained. They will constitute new personnel; we are creating wealth. The
program indicates great benefits for our society.

Now, if we have to sacrifice one of those projects to satisfy our main goal
of promoting investments, generating foreign exchange, we would have to
sacrifice it. It has to be that way. Of course, we knew that all our
resources had been targeted for one, two, three, and four different
sectors. Those sectors had absolute priority.

Well, a certain percent of investment goes to those sectors, while other
investment goes to fulfill socialist objectives. More than 40 percent of
investments are targeted to these two aspects. However, there is a
substantial amount left to take care of those having high social
consequences and to carry out other plans including housing plans.

There is a housing plan involving approximately 19,000 houses. This effort,
added to plans implemented by other organizations through their own
efforts, could lead to the construction of 35,000 houses. This shows what
the people can do for themselves; his could lead to 75,000 houses. This is
not a bad small housing program. You must keep these details in mind.

There are many social programs that could benefit...[changes remark] We
have seen that we have had to rationalize resources; we had to reduce them
by 320 million. [as heard] We like and are interested in some projects, but
they must wait.

I told my companeros at the Central Committee that we all like certain
projects, all of us. No one here is without a favorite project. I like some
of them myself. Many of them are related to education, health, research
centers and even sports. We would like to improve sports, build more pools
for our athletes, and improve swimming.

We have said it and this is it No one owns any work here. There is no room
for any kind of subjectivism, everything must follow this criteria. I began
by giving up the ones I defended. However, when I inquired about a
particular center, I was told that it was still there. The same thing
happened with several others, while some were gone. Therefore, I said: I am
very interested in the pediatrics hospitals in Tunas, Ciego, Sancti
Spiritus, and those in east Havana. I recalled that the idea arose with the
dengue, due to the problems faced by those installations. Although the
projects had begun, I said, there is no rush. If necessary, we will wait 1,
2 or 3 years for their completion because these works are just beginning. I
am very interested in finishing these hospitals because they are part of a
very good project. They are going to be much better than the ones we now
have because many of our pediatrics hospitals were transformed for this
purpose. However, we will wait.

Among the investigation centers, as I said, there are some that I consider
fundamental, such as the investigation center for genetic energy [as heard]
and biotechnology which is an area of enormous perspectives. We have made
progress on this and our center is being built at full speed. This project
is of great social, political, economic, and scientific importance. We
reviewed each project one by one and determined which already had the
necessary equipment. In this way, we prepared a plan based on this
criteria. All of our investments...[changes remark] Although I cannot say
everything was perfect, since we may have left out something that might
have been more important than another, I think that we achieved a lot in
such a short time. I think things will be even better next year. I also
think that if we continue to work in this manner, with the work force we
have, with the country's resources, and with the materials we produce, we
will be able to give attention to all fields. By giving attention to
priorities, we can continue with our social programs. In the social field,
we have a goal to double registration in primary schools. To achieve this,
we have assigned funds to Santiago, Tunas, (Olguin), Granma, [words
indistinct]. I think that we can continue giving them our help. If we work
correctly, there will be enough for all. However, we must understand that
we cannot take stones, cement, sand, and so on from one project to be used
in another. I must prevent any expression of anarchy or chaos, and develop
a strict program. Everyone knows this. There will be possibilities, as we
said, of doing something.

Growing flowers does not require foreign exchange. I mean that if we must
improve the green areas that belong to the people's power; for example, and
there will be many other things too, if it can be done without violating
the principles we have established here it can be done. This does not mean
tying hands. It means rationing and, of course, total discipline and that
each work, each investment must be planned and analyzed. During this first
phase, it is very important that decisions be centralized. Works at all
levels must be analyzed in order to determine if they clash, particularly
those that are carried out by the people's power. It is easier when it
comes to the works carried out by the Construction Ministry because we know
exactly which ones they are and where they are located. Therefore, we can
decide the ones that will go, the ones that will not, and where we will
concentrate more efforts. The construction carried out by the people's
power is more autonomous. Thus, it is necessary that these groups make
decisions in close coordination with the central group and that each time
they plan an investment they ask themselves: Should we go ahead? Are there
any doubts? Then, they should consult and find out how much must be spent
in cement and wood in order to comply with these principles. What I mean is
that there is a lot that can be done based on the country's development of
the construction field and materials. Some works do not require much fuel,
transport expenses, and the like.

