Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


FL030301 Havana Television Service in Spanish 0130 GMT 3 Jan 86

[Report on speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at the closing session of
the ninth session of the National Assembly of the People's Government
[ANPP], held at Havana's Palace of Conventions on 28 December 1985; read by
television announcer Carlos Massola -- passages within quotation marks

[Text] On 27 and 28 December 1985, the ninth ANPP session was held at
Havana's Palace of Conventions. We are now going to bring you a version of
the speech made by commander in chief Fidel Castro during the closing

"I am sure we will make a great effort next year and in each of the coming
years, but I feel certain that next year and the coming 5-year period will
also be successful."

Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, first secretary of the party Central
Committee and president of the Councils of State and Ministers, spoke thus
in closing the ninth session of the National Assembly. In his 2 and 1/2
hour speech, Fidel expressed a series of reflections and impressions of the
work done in our country in 1985, and of other international matters he had
recently discussed at the plenary meeting of the party's Central Committee.

"I wanted to share these thoughts with you, this optimism, and this
personal satisfaction with which we are going to receive the new year and
the 27th anniversary of the triumph of the revolution."

He said that 1985 has been a year of great effort and enormous work for all
the leaders of the party, state, and cadres, and of great work and effort
by the entire people, the results of which are visible.

"Always, during the years of the revolution, some years have been better
than others, one period has been better than another, and naturally we have
accumulated a lot of experience. Nearly 27 years have not passed in vain.
We now have a lot more experience, maturity, and greater objectivity in the
cadres. Better methods, better organization, better concepts. Really, this
year 1985 has seen a leap in the quality of the work of the party and
state, which can be measured by the increase in efficiency.

Our commander in chief referred to the proposals made more than 1 year ago
at the energy forum concerning the measures that should be taken with
firmness and constancy in the economic sector, placing emphasis on the
activities that tend to resolve chronic problems of the country's economy,
which are those of all the underdeveloped countries, although Cuba has the
advantage of having close ties and excellent relations with the socialist
community of nations. On this subject, Fidel said the starting point is the
premise that we should be able to confront the consequences of the economic
crisis and, in addition, to project development for the medium range that
will free us of the difficulties we have been having in certain areas of
the economy since the triumph of the revolution, and which will allow us to
make optimum use of the resources that stem from those relations with the
socialist nations. Fidel argued that those problems that will soon be
solved that affect some aspects of the economy have their origin in the
unequal exchange, in the decrease in prices, and in the looting to which
the Third World countries are subjected by the developed capitalist
countries, which, in our case, are influenced by the U.S. economic blockade
of the United States, which is doing everything it can to keep us from
exporting our products.

"It cannot be imagined to what degree the United States harasses us
economically -- with agreements that are even effective to some degree, as
for example its negotiating with countries such as France, Italy, Japan,
and the FRG, all of which buy our nickel, to not import to the United
States a single piece of machinery or a single ton of steel containing
Cuban nickel. In consequence, they limit our exports of nickel."

Fidel said that what imperialism is doing to attempt to impede our economic
progress is an obsessive mania, but imperialism's nervousness and
disappointment are understandable because when a country can present the
social achievements of our revolution and the economic progress of our
revolution at a time of universal crisis, this makes the imperialists
worry, get embittered and irritated, become obsessed, and go insane. After
all, as their neighbors, and after they have made so many attempts to
destroy us, it turns out that exactly the opposite of what they have
imagined, is what is happening. Continuing on this subject, Fidel explained
how they pursue every bit of information, cooperation, or resources we
obtain in the field of medicine, saying that the blockade is not limited to
medicines but that there are U.S. Government documents that state that it
is against their interests for a physician to visit us or for there to be
any exchange or for any Cuban physician or scientist to visit a U.S.
hospital or scientific institution through the auspices of the WHO. The
imperialists try to justify this inhuman policy by saying that, since Cuba
has proposed becoming a medical power and everything in Cuba is political,
whatever can contribute to our development in that field is political and
prejudicial to the vital strategic interests of the United States.

