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Castro Havana PCC Assessment Meeting Speech FL071624 Havana Radio Rebelde
Network in Spanish 2300 GMT 30 Nov 87

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at the closing session of the PCC
provincial assessment Meeting in Havana City Province at the Palace of
Conventions in Havana on 29 November--recorded]

[Text] [Applause, crowd chants, "Fidel! Fidel!"] Enough. [Words indistinct]

Comrades: Our volunteer work of this Sunday is about to end. I really do
not have many things to say. I have spoken many times during these past 3
days. I have given my opinion, criticism, and ideas on practically every
thing we discussed.

I think our people were also able to participate in all the discussions and
all the ideas debated here through television. Since 3 days cannot be
covered in a few minutes in a newscast, I imagine that on Monday, Tuesday,
and Wednesday our television--television sometimes covers it live--and
press will give the population the most extensive information available on
our assessment meeting. Those who participated in this 3-day assembly
cannot hide the fact that they are pleased with this meeting. We proceed
with great satisfaction and with a very high opinion of our party's work,
which has been the object of this analysis, this assessment. This
satisfaction is not unfounded or something simply subjective. It is part of
a conviction that we are better workers. We are truly rectifying. We are

We have had comrades from all provinces participate in this assembly
meeting. We gave much attention to the idea of having the participation of
the first secretaries of each of the provinces, the Isle of Youth special
municipality, party leaders, as many members of the PCC Central Committee
and Politburo as possible, state leaders, and practically all ministers.
If someone has not been present it is because he had to attend an
unavoidable international commitment or because he was out of the country.
Some arrived early today and attended the morning session. I know of some
comrades who did not want to miss the assessment meeting for any reason.
Some had to leave and they expressed great regret at not being able to
participate in the meeting.

Never has such a regional or provincial party given rise to so much
interest, awakened so many expectations.

We have also had the great honor of having CPSU representatives participate
in the meeting with us. [applause] The delegation is headed by Comrade
Rybakov, who is participating for the second time in one of our assessment
meetings. The first time was at the Playa municipality assembly meeting.
Our debates, our meeting, the content and depth of those discussions
awakened so much interest in him that I invited him to please participate
with us in the PCC provincial assessment meeting. [applause] Despite the
distance--it's a 30-hour roundtrip flight from the USSR to Cuba--we were
greatly pleased to learn that he would attend. He has come and

Another very symbolic gesture is the presence of representatives from a
revolutionary party from a country that we greatly appreciate: an FSLN
delegation from Nicaragua. [applause]

These are our guests. They are not here to observe our assessment meeting.
I would say they are here more to participate as beloved brothers, members
of the same family, or as members of the family to which we all belong.

I told Comrade Rybakov that if this assembly meeting had been held 18
months ago--I was telling him, explaining some topics and characteristics
of the assembly meeting, what we discussed and why--I told him that if
this assessment meeting had been held 18 months ago it would have been
hard, very hard, because we would have had to analyze many things that were
not progressing well. Those things are today reflected in the review of
the efforts undertaken during these past 18 months, in the review of the
battle undertaken. We could say that since the Third PCC Congress 2 years
ago it has gained its greatest momentum during the past 1 and 1/2 years.

Many of these things appear in that assessment. I know of comrades who
expressed their surprise with these words: We had no idea how badly we were
doing. The worst thing is not that we were progressing badly, but that we
are proceeding badly and not aware of it. We proceed incorrectly and
believe that we are progressing well.

The list would be long if we named some of the things mentioned here, but
it would be enough to remember the impression made on the day we learned
that our Mambisa port workers were getting paid in dollars. That is just
one of the many calamities that can begin to appear in an assessment.

But this does not mean that we think we are all working at our optimum
ability, that everything is wonderful, or that we are going to do what is
called triumphalism. One must take care with all things called
triumphalism. Some use this little word. Sometimes it is a significant word
and other times it is a very meaningful word because it stems from the
rectification process.

There are some who instinctively felt that the errors and negative
tendencies would continue weakening the revolutionary awareness of our
people. It would continue weakening the revolution. Some thought that
correcting negative tendencies would give way to petite bourgeois
tendencies, possibilities, to anti-socialist and anti-communist behavior,
as well as to reactionary possibilities.

There are some who think they are revolutionary but they are not. There are
also some who are reactionary and do not know it. They act out of instinct.
There are some little worms who think that this process of strong criticism
and self-criticism is the time to intervene on behalf of bourgeois or
liberal ideas, that it is the time to intervene on behalf of petite
bourgeois dreams. They think that this is the time for the worms,
reactionaries, and the counterrevolutionaries to participate in our
debates. That is why it is very good to make it clear that this criticism
and self-criticism is for revolutionaries and from revolutionary
standpoints. [applause]

It is for revolutionaries from revolutionary standpoints, for
Marxist-Leninists from Marxist-Leninist positions, for socialists and
communists from socialist and communist standpoints. The reactionaries,
counterrevolutionaries, and the petite bourgeois spirit have no business
here, nothing in which to participate. It is good to clarify and define
this so that everyone knows what we are doing and what our position is on
this. Clearly, successes bother them, too. It is instinct among those who
do not know they are reactionaries and it is bad faith among those who are
consciously aware of being reactionaries, those who have a kind of skin
allergy which shows itself in large welts in response to anything that is
truly socialist, communist, Marxist-Leninist.

It hurts them if the revolution rectifies and it hurts them if the
revolution advances. They would like to deny the revolution everything and
they would like criticism to be from a pessimistic, defeatist standpoint.
They would like the criticism to be from a liberal bourgeois, petite
bourgeois point of view. Our criticism is, has to be, and will always be
from a revolutionary standpoint because we have enough pride, dignity, and
courage to criticize others and ourselves as much as necessary no matter
how harshly. But we will always do it from an optimistic standpoint, not
from a despicable and treacherous pessimism as experienced by those who do
not believe in man or even in themselves, but as people who believe in man,
the people, and themselves.

It is not bitter criticism. It is criticism we use to rectify, improve
ourselves, advance. It is used to rectify errors, consolidate and advance
our socialist, Marxist-Leninist, communist revolution. [applause]

It is the awareness of those values, the principles that we defend, our
confidence in man, the party, and our members that are the essence and
support of the satisfaction that we have all felt during these past few
days. The representatives of our members and our excellent workers spoke
about the ironworks plant, Planta Habana, the shipyards, the Enrique
Varona, Vanguardia Socialista, and the many other important centers. They
were once bulwarks but began to deviate, to become deformed. We have been
speaking here, above all, of those centers, not where we progressed well or
relatively well but primarily those where we proceeded incorrectly and
actually very poorly. They were becoming symbols of distortions, errors,
and negative tendencies.

This does not mean that men have changed. It means that the concepts have
changed. The style has changed. That is why many of our delegates said that
it was the same men, the same workers from the ironworks plant, who had so
much success in a very short time, or the shipyard workers or the workers
from the Enrique Varona Plant or from the electronics plant who made great
advancements in the rectification process. For example, out of those 1,800
or 1,900 same workers from the electronics plant, only 1 person volunteered
to work in the sugar harvest.

Comrade Lazaro Vasquez reminded us here of the days when dozens of
thousands of workers from Havana worked for months in Camaguey, Ciego de
Avila, and other places. Our pre-university students also worked entire
months in the sugar harvest in Matanzas Province. We did not even have one
machine, one harvester to cut and harvest cane. At that time we had to
mobilize 350,000 people to work in the harvest. It's amazing.

Out of 1,900 workers, there was 1 who volunteered. The day would come when
there would be 1 out of 2,000 teachers who would be willing to fulfill an
internationalist mission or 1 person out of 2,000 to work on an
internationalist mission, not to teach, but to fulfill a mission of great
sacrifice and risk, thousands of kilometers from our fatherland.

That was an alienating, distorting, egotistical, individual road. It was a
road on which values were left behind. Also left behind was the internal
spirit of solidarity, the spirit of national and international fraternity.
No other people have such enthusiasm to fight and so many patriotic and
revolutionary virtues.

Volunteer work was being forgotten. It was nothing more than entertainment
for adults and young people. It was a formal thing. What we have seen today
is impressive; it is a miracle and is expressed in everything. It is
precisely all these things of which we are proud of now, these changes of

This was expressed by the comrade director of the FEEM [Federation of
Mid-Level School Students], which will have its congress on 5 and 6
December. They said: If you give us materials, we will repair two
buildings. If you give us the resources, you won't need to send in anyone
else. Perhaps someone may have to be sent now to direct us in performing
the work, but after a while we won't need anyone because we will know as
much as any carpenter, bricklayer, or construction worker.

