Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Address

F1080430 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 0159 GMT 8 Jun 85

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at the closing ceremony of the conference
on the situation of women today in Latin America and the Caribbean, held at
Havana's palace of Conventions -- live]

[Text] Latin American women comrades, Cuban women comrades, men comrades,
there are some here. [laughter] I was to have elaborated on some ideas on
the closing of this event tonight, but after listening attentively and in
detail to each one of the reports from the committees and the final speech,
very few things remain for me to say tonight. [laughter] I will make a few
comments, discuss a few issues, and see what final conclusions we can draw
from this event. I believe one of its characteristics has been its
magnitude, the diversity of the political, ideological, and social sectors
represented in this meeting. It can be said that this is one of the largest
events to take place in our country. In addition, this meeting was
characterized by the quality of the participants. I sincerely believe that
this is one of the best meetings, one of the best events, of the best
quality, that we have ever witnessed.

I had the opportunity to participate in one of the committees, Committee No
1. I also had the opportunity to visit two other committees. I could not
attend the culture committee, even though I had the intention of attending
one of the sessions. But that day, the culture committee had concluded its

From what I actually saw, and the impression I have of what occurred in
Committee No 1, the same should have also occurred in the other committees.
I don't have any reason to think that the most capable comrades, the
brightest, were all on Committee No 1. I believe, from some of the comrades
that I know, that the delegations made a good distribution and that it is
possible that in the women's participation committee, the multiplicity of
the women's struggle committee, or the committee called the integration of
women in reality of our continent, there were many and very valuable
comrades that I actually did not have the privilege of hearing. But when
the final solutions were read here, the quality of the effort can be

This meeting was also characterized by the opportunity of each and every
delegate present to express their views. They could report on the reality
and experiences of countries. There was no pressure in any of the
committees or in the elaboration of the final documents. On the contrary,
an attempt was made to preserve the quality of the debates in the
preparation of the final report so that nothing would be sacrificed in the
basic idea, the content, and the value of the pronouncements; also to
gather diverse opinions or different opinions because, above all this, the
interest of unity prevailed in this meeting.

There was, above all, interest and respect for each delegate's opinion. It
was noted with special interest that this meeting signified a positive
contribution to the women's struggle in Latin America and in the Caribbean.
In addition, the meeting acknowledged that not everyone had the same
freedom to form opinions.

I know of many cases from comrades with whom I have spoken. I was able to
learn how they think on some of these issues. But at the same time, because
they were representing organizations or political parties and, in some
cases, because they occupied important responsibilities in their country,
they were obliged to be careful and to respect, as sometimes is imperative,
their political party's or organization's points of view on certain issues.

We cannot lose sight of the fact that we are in a stage of training and
developing consciousness on very important questions. It seems to me that
that was the fundamental task of this meeting, whose results we will not
measure except by the documents, even though the documents are excellent.

We were very concerned that no one who participated in this meeting would
have to confront any kind of difficulties as a consequence of their
activities here. It was an exceptional opportunity for approximately 300
outstanding and capable Latin American women here to hear reports, for
example, from the Salvadoran comrades, who explained, often dramatically,
but always with great serenity and grand dignity, the tragedy that their
people and their women suffer. It was an exceptional opportunity to listen
to the Nicaraguan comrades report on the difficult conditions in which
their liberating process unfolds under pressure, the economic embargo, and
the dirty war imposed by the U.S. Government. It was an opportunity to
listen to the Guatemalan comrades tell of the 100,000 lives lost and of at
least 100,000 orphans, children without parents, as a result of that same
interventionist policy of dirty war.

When, in 1954, there arose or existed in Guatemala a period of peace, a
hope, a government capable of applying or decreeing a law of agrarian
reform, it gave way to U.S. intervention, also in the form of a dirty war,
utilizing, to be precise, the CIA, organizing mercenary armies,
specifically, in Honduras, to liquidate the revolutionary government of
[Jacobo] Arbenz and always with the same pretext -- that it was a communist
or pro-communist government. Everyone knows that Arbenz was an Army officer
who rose from the Guatemalan Army ranks, a Guatemalan, a man of ideas, a
progressive, but not a communists. And how has that intervention left the
Guatemalan people? 10,000 dead, 100,000 orphans, the highest rate of
disappearances in this hemisphere, even including those disappearances in
Argentina, which is to say are many.

We have, at least, advanced somewhat despite these experiences. In Cuba,
they wanted to do the same as in Guatemala. They wanted to organize a
mercenary army to attack and invade the country, and overthrow the
revolutionary regime, following their old rules, their old calculations.
But on that occasion, the mercenaries did not last even 72 hours.

We are here firm, strong, more than 26 years later, despite the economic
embargo, the threats, the attempts at subversion, the assassination
attempts on the revolutionary leaders, acts known throughout the world
because it was the U.S. Senate itself which investigated and confirmed some
of those assassination plans. Our revolution and our people are here, firm
and solid, without any fear of the immense power of the empire. We are
aware of our strength and conscious of our ability to struggle, to defend,
and to resist victoriously at any price an imperialist attack against our
homeland. [applause] The U.S. Government knows that.

Things have also been different in Nicaragua. They may have thought that
with 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 mercenaries with bases in Honduras, helped,
organized, trained, supplied, and directed by the CIA and the Pentagon,
they would be able to overthrow the revolutionary Government of Nicaragua
in a few months. And they have used 5,000, 10,000, and even more than
10,000 mercenaries, and in nearly 6 years they have been unable to
overthrow the revolutionary Nicaraguan Government! [applause]

The Nicaraguan people know very well, as our people knew, what the price of
a victorious counterrevolution would be, how many would be killed, how many
would disappear, how many crimes would be committed, how many persons would
be tortured. If there were 100,000 in Guatemala after the overthrow of the
revolutionary government, what would have been the cost in Cuba of a
victorious counterrevolution in 1961? What would be the cost of a
victorious counterrevolution in Nicaragua at the present time? The people
know what the cost would be.

Another example is that of the Salvadoran people, where the torrent of
military resources and money, of instructors and sophisticated technology
to combat the revolutionary movement have been unable to crush, and will
not be able to crush the heroic resistance of the Salvadoran people.

We have also had the chance to hear the stimulating worlds of our Puerto
Rican sisters. The Puerto Rican people have resisted 87 years of Yankee
colonization without losing their identity, their nationality, and their
culture. [applause] Which, in the circumstances of a small country with an
area of 9,000 square km that is in the hands of the largest and richest
imperialist power in all history that has done all it could to crush the
Puerto Rican national spirit, is, in fact, a great and extraordinary
historic feat. [applause]

The invasion of Grenada has been mentioned here: the most recent
imperialist misdeed in the Caribbean.

The frightful conditions in which the Haitian people live have been
mentioned, where a regime closely associated with the United States reigns
and governs.

What is happening in Chile and Paraguay has been mentioned here. The women
representing those countries in this meeting had an opportunity to report
on the abuses and the atrocities that have been committed. They told us of
how the women had been victims of special forms of torture, from rape to
threats against their loved ones and even the torturing of children! And
these were not threats. We know of cases in Chile itself in which to make
mothers talk and give real or imagined information, they took the child and
threatened to throw him from a 6th, 7th, or 10th story window.

During these years, we have heard horrible things such as those that
happened in Argentina, where there were cases of children being tortured in
the presence of their mothers, and where it is known that even grandmothers
were denied the children of their murdered sons and daughters. And there
are still many who cannot be located. They not only made fathers disappear
-- and sometimes not just the father but the mother too -- but they also
made the children disappear. And it has been said here that to make human
beings disappear is one of the most brutal and cruel practices ever
conceived. I ask: Who taught those governments those practices? Who taught
the torturers in Argentina, in Chile, in Paraguay, in Brazil, in Nicaragua,
in Haiti, in Guatemala, in El Salvador? Who taught them if it was not the
United States? Who trained the security personnel?

Who taught them those scientific techniques and how to wrench information?
Who has been the ally of all those governments without exception? That is
how we see the presence of the empire in all parts -- it's bloody hand
everywhere, in each conquered country where the people still live under
regimes of atrocity, repression, or in those where, fortunately, in
previous years, the people were able to liberate themselves from oppression
and begin a more democratic movement.

