Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


FL032247 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 0144 GMT 20 May 87

[Highlights of exchange between Fidel Castro and delegates to the Seventh Congress of
the National Association of Small Farmers, ANAP, at Havana's Palace of Conventions,
date not given; monitored in progress -- recorded]

[Text] [Unidentified delegate] The drought has caused considerable damage in recent
years and we have not been able to increase our grazing areas as we should. We had to
move the cattle to the areas surrounding the sugar mills due to the drought during the
past 2 years. This year we moved 2,500 heads of cattle from the drier areas, and this
involved a lot of expense. In addition, we must work on the cane fields but this also
involves some expense because you cannot plant sugarcane and grass in the mountain
areas. This must be done in different areas and we must use the space available on the
hilltops. However, this is more complicated. Anyway, these last years have been
difficult for us. We have had almost 5 years of drought in Santiago de Cuba. We have
had little rain in the area since 1981 and this has negatively affected our cattle

Nevertheless, we will reorganize the work at the territorial level and this will allow
us to develop our cattle production a little better, and thus have a more controlled
and developed birth rate, which has been extremely low due to the conditions in the
mountain areas. There are areas where the cattle are in pastureland measuring 37
caballerias. Breeding is impossible there because the animals -- meaning the cows --
stray from the bulls and they cannot do a thing. One must plan all this and put the
animals in areas where they will be in closer contact. We will begin an insemination
program with 150 animals, and we will also plan the supervised covering of an
additional 200 animals. In other words, we will begin better breeding plans.

This year we have plans to sow 17 caballerias in the flatter areas. We will thus be
able to bring more animals for insemination and supervised covering of cows. This is
what will really solve the problem of low breeding in the mountain areas, because the
conditions are difficult there. Not all the animals gather at the watering holes at
the same time. So many animals are not put in pens, and this makes cattle production

[Castro] I wanted to ask you: How many caballerias do you have?

[Delegate] We have 284 caballerias.

[Castro] And you have 2,800 heads of cattle?

[Delegate] Yes, 2,800.

[Castro] Approximately 10 per caballeria. How much grazing land do you have?

[Delegate] We have 32 caballerias of artificially sown grass. Some of the caballerias
must be rehabilitated because the drought has really affected them, and their capacity
has been heavily taxed.

[Castro] Is it Guinea grass?

[Delegate] No, it is star grass and Guinea grass.

[Castro] Star grass...

[Delegate, interrupting] We also have the Guinea grass in lower areas, where there are
less mountains. This variety has more yield per caballeria.

[Castro] Does it have a good yield?

[Delegate] Yes, of course.

[Castro] But that grass is very tough.

[Delegate] It -- is very tough but meets our needs.

[Castro] Do the Zebu cattle graze better with this grass than with the Guinea grass?

[Delegate] No, Commander, all the animals graze better with the Guinea grass. That is
the variety they like best.

[Castro] But the other variety has a higher yield.

[Delegate] It has a higher yield.

[Castro] Does it produce more meat per caballeria?

[Delegate] Yes, of course; it produces more.

[Castro] You only have 32. What kind of grass do you have in the other caballerias?

[Delegate] Natural grass.

[Castro] On the mountains?

[Delegate] On the mountains.

[Castro] What kind of grass?

[Delegate] They call it hemp but you call it Texan grass in Havana; and the other one
is called penicillin grass but you call it wild grass in Havana.

[Castro] Hmmm...

[Delegate] This is more or less what the grass is called in the eastern provinces and

[Castro] How many associates do you have?

[Delegate] We have 179 associates.

[Castro] You have too many associates.

[Delegate] Too many caballerias.

[Castro] Too many associates.

[Delegate] No, commander, because we also have coffee in 17 caballerias.

[Castro] Oh, all right. This means you don't only have cattle.

[Delegate] Yes, yes, we also have coffee.

[Castro] What else do you have?

[Delegate] The rest of the land is used to plant what we consume. We also have other
animals, including 600 sheep. We sustained some losses with the pigs, which had
brucellosis so we had to kill them. We have yet to recover from that loss.

[Castro] Judging from the calamities you have mentioned, we can say that your
cooperative has not been profitable.

[Delegate] No, no our cooperative has always been profitable but we had some problems
this year, commander. However, in previous years... [changes thought] the drought was
terrible last year and yet we had a surplus of 53,000 pesos. But we did not distribute
the money; the cooperative members agreed the money should be...

[Castro, interrupting] Yes, yes, but how many heads of cattle do you sell each year?

[Delegate] Look, we will sell 635 heads of cattle this year.

[Castro] Yearlings? Young bulls?

[Delegate] Young bulls. We were increasing...

[Castro] Do you sell fattened animals?

[Delegate] Yes. We'll sell a lot of class one and class two young bulls. We had
problems this year due to the drought, and because the animals did not gain weight as
they should.

[Castro] Is that your main source of income?

[Delegate] Yes, cattle production.

[Castro] The sale of cattle?

[Delegate] The sale of cattle.

[Alfredo Guerrero, Holguin, identified by caption] We feel we have fulfilled the
necessary goals to become a large family, given the cooperative members' behavior. We
are like a big family. We will commemorate the cooperative's eighth anniversary on 7
July. We think the occasion is propitious for the family to gather and discuss things.

[Castro] One last question: When you began it was a small group of 18 members, no?
How many?

[Guerrero] We were 18 men and 1 woman.

[Castro] How much land?

[Guerrero] We had 11 caballerias.