This is the spirit in which the workers pledged to repair their own
factories, the spirit under which the workers of the Salvador Allende
Hospital said that they did not know how to speak when construction or
public health topics were discussed because they had become construction
workers. The communists are heading this, even the surgeons. I found this
out. I've seen them wearing gloves. They were very comfortable. I share
that principle. It would not make sense to send the best surgeon to a
permanent brigade to do the party's work for 10, 15, or 30 days. It is not
just a matter of converting each workshop into a school but, because it is
necessary for development, it becomes a school.

When I've met specialists in this work they've seemed content, like one who
is rested. They work all their lives and then do something new. They feel
proud when they are capable of measuring themselves as a worker, when they
are able to do physical work, to create with their hands and not just with
their intelligence. I have seen them; they seemed happy. How do they learn
from the worker? What an example of modesty, what a lesson in humbleness
for the party member. He becomes a specialist, not just in surgery but now
also in another field. He shares from day to day, 10 hours of work with the
bricklayers. They are assistants. He is an aide. It is a lesson in

This could only be possible in a revolution, and not just in any revolution
but only in a very profound revolution. What a lesson for the worker. It
provides him with an incentive and a lesson when he sees that the surgeon
has become his modest worker.

The day I visited one of the projects under construction by the Marx
contingent at the Salvador Allende Hospital, I was impressed. I could do
no more than reflect and think on all this because this was truly moving.
That became a communist school. There was a feeling of equality there. The
worker felt honored. The intellectual, the specialist felt honored.

That is what we saw there. This is what has given us confidence, optimism,
promise, because we have seen a clear and definite revelation that the
spirit of solidarity and the revolutionary awareness expressed in volunteer
work is something more than an idea, more than a beautiful feeling. It is
something that is translated very concretely in things that seem like
dreams, in things that seemed impossible.

If we were to lose this awareness, if we lose that spirit, what would we
have left? We would have a small country confronting the empire. We would
have a small country trying to construct socialism from underdevelopment
and poverty, ignorance, lack of culture. What would we have left? How could
we defend ourselves or develop? That is not simply a matter of ideas but of
definite concepts.

We are amazed. The comrade said that there were many basements here that
they have converted. The Blas Roca brigade workers have told us that they
have made many trips, completed many kilometers, goals, with so much
productivity and cost. The comrade from the shoe factory told us how many
more shoes have been made. She reported a 26-percent increase in production
with much higher quality, with a large decrease in the number of workers.
The CENIC [National Scientific Research Center] told us that they would be
reducing their staff of 1,400 to 600. The workers discussed this. They were
the ones who decided that there were more workers there than needed and
they decided what could be saved and rationed. It is not [words indistinct]
from top to bottom when they told us they produced much more. The ironworks
factory told us how many millions of parts they produced with half of the
staff, with the same young workers they had there. The shipyard workers
told us that their production would be 35 or 40 million [not further
specified] with just a few more workers. They are going to develop their

They tell us that they are going to export so many millions in convertible
currency and are going to reduce costs here. Then we start talking about
numbers, about millions, about hundreds of millions, because Maximo said
that the minibrigades are going to produce 300 million in construction next
year, and they are going to produce that without a single extra penny in
wages, with the same wages that they were paying.

Sometimes people talk about economic miracles. What kind of miracle is this
one? What kind of miracle is it to produce 300 million in construction
projects without a single extra penny in wages? How about when Comrade
(Sife) tells us that the same workers of the phantom enterprises in
Marianao, which were only profitable because they stole and sold the
materials, are now not only working a lot of hours but also have high
productivity? They are also teaching the young people who joined the
enterprises who had not been going to school or working before. Then
miraculous, extraordinary figures started to appear. They had produced 400
[unit not specified] in 8 months, and now they were producing 500 in 3
months. That is the way that one of the many headaches of a Third World
country, the maintenance problem, and so on, can be resolved at incredibly
low cost. I am certain that the day the figures are computed they will show
that the social minibrigades are going to be making repairs at a cost 10
times less than that incurred by the housing maintenance enterprises--if
not 10, at least 8; if not 8, at least 6 times less than before. Of that I
am sure. They have saved on a great deal of administrative personnel and
increased direct production work.

As I said, that translates into hundreds of millions. And it will translate
into billions! Billions! At the national level the minibrigades alone will
be producing, contributing around 800 million to the gross national
product by 1990.

Now, if all of them perform like the shipyards. the ironworks, the footwear
factory: if this work spirit spreads to the textile industry, the
steelworking industry, the construction professionals, agriculture. with
its 8 hour day in two shifts; if this work spirit spreads to hundreds of
thousands of agricultural workers, hundreds of thousands of industrial
workers--then, how much would it be with practically the same wages? Or
perhaps higher wages, such as the ones the agricultural workers will get as
a decision of the revolution, as something absolutely justified, since the
initial idea had been to keep paying ridiculous wages to agricultural
workers, in a social process in which men and women have all kinds of
opportunities. Who was going to stay there cultivating foodstuffs,
producing sugar, rice, tubers, vegetables, or milk at ridiculous wages?

That is why in this rectification process one of the things we did was to
raise 40 percent of the lowest wages in agriculture, as was done in the
hospitals for those who ensured medical care, who were neither doctors or
nurses but had to wash, mop the floors, and take care of the patients day
in and day out.

This process has also entailed social justice, a social justice that is
rectifying a certain tendency to increase the higher-scale wages, allowing
some people to get as much as 1,000 pesos without the corresponding
production and yet a humble worker was getting 100, 102, 105 pesos.

Many things are involved in this rectifying process.

I was saying that this movement translates into billions, and this without
raising wages except for the raises brought about by fair distribution
instead of wages that did not correspond to production. This will be done
with correct norms, with fair norms, with rational norms. I ask: Can anyone
imagine the situation if the minibrigades alone--with perhaps 70,000 or
80,000 members throughout the country--are able to produce 800 million?
They are barely 5 percent of the total number of workers in the whole
country. I feel that the production workers are capable of an output of 800
million if this style, if this spirit is transmitted to all the country's
workers. How many billions would the economic value of this rectifying
effort come to?

Therefore, it is not simply a matter of ideas, of awareness. These ideas
and awareness translate into deeds, into concrete results.

I have spoken of material production. What results would the spirit of the
minibrigades have if it was conveyed to teachers, health workers, the
service sector. The FEEM comrade was expressing her satisfaction with what
the teachers are doing now, the pleasure of seeing them there at night
working with the students, strengthening the education process, raising
the level of education.

How would this spirit be conveyed if it was transferred to all health
workers or transmitted to the health workers as is now being done? They
would resolve, construct, attend to the citizenry and the ill.

How can the value of all of this be calculated in terms of well-being and
satisfaction for the people? The capitalists in terms of their own
material production place a value on their services. They include their
services. They give an economic value to their services. They translate it
into money. How much money would those educational services of which we
spoke cost in a developed society? How much would those health services
cost? Those services are the product of hundreds of thousands workers, of
approximately 600,000 compatriots. How much would those high-quality
services be wont? We could use money as a measuring stick. We could use
money as a measuring stick as the capitalists do. How many billions would
these services be worth in quality and quantity?

As we discussed today in the health sector, things that previously seemed
impossible have been done. These things seem impossible or, more than that,
are impossible in a Third World country. They are not possible. Even in
many developed countries. Industrialized capitalist countries, these
things are not available.

We said the work of the family doctor is available to each household. Each
family has at its doorstep a doctor and a nurse watching over their health.
They don't even go to the polyclinic anymore unless they are referred by
another doctor. As soon as these doctors becomes specialists in the field
of general medicine, these consultations will decrease. We will need a
super-specialist in the polyclinic for a super-consultation. That is really
what they do now. Within a few years, not even that... [changes thought] We
can't have a laboratory, x-ray equipment in each family doctor's
house-office. We will need some technical services. In reference to the
impossible things that Comrade Maria Cristina was talking about, these
things are impossible in Haiti or in any Latin American country, including
the richer ones. I don't know.

If one speaks about a physical therapy gym, others think: What a strange
word; where did it come from? What is it? This is something that is not
available in a polyclinic. It is something that can happen relatively soon
in 400 polyclinics. The gym could meet the needs of more than 200,000
people in 3 months. It would fulfill the needs of more than 1 million
people throughout the country.