All those problems, their realities, their incidence among the people,
their incidence among women have been appreciated, seen, heard, and almost
touched in this meeting. All those factors have been helping to form a
consciousness. But it is not just our suffering that is helping to form
that conscious.

We said in one of the committees that we have lost 175 years since the
Latin American people's movement began in 1819 -- but that movement was not
ours. We were left back here, forgotten, converted into a sugarcane
plantation, a coffee plantation, with approximately 300,000 slaves. We were
the last country to liberate ourselves, that is to say, from that class of
Cubans who were dominant in our country, which were the owners of the
sugarcane plantations. While the Spanish ruled trade and public
administration, they did not even want to hear of independence. They feared
the recurrence of what happened in Haiti, where the slaves broke their

We didn't even have the privilege of emerging, like supposedly independent
nations more than 175 years ago. We achieved our formal independence only
83 years ago. Our real independence has now been more than 26 years
[interrupted by applause] with the triumph of the revolution on 1 January
1959. But we said we had lost 175 years. What else can be said on hearing
what we hear in every committee on the economic and social tragedy of our
peoples, over the total degree of dependence? What else can be said on
hearing figures like the ones mentioned in the final appeal

Of the 1.5 billion hungry people, 50 million are spoken of there. How many
people had this misery in 1810? It exceeded 50 million. I remember
perfectly that at the end of the last century, we, who are now 10 million,
were barely 1 million Cubans struggling against hundreds of thousands
Spanish soldiers. How many people are hungry? 50 million. But I question
that figure, with all respect, because of the document's authors, even
though I don't criticize them. It is better to be conservative in the
figure. But I am sure that it is much more than 50 million who are hungry
in Latin America. [applause]

There is talk of 1 million children that die every year. Not long ago there
was a pediatric congress in Havana, where more than 1,000 Latin American
pediatricians attended and reported on what was happening. The director of
UNICEF, the national organization that deals with the problem of children's
health, told me that 1 million children died under the age of 1 -- under
the age of 1. That is not counting the children who die from the ages of 1
to 5 or 5 to 16. It's much more than 1 million.

There's talk about 46 million illiterates and the figure is startling, but
I doubt that this applies in Latin America because there are only 46
million illiterates. It is necessary to talk about children who do not
attend school. We were hearing about this in a Latin American capital, in
one of the reports, the nuns' report and slides -- I call the two of them
nuns [laughter] -- the Columbian comrades. One told me she was secular and
the other is ordained, and they told me in jest that I had ordained her
because I called her "little sister." She explained, when she spoke about
half a million children on the streets, without schools or meals.

And that is not the figure, it is just an approximation. I know it was very
high. I will have to check the date. We would have to know how many
children in Latin America do not attend school. Not just how many are
illiterate but how the number of the millions of illiterates tends to
multiply and increase because of the lack of schools and teachers.

It is said there are 52 million unemployed. This is a great, a very great
number. But it is possible that the number of unemployed and underemployed
is much greater in Latin America. How can we not ask ourselves what we have
done in these 175 years?

I also said in a commission that if we had to appear before the founders of
the Latin American states, if we had to appear before Bolivar, Juarez,
Morelos, Hidalgo, Sucre, Santander, O'Higgins, San Martin, and let us not
forget liberators of Haiti, if we had to appear before them and they asked
us what we have done in these 175 years, and we had to give them the
figures that have been mentioned here today -- these conservative figures
-- wouldn't we feel really ashamed? Wouldn't we feel really reproached when
they asked us: What have you done in these nearly 2 centuries, peoples,
states, and governments of Latin America? What would we tell those who
dreamed of unifying our peoples so we could be a real force and take our
place in this world? What answer could we give them? I believe a meeting
such as this conference is an attempt to begin to leave behind the era of
shame in which we have lived and the nearly 2 centuries we have wasted.

I asked at another meeting whether we were destined always to be oppressed,
miserable, hungry, to lack medicines, have no jobs, not know how to read or
write, to be eternally poor. And I said it would be necessary to argue this
with the theologians of the liberation who do not agree when they speak of
liberation, when they speak of a different life for our peoples.

I do not believe destiny condemns us to be eternally oppressed, eternally
poor, eternally weak, and I am speaking of nearly 200 years. But to these
nearly 200 years almost another 300 years must be added. Because we must
not forget that the Europeans got here by killing with the sword and the
cross, blessing the conquest, blessing the extermination. What happened to
those 200,000 peaceful Siboney and Carib natives that lived in Cuba? They
virtually exterminated them in the mines, at hard labor to which they were
not accustomed, with their diseases of all kinds that they brought to a
people to which a virus caused death because that people had no defense

What did they do in Mexico, in Peru, and in general in Latin America? In
some places there were so many natives they could not exterminate them, or
they were more resistant or better developed culturally. They mingled, that
is what they did. There is a tale of a Spaniard who had 300 children by
Indian women -- he was one of the first conquistadors -- and we almost have
to be grateful because they mingled. [laughter] They mingled, they gave us
a little black blood to make up our peoples. Because the others, those from
the brutal north, did not mix. They exterminated the Indians. [applause]

For the past 5 centuries -- 5 centuries! -- 3 of which we spent supplying
gold, silver, copper, and precious metals of all kinds to the European
treasuries, we Latin Americans, with the blood of Indians and the blood and
sweat of black slaves, have financed the capitalist development of Europe.
Where did the gold come from? Where did the silver come from? Where did the
finances developed in Europe came from? They came from the blood and sweat
of our Indians, our blacks, our mestizos, and our peoples. [applause]

Now, for 2 more centuries, almost 2 more centuries, we have continued to
finance them. In 1983, we financed them. In 1984, we financed them. In the
year 1985, we are still financing them. But with how much are we financing
them? We are financing them with more than $60 billion. With almost (?$) 40
(?billion) in interest payments and profits, (?$) 10 (?billion) in capital
flight, between (?$) 4 and 6 (?billion) in overvaluation of the dollar,
more than (?$) 20 billion for the low prices [as heard] they are charging
us for their equipment and other things. [applause]

Because if you consider an aspirin, we all know that an aspirin is worth a
fraction of a cent, a fraction of a cent and the transnational corporations
sell them to use sometimes for up to 10 cents. This has to do with how much
they are charging for an aspirin, an aspirin for a headache, which costs a
fraction of a cent. How can they sell them wholesale, and we, who produce
aspirins here for our headaches, know how to make an aspirin, what its
ingredients are, and how much it costs. They sell them to us because they
want us to be healthy. [laughter] I am making some calculations about how
much medication would cost at current prices, how much the country invests
in medication. It would be, and I am being conservative here, as you were
in the report [laughter], between $400 million and $500 million. That is
very conservative.

Note that we... [rephrases] The price of our medication in Cuba is half of
what it was 26 years ago, when the revolution triumphed. If we have reduced
the price of medications by half and we spend tens of millions of pesos to
produce medications, with which today we have a country that is in first
place among all the countries of the Third World in health indices, and it
is ahead of many developed countries, [applause] you can see that they are
robbing us.

Of course, we can produce aspirins, but we cannot produce bulldozers, or
front-loaders, or sophisticated medical equipment, or lathes, or tool
equipment, or industrial equipment. With this equipment they deal with us
as they do with aspirin. They produce aspirin, and we pay for advertising.
You would not believe that when there is an advertisement in a magazine or
on television for any tranquilizer or aspirin in the different forms that
they appear, because sometimes they give it a slightly different color and
another name, they give it a different shape, and they give it another
name, and they continue to charge for it, and to advertise it... [sentence
incomplete] [Unreadable text] we buy aspirin, we pay for the raw material,
we pay for the advertising, it is [Unreadable text], not the transnational
corporations who pay for it. How big is the advertising business in the
industrialized countries? It is worth hundreds of billions, and we pay for
it, partly, others in the same country pay for it too. We pay for the
earnings, we pay for social security, we pay for unemployment insurance, we
pay the taxes, we pay for the arms race, we pay for everything! We pay our
part of all of this.

Who pays us? Who pays for the advertising for our coffee, or our cacao, or
our sugar, or our meat or our textiles,or our minerals? We pay technicians
there and highly qualified workers with salaries of $1,000, $1,200, or
$1,500, besides all that. But who pays here? Who pays our social security?
Who pays for our unemployment insurance?