"They are mistaken if they believe that our medical development is going to
depend on them. Cooperation and the exchange of information is useful and
of interest but our medical development is not based on information we
receive from them, because there are already some fields in which we are
competing with them in medical research. Our perspectives are based on the
information we receive from the entire world in this field, and especially
on the personnel we are training."

Returning to the original idea of the advantage our country has that other
Latin American and Third World countries do not have, due to our economic
relations with the socialist countries, he said this advantage should be
used in the future and optimum use of all the resources we receive from
that community is being studied. As examples of these relations, be cited
the petroleum refinery being built in Cienfuegos, the nuclear powerhouse,
the two nickel refineries, and other important industrial projects under

"So we, both in the area of industry and agriculture, are carrying out very
important development work that can guarantee our future in material

He explained that we are seeking more solid and secure development in all
fields, based on energy conservation and on the use of cheaper energy such
as nuclear energy, for which reason when the thermoelectric powerhouses are
completed almost all our future electrical development will be
nuclear-electric. Speaking on this subject, Fidel said the production of
petroleum is increasing and extraction activities are continuing; the use
of cane bagasse produced by the sugar mills is being optimized; and greater
efficiency is being sought not only in the boilers of the sugar mills but
also in the general use of fuel. Investments are being made in that area to
make better use of bagasse, not only as a fuel but also as a raw material
to make wood, paper, and even foods.

Fidel also spoke of freely convertible currencies and the emphasis placed
on increasing products to replace imports from the capitalist world and
increase exports to it, and to acquire products or raw materials that
cannot be obtained from the socialist camp and that are indispensable to
us. He also referred to the adoption of concrete measures to perfect the
system for directing the planning of the economy, with greater
participation by all sectors. He stressed the interesting experience of the
creation of the central group, whose existence and methods are going to
continue and be perfected, he said.

"For this reason, in the Central Committee we said 1985 was excellent from
a subjective point of view. It was a year of much better work. This can be
seen in some of the data of the economic plan, as for example the fact that
the economy grew 4.8 percent and fuel consumption was less than in 1984,
despite the fact that in 1984 there were marked savings over the year

He also said it was his understanding that less electricity was consumed
despite an increase of 70,000 groups of consumers. He also said that a
series of sectors had grown, that raw materials had been conserved, and
that the goals drawn up in late 1984 were achieved in conservation,
production, and exports.

He said problems had cropped up in some places, such as in the production
of nickel, which were objective problems that had been inherited and were
not due to poor performance by the workers.

With regard to the results of 1985, which he described as very good in
every respect, he said the sugar harvest was excellent with high yields,
that the sugar production plan had been met, and that exports had
increased. He explained, nevertheless the year had had objective problems
that were very unfavorable, including the fact that the price of sugar
continued to drop more than expected, to less than 3 cents per pound, and
that the price of other exports also dropped. It was also a very dry year,
and the vegetable, rice, and pasture crops and the production of milk,
beef, and cane for the coming harvest were all affected. Fidel gave
detailed information on the drought, saying that although rainfall was 86
percent of the historical average, and this might make one think the
drought had not been very intense, it did not rain during the first 6
months, and the distribution of rainfall was not normal in time.

With regard to these objective factors, he referred to the passage of
hurricane Kate, which passed over eight provinces when the sugarcane was
recovering from the drought and was ready for harvesting. With reference to
his trip through the affected provinces, he said he had never seen cane so
affected by the wind and that the damage was incalculable. He added that
the number of houses affected was greater than the 60,000 originally
reported and that 80,000 have been identified. The hurricane did not leave
one banana tree standing, and thousands of agricultural and industrial
installations lost their roofs. The greatest damage hurricane Kate did was
to the sugarcane. He said the fact that a very high percentage of cane
could not be machine harvested was a great worry, as was how to solve the
problem of machine harvesting the crop.

He then said that because of all these factors he had said that 1985 was an
excellent year from the point of view of the effort made by the entire
people, the entire country.