But we speak of these things as if they were natural. We no sooner hear
about these things than we begin planning on expanding on and executing
these ideas. We begin determining how many specialists we will need and
whether they will be specialists in sports medicine or rehabilitation, as
our public health minister said. We immediately become concerned with how
many cubic meters are needed for this and if the drafts for the new
polyclinics include this area or whether they should be included at all and
the gym should be next to the clinic [words indistinct].

In the United States, in the United States, [repeats himself] the rich
empire, they use those terms and that language. They discuss those things.
Yes, the multimillionaire can go to a large clinic, but this is not
possible for the masses. Let Comrade (Gotre) tell us how many operations
have been performed in only 13 months. Let him tell us how schedules,
parameters have been broken and the process itself speeded up. Let him tell
us how they have acquired efficiency, how they have saved hundreds of
lives. He's not talking about surgery for appendicitis. That's the kind of
thing that is perhaps mentioned in a Third World country.

He is talking about heart surgery for children, open-heart surgery with or
without extracorporeal circulation. That's what he's talking about. The
comrade from Centro Habana talks about multiple-use equipment for
transplants, to transmit, to utilize the transplant technique: heart, heart
and lungs, liver, kidneys. This, you will understand, would have been
unreal even if we ourselves had talked about it 10 years ago, unreal and
undreamed of in any other Latin American country--I am speaking plainly--or
any other Third World country.

When we talk about the Ecuadoran children whose lives were saved, it is
nothing extraordinary. The children were going to die. Their families
thought about going to our embassy. Actually, this was not the case here.
No, the country's authorities got in touch with our embassy. They were
representatives of certain institutions that faced the problem. This case
involved the country's representatives and institutions. A plane coming
back from Peru stopped over, brought the children here, and you see what
excellent progress they are making.

The parents wrote a letter, a beautiful letter. They wrote at the end: You
can do what others can't. I asked (Gotre): What does that mean? He said,
well, the fact is that they asked a lot of people for help. They all said I
can't, we can't. The meaning of that sentence is that Cuba said yes, and
Cuba was able to do it, and Cuba did it, and Cuba saved their lives. Cuba
did not only save the lives of the children but also performed constructive
surgery. So, this becomes a sort of solidarity symbol. It was not done as a
propaganda gesture. It was a natural thing for our country to do.

I read that after only a few days the parents of one child already owed
$10,000. They came to Cuba. Any child with this kind of injury or any other
is attended to immediately. No one is surprised by that. It is the most
natural thing in the world. But these are things dreamed of--or perhaps not
even dreamed of--in other societies. The comrade talked about the multiple
trauma ward we should have in the future as a sign of progress. Any other
country in the world would talk about such a ward as something for the year
2025. Here all these ambitious objectives are discussed as possible things.
We talk about whether to have one or two, three or four. A specialist tells
us, well, there have to be a lot so we can have a 24-hour watch. I was
myself thinking: We'll have to establish one in Matanzas. We'll have to
establish another in Cienfuegos. We need to have one in almost all the
provinces. There are 3 or 4 in Havana alone with its 2 million inhabitants.

Doctors, doctors. We are getting as many as we want. And they are good
doctors. Since productivity will grow in the material sphere, more citizens
will be able to join the sphere of services. If a doctor has to stand
watch, we will have a doctor to stand watch. If we need two centers, we'll
have two centers. As long as we are only able to have one, we'll have one.
Maybe ambulances. Then two, three, four ambulances. The point is that these
things are discussed as something normal.

We could have talked about other programs. (Gotre) explained the method and
program to detect congenital malformations, whether life-threatening or
not. If they are life-threatening, we can cut short the pregnancy in the
first few weeks, instead of 8 or 7 months, or even 3 or 4 months. We'll

We could have talked about the polyclinics and family doctors without a
single infant mortality case. Of course, infant mortality cases do not only
depend on medical care. There are cases who simply cannot live after birth.
The polyclinic cannot save those children. But it does mean that every
child who went to those polyclinics was given the best treatment, because
they did not have a single death.

I always ask at the polyclinics, how many deaths did you have? Three, two,
five? What were the causes, I ask. I find that many had conditions that
were not compatible with life. And even those cases, which so traumatize
the parents, will cease to be, no matter if they are congenital
malformations involving the heart or any other. Even those. This is a
sophisticated program. I can assure you that many developed countries do
not have this program.

And if we see that we can accomplish these marvels through hard work, how
do we do it? How can a Third World country do it? Of course, we get it
through hard work. Of course, it is in large part because of the excellent
relations we have with the socialist countries, especially the excellent
economic relations with the Soviet Union. But we are not exempt from the
damage caused by the international economic crisis: We have to import
resources from other areas. Yet, how can we do these things? Only if we
work well.

If we work well, we can do whatever we want. We can make the best use of
those resources we have today. But we can't be lazy, bum around, waste
time. We were deviating from the correct path. That is, if we were on the
correct path 100 percent at any time! We cannot say that we were always 100
percent right all the time. But we are doing better. Without so many
incorrect things, think how much we will be able to accomplish if we keep
to the correct path, if we choose the best options, if we do our best or
try to. We can get practically all we want.

I submit to you that this rectification battle is not... [changes thought]
well, yes, it is a battle of ideas, but ideas that turn into results and
actions fundamental to our people's future; ideas that turn into material
wealth, material wealth [repeats himself, that turn into goods and
services, with quantity and quality, for the people.

This means that in these times of international crisis and in the year in
which our country is facing the most difficulties; when our convertible
currency imports have had to be reduced to half of what was considered the
indispensable minimum; when we are importing almost a fourth of what we
were importing in 1985--or rather, in 1984--solutions start appearing all
over. There are solutions to save foreign exchange, solutions to obtain
foreign exchange, solutions to substitute this import and the other--in the
most difficult year.

We are beginning to see the results of these ideas turned into action. How
could we build 50 child care centers without these ideas, without this
rectification? How? There was no way to build a child care center. The
state, the central government, the party leadership concluded that
Guanabacoa needed a child care center. I want you to know, comrades, that
the state, the government, and the party were unable to reach a decision to
build a child care center in Guanabacoa. This was because there was no
labor force, no spirit, no construction capacity. There was no construction

You called the MICONS [Ministry of Construction] and told them that as the
ministry in charge of construction they should please build a center in
Guanabacoa because there was a new factory--call it the ironworks, if you
will--that needed labor and did not have it. Or you told them that it was a
pressing situation because 200 women had had to pay 70, or 80, or 60 pesos
in addition to meals so that someone would take care of their kids. But
MICONS was unable to build a single center, not a single one. Asking them
to please build one center caused them to swoon. You ran the risk of having
the comrade heading the ministry collapse, have his blood pressure go up,
have him lose consciousness, faint. It was something terrible [chuckles] to
have to build a child care center in Guanabacoa with all the other
commitments we had and all the projects we never finish.

If you said, let's work with discipline and build a center in Guanabacoa,
you could be sure that it would take up to 3 or 4 years to build the center
in Guanabacoa. Then they would say, well, this hospital and this factory
were not finished because we had to build a child care center in
Guanabacoa. Those were the methods we called technocratic, bureaucratic.
They were giving up with the people, giving up volunteer work.

Don't put the zero to the right; put it to the left. A zero to the left,
unless you use a period, doesn't mean a thing. If you put the zero to the
right, it reads 10. But the technocrats, the bureaucrats could not make
this elementary calculation. They were people who thought they were
revolutionaries without knowing they were reactionaries. They write the
zero to the left.

The difference between a revolution and degeneration lies in placing the
people to the right or to the left. If you put them to the right, you
multiply [applause]--place the zero the left; don't place it to the right.
You will then not be able to build the child care center in Guanabacoa or
anywhere else. Nor will you fix the ironworks or the shipyards. You will
fix nothing. Cast volunteer work aside. Cast conscience aside. Try to
resolve everything with money. And we will have Miami, not Havana. We will
have capitalism. We will never have socialism, never mind communism.

It's not that we are dismissing compensation or anything like that, or even
the socialist formula of payment. The leader of the Blas Roci contingent
said as much here. They said they did not want overtime, they did not. I
said, no. We don't want bonuses, they said. Well, that's something else.
But I told them: We are going to pay you the hours you work. And we will
pay you according to your classification: truck driver, bulldozer operator,
etc. We are going to apply the formula. You will receive socialist payment.
And you will work in a communist spirit.

