Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speech

Havana Domestic Radio-Television Services in Spanish 1423 GMT 26 Jul 75 FL

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro making the 22d anniversary of
the assault on Monacada Barracks, in Santa Clara, Las Villas

[Text] Distinguished guests, comrades of the party leadership and
government, work heroes and heroines, students, youth, Las Villas people,
Cubans: [applause] First of all, I want to express gratitude for the
emotional and fraternal words of Gen Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho. [applause]
We know General Saraiva de Carvalho as a hero of the April 1974 revolution
in Portugal and as one of the most prominent leaders of the Armed Forces
Revolutionary Movement. And his words mean for us a deep encouragement and
his presence in our fatherland on this 26 July has great historic
significance, because both countries-- small countries--are, as he says,
advancing united in the struggle and will be united in freedom and victory.

Portugal lived under fascism for more than 40 years and its people were
involved in the colonial disputes imposed on them by the exploiters But
they--the Portuguese military men-gained awareness and took up arms,
defeated fascism and initiated the path to liberation. [applause] Perhaps
only in that respect our two revolutions are different. We did not have
military men in the real sense of the word. We had henchmen and oppressors,
[applause] and it was necessary for the people to disarm the army and take
up arms themselves. [applause]

In Portugal the military men took the path of revolution, defeated fascism
and united with the people. [applause] The Portuguese revolution of course
will not be easier than our own revolution. Our revolution has been
difficult and as had to overcome big obstacles, but supported by the
strength of the people and the masses, by the revolutionary awareness of
the nation,and by the international revolutionary movement, our revolution
was able to achieve victory and its consolidation. [applause]

The difficulties for Portugal are big, immense. It is a small country,
underdeveloped in industrialized Europe, with great economic obstacles,
with few natural resources, and already facing the most tenacious
opposition from the reactionaries. It will undoubtedly have to undertake a
hard and difficult struggle.

But we here listen to a genuine representative of the Portuguese
revolution; we are certain they will move ahead. [applause] One speaks the
way General Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho did, and when men speak that way and
behave that way, without fear, without hesitation, without fearing big
obstacles, it can be said that the revolutionary movement is assured.

When the revolution becomes part of the people, when the revolution become
part of the working class, it can be said that the revolutionary movement
is assured regardless of the obstacles, regardless of difficulties,
[applause] regardless of what the sacrifices might be, because the people
are capable of sacrificing themselves for their future, for their
interests. The people will never sacrifice themselves anywhere for the
benefit of the interests of exploiters. [applause] That is why when we see
bourgeois governments asking sacrifices of the people, we do not understand
how the people can sacrifice themselves for the interests of the
bourgeoisie. The workers in general, the peasants, students and the
exploited are capable of making the greatest sacrifices for their own
interests. [applause] And that is why we are certain that the Portuguese
people will make whatever sacrifices are necessary in the revolution
together with the Armed Forces Movement. [applause]

And we say to General Otelo Saraiva that we are their comrades and brothers
in this struggle, [applause] that for us being brothers means solidarity,
and that the Portuguese revolutionary movement can count on our people's
most resolute support under all circumstances. [applause]

And we thank him for being with use during this ceremony, for encouraging
us with his presence, and for the fraternal and revolutionary statements he
made to our people.

We would also like to express to the people of Las Villas our gratitude for
the affection, joy and enthusiasm with which they decided to commemorate
this 26 July in their province. [applause]

This grandiose and gigantic rally is proof of the strength and maturity of
the revolution and of the revolutionary spirit of the people of Las Villas,
[someone in the crowd shouts: "We belong to the revolutionary party!"]
guided, as we have just heard, by their hardened and formidable party.
[applause--hurrahs from the crowd] We can say that with this rally the
people of Las Villas have overfulfilled their goals. [applause]

The provincial branch of the party said that 500,000 people of Las Villas
would gather here, but judging by what we can see, these grounds are not
large enough to contain all the people of Las Villas who are present,
[applause] and the province has less than 1.5 million inhabitants.

