Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


FL081607 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 1300 GMT 8 Jan 87

"Portion" of President Fidel Castro's speech at the Communist Party of Cuba
[PCC] Havana Provincial Committee Meeting held in Havana's Karl Marx
Theater on 7 January -- recorded]

[Text] Comrades, when just a few days ago Comrade Lezcano...[Castro
rephrases] I talked to Comrade Lezcano about the activities, plans, and
programs we should implement in 1987, he told me that he had scheduled a
wide-ranging party meeting for Wednesday, 7 [January] here in this theater.
I believe this theater has never been used better than when a meeting such
as this one is held. I planned then to participate in this meeting and I
told Comrade Lezcano I would not miss it. [laughter]

I was listening closely when he was summarizing 1986 events to see if he
was going to forget something. He mentioned everything regarding defense
and different activities held in every area. I thought to myself that he
had not mentioned the event held in front of the embassy [as heard] and the
acts in front of the embassy. [indistinct crowd remarks] He mentioned it. I
later thought he had not mentioned the matters regarding microbrigades as
an important aspect of 1986, and he mentioned them. Finally, there was
something that if he did not mention, it was because it could be considered
to be implicit. Among the important things the party did was simply create
the conditions for such a high spirit and morale present among party
members and the people from Havana which resulted in the response the
capital gave to the measures program. That is very important because I
believe the capital has really given a firm, courageous, and impressive
response -- as the rest of the country has shown but specially the capital
because it has been more directly affected.

If a peasant who lives in Escambray does not have electricity services, he
cannot suffer the consequences of the rate increase. If bus fares are
increased, the peasant lives in Escambray does not have to... [rephrases]
the horse does not change its transportation fare in the mountains.
[laughter] Transportation fares by horse or mule have not been increased.

We have really been impressed by the response -- of course we expected it,
we are not surprised by it or anything. This is only possible when there is
a revolution, when people have a consciousness, when there is a party, a
militancy behind all this. The most impressive thing is the way the people
have understood the problems. That is the most important thing. This does
not mean that the entire population is happy with the measures but
according to the polls there was a high percentage of people who agreed
with the measures and completely understood the situation. There was some
confusion regarding the details, whether potatoes were assigned to
organizations, if the substitution of rice for potatoes affected the
population at large, if the reduction of a quarter pound of meat applied to
the entire population, and a number of those kinds of details that were
clarified later on. A very high percentage showed ... [rephrases] I do not
believe that there is any other place with such a high percentage of
understanding regarding situations and specific problems. The polls have
revealed those sectors -- I say there are sectors, there are people who do
not read the paper, do not watch television, and find out about things in
the streets.

That group never understands. Some are confused. Some do not understand the
situation of the world we live in, the deep economic crisis existing
everywhere, the crime being committed against Third World countries through
the prices of goods and all those things. That is reflected in that kind of
poll. The subjective factors which have made these types of measures
necessary have not been concealed. On the contrary believe that there has
not been a place where such serious and strong criticisms have been made as
it has happened in our country. I do not know any place, anywhere, any
revolution which has analyzed problems with the sincerity, clarity, and
harshness that our country has analyzed its problems.

I believe this has been a test for the revolution to measure its strength.
It also measures our peoples' capabilities, their cultural and political
level, their political education level, and even their level of economic
education despite those gaps we have mentioned and, of course, despite the
defects our revolution has, of the limitations, the mistakes the revolution
has made. But I believe that the mistakes all revolutions have had have
been overcome and this is what we are doing at this time.

I am not going to expand on this because I can do it at another time. A
revolution is also a great test, a great experience All kinds of ideas and
initiatives interlace in revolutions. I even remember that at the beginning
of the revolution there was chaos. There was no sense of discipline. I have
always given the example that one day the area chief of an agricultural
development zone at the former Oriente Province decided to occupy Nicaro.
Let's say it was an occupation of a strategic enterprise. It was a very
important measure, a very important one. It was an extremely important
decision. An area chief of an agricultural development zone thought he had
the right to occupy that large imperialist enterprise in our country.

They did it without further considerations and did not stop to think or ask
anyone. Many of those things happened during the first years of the
revolution, all kinds of things happened. Factories were occupied all the
time. It was not even the central government that took the decision to
occupy a factory. Generally, important decisions, important laws, important
nationalizations, all those things were made by the central government but
a great number of anarchic things often happened.

A revolution involves a long learning process. Opinions, ideas, all kinds
of tendencies interlace in a revolution. Naturally, all those factors have
an influence. I believe that what has happened in other countries in the
past also influences a revolutionary process and the way other countries'
experiences are interpreted. At times experiences were incorrectly
interpreted because other countries' experiences were underestimated. Other
times, the opposite happened. Other countries' experiences were
mechanically copied without considering if such experiences could really be
applied to our country's specific circumstances.

In sum, there were many factors that influenced, Sometimes when some
mistakes are being corrected, others are made. Opportunistic people can
take advantage of the situation during those rectification processes. All
that is possible. I do not believe we are going to have the risk of that
happening during this one we are implementing. I believe this process is
being conducted in our country in a very orderly fashion.

I Remember there was a time when it was necessary to rectify sectarianism
problems in our party. There was a time -- many of you may remember, some
are too young, this happened over 20 years ago. Well, an incredible
tendency was created within the party. The party was almost turning into a
clandestine one the same way the revolution committees [Committees for the
Defense of the Revolution] were turning into clandestine [Unreadable text]
because of those tendencies. Who knows where they came from. But
sectarianism was a reality greatly harming the revolutionary process
because it was detaching many people from the revolutionary process. A
strong battle was needed to overcome that situation of sectarianism. I
remember that when the battle against the sectarianism situation was waged
I was deeply concerned about another situation developing from it, that
another kind of sectarianism did not develop. Since cadres from the old
Marxist-Leninist Party were the ones who were mainly involved -- it was not
their fault but some leaders' fault who were duly criticized at the proper
time -- a different kind of secretarianism was created among those who had
been in the mountains, in other kinds of struggles and other kinds of
activities. Sectarian feelings against the old PSP [Peoples' Socialist
Party] members were created. I remember that that was a concern and I
talked several times about it and we ended by avoiding it.