This is the criteria used to develop the plan for 1986. I am sure that it
will cover all of our needs. There might be things that you expect to have
right now and that we would like to have right now but that we cannot build
right now. However, perhaps in 10-15 years we may be able to build many
more works. This will never be possible if we continue on this pattern. We
are going to put aside some of our current desires and aspirations, but we
are going to multiply our capacity to do things in the future, which will
be much better, more stimulating, and more encouraging than the ones we can
do now. We are going to multiply our capacity. Then, with solid foundations
based on solid plans, on a solid economy...[sentence incomplete]

These are some of the ideas, so to speak. I have taken this opportunity to
go into details in order to inform the population because this will be a
battle for all. Some of the savings measures are strong. In two words, the
plan increased 7.4 [percent] and it will grow between 4 and 5 percent. I
repeat: The percentages are not important. What we must find out and
analyze in the Assembly next year and everywhere is the fields in which we
are growing and what the 5 percent means. The savings measures are always
strong. Although the 1985 plan is 4 to 5 percent larger than this year's,
we must work with less fuel and less electricity. This is how it has been
planned. We will even have 0.1 percent less fuel oil [preceding two words
in English] to produce electricity than in 1983. We will have less diesel
[preceding word in English] and gasoline than in 1984. There will be less
fuel of all kinds than in 1984. Our companeros, particularly the companeros
in the sugar industry, know how to save fuel. They starting by saving
approximately $500,000 in crude production. This year they will save
considerable sums in the sugar industry and other areas by storing
sugarcane residue [bagazo] and using it as fuel.

The situation is tense. The goals are tense and they demand effort and real
savings. We must not look at how much others save, but how much each one of
us can save. In some cases it is not easy, as a worker who received a prize
during the energy forum said. He noted that he had saved a number of tons
of fuel at the Santiago de Cuba sugar mill, if I am not mistaken. He said:
I saved a lot, but only after saving large amounts and after a previous
large savings. He meant to say that it is becoming more and more difficult
to save 1 ton. In other words, we must establish savings levels.

Another established principle, and we fought for this, is that we must
solve the problem without affecting the population, the levels of our
population. In other words, we must [words indistinct] without affecting
the things that the population already has. The plan has been based on
this. Some gratuities have been mentioned here that can contribute to
savings, as well as some for social consumption, such as cigars, tobacco,
and that kind of thing. This is convenient because they are exportable
funds and also a savings in social consumption. Some levels are maintained,
while others are increased in some areas, and certain productions.
Consumption increases in some areas and the rest remain the same. I told
the students at the energy forum that we must work with what we have. We
must not think about increasing what we have in the personal and social
aspects. Inevitably, there will always be something, but this does not
have... [changes remark] The important thing is for us to solve the
fundamental strategic problems in the next 15 years.

Ah, if we were in Haiti it would be hard to tell the population we must
make do with what we have. The same situation would occur in many other
parts of Latin America where people are dying from hunger, facing
unemployment, and poverty; where children are begging on the streets; where
there is illiteracy, sickness, and a high child mortality rate; and where
people lack everything. It would be hard to tell them you must hold on. I
really must ask myself if this policy is something unbearable or impossible
for us.

This is why I told the youth: You must be the champions of these idcas and
strategies because this is the world we will bequeath to you.

This generation will bequeath this world to today's students, who will be
30, 32, 35 [years of age] and to today's Federation of Intermediate Level
Students [FEEM]. With the expected life span, by the year 2000 they will
have lived less than half of their expected existence. They are the ones
that must look out for the world they will receive or the world we will
build because this is something for all youth, for all those under 25 years
of age, for all those under 30 years of age. Therefore, there are two
problems. Our generation has a responsibility to the future generation and
that problem is what kind of country will we give them within a world that
is already complicated, a world that has many problems to be resolved. We
must decide what kind of a country we will bequeath to them in the next 15

The youths also have a problem to face: What kind of a country will we have
in the year 2000? What kind of a country will we struggle for? Because that
country will be their country, their resources, their economic, technical,
scientific, and material possibilities. It is their duty and our
responsibility. For this reason, I believe that the youth must be the
champions. We will also struggle because it is our responsibility. It will
be difficult, but luckily, those calamities faced by other countries are
calamities that we have already resolved. The truth is that in these past
few years we have put forth many efforts and resources to resolve those
problems. How did we do it? It could have been the other way around. We
could have put forth everything to resolve the problem of development and
then face our problems. Well, we had international solidarity; we had the
cooperation of the socialist countries. For us the path of revolution was
not so full of sacrifice and we were able to use many of our resources from
the very first moment. We began with the defense of the homeland, the
literacy campaign, the rural hospitals, the struggle against unemployment,
the beginning of a reforestation plan, sending teachers to every corner of
the country and to every province, sending doctors all over the country. We
began to develop sports and cultural activities, and the great social
reforms were made.

The first urban reform -- today's urban reform means nothing and
economically it does not affect us in the least -- the urban reform we made
in 1959 put tens of millions of pesos into circulation. It liberated, it
took, those funds from the bourgeois but they went to the people. Today's
urban reform does not involve an immediate increase in the circulation of
funds. Agrarian reform released the peasants from the payment of rent and
even taxes. It also released tens of millions that were put into
circulation in all the country's survival. The country showed its capacity
to survive, to begin its socialist development. In the first few years we
advanced very little in the economic area. We could not advance, but many
many problems were resolved. There were possibilities for an education for
everyone and possibilities for a job for everyone. Unemployment was
eradicated. The scourge of mendicancy, prostitution, gambling, and drugs
all disappeared. We were able to provide health services and education to
all the people. We resolved very important problems. We were able to
increase social security which was something that did not exist.