Despite the distances, despite the hour and despite the efforts required to
do so, more than one-third of the population of Las Villas is gathered
here. [applause] We know that it was not easy. We know that already
yesterday [Unreadable text] began to mobilize during the early hours of
evening, [Unreadable text] came the length and breadth of the province to
observe this 22d anniversary of the 26 July with half a million citizens
present. [applause] However, this is not surprising. We know how
conscientious they are; we know how revolutionary the people of Las Villas
are. [applause]

We are acquainted with their history which is indissolubly bound with the
history of the nation in its struggle for independence and national
liberation, with the name of Abel Santamaria, who came from Las Villas,
[applause] a courageous combatant, organizer, and champion of 26 July; we
are acquainted with Jesus Menendez, [applause] a selfless fighter for the
cause of the workers, who came from this province also. We know that
history links the names of Maximo Gomez, Maceo, and other great patriots
with the history of this province. [applause] And finally, we know that the
names of "Che" and Gamilo are indissolubly bound with the history of this
province. [applause]

We know that in order to reach this province they traversed hundreds of
difficult kilometers in an indescribable march of sacrifice and heroism,
and that some of their greatest deeds took place here.

We are acquainted with the history of the province in the revolution before
the victory and after the victory. [applause]

We know of their struggles against the bandits in Escambray. [applause] We
know of their struggles against the Giron mercenaries. [applause] We know
that the imperialists at one time wanted to convert this province, not less
than this province, into a counterrevolutionary center, but we also know
that this province became an invincible bulwark of the revolution.

But the people of Las Villas not only performed excellently in the combat
for independence in past times and for the liberation in recent times; they
also are magnificent workers, [applause] and in recognition of the effort
made by the people of Las Villas in recent years, the leadership of our
party decided that this anniversary should be commemorated here in the city
of Santa Clara. [applause] The province has done extraordinary work and has
attained enormous successes in recent years.

Since we are speaking of work we want to point out some of the achievements
of this province after 1970. For example, in 1973 material production grew
19.8 percent in comparison to 1972. In 1974 production grew 13.7 percent in
comparison to 1973. In the first half of 1975 the province has fulfilled or
overfulfilled plans in all sectors of the national economy, [applause] and
it has been equal to the effort of the rest of the country whose work
represented a 9-percent growth nationally in the first half of this year.
One example is construction. Many of the distinguished men of the white
hardhats live here. [applause] I could not say from here to what
magnificent brigades they belong, whether to the Maximo Gomez brigade, the
Antonio Maceo dam construction brigade, or the formidable builders of roads
and highways, or builders of schools, hospitals and housing, or of
factories to which this province devotes a great effort.

But in order to have an idea of the effort, it suffices to point out that
in 1970 the production value in the construction sector was 42 million
pesos and that this year of 1973 [as heard] the value of production by the
construction workers will reach 250 million pesos. [applause] In other
words, the construction workers' production has been multiplied sixfold.
However, the number of construction workers has not increased sixfold; it
grew from 20,000 to 40,000 and production grew from 42 to 250 [million

The number of construction workers was doubled, but their work in the
province was increased sixfold. This gives an idea of the extraordinary
increased production of the construction workers. [applause]

I could not say whether some of these men present here with their white
hardhats were among those who went to work in Vietnam, in the Democratic
Republic of Guinea or in the Republic of Tanzania, for 261 construction
workers from Las Villas have been working in those sister countries.
[applause] And we know that the Las Villas construction workers are willing
to work wherever necessary, anywhere in the world. [applause] We know how
much they have collaborated in the construction work of other provinces
such as building dams or highways in Matanzas Province, or building dams in
Camaguey Province where the Antonio Maceo brigade has build a dam of more
than 170 million of cubic feet of water in barely a year and a half.

We know of their efforts in the province's industrialization program, of
the factories they completed in recent days to commemorate 26 July
[applause], including the Santa Clara pasteurization plant and the
Escambray ice cream plant which is already in production and can produce up
to 20,000 gallons daily. We know how hard they are working on the highway
whose embankment will extend from Havana City to Santa Clara by the end of
this year and which is being built mostly by Las Villas people. [applause]
And [we know of] the construction work on the central railroad which is
progressing rapidly and will allow the country to have an excellent and
completely modern communication line by 1980.