There, they live in different material conditions, houses. Where do our
workers here live? The ones who produce everything we export? In the
country. Where do they live? In the city. What guarantees do they have?
What security do they have? What salaries do they have?

We exchange cacao, coffee, or sugar for medical equipment, X-ray machines,
or something more sophisticated. It could be any surgical equipment, an
operating table, or some of the general medical equipment or one of those
lamps or anything that must be bought for a hospital. What salary do they
earn? Those workers who produce cacao, coffee, minerals? $60, sometimes
less, $70 or $80. We have seen how much the minimum salaries are in many of
these countries.

What is the cost of what they sell us? There is that ominous law operating
year after year. It can be seen when one looks at a series of years. Over
40 years, or 30 years 20 years. They always pay us cheaper prices and they
always charge us higher prices. before, they are getting richer and richer,
and we are getting poorer and poorer.

Who? What divine hand wrote that law? Do they perhaps have the same goals
they had when they conquered this hemisphere and think they are sacred?
This is not what the nuns and Christian women think who have been
accompanying us in this meeting. They do not believe we are condemned by
the Divinity or by nature or whatever for this to go on eternally. I
believe the steps we are taking will keep this situation from being

It has been correctly said that the present economic crisis is the worst in
history. The products our countries export have never been worth so little.
Never! Meat has never been worth less, or coffee or cocoa, or wheat or any
exported grains. They produce wheat, they subsidize it, and export it to
compete with the wheat and corn Argentina and Brazil produce, or soybean or
any other grain. Or sugar produced by many Latin American and Caribbean
countries. How much does this cost them? How much do they subsidize sugar?
They subsidize it by 15 or 20 cents per pound. And then they export it and
depress the prices of the products of our countries.

Our products have never had less earning power. There is talk of the crisis
of the 1930's. Our people lived through that crisis. Our population was
much smaller. They remember it as the era of Machado, or great famine in
Cuba. Sugar cost 1 cent. But with 1 cent for a pound of sugar, sugar had
much greater earning power than it has now at 3 cents. Today's 3 cents are
less than one-half of the 1930's. One must not be misled by numbers. If we
paid attention to numbers, almost all Latin Americans would be
millionaires. And in fact we are millionaires. They made me a millionaire
not too many days ago. They gave me a 1 million peso Argentine bank note.
And it was worth 73 cents, if I changed it that day. [laughter] If I
changed it that day. [applause] I almost had a liking for that business.
[laughter] I liked being a millionaire, and when Fanny came -- who is here
now: an Argentine lady who is very courageous -- I asked her if she could
give me something and she gave me a 1,000-peso note. They had taken 3 zeros
off because the system is to take off 3 zeros to be able to figure. I was
happy. It was worth approximately $2.5. It was worth that about 2 months
ago. It is probably worth about $1.5 now. But we cannot trust numbers
because they make us millionaires. We are millionaires according to the
numbers but the value of money is relative. That is why I said that 3 cents
today is less than one-half cent of the 1930's.

This crisis is much worse than that of the 1930's. Our population is four
times greater than in the 1930's. The population is more aware, there are
more means of communication, they see more television or radio or read more
magazines and have some idea of what is happening in the world. They are
not so isolated as in the 1930's.

And on top of it all, we have a debt of $360 billion and the highest
interest rates of all time. Almost the entire debt is in dollars, and the
dollar is more expensive in comparison with other foreign currencies than
it has ever been. [It has been] artificially inflated to effect colossal
rearmament without taxes. This is one of Mr Reagan's miracles: to
strengthen the economy, reduce unemployment, and rearm with no new taxes.
How prodigious! We will have to canonize this personage because no further
proof of miracles is needed. [laughter]

How did he achieve it? By gathering money from the rest of the world.

This wasn't done by printing bills like they did during the Vietnam war,
but by collecting money, and this is the reason for the false interest.
High interest is being paid and all the Latin American money is going to
the United States.

Is first peso, such as the one I received... [rephrases] If you get 1
million pesos exchange it right away for the 73 cents and deposit it in a
U.S. bank. I didn't exchange mine because I decided to keep it as a
memento. It was the bill that made me a millionaire, for the first time in
my life. So, exchange it right away or otherwise, it will be worth 72 cents
the next day. You have it earn interest and that begins to multiply itself
to a million pesos. It earns interest deposited in a U.S. bank. Through
dirty, unfair, and slick mechanisms, the U.S. Government has collected the
money from the rest of the world. It collected the money of Latin
Americans, Africans, Spaniards, Japanese, Frenchmen, Britons, and everyone.
However, that miracle cannot (?interest us). The gentleman is building a
sandcastle. One day it will crumble completely because it has no solid

The United States is the largest debtor. It owes approximately $600
billion, according to estimates made by the comrades of the Economics
Institute. It has a public debt that amounts to $1.65 trillion. In 3 years,
the U.S. public debt has increased by $650 billion. The U.S. trade deficit
was $120 billion last year, and it is possible that this figure will rise
to $140 billion this year. The budget deficit is approximately $200
billion. They are buying the world. No, not the world, they are buying
things. They are spending on things that do not produce. No economy can
support itself under those conditions.

In addition, the United States has the largest military expenditures known
to history. They are already spending approximately $300 billion per year.
Where are they getting these dollars if there are no taxes for them? We are
paying for the U.S. rearmament with that dollar we have to pay more for.
With that interest, which is much higher than the normal and traditional
loan interest.

[Unreadable text] are paying for this U.S. rearmament by selling our
minerals cheap in order to buy increasingly expensive trinkets. We are like
the Indians. The Indians didn't know what gold was or the value of gold.
They traded a fistful of gold for a mirror. They were the first Indians
that were said to be found here. Nonsense, this is how we are being
treated. This is how they impose poverty on us. This is how we are forced
to pay for their opulence and their madness of spending billions amid

As we recently said, the billions and the millions of millions that they
are going to spend in 8 years, that this gentleman who is the U.S.
President is going to spend, millions of millions do less for man's
well-being than an aspirin that cost a few cents. This is what it is all
about. Now, they want to collect the debt during a crisis that is worse
than that of the 1930's. Where are they going to get $360 billion, and how?

When it is said that it is an economic impossibility, it means that it is
economically impossible. When it is said that it is a political
impossibility, it means that people must be murdered to force them to put
up with the sacrifices required to pay the debt. When it is said that it is
a moral impossibility, it means that it is highway robbery because we have
been sacked for 5 centuries and what must be done is, well, I had said
cancel, but then I am worried because in Ecuador, the Ecuadoran comrades
told me, to cancel means to pay off. So, I said, no, no, no, don't cancel
the debt that way. [laughter] I meant write off the debt. I meant forget
the debt. Well, if they want to, they can remember the debt. [laughter] But
we can forget about it. I understand this very well. Some say: Why that
formula? Isn't it too radical? No, it is not radical. It is a realistic
formula because all we have to do is to cancel it, forget it, or write it
off. Whichever word you prefer or we could declare a moratorium, it has
been said. According to the figures, it is impossible and whatever formula
apply to it make it more impossible.

They make all the computations for refinancing. They even lend the money to
pay the interest. Then, the debts pile up. The interest rates are higher
and higher. Well if the creditors like the formula of lending more money to
debtors to pay interest back to them every year and if they promise to do
the same thing every year, well, no problem. Let them continue to lend
money. Let them waste paper keeping track of how this debt is increasing.
No problem. The experts are those who devise magical formulas, but as soon
as they are submitted to the demolishing reality for the numbers, it is
shown that the debt is unpayable. It has reached such magnitude that we are
not talking about 3 and 1/2 cents or the million pesos that were given to
me. We are talking about $360 overvalued billion with excess interest rates
that are owed amid the most ferocious protectionist policy that has ever

The Argentines are killing themselves to produce more meat. The Uruguayans,
the Brazilians, the Columbians, the Panamanians, or the Costa Ricans are
also killing themselves to produce more meat. But no problem, their meat
will be worth less every time if they find a market for it. Europe, the
Europe we financed with the sweat and blood of the Indians, the slaves, and
the mestizos, pays the producer $2,500 per ton of meat. It is subsidized
and sold in the market for $800. Then, when the Uruguayans, the Argentines,
and the other Latin American meat exporters begin to sell their meat, if
they get $1,200 or $1,250 for their meat it is a miracle. The same is done
with sugar and other subsidized products.

