Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Closing Remarks at Cooperatives Meeting

FL0106151288 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 0030 GMT 28 May 88

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at the close of the third national
meeting of cooperatives held at the Palace of Conventions in Havana; date
not given--recorded; part three of the three-part special program  "We Are
Forging the Future"]

[Text] [Applause] I don't know if you intended to continue this discussion.
It was assumed that I would say a few words, I think I'm saying them now.
[laughter, applause] I think that I am saying them now; I do not want to...

I don't have that much more to say.  It's true.  I think that these
reasons, these thoughts [words indistinct] that we have been discussing.  I
was thinking about that here, and it is reflected in my closing remarks.

We haven't just been discussing cooperatives here.  We've been discussing
matters pertaining to agriculture in general.  Not only did we discuss
matters related to peasants belonging to cooperatives, but to affairs
related to all peasants.  We are forging the future of the peasants of our
country.  The successes we are proud of are those that we are forging for
all the peasants of our country.

If we speak of housing and resolving the housing problem and we want a
peasant community to have schools, stores, child care centers, electricity,
running water--everything needed--I believe this would be the dream of the
peasants of Latin America.

They would say: We will soon have homes, schools for the [words
indistinct], family doctors, running water, electricity, refrigerators,
televisions, electric irons, and other things.  They might even get color
television sets, if the peasants could even dream of this in Latin America,
in Santo Domingo, Haiti, Venezuela, or anywhere.  I'm referring to
peasants, not landowners.

Our peasants are coming close to the standard of living the landowners
had.  Many landowners did not have running water [words indistinct].  They
were a little isolated.  They bought themselves a generator and they had
electricity for 3, 4, or 5 hours.  Those isolated landowners did not have
family doctors.  The rich did not have the hospitals we now have in our
country.  The rich landowners did not have the schools we have.  We have
the hard sciences and vocational schools, which are the best schools in
this country.  Thousands of peasants have children in those schools, in
those universities.

I would say that if we analyzed this and analyzed what we want for our
peasant cooperatives, we can say that we really want them to have what the
landowners themselves did not have. [passage indistinct] Of course
television sets did not exist during the time of the landowners. Now they
exist, and this is good.

The Latin American peasant does not have water, electricity, doctors,
medicine, or vaccination campaigns.  They have nothing.

We have reduced infant mortality to 13.2 [per 1,000 births].  This means
that for every eight children that die in Latin America in less than 1
year, one dies in Cuba.  Before this our peasants were included among those
in Latin American countries where 70 or 80 children would die.  No one
knows how many died because in rural areas more than 80 children died.
Many more children died.  The national average should have been 70 or 60,
but the rate was much higher in rural areas.

We are working toward and discussing a future that in the past would have
been held by the landowners.  This future will be for peasant, anyone in
the country, any worker in the country.  For the Latin American peasant
this would be a true fantasy, a dream.  We not only want this for our
peasants, we want this for our workers.

Those (?concrete) houses which were mentioned by Lazo... [corrects himself]
(Elasa) [not further identified] are also being built for workers.  The
houses will have electricity and water, and will possibly have televisions,
refrigerators, and all those other things.  They will provide food for
themselves, have good nutrition, family doctors, everything.

The future progress that we want for the peasants is the same type of
progress we want for all agricultural workers and for which we are

We have increased housing.  We need more.  But is is good to confirm that
in the 2 years which have gone by since the previous meeting, with the
congress in between--it has been 2 years--the number of houses being built
in cooperatives has doubled in 2 years.  It has doubled in 2 years.  As we
get more iron rods--as I was saying--more sand, more gravel, and more
cement... [changes thought] because they cannot get sand from rivers
everywhere.   They can get it from the river over there.  Was it Mambito?
[speaker says:  "Yes, Mambito from Pinar"] He said he...  [changes thought]
I had some doubts because he said it cost 17 pesos a cubic meter.  I
thought it was a little expensive.  Well, he said he could get sand from
the river.  I would have to compare it with how much sand from stone mills
costs.  Anyway, they get sand over there.  You can't get sand like that
everywhere. Not everywhere.