When the revolution triumphed, we found that all of these funds had been
embezzled. There were some retired sugar workers who were receiving 6
pesos. We extended social security services to include the whole country
and today we invest almost 1 billion [currency not specified] per year in
social security. We advanced; we learned from experiences; the revolution
became strong and was institutionalized; we drafted our Constitution; we
formed our people's power. This was an enormous advance; we corrected
mistakes; we adopted correct economic policies and correct methods of
direction; we adopted the socialist formula of equal work, well, not equal
work, each one does his own work. At some moment we overcame that reality,
that unavoidable process that was very costly economically. We held our
first party congress and we made our plans.

In these past 10 years we have advanced considerably, the people's power
have demonstrated their power and their strength not only in the area of
attention to the people, development, and the solution of the country's
problems, but also in the military area. In other words, we have been
constantly advancing. Sometimes the advance has been slow and at other
times at a faster pace until these past few years which have been a
culmination. We gathered experience and wisdom from the revolution, from
the party, from the cadres, and from the two great revolutions, which have
been in the defense and economic areas. We have done this with tremendous
resources, with great social advances. We can see this when we hear of the
number of children who are attending school -- more than 90 percent of the
children between the ages of 6 and 16 are attending schools, more than
240,000 students are attending universities. We have 256,000 or 258,000
professors and teachers, 20,500 doctors, tens of thousands of engineers and
architects, hundreds of thousands of technicians formed by the revolution.
We have an organized party with experienced leaders; we have powerful,
enthusiastic, and revolutionary youth, proven by the youth and the students
we have. Well, these are enormous forces. Properly used, these forces can
set any goal and achieve it.

With what they have, I believe that our people can make such a decision and
devote it to development, to a strategic and intelligent development as a
basic move. We will continue to improve.

The situation regarding the health sector and doctors was discussed here.
Where are we lacking? Let's take a look at the serious problems that we are
going to face. In 1983 we had 1 doctor for every 526 inhabitants. In 1984
we now have I for every 486 inhabitants. In the coming year, with all of
this effort and rational policies, and with this austerity plan that I have
outlined, we will have 1 doctor for every 445 inhabitants. Soon, we will
have I for less than every 400 inhabitants. Doctors are branching out; this
year more than 200 went into community medicine. Next year 2,400 or 2,500
doctors are going to graduate, and 500 of them will go into community

Look at all the possibilities that lie ahead and these doctors do not cost
a cent. They are going to tend and provide security for the people. These
doctors' (?task) will be to struggle to reduce the infant mortality rate
and the mortality rate of toddlers, as well as to struggle to prolong the
lives of adults. They have shown us that they are working; they have
demonstrated extraordinary experience and potential for the future.

In the education sector, the first primary schoolteachers that specialized
in first grade education are beginning to graduate. Ways are being studied
to improve the universities, the methods for enrollment, and so forth. We
have talked about this in Central Committee meetings and also about
cultural matters.

Our newspapers are already included in our investments. We have acquired
excellent modern equipment to print and distribute newspapers in the center
of the country and in the eastern sector of the country. The plan that I am
proposing does not mean that we must become stagnant in the social sector
or anything like that. With what we have created and what we have amassed
we can advance a great deal; but, above all, in terms of quality.

I have no doubt that year after year we will remain vigilant and reduce the
infant mortality rate further, even if it is only a fraction of a percent.
We will continue to lengthen our people's life expectancy rate and provide
them with better conditions for health, education, culture, recreation,
sports, and even with more material things, although this is not the focus
of our efforts. The philosophy behind this strategy is to give priority to
these other things above all. Once we have given priority to and have used
up all of these resources, then we will look into distributing the other
things in the manner that will be most convenient and beneficial for our

This is what it is all about: solving our problems in the best social
manner, better than any other Third World country, and better than any
other Latin American country. We have a clear path ahead of us; a sure path
that is closely linked to the socialist community and to the Soviet Union.

This is the future; let no one doubt this. Socialism is the future. The
imperialists and the reactionaries are waging an increasingly larger
campaign. They say that socialism has problems, that it is experiencing a
crisis. However, the ones who are experiencing problems and facing a real
crisis are the capitalists. I have been hearing about capitalist plans.
Here, we can now analyze how many doctors we are going to have in the year
2000, in the year 1990, in 1995 -- how many doctors, teachers, and
professors we are going to have; how many specialists in the cultural
field, engineers, technicians and skilled workers we are going to have.

