Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


FL290240 Havana Television Service in Spanish 0122 GMT 29 Sep 85

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at a ceremony commemorating the 25th
anniversary of the founding of the Committee for the Defense of the
Revolution, held at Havana's Karl Marx Theater -- live]

[Text] Dear Committee for the Defense of the Revolution [CDR] comrades:

Maybe 10 or 15 years ago we would have commemorated this anniversary in a
greater way at the Square of the Revolution considering it is the 25th
anniversary.  However, because our work and responsibilities have increased
and because we have made efforts to use the people's time and energy more
efficiently, mass activities have been reduced limiting them to practically
two occasions, 26 July and 1 January.  As you know, such an important
occasion as the triumph of the revolution is not commemorated, that is, it
is not commemorated with public activities but it coincides with a
non-working day, with the first of the year, and we have always believed it
would not be fair to interfere with the people's non-working day, that
holiday, despite that this revolution constituted a rare privilege and this
revolution has many coincidences.  It was a rare privilege to triumph on
the first of the year [applause], therefore, we are the first revolution to
triumph on 1 January [applause].  That is a good sign.  Also today,,
Armando [Acosta] reminded us of other coincidences on how the revolution
coincides, how the day of the creation or the anniversary, the 25th
anniversary of the CDR coincides with the 40th anniversary of fascism's
defeat [applause] and the 60th anniversary of the first communist party of
Cuba, as he said, the fertile seed of revolutionary ideas. [applause].

That happens with the usual events which last forever; the revolution and
the CDR.  Also we almost commemorated the 25th anniversary a day earlier,
on the 27th.  Some may ask themselves why we were going to commemorate this
anniversary on the 27th.  But it coincided with the arrival of a very dear
foreign leader, very esteemed, valuable, Comrade Julius Nyerere, Tanzania's
president [applause] whose arrival in Cuba coincided with the 28th, he had
it in his schedule.  Usually, when a head of state travels he has to adhere
strictly to his schedule and we were not going to tell him to come 1 day
later, however it just happened that Comrade Julius Nyerere had to postpone
his visit in the country 1 more day for other reasons.  He arrives tomorrow
afternoon.  He was going to arrive today.  So, we who had changed the date
[of the event] for the 27th suggested it be changed again so it would be
more legitimate, more accurate.  This is the reason for those rumors -- I
am not going to say those noises, because noises have had connotations
[crowd laughs] -- those rumors that this event was going to be held on the
27th and then it was changed again for the 28th.  That is the reason, and
we are glad because in this way you could calmly wait for the 28th.  If we
had held the event, [on the 27th] even though it was earlier, it would not
have been the most convenient time for national television viewers.  I
believe everything worked out satisfactorily.

Comrade Armando [Acosta] reminded us with his emotional words the
circumstances in which this organization was created.  He explained it in
detail, so it is not necessary that I repeat it.  He was very nice when he
remembered the words which were said on that day, totally unplanned, with
those noises in the background, in the heat of revolutionary militancy, and
of our people's anger -- with many things in history which emerge from the
response to the enemy's actions.

He remembered very well what he called three great noises: the noises of
the 28th, which created the CDR's, the noises of the threat of invasions,
which gave rise to the Territorial Troops Militias [MTT] [applause]; what
was the third noise, Armando? [crowd laughs] Oh, the noise in embassies
gave rise to the combatant people's marches.  Well, there have been many
noises [crowd laughs] which have caused many responses, because after the
elimination of the sugar quotas those noises resulted in nationalization,
as they took our quotas away we were taking industries away from Yankee
transnationals. [applause]

As a result of the suppression of oil supplies Soviet oil supplies emerged
which have played a decisive role in the history of our country. [applause]
From the sound of the blockade came the sound of our ties to the socialist
community. [applause] From the sound of the 15 September bombing came the
proclamation of the socialist character of our revolution. [applause] From
the sound of the mercenary invasion of Giron came the sound of the first
imperialist defeat in Latin America. [applause] Also from the sound of the
threats received at other times emerged a militia composed of workers and
peasants. [applause]

There really has not been any imperialistic sound that has not received a
response.  From the sound of division emerged the unity of the people and
the instructions for unity of the people. [applause] From the sound of
anti-communism came the proclamation of the Marxist-Leninist characteristic
of the revolution. [applause] There certainly has not been any
imperialistic action that has not received a response.  That has been one
of the philosophies of the revolution and I believe that it has gone well
for us.  The adequate response given at the adequate moment. [applause] The
response is not crazy but intelligent and wise because sometimes they do
things to see how we respond because they are imagining determined
responses and are confronted with another response.  To tell the truth,
they never have succeeded, they never succeed, and they never will succeed.

When the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution were created, we were
far from imagining what we were creating.  Yes, we knew we were creating a
formidable, extra-ordinary instrument against the counterrevolution.  We
knew that.  We knew that the counterrevolution in this country could not
move once the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution were created.
We were far from imagining how many tasks, how many functions, and how
necessary this organization was, not only for our revolution, but for any
revolution.  This mass organization was needed.  Other mass organizations
existed.  Historically, the trade unions existed.  Extraordinarily they
were developed with the revolution.