We know they are filling the province with factories, among these the
largest Cuban cement factory under construction in Cienfuegos, [applause]
which will serve for a thousand more construction projects.

We know that they are covering the province with schools, hospitals,
agricultural projects, dwellings, reservoirs and highways. Together with
the construction workers, the basic industry workers, [applause] the
workers in the consumer industry, the transportation workers, and the
workers of the services industry have made extraordinary efforts.

Since 1970 the province has also marked success in the field of education.
[applause] For example, while during the school year of 1970-71 the
promotion rate in the primary schools was 66.2 percent, the promotion rate
during the just completed 1974-75 school year was 92.3 percent. [applause]
While in the basic secondary schools the promotion rate for the 1970-71
school year was 58.5 percent, the rate during this past school year was
93.5 percent. [applause]

In the secondary farming schools, which are of recent creation and
therefore did not exist in 1970 and of which several score already exist,
the promotion rate for this school year was 99 percent. [applause]

While during the 1970-71 school year the promotion rate in the
preuniversity schools was 50.2 percent, this year the promotion rate was
97.7 percent. [applause] We understand that this is good news for the
people of Las Villas, because the children of the workers, your children,
are studying there. [applause]

However, the province had its most brilliant successes in its response to
the appeal by th party Politburo to optimize the sugar harvest. [applause]
As you know, during the past several years we have suffered from heavy
droughts. Last year's drought cost the country approximately 1.5 million
tons of sugar--in other words, hundreds of millions of pesos in sugar

We had two extremely dry springs, and this spring is also turning out to be
dry, particularly in the provinces of Oriente and Camagueay where most of
the sugar is produced. However, when the party called for the optimization
of the harvest, the response form all the provinces, and particularly Las
Villas was extraordinary. [applause]

We have said on previous occasions that socialism should handle the sugar
industry at least as efficiently as the capitalists, but why did we say as
efficiently as the capitalists? Because, to tell the truth, the capitalists
had experience in the production of sugar since the times of slavery. The
capitalists had experienced administrators and cadres, and the capitalists
had at their disposal an army of labor reserves. What with the half million
unemployed in the country when sugar-harvesting time came, moved by
necessity and poverty, they went to the canefield and to the sugar
industry! However, the revolution, which changed the people's living
conditions and abolished unemployment, did not have that army of labor
reserves to harvest the sugar, and it had to mobilize workers in industry,
office workers, soldiers, students--everyone.

It was difficult to harvest the sugar under the new conditions created by
the revolution, and we said that it was necessary for socialism to at least
match capitalists efficiency in harvesting the sugar.

Well, today we can tell the people of Las Villas that not only have the
people of Las Villas matched the capitalists' efficiency in this sugar
harvest, but they have amply surpassed it. [applause] This is the great
victory of socialism in our country. Therefore, without wishing to tire
you, but to provide some encouraging details, we should like to give some
figures. We will compare the best capitalist sugar harvest, which was in
1952 with Las Villas' best harvest in 1975.

The sugar harvest in 1952 in this province lasted 125 days, and in 1975 it
lasted 122 days. The capitalists began the harvest in January, and we in
December. In 1975 this province produced 22,000 tons more sugar than in
1952, which was when the capitalists had their best sugar harvest.
[applause] Using a base of 96 [as heard] the 1952 capitalist sugar harvest
had a yield of 12.2 percent and in 1975 the yield was 13.05 percent.
[applause] The sugar recovered in 1952 amounted to 84.84 percent, and in
1975 the amount recovered was 85.22 percent. [applause]

The daily sugar production in 1952 amounted to 12,472 tons, and in 1975 it
amounted to 12,959 tons. In 1975 raw sugar production took place with 1,642
less industrial workers than in 1952. [applause]

Sugar production in 1952 per industrial worker employed during the harvest
was 69.53 tons, and in 1975 it was 76.09. [applause] Productivity of
sugarcane cut and hauled in 1952 was 144 arrobas [presumably per worker]
and in 1975, including all types of cutting and hauling, was 275 arrobas.
[applause] This represents 131 arrobas more, equivalent to a 91 percent
increase in productivity.