Now, the United States has announced a policy of large subsidies for grain
exports -- for corn, wheat, and soybean. A few days ago, it adopted
protectionist measures eliminating [as heard] general customs duties for
Latin American exports by more than $5 billion. A new theory appeared at
the U.S. Senate and the House: It is said that natural resources are a
subsidy. In other words, if a country has petroleum and it sells to
industrialists of that country at prices under the international market
price, this is a subsidy. If a country has cheap electricity because it has
hydraulic energy and produces aluminum or any other metal, the use of that
cheaper electricity is a subsidy. Thus, customs tariffs are placed on them.
Then, what is left to live on? In addition, there are more measures every

The problem is not only protectionism but the dumping [preceding word in
English]. The EEC has 600,000 tons of frozen meat right now. They subsidize
it and sell it at $800. What do Latin American meat exporters have to live
on? I have only cited a few examples. To this, we must add that they are
producing synthetic materials. They have synthetic materials and fibers
that are substituting cotton and other products of the Third World. Now,
they are trying to substitute the optic fiber for copper. What will
Chilean, Peruvian, and other peoples who produce this metal for export do?
I recently read that they are producing I don't know how many kinds of
synthetic sugars or synthetic sweeteners. Perhaps this is an effort to stay
slim, live sophisticatedly, and eat other food without sugar.

We have not mentioned this before, but every time an industrialized country
comes up with a synthetic product there should be international rules that
apply to it, establishing the conditions and period in which it can be
produced because they cannot ruin a Third World country that lives off that
product overnight. They cannot begin producing a product that will starve

There is a new measure every day. A protectionist wave is overwhelming the
industrialized capitalist world.

[Unreadable text] Latin American countries meet and plea for mercy. They
ask to be taken into consideration because they are dying of hunger. It is
sad. Amid this situation, only a small group, the so-called Cartagena Group
is writing moderate, cautious, elegant, and refined letters saying: Please,
sir, there is a need for a political dialogue to solve these problems and
discuss the debt issue. Please, sir, give us some opportunities, expand the
basic funds of the IMF, increase the special drawing rights, establish a
fund to cover the excess interest and help us.

Recently, the IMF held its spring meeting in Washington. The Cartagena
Group wrote its letter, made its proposal, pleaded, and begged, but it was
left waiting. The IMF got rid of its matter in 10 or 15 minutes. It was
told no, and that's it. That is nonsense, forget it, work hard, export, be
austere, and save so you can pay the debt and develop, too. It is
incredible. At least I had the pleasure of sending them the pamphlet. I
sent the IMF meeting the pamphlet so that they would have an idea of the
world [words indistinct] so I sent the pamphlet. [laughter, applause]

It is true, under these circumstances there is always one hope. Hope is
what multiplies the most in the world. At the Bonn summit the big, the
powerful, and the owners of the world's economy meet to discuss various
problems, star wars among other things, so many problems, the arms
race...[rephrases] Well, they have disputes. How can they remember our
problems if they have been unable to solve their own? In addition, except
for the United States, which with all its conjuring and witchcraft was able
to achieve three things -- reduce unemployment, improve the economy, and
rearm without taxes -- the others are way down there. [Words indistinct]
How many people are unemployed in the United Kingdom? There are 3 million;
of course, they have a small subsidy and other things. They aren't as bad
as our unemployed or that bill that was given to [Unreadable text]
[laughter] [words indistinct] France has 3 million unemployed. The FRG has
[Unreadable text] and 1/2 million and Spain has 3 million. Unemployment is
what grows there. It is madness. They don't realize that so much
unemployment is due to the fact that their industries are underused because
they don't have anyone to sell to and because those who could be their
clients don't have any money to buy. Why? Because the industrialized
countries are paying too little for their products and are collecting a
debt plus interest and so forth and so on.

They don't even realize that the solution to this Third World countries'
debt would mark the beginning of the recovery of their economies. However,
it would not only be because of the debt. Other important things in
addition to writing off the debt or forgetting the debt would be needed.

We are not saying that those who deposited their savings -- the U.S.
doctor, the other guy, or the guy with a small business -- should lose
their deposits. We don't want taxpayers of the United States or the United
Kingdom or any other country to pay more taxes. What we want is to stop the
crazy arms race. This problem should be solved without taking a single
penny from anyone, but at the expense of so many battleships, aircraft
carriers, planes, missiles, fantasies, madness, star wars, and
interplanetary wars. This is what we are proposing.

However, putting illusions and hopes aside, the Cartagena Group said this
is the chance. They meet in Bonn. Those people will listen to us for sure.
Let's write another little letter to them. Well, they wrote another letter.
I read it. It was a more serious letter. They assigned Uruguay, President
Sanguinetti, to write their letter. It was a dignified, restrained, and
serious letter. He did not use the usual plaintive language for this type
of communication. He told things as they were, explained the existing
problems, and noted the need to find solutions. The letter was sent to Bonn
early May. Approximately one month went by, and they finally answered. They
answered the letter that the Uruguayan president sent on behalf of the
Cartagena Group.

There were all kinds of things. I am not going to expand here on anecdotes
we all know about, but they didn't know what to do with that hot potato.
They tossed it back and forth and played ball with it. [laughter]

Then, [Fidel laughs] they sat down to write. No, one sat down to write. He
probably picked up the telephone and said look, we are returning this
little project. Then, they said: No way, forget it, gentlemen. Work hard,
be austere, save, eliminate your deficits. [pounds on the podium], and
solve the problem. [applause and laughter] It is incredible. It is like a
circus or a theater. They said: See what you can do. What can we do? Do you
think they are going to sit down and talk with us? They despise us too
much. They despise the Latin American countries and governments too much to
truly sit down and talk with us. [pounds on the podium] They will not sit
down to talk with us until we show them the dignity and firmness we need to
begin to solve this problem. [long ovation]

This is in essence what we are proposing, or are we going to continue
writing little notes? A girl who didn't want anything to do with her
boyfriend [laughter] paid more attention to letters from him than the Bonn
group paid to the letter from the Cartagena Group, sure. This is the most
incredible scorn. There is no way to get to the hearts of the Bonn
magnates, the owners of the world's money. Are we going to continue to
write letters pleading to them? What do workers of a union do when they
keep bothering the management and the management doesn't pay any attention
to them? What do they do when they get tired of pleading and saying: Look
boss, listen to me, my kids are going barefoot and hungry. I don't have
money for medicine. My salary is not enough. Water is coming through the
roof. What do workers do then? They go on strike. Thus, what we propose, in
essence, so that it be clear, is a general strike of debtors. [applause,
long ovation]

You don't have to spend much energy on that. You spend more energy
stretching out your hand to beg and you are not getting any attention. You
can imagine what it is like to have your hand out like that for 10 or 20
years. It is true. [laughter] It has been more than 20 years. You get tired
and exhausted. So, I propose that we put our hands in our pockets.
[laughter] What do we do now? If we take the hands out of our pockets, the
movement is no longer this. [gestures] Now, you are using more energy. Now,
put your hand in the pocket, pull it out, put it in, and pull it out. [more
laughter] This is the movement we are making. It gets exhausting. I may
develop the muscle but stops the heart. It can produce a heart attack.
Therefore, we simply propose to keep your hands in the pockets. If we get
tired, pull them out and keep them at your sides. Do not give anything.
This is what it is all about. If we don't do it, they will not talk with
us. [pounds on the podium]

We are not saying that we are going to do things unilaterally. We are going
to demand that they talk with us because there is much to discuss. Are we
only going to talk about the debt? No, we have to talk about the debt and
other things, or we will remain on strike. We will talk about the debt and
the new world economic order, and by new world economic order we mean that
which was approved by the United Nations 10 years ago. It was approved by
most countries. The letter on the economic rights and duties of nations was
approved 10 years ago. Now, the six or seven rich countries don't even want
to hear about this. They want to continue this way, which is also crazy
because it hurts their economies. They want to continue spending money on

They want to continue to have the power to pulverize the world and turn the
earth into a wasteland inhabited only by cockroaches, which are said to be
most able to resist nuclear radiation. [laughter]

[Unreadable text] if we declare a strike, wouldn't we be contributing to
peace in the world? Wouldn't we be issuing a message saying: Gentlemen,
stop this madness? We would be saying that we are no longer willing to pay
for the weapons that they will use to annihilate us and that will sweep all
of us and you, which we wouldn't deplore so much, from the face of the
earth. We would deplore it for us, but not these crazy individuals who
better opt for individual suicide and not collective suicide. They have no
right to decide the lives of 5 billion people. This is what they are doing
and we just watch. We are doing the same exercise, watching only.