The revolution created a mass organization with women, not a committee or a
staff organization, but a mass organization.  Historically, peasant
organizations existed.  The revolution developed a peasant organization
that grouped practically all the peasants of the country.  Traditionally,
there also existed student organizations.  The revolution developed the
student organizations and gave them tasks to express themselves to the
maximum.  Traditionally, in socialist countries, there existed pioneer
organizations.  The revolution applied the experience of the pioneer
organizations and developed them to the fullest.  It began with the small
children through the 6th grade until we learned that they were too young.
When artistic groups were formed, when distinct activities were created,
distinct experiences, they rapidly forgot it in the length of time that the
child went from sixth to seventh grade.  It can be said that it was a wise
decision to extend the age of the pioneers through the ninth grade.

The revolution did not create a mass party but, very deliberately and very
wisely we made a selective party, a vanguard even though we have said many
times that our people are a vanguard people.

Not all the revolutionaries are members of the party.  I can say that all
members of the party are revolutionaries.  But there are many more
revolutionaries in our country than members of the party. [applause] The
revolution did not create the Union of Young Communists [UJC] as a
organization, but as a vanguard organization.  Those vanguard
organizations, now that the CDR has reached its 25th anniversary, have more
than 500,000 militants, that is each of them. [applause]

But what did we have on that 28 September 1960?  Very little of all this I
have mentioned.  We were undergoing a process of integration of the
revolutionary organizations, seeking unity.  Nothing had begun, everything
was in the initial stages of development.  The creation of this
organization was a very timely occasion, it was essential, indispensable.
The organization's objective was to struggle against the enemy.  Its main
task was the struggle against the counterrevolution; it was its fundamental
initial objective.  No one could think that this organization, which
emerged when the bombs were exploding, would have so many possibilities as
it was later demonstrated.  Many of the revolution's gains cannot be
imagined without this mass organization.  Summing up, without the CDR the
party would have to become a mass organization. [applause] The UJC would
have to become a mass organization.

Neither one could be vanguard organizations, because how could we organize
the great masses?  The peasants.were organized in the countryside, on the
mountains; the students in the schools; the workers were organized in the
factories, in the work centers.  The women were organized but they were
only a part of the population.

Who was going to organize the neighborhoods: Who was going to unite that
immense revolutionary flood making up the people?  Precisely because of
that, the CDR is the largest organization.  It is made up of workers,
women, peasants, students, soldiers, party militants, UJC militants.
Practically all citizens are in the CDR ranks.  The child care centers'
children of course are not in the CDR.  The pioneers are not members of the
CDR yet.

But the CDR has 6,398,000 members, 84 percent of the adult citizens, 14
years or older.  All revolutionaries are not members, yet it has that
membership.  The pioneers are revolutionaries and are not members; they
will be later on. [applause]

Here we see new faces, but not many old ones.  This gathering looks young
to me, looks enthusiastic, energetic.  Those are the qualifications of the
youth. [applause] Just a curiosity, how many of you were present on that 28
September, 25 years ago, at the old presidential palace?  Raise your hands.
That is interesting data.  How many of you have been CDR members the past
20 years?  I am going to ask one last question.  How many of those present
here were not yet born on that 28 September?  That is very interesting.

We can see how the CDR continues to grow with young blood.  That is the way
to create a tradition.  Logically, I believe that those with the most time
in the organization were the ones invited to this ceremony, those with the
oldest history in the organization, [applause] those with the greatest
merits in the organization. [applause] That is why there are so many of
that initial 28 September.

It is admirable to see a large number of youths here, youths who were born
after that 28 September. [applause] That is palpable proof of the historic
continuity of the process.

One of the goals of the Third Congress, one of its important points, is to
promote youths to leadership posts of the CDR, youths now perhaps 14 years
old who are already CDR members. [applause] It is very encouraging and it
also consoles us for the painful absence of those who were at our side at
that time and who are no longer with us.  That is, they are no longer
physically with us although their relief, those who will replace them, are
ready.  Another 25 years will without doubt go by and the 50th anniversary
of the CDR will be commemorated.  I have not the slightest doubt of this.
[applause] But there is more: I am sure, and I have this hope, that many of
you will be present and participate in the 50th anniversary. [applause]
Yes, Yes.  It would not be at all strange.  Those who have visited the
USSR, those who have been in (Smolning), have met persons who lived at the
time of the October Revolution, in 1917.  Those who visit the cruiser
"Aurora" meet old sailors who explain what happened on that glorious day of
the October Revolution.  This will not be determined by the party; it will
be determined by nature, by your vital capacity, the attention you give to
your health, to the struggle against being sedentary and obese. [applause]
And of course if medicine advances, a greater number of those present will
still be here.  In any case, we will all be here in 50 years time.
[applause] All of us! [applause] In the works of the revolution, in the
continuation of this effort, in the future members of the CDR, who will
represent all of us! [applause]

Armando mentioned some of the tasks performed by the CDR in these 25 years.
It would be hard to summarize 25 years.  He did not attempt it and I will
not attempt it either. [laughter] He mentioned a few things.  I am going to
mention a few, perhaps some the same, some different, but in broad terms.

He reviewed the tasks of the CDR in revolutionary vigilance.  He did not
say -- he may have left it for me -- that in the tasks of revolutionary
vigilance, about 200,000 CDR members participate actively.  It is a task of
enormous importance for those who most actively participate in that
activity.  There are the people's guards who, as he said have been reduced
to 36,000 per shift.  I do not think the enemy will be very enthusiastic
about this figure because when it has been necessary there have been
100,000 and more per shift. [applause] What has been done is to make the
work more rational, save energy, not only fuel but also human energy.
There is more time for studying, for self-improvement, for rest.  This has
also been done with the studies circles.  With all the mass organizations
we had, sometimes the same person had to study the materials as a party
member, as a member of the Federation of Cuban Women [FMC], as a member of
a youth organization, perhaps as a student, in addition to being a member
of the CDR, or a farmer.  Not only the organizations multiplied, the
activities of the citizens also multiplied.  The greater the number of
memberships, the greater the amount of work.