In 1952, some 12,000 wagon drivers were used to haul the cane, and in 1975
a total of 6,831 workers were used to operate the hauling wagons, trucks
and tractors, or 5, 169 less, equivalent to 43 percent. Productivity in
cane hauling in 1952 was 860 arrobas per wagon driver, and in 1975 it was
1,553 arrobas for an increased productivity of 81 percent.

The workers employed under capitalism to cut, raise and haul the cane
during the 1952 harvest amounted to 83,238, and 45,330 workers were used in
1975 for the same work, which represents a savings of 37,908
workers-equivalent to 46 percent. [applause] In 1952, a total of 105,659
farming and industrial workers were used in Las Villas to cut, lift, haul
and transport the cane and to produce raw sugar, and 66,109 workers were
used for these same tasks in 1975, representing a savings of 39,550
workers. Sugar production per worker employed in the harvest in 1952 was
14.8 tons and in 1975 it increased to 23.9 tons, or an increase of 61
percent. In 1952, Las Villas employed 10.6 percent of the population in
activities directly connected with the harvest, and in 1975, only 4.5
percent of the population.

In other words, the Las Villas people have, with about half the number of
workers produced more sugar than that produced by the capitalists in 1952.
These are the facts which reflect the work spirit, the advances of the
revolution and its successes beyond those ever reached by the capitalists
in the sugar industry of this province. That is why we now can assign
40,000 workers to construction work. That is why we now can assign tens of
thousands more workers to other activities and services for the development
of the province. That is why the party in the province, its provincial
committee and its excellent, fraternal and efficient first secretary,
Comrade Arnaldo Milian, [applause], deserve our most sincere and profound

Comrade people of Las Villas, who are filling this plaza despite the hour
of the day, the heat and fatigue--which we know do not dampen your
enthusiasm [indistinct shouts, applause]--in seeing you gathered here we
remember our first commemorations of 26 July when we were still no more
than a handful of men. We held those first commemorations in prisons.
Thereafter, we commemorated them in exile; later in the Sierra Maestra.
[applause] But we were always full of faith in the future of our cause and
in the people.

Since 1 January 1959, this is the 17th time we have commemorated 26 July
with the people. [applause] Those first days were difficult and bitter
ones, but we trusted in the righteousness of our cause. It seemed difficult
to change the panorama of the country, but we believed that with the people
the country's panorama would be changed. At first we were few. Of course,
our revolutionary ideas were shared by a more extensive sector of the
population. Although our 26 July program was still not a socialist one, we
were socialist on 26 July.

And our program created the conditions and foundations for the further
advance of the revolution, that is, for the progress toward socialism. Our
country also had its socialist party, a Communist Party, a party founded by
Valino and Mella. [applause]

Next month the party will commemorate the 50th anniversary of its
foundation. During the course of the struggle these communist revolutionary
combatants jointed closely with the combatants of the 26 July revolutionary
movement. [applause]

The assault on the Mocada Barracks was the deed which paved the way for the
final union and mobilization of the people toward victory. How much time
passed from 26 July 1953 to 1 January 1959: 5 years, 5 months, and 5
days--no more and no less: [applause] 5 years, 5 months, and 5 days were
spent in prisons, ins persecution, in exile and in the mountains. However,
our people worked hard, very hard. In that brief span of time they traveled
over a long historical path. The tyrant would never have suspected that.
The imperialists could never have suspected that, in the face of the first
setback of the revolution.

The setback on 26 July was a temporary one. The setback sustained at the
from lines during the first days of the landing by the "Granma" was only
temporary. It reduced our forces to only seven men with arms! [applause]

Some did not believe that the revolution was possible, that the victory was
possible. But the revolution was possible, and the victory was possible
because our cause was just, because it was based upon the objective laws of
society and history. Our books were the works of Marti, Marx, Engels, and
Lenin. [applause]

Our strength was the people's strength, and even under the most difficult
circumstances, these ideas led us to the victory of 1 January 1959 and to
the victory and consolidation of socialism in our country. The great lesson
of 26 July is the importance of the masses in the struggle, the importance
of the people in the revolutionary struggle, and the value of steadfastness
and perseverance in the struggle of not being discouraged by any setback,
by any difficulty. This was the lesson not only of 26 July, but the lesson
of our entire history, from Maximo Gomez and Agramonte to Marti and Maceo.

