Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


FL031917 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 0100 GMT 21 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 on 20 May; all delegates identified by caption --

[Excerpts] [Passage omitted] [Julio Cesar Aguilera, Granma] If we work and
make half of the land owned by the CPA [Agriculture-Livestock Cooperative]
and the Credit and Services Cooperative productive, our production figures
will increase threefold or perhaps more. We have 52 caballerias, and 45
partners own the land. We founded the Credit and Services Cooperative in
1979 and the average milk production we sent to the ECIL [Dairy Industry
Consolidated Enterprise] every day was 241,000 kg [as heard] of milk. The
average milk production has never been less than 183,000 kg -- and we had
no resources at all. We only received some resources this year.

I tell my comrades: If we decide to organize a CPA here and pool our
efforts to get some equipment to improve the grazing areas and get
fertilizers, the production will increase threefold because there is
strength in unity. This is a fact and they should I believe it. Our
cooperative is located near Bayamo; it is located 16km from Bayamo, in
front of the Bayamo combine pig farm. The comrades of the cooperative have
asked us I many times: Why is it that our cooperative never receives any
kind of aid?

We are surrounded by a network of power lines, which were laid I km on
either side of our land. The pig breeders have electricity in all their
units; and a large zone including Peralejo, (Dedimitrio), and all those
other places -- has electricity. We say: Well, perhaps our time to get
electricity is yet to come. Perhaps we will get electricity some day. We
also have another problem there.

[Castro, interrupting] Wait, wait. Where do you need the electricity?

[Aguilera] What?

[Castro] Where do you need the electricity?

[Aguilera] What did he say? [Someone whispers: "He wants to know where you
need the electricity"]

[Castro] You say there are power lines on either side.

[Aguilera] Yes, but we...

[Castro, interrupting] I want to know where you nee the electricity. The
isolated houses? The isolated farms? Do you want a power network for each
house? Why do you want electricity?

[Aguilera] Because other zones...[Aguilera corrects himself] other credit
and services cooperatives, which are less productive and have less
resources, have electricity.

[Castro] Are the houses isolated or do they live in some kind of village?

[Aguilera] Isolated houses. Some of the houses are isolated.

[Castro] Do you think that thousands, tens of thousands of kilometers of
electric lines can be laid out for every isolated house?

[Aguilera] No, no. I agree...

[Castro, interrupting] Do you think that the industrialization,
development, and urbanization of the countryside would be possible this

[Aguilera] I know that this would not...

[Castro, interrupting] Would this lead to-the creation of communities?

[Aguilera] I know that it would. [Aguilera corrects himself] that it would
not, Commander.

[Castro] The costs are higher.

[Aguilera] Correct.

[Castro] Just imagine how many transformers must be installed to connect
each one of the 48 houses.

[Aguilera] Correct. I know that this can't be done. What my comrades mean
is that other credit and services cooperatives, which are even bigger than
ours, have electricity; and...

[Castro, interrupting] Are the houses near each other?

[Aguilera] No, no, no. They are just like ours. They are isolated.

[Castro] Are your houses located along a road?

[Aguilera] Most of the houses are located along the road.

[Castro] I see.

[Aguilera] The most important livestock installations are located along the
road. That road links Penalejo, Virey, and San Pablo de Yao.

[Castro] I think that the electrification process should be carried out
parallel to the development of our countryside.

[Aguilera] Of course; that is how it should be done.

[Castro] We would accomplish nothing by spending large amounts to bring
electricity to the small farms and isolated houses throughout the

[Aguilera] I know that is true but still...

[Castro, interrupting] If those people got electricity... [changes thought]
It is worse in other places. People have installed their own connections in
many places.

[Aguilera] That's true.

[Castro] People have put... what do you call them? (someone says; "Illegal

[Castro] Yes, illegal hookups and all that. There is no organization

[Aguilera] Yes, yes; but that is done in many areas.

[Castro] I think that the electrification process in the countryside must
be carried out parallel to the development of our cooperatives, just as it
was done with the schools, collection centers, dairy farms, and all that.

[Aguilera] That is how it should be done. Precisely. That is why my
comrades say that other cooperatives have electricity; so how about
installing a line for us.

[Castro] We will not use modern energy systems for old-fashioned
agricultural installations.

[Aguilera] Right. [passage omitted]

[Francisco Suarez, Havana] We are seriously working in our province.

[Castro] What do you grow?

[Suarez] Each cooperative... [Suarez corrects himself] the large
cooperatives use 1 caballeria for their gardens. Many of them -- like ours
and the [name indistinct] -- have set aside 1 caballeria for the vegetable
gardens. We have begun to sow it; we have radishes, string beans, and...

[Castro, interrupting] What can you grow in summer?

[Suarez] We can grow everything in summer. We can produce everything. We
will have string beans, radishes, and lettuce. There is a new variety of
lettuce and it is very good.

You can sow it around this time of year; this has been proved in San
Antonio de los Banos. The cooperatives in San Antonio de los Banos have
sown it and the lettuce looks magnificent. They also have okra, which grows
all year long. [laughter] The same goes for pepper. We plan on growing 30
different kinds of vegetables.

[Castro] You will have to calculate this carefully to see which product
will be most in demand among the people.

[Suarez] Exactly. That is important because...

[Castro interrupting] You must know how much radish, string bean, okra, and
eggplant you need.

[Suarez] Yes, the...