"And nevertheless it has been an adverse year from the point of view of
these factors that I have mentioned: the price of sugar and of petroleum,
the problem of selling certain export products such as tobacco and others,
drought, and above all hurricane Kate. But all this did not discourage the
people. Everyone went to work with dignity and energy. The tens of
thousands of persons affected saw that as always the socialist states came
to their aid, made materials available at half price -- the materials were
not a gift but were supplied at half price -- and provided credit to
rebuild housing.

There are quite a few that have been rebuilt already. In just a few months,
5,000 houses have been rebuilt from the ground up. This heartens the people
because they know this rapid response exists. In a few weeks, the 80,000
persons whose homes were affected in one way or another will have their
homes repaired with the state paying for the other half of the cost of the
materials. Once more the principle of socialist solidarity, or
revolutionary solidarity, has been put into practice, no one has been
without resources, and whoever needed a credit got it so he could make

All the provinces went to work to rebuild dairies, shops, inns, and
storehouses; to take all the necessary measures, gathering up the hundreds
of thousands of quintals of citrus fruits that had fallen from the trees;
and to recover what could be recovered in the banana plantations and so
reduce as much as possible the effects of the hurricane. He gave the
example of the workers of the Camaguey tile factory, who made an
extraordinary effort in a factory, the main machinery of which is 100 years
old, and which factory is producing at 100 percent of capacity thanks to
the untiring efforts of the workers, who raised the production first from
7,000 to 10,000 tiles then, with the aid of a similar factory, to 12,000
tiles daily.

Commander in Chief Fidel Castro explained other immediate measures that
were taken to overcome the damages caused by the hurricane, such as the
plans made in the fiber-cement industry. But there were problems for which
there was no immediate solution, because almost the entire 1986 production
of fibercement would be needed and this would hold up new construction. It
was estimated that 10,000 tons of zinc were needed, and our reserve was
less than 1,000 tons. And the demand for rice and bread on the parallel
market was going to grow, for which reason several tens of millions of
dollars would be needed to solve these problems.

He then stressed the spontaneous aid given by the USSR and the delivery of
100 percent of everything requested in response to its offer, including
products and quantities already known to everyone. This was really very
valuable and opportune aid, Fidel said.

Going on to another subject, our commander in chief spoke of the
elaboration of the 1986 plan, in which all sectors and organizations
participated -- a realistic, dense plan which is not an easy plan but which
provides for growth of about 3.5 percent, which is less than in 1985.

"Despite the drought, the hurricane, all these problems, we propose to
attain 3.5 percent economic growth and to continue to increase saving raw
materials and fuels. This year it will be in a more controlled way. I
believe this is really admirable in the midst of the international crisis
and tragedies of other Third World countries."

Subsequently, he referred to the budget, noting that in 1986 the expenses
are lower than planned for 1985, which is notable, he said, if one takes
into consideration that investments, services, education expenses, health
costs, and social security continue to grow. He asked: which country can
say the same thing?

"The effort that has been made with the budget as a way of saving is
notable and worthy of praise. Saving means a lot. We are paying more
salaries than we should be paying. If there is no control, more money is
printed because the economy cannot be balanced. So, savings in the budget
play an important role. They create the habit of saving in all of us. We
must save and act with an economic spirit.

"It is truly an encouraging indicator because in spite of all these efforts
to save, the social development of the country continues, investments
continue, housing maintenance and construction continues, and investments
in communities continue.

We are working on completion of a certain waterworks for a certain
community's sewer system. There are a large number of important social

"In reality, when a country is able to plan a sustained period of growth
and development, it is something ideal for any society. We have been
maintaining that sustained growth over a period of years, even though we
have not made such an efficient use of our possibilities and resources. But
now we are achieving what could be called a more efficient use. We cannot
take for granted what we have but, on the contrary, we must be aware of new
possibilities to continue increasing our efficiency with our material and
human resources for economic and social development. We must have a more
rational development, a better prepared and perfect development."