In turn, the capitalists are estimating how many unemployed persons they
are going to have in 1990. They are estimating figures for unemployment in
this and that country in 1985, 1986, 1990. And the curious thing, the
amazing thing about this is that they have even planned their unemployment
for the future. They are also able to project figures for their debt and I
believe that they can also do so for their social problems. They can
predict [chuckles] what problems they are going to have in the year 2000,
and what is going to become of the Third World and Latin America with their
vast unresolved problems.

I believe that we have a very large duty and responsibility in the economic
sector. We must sharpen our economic awareness and not allow ourselves to
become lulled by the glory and the victories that we have achieved in many
areas. We must bear in mind that in the economic sphere our cadres, our
people in general, have all had one goal, one idea. We knew what was needed
in all sectors when the revolution came to power. We knew that employment
was needed for everyone -- employment for everyone; that we needed 20,000
teachers -- 20,000 teachers; that we needed a certain number of doctors, a
certain number of doctors [repeats himself]; that we needed a certain
number of tractors and a certain number of buses for public transportation;
and that we needed this much of this and this much of that.

We have spent 25 years listening to all of our companeros talk about the
things that we need and asking for the things that we need. But the most
incredible thing of all, we saw them receive the things that they needed
during these 25 years. The education sector received all that it needed, as
well as the public health and cultural sectors, the universities, the
schools, the newspapers, and the scientific sector.

The sports sector received what it needed, as did the social security
sector. They would say I have a certain number of people in line for
retirement and I am going to need 150 million [currency not specified].
Another sector needed 300 million [currency not specified]. A certain
amount was needed by the sports sector for sports installations; a certain
amount for waterworks and sewers, water for the people, for roads, for
highways, etc. Here, I am not talking about economic development but about
social needs.

This was the situation before the people's government and also with the
people's government. We have had 9 or maybe 8 years of the people's
government now. I would like to ask all of you a question: Has any province
or municipality ever been denied the funds they asked for in their annual
budget requests to pay doctors, teachers, or nurses?

I believe that before the triumph of the revolution, there were
approximately 800 nurses in Cuba. Today, we have 35,000 nurses and we have
another 30,000 or more middle-level health technicians [tecnicos medio de
la salud].

We have approximately 650,000 workers in the areas of education and health,
in these two areas alone. I have almost lost count of the budgets, but they
are somewhere in the area of 2 billion [currency not specified] or more.
They have always received all the funds that they requested for these
services. We could have seen a case where they did not have a certain piece
of equipment because this type of equipment did not exist, but they had as
much money as they requested. They had funds for day care centers, for
cultural plans, and for all that was beautiful, good, and noble. No one
ever lacked these funds. If they experienced transportation problems or
some other kind of problem, they were resolved. That is the truth.

Yet, in these past 25 years I have never heard anyone ask where this money
came from. Where did these funds come from? What mystery, what miracle, or
as the Central Committee said, what kind of an Aladin's lamp can give
everything that is requested. These means that all the provinces,
municipalities, and all the organizations that want to add a sixth grade,
have more teachers or 80,000 cultural groups, 1 million pioneers or school
lunch halls, boarding schools, scholarships, or university facilities. I
believe that there are currently 50,000 scholarships being funded, when the
revolution began, we could fund none. When the revolution began, we did not
have boarding schools, but only a small school for orphans. We did have a
welfare assistance school and some rural civic institutes. However, today
we have more than 1 million students who have lunch at school; some not
only have lunch but also breakfast. We have more than 1 million studying on
scholarships. This country had practically no labor lunch halls. In the
many service centers, production centers, and farms, how many labor lunch
halls do we have today? How many workers have lunch at their job centers?
Many. We have done all of this over these years. We must realize that
everything that everyone asked for was possible. The miracle was possible
and this has been the truth. Yet, no one ever asked himself the source of
this money.

I am going to give the source. The funds were possible partly because of
the efforts of our people. The funds, those that allowed us to make these
advances and resolve our problems, came from international solidarity, the
solidarity of the socialist area and particularly from the USSR. That is
the truth. They paid us a price for our sugar, nickel, and other products.
They gave us credits. They have always fulfilled their commitments to us
even though we were not able to fulfill our commitments to them on several
occasions. We were not able to fulfill our commitments because of a damaged
crop or because our production goal was not achieved. We have this
experience. We have put forth our best efforts to achieve a high
production. We set our goals to produce 10 million tons of sugar when the
price of sugar was set at 6 cents because we wanted to buy the things we
needed from the socialist area. But, we were not able to meet our goal of
10 million tons and we were not able to meet the sugar quota as established
in the plan. Nevertheless, we received all of the products that they had
promised to export to Cuba. Then came the rust and this also affected our
production. Yet, it was in 1970 that our sugar production dropped. We
experienced the rust and other situations.