Well, our strength lies in our weakness because I believe that the right
conditions are present for us to make a firm decision. I give you an
example: Why don't we all unite? We must all unite on this. Look carefully,
this is a struggle for the survival of countries and their development. We
are in the same boat. Muslums, Christians, Catholics, Adventists, Hindus,
Marxists, Socialists, supersocialists, and extremists of the right and left
are in the same boat. If the boat sinks no one is going to be asking that.
The boat has a lifejacket. A boat, to reach shore, to swim at least . to
shore, in an orderly fashion. [sentence as heard] If we are in a desert,
are dying of thirst, and only have 15 minutes to live, we need fresh water,
much of it, abundant water. It doesn't matter there. Get me water. We all
want water. This is the situation we are in. The Third World countries are
all in this situation, but we are talking about Latin America simply
because, of all Third World regions, it has the most political weight, the
most development, and the greatest possibilities for being the leader of
this battle. It will be the battle of the Third World. This, which you are
presenting, these problems, and the struggle you proposed were on behalf of
Africa and Asia. I assure you that Latin America won't be alone in this

[Unreadable text] , it is a matter of survival for everyone. What a country
does inside affects [Unreadable text] country. Regarding this, we state
what we feel is correct. We are not proposing that should be done in a
country. I imagine that each country knows what to do to deal with its
situation. Each should know what to do so that money won't be wasted. In
fact, we are not saying: We will spend this [foreign debt] money. We say:
Let's invest it in development. They would ask: Where do they get the money
for development? We must tell them that what we have been paying you will
be saved, and because we won't have to pay interest on it, we will have
money to invest in development.

A country like Brazil could invest $120 billion in 10 years. Mexico could
invest another $120 billion. Argentina could invest $50 or $60 billion.
There are many countries that can finance their development with the money
they are paying, but they must use the money correctly.

I also believe that the people would support such a policy. The people
would support a suspension of payment. They would support a development
program with those resources because we know that the needs (?affecting us)
cannot be solved overnight. If we don't pay anything we only solve a part
of the problem. The solution to these problems can only come through
development. This is clear. We are not proposing an economic populism
[populismo economico]. We know that the problems we have are terrible, but
we also know that the problems can be systematically solved through
development. Then, austerity and sacrifice would be applied but not to give
the money to these gentlemen, the creditors, the plunderers, and the
debtors, because they are the debtors, not us. Our consciences must be
clear. At least mine is clearer now than ever before in my life because the
more I think about all of this, the more I come to the conclusion that they
are the debtors and we are the creditors.

If we did this, we would only be putting an end to this system that is 5
centuries old, and we would be laying the groundwork for the future, a new
future of which we would someday be proud.

However, we are sure they won't do this; they won't pay us any mind. They
are going to let us starve to death. They are going to let all those
children die, [words indistinct] and continue dying. A larger number is
dying each day.

Then, 20 years from now, they will meet again somewhere to say that 2 and
1/2 million are dying. This will be a conservative estimate, just like the
following estimate: Today the number of unemployed no longer stands at 52
million, it is now 100 million.

We can see what lies in the future, talking.... [rephrases] This is true of
Catholics, Christians, or Marxists, Socialists, or Communists to realize
that it is a crime to spend money on 1 million automobiles, and on
gasoline, fuel, and raw materials [as heard] to go for rides on Sundays and
to lead a frivolous life when a child is dying of hunger, or when a child
is dying from an illness due to lack of medicine, or when a child has died
from the lack of a vaccine that costs 20 cents! One does not have to be
Communist or Socialist; one merely has to be a Christian. Basic ethical
value is all that is needed to say: This is not just. This goes against the
most basic principles of morality; it goes against the most elementary
ethical values. A Christian could say: It goes against the most elementary
principles of Christianity.

Therefore, we understand this, and that is why it wasn't difficult for us
to come to understand each other as well as we have at this meeting. I am
sure that the workers of different faiths and of different political
ideologies who are going to meet here in mid-July are going to understand
each other just as well. I am sure of this. It is clear; it is basic; it is
a matter of survival.

We can repeat here what we have said on other occasions: Ideas do not cause
crises. Anyone who believes that he can create a crisis with an idea is out
of his mind. Crises give birth to ideas. [applause] It is this crisis that
is fostering ideas, heightening awareness, bringing about unity, and
producing plans of struggle for all of us who are now more aware of the

We are not going to waste our time only writing little letters. We won't. I
believe you should send all of this material to all of them: to the World
Bank, to the IMF, to all these governments. We must send them all of this
material from the women's meeting, to build up their awareness, too.
[applause] We must direct our efforts toward creating and shaping

[Passage indistinct] Nothing can be solved by a small group of what they
have discussed.

[Words indistinct] If we believe we are going to solve our problems at
little gatherings, at meetings, at the [word indistinct] meetings that we
hold: formal, forthright meetings to say the things that have to be said. A
war is being proposed. Let us sit down and talk and solve this problem. So
they don't want to? We are going to resolve this one way or another. We
have to tell them this, and that we are not afraid of them. Why should we
be afraid of them? Then let us see what they are going to do.

Just 40 years ago they had divided up the world. The entire world belonged
to them. Now there are more than 100 independent nations. Some of these
countries owned an amount of territory that was 10 times larger than their
own national territory. They suffered from the mania of their times -- they
had the craze of owning colonies. And what happened? The world has changed
a lot, now there are more than 100 Third World, developing, underdeveloped
countries. That's what I like to call them, in a clear, blunt manner, to
establish the difference between them and the wealthy nations.

What can an embargo accomplish? We Cubans were embargoed. We have been
embargoed, blockaded, for 26 years. And, truthfully, we have never been
better off. [applause] Embargo? Blockade? They can't block off the Third
World, because they would be blocking off themselves. It would be a
self-imposed blockade. They would deprive themselves of coffee, cacao, raw
materials, and fuel. They would cut themselves off from all of this; they
would impose a blockade on themselves; they would commit hara-kiri. Simply
said, they cannot impose a blockade on the Third World.

How should this be implemented? The ideal thing would be to reach a general
agreement. This is a situation common to everyone. Will there be a
consensus? Perhaps, but among the Latin American countries. Perhaps it will
come too late; possibly some countries will not have time to wait for a
consensus. It is possible that this could occur because three or four
countries, in desperation, may say: We are on strike. If an entire labor
union cannot meet and agree on a united and coordinated action, some will
declare themselves on strike, but of course, quietly.

They are supposed to pay interest, but they are not paying anything. Three,
four, five months pass and they say nothing. The other side does not say
anything either because they don't want to draw attention.

As soon as one says: Listen, I am not paying because the situation does not
allow me to, or because this is unjust and I have decided to take this
action, then [words indistinct]. This would be proclaimed by a desperate

The principle of solidarity is very important. What must be done is to
create suitable conditions so that if a country, or a group of small
countries, cannot wait until there consensus and desperately voices a
challenge, then, if an attempt is made to adopt economic measures against
it, there should be solidarity among the entire Third World. I have no
doubt that there will be this kind of solidarity. And there will be
industrialized countries that will not join in such measures. But I am sure
that the socialist countries will be in solidarity. I am sure that out of
every 100 nations in the United Nations, more than 90 will support that
group of countries.

I know what the former colonial powers will do because I know how astute,
how foxy, they are. I know that they are not going to adopt any initial
measures. They are going to sit down quickly to negotiate, to quench the
fire because if they were to adopt measures against a group of countries
facing this situation, a banner would go up since this is a problem that
all Third World countries have. It would be like putting out a fire with
gasoline. They would in effect be strengthening solidarity. The Malvinas
case, which you mention in your resolutions, is not too long ago to
remember. On that occasion, a NATO country and a Latin American country
engaged in a war, and in spite of the fact that the Latin American country
had a horrible government, all of Latin America, the nonaligned, and the
Third World countries supported Argentina in its war against England. In
spite of the Argentine Government, the Latin Americans, the countries of
the Third World, did not hesitate to support the Argentine people. They
forgot everything else and only remembered that in that war there were NATO
soldiers killing Latin Americans and in that war no one had anything to
gain. The Malvinas was a great lesson. It produced unity around the
Argentine people.