He said the most reliable portion of our foundation for that development is
our relations with the socialist community and the Soviet Union, which are
also developing and gaining strength, firmness, mutual trust, and mutual
consideration, and this was demonstrated once again with the recent
hurricane. In that sense, he pointed out that great progress has been made
in the coordination of plans with most of the socialist countries and,
thus, a solid foundation exists to account for our actions to the people.

"Here are gathered the representatives of the nation, the provinces, the
party, the state, the workers, and the masses. In that manner we can
examine with great detail what we have done and the progress made."

Fidel also said it was encouraging to see at the Assembly the recognition
made of the new style of work now in use and the hope everybody has to
continue to advance in a re path struggling for the country's efficiency
and progress. He took up topics related to health, pointing out that a
slight backward movement has been noted in the child mortality rate. But he
added that we are not going to be discouraged because of it; we are going
to struggle to lower it to below 15 for every 1,000 children in 1986.

Fidel spoke about the great possibilities noted in the field of medicine,
citing examples such as the results of the family doctor program, which
began with 10 in Havana 2 years ago. By the second year some 200 had joined
in several other provinces, and in the third year we now have some 760
family doctors, including more than 30 on the Graruna Mountains. He
explained that in 1986 some 160 doctors will go to Guantanaino to service
all of that province's mountains. These physicians will be mostly from
Havana city; they have all volunteered. He added that such action is also
an indication of the development of awareness, of the moral values of our
youth. Fidel continued to expand on the topic and said that in 1987 all the
eastern mountains will have family doctors, there where medical services
are most inaccessible, where the highest child mortality rate as well as
marriages of very young couples exist.

"I believe these doctors will play a very important role in guiding,
educating the population, and advising the young people. We will surely see
this in future statistics, after this huge contingent of doctors begins its

Fidel noted that more than 400,000 persons have already been cared for by
these family doctors, and that in 1986 the figure will go as high as 1.5
million because the rate of doctors joining the service will never go below
1,500 per year. Subsequently, he spoke about the Carlos J Finlay medical
sciences detachment, whose first class will graduate in 1988, which
indicates that perhaps by the end of this century, 12 more years, all rural
and urban areas will be covered with family doctors. And this colossal, new
advance, Fidel explained, will solve many problems, among them reducing the
number of patients visiting hospital emergency rooms because, according to
first reports, patients visiting emergency rooms of the hospital assigned
to them in the 10 October District was cut down to zero. Only emergency
cases go here, be said.

Fidel referred to the recent examination of complaints dealing with health
services in the capital and said they mainly dealt with clinical-surgical
hospitals. He added that when this family doctor program is fully
implemented, a colossal leap forward will be made in the medical services
system in coming years.

The party first secretary requested that party comrades and those in the
people's government pay special attention to these contingents of young
doctors who have joined the program and those who might join in the future
because, he said, I feel they are a really promising goal for the country.

Something else Fidel mentioned was the efforts being made with the
hospitals, and in this respect he referred to the recent meeting he held in
the capital -- where the problems are more difficult because of the large
number of hospitals and institutions in it.

Elsewhere in his speech Fidel said the party has been working on this for
many months because in August an increase in the population's complaints
about hospital services was noted. Some of the problems were of an
objective nature and were examined to seek a solution, but in general most
were subjective problems, created by bad habits resulting from the lack of
pressures, not because of the personnel's poor attitude. In reality, the
commander in chief noted, the response we should give in the struggle to
eradicate these bad habits and improve the operations of the hospitals has
the approval of workers, physicians, technicians, nurses, nurse-aides, all
of them.

He referred to the heroic effort taking place in some of these centers,
citing the case of the national leprosarium and the hospital for the
mentally handicapped. Fidel also spoke about the party's hard work in this
sense in Havana City, and of the assembly meetings taking place in all
hospitals, and he expressed his certainty that it will have great results.
We propose that a crusade to raise the level of services be carried out, he
said. I am sure we will achieve that goal, he stressed.