We are realistic, we understand. We don't sacrifice a worker on a whim. We
think not only about the worker; we think about his wife, his children, his
family, his needs. The things he can resolve on his own--we don't have to.

This is not the case of the minibrigades. They work 8 hours; sometimes 11
and 12. I am talking about people working 12, 14, 16 hours. The minibrigade
member is linked to his factory. We would be creating chaos if we began to
tell the minibrigade worker, listen, we're going to have a really big
payroll. Let's start putting down the hours. It is perfectly correct for
the minibrigade member to work with the wages he receives in the factory,
as a rule. The state can then compensate the factory. But these contingents
that become almost professionals--and the good thing about the minibrigade
is that the worker does not feel estranged from his workplace. He does not
feel estranged from his factory. He does not become a construction
professional. He goes there to the construction site for as long as he
wants. He might be there 10 years. He knows that whenever he wants to he
can return to the factory. If some day he wants some stability he can go
back to the factory. In the case of these contingents involved in special
projects, they become almost professional construction workers.

But I want to say that we are realists and we take these principles very
much into account. It's a socialist form of payment, but a communist spirit
of work. We have to combine the two: socialist payment with a communist
work spirit.

You heard here what happened with the youth contingent that worked at the
El Gato project, how they worked any time of day or night. They were being
paid factory wages. We have seen some of those problems. We said, let's
study this business about the wages by agreement very carefully. It brings
a lot of complications and problems. I said: Don't touch it. In a factory
we can in an orderly manner... [changes thought] The subjective factors
come up. When subjective factors are instilled in the worker anything can
be done. The worker's response is always the best. It is always excellent.

Now, what were we going to do if we didn't resort to these mass methods,
these revolutionary methods, if we didn't resurrect the minibrigades? It's
not a matter of building a single child care center anymore. One center
seems ridiculous now. Now we talk about 50. It used to be that 50 would
have taken 50 years, not only because there was a lack of labor but also
because there was a lack of brains. They had no imagination. They said that
a child care center was a social expenditure. Social expenditure is no
good; production expenditure is good, as if those who were going to work in
the factories were oxen, cows, horses, mares, mules, and donkeys, instead
of human beings, men and women with their problems; especially women with
their problems.

So, their reasoning was: social expenditure over here, investment in
material goods production over there. But they were left alone in their
factory. Production can't be carried out this way. The Spanish adviser said
it. It was really moving to hear our Spanish friend tell us that man had to
be considered. We must ask the worker: How did the honeymoon go? Ask him:
How's the kid? Ask him about his problems. That is what is meant by
attention to man. That tops it all--that capitalists might understand the
need to take care of man. That tops it all--that there might be plans or
concepts that ignore the need to attend to man.

When they say no child care center, these are technocratic, bureaucratic,
reactionary conceptions. They are denying reality, the fact that a child
care center cost 225,000 or 250,000 pesos. We are now building them without
additional wage expenditures, with zero wage expenditure. We are doing it
with the work of the student, the minibrigade, grandmothers like Juana
Alonso, like Petra. Juana Alonso worked 600 hours and she's 75. That came
out at lunchtime. I told her: They are always changing your age. Sometimes
they say 70, other times 73, others 76. She said: I was born in 1902. What
day? I believe she answered 6 June 1902. So, she's 75.

With the work of these compatriots, the minibrigade members, we are now
building 50 without affecting production. Each one of these centers, which
cost so little, means 250 women can join the work force in production and
services as highly-skilled workers, as technicians, professionals, doctors,
engineers, drafts men. Young women! Grandmothers don't need child care
centers! It's the young women who need the centers.

They just couldn't get it into their heads, the idea that a child care
center was indispensable for production and services, and that housing was
also indispensable for economic and social development; the same for the
day schools. Of course, these concepts have been rectified. It is a matter
of concepts, technocratic concepts, part of this reactionary remnant.
Everything was bad for them. The rural schools were very bad. They clashed
with the plans.

I was explaining this to the Latin American economists the other day when
they asked me what the rectification process was. I explained at length.
It's on record. And I didn't even explain it all. I only explained some of
the outrages here. All of them clashed with the plans, or they ended up by
linking the student, paying him by agreement--I don't know how they did
it--even a teenager. They made a distinction between one situation and

I said: We'll build 50 child care centers, the ones they used to say would
take 50 years, because there were 5 planned in the 5-year period--a hundred
years to meet the needs of 19,500. And this did not include them all. The
miraculous minibrigades now build 100 in 2 years. The miraculous
minibrigades are now going to build 300 in the rest of the country in 3
years. Three hundred child care centers. It is something miraculous, isn't

None were going to be built. Three hundred child care centers; 400 in all;
some 85,000 mothers joining production and services; to be built in 4
years, counting this one--in Havana, only 2 years--half of the ones needed.
And we are talking about one thing only. And no one fainted. There was no
crisis. No one fainted. In Guanabacoa, alone, three were completed.

I told the comrade: You are going to finish up the year with three. He
said: There's one to go. I told him: Do it, man. What's one more for us? We
went to Plaza and they needed two more. I told the comrade: Write it down;
include it. If we can build 50, we can build 53, 55. That's no

I asked her [not further identified]: Do you have the labor? She says: Yes.
Can you do it? Yes. Well, then, don't worry. We'll give you the materials.
This is why you saw that I insisted so much. The key is in that: that we
have the materials. The centers [as heard] alone this year have built 600
doctor's home-offices. They are working on 11 schools, 10 polyclinics--and
they are going to be working on 34 before the end of the year.

Comrade Zoila [not further identified] was telling us that she has 60 small
schools. I can just imagine what it is like to have 60 small conduct
schools [escuelitas de con ducta] spread throughout the city. Today, Zoila
is rich. When we asked how many special schools were needed, the province
most probably studied this and decided that 24 special schools were needed.
There are schools for children who have eye problems; there are schools for
handicapped children; there are schools for children with hearing problems;
and there are other conduct schools that are also necessary. If a child
does not receive a proper education he will become a common criminal and
not a worker like the one the director of Macaren School spoke to us about.
If that child does not receive a proper education he cannot become a
musician. The comrades told us that 24 special schools were needed, and 24
special schools are being built.

You tell me whether without this rectification process the city of Havana
could have called on the Construction Ministry and the People's Government
and said: Listen, friends, comrades, for the love of God--no longer for the
love of Marx, Lenin, or Engels, [laughter, applause] but for the love of
God [applause]--would you please build the 24 special schools that we need?
They would have probably thought, and not without reason, that we were all
crazy. Had we asked for one, they would have told us that they could not do
it, and they really could not because they did not have the manpower. They
had nothing. There was total demoralization.

Today we only have to say that 50 day-care centers must be build. The truth
is that we do not even have to say this; all we have to do is ask how many
centers are needed. When we asked we were told that 100 centers were needed
because there were many children who wished to enroll in the centers. So
they decided to build the 100 day-care centers in 2 years. But the 100
day-care centers in 2 years is not all they are building. They are also
building 24 special schools. We also asked them if they knew how many old
polyclinics we had operating in run-down houses where poor services were
being offered. They said 20. So we said: Well, go ahead and build new ones.
We also asked them whether they could, in a few months, build 600 family
doctor home-offices in 600 different locations so that when the 600
doctors--500 doctors plus those who had joined the plan earlier and did not
have a home-office--would have their home office. They said yes. In a few
days they found places for these home-offices and organized the brigades.
They talked to the people and factories and organized the brigades.

Can you imagine those MICONS enterprises that never finished the work they
began--and I repeat that it is not a problem of manpower but a problem of
awareness--doing this. Well, lack of awareness makes man helpless,
incapable of resolving problems. If we had asked them to build those 600
family doctor home-offices, I wonder what would have happened? What do you
think would have happened? Can you just imagine that conversation?

A Politburo meeting to which the minister of construction and the president
of the People's Government are asked to attend and asked to build those 600
family doctor home-office and not even suggesting the expansions to be made
at the Gonzalez Cordoba Hospital, the Neurosurgery Institute, the
Cardiology Institute; the building of an intensive therapy ward and more
operation rooms at the Salvador Allende Hospital; and that this and that
needs to be expanded--today, all this would be done immediately--but, what
would those comrades have thought? We would have been faced with a
revolution that could not even build a single family doctor home-office or
a day-care center. Is that a revolution? What is that? Helplessness and
incapacity. It is true that a plan could be drafted, an excellent plan, but
life brings problems; life is constantly coming up with new problems, and
we must be prepared to face those new problems. We cannot keep ourselves
tied up in a straitjacket; we must have our reserves. Our huge reserves are
in our people. The most important force we have is manpower, and it is from
here that wealth comes. We have huge reserves of this.