We are making many investments in the materials industry.  I believe we
will have the necessary materials to build more housing for you, more
housing for agricultural workers, more housing for workers from the city,
more housing for the entire population.  We are creating the conditions.
But to confirm that it has been doubled is good news.  Remember that we
discussed right here how much was needed, whether more cement or more iron
rods were needed.  We discussed the situation whereby someone got cement
but didn't get iron rods, or got iron rods but no cement.  All those things
we discussed and are being worked on.  There is more cooperation among
state organizations, not only in sugarcane agriculture but agriculture in
general.  In sum, all these things have happened in this short 2-year

We have not only been discussing this but we have also been discussing
matters regarding he country's agriculture in general, the needs of our
agriculture in general, the needs of state agriculture, the needs from the
technical point of view, the means and resources.  We have been discussing
and analyzing these problems, the conflicts caused by the two collection
enterprises.  We have been discussing the problems of the application of
science and technology and social development in various areas--in sum, all
those things that were mentioned by Comrade Lugo in his opening remarks and
those which we have been analyzing here.  This is why the meeting went
beyond the framework of interests of cooperatives alone.  It has to do with
agriculture as a whole and has to do with the interests of the country,
with people's nutrition, with the development of the economy.

I was telling you about the importance of vegetables.  Doctors and science
have discovered how valuable it is to eat fiber for the prevention of
intestinal illnesses, including cancer of the digestive tract, the decrease
of colon and rectal cancer, everything, simply by eating fiber, vegetable
fiber.  Of course, precooked rice has a little fiber; whole wheat and beans
have a little fiber.

But there is something else linked to the matter of vegetable consumption,
which is a recent discovery.  A few vegetables are elements, as I said,
that [words indistinct] certain toxins and chemical elements that cause
cancer.  It is found in vegetables.  So, they are not only food.  They have
vitamins and minerals.  The consumption of vegetables turns into preventive
medicine.  We were really only consuming tubers and rice; yucca, potatoes,
regular rice, and polished rice.

I believe the government, the revolution, has a responsibility in this.
Health is not attained by building hospitals alone.  It is not achieved by
building family doctor consultation offices, or buying many medicines,
having a lot of medical industries, and operating on an individual because
he has this or that, and using chemical products to considerably prolong
life.  If socialism does not work to prolong life, to educate people in
their eating habits... [changes thought] I believe one of the most noble
objectives it can have [words indistinct].  It is incredible that a
tropical country such as ours does not have vegetables and that vegetable
consumption is insignificant.  We were referring to tubers and vegetables.

I am going to tell you one of the consequences.  Rice consumption has
dropped considerably this year.  Because when people have more vegetables
and tubers they eat more tubers and vegetables, especially more vegetables.
They gain less weight and eat less rice.  Of course, rice is far from being
an ideal food. It is mostly poor food--high in calories, low in protein,
and low in minerals.  Polished rice does not have any fiber.  About 50,000
tons of rice were sold in the parallel market during the years in which
tubers and vegetables were not available.  I believe that this year
supplies are more or less maintained.  The current level could reach 35,000
or 36,000.  The abundance of tubers and vegetables is reflected in the
sale of rice in the parallel market.

Of course, we have to work on all this.  We have to harvest on time, care
for it, work adequately, waste less.  A lot is being wasted and lost.  The
Agriculture and Domestic Trade Ministries have to make a big effort on
this.  Cooperatives can collect more easily than thousands of people
collecting in small amounts.  All this is uneconomical.  The work of the
Agriculture Ministry in the conservation and distribution of all these
products is very important.  They handle it in every which way.  They don't
even sprinkle a little water over watercress.  The press has reported some
criticism of the way some products are collected and distributed.  There
are high losses.

There is something I want to mention.  I believe it is a matter of
philosophy.  If the country needs 40 million or 10 million or something, it
cannot make plans to get 10 million.  It has to plan to get 12 or 13
million.  The reason is simple.  A good year will yield more.  But if you
aim at getting 10 million you will get 8 or 7 million during a bad year.
This is for certain.  If you need 10 and aim at getting 10, you will get 5
during a bad year with all the variants involving the weather.  If you
always want to get 10, you have to aim at getting 12.  You will get 10
during a bad year and you can get 13 during a very good year.