[Castro, interrupting] You must see what the demand is.

[Suarez] That is the important thing. We must know what the people will buy
so we may...

[Castro, interrupting] The people have lost the habit of eating certain
things. [laughs] For example, okra.

[Suarez] Yes, you don't see that any more. [passage omitted]

[Castro] We have the case of the Caujeri Valley, where nothing has been
achieved even though they were given many resources to develop the valley;
this was a tragedy. The valley was a tragedy. Well, we wasted our time. We
even had hopes a copper mine would be found there. The geologists thought
they had found a mine where the main dam was going to be built. Well, this
delayed everything.

We sent new equipment, but the program to build dams failed there. Only a
few caballerias have received water there. Anyway, the main thing is this:
When we began the program in that valley the local production was 17,000
quintals and the average family income in Caujeri was 300 pesos. The
agricultural production has currently risen to 200,000 quintals and the
family income is now 3,000 pesos. The plan has not been finished, they
still have only a little bit of water. The new dam, and another one after
it, will be used to irrigate almost everything. The production has
increased twelvefold and the family income increased tenfold -- from 300 to
3,000 pesos. Imagine what would the valley's production be if the program
to build dams had not been delayed. You can clearly see how an adequate
investment increases production and the people's income in the area.

The situation was terrible, really terrible in that area. We also lost
time; we failed to work with as much dynamism as we are working with now in
Pinar del Rio Province -- this doesn't only include Vinales but all the
province. What is the Caujeri Valley's importance? It is not only important
due to the amount of products or vegetables that can be produced there it
is also important for what can be produced in summer, given the valley's
microclimate. It is some kind of gigantic hydroponic installation that
could supply a considerable amount of vegetables in summer, when it is much
more difficult to produce them in Havana given the heavy rains and general

You can raise tomatoes there perfectly well in July, August, and September;
that valley can become a gold mine. We found out in Vinales we had lost
interest in our plans to build waterworks. We are reorganizing the brigades
to carry out that work. I wonder how many other places we have in the
country that are like Vinales. I was surprised because you have been able,
by using dams and small dams, to accumulate 30 million cubic meters.
Imagine how this would guarantee all our crops year after year! I think
this is an example of how we must work; and I hope Vinales will become a
prototype of what can be done in many places.

[Leovildo del Toro, Guantanamo] Commander, eight agrarian and livestock
production cooperatives were created following your visit in 1977. Those
cooperatives merged to form four. We are working to fulfill our production
goals. We must produce tomatoes during the summer months. Right now we have
approximately 74 caballerias planted with tomatoes. We think the valley's
overall production will be 225,000 to 250,000 quintals of tomatoes, and we
have already begun to harvest the first tomatoes. [passage omitted]

[Castro] We have to work tenaciously, constantly, and thoroughly to really
avail ourselves of every opportunity to exploit the land and apply all the
techniques, thus ensuring production. It is clear this type of work
[changes thought] We are clearly aware of what the main problem in Camalote
is. There is no land to build the canals, and all the dams have been built.
Furthermore, some of the peasants have organized cooperatives but others
have not, and they are all living in the same area. One of the main
problems is building the canals for the water that will irrigate the land,
because there are many small farms. I know the valley where the Republica
de Chile Cooperative is located very well. You should see the changes
there! The people achieved...[changes thought] Unfortunately we cannot
accomplish what we have accomplished there everywhere. That would be the
ideal thing. The people use the land judiciously because they live in
apartment buildings, but nothing would be possible without the cooperative.
Do you understand that? The place is full of small farms and these make
everything difficult.

Just think of the problems a local cooperative has with crop dusters. You
can hardly use a crop duster in an area full of small farms. Impossible!
You cannot use them to irrigate the area or spray fertilizers and weed
killers. Just imagine the rice fields, which are sown by plane. All the
rice fields in the country would not have been possible if they had been
small farms. You cannot use harvesters in isolated farms; that is
absolutely impossible. Hence the importance of the cooperative movement. In
other words, it is not fanaticism. It is not a matter of creating
cooperatives just to say: Let us socialize the land for the sake of
socializing the land, or let us socialize production for the sake of
socializing production. No! Individual production in small farms clashes
with the enforcement of the most productive techniques, the agricultural
sciences, and the irrigation plans that guarantee our production. This
simply cannot be done -- at least not on a large scale. There is no
possibility of using bulldozers, tractors, irrigation systems, harvesters,
and airplanes. All this would be impossible. That is why it became
necessary to organize cooperatives to complete the country's agricultural
development. A lot of progress has been achieved in cooperative development
plans within a few years. There is no doubt about this. Many cooperatives
are excellent production centers due to the storage and agricultural plans.

The analysis, discussion, and programming of agricultural production in
2,000 large cooperatives is not the same as planning and organizing
everything for 150,000 to 200,000 independent farmers and storing what they
produce. You don't know how much agricultural work can be simplified when
agricultural production is based on state-owned enterprises and
cooperatives. This will simplify and facilitate all the agricultural work,
the distribution of raw materials, and the storage of products, not to
mention an improvement in the peasants' living conditions.

[Del Toro] We must make plans to provide guidance to the children of
cooperative members -- meaning the children of peasants -- so they will
study agronomy and mechanization. We analyzed the youth's future and this
does not seem too certain. Why do I say this? Because we have not been able
to influence our children -- the blame mainly falls on the cooperative
members -- or to encourage their love for the land.