However, what I wish to state is that none of these things affected us
directly. None of the problems we experienced -- if we did not meet a
quota, if we had some plague, drought, any kind of objective or subjective
problem -- had an effect on the amount invested in education, public
health, culture, or social programs. These expenses grew every year and all
continued to be carried out throughout these 26 years. It is true that this
has been a privilege, but I also think that it was because of us. All was
solved, all was secure, and no one ever asked about increasing our exports
to the socialist countries or increasing our exports to the convertible
area. Each one drafted his plans and make his requests but never asked
whether, if production increased, could exports also be increased. That is
the truth. This basic custom is another thing that must be eradicated with
this revolution of economic concepts that I have been discussing. We have
enough maturity, experience, and wisdom to understand this and by asking
and discussing things with responsibility this can be done by showing
interest in whether the price of sugar has gone up or down and whether this
is good or bad.

Even when the price of sugar dropped, none of these plans was affected. Of
all the plans I mentioned, none was affected. Our people never suffered the
consequences of any of these situations. Because of its seriousness, our
country was granted credits and on many occasions, under situations such as
this when the price of sugar dropped, the level of credits was increased.
This is a matter we must study well; it must be done by the members of the
assembly, all of the alternate members; and the people because I know that
you are constantly asking for things: When will this street be repaired?
When will water be received here? How can this be solved? You will have to
educate the voters and explain to them what can and cannot be done.

I am going to mention an example. Before the November meeting and before we
drafted this entire plan, do you have any idea of the budget increases
requested by the organizations and the people's power? They amounted to
more than 600 million pesos. No one asked whether the price of sugar had
dropped or whether exports had increased; Instead, following their
26-year-old custom, they went to the Finance Ministry and requested
approximately 650 million additional pesos to spend in 1985, above what had
been spent in 1984. In other words, they have asked to spend in a year what
the entire Republic of Cuba spent in 1958, the year before the revolution.
The rate of requests for yearly spending equals what the Republic of Cuba
spent prior to the triumph. However, I know that these funds will be spent
on noble purposes, very noble because I know that in the hearts and minds
of each of the companeros there are thousands of things they wish for the
people and that they dream of seeing fulfilled.

Well, 389 million [currency not specified] was cut from what we requested.
Budgeted expenditures were going to grow between 8 and 9 (?percent). The
amount we requested was reduced and now it is being further reduced to less
than 5 percent.

Very well, when one analyzes this, one realizes that no one is unemployed,
no one is adversely affected, and no specific area is adversely affected.
The budget for public health was increased by 8 percent and education by 5
to 6 percent. The budget was also increased for culture, and for higher
education at the university it increased by 10 percent. There were
increases in almost all areas except sports, as we said yesterday. This is
not due to any particular reason, but to last year's expenditures to stage
some sports events.

All fields expanded; nevertheless, 389 million [currency not specified] was
cut from the requested amount. The actual increase was 240 million
[currency not specified] This is a good example of the rationalization
process. When all of our companeros of the people's power analyzed all
resources in the budget, which by the way, was done in a way that offered
great help to the central group, they all marveled at how services cold be
maintained, even improved, and how plans could be followed despite only
having the 240 million [currency not specified] assigned.

There is an interesting fact about our 1985 plan. The initial construction
plan was reduced by 220 million pesos, but curiously enough production,
stones, sand, and construction materials increased. What does `this
represent? A great thing: The people are receiving the same materials they
were given in 1984, the delivery of materials has increased, and there is
more available materials. Believe me, that stone and sand is not for
exporting. It is for domestic consumption,

What happened in Havana previously? When construction was taking place,
workers often stood still because there was not enough stone and sand,
production dropped, important projects were delayed. We have now increased
the production plan and reduced the construction plan. We have increased
material supply. What does this mean? That the workers will be much more
productive because we know that many projects have stopped and that
productivity is therefore low because there are no materials.

This construction plan which I am speaking about is a giant step toward
rationalization and production, above all toward production. This is what
it is all about and we plan to continue perfecting this. We want to study
plans in the area of fishery and increase production in the area of
fishery. Above all, plans for the artificial breeding of certain species
that should generate imports [as heard], important amounts of imports [as
heard] in relatively few years; that is, exports in relatively few years.
Let us find out what must be done and what must be moved in that area. We
must calmly analyze whether we can take something from what has been
accumulated here from work which is not of great importance and put it to
use in another area. Work on this. We are going to follow a rationalization
effort in this whole area. The workers will not be affected by this change
in plans. It will prove, and we are already proving, that our potential is
the north, that we have great possibilities, and that we can still save a
lot although it is true that in the past few years we have been saving. I
feel that an example of this effort has been the sugar industry and the
sugar industry workers. Some could say that they are also the examples of
spenders of oil, but I do not think that many people can accuse others of
spending too much and of not saving enough because in the area of
agriculture we have spent quite a lot, as we have done in construction. I
can remember instances when we had to adopt measures because the driver
would not only drive away with the truck -- this is quite common and no one
knows how much fuel is used when this happens because there is no control
of the vehicles and equipment -- but also with a tractor trailer
[laughter]; instances when the driver was seen driving down 5th Avenue in
the tractor trailer going home to sleep or to visit his girlfriend. We are
not against him visiting his girlfriend, but we are against those visits
being made in a tractor trailer. He probably did not take the bulldozer
[preceding word in English] because it would take him too long to get
there. [laughter] There was a lack of control and weaknesses, but much of
this has been overcome. I still remember those days.