I say this because we should not be afraid of having a surplus of products.
There is no problem if you have a surplus of potatoes.  Hungarians,
Czechoslovaks, Germans, and Soviets welcome potatoes.  We can ship them out
and ask them to send us something in return later.  So, we have a market
for what is left over.  If we have a surplus of sweet potatoes, we can use
it for animal feed, in liquid feed factories.  It can be done likewise with
plantains, yucca, anything.  We should not worry if we have a surplus of a
product because the population does not consume it or because it cannot be
shipped to another country.  We can give it to animals.  For example,
potato is a valuable product, expensive and highly regarded.  I want you to
know that in Poland the main feed for pigs is potato.  We don't have to
feed potatoes to pigs, but we can very well feed them our surplus of sweet
potatoes and vegetables which we cannot send elsewhere.  In terms of
foreign currency, it is more economical to do this than to import corn.  To
give them the extra sweet potatoes in a year when we have a surplus is to
save foreign currency.  That is the currency we are looking for and working
hard on with tobacco.  Therefore, the agriculture industry has to really
try to get a surplus.  Since the weather varies so much, we can say that
this year the weather did help us.  It even helped us in the sugar harvest,
because in past years it rained when it shouldn't have and it didn't rain
when it should have, in the spring. It really disrupted the sugar harvest.
Last year it disrupted the potato industry in Pinar del Rio and other
vegetables in various places.  This year we had good weather and abundance.
But we are truly on the path to large and varied vegetable productions.  I
think that there will also be an increase in fruits, citrus fruits in
general.  We must also pay attention to the plans for and development of
fruit production.  Vegetables, of course, are more urgent.

However, you have already seen here how possibilities for animal feed are
developed.  When I left for a lunch break, Comrade Rosa Elena [Simeon,
alternate member of the PCC Politburo] gave me a brief description of this
molasses and there is also (?sacharea).  I looked at some data.  It is rich
in protein which helps in the production of feed for pigs.  It is
especially good for cattle, for milk production.  With a dose of that, a
cow can easily produce 12 or 13 liters of milk.  There was some interesting
data which shows that with 100,000 arrobas of sugarcane, approximately 450
tons of molasses can be extracted.  I was wondering why 100,000 arrobas of
dried sugarcane produce almost 10 tons of sugar, and yet 100,000 arrobas of
cane only produce 450 tons.  Let me make a small computation here. Let's
see [Unreadable text] that's right.  The quantity of feed this produces
really caught my attention.  It could have even more protein than corn.
This is why scientific research is so important.  Just imagine that you
have 100,000 arrobas of sugarcane and you extract from it 450 tons, or only
400 tons, if you wish.  This means approximately 9,000 quintals of corn.
Look for 9,000 quintals of corn in a caballeria of land. Look for 500; I
won't even say 9,000.  Look for 500 quintals.  If we had a production of
500 quintals of corn per caballeria, we would have to grow it.  We don't
have a lot of land to grow corn. We have a larger production of sugarcane
than corn.  If corn could give us a production of 1,000 or 1,200 quintals,
you could say let's look for 1,000 caballerias to get 1 million quintals.
But our climate here is not for corn.  Our climate is for sugarcane.

There is not a plant in the world that absorbs more solar energy than
sugarcane.  That enormous green mass of leaves, through photosynthesis,
absorbs solar energy and turns it into sugar.  It is another form of
energy.  But note that 100,000 arrobas of sugarcane are 10 tons of sugar
per hectare; I am talking about hectares.  One caballeria of sugarcane
produces 2,500 to 3,000 quintals of sugar.  How much does a caballeria of
corn produce?  If you use sugarcane whole as is, mill it, and turn it into
one of these dehydrated products, you will get 9,000 quintals. I am basing
this on the data in this study because they refer to 400 tons; 8,000
quintals of a feed rich in protein.

Can we or can we not raise pigs?  Can we or can we not feed cows?  The cows
in our country do not produce twice as much because they don't have enough
feed.  I want you to know that if cattle were well fed, we could produce
twice as much milk.  Our cows have the genetic potential to produce much
more milk, but they are lacking feed.  Just imagine if we could produce
100,000 arrobas with the figures that we were talking about here.  Many of
you engage in dry farming.  I will not ask of the workers of the Nicaragua
enterprise that you produce 100,000 arrobas by dry farming.  However, with
all the water from the Nipe River that we are bringing there, and with all
the water from the Melone Dam, on the Mayari River, that we are going to
bring to that whole valley, we can increase the area for sugarcane with
irrigation to see if we can have 2 out of every 3, or at least 1 and 1/2
out of every 3, and then we can produce the 100,000 arrobas. [sentence as

Just imagine:  If we designate the equivalent of, let's say, 700 or 800
million arrobas to this kind of feed, how many tons will we produce?  The
equivalent of 1 million tons of sugar.  We turn it into this and get the
equivalent of 3 million tons of animal feed, rich in protein, to mix in
part with what we use now, or use as is.  This information which was
brought up here has, I think, great importance.