Fidel also referred to the improvement of education centers, beginning with
the increase in the double session at primary schools, which he cited as an
example. He added that teachers and professors should have greater
experience, adding that in 1985 nearly 3,000 bachelors in primary education
graduated, and there are tens of thousands studying in the program to apply
computer training at the medium level in vocatioxial schools, which are
gradually being converted into preuniversities of exact sciences. He noted
that this is already showing good results because in the recently held
mathematics olympics Cuba won second place over all the Latin American

Fidel also mentioned the results attained in sports and the training of
physical education professors, noting that we will continue to be a
superpower in sports and in developing sports, independent of whether we
attend the olympic games because for us, Fidel stressed, the principles are
more important than any olympic medals. He said that all amateur artistic
groups must be developed; we must continue to work restlessly in the area
of culture, improving television, radio, and film industry.

Speaking about the overwhelming housing problem, he said there is hope
because of the big construction material factories that have been built and
the united effort of the state and population itself. He also referred to
the progress that will be made in research centers, citing as an example
that when the genetic engineering and biotechnological center is completed
on 1 July 1986 we will be among the seven most advanced countries in the
world in this field. So we anticipate a great future in every aspect, he
noted, and said that all this is more remarkable when considering that,
together with the effort in production and services, an enormous effort has
been made in defense, to which many hours have been devoted in recent

All this has resulted in a multiplication of our defensive capability, and
in the past 5 years I believe we have tripled our potential in forces, not
in the number of cannons but in the number of citizens. In the quantitative
aspect, we have tripled our capability. But I feel that in the qualitative
aspect we have increased a hundredfold. I believe that we have created the
conditions for guaranteeing defeat of an imperialist invasion of our
fatherland with the new means -- the war of all the people -- with the
training of all the people for this type of war, and with the readiness of
the state, the country, and all our society, including the pioneers. In
this effort, the comrades have uncovered possibilities that were more
remote than can be imagined."

The party first secretary said all these elements are encouraging for our
work, a reward for the work that has been carried out in recent years, a
demonstration that revolutions do not grow old and cannot grow old, a
demonstration that the work of the revolution never ends and can never end.
He briefly referred to the different phases lived by our people, of their
revolutionary spirit and political awareness, the latter achieved only
second to the first. He referred to the beginning of the revolution when
there was illiteracy, only 3,000 physicians, and very few university
professors, and compared it with today's diametrically opposed situation,
recalling the reports rendered by the provinces in that sense at the
national assembly, which express what those territories used to lack and
how much they have today in education, health, social security, industrial
projects, and development in general.

The commander in chief also referred to the situation being lived by Cuba
compared to that of some countries, including developed countries, and
cited how much is paid for housing, for registration at the university, for
sports events, and for bus fare, and referred to the material improvement
of our people's living conditions. He mentioned some of the ideas brought
up at the Central Committee meeting on how we can improve our effort to
build socialism and, in this respect, he said capitalism cannot do what we
can in education, health, and sciences.

Socialism's possibilities, he said, are limitless; capitalism cannot have
them. Socialism is a really humane system where a man's problem is
society's problem. No one is left out in the cold. Each of us has
everyone's solidarity. That cannot exist in a capitalist society. Our
regime is superior, he said. I see infinite possibilities in socialism.
Referring to our elections and proletarian democracy, he said they are
improving and we must continue to improve them. Of the recently, held film
festival, he said it was a great popular event and most valuable from the
cultural and political viewpoint because it entails a struggle against the
imperial hegemony of the transnationals in their attempt to colonize us

Referring to the manner in which we can improve our system by overcoming
subjective factors, he mentioned the one dealing with the real development
of human resources, beginning with the fact that in some places there is
high productivity and yield with very few workers, and in others there are
inflated payrolls, which is why there is a need for cutting back those
structures and re-establishing the multiskill system to save in that way.
In that sense, he cited the example of reserves or surpluses of teachers
allowed to the Education Ministry, and he said it is an idea that has been
very useful. It must be used in improving services, in raising the level of
qualifications. He noted that this experience of paying the professional so
he can study can also be applied to doctors.