The current problem is that life is being stolen from the Third World
countries. This time there is much to be won or lost. Solidarity is perhaps
the greatest thing ever to exist. I repeat: The ideal thing would be to
have a consensus, to have a united world from the very beginning. However,
the situation of some countries is so desperate at I doubt they will have
the opportunity to wait for consensus. I believe that e success of the
democratic opening process in countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, and
Brazil depends on whether or not this problem can be solved.

Some of you may wonder what will happen if governments cannot make
decisions and if the battle is not waged. I have no doubt as to what will
happen. There will be generalized social explosions throughout the
hemisphere and these explosions will probably be of a revolutionary nature.
We have to say this to these gentlemen who fear revolutions so much, who
are so allergic to them, especially Mr Reagan. Mr Reagan is super-allergic
to social changes, to explosions, and to revolutions. We have to tell them:
You don't want revolutions? You are going to get them by the dozens in the
world if this situation continues. [applause]

Will they be able to correct themselves? One newsman once asked me: What
would you prefer? I told him: I prefer a solution to the foreign debt
problem, a new international economic order, and the creation of conditions
for the development of these countries. I think this position is more
constructive. I told him: There is going to be a chain reaction. We are
reaching the critical point. Let's try to control this chain reaction like
one would control a nuclear reactor and let's not have an explosion like
that of Hiroshima. I have no doubt that these conditions cannot be
supported. They lead, inevitably, to social explosions.

There is no other way to resolve or prevent this but the way that is being
suggested. There are now 2, 3, 4, 10 revolutions around the world. However,
I believe that at this moment it is more important for the Third World
countries -- and I say this after analyzing calmly and objectively -- to
find a solution to the problem of the debt and institute new international
economic order, because this will create the conditions for development.
Will is not enough to solve the problems. We need to improve and better
distribute what we have; but in the final analysis, we do not have the
resources to face the abysmal accumulation of problems.

I will use Cuba as an example. Here in Cuba it was not only the social
change that made the work of the revolution possible. This work, as such,
provided us an opportunity to educate all the children in this country; the
opportunity to eradicate unemployment; the opportunity to provide the
workers and every family with public health and social security; the
opportunity to develop; and we have incurred many expenses which as you can
imagine, are great. Well, this is our neighborhood and since we cannot move
out, the only other alternative is to prepare to confront our powerful
neighbor. Anyone can understand that. How has all this been possible?
Because we have established a sort of new international economic order in
our relations with the socialist countries. We are not selling our sugar at
3 cents. The nickel, citrus products, and the other products we export to
the socialist countries have another price, a very superior price, and this
represents income for us. How else would we be able to purchase the 11
million tons of fuel we use each year? It must be noted that we use almost
as much fuel as Ecuador produces, and Ecuador is an oil-exporting country.
We utilize this much simply because we have no other source of energy. We
do not have big rivers. We are a long, narrow island. We do not have big
waterfalls, rivers with strong currents. Our rivers are small and we use
water basically for agriculture. Our forests had been destroyed. When the
revolution triumphed we had to begin to plant thousands upon thousands of
trees. We do not have coal. Today we are beginning to discover some oil and
gas deposits and we are increasing our production.

Let me give you another example. We export 7.5 million tons of sugar a
year. If we were to sell this sugar on the international market, assuming
we had a market, our revenue would not cover 25 percent of Cuba's fuel
needs. Cuba has not resolved its problems with its will for social justice
and social changes alone. Cuba has been able to resolve its problems
precisely because it has different economic relations that those which the
Latin American countries, the Third World countries, have with the
developed capitalist world. These relations have allowed us to have the
resources to build factories, roads, dams, schools, hospitals, and houses.

You will not find a slum in Cuba, and that is saying a lot. I know of
capital cities that have more than 6,000 slums, and millions live in those
slums. We do not have a single slum.

The level of education of our people is high. Our workers attend up to
ninth grade. Almost 100 percent of our children attend primary school. More
than 90 percent of the children between the ages of 1 and 16 attend school.
We practically have a teacher or professor per every 11 students in this
country. We have 256,000 professors and teachers who have been trained by
the revolution and who are studying at a higher level. In the future, a
first grade in this country will not be taught by a teacher -- a person who
studied through the ninth grade and then had 4 years of training as a
teacher - no it will be a teacher who has studied through the ninth grade,
the additional 4 years to become a teacher, plus 6 years at the university.
This means that the quality will improve.

Yesterday you visited an institution which I was very pleased to learn that
you had the opportunity to visit. You visited the family doctor
institution. You were able to visit this institution with the Women's
Federation. This plan was developed only recently and today we have more
than 200 family doctors. Late this year 500 more will become family
doctors, and as of 1986, 1987, we will add approximately 1,500 per year
until we reach the number of 20,000 doctors. This will guarantee us that we
will be able to protect the levels we have achieved in the area of public
health, and also to surpass the levels of almost all, or all, the
industrialized countries.

In the area of public health we are already competing with the United
States and the United States is not Haiti. In the United States the infant
mortality rate is 12 and Cuba it is 15 -- only 3 points apart. Life
expectancy in Cuba equals life expectancy in the United States. In other
areas of health our rates are much higher. We compete with the United
States, it is the one we compete with. I have a feeling that in the next 15
years it will be left behind us. Even if I have to quit smoking. [laughter]
Right? [laughter]

With these revolutionary institutions, with the revolutionary innovations
we are making in the area of medicine, the doctors we are preparing, the
quality of the doctors, the development of the medical specialties --
clinical and surgical, and the brand new program of medical sciences, the
way the students are selected -- selected for education and quality, gives
us leverage and we will not only rate among the first, but we will also be
able to help other countries with our experience and with our doctors. We
already have approximately 1,500 doctors; we have more doctors working in
the Third World than the WHO. More than twice the number of doctors.

What about the cost? If you were to analyze how much this would cost them,
you would find that it would be in the millions. We must also spend money
for this, but we have the people who can do these things and this is what
is important. They can go to any location and work. They can go as recently
graduated doctors or as specialists. What the man has in him is what
counts. A revolution cannot be appreciated only by the buildings you see --
oh, this building looks nice and has good dimensions -- or by the big
factories you see. A revolution is appreciated by what a man has within
him. [applause] What a man has within him is the key to everything. This is
what allows us to send all of those teachers and doctors.

When our Nicaraguan companeros asked for teachers to work in the most
inaccessible difficult locations, 29,000 teachers offered their services.
When two or three teachers were murdered, 100,000 offered their services.
These teachers were all teaching. They not only offer their services but
they go; they are there.

Of the teachers we had in Nicaragua, almost half of them were women.
[applause] Most of them have a family and children, and they will go to
Nicaragua in the same way they would go to Angola, South Yemen, and South
Asia. Because of the borne values " that our people, citizens, teachers,
and doctors -- formed by the revolution -- have, we can do anything at a
very low cost. (?No millionaire can pay for this) if he does not have a man
that wants to go to these locations as a teacher or doctor.

I do not want to discuss everything the revolution has done; however, it
hurts when one hears things such as those I have heard at this meeting. I
am simply discussing this to transmit the idea that we did not have the
resources to do all of this. We have managed our resources well and we are
not wasting a single cent or dollar. In these past 26 years, you will not
find a single minister, deputy minister, or leader who has stolen a cent.
No one. [applause] Money is not stolen here. Money does not escape from
this country. We use it; we invest it. We have only created economic
relations with the socialist countries.

Why the campaign? Why did we undertake this campaign? Simple, because our
country is the most immune to this kind of situation at this time. Of all
of the Latin American and Third World countries, our country is the most
immune. We do not have this kind of problem. We can talk. We do not have to
go to the IMF every day to talk. There is nothing for us to discuss with
the IMF because they threw us out or we left. I do not know; I do not
remember how it all happened. [laughter] It was a long time ago. We
renegotiated our debt in convertible currency because we have our debt in
convertible currency. It is not $100 billion, $20 billion, or $10 billion,
but it is close to $3 billion. Our debt increased during those periods when
the price of sugar was low and for several other reasons. We incurred a
debt, but it no longer increases. It remains the same.