The Cuban people have often fought for their independence, for their
ideals, for their future, and they often had setbacks. But never were they
definitely defeated, never did they give up the struggle. These were the
traditions which we inherited. We suffered defeats, but we never
surrendered. [applause]

That is the history of our people. It permitted them to confront the
Spanish colonialism of yesterday and the mighty Yankee empire today.

And here is a people that is united, firm and strong. [applause]
Colonialism passes, imperialism passes, but the Cuban people endure and
will always endure. [applause] That is why we commemorate this date today,
at a time of advancement, of success, of victory, of higher awareness than
ever before--that awareness of which you have given proof in recent weeks
by breaking production records, [applause] by unprecedented achievement in
creative effort.

And you deserve our recognition for the socialist and communist manner in
which you have worked during these days, for the manner in which, for
example, you have preserved voluntary labor as one of the greatest
victories of our revolutionary conscience, [applause] and for the manner in
which--despite the necessary forms of socialist remuneration which we must
apply in these years, that is, to remunerate each individual according to
the quantity and quality of this work--you have, in the context of that
formula which is indispensable and inevitable in this phase of the Cuban
revolutionary process, raised and held high the beautiful banner of
communist labor, which is voluntary labor. [applause]

And in this manner, the Villarenos have contributed over 1 million hours of
voluntary agricultural work in homage to 26 July. [applause] I said hours,
but it was an error; I meant working days. [applause] Over 1 million
working days of voluntary work carried out by the people of Las Vilas,
[continued applause] and this is revolutionary awareness. [applause] This
is communist awareness, [applause] which we must develop in the same
measure as we build socialism. [applause]

This is a most worthy homage to those who fell at Moncada. This is a high
homage to Che, the founder of voluntary labor. [applause]

This raises our confidence in the bright future of the fatherland. We
celebrate this 22d anniversary within the framework of preparations for the
first congress of our glorious party. [applause] The party is the most
formidable instrument of the revolution. It is what gives orientation,
solidity and historical continuity to the revolution [applause], a
revolution which does not belong to anyone in particular, a revolution
which does not depend on any one man or men, but rather a revolution which
depends on the people. [applause]

Men pass, as we once said, while the party is immortal. [applause] The
party is the revolutionary soul of the people. It is through its mass
organizations, which encompass the entire population, including the
children, that it advances the revolution. Therefore, with joy, with pride,
with limitless enthusiasm, our people are working inspired by our first
congress, which is now in process. It is in full swing. Important issues
and topics regarding the first congress are being discussed. All the people
have discussed the draft of the constitution.

The people are discussing ideas on the equality of woman [applause], very
just ideas which are coming along. Because if we asked everyone's
impressions we are certain they would [?state] that just ideas on the
equality of women are making headway in our fatherland. [applause]

Important theories are being elaborated, such as the one on the new
political-administrative division. And for those who ask what the new
political-administrative division is, it is the concept most appropriate to
our current reality and needs, since our political-administrative division
is very old, dating back to the outset of the republic, when we had only 2
million inhabitants.

And what will the new political-administrative division be like, as a
result of which there will be new provinces? [applause] There is always a
note of sentimentalism when we think of splitting up certain provinces. But
since the organization of popular powers is tied to this [applause], for an
adequate establishment of popular powers it is necessary that the size and
scope of the provinces be made more rational.

This does not mean that the provinces have not made great achievements so
far, as we pointed out with regard to this province or Oriente Province,
but simply that the development of social and political reality calls for
further rationality in politico-administrative organization. That is why
the provinces also will be increased in number.

But splitting up the provinces will not mean a division of the people.
[applause] Just as today nothing distinguishes the patriotism and
revolutionary spirit of the Pinareno from the Oriental, or the Camagueyan,
the Villareno, the Havanaero or the Matanzero, so nothing will distinguish
between us when we institute a more rational division of the national
territory. We will continue to be brothers. We will continue to be Cubans,
and above all, we will be more organized and become more revolutionary.