It means that agriculture and the Academy of Sciences must really give
priority to this research and tell us that with 100 arrobas this can be
done.  A cow produces so much milk.  We have here the data on milk.

I was saying that if the animal had the potential for 14 liters, production
was a bit lower.  If the animal had a potential of 10 or 12 liters, it
could easily produce that.  That is, if the cow has the potential.  All
cows need to be fed in order to produce milk.  There are a lot of cows
producing 3 or 4 liters that, with feed, could be producing 10 liters.
That is the truth.

But I give you the example of the equivalent of 1 million tons of sugar.
The sugarcane that is needed comes to 750 million arrobas.  When alloted to
this kind of feed, this means over 3 million tons of feed.  This is no
longer to look for vegetables; this is to look for animal proteins, milk,
and meat, getting out of sugar production.

We are not as lucky as Argentina with its huge pampas which can accommodate
tens of million head of cattle.  We are not a cereal country or a corn
country.  We are a sugarcane country.  When our caballerias yielding 100
arrobas can produce food such as this one, then we would have solved a
fundamental strategic problem which is to provide good nutrition for our
people.  I believe more food would then be available at work site lunch
rooms, school lunch rooms, and all those places.  There would be more meat
and more of some of the products that are limited.

All chicken produce here comes from abroad; that is corn, soy, and
everything else comes from abroad.  We could not start eliminating cane to
plant these products.  There is not enough land.  But if we, instead of
getting 50,000 or 55,000 arrobas, got 100,000 arrobas per caballeria, we
could have--because we use 150,000 caballerias for sugarcane--if we got
100,000 arrobas per caballeria every year, what couldn't we get?  What
couldn't we get?  [repeats himself]  See if it is worth it or not.  [Name
indistinct] and everyone else and the comrades who are working in Camaguey
have to learn about this research.  What kind of machine is needed to
produce this molasses?  Should we manufacture it as sugar mills or should
we set up some mills in that areas or cattle areas?  Of course, if we use
sugar mill grinding to get the liquid and fiber from it, we are going to
affect sugar production.  But what does the country need to do to start
developing the production of this food which is derived from sugarcane?  We
could say it is something we have always been dreaming about.  We already
got torula, molasses, and protein molasses, but there is no doubt that if
it has the protein percentage it is claimed to have and if 100,000 arrobas
can yield 400 tons, then I believe it is worthy of our attention.  Because
this is related to the rest of what we were saying, of elevating...
[changes thought] Do any of you doubt that we can produce 100,000 arrobas
per caballeria?  Does anyone doubt it?  You who are peasants, do you doubt

There are dry farming places that are yielding more.  I am talking about
what can be done with land that is irrigated 50 percent of the time.  It
could be more.  I was telling some comrades, when they told me we had to
use 4,500-5,000 cubic meters of water, that if I get 2,000 cubic meters of
water for irrigation, I can guarantee a good sugarcane production.  I am
not going to use it in May, June, or July.  But sugarcane that is cut in
February, that is cut in February, [repeats himself] if you can prepare the
land, fertilize it, and irrigate it with 40 millimeters of water, cane
immediately begins to sprout again.  If you add another 40 millimeters, it
continues to grow. If between February and May you have irrigated it five
times, five times [repeats himself] with 40 millimeters, when spring comes
with its sun, heat, and sometimes more water than needed--because we can't
do anything with [words indistinct] rained 100 millimeters--how much can
you use from 100 millimeters of rain unless dams collect it?  Rains are not
very useful.  But if in May, the cane, instead of being like this, is 1
meter tall, it already has foliage.  When the May sun and rain come, cane
begins to use up the solar energy and begins to maximize the water it
received during those months.  What is really needed is that it have
foliage and not just three leaves.  If it has three leaves, even if it
rains a lot in May, it cannot use it much.  If it has foliage, it starts
using the rain in June, July, and August.  But if in February, when it is
cut, it has been irrigated five times with 40 millimeters of water, even if
it does not rain at all, cane has a lot of leaves when spring rains come.