Our debt was renegotiated in 1982. However, our debt is compared to the
debts of the Latin American countries. We are free to state this and to
discuss it. They can adopt no measures against us. The Yankees have already
done as much as they can economically. They try to affect our exports in an
attempt to stop us from obtaining foreign exchange; they try to cut off our
markets; they persecute us. They do not blockade us; they persecute us. If
we sell nickel to Italy, the Yankees begin to pressure the Italian
Government: Do not buy nickel from Cuba because this would be an act of
disloyalty. NATO, well, the world will come to an end if you buy nickel
from Cuba. Wherever we sell, if we sell to Japan or if we sell to any other
country, they begin a systematic, methodical campaign against and create
difficulties for us. But here we are, dying of laughter. [laughter] I truly
feel that they are going to die of cirrhosis of the liver. [laughter] Their
liver will be completely destroyed. They seem to forget that they have had
25 years to make our lives impossible and now their last resort is to lie
and use tricks and propaganda. Morally, they are down to their bare bones.

What can they say about Cuba? Criticize our rates? Some of our rates are
better than their rates. We do not have as many cars as the United States,
but we do not want those cars. Please, we would contaminate the city with
carbon monoxide and the country would be ruined using up tires and fuel. Do
we want that kind of madness? No. Let them have as many cars as they want.
However, we have better education than they have; better levels of
education. Today we are beginning to show better rates in the area of
health when compared to their rates. We are ahead of them in several areas.

Despite their embargo, despite all of their attempts to destroy the
revolution, the fact that we are alive is a miracle. [laughter] Boy, have
they drafted plans to eliminate the Cuban revolution. They have no
scruples. Do not think that those gentlemen have scruples. The two parties
are the same. A single party cannot be blamed for this type of crime. They
are going to die from a liver disease. All of their efforts have been
useless. They can do nothing against us. They cannot adopt measures against
measures. The developed capitalist world can adopt no measures against us.

Do, what bright idea have they gotten to respond to Cuba's charge, to
Cuba's explanations and studies? They are desperate. They can do nothing.
What can they do? Three nuclear bombs? No. They cannot do it. As a matter
of fact, they know that we do not fear their three nuclear bombs. That is
even more important. [applause]

Three nuclear bombs, 3 nuclear bombs, 100 nuclear bombs, 1,000 nuclear
bombs, 10,000 nuclear bombs are good if you fear them. But if you do not
fear them, they are as good as chicken droppings. [laughter] Nothing more.
In any event, dropping those bombs on the world is not such a simple
matter. Besides, they do not have...[rephrases] their methods of subversion
have failed and their threats of conventional warfare have failed because
they know what will happen if they come here.

They know it is easier to enter than to leave. What do they have left? To
mope and cry and play tricks? That was the last thing they came up with: a
mini-campaign. Now they are saying Cuba is inconsistent because it is
advocating the cancellation of the debt. Now, I am adding that we must
strike. [applause] [chuckles]

I said I would be brief and I plan to keep my word in a few minutes.

They are saying that Cuba is inconsistent because while it maintains that
the debt must be canceled, it is renegotiating its debt. "That is no
secret. We are obligated to renegotiate the debt like everyone else and
that is what we are doing. Cuba is one of the few countries that can solve
that problem without major difficulties. It is quite simple. We export
approximately $5.5 billion per year. Those exports are estimated in pesos,
but our pesos total more dollars than that. However, we can round it off to
$5.5 [Unreadable text]. The interest on our debt with the capitalist
industrialist world totals 8.56 percent of the total value of Cuba's
exports. Some countries pay 30, 40, or 50 percent, while we are paying 8.56
percent. We do not have financial problems with the socialist bloc. We have
renegotiated our debt with our major creditor, the Soviet Union -- and this
is not the first time, we have done it many times -- without any problem
and without the IMF or the Paris Club. We have renegotiated it at 10 and 15
years without interest. Take note of this. Why don't all of the Latin
American countries renegotiate their debts in this way? Why can't the debt
be renegotiated at 15 years without interest? Moreover, it should include
the interest because no one even remembers what the principal is. The Third
World countries are paying the interest on the debt. Approximately $40
billion is paid against the interest on the debt and not on the principal,
which will be there forever and even increase. We do not have that problem
in our financial relations with the socialist countries.

They claim our debt with the socialist block is enormous. Should I tell
them how much it is? Should I tell them? I won't; let them guess.
[laughter] Let them find out how much we owe the Soviets. They want to
know. The Paris Club also wanted to know but we didn't tell them. That is
none of their business so we won't tell them how much it is. We got real
tough. The Yankees sent all kinds of little letters to the Paris Club
telling them to make us tell them how much we owe the Soviet Union. We said
no. It is none of their business so we are not going to tell them. There is
one thing that we can tell them without hesitation: Our debt with the
socialist countries is renegotiated almost automatically at long terms and
without interest.

Our sugar and all of our other export products have different prices. The
current crises has affected our trade at a rate of 15 percent; for example,
when we need to purchase shipment from Mexico, or raw materials and
industrial machinery that we cannot obtain he socialist countries. Our
trade with the West is 15 percent -- more or less. However, most of our
sugar and other exports are priced much higher on the socialist markets and
this gives us the resources to renegotiate our debt. However, they call us
inconsistent because we are renegotiating it.

The CIA, that Yankee worm or Cuban-Yankee worm which is more a
Cuban-American Yankee worm manipulated by the United State, claims that it
has obtained a secret document. It is the document that is sent every year
to the banks of creditor countries with which the debt is renegotiated. The
CIA said they obtained a secret document and they began to manipulate the
allegedly secret document. You can imagine how secret it is; 614 copies of
it have already been distributed to all of the banks with which we maintain
relations, to many friends, to all of the creditor countries and to
financial reporters. Six hundred and fourteen copies and they call it a
secret document.

This is so ridiculous at this point. They don't know what else to say. They
claim Cuba is irresponsible because it is saying this, but we are the ones
who are least affected. I think if Cuba deserves credit it is because it is
for waging a battle to resolve a problem in which Cuba is the least
affected country. I think this is good evidence of solidarity with the
Latin American and Third World countries. Cuba is waging this battle
because it can wage it, because Cuba cannot be threatened or gagged.

You do not want to know what would have happened if any other Latin
American country had made this kind of statement. We would have to see how
long the government of that country would last. The questioning of how the
debt can be renegotiated is a problem. We are the ones who are least
affected by this economic crisis. We will accept solutions for the rest of
the countries, no more and no less. We are not waging a struggle for Cuba.
We are struggling for the Third World countries. We will not benefit too
much from that. What portion of our economy and commerce would benefit? 15
percent? Very little.

If the debt problem is resolved, if a new international economic order is
established, we will benefit by 15 percent. The other Latin American
countries would see benefits of up to 100 percent in their economy. I claim
that the debt problem would be resolved by using only 10 or 12 percent of
the military expenditures. This is an insignificant amount. Those crazy
people would still have enough money to destroy the world five times.

We say that the new international economic order could affect military
expenditures by $200 billion annually. However, if Latin America or the
Third World increased their purchasing power by $300 billion annually, the
industrialized capitalist countries could place many of their industries on
full-scale production, employment would increase, and they would begin
resolving their own economic crisis. Our position is that we don't have to
support the capitalist system. We don't give a darn about the capitalist
system. Let it sink if it wants to. We don't want the Third World countries
to sink. We don't want a catastrophe in the Third World countries. If no
solution is found to this problem, the evolution of the problem will be
traumatic. Therefore we are acting as firestarters that proclaim
revolutions. If we speak of a revolution it is a revolution in the
international economic relations system. This is what we are calling for.

All the arguments that the Yankees are resorting to are ridiculous. They
are desperate. They came out with a document stating that Cuba is
renegotiating its debt. And, yes, we are going to continue renegotiate it.
We are going to wait calmly: We are in a comfortable position. We are not
in a desperate position. We are not waging this struggle for our own sake;
we are struggling for the Third World. This is what all of this is about.