I can imagine the future of emulation among the new provinces. I can
imagine the problems which the party's directorate will confront when it
has to choose the site for celebrating 26 July. [applause] And if Las
Villas Province is divided into two or three provinces, I can imagine the
struggle of the old Villarenos to take first place in emulation. [applause]
They can be Santaclareros, as the majority of those here, or they could be
Espirituanos like that one over there [laughter, applause], or they could
be Cienfuegueros. I am certain they will carry on the emulation
fraternally, to maintain the glory and tradition of this heroic and
historic province of Las Villas. [applause]

We are drafting a theory on a new system for guiding the economy, theories
on childhood, on youth, on education, on the political education of the
people, on policy toward the peasants. In a word, the most fundamental
matters for the next 5 years will be considered at the congress.

One thing we can say: The revolution is progressing well. [applause] The
revolution is stronger than ever. [applause] The people are more
enthusiastic than ever. [applause]

Some thought that this mass enthusiasm, this force of the people, was only
a characteristic of the first years of the revolution. and that with the
passing of time the willingness, the enthusiasm would decline. [crowd
shouts "no" and applause]

This is tantamount to confusing revolts with revolutions. [applause] What
does experience teach us? That spirit does not decline, that enthusiasm
does not dwindle, and that if the revolution has a heroic stage in the
struggle for liberation and a heroic stage in the defense of the
fatherland, so too does it have a very heroic and very worthy stage in the
phase of creative work. [applause] And if combat and bloodshed unit them,
so does creative work unite them. [applause] Their common endeavor in
history unites, makes brothers of and enthuses men. [applause]

Those who fell did not fall in vain. They fell for the well being and
felicity of the people, they fell in winning the right of the people to
build their own lives and decide their own destiny; they fell so that you
could build schools, educate children [applause], save lives, unfold a
culture; they fell to earn the right to live as dignified beings and as
human beings; they fell to liberate the work of development; [applause]
they fell for liberty. And in the enjoyment of liberty, and in creative
work, men become brethren and grow enthused.

That is why [applause], far from enthusiasm's dwindling, each day it will
be greater, each day it will be more conscientious, each day it will grow,
above all, in the same measure as new generations unite and augment our
ranks, like those students of the Maximo Gomez [school] [applause], who
achieved first place in the nation [applause], like those little pioneers
who are present here [applause], because the new generations are educated
better and with a deeper culture and higher revolutionary awareness. And
they are your children, and those new generations will have to be superior
to the old generations. [applause] This is why we fight, and this is why we

Our future will not be free of difficulties and obstacles. WE live in a
world with many problems. There is a crisis in the capitalist world
economy. One way or another, it also affects us. We depend a great deal on
the price of sugar. A large portion of our sugar is to be sold to the USSR
in the next 5-year period, with high and stable prices. But another
portion--also important--has to be marketed in the capitalist and
nonsocialist world. And prices, as you know, go up and go down. The prices
that never go down are the prices of imports, the prices of industrialized
products. But the prices of the products of underdeveloped nations other
than petroleum go up and go down, and most of the time they go down more
than they go up.

Thus today the price of sugar is a mere 25 percent of what it was a few
months ago. That is why we will have limitations on our raw materials,
imports and financial resources. This means that we may be unable to
advance in the next 5-year period at the same pace a we have during the
past 5-year period. But we will continue to advance. Despite all
difficulties we will advance.

The examples we cited of what you have done this year show how the quantity
and quality of work can improve. With each year that passes we will have
better teachers, better doctors, better technicians, better personnel. And
at a greater or slower pace, we will continue to advance--and we will
advance. [applause]

We have a strong people, a firm people, a people seasoned in revolutionary
struggle, a working people [applause] that will be capable of constructing
or continuing to construct our beautiful future.

A day such as this is always a day to reaffirm the purposes of work and
struggle, and I know that deep in your hearts you harbor a feeling, an
idea: to struggle, to work, to progress, to forge ahead. [applause]

Let us thank those generous men who gave their blood and their young lives
to the fatherland so that we could enjoy what we have today--the
opportunity to be the masters of our fate, of our work and our future.

Eternal glory to the fallen on 26 July 1953! [applause]

Fatherland or death! We shall win!