In the country, our agricultural industry also requested tractors. How
many? Many, as many as they wanted. This is why we ended up having so many,
approximately 80,000 more or less, between the sugar industry and others.
We have heard that many times a tractor, with a 25-pound load and three men
on it, traveled 10 km on the road wasting fuel, damaging the tires, and so
on. We know it; you know it; we all know it. We have struggled against this
but we must also say that we cannot state that we have saved; we cannot say
that during these 25 years we have put all of our resources to their best
use. No, we cannot say it. It is true that we had our learning process, but
the fact that I explained, the fact that we have always had everything
without asking the source, has created a spending mentality, created a
mentality of not saving too much, and created a consuming rather than
exporting mentality. It created a consuming rather than a producing
mentality, an import rather than export mentality. I need this and that.
That is the truth.

We have done many good things and I feel that we have had much success in
many areas. The country is full of roads, highways, dams, and schools, 500
rural schools. We have excellent schools such as the vocational schools in
every capital of each province, and the physical education, sports,
pre-university, technological, secondary, and military schools. Now, we
have the pre-military schools to train the boys that will graduate at those
schools. We have thousands of doctors, and teachers who are excellent
people with an excellent spirit. We cannot overlook the many pages of
courage, heroism, and determination written by our people during these
years and their internationalist spirit and determination. I am sure that
even the enemy must be impressed by our people's determination because when
they threatened us we did not tremble or hesitate, not here or any place
else. We did not become nervous, soften, or grant any concessions, even
though we knew that they were threatening us with destruction, with

We remained calm and we were able to face the situation and to prepare
ourselves, organize, and develop this enormous strength. Many virtues were
involved here. In pointing this out, I am not denying in the least the
extraordinary virtue displayed by our people and by our cadres, but I
cannot say that they have been excellent administrators or that they have
known how to save. To the contrary, I must say that we have spent a lot,
although we have accomplished excellent things. In cement works, for
example, we have invested in factories, businesses, roads, schools, and
hospitals, in the economic and social development of our country.

This was excellent, but I believe that if we had invested these resources
in the best possible way we could have done much more. I believe that if we
knew at that time what we know today, if we had had more experience, and if
we had had these concepts before, we could have done much more. In reality,
we learned many things as we went along and we have just discovered some.
In reality, the enemy has actually helped us, both in defense and in the
economic sector. With its blockade, with the increasing severity of its
blockade, and with its crisis, which is a crisis of its system [words
indistinct] to think a little, and will come to realize that they are
facing unsolvable problems. But, we must thank them, we must give them
thanks because with what we have now, the strength, the experience, and the
organization we can see what must be done in the next 15 years.

Twenty-six years have already passed. The first few years were very
difficult; there wasn't even time to sit down and think about the people.
We have become stronger. We have increased national security. We will
observe what is going on in the world. I spoke to the students about this.
We explained our attitude and the importance that we gave to the need to
bring about a climate of peace and detente in the world, which is a vital
need. We have a lot of hope for development and progress. We have already
achieved a lot of goals that other countries have set for themselves in the
social sector over the next 20 or 30 years.

We have seen health plans for the year 2000 at the United Nations and these
world health plans for the year 2000 are below the goals that we have
already achieved. There are goals for the year 2000 in the education
sector. If they want to they can even make plans for the year 2020 in the
education sector because our educational achievements are already higher
than those that the world will obtain in the year 2020, if it obtains them,
that is. Unless, of course, a social and revolutionary miracle occurs. At
their current pace, however, they can set their sights for the year 2020.
This is the reality.

What can we do in the next 15 years? What we have done in these past 26
years can be overshadowed by what we have already done. [sentence as heard]
When we measure what we can do, not in terms of quantity, but in the
quality of what we do and the good sense and good direction of what we do,
in terms of quality we can make sure that the next 15 years will be much
more productive than the 26 years that have already passed. I am sure of
this. There is a large multiplication factor involved. We have accumulated
human and intellectual resources here and, in the same manner in which we
have not employed our economic resources in the best possible fashion,
neither have we employed our human resources in the best possible fashion.
We have also discussed this at the Central Committee level, and we have not
employed them in the best possible fashion. This is not our primary
concern. What we are concerned about now is producing several types of raw

What I have said at times, however, is that if a service center can be run
with 1,000 workers, why should we employ 1,500 instead? This is 500 more
which means mess halls for 500 more, rations for 500 more, transportation
for 500 more, housing for 500 more, and salaries for 500 more workers.