I remember having heard many times of how much work the teachers had to do,
especially militant teachers.  FMC teachers, trade union teachers, and
teachers involved in the methodology of the Ministry of Education who had
to fill out all the required papers, participate in emulations, etc., etc.
They said that teachers did not have time even to breathe!  This caused
many discussions, ideas, in an attempt to make this more rational and get
teachers to attend only one studies circles, and not repeat studies in
various circles.  I do not know how much we have progressed in this.

You CDR members should know more about this than I do because I have to
reproach myself with not having gone to a single CDR studies circle.
[laughter] I have often received blame for those circles. [laughter]
Because they send you material from a speech of a pronouncement or
something.  It would be good for me to study it too, as an exercise in
self-criticism [laughter, applause]

The same thing has been done with guard duty.  It has been made more
rational.  Armando mentioned the sea-watching detachments [mirando al mar],
which have also played an important role.  He did not mention the support
brigades, which have helped so much. [applause] This is a special task,
created following... [changes thought] to which 27,000 comrades belong.
Brigades that support the world youth and students festival. [applause]

There are the vigilant militants, a series of activities related to
revolutionary vigilance and the struggle against crime, anti-social
activities.  So the first objective of the creation of the CDR,
revolutionary vigilance, is fulfilled with the decrease of counter
revolutionaries, by the counterrevolutionaries being totally defeated,
logically the number of enemies decreased.  A considerable number
emigrated, and the CDR's said: great! [crowd laughs].  We said: Do not
leave alone, all who are of the same kind, leave. [applause] The field was
weeded.  The number of confused ones decreased.  Revolutionary conscience
developed.  That is one of the main factors the revolution has achieved.
The masses organized in all sectors, not only in the committees.  Strength
multiplied so other outlooks were seen.  The committees were struggling
against crime, against anti-social activities.  Remember how many things
the revolution had to struggle against, against gambling, vices such as
drug usage -- it never reached a high level, but it existed.  It struggled
to eradicate in a reasonable and human way the prostitution scourge
capitalism left in our country.  We still struggle against anti-social
expressions which exist and will force us to struggle for many years.  But
we must not feel discouraged if we have and we count on the organizations
we count on.

The defense committees worked on the political education of the people.
Earlier, the circles were mentioned, an average of 75,000 circles to study
each subject in the CDR's.  Recently, Armando reminded us that the first
circle the defense committees studied was Havana's Second Declaration on
1961. [applause] They developed cadres schools with their ups and downs
until some years ago, a good number of years ago, Lazaro Gonzalez opened,
which was stabilized, and in that cadre school thousands of CDR cadres have
been trained.  We could ask here, we are not going to ask, but I am sure
that many of you have gone through those cadre schools, especially those of
you who are in the presidency.  I am not thinking of the vice ministers,
no.  I am thinking in the leadership of the CDR.  They are mixed here,
labor leaders -- I am sure the labor leaders have not attended the defense
committees' schools because they also have their own schools.  But they can
lend us some cadres or we can lend them cadres also if they need them.  I
am sure that has happened more than once, that other organizations, the
party itself, the people's government, have asked cadres to the CDR's.  Is
it or is it not true? [crowd answers: Yes!]

The defense committees have worked a lot in the education of the people, in
dissemination of revolutionary ideas, using the very effective propaganda
which is direct propaganda, direct work with the people, or using local
ways and means to spread revolutionary ideas.

The defense committees have worked a lot in historic research and spreading
our country's history through thousands of history teams who have conducted
tens of thousands of lectures -- I believe history teams have conducted
over 60,000 lectures -- and thanks to them the people are discovering their
history, not only the history of their fatherland but their local history,
the values nobody ever remembered before, nobody considered before.

But the committees have not only worked in the people's political education
but have supported education in general, as Armando mentioned through many
activities, among them the exemplary parents movement which amounts to near
1.7 million.  They have helped a lot in the development of education in our
country.  With the people's parents schools -- I believe they are called
that -- they say around 4 million parents attend.  If there are 4 million I
imagine aunts also attend and sometimes grandmothers, don't you think?
[crowd laughs] But it is a big number; there are 1.7 exemplary parents and
4 million who participate in the people's parents schools.  It is a
considerable number.

As Armando mentioned, the committees participated in the organization of
the literacy campaign and in preparing lists of illiterates.  They later
participated in the follow-up campaigns.  They have not only worked on
education in general but in the promotion of sports through the sports
councils, through the massive participation in sports movement.  If the
work in that area goes well, we mentioned earlier that the possibilities
that there are many in the 50th anniversary increases.