This is why the amount of irrigation is so relative.  Some say I have to
irrigate with such and such an amount.  It depends on many things.  Not
much irrigation has to be used in Vertientes, more will have to be used in
northern Oriente, more will have to be used in Guantanamo, maybe more will
have to be used in some areas north of Las Tunas, and less in the south.  I
believe that... [changes thought] This is an old idea, but it was
abandoned, forgotten.  All those tragedies have happened, time has been
lost.  But now we are boosting all this, and there is talk of reviving
waterworks projects, of concrete plans--we did talk here of concrete
plans--to triple the capabilities for crop irrigation mainly for plantains
and citrus.  We can do it even if we have to quadruple it.  It is not that

I believe we have been discovering good working methods.  You have shown
here with your reports how the number of unprofitable cooperatives is
decreasing.  You are discovering the factors that determine

I am such that ultimately there will be very few unprofitable cooperatives
left.   Behind every unprofitable center, we will always find subjective
factors--poor organization, poor management, poor investments, poor
discipline, poor working spirit.  We will find workdays only 4 or 5 hours
long.  We will see all of these problems--underutilization of the work day,
few days worked each month, etc.  You will see all that.  Poor use of
resources, etc.

Where truly objective factors exist, we can deal with the problems other
ways, as we have done in the past.  Solutions can be found.

I see good prospects for all branches of agriculture.  I really do.  The
comrades from the Escambray talk about their coffee and about what they are
doing, and how they're profitable over there on the mountains, planting
plantains, etc.  Coffee got the best prices.  So did cacao.  In particular,
they are receiving a lot of the country's resources there on the mountains.
Don't forget that in addition to all this, there's a crash development
program for the country's mountainous areas called the Turquino plan.  It
is taking progress, civilization, development, housing, doctors to them, to
all the mountainous areas.

I see good prospects for agriculture.  There might be prices to be
adjusted, some upward, and others downward.  As we have seen here, this
comes as a result of the problems that some excessively high incomes are
creating for us.  I would not worry if it were the cooperatives and if they
were distributed more or less equitably; give this one a caballeria, this
other four, another five, and another one two.  But it does worry me that
some of the prices might give rise to excessive incomes with small amounts
of land and with the abusive employment of outside labor.

When objective problems arise and we can do something about them, we will
do everything to resolve them.  Some are more difficult than others.  We
were discussing it here.  I got the firm impression that tobacco is
requiring a lot of effort per caballeria.  I am no longer questioning
whether it may be fair for the peasants.  With more or less fair prices, by
doing a good job, with a big effort, all this could be useful.

What I am questioning is whether the country should depend on certain forms
of cultivation which demand so much labor, so many human resources, in
addition to material resources.  This is no longer really in line with the
development the country has achieved.  That's why I say that, not right
away but some day, we are going to have to find the solutions.  Of course,
this is within certain limits.  There is a limit, and this is domestic
consumption.  I believe that there is another limit:  that's the export of
twisted tobacco.  But aside from that, we are going to see how far this can
be sustained.  Only on the basis of patriotism, patriotism, and patriotism
to the end.  Twenty years.

I believe we have many possibilities to seek resources and develop wealth.
I so stated here with all honesty, without the fear that we might be
without tobacco next year.  I don't think we should have any fears.  We are
going to have to keep asking.  We have to pay more attention to this

I see good prospects for agriculture development, good economic prospects
for the cooperatives.  In general, we should also draw the lesson...
[corrects himself] draw the conclusion that there is a great deal to be
done in the area of state agriculture.  A great deal.  We were talking here
of paperwork, bureaucracy, excessive personnel, a lot of things that cost
money and are hindrances.  It was good to discuss that here. I believe that
the comrades working in agriculture will have to ponder all this.

As I said, this must not be done overnight.  It can't be done. However, we
have to start looking for maximum efficiency in state agriculture.  We must
save resources, materials, fuel, human resources.  If by working well the
cooperative can be profitable, then the state enterprise, by working well,
can also be profitable on the basis of some predetermined prices.