Of course, we need construction material, but this material is produced
with work. Work makes it possible for us to make an investment or pay off
that investment. We were lacking money to purchase certain products. How
ever, we told the workers that they had to create more resources to buy
this and that, and you saw what they did. Centavo by centavo they gave
$10,000. This money can help buy equipment or food for the minibrigades. In
1988 we will be investing hundreds of thousands to keep those 245 kitchens
the capital city minibrigades will be using. Well, we may use that money
for a day-care center or a therapeutic gym. We will see which of those is
more necessary. But, by doing this, they have created a resource.

When I met with the minibrigades I said that we should promote tourism as a
means to create resources. If we don't have resources we must create them,
and if every. one works properly we have many ways of creating these
resources. Today, our ironworks plant is exporting $2 million worth of
material, something that we were not doing in the past. Promoting tourism,
treating the tourist properly, can also produce resources. The oil workers
can produce more oil; everyone in his own field can help produce more
resources. The sugarcane workers can help with more sugarcane; the citrus
sector can help with more citrus products. We can invest more in these
areas and later profit from this investment.

All this translates into a bit more fuel being used, but if we save we can
compensate for this. With a bit more work on the part of the geologists and
drillers we can get all the fuel we need to see our plans completed. Deep
down, all this means that more fuel is being used, but not that much. To
produce the extra 1.4 million tons of cement we are planning to produce by
1990 we will need approximately 200,000 tons of oil. But our drillers are
increasing our oil production by 200,000 tons a year. A single
thermoelectric plant, the Matanzas thermoelectric plant, is saving us
70,000 tons of oil. This is the kind of savings we can achieve if we work
hard to complete the works we have begun. Once the Cienfuegos thermonuclear
plant is finished and operational, the electricity it will produce will
save us 2.5 million tons of oil. Anyone understands that 1.4 million tons
of cement is essential for all the plans we have throughout the country.
All the work we are currently doing does not even add up to 150,000 tons of
oil used in a dry processing plant or 200,000 tons used in the wet
processing plant. We have proven that if we need these things we can
produce them.

When Maximo read next year's plan we were truly impressed. He spoke at
length about next year's plan. He said that the minibrigades are planning
to build 13,000 homes, 50 day-care centers--approximately 55 day-care
centers--and that they also plan to complete the work they have already
begun at the 24 special schools and 20 polyclinics. They are also going to
build 600 family doctor home-offices--this year these home-offices will be
bigger--and 28 bakeries--a single bakery would have meant a crisis within
the ministry, but the minibrigades are going to build 28 in a single year.
They have also said that they will be working on the Neurosurgery
Institute, on the Gonzalez Cordoba Hospital, and on another, another,
another [repeats himself] hospital, and then we will continue on another,
another, and yet another. They are also working on something that you have
not heard much about. They are working on a gigantic project, the
construction of the National Exposition Center. This center will be
excellent to teach the people and children, awaken vocation among the
children, to take visitors to a place where they can see the economic,
social, scientific, and technical progress made by our country. It is a
great project being done by the minibrigades; they are doing many things. I
think that next year they will be working, simultaneously, on 1,500 or
1,600 different projects in the capital city. What does this mean? What
does all this mean?

That we can now begin thinking about the kind of city we want and decide
how we want our city to look by the year 2000--and the year 2000 is not
that far away. We can decide how many new houses we will need in the
capital city. However, we must not forget that all that we are doing here,
all that we began to do in the capital city in 1987, is what the whole
country will be doing in 1988. This is why we say that production of
construction material is something serious because we are not only meeting
the demands of the capital city workers, but of the workers throughout the
country. In 1990 we will all be doing the same amount of work throughout
the country; in 1990 the minibrigade movement will have been working for 4
years. It will be the third year of their work in the provinces; and if we
find ourselves with extra manpower we will also use them in this movement
and we will pay them. That is, the eastern provinces will not be able to
get the manpower they need, but we will send in youths to help them. They
will need them.

There are also other projects. We have plans to develop tourism and we have
excellent places in mind. We have selected ideal spots for tourism. We are
ready to start exploiting a key off the coast of Ciego de Avila; we also
have the Santa Lucia beach; the beaches in the north eastern sector of the
country; and beaches on the southern coast of Santiago de Cuba. These are
all possibilities. We are finding important, very important possibilities,
in this area. These are all investment possibilities. This work will be a
joint project among several enterprises.

Tourism is special. It is not like our nickel, sugarcane, or
machine-building industries. There are international organizations that
have the money and experience; they have the markets for tourism. This is
the type of activity that makes it easy, very convenient, and very useful
to have several enterprises working on it at the same time. These are some
of the possibilities on which we are working. Perhaps we will even have to
speed up our plans for the construction of chains of hotels. Don't you
think we have every reason to continue improving our work style and
efficiency? A hotel like that cannot take 14 years to build, which was what
happened with the Ancon Hotel. A hotel like that must be built in 18 or 20
months, 24 months at the most. We must learn all the techniques, acquire
the experience, to build quickly. This must be done with the help of the
computers. Who knows, perhaps some day we will have to begin building
hotels at the same speed as we are building the day-care centers. It is a
possibility, and we must be happy.

If your country is making it through this year with $600 million, just
imagine what it would be like if we had an extra $500 million, $1 billion,
or $2 billion. I am talking about a dollar that is worth something, not a
dollar that keeps dropping every day. I am talking about a dollar at its
1984 or 1985 value. We are using the dollar as an example; if we were to
speak of the yen, lira, or pesetas, we would go crazy. We have no other
alternative but to use that currency, the international currency.

There are possibilities, great possibilities. However, we cannot not
develop tourism without this rectification process. If we did, it would be
chaos. Just imagine a hotel operating like the ironworks plant was
operating before we repaired it. Just imagine 3,000 workers and 100
tourists, total chaos and disorder, a total lack of productivity, etc.,
etc. I am optimistic about the development in many areas, even tourism. I
am seeing a better organized and working people; a more efficient and aware

Tourism and low defenses just don't mix; our defenses were getting low, we
had no antibodies. We had something like AIDS; the technocrats and
bureaucrats were suffering from something we could call ideological AIDS.
something like AIDS. [laughter] Our defenses also dropped. If we were to
raise our defenses, can, or can't we do it? Or can we be bought for $4?
[applause] Can anyone just come here, buy us for $4 and corrupt us? With
our defenses high, we can do it. We can do it with our people's capacity,
with their intelligence, their virtues. I am sure we can be very good
hosts, and if there is extra manpower in the eastern provinces we could use
them to build those hotels. We could say: Well, the youths we have
recruited will be used to build the hotels. We are going to build hotels;
we have the manpower. Perhaps the day will come when we will have to ask
the eastern provinces to give the minibrigade movement a hand. Perhaps the
day will come when we will ask them for their extra manpower to help build
the hotels. If we have to build the hotels we will have to put some 10,000
men to work on a key; to build a hotel on a key. Another 10,000 workers
could be sent to another area--then we will be needing tens of thousands of
workers--to build with the same spirit we have seen in the workers of the
Blas Roca contingent.

Tell me, if we work with the same spirit the Blas Roca contingent workers
have, with the same spirit the Julio Diaz or Salvador Allende Hospitals
workers have, can or can't we build hotels? [Delegates shout: "Yes";
applause] If we work with the same spirit the Miguel Enriquez Hospital
workers or the Antillana de Acero workers have, can we or can't we build
hospitals? Can we or can't we build factories? [applause] If we work with
the same spirit the El Gato project workers have, can we or can't we do
anything we want? If we work with the same spirit the minibrigade members
who are working on the 50 day care-centers have, can or can't we build what
we want? It is in our hands to do this. In whose hands, other than ours,
could this be in? Were we going to blame the imperialists for our own
stupidity? Imperialism already has too many faults, and it does not need
ours; it does not need to be blamed our own problems.

Is socialism progressing or not? Can progress in the country be achieved by
developing this spirit? Just imagine what it will be like when we have
30,000 or perhaps 40,000 minibrigade members. There will be no limit to
what we can do. There are times, however, when we will find ourselves with
more workers than we really need because we need more construction
material. Just imagine what it would be like if 750,000 of the 800,000
workers in the capital city were working with the same spirit of a member
of the minibrigades.