I repeat, it will increase in those physical tests, in the campaign to
walk, race, exercise.  They really have great possibilities.  From our
point of view, the health indexes will only improve through that method.
It will not be from therapeutic methods or vaccinations.  Those areas can
still be advanced.  We can still do more and we are.  I believe we will
achieve this in reducing infant mortality from 15 [percent].  Even though
we know, unfortunately, that it will rise a little.  But we aspire to
reduce this through several programs and to have one of the lowest rates in
the world.  There is still a margin but it is not the same to reduce it
from 70 to 15 [percent] as it is to reduce it from 15 to 10 [percent].
There are countries that have 100 and more than 100 [percent].  In Cuba,
the rate is not known.  A conservative calculation is 60 [percent] but it
is quite a difference between 60 and 45 [percent].  There is potential to
save lives and today they are being saved.  The potential now is smaller.
It can be reduced from 15 to 10 [percent] or possibly one day from 9 to 8
[percent].  All this comes from early diagnostic services and prenatal
genetics which could avoid births that are condemned to death.  This comes
from different methods such as cardiovascular surgery.  I warn... [does not
complete sentence]

I am not studying medicine.  I have met two or three students that have
asked me: They say you are in your fourth year of medical studies.
[laughter] I would have liked to study medicine.  Those students have a
good concept of me because they imagine that with all the work I have and
with all the papers, books, and materials I have to read, with all the
meetings, all the people I have to meet, they think I still have time to be
in my fourth year of studying medicine. [laughter] Really.  The truth is
that medicine is a difficult career.  No one should think that one can
memorize the material at the last minute and then test it.  It is not that
way.  It is a difficult career.

Some things about medicine stick in my mind, above all the health programs
being developed by the revolution.  Among them, for example, is infant
cardiovascular surgery, a program that is being developed.  Constructions
for this purpose are rapidly being built.  Personnel are being prepared.
It should also reduce some aspects such as infant mortality in the first

There are many programs and many things to help adults.  Cytological tests,
preventative medicine, and massive vaccination campaigns all help.  In the
future, prevention has to be sought to eliminate those factors that reduce
the possibilities of life.  It is said that the human potential is 120
years.  It is said that is the human potential but very few have reached
that age.

There are several hundred centenarians in our country.  I do not know if
you know that.  The number of people over 90 years of age, over 80 years of
age fortunately is increasing in our country through medical services,
improvements in medical services and technology, and new medications.  Much
can be done, above all for adults.  I believe that new technologies will
combat disease that until now had no remedy.  Undoubtedly, what will
elevate the prospects for life in the future will be the struggle against
the elements that shorten life.  We are viewing 72, 73 years of age.  It
seems to me that we all have to give something in these campaigns and make
some sacrifices to complete them.  When I speak of this I speak of smoking
too.  I speak of that because we still have to make a contribution against
all the factors that affect health and life.  That is why those campaigns
are so important.  You can call them cultural sports but I am convinced
that the campaigns you make favoring sports and physical education are
medical campaigns that will prolong life.  When our country is established
not only in therapeutic medicine, or goes one step further in
preventative medicine, the defense committees will have to play an
important role.

Now remember, in the next few years you will have the family doctor, a new
concept.  It is called the family doctor but the concept is totally new.
This year 500 will be incorporated.  I know: I have recent news on the work
of those doctors, the things they do.  They have made the elderly walk, the
fat run [laughter].  Many people who reach a certain age, the day they
reach 70 years of age, they sit down.  They no longer walk.  It is
essential to walk, to continue to walk.  They maintain a special vigilance
on all risk cases.  Thanks to them we have excellent statistics and they
are very useful, how many diabetic cases there are, cardiac problems, high
blood pressure.  Those cases are being studied because they have the files
on each of the people they attend.  The plan began recently but this year
500 doctors will be incorporated within the following months.  The year
after that there will be 1,500 doctors.  The work those doctors do is of
great importance.

I know that social prevention is included.  Some boys that are
semi-disciplined have been made to play sports.  They have been organized.
They are going to help prevent crime.  They help when delinquent boys
emerge.  They know because the one who is in the clinic does not know where
he lives, how a family, a person, a patient lives.  The ones who are there
are the committees for health defense which are associated with you because
they are organized by agreement as the Committees for the Defense of the
Revolution are created.  I would like to see what can be produced in the
future by the association of 20,000 doctors, specialists in internal
general medicine, if we combine their work with the Committees for the
Defense of the Revolution in the community.

I think the results that can be expected of that work are amazing.  The
CDR, the same as the FMC, began with health workers.  Just imagine how this
effort can be multiplied, what this effort can produce, with the presence
of a physician for each 500, 600, or 700 persons.  I believe in this area,
although we have been talking about sports, the two get mixed up: sports
and physical conditioning and health campaigns.  These belong to two
different fields, to sports and public health.  The CDR have worked
promoting and supporting the cultural movement.  And they have made
progress by supporting amateurs, discovering the people's artistic
possibilities.  The CDR, and I am getting into medicine, have worked
extraordinarily hard.  They have helped a lot.  Armando mentioned the
number of polio vaccinations administered; I believe he mentioned 36
million.  How could that campaign have been carried out, which included the
entire population, without the CDR organization?  How could the other
vaccination campaigns have been carried out without the support of this
organization which, as I said earlier concerning sports, will play a more
important role, in my opinion, in the health campaigns of the future?

I believe the CDR began their health campaigns in 1962, which was also the
year in which voluntary blood donations began, which were the first made:
8,000 blood donations.  Now, as Armando explained, donations number 235,000
[applause].  All voluntary. [applause] But of greater importance is the
habit they created among the population, the conscience they awakened so
that when a special situation comes up, as happened in the case of Peru,
which he mentioned, 100,000 donations were made in 10 days.  One hundred
thousand in 10 days.  This shows there is a potential to react to a given
situation, as the situation of Mexico could have turned out to be.  And we
in fact have sent amounts of plasma.  What happened is that, although
Mexico had many victims and many injured, with the cooperation of the
Mexican people, who number 75 million, they could cover their needs.  For
this reason, although many volunteers came forward, they did not require
great quantities of plasma or blood.  In Peru, the number of victims was
about 70,000 -- if I remember correctly -- 70,000 dead.  There were more
dead than injured although many persons also disappeared in landslides that
crushed entire cities.