I believe that the process of rectification of idealist problems -- as we
called them -- created at certain times...mistakes were made, somewhat
anarchic tendencies were also developed, sometimes it was one ministry or
another and when we realized it a measure was already in place. As a result
of those different kinds of negative tendencies worse tendencies developed.
I say it just like that, I have no problem saying it. They were much worse
than idealist mistakes and did not jeopardize the peoples' consciences.
They could be idealists because everything was based on consciousness. They
could be idealist because of an excess of equalitarianism. They could be
idealist because they did not understand that the true communist man with a
fully developed consciousness did not exist yet and that 70 or 80 percent
of the population were able to work with a communist spirit and another 20
percent relied on that 80 percent and it could practically cancel out the
results of what that 80 percent was doing. Undoubtedly, it was expensive to
pay the tractor operator the same salary whether he worked on 5 hectares or
10 or pay a dockworker the same whether he handled 3 [Unreadable text] or
10. Undoubtedly, those tendencies and those idealist mistakes had to be
corrected. That is the truth.

But at least those mistakes did not jeopardize the peoples' consciousness.
I do not believe no one jeopardizes himself by contributing to the
revolution hundreds and thousands of hours of voluntary work during those
difficult times. They participated in many projects of agricultural and
industrial development, construction projects, everything. Those people did
not corrupt themselves. It could be said that those people made efforts
beyond their capabilities.

Certain methods and mechanisms had to be introduced to rectify those

Sure, maybe there was a time when material incentives were not considered
and there were only moral incentives. It was unquestionable that there was
a need to also use economic resources, material incentives, especially in
those very difficult jobs that require constant efforts during long hours.

During the struggle against those negative tendencies or idealist mistakes
much more negative tendencies were developed. I called them mistakes of
"panzismo" but "panzismo" from "panza" [belly] the consciousness of men,
the soul of men, the heart of men, the honor of men, the shame of men were
no longer considered and considerations were made and behaviors were such
as if men only had stomachs and no hearts, no conscience, no values, and
moral principles which are the ones that make men achieve great things. We
could not be fooled and that concerned us a lot and we pointed it out many

I believe that during the rectification process of idealist mistakes
copying was introduced in a huge way. Everything was copied without taking
into consideration our country's specific situation. Undoubtedly,
opportunist tendencies developed and people with the spirit to save the
revolution and the fatherland thought they would save them and would
miraculously solve all the problems concerning needs, backwardness, all
those things.

Actually, that type of tendency developed and that explains many of the
things that were taking place without our own members and cadres realizing
it. Who knows what was going to happen if that pandemonium broke loose. It
is incredible. No one knows what would have happened if we kept that up. It
was a path that took us away from the revolutionary methods, styles, and
spirit. We had taken part in the war and I do not remember during those 25
months of fighting when people had to make terrible efforts, huge
sacrifices, take risks, and witness how many comrades died -- I do not
remember one single case in which an individual received material
incentives to do what they did. That did not happen during the invasion of
Giron, or the struggle against the criminals, or internationalist missions.
All the great things this country has accomplished have been done with
revolutionary spirit. It did not do it and would never have done it for

I remember the work performed by microbrigades. They worked 10, 12, and 14
hours in Alamar. That is how Alamar was built and many buildings in this
country. They did it with the salary they made in the factories. There was
none of that if you work a certain period of time you are paid 3, 4, 5
hours overtime. When we started to revive the microbrigade concept we
thought if we have a laborer who, because of all these distortions, is
making 1,000 and 1,200 pesos, huge salaries, that does not correspond to
his work. And if we have to fulfill internationalist missions? When a man
goes to fulfill internationalist missions, the country gives him his
salary, supports his family with the income he used to have. So I ask
myself, can a country that undertakes that materialistic path of economic
incentives and all those things maintain an internationalist consciousness?

Here there used to be many people who were considered well-versed because
they were bookworms and experts in Marxist concepts and Marxist-Leninist
quotations. They read all the volumes. It seems that while some worked,
others dedicated themselves solely to reading. [applause] They were
converted into a type of Marxist-Leninist priest. They had the last word in
Marxist-Leninist questions. Nevertheless, they did not understand these

They did not have the essence of socialism, the essence of
internationalism, the factors that actually move man to realize great
historic achievements. In reality, they were extreme bureaucrats, extreme
technocrats in the understanding of those problems.

One has to say these tendencies emerged during the past struggle against
errors and they are much more dangerous for our revolution. Yes, they are
much more dangerous and I believe that since then... [changes thought]
also, in time, some of these negative tendencies were checked promptly
before they corrupted us, before they corrupted our workers and our
peasants and before they corrupted our militants. You know there was a
problem with militants. There was a problem.

Virtue needs to be cultivated while vices, negative things are like weeds
that grow unaided. The seeds of those weeds were being planted in all
factories, in all centers, everywhere. Where would we end up, following
that road?

The revolution has maintained itself here for 28 years against the most
powerful empire in the world with all its societies of consumption and with
all its resources, programs, and all those things. Because, as I have said
before, the bland parts of those plants have become rotten. They have left,
but the bone, the hard part, the part that is iron has remained here in our
country. [applause]