Those elements exposing the document have failed to say some things. What
things? For example, they have not said that in 1984 the Cuban economy grew
by 7.4 percent and work productivity grew by 5 percent. This increase in
production represented a savings of 200 million pesos that year. It was
equivalent to the work of 90,000 workers. Remember when we speak of our
productivity we don't count the work of teachers and doctors. speak of
material production.

We speak of material production. The cost of production decreased by 2.4
percent which, taken as a whole in the context of the economy, represented
a cost reduction of $365 million.

The document states that in our country 1984 investments totalled
approximately $4 billion, 14 percent higher than in 1983. This data shows
that there has been greater efficiency and sustained growth. Cuba was the
only Latin American country to have this growth. It was higher than that of
the United States which had a growth of approximately 7 percent that year.
We grew by 7.4 percent.

During the first 4 months of this year, the economy grew by 6.6 percent
over the previous year. Work productivity increased by 4.8 percent. We are
interested in productivity because the problem we have in many areas is
that there is a shortage of manpower. This does not mean that machines have
displaced workers. On the contrary, our workers receive machines -- the new
technology -- with joy. Here is an example. In 1970 approximately 350,000
sugarcane cutters had participated in the sugar harvest. This year only
70,000 workers were required. We have reduced the number of sugarcane
cutters needed by almost 300,000. We reduced the number of workers required
by 280,000. This was done because of the utilization of machines and

This has great significance for our country. Sugarcane cutters had a very
difficult task: to cut sugarcane in the humid and hot weather conditions of
Cuba. Now the cutting is being done mostly by machines and the workers have
better salaries and better living conditions. We don't have any problems in
that regard.

Our economy is steadily marching onward. We already have plans for the next
15 years, and for the next 15 years. We already know how many teachers and
doctors we will have, and how many factories and houses we are going to
build. We have made all of our

We are not waging a struggle for ourselves. These ridiculous people who are
trying to weaken our idea have come out proclaiming that we are
renegotiating the debt in a document that is not sent to the IMF since the
IMF has nothing to do with this. We have held direct discussions with the
creditors who have their club, their team. They like clubs for themselves,
but not for others. hey like clubs for themselves. They don't like clubs
for debtors. How can they like strike? They don't want a club and they

We argue with the Paris Club and the Yankee constantly. We send them
information with our arguments. The Yankees manage the [word indistinct].
They are the Yankees' allies, in NATO and give the Yankees the documents.
The Yankees are informed, but we also know about the documents that the
Yankees give them. Three years ago, perhaps 2 and 1/2 years ago, when bank
representatives met he e for discussions, I met with them and I told them:
I know you have the paper that he United States sent you. I also have it.
[applause] I also know what it says. Look how it is sabotaging every
measure, everything. You can see we are looking for solutions and we would
like for you to cooperate. If you are going to pay attention to the
Yankees, we are sorry because we are the ones who will say under what
conditions and what terms we will pay.

I showed them a copy of the paper they were bringing, a paper challenging
our document that the United States sent to all countries. The U.S. tricks
to create difficulties are nothing new; they are old. These tricks have
been developing. We are not suffocated by the problem. Of course, we will
do whatever all the other countries [Unreadable text] , undoubtedly. We are
not in a desperate position.

There are other subjects to discuss. We have obtained data and reached
important conclusions here. I also want to point out some data on the
United States; however, not too much. It was mentioned here that there is
illiteracy in Latin America. You said that there are 46 million illiterates
in Latin America. Did you say 46 or 48? Forty-eight, and 52 [million]

How is the United States doing in relation to education? How is it doing? I
am going to give you some information. Don't believe that they are doing
much better than we are! It is a shame. When I say we, I don't mean we the
Cubans but we the Latin Americans. I have my doubts about the illiteracy
figures. Here is a 26 May report.

It states: sociologist Jonathan Kozol the author of "Illiterate America,"
said today that one-third of the U.S. adult population does not know how to
read and that the U.S. Government should make a greater effort to combat
growing illiteracy in the United States.

Listen to this: They are preparing for star wars and there are millions of
North Americans down here on earth who don't know how to read. The
sociologist said that the United States ranks 49th among the literate
countries in the United Nations. The 49th place. There are 48 countries
ahead of the United States in the education field. The sociologist
suggested to booksellers and editors who attended the annual convention of
the North American Association of Booksellers that the U.S. gross national
product has lost $100 billion due to illiteracy. Kozol said that the Reagan
regime's proposal on a voluntary program to solve the illiteracy situation
is not adequate.

U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett said recently that it is not
the responsibility of the Federal Government but of parents to teach
children to read and write. Kozol has said that we must make them realize
that it is the states' responsibility. Kozol revealed that 40 percent of
the recruits and military personnel read on the fourth to eighth grade
level. That is interesting because all of our military recruits are at
least at the 12th grade reading level. Their 40 percent are between the
fourth and eighth grade levels. This obliges the Army to print educational
material in the form of comic books with drawings and illustrations. It
takes five pages of illustrated instructions to explain how to lift the
hood of a jeep. Something as simple as that requires five comic book pages.
The report indicates that the number of illiterate adults was 7 million
more than the number of voters who elected the winner of the 1984
elections. Kozol revealed that there are more illiterates than people who
voted for Reagan. [laughter] This is the great northern democracy,
excellent not only because of its fabulous elections, but also because of
the number of its illiterates.

That was a UPI dispatch. Here is another from AFP. The first cites a
sociologist. This one reads: A recent report on reading issued by Secretary
of Education William Bennett announced a campaign designed to prompt
children to read more and watch less television. According to that report,
most U.S. children read no more than 4 minutes per day, while they spend an
average of 2 hours in front of the television. To the 27 million
functionally illiterate, one must add another 46 million who, according to
official estimates, can spell and comprehend, but cannot read fluently. Of
the 158 members of the United Nations, the United States ranks 49th on the
literacy scale. This yields 73 million illiterates and semi-illiterates if
you include those who cannot read fluently. The United States has 240
million inhabitants. It is thus surprising that Latin America and the
Caribbean, with almost 400 million people, have only 48 million
illiterates. We undoubtedly surpass them in many things.

[Unreadable text] are not much better off in health care. I have estimates
and indexes here. The Washington-based Children's Defense Fund released
statistics showing that the standard of living of black U.S. children
declined over the past 5 years. The possibility of their being born into
poverty, not having access to higher education, and entering the ranks of
the unemployed are greater now than in the past. The authors of that report
state that statistics show this regression. In overall terms, these
statistics show the permanent inequality that deprives black children of
better standards of living. Compared to 1980 when this gentleman assumed
office, black children now run higher risks of being born into poverty, not
having proper prenatal care, being born to adolescent or single mothers,
having unemployed fathers, or not finding work themselves. Their chance of
acquiring higher education are slim. According to Marian Wright Edelman,
president of the Fund, black children are twice as likely as white children
to die before they reach the age of one or of being born prematurely.
According to this same report, black children are three times more likely
to live in households headed by women or die as a result of negligence,
four times more likely to die during childhood, five times more likely to
be arrested during their adolescence, and five times more likely to live on
welfare later in life. For the first time in this decade, says Marian
Wright Edelman, the black population's mortality rate increased in 1983 and
35 black newborns currently die each day in the Untied States as compared
with 18 white newborns. Keep in mind that the white population is larger
than the black population, and even so 35 newborns die.

As you can see, not only have they taken illiteracy and poverty to our
countries, but they have not been able to eliminate these ills. They are
victims of their own mistakes and selfishness. In Cuba we have been
concerned about these problems and have resolved many of them. We plan to
continue to advance in the future. As I said, and I repeat: The key is not
only social changes, but also more just economic relations and an economic
[Unreadable text] between Cuba and the socialist countries. We maintain
that the other Third World Nations should have the same kind of
relationship with the industrialized nations. That is why we said before a
commission: It is not enough to cancel the debt or resolve the debt
problem. A new international economic order and the economic integration of
Latin American countries is necessary if we expect to achieve success,
eradicate the terrible ills you have set forth in these documents, and find
solutions to the problems that unsettle us.

Please forgive me. I promised to be brief and I was not. Before I close, I
want to thank you for coming to Cuba, for the source of motivation you
constitute, for the push you have given our efforts and struggles, and to
congratulate you for the excellent meeting, outstanding documents, and
extraordinary call you have issued to all Latin American and Third World
nations, to other women in the world, and to all the world's peoples. Thank
you very much. [applause]