[Castro] Did you have any problems?

[Guerrero] Well, the cooperative has been profitable at all times even though we had
many problems. Even though we had many problems it was profitable. Thirty seven head
of cattle died the first year. The comrades... [changes thought] There are some
bitter stories but the cooperative was profitable from the first year due to our
comrades' efforts and strong will.

[Castro] Did you ever have any doubts along the way?

[Guerrero] No.

[Castro] You were sure of that...

[Guerrero, interrupting] We were always sure; we were always sure about the
cooperative movement.

[Castro] What is the education level among the cooperative members?

[Guerrero] Well, approximately 20 comrades have completed the 12th grade. I have some
information on that. This year... [corrects himself] Last year a ceremony was held at
our cooperative because the province had fulfilled the ninth grade level, and 30 of our
comrades had completed their ninth grade.

[Castro] In other words, you have a high education level.

[Guerrero] Very high, very high.

[Castro] Do you read the newspaper every day?

[Guerrero] We get the newspapers every day.

[Castro] What newspapers do you get?

[Guerrero] We get GRANMA, the provincial newspaper, and JUVENTUD REBELDE.

[Castro] Do you think the cooperative members' political education is good? I am not
only talking about patriotism and defense.

[Guerrero] I think so. I think they have achieved... (changes thought) I think so
because the people do not hesitate when a task must be carried out; they immediately
tackle the problem.

[Castro] How many are party members?

[Guerrero] Thirty six.

[Castro] And members of the Union of Young Communists?

[Guerrero] Twelve.

[Castro] Twelve. You have a good nucleus there.

[Guerrero] A good nucleus, a very good nucleus.

[Castro] Do you live in one community or are you spread out?

[Guerrero] Two communities.

[Castro] Two communities.

[Guerrero] We think this is a problem. We think this has been a negative experience
-- I am talking about the two communities -- because sometimes we could solve the
community's problem with one social gathering, but we have to hold two. If we hold a
gathering in one community we have to hold another gathering in the other community, or
else. If we have a party in one community we must have a party in the other community

[Castro] How far apart is one community from the other?

[Guerrero] Eight km.

[Castro] Don't you save a lot of time and transportation when you have to go to work?
It seems if one community is 8 km away from the other, you are close to the area where
you work, so you save time when you walk or ride. It all depends on the area's
topography and on the land's layout. If it is a well-located area the problems could
be solved with one meeting.

[Guerrero] Of course.

[Castro] However, the land distribution itself often makes it necessary to hold two
separate meetings, to avoid so much traveling and the waste of time when you have to
travel 1 hour. Nevertheless, as you well put it, the ideal thing would be one
meeting. How many people live in one community and how many live in the other? About
half of the population?

[Guerrero] No, one community is smaller.

[Castro] One community is smaller?

[Guerrero] One community is smaller.

[Castro] What school do the children attend?

[Guerrero] Well, there are two schools; one for each community.

[Castro] How many students in each school?

[Guerrero] There is a large school, which has 220 students in the larger community.
There is a smaller school; it must have 40-odd students.

[Castro] Therefore, how many people comprise the cooperative?

[Guerrero] I would say the consumers you mean?

[Castro] Yes.

[Guerrero] The cooperative members and their relatives?

[Castro] Yes, the consumers.

[Guerrero] four hundred and forty six.

[Castro] Does the doctor handle only those 446 persons or are there others?

[Guerrero] No. Well, the doctor does not handle everything, if you mean taking care
of all those who comprise the nucleus.

[Castro] No, I mean: How many of the persons living there does the doctor treat? Six

[Guerrero] Approximately 600.

[Castro] Then he treats people who do not belong to the...

[Guerrero, interrupting] Who do not belong, who are not members of our cooperative.
He treats everyone, but on a deferred basis...

[Castro, interrupting] Does he visit the patients?

[Guerrero] Constantly. He has time...

[Castro, interrupting] What does he have? A horse?

[Guerrero] He either rides a horse, walks, rides a tractor -- whatever is available.

[Castro] All right. Well, I think we must report what you said. Not only what you
said; I believe there are many examples that can be reported. It would be fitting for
all the population to hear about this, not only those attending the congress. Your
experience is useful for the state-owned enterprises; you have a lot of experience and
this can be useful.

We must make our own efforts so that the excellent results achieved in some
cooperatives can be applied elsewhere -- maybe in all the cooperatives.

It is important for the ANAP to learn the secret of the cooperative's success, why this
cooperative is at the vanguard. Many of the ideas have been positively developed. We
must apply them. I personally thought the issue of the houses...[changes thought] the
cooperative members' participation is essential. They can't wait for construction
workers to build their houses. They must be built with extra world. This means each
one works an extra hour to allow 16 men the free time for this work. That was
undoubtedly a great idea. Has anyone ever presented a report on your cooperative? I
talk about yours because it is located in a poor area, in an area with an adverse

[Guerrero]] Yes, commander, it has been featured.

[Castro] In Holguin's newspaper?

[Guerrero] The Holguin newspapermen have visited us and prepared some reports. On

[Castro, interrupting] Has it been done in a national newspaper?

[Guerrero] On certain occasions.

[Castro] What about a report at national level?

[Guerrero] I do not recall a report at the national level.

[Castro] It would be advisable for our press to report this. I am talking about one
case but here must be several cases which should be visited and reported at the
national level, to share their positive experience. I think this kind of report is
welcome news for everyone, not only for the peasants.