When we make a thorough analysis of how we employ our human resources, we
will find that that there is an enormous reserve. There is no hurry about
this, though, it will come in due time. It takes time to transfer from one
activity to another and we do not want anyone to be left without a job.

Nevertheless, I believe that in the next 15 years we can transfer many
human resources from nonproductive areas. If there are 25 workers in one
place and 10 of them are excess, wouldn't it be better to transfer those
10, who are not selling anything, to some other productive job such as a
doctor in the community, helping to build homes, or filling a vacancy in
the services sector, all of these are productive activities? We have an
enormous reserve of human resources if we can transfer them to productive

However, this is not an immediate task, it must be studied first. We must
look at it in depth; but, I repeat, the reserves are vast. I believe that
in the next 15 years we can do the job with much better quality than that
which we have obtained thus far, making rational efforts, making optimum
use of our human and material resources. This is a duty not only to our
country, but to the world, to the socialist movement, and to socialism
because, I repeat, socialism has possibilities that capitalism will never
have. Socialism works. It has difficulties, but will undoubtedly overcome
them in the future. Now, we cannot say that it will be in the year 1990,
1995, or 2000, but the capitalist system will not be able to achieve this.
The capitalist system is experiencing a crisis. It will have to
philosophize; it will have to ask itself if its system can survive for much
longer and if the world can survive with this system that has been imposed
on the Third World.

In view of those who are quick to slander and speak about a crisis in
socialism, I cited some figures at a central committee meeting that I would
like to mention here in closing.

In 1981, 31 years after 1950, the Soviet Union, in 30 years after the war,
came to produce the same amount that the entire world produced 31 years
earlier. In 1950, for example, energy production in billions of kilowatts
per hour was 988 kilowatts [as heard] in the whole world. In 1981 the USSR
alone produced 1.326 billion kilowatts, and 4 [as heard] years have passed
since then.

Regarding petroleum, including liquid gas, in 1950 the entire world
produced 521 million [tons]. In 1981, the USSR alone produce 608.8 million
tons. In 1950 the entire world produced 191 billion cubic meters of natural
gas. In 1981 the USSR produced 434 billion cubic meters.

Regarding synthetic resins and plastics, in 1950 the entire world produced
1.6 [unit of measurement not specified]. In 1981 the USSR produced 4.1
[unit of measurement not specified].

As for mineral fertilizers with 100 percent of the nutrients removed, in
1950 the entire world produced 15 million [unit of measurement not
specified]. In 1981 the USSR alone produced 26 million [unit of measurement
not specified].

As for cement, in 1950 the entire world produced 134 million [unit of
measurement not specified]... In 1981 the USSR alone produced 127.2 [unit
of measurement not specified].

In the Western world and in the whole world, the United States was
considered the main industrial power. Europe was more industrialized and
less destroyed, and the USSR was destroyed with 20 million dead and who
knows how many wounded and invalids. In 30 years, in 31 years that country
has managed to produce as much as the rest of the world produced 30 or 31
years before.

What was the USSR's situation after the war? In 1945? I ask myself whether
a society or a people has ever done something like this. However, is that
all the USSR or its people have done? I feel that on an occasion such as
this one it is appropriate, for our revolutionary learning, to deepen our
revolutionary awareness, and to understand the reality, to remember how the
Soviets made their revolution. They did not have one of the most
industrialized countries, quite the contrary. Germany, the UK, France, the
United States, and many other countries were above the USSR when World War
I erupted. World war, destruction, the October revolution, intervention,
that enormous country was in pieces and part of it was occupied but they
resisted amid hunger and very difficult conditions and they won. They began
the construction of socialism in 1920, 1921, or 1922. They began to try and
recover the rate of production they had before the war. This they did with
help from no one; no one at all. They did it on their own, exporting the
wheat they had and needed to feed themselves in this situation of hunger.
They exported their wheat to pay for machinery and some equipment. This is
something that everyone knows and that no one can deny. They exported the
cotton they needed to dress and the leather they needed to make their
shoes. This they did many times.

Under these difficult conditions and without help from anyone they began
the construction of socialism. Their first 5-year plan came in 1928. In 15
years and with much sacrifice and without anyone's help, they
industrialized the country. The first 5 years had not ended before fascist
Germany invaded her and destroyed tens of thousands of towns, thousands of
cities, and factories Amid the war they were able to transfer industrial
areas, reorganize production, promote production, and develop their
equipment. The Western world, exaggerating as usual, gave them some aid
with raw materials.