Just imagine what it would be like if the workers at a school, factory,
hospital, or any other work center were to work with this same spirit. But
as I have said, we are just beginning. The minibrigade movement has become
a vanguard movement because of its characteristics and problems, because of
the way its members handle the problems they encounter, and because of
their enthusiasm. More and more workers are joining the movement. Now we
also hear the students saying: Give us the material; give us the
construction material we need and we will do the necessary repair work at
the schools. Perhaps one of these days we will put them to building schools
and not only to do repair work. There are some schools that need some
repairs, but there are others that must be built. Some of those schools
must be built in the rural areas. We already talked with Comrade Maximo
about this and I had not mentioned it earlier, but we are planning to form
four minibrigades to build pre-university schools in the rural areas.

The capital city has many pre-university students. There are some of these
schools that have 2,500 students enrolled. Do you think that a
pre-university school with 2,500 students can operate properly? Do you
think that one director or a group can handle such a school? Can this
school be efficient? We have been thinking about the schools we need in the
capital city and rural areas. For those students who would like to study in
the rural areas--I am not talking about Pinar del Rio or Matanzas, I am
talking about. rural areas in Havana Province--we are planning to increase,
by 500, the number of caballerias for the production of vegetables and
tubers. These vegetables and tubers will be used to cover the needs of the
capital city. We are already working on this. I asked the comrades to study
how many schools could be built in an area of less than 40 caballerias;
schools that could enroll approximately 500 students who could help fulfill
our plans to increase the vegetable and tuber production for our capital
city and to work in all the orchards we are planning to build. These
orchards will run according to a plan; production will be decided according
to our needs.

Well, the comrades told me we needed 36 schools because the comrades who
were discharged from the Armed Forces needed this kind of a school for the
course they usually receive after being discharged. In the capital city
alone we have approximately 15,000 or 16,000 pre-university students. This
is the only province that has this number of pre-university students, and
we have very good pre-university schools. However, some of these schools
have 700 students, and that is too many. The Che Guevara School, where
Joanna Tablada--she impressed everyone with what she said--studies, has 700
students. I visited that school with a Soviet delegation and learned that
there are 700 students in a school built for 500 students. So, I asked how
many schools were needed and I was told that 36 more schools could be built
throughout the new areas.

But there is something else that I have not mentioned and about which
Maximo did not speak: we are going to form four minibrigades and each of
these new minibrigades will build two schools a year. Therefore, the school
problem will be resolved. But it will not be immediately. The
pre-university students cannot help us build those schools. They will be
working on the schools being built here. But in the city we are going to
build lots of schools, we are not only going to repair schools. We are also
going to build at least 36 pre-university schools in the rural areas. These
new schools will be built on 6,500 hectares of new land we have allocated
for the production of vegetables and tubers for the capital city. Then we
will find out if we still have something to envy from the days of the Rio
Frio crooks. We will be doing all this in a revolutionary and socialist

We have very big plans for the capital city, not only the ones we have
talked about. What we have done has been proof that we can do what we want.
I could even add that with this movement we have built our capacity to do
what we want, when we want. You already know our limitations, but during
this meeting we have learned what is being done to cover our construction
material needs. We all know that this is the only thing that can stop us,
not a lack of manpower, but a lack of construction material.

I had mentioned that we might need the help of the thousands of eastern
province youths, but we might need their help not only to come and help
build in Havana. The youths currently helping out at Antillana de Acero and
other areas are only on loan. We even have youths from Pinar del Rio and
Sancti Spiritus helping out in those areas.

In Siberia we have a joint project underway with the Soviets. Approximately
8,000 or 10,000 Cubans are going to work there. They are going to produce
the lumber that our country needs for its construction and furniture. We
are going to need our manpower, and the more manpower we have the greater
will be our economic and social development. This will be possible if our
plans are intelligent plans. The best thing of all this is that we are not
sacrificing our economic development plans in the least. You have been able
to see how we have taken tens of thousands of workers from the work
centers. Those work centers, however, are producing more and better
products. Each of the centers we talked about may have faced some problems
because they did not get the raw material they needed or because they could
not get something they needed, perhaps a spare part, but not because they
did not have enough manpower. These big social development plans are not,
in the least, sacrificing our country's economic development. Therefore, we
must draft our plans property to carry out our big economic and social
development plans. We must understand that these two areas are very
strongly linked.

Within socialism, there can be no economic development without social
development. We cannot do as the capitalist system does. They build two
huge nickel plants but only build homes for the administrator and 30 or 40
high ranking workers. In the meantime, the workers have to live in shacks.
We cannot build the big 30,000-ton Punta Gorda and Camarioca plants without
building houses for the thousands of workers. We cannot build the
80-million [figure as heard] square meter textile plant in Santiago de Cuba
if we don't build thousands of homes. We are not capitalists and we cannot
work like capitalists. We must combine social development with economic
development. How can we have women involved in production if we don't have
day-care centers, if our primary and secondary schools don't have dining
rooms? During the recent inauguration of a secondary school I saw a
12-year-old girl who had to go home to warm up the food that the working
mother had prepared the previous night. This is a 12-year-old girl, an
adolescent, doing this. She was alone in the house.

We have fought for double sessions at all primary schools, and today most
of the schools throughout the country have this system. We must now fight
so that double sessions will be implemented in all secondary schools. The
comrade from San Miguel del Padron was talking about how a school should be
run, of the number of students in each classroom, and how and what kind of
attention should be given to the individual student. We are already
thinking about this.

We have very big development plans for the capital city and the country. In
the next 2 years three important problems will have been resolved in the
capital city. All the polyclinics we need will be completed, all the
special schools we need will be repaired or built, and the day-care centers
we need will also be completed. Once this is done we will have extra
manpower. Like Maximo said, however, the plans for next year include
building three pool complexes.

We are going to begin to build the installations we need for the
Pan-American Games, whether we host the games or not, because what we build
is for the people. These will be long lasting and useful installations for
our people. We will carry out our plans even if tomorrow we were to learn
that we would not be hosting the Pan American Games. We are going to build
the velodrome and all the other installations; we are going to build the
multipurpose halls, etc., etc. We are going to build all this with, or
without the Pan-American Games.

Next year we will begin with our school construction and repair plan. Our
idea is to repair all the schools that need repairs and build new
installations for those primary schools currently located in run-down
buildings, schools that don't have proper lighting and ventilation, and
schools located in old houses. We are going to build new schools, and only
those primary schools that meet the standards will be not be touched. We
are going to build schools in a rational manner.

We mentioned a meeting that the Ministry of Education held with primary
school directors to get their impressions of the ideal primary school. We
asked them: Comrades, you who have years of experience, what is an ideal
primary school? Well, they said that the ideal primary school should not
have too many students; that the students should not have to walk 1 and 1/2
or 2 km to get to school; that the school should be near the children's
home so that they will not be forced to cross 10 or 12 streets or take
buses. This would be a 450 student school; a school that can be handled
properly--something that does not happen with a 2,000 or 2,500 student
school--a school that can be run by a good director; a school with double
session; a school with a dining room for the children of the working women;
and a school where, in the future, the student will be able to spend the
whole day. In the meantime, we must resolve our most pressing problems.

A school with its sports installation would be the ideal school. We are
already working on the ideal school program. The same will be done with the
secondary schools. Some schools need repairs or new buildings. Lezcano
mentioned approximately 350 schools. Perhaps it will be less. A census is
currently being drawn up so that we will know how many primary and
secondary schools have to be built. In 1989 we will begin our primary and
secondary school plan. In 5 years, beginning in 1988--I think it will be 5
years--we must build 50 or 60 schools each year. This will be done in 1989,
1990, 1991, 1992, 1993. By the end of 1993 the school network for the
capital city will be completed.

The same will be done with the bakeries; there will be a whole network of
bakeries. We have received samples of the bread for the diplomatic markets
and the parallel markets. We are going to try and make these kinds of bread
and pastries in all the bakeries. We are going to have approximately 100
bakeries; 80 to 90 percent of the people will be able to go to those
bakeries and buy their fresh bread. We are going to improve the quality and
variety of bread. In 1988, 1989, and 1990 the whole network of bakeries
will be built. We will also have a complete network of stores; of family
doctors. When will the family doctor network be completed? By 1992. By 1992
every resident of the capital city will have his family doctor.