Mexico is a country that has natural and economic resources, and they have
they could. They were very grateful for all the aid offered, very grateful,
but logically they did not request what they did not need although the
entire world including our country offered everything needed, everything!
In a situation this one, if 200,000 donations were needed, I am sure the
people would make donations in 10 or 15 or 20 days. I have not the
slightest doubt. [applause]

There are few other countries with that formation, with that vocation for
solidarity that our people have.  Our people are always ready to express
their generosity, their solidarity.  The number of donations grows with no
special efforts.  That is, we have what we need.  The people give it.

Armando did not mention -- although data exist on the things done by the
CDR -- the campaign to donate organs and tissues, that campaign that is so
important because it can save sight and lives.  In the case of these
donations, more than 4,080,000 CDR members signed pledges, in case of
sudden death... [applause] In case of sudden death, they donated organs and
tissues.  This was an important step in awakening the conscience of our
people because they are trying to preserve life, to do good, without doing
ill to anyone.  For these sensitive issues one needs to have a conscience.
Our people have proven they have that conscience.

I remember there was talk of a law, and we said "no."  This problem cannot
be solved with a law.  A lot of things cannot be solved with laws.  They
are solved according to the willingness of the people, the will of the
people, the desires of the people.  It is not the same when one has to
donate by law and the family has to accept by law as when it is voluntary,
as when it is done spontaneously, voluntarily.  And the revolution resolves
many problems through the attitude of the people and the people's
willingness, rather than by laws.  Consider the public health campaigns,
the visits to doctors, everything that has been achieved in the field of
public health.

Mention was also made of the achievements of the CDR in conservation, with
the collection of enormous quantities of glass containers and tons of
paper, which are returned to the factories and used as raw materials;
aluminum, metals, scrap metals, everything that can be used has been
collected in quantities that are important economically.  This is an
activity of the CDR.  Comrade Armando also spoke of voluntary work,
activities often carried out to support construction work.  I believe that,
according to statistical information, the CDR's have participated in 10,000
construction jobs.

Armando spoke of work hours.  I noted the figure of approximately 10,000
projects, including the repair of streets and sidewalks, help in schools,
the maintenance of schools, and various types of social and economic
construction.  They have helped.  He mentioned the Havana stadium.  I
remember that the Cienfuegos stadium was built in the same way with the
cooperation of the CDR and it has always been done that way.  They are now
constructing a prototype of a consultation center with a living area
upstairs for the family doctor.  Three were built in the Lawton area of
Havana.  The neighbors helped considerably.  This must have been the case
because some of these model houses were built in 15 days, others in 10
days.  This was done just by the builders, but also with the assistance of
the neighbors.  I am sure that the CDR were there helping to build this
kind of doctor's office with a home upstairs.

The volunteer work has also included the repair of and beautification of
the cities, and the planting of ornamental trees.  They have also worked in
removing obstacles for the mechanization of the sugar cane harvest, the
planting of sugar cane, and other activities.  Above all, they worked in
removing obstacles.  I think the committees for the defense of the
revolution worked in more than 50,000 caballerias in all.  This is very
important because in order to mechanize the sugar cane harvest, obstacles,
rocks, and sticks must be removed.  These are some of the examples of the
effort that the CDR carried out in fields other than revolutionary
vigilance.  They are very important.  That is why I say that this
organization will last.  We say that the population's health must be
improved, all of our life, and in any society we must struggle to improve
the health of the population.  This is a task of the CDR.

The need for the CDR has now been increased with the measures that the
country has adopted in the defense field.  They were adopted in view of the
threats of imperialist aggression and the clamor that the imperialists made
with their threats, which forced us to multiply our defense efforts, to
develop new concepts, and to apply them.  We had to develop the concept of
a war of all the people which required a great material and human effort.
How much would this effort have cost without the people's cooperation?

The CDR have been participating in the support of mass organizations and
the masses in defense activities.  Often -- all the time -- they
participated in the farewells for the boys going into the service and
training of boys going into the service, and welcomes for those who had
carried out internationalist missions.

This new situation and the concept of a war of all the people, in other
words the defense of the country by all the people along with the PARP led
to the important participation of the CDR in the mental and political
preparation of the people, and in the preparation of the people for all of
the civil defense activities and for the defense and struggle against the

The activities of the CDR in the organization of the defense zones, in the
construction of shelters to protect the population, and in the construction
of fortifications are very extensive.  When we had to struggle not against
the counterrevolution -- even though we must always be on guard -- but
against the threats of an imperialist invasion of our homeland, the CDR
gave their response.  They demonstrated their capability and showed the
enormous importance of this organization.

The CDR have participated in mobilizations.  How could those huge
mobilizations, those marches of the fighting people have been achieved
without the CDR?  Those mobilizations have included occasions when our
country has distinguished visitors although mobilizations in this field
have been reduced because now we receive many visitors, you cannot imagine.
Previously, we had only a few beads of state visit us.  The mobilizations
during a tour were huge.  They were costly.  In view of our policy of
austerity and savings, we also had to change the concept of massive
welcomes in the city.  Now that the city is smaller, the welcoming
ceremonies are done here or in the Isle of Youth.