But it was the Soviet industry that produced all of the weapons, tanks, and
cannons, And the country, once again destroyed -- in less than 20 years
that country was destroyed twice -- and amid that tremendous and inhuman
destruction only a country like the USSR could resist the fascist hordes
and defeat the fascist hordes. Despite the surprise attack, and it was a
surprise attack, we could -- if we wanted to because it was a surprise
attack -- analyze the mistakes made, but we are not interested in this. We
are interested in analyzing what happened, the aggression, the losses, the
casualties, and the destruction. Then, in 31 years, they were capable of
reaching a level of production equal to that of the whole world in 1950. I
challenge the capitalists to find a similar example in any other era in a
capitalist country. Not only that, the USSR also fought against illiteracy,
unhealthiness, and they did all of this with their own efforts and

It is good to remember this because we had the privilege of having a
socialist area to help us economically. When we needed oil, we received
oil; when everyone refused to sell us a single bullet, they sent us
weapons. Today, we are not only making social works, but we have also built
projects like the electronuclear plants, the new refinery, and industries
that cost hundreds of millions of pesos We had a great privilege. We did
not have to pay the price of sacrifice that the Soviets had to pay and that
is the truth. We were even able to allow ourselves the luxury, unaware of
course, of spending without worrying a lot about our material resources,
such as fuel. Today we are aware of all this within the party, the party
directorate, and the government, as well as among the National Assembly
companeros and I feel, among all of the people. For this reason, I have
expanded on this and I have gone into details, explaining things with the
same sincerity with which I have always explained them, with the same trust
in (?my) moral values because of the importance of truth, and with the same
feeling that we will achieve these goals. I do not underestimate what we
have done to this day. We have done a lot, but I believe that we can and
must do more, and that we must do our best. This is what it is all about;
this is what the strategy we have analyzed and discussed in depth is based
on. We have discussed it at government meetings and have also discussed it
in depth during this 3-day meeting of the Central Committee. We have
discussed it today.

Now, we have a year to work on it and a year to plan the party's congress.
We also have a year to work on our program; let us draft our first program.
It would be excellent to see all of these well-though-out and analyzed
ideas included in the party's program to be presented during our congress.
Oh, to reach this with the strength the revolution has in all its areas; in
the area of defense, in the area of politics. We have tremendous political
forces. To go to the congress with these ideas and based on these ideas
draft our program and hold our congress; to be able to say that we held our
congress because we were brave, because we were not frightened, because we
were determined, because we were strengthened, because we were determined
to win the right to go forward with our revolution, and because we were
willing to pay any price. If the enemy has clearly realized that if was not
easy to frighten, attack, or destroy us, and if there is peace in the
world, even better We will observe what happens regarding the USSR-U.S.
talks, the meetings in Geneva, and so on.

I believe the world needs detente and that it needs peace. However, when we
see millions and millions of Third World peoples who do not have the most
remote hope for a solution and Africa where an apocalypse is practically
coming about with the evergrowing drought that needs the efforts of the
whole world to overcome, a continent being exterminated because of hunger
and drought, we realize that the only hope for this world is peace. If
there is no peace the dangers in our region will increase. Nevertheless, we
will not be disheartened and we will continue forward with this program
because the enemy must know that if it attacks us it will have to pay a
price 10 times greater than the one it would have had to pay some 5 or 6
years ago. It will have to pay a price as great as defeat and humiliation,
which is a price that cannot be paid.

We hope that they have become aware of this. We do not want to carry out
with this first, but I feel that we have increased our level of security
with our own strength and we have increased it considerably. The outlook
for a future of peace and respect has increased for us. I do believe this.
Yet, we are also ready for everything else. We do not build up hopes. We
must not build up hopes. We are prepared for everything: for peace and for
struggle. [applause]

If we have peace we will be able to carry out this program and we will
struggle for peace. One of the ways to struggle for peace is by what we
have done: Be stronger. With our strength we threaten no one, but with our
strength we can prevent a successful aggression against our country. Our
strength is a deterrent factor. It is not offensive in the military area.
It is defensive and in the moral area it is highly honorable The ideas and
example of our people cannot be stopped. Being stronger and growing
stronger is a very important idea. With this we have more possibilities to
build that future. Today, we can say that we are truly prepared to face
all. What will we do if the future holds a confrontation? I believe we will
know what to do and do it properly. What will we do if we have peace? I
believe we will know what to do and do it properly. I believe that these
two ideas are important and that they are the ones that mark the destiny
and the future of our people. This gives us great security in all areas and
I sincerely hope for peace in the world and peace for us. [applause]

Fatherland or death, we will win!


The following corrections pertain to the item headlined "Castro Addresses
Closing of ANPP Session," published in the 2 January Latin American DAILY

Page Q 17, third paragraph, line 13 reads: ...will service the west...
(changing "Occidente" to "the west")

Page Q 19, eighth paragraph, line 5 reads: ...oil refinery at Punta Gorda
known as CAME I [CEMA I], and all other... (clarifying passage)

Page Q 21, second paragraph, line 5 reads: ...pediatrics hospitals in Las
Tunas, Ciego [de Avila]... (clarifying province names)

Page Q 21, third paragraph, line 14 reads: ...Santiago de Cuba, Las Tunas,
Holguin... (clarifying province names)