As you heard today, we will soon have to start studying the idea of
physiotherapy gyms. Perhaps it will be necessary to build more than 70
physiotherapy gyms. In the past when a person needed physiotherapy he had
to go all the way to the Frank Pais Hospital in La Lisa. That person had to
be taken there in an ambulance, rent a car, or use the bus. Just imagine a
person with a real problem getting on a bus to go from Guanabaco to La Lisa
or from Guanabaco to Boyeros, where the Julio Diaz Hospital is located. We
will build those gyms. The first gym was built in order to find out how
many of these gyms are necessary. We had to know whether one for each
municipality is enough or if we have to build one in each polyclinic. From
the way it looks, we will probably have to build a physiotherapy gym in
every polyclinic. Well, then we are going to have to think about a
physiotherapy gym program and a training program for nurses and specialists
in this field.

We are also going to have to build a sports network, the pool complexes.
Havana has one located in Lenin Park. But after we saw how 5,000 people
used that complex on a Sunday, despite the distance, we decided that it
would be nice if something like this could be built in areas more
accessible to the people. Therefore, during a party meeting in El Cerro we
suggest a test, not recreational but an instructive test. We suggested that
buses should be assigned to take the primary school children to the pool,
even if this pool is quite a distance from the schools. As a result of this
test, thousands of children have already learned to swim. Now we are
thinking of a complex in each municipality, and there may be a municipality
that will have more than one such complex. Just think of Centro Habana,
Diez de Octubre, and Cerro municipalities with one, two, or three pool
complexes where the primary school children, during the school year, can go
to exercise and learn to swim; pool complexes that the people in general
could use for recreation purposes during the summer. We could have 20, 30,
40 such complexes, as many as we need.

The same goes for the sports installations. The report mentions another
suggestion that was presented during the meeting in El Cerro. We talked
about sports installations for all the students and the test was carried
out in El Cerro municipality. It was a positive test and the experience is
now being extended to other areas. The installations are simple ones, but
in the future all our new schools will have a sports area. Municipalities
like Centro Habana will have their sports area even if these have to be
built on rooftops or basements, like the comrades at the Salvador Allende
Hospital did. The Salvador Allende workers found that the roof was too low,
so they dug to lower the floor. We will find enough space.

We will have enough houses, and wherever we find that it is necessary to
demolish a whole block of old houses we will demolish it. Of course, we
won't demolish the old houses in Havana Vieja. We will do as we did with
the Miguel Enriquez Hospital. We needed three blocks and we got them; we
later found out that we needed two extra blocks and we negotiated with the
residents to get the land. The residents were happy. Had they lived in
houses like the ones in Miramar we would have had some problems, but since
many of them were living in old and uncomfortable houses they were willing
to move. We will do the same wherever we find that we need the space to
build a school, a pool complex, or sports installations.

We are also studying plans for a network of stores. We are studying the
city layout to determine the number of markets, supermarkets, and stores
the capital city needs. We will also have to better distribute our
recreation centers. We will have to begin moving out of the down town areas
and build some of these centers in areas around the city. There were some
families in Diez de Octubre municipality who were asking us for a
restaurant; there are very few restaurants in that area. Most of the
restaurants are located in La Rampa or the hotel areas. We have lots of
things to do, but we will do them.

We are going to have to build a new water and sewer network. We will do it.
We will have to make wider avenues; this not only saves time and prevents
traffic jams, but it also saves money. I talked to you about the avenue
that the Blas Roca contingent workers are building.

In the future we will also have to think about building the city's metro
system. That is something 1 think will begin sometime in the nineties and
will take a long time to build because it has to be done kilometer by
kilometer. It is almost a lifelong task. We have great experience in
digging tunnels. Our Armed Forces have much experience in this because
they have had to dig this province from one end to the other. Therefore,
they have much experience in this field. This is why we have asked the
Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces to organize and plan all the
work prior to the construction so when the time comes to build the capital
city's metro system they will be ready. We will have a new city.

Yesterday we were talking about what the social mini brigades could do.
Yesterday we were saying we have to repair, rebuild, do major repair work
on 30,000 houses a year. Does anyone here doubt we can do it if we have all
the material we need? Does anyone doubt this after the excellent reports we
have heard and the great news that hundreds of youths have joined the
movement? We can always get 3,000 or 4,000 youths to help in work being
done near their home; they can do this under the guidance of a worker who,
until recently, did not know anything about construction and who, today,
can teach our youth. These workers are doing excellent repair work with the
help of the area residents. They are doing it not only with the help but
also with the participation of the residents. The residents are making sure
the material is not lost, that good quality work is being done. They are
our strength. If you don't have that, no repair work would be done in the
capital city. If you are going to sit down and wait for a super enterprise,
with a super bureaucratic payroll, 2 million pieces of paper, and 50
different plans, to come in and do the work of remodeling the old building
or painting a room--this will not happen. It is true we can build a great
factory like Antillana de Acero, that we can build big hotel enterprises,
that we can build big mining enterprises, and that we can build other
enterprises; but, can we do this without the help of the people?

What will we have in the capital city--and I am mentioning the capital city
because this is the example for the other provinces--in the year 2000 if we
continue to work the way we are working? What will we have if we continue
to promote this construction movement of the masses, not only a
construction movement of the masses but a rectifying movement of the
masses; masses who are demanding work with better quality? What will our
city be like? If we do things properly we will have 250,000 new houses and
another 200,000 repaired houses; we will have approximately 500,000 livable
houses. I hope that by then we will no longer find a single run-down
neighborhood. I think they will disappear long before then. There are not
many run-down neighborhoods, but there are still 50,000 people living

Yesterday, Comrade Glenda [not further identified] was telling us her
excellent views of the work being done by the run-down neighborhood
minibrigade workers. She told us that they are doing a great job and that
their spirit is very high. We know our capital city has 70,000 shanties,
70,000 shanties. [repeats himself] There are tens of thousands who live in
so called makeshift houses that have been declared uninhabitable, declared
uninhabitable. [repeats himself] And they live in these make shift houses
because there are no shelters or because they refuse to go to a shelter.
The situation is very sad and you cannot force these people to move from
their makeshift houses. When were we going to overcome this problem? Do you
think that with 3,800 houses a year we could resolve this problem? Where
were we headed? What was going to happen? How were we going to resolve
those problems?

It is very true the revolution has resolved many problems. It created
jobs, built schools and polyclinics, trained doctors, built hospitals. In
the interior of the country the revolution did many things--but why did it
not resolve the housing problem and other serious problems? The services
we already had were being affected; our education, health, and other
programs were being affected as a result of the standstill we had reached.
They were all affected by that swarm surrounding us.

We could have resolved the housing problem. The mini brigade formula was
created 17 years ago. Had we kept up the movement, how far would we have
gotten? Well, now we have recreated the movement. It is much stronger and
better organized; it has been distributed by city and there are much better
ideas behind the movement. However, that idea that was born 17 years ago
and that resulted in the construction of thousands of buildings and had the
movement continued throughout all these 12 years... [changes thought] This
is why today we have to recover that lost time. We are no longer recovering
only the time the country lost during the days of capitalism and
neocolonialism, but also time lost during the days of socialism.

To those who are allergic to strong and worthy causes, to the proletarian
spirit that, above all means a spirit of work and discipline; to those who
are allergic and see the hives of this work spirit popping up, we say: We
want to work hard not because we are workaholics, but because we must work
hard, because we are a Third World country. We lost centuries because of
colonialism; we lost almost 60 years because of neocolonialism; and we also
lost a few years because of the revolution. We must recover lost time. You
tell me: Are we going to be happy working? Are we going to be happy
recovering lost time? Are we going to be happy working for this generation
and for the new generations yet to come? Do we feel unhappy because of all
the schools and day-care centers we have built? Do we feel unhappy because
330,000 residents of the capital city received their 8-hour bonus? Do we
feel unhappy because a 76-year-old grandmother has contributed 600 hours
of voluntary work in only a few months? We could ask that grandmother
whether she feels happy or unhappy for what she did. We could also ask her
whether she felt that she is healthier or less healthy for doing that.
[applause] Those petite bourgeoisie may be afraid and have their doubts,
but our working people are afraid of nothing; our working people are not
afraid of a little work; our working and revolutionary people are not
afraid of hard work.