Talking about the Isle of Youth, we recently had a visitor, but -- for one
reason or another -- the public was not informed of his arrival.  The
program was so austere that the public on the Isle of Youth had received no
advance notice.  I recall that I arrived with the visitor accompanied by
members of the party.  We went to the former model prison, although there
was nothing model about it, to visit some historical places where.  When I
asked Comrade (Manret) if the people were expecting the visitor, he said
no.  I then asked him: Is there time to send a message?  He replied: Yes.
When we arrived, only 45 minutes had elapsed from the time the people were
informed that a visitor was coming and the time we arrived.  However, there
were more people than ever in Nueva Gerona, on the Isle of Youth.  It was
incredible.  It was a miracle of mobilization and organization.  How did
they manage this?  How could the party accomplish such a feat without the
right mechanisms?  The party's militants and leaders are well-organized,
but the only way the party can quickly mobilize the population in 45
minutes is through the CDR [applause] the CDR's role in this regard has
been of enormous importance.

Amando also referred to international activities, since hundreds of
cadres in other countries have been trained at the CDR's National Cadres
School.  I am sure that wherever there is a social change or a revolution,
the CDR's in that country will have an important role, but perhaps under a
different name.  The names may vary, but the institutions are similar and
the principle and idea are the same: to organize the masses in order to
defend the revolution.

Now, the CDR's have done political work.  Political [repeats himself].  All
of their activities have a great political meaning because this is not a
government institution.  It helps by educating the people, creating civic
awareness and good habits, and preparing the people for any contingency,
circumstance, or risk, which gives us an enormous strength.  We can say
that the CDRs' work has been eminently political.  Their work cannot be
substituted.  Some things could have never been accomplished without the
CDR.  They will always exist, regardless of the circumstances.

When we consider all of the things they have accomplished and continue to
do, we realize that it is not a transitory organization.  Even if there is
no imperialism and socialism is predominant in society, we will always have
to struggle to provide a better education for citizens, for the children,
parents; we will always have to face problems.  We will always have to
struggle for the people's health.  We will always have to struggle for many
of the things you are trying to achieve now.  Therefore, I do not see
anything that can substitute for this community organization, this
neigbhorhood organization.  For this reason, in reality the 28 [September]
reply, which was provoked by the enemy, has made us think of something, and
that is that we must be grateful to the enemy, because we must thank the
enemy for its stupidity. [applause] The enemy's stupidity has helped us
considerably.  Above all, they have not only helped us find a reply to
their stupid actions, but also to avoid being stupid ourselves.  We will
let the enemy do that for us, to do all of the stupid things.  We do not
want to emulate imperialism by committing stupidities.

This 25th anniversary takes place at a very important time, when we are
approaching the party's third congress.  It takes place at a time when our
country is making great efforts not only in preparing the people for
defense, but also at a time when the people are making great efforts for
development in accordance with the basic ideas announced at the end of last
year.  At this time our people are bent on working on program in order to
increase savings and on conducting an optimum economic and social program,
giving priority to the economic field and establishing priorities therein.
Our country is making an enormous effort, an effort that can measure up to
the third congress and this 25th anniversary, and which must continue in
future years if we want to continue reaping success and victories.

We are now confronting some difficulties due to natural causes.  As you
know, we have been experiencing a severe drought since the end of last
year.  It rained very little during the first 8 months of this year; the
rainfall has been significantly below the historical average, which of
course has affected our milk production to a certain degree, our food and
vegetable production, our cattle production to a certain extent, and our
coffee production; in sum, almost all of our agricultural production.
According to estimates, it will affect 12 percent of our next sugar cane
harvest.  In other words, our 1986 sugar cane production will be 12 percent
below our estimates.  However, the fact that it did not rain during the
harvest period was beneficial in a certain way, because when it rains a lot
during this time productivity drops.  This time it did not rain during the
harvest, which somehow helped us meet our goals.  We ground less cane but
produced more sugar.  The negative effects on the harvest were offset by
productivity. it has not rained much this year.  We had a dry spring.  It
began to rain a little in August.  May, June, and July were dry months.
This has affected our water supply in the capital city.  The water reserves
have not recovered from the drought; however, we hope the situation will
improve with the October and November rains, or we might have to face
another drought without having normalized the capital's water reserves.
This drought will affect our sugar cane harvest lowering it approximately
12 percent below the estimates.  However, despite all of the problems, our
economy experienced growth in 1984, continues to grow this year, and I
believe it will continue to grow in 1986, despite the reduction in the
sugar cane and sugar production and despite the setbacks in the
agricultural field.

We have seen that many projects are advancing.  We were recently in
Cienfuegos and were highly impressed with the construction of the
thermoelectrical plant there.  We are proud to see what our workers are now
capable of building, such as that difficult, colossal, and complex
construction work.  We understand that the works at the northern and
eastern mining areas, which are the largest, are advancing.  We recently
visited a very important scientific research center for genetic engineering
and biotechnology.  This project is advancing at a rapid pace, and it
appears it will be ready by 30 June 1986, as planned.  It will be a center
of great importance for our economy and for the people's health.  Its
personnel are being trained.  In other words, we are making serious efforts
to improve quality, efforts which must continue in the future.  It is no
longer a matter of expanding our education and health fields, since this
has already been accomplished.  We must now improve our quality in all
areas, which will depend basically on our efforts.