I am not saying that the sugar industry has to do it no matter what.  Sugar
prices are generally low for the sugar industry.  When you realize the cost
of the sugarcane, etc., profitability is not so easy.  The price is less
than 8 centavos per pound at the sugar mill--7-odd centavos.  Today we can
say that they are almost lower than the prices on the world market.

But, I believe that state agriculture must make a much greater effort to
achieve efficiency.  I am not talking so much about profitability but
efficiency.  Profitability is not always a measure of efficiency.  There
might be a very modern, automated sugar mill, with good soil and plenty of
rain, with some profitability, but it might be working much worse than a
sugar mill with dry soil that is not so modern, with losses of 10 percent.
It turns out that the one with losses, the unprofitable one, is working
better than the one labeled as profitable.

We have to look for the reduction of costs and for economic efficiency in
production and productivity; productivity per worker, productivity per
hectare, productivity per caballeria.  What we are asking the peasants here
is what we should ask from sugarcane agriculture, from the rest of
agriculture.  The 100,000 arrobas we talked about.

And we have to look for the water, wherever it is. It could be that there's
a cooperative that gets up to 90,000 [unit not specified], which might find
it impossible to find the required water, the required soil.  But we will
have another one with 110,000, or 115,000, or 120,000.  These goals that we
are proposing for the cooperative farmers are the same ones we have to
propose for state agriculture.

I am confident because I see the work and the effort that's being made.  I
am confident we can do it, albeit slowly because there are accumulated
ills, accumulated vices over the years.  You complain about paperwork.
Imagine the administrator of a state enterprise!  Imagine what he's
required to do!  I know that it's as big as a bedsheet at the end of the
month.  Figures. How many different tractors do you have?  Seventeen.  How
many hours did each tractor work during the month?  What did the other do,
etc.?  I know some of the data they are asked for.  It's maddening. It's as
if a madman were loose in an office, a madman who started imagining a
world like this and how this world should function.  It's not something
thought up by a peasant with the common sense of those who live in Pinar
del Rio.  Even the one who forgot the horse!  He said he was so disturbed
the day he discovered the blue mold that he left his horse behind.  It
could happen to anyone. [chuckles]  It was really something!  He ran so
fast that he left his horse tied up and only remembered his horse when he
got home.

No one has the wisdom of the peasant.  It's just a guy in an office
dreaming up things.  He has not been close to the soil.  He never tilled
the land or anything like it.  If he is young, he might have attended a
rural school.  Well, that might have been his only contact with
agriculture.  Yet he starts asking for 17 different tractors, how many
hours for each, etc.  They you have a bunch of people scribbling away.  No
one uses this data.  Someone said as much.  They throw the figures into the
wastebasket.  No one uses the data, nor is it needed.  Really, that is just
an affectation, something dreamed up by a madman in an office, generating
paper.  And then there are plenty of madmen below him, because if he is
already mad, the others will also become mad as they go around doing what
the first madman dreamt up.  So you can imagine: paperwork, people, etc.

I believe that for those comrades from state agriculture attending this
meeting, everything that has been discussed here also commits them to
endeavor to achieve the same things in state agriculture that we are asking
you to do.  Not all of our agriculture is in bad shape.  There are many
enterprises where considerable effort is made, where yields are high.
There are some livestock, rice, and citrus centers that are attaining
growing success.  There's no question about it.  No question.  However, we
should not settle for just that.

We know there's a lot more that can be done.  It can be done and it shall
be done.  I am optimistic about it.  I believe that within all this
rectification process this meeting will also be historic.  The other one we
had was historic because we put an end to the shameful peasant free
markets. If that one was historic, then this one is also going to be
historic because we are going to plunge right into big and ambitious
production and productivity programs.  We will apply science and
technology.  That's what we are asking of you.