Our people are happy in face of the initial fruits of these efforts. Our
assembly is happy in view of the initial fruits of this rectifying effort.
We are not worried about the excess of work this effort could bring about;
we worry about other things. We worry about not having enough materials to
work with, about not having enough projects. We worry about not being able
to incorporate more tens of thousands of people into this minibrigade
movement; that we cannot commit hundreds or thou sands of people to work in
support of these minibrigades after hours or in work by students,
housewives, local residents, or retired workers. We are not worried about
having too much work, but we are sorry we cannot have more people doing
this work which surges from the muscles, from the blood, and from a
vigorous, healthy, and relatively young population. This, compared to the
population of the developed capitalist countries, is a very young

What we have in abundance is energy. The risk we run is that we may not be
able to employ all that energy we have. We run the risk of wasting this
energy by exercising in a gym or some place else [applause] because we are
not able to do that exercise with a pick and shovel, laying or carrying
bricks, or pushing a wheelbarrow. That is the truth.

I recently toured five cities. I was able to evaluate the mood, the
happiness, the state of mind of the residents--the happiness which is
founded in the new hope; the excitement in the masses. Let no one think I
confuse excitement with moods. I will not measure excitement by the number
of times that people salute, or yell, or say Fidel, or repeat Fidel, Fidel.
I am like Lezcano. When we stand there and the people applaud and repeat
our names, we are put in an embarrassing, uncomfortable situation.

I evaluate excitement by the expressions on the faces of the people. It is
not reflected in words but rather in the nuances in the way people exclaim,
talk, salute, and react. I think a documentary has been made on that visit.
1 was able to observe a great excitement based on this whole spirit which
has been created, a faith, a hope, an optimism, a total, absolute
willingness to do things.

We are beginning to see the initial fruits of these efforts. That faith,
determination, and willingness to move for ward these programs with a new
style of work must be increased. The party is a hell of a party, a party
which in our capital alone has more than 100,000 members plus another
100,000 who are members of the Union of Young Communists [UJC].

Today we have what we did not have before the revolution or any other
time: the strength of the party, the new style of work of the party, the
impressive mobilization ability of the party through its municipal
committees and small units, a party with a close and indestructible
relation with mass organizations. Whatever is asked of the party, there is
an immediate response, a quiet response. If, say in a week, 200 men with
certain characteristics must be mobilized, the party gets in touch with
the municipalities and, in a matter of days, the 200 men with the exact
characteristics appear. If 1,000 men, with specific qualifications,
characteristics, and even certain knowledge are requested, they will be
mobilized in a matter of days. If 10,000 need to be mobilized, in a matter
of days the 10,000 are mobilized; they mobilize quietly. You can't even
hear them. But if you go places, you find such and such a contingent, the
party, the UJC, the trade unions.

There is a new style, spirit, and attitude. We could say this is a
revolution within a revolution. That is what we have been able to observe.
This is what is felt here, impressive things have been seen during this
very assembly. I think this is one of the best assemblies that has ever
taken place. We have not discussed everything because we would have needed
a week. However, we have discussed many important things; those which we
have discussed, we have discussed in depth. We have become aware of our
problems. You have the report. The report will be complemented by a number
of ideas. That report should be a work plan for the party in the capital.
We discussed the problems with much seriousness and depth, and the
presentations were, in general, very serious. They have made a great impact
on all of us.

It was especially moving when the representative for the handicapped spoke.
It was moving to hear how the party in our capital, in a matter of weeks,
responded to their requests and proposals presented in August. Those
requests and proposals were answered in mid-August and the party created 14
workshops and employed more than 50 percent of the handicapped people. The
representative explained there were approximately 500 handicapped people
with labor problems. He brought the photo album. You can appreciate the
atmosphere which prevails in that collective of men and women in wheel
chairs who are participating in production in a work shop. That is much
more important, more noble, and dignified than what was happening in our
capital. Our capital city was slowly being invaded by the illegal street
vendors and middlemen who were getting rich and at times even exploiting
our handicapped. What a difference to have the party organize the
workshops where the people feel like human beings, where they can feel
useful to society, and feel they are participating in our country's
development. That is what the party did in a few days.

The party in its new condition can do whatever it wants. It can make
miracles, or things that seem like miracles, happen. Ah! How difficult the
life of the party was 2 years ago; it could not do a single thing. For
example, when a woman would approach the party to complain that her house
was crumbling--I would say there are 70,000 makeshift houses which are not
only ugly but inconvenient, and the people who live in them are always fear
they will fall on them--what would the party do? When the party was
presented with this problem what would the party say? What tales and
stories would the party make up? Patience, my son? Would it say that? Would
it comfort the person by saying: Be patient; be patient. We have invented
some miraculous and fabulous methods; we have invented some fantastic and
incredible mechanisms. Yes, some day you will have all the houses you need.
Yes, maybe in the year 3500. (?At the rate it's going) maybe some robots,
if we had robots, would build the houses. How would the party explain? What
if the individual said: But each time there are fewer houses. If we build
fewer houses than the ones which deteriorate, when will we have houses?

In what manual, from which book? Because we had some brainy people, but
they caused a lot of damage. They knew the exact pages, the exact phrases
of what Lenin said on the exact date, year, page of the 40 volumes of
Lenin's complete works. However, in none of those references could the
party member find an explanation for the family who lived in a makeshift
house, when in practice socialism has to find housing for that desperate
mother; or find an explanation when that mother would say: My son has a
certain allergy, my daughter has asthma, I suffer from this, there is no
water; when a mother would say: I am paying 70 pesos to a lady for the care
and feeding of my daughter, etc. I want a day-care center; or I want a
better environment for my son because he has such and such a problem and I
even have to leave him on the streets while 1 am at work. Secondary school
adolescents in a single session who had nowhere to go were simply wandering
around in the streets like stray dogs.

What kind of problem could the party resolve? What answer could the party
give to the citizens who would present these types of problems? Which book,
which reference? What could be said? The party had to work for years under
these conditions. It had to work to see what mechanisms would work.

Now the party has an answer for all the citizens who come to ask for
something. If it is a person from a make-shift building, we will organize
the social minibrigade to do the work. And to the students, we can tell
them to fix exactly what they want: fix the school. And the others, they
can work in the school, in the day-care center, in the bakery, etc. The
party has a concrete, clear, precise answer to each one of the problems. It
has displayed an impressive effort. I would say the two things that stand
out the most from this process are: the reaction of the people, and the
impressive work of the party. I think it should be reason for healthy pride
on our part to be able to count on such an instrument, such a force, such a
party. With the authority it has among our workers and our people the party
members have been setting an example.

What a wonderful word so full of meaning: exemplariness. It translates in
the fact that the secretary of the main trade union in Antillana says he
does volunteer work twice a week. It translates into the party members
being the ones who take the first step in everything. For example, if
during an afternoon I am looking for Comrade Lezcano, I find him at noon
using a pick and shovel, or carrying sand at a social center fulfilling his
40 hours of voluntary work. [applause]

That force and that prestige is demonstrated in the more than 300,000
people who received the 8-hour bonus and among the hundreds of thousands
who are still short a few hours and who are really sorry that they were not
able to do their 40 hours. It also shows in the 13 million hours of
voluntary work completed by the workers and residents of our capital. All
that legitimate satisfaction and hope, all that healthy pride, has been
reflected in this assembly without triumphalism, but with great optimism.
We are happy because we see these are simply our first fruit, not so much
for what we have done, but for what we are sure we are going to do; not so
much for what we have built, but for what we are going to build; not so
much for how we have improved, but for how much we are sure we are going to
improve in the next years. [applause]

This new awareness, this spirit, was seen here with the participation of so
many delegates, by the precision, seriousness, and depth of their thoughts.
It was seen here when all the leaders of the contingents spoke, (Marco),
(Filio), and the chief of the Blas Roca contingent. You saw this. They were
concise, clear, and brief statements, and especially their answers--because
a man can prepare a speech, a phrase, but no one can foresee a question. No
one can prepare the answer to a question they have not heard. It was
especially impressive for me when I said: It is possible we may have to
work for a while; and they immediately answered: All the time that is
necessary. It was an immediate response. In a few seconds another one said:
We will do whatever is necessary. To each question there was an immediate,
precise, clear response without doubt or hesitation. That is trust in the
party; that is the proletarian spirit; [applause] that is the revolutionary
spirit; that is man's trust in man, his ideas, and cause. That is the
conviction that flows with increasing strength from this rectifying
process; that we will keep our promises; that we will be able to accomplish
what we determine to do. Fatherland or death, we will win. [applause]