This 25th anniversary takes place at a very difficult time in the world.
Although there is still hope, it is indeed a very difficult time.  We must
find solutions, act rationally, and achieve detente, or the arms race will
continue to erupt with all of its fury.  Increasingly large sums of money
are spent on arms amid a tremendous world economic crisis.  Rational
solutions for detente must be found to put an end to the arms race and
bring hope for a solution of the economic problems.

The upcoming talks between the Soviet and U.S. leaders are very important.
However, according to reports, the prospects for a more rational and
realistic policy on the part of the United States are very slim.
Nevertheless, it is hard for the United States not to see the economic
abyss into which it has fallen, with an enormous budget and commercial
deficits that together will total $350 billion this year.

Now, in order to give you an idea of the economic situation in that country
and the consequences that the waste of money in the arms race can have, we
have only to note that the United States imports $350 billion and exports
approximately $200 billion.  It currently receives $150 billion in imports
that are not compensated for by its exports.  It is consuming $150 billion
more than it exports, and naturally this will have castastrophic
consequences on its economy.

The "star wars" program and the arms race are becoming an increasingly
undeniable reality to all, just like the catastrophic situation in the
Third World, which affects Latin America as part of the Third World, and
the concomitant explosive situation in all of these countries.  We have
dedicated a large part of our time this year to the task of protesting this
situation.  As you know, we held five meetings during a period of 2 months,
and seven international meetings during a period of 4 months, all of which
have been fruitful.  They have provided an opportunity to learn about the
tragedy looming over all those countries.  The unemployment figures, the
incredible figure of 110 million unemployed or underemployed people in
Latin America, the increasingly high number of children who died during
their first year of life, and the growing figures of hunger and
malnutrition are not our invention.

Here the representatives of Latin America, be they women, newsmen, workers,
prominent economists, intellectuals, political figures, youths, or
students, have all -- from an intellectual to the representative of an
Indian community, from laymen to churchmen -- spoken about the tragedy that
looms over these countries.

Twenty-five years ago when we returned from the United States we realized
what was happening in Latin America.  At that time they came up with a
decoy, the Alliance for Progress.  It was to resolve Latin America's
problems, including illiteracy, unemployment, hunger and lack of health
standards, in order to justify the need to crush that confused revolution
that had emerged on an insignificant Caribbean island, destroy it, and find
support for its mercenary, direct invasions.  That is why the Alliance for
Progress was created.  They were going to give $20 billion over a period of
10 or 15 years.  Now, Latin America is giving more than $40 billion in cash
only, and it is losing more than $20 billion due to the increase in prices.
It loses more than $70 billion, while approximately $10 billion come in the
form of credits and investments.

Back then, they spoke about the Alliance for Progress.  We had not yet
undertaken the literacy campaign or resolved the problems of infant
mortality, unemployment, prostitution, and poverty.  In general terms, they
had not been resolved by 1960.  Only 1 and 1/2 years had gone by since the
revolution.  However, what did the Alliance for Progress provide?  So many
children died.  How many illiterates are there today?  How much
unemployment?  How many malnourished and hungry people?  What has the
imperialist, capitalist system resolved in the Latin American countries?
Absolutely nothing!  It has made everything worse.  In addition to this,
Latin America owes $360 trillion [as heard] which those countries are
cruelly and unmercilessly looting.

Meanwhile, who can deny that in our country beginning the year after the
creation of the CDR, the anti-illiteracy campaign -- with 100,000 youths,
teachers, students, and adults who joined -- eliminated illiteracy?  The
follow-up campaign, the worker and peasant education programs have
graduated so many people during these years.  Our workers possess at least
a 9th grade education.  What other country can boast of this?  The indexes
of infant mortality decreased from 60 to 15 percent.  Life expectancy rose
from approximately fifty something -- no one knows because there were no
statistics -- to a level as high as that in the United States.  We have
health standards today that are equal to those in the United States and
some that are better.  Education standards?  Better than those in the
United States.  The [applause] United States has including illiterates and
semi-illiterates, more than 70 million.  It holds the 48th place in the
world in educational standards.

Cuba's unemployment problem was a plague in our country.  We may have
surpluses of workers in some areas; however, that is not due to a lack of
work but to the nature of the work.  We lack laborers in many parts of the
country.  The City of Havana itself proves that we need many more
construction workers.  We must bring construction workers [chuckles] from
the eastern provinces.  There are thousands and thousands of workers in
Cienfuegos who come... [changes thought] the labor force in many provinces
is below the demand.  Many provinces are obliged to transport workers from
one area to another.  Before, when there was a new construction project in
Havana, an enormous line of people would form in search of work.  Besides,
construction work was not appreciated; it was despised.  Construction work
is among the most honorable there is in our country and among the most
appreciated by all of the people.

When I ask them to tell me how many brothels there are in Cuba they cannot
name a single one.  How many casinos are there in Cuba?  How many barefoot
children and children who beg are there in Cuba?  How many beggars do you
see on our city streets?  How many children lack schools?  How many sick
people lack doctors? [applause]

How many millionares and crooks are there enriched with funds from the
public coffers?  How much money escapes the country to end up in foreign
banks?  We ask 1, 10, or 30 questions and there is no possible comparison
between this country and the one that they were trying to destabilize with
bombs 25 years ago so that there would be no revolution.  And moreover, it
had not yet proclaimed itself to be a socialist revolution.