[Words indistinct], because out of 100 with profound convictions there is a
necessity of rationally using in the best way possible human resources
because, on the contrary, it would be an irrational use of human

In this respect, the commander in chief gave more details on his way of
thinking, adding that it has been proved that efficiency is determined by
the training of personnel at all levels, and repeated his view on the
importance of training and requalifying the country's technical personnel.
I believe, he said, that development requires the use technology, and
automation, and the solution of personnel surpluses cannot be found by
inflating payrolls. The only way is to retrain then, raise their level of
education, and get them ready for other jobs, Fidel added.

"I repeat that we must not make quick fixes in all places where there are
difficulties. I propose that we ponder the problem. We must become aware of
the problem, and we must calmly study the problem and undertake a path
toward a goal that I am sure will give us a total superiority over the
capitalist regime. Socialism is something new, I repeat, and we must
contribute in some way to socialism with these experiences. I am sure that
will be the result."

On this topic, the first party secretary said our contribution should not
only be limited to fulfilling internationalist missions, but to making our
socialism better. And perhaps the best contribution we can make to the
revolutionary movement is to make our socialism better, which does not
exclude fulfilling internationalist duties of another nature. Continuing on
the same topic, he referred to the admiration of many visitors when they
see in Cuba, despite all lies and campaigns against our country, our
experiences in the field of health, schools in the countryside, and
university faculties in all provinces.

"I am sure that [words indistinct] the capitalist system cannot be compared
to our system. We have the duty of improving because this battle will be
waged in the field of ideas. Which regime is useful? Which regime is
useless? Which represents the new, progress, human brotherhood, and
society's united strength? Which represents the past, divisionism, the
struggle of man against man, and the struggle of wolves? In the end,
socialism will prevail in this peaceful competition because of its results
in all fields, its social, economic development, its political development,
and its ideas."

The commander in chief cited other examples that contribute to the
improvement of our system, such as ways in which tasks are being tackled in
the economic field, the preparation of plans, solutions to the defense
problems, which, he said, are novel and unquestionably useful methods. He
said that the way in which the party, state, mass organizations, and Armed
Forces have united in instrumenting all this structure is really novel and
exemplary. He said we must use our imagination in everything, inasmuch as
there is no lack of will, desire, spirit patriotism, or enthusiasm, Fidel

The first party secretary also said that a new youth -- a bearer of great
qualities, having a strong enthusiastic, and demanding spirit -- is being
developed. Fidel devoted the last portion of his speech at the National
Assembly to recalling the great battle our country has been waging against
the Latin American foreign debt and Third World in this past year,
referring to the formulas invented by the imperialists, such as the Baker
Plan, to loan more money while the economic crisis increasingly aggravates.

"On this hemisphere the winds are blowing against imperialism. All
objective factors oppose imperialism. They are facing insoluble problems.
Attacking a country such as Nicaragua would really be a way of creating an
explosive condition on the hemisphere. However, we do not want them to make
that mistake. We hope they will not do it, but we are not sure they will
not do it. I believe that we have many reasons and interests in facing up
to the problem with greater experience than ever, with better organization,
with greater maturity, with greater composure."

Fidel said our relations with Latin America are improving, that ties and
unity among the Latin American peoples are developing, and that the crisis
-- the greatest in the history of the hemisphere in his judgment -- will
considerably contribute to political changes and to bringing together and
uniting the Latin American peoples. Closing, Fidel Castro spoke about the
preparations for the third party congress scheduled for February, the
preparation of materials, the program draft that will be approved in a
future meeting.

It will be a good program which will include many of our experiences. It
will be enriched with the contributions of party militants and the people
in general. I believe we have the best conditions for the congress. It will
be an opportune congress at an opportune time, and with promising results."

Dear viewers, we have brought to you the version of the speech made by the
commander in chief at the closing session of the ninth ANPP regular
meeting, which was published in the 30 December 1985 edition of the GRANMA