Why are we socialists?  Why did our revolution proclaim a socialist
revolution on 16 April?  It is because there is no other revolution or
political social process that can call itself a revolution if it does not
supress the exploitation of man by man, if it does not construct socialism!

One cannot talk about revolution if one does not put an end to the control
of transnational companies, of foreign investments, of the latifundium, of
private property, which are the main means for production.  One cannot talk
about revolution without equality or social justice.  One cannot talk about
revolution if one does not demolish to the very core all vestiges of
capitalism, as we did in our country.  But that revolution was beginning...
[changes thought] and since imperialism does not want any revolution --
neither socialist nor bourgeoisie, not even a small bourgeoisie, because
anything that smells of revolution stinks for the imperialist and has a
very bad taste -- it also wanted to eliminate the Mexican revolution
because it was a bourgeoisie revolution early in the century.  It
nationalized the large latifundium and brought many social benefits.
Naturally, at that time the country was not prepared for a socialist
revolution, but Mexico was very stubborn.  Remember the measures adopted by
the Lazaro Cardenas administration when it nationalized the foreign oil
companies?  They resulted in boycotts and other similar measures.  Remember
the Guatemalan revolution?  Remember the Santo Domingo invasion?  In these
revolutions the leaders were mostly military men.  Imperialism does not
want any type of revolution, much less a socialist revolution.

But what can there be without a socialist revolution?  If we had not waged
a socialist revolution we would not have done anything.  What would have
become of our country?  How much would our families be paying for rent?
Who would own the apartment buildings and the houses?  Nobody, absolutely
nobody.  The landlords had thousands of housing units, they had hundreds,
or dozens of housing units.  True, there were some of them, some modest
families who had one or two houses for rent.  When the revolution issued
laws in this regard it very much took into consideration the situation of
these families and compensated and supported them.  They ended up much
better off.  Those who had a single small house and received 60 pesos at
that time continued to receive the 60 pesos and never had to worry about
maintenance or collecting rent.  They always received their money.
Although it was believed for a number of years following the revolution
that all those families who depended on a rent payment, their situation was
taken into consideration, and they were protected. [sentence as heard]

Who would be the owners of our industries today?  We would have capitalism
here.  One can live with austerity, with equality, but one cannot live with
the parasites of society, with the exploitation of workers, with that
society, [applause] and with all the corruption that the system entails for
the country.

It would have been very difficult to have organized a militia of land
troops in a capitalist system.  How difficult it would have been to
eliminate unemployment with the capitalist system.  How difficult it would
have been to abolish illiteracy with a system of private education.

How difficult it would have been to reduce infant mortality and put an end
to all that with capitalism in our country.  How difficult to put an end to
prostitution and beggars with capitalism.  The richest country, the United
States, has beggars all over the place, prostitution, gambling, drugs, and
more vices and problems all the time.  The richest country in the world has
not been able to solve that. [applause] They have not been able to solve
unemployment, poverty.  The most developed capitalist country, the United
States, has not been able to solve all this.  How could this revolution
solve all these problems without socialism?  With capitalism we would be
like the other countries in Latin America.

We are completing this 25th anniversary at a time when the situation is
difficult, but we must make a comparison between what we have, what we
have achieved, and what we are going to achieve in the future.  We are
going to improve in everything, in education, health, sports, culture, in
everything.  If we improved in those years, when we started at point zero,
just think about now, when we have much more.  We are an organized people,
we have tremendous political and social strength.  This is a country that
can show that it has made many achievements, in addition to economic
growth, without having deducted a single centavo in education, health, or
services to the people.  Quite to the contrary, we have increased funding
in all these fields.  There is no other Latin American country that can
say this.

In the midst of a large economic crisis, that is our situation.  It is not
one of abundance, of surplus that can be squandered, and one must never
squander.  It is not easy to make efforts in planning, in the development
of the economy.  We must be intelligent, wise.  We must avoid mistakes of
any type; we must avoid being subjective.

The situation calls for us not to lose our patience, not to expect
miracles, not to expect solutions to come out of a magician's hat.  No
social problem can be resolved through miracles or magic.  All these
problems can be resolved only through work: intelligent, tenacious, and
austere work.  These are virtues that we must learn in the same way that we
learned discipline, accuracy [puntualidad], and austerity; in the same way
we learned to be persistent and courageous.  The virtues that we do not
have we must acquire. We acquired the virtues we have today; we did not
have them 25 years ago.  No one gave us those virtues; we learned them.

We know that we have our faults and that we must struggle untiringly to
overcome them.  Some of these faults are more difficult to overcome than
some of those problems we have noted.  We will not go into this.

The struggle for women's rights was much more difficult than the struggle
to achieve other social goals.  Today we must still continue to struggle,
and we will continue to struggle; we are optimistic, we are tenacious, we
have every reason to trust our potential.  We have had our successes.  This
is why recalling all these things is good.

Armando did an outstanding job of putting together all that has been done
by the CDR and all the other political and people's organizations of our
country.  This is why, after 25 years, I am convinced that you will fulfill
the promise to further develop the organization, work harder, plan a big
congress, and continue to work at the same rate, effort, energy, and
enthusiasm on every front, as demanded by the revolution.  Let me add that
if on that 28 September the CDR was born, and it was called the CDR, today
I can say that the CDR was not only a defense committee but a committee of
forgers of the revolution, a committee that contributed to the development
of the revolution [applause], a committee that created a revolution within
the heart of the people.

Fatherland or death, we will win. [applause]