The state has an enormous number of engineers. If you get as much from them
as the comrade from Granma did from the young lady, who's so tiny that she
has to be protected... [changes thought] then the state has thousands of
engineers for sugarcane cultivation, thousands.  I feel we have to start
giving access, chances, and responsibilities to all those cadres who can
do a great deal.  At the meeting of the Union of Young Communists right
here, we had a young man from Meneses, a very intelligent young man who is
managing an enterprise.  He's already making a contribution with his
talent, knowledge, and experience.  His know-how!  We were short of just
that.  Our cadres were short on expertise.  The revolution triumphed and
the farm managers had only a 4th, 5th, 6th grade education--I feel that it
was to their great credit that they didn't destroy the country.  The fact
that the country survived is in itself an enormous historic feat.

Now we have thousands and thousands of engineers, in addition to thousands
and thousands of experienced cadres.  They're very dedicated, hardworking,
and serious.  We have thousands of cadres.  We have a whole generation of
cadres with tremendous technical expertise.  The same thing we are
demanding from you, we have to demand of ourselves in state agriculture.

Yet I see good prospects.  With what we are going, I have not doubt that
we'll reach this 45 million [unit not specified] of vegetables and tubers.

I say here what I was saying last night at the meeting with the peasant
builders. [chuckles] The materials have no choice but to materialize.  I am
going to say the same thing now.  The vegetables and tubers have no other
choice than to materialize, considering what we are doing. [applause]

For the first time in the revolution's history we will resolve our problems
once and for all, with a clear awareness of their importance, with correct
methods and criteria.  What we have to do is to aim high.  Aim high, so
that we will not have shortfalls when there's a bad year, a year with a
rainy spring, a year of headaches.  If there is anything left over, the
liquid feed factories will be happy with whatever is left over.  We need
not fear that we will have leftovers. I assure you that this saves foreign

I haven't the slightest doubt that waterworks development will gain
tremendous impetus.  I haven't the slightest doubt that we will have the
necessary resources.  I haven't the slightest doubt that if the initial
figures on sugarcane potential are accurate, we will have millions of tons
of food.  Milk, meat, etc.  I haven't the slightest doubt about it.  We are
doing some other things.

We are trying to import heavier and bigger sheep.  We recently brought in
some Australian sheep.  The advantage is that from the moment they are
weaned they weigh double what the native ones do.  They have (?curly)
type wool, which should not be unappreciated, because it is the basis for
an F-1, an F-2.  Each one gives double the meat, if we have enough pasture,
if we give them that, what do you call it, (?sachariza)?  [speaker corrects
him] The famous molasses.  Right now we are trying to bring over some sheep
from the Soviet Union.  They are coming via Canada.  We can't bring them
directly because of health problems.  They have quarantine stations over
there.  The good thing about them is that they give birth to three or four
lambs at one time.  I believe they are called Romanov.  That's the name the
tsar and his family had.  I don't know why the sheep are called Romanov,
because those tsars were generally sterile. [chuckles] And now it turns out
that the sheep have been named Romanov.  They have three of four lambs.  We
would be satisfied with three or even two.  We have the first rams here
already.  We are cross-breeding them.  We are now trying to bring the pair.

We are bringing in other things.  Geese, for example.  They are spreading
all over the country.  They tell me that they eat a lot of the famous
sucrose.  They have also experimented with geese.  This is another way to
produce meat.  We are introducing techniques such as the implantation of
embryos.  We have been importing herds of goats with high milk production.
We are carrying out a plan in Los Naranjos to produce up to 10,000 liters
of goat milk a day.  We have the first hundred of those goats.

There's a big project in Camaguey underway.  We are recovering lands in La
Serpentina, where nothing was produced before.  We are going to recover
some 2,000 caballerias.  There are two land recovery brigades, which are
recovering almost 300 caballerias each year in La Serpentina.  So there's a
huge plan around Camaguey.  A huge sheep plan.  We have brought in
buffalos, which did not exist in this country.  We have some herds already.
We have a few thousand.  In fact, we have sent them to several provinces
which have lowlands.

We are also breeding shrimp, which has to do with agriculture, because the
lands used are those close to the sea.  A lot of progress has been achieved
by the use of artificial insemination.  The eggs are drawn out of the
shrimp.  They are working on it.  They need levelers and motorized levelers
to do all that work.  We are working in many fronts, many fronts at this

We are going to make a big effort in oil exploration.  We are building
platforms to get closer to the sea, to go into the sea and find new oil
deposits.  We are building platforms to connect the keys off northern Cuba
to firm ground.  There are an extraordinary number of beaches like
Varadero.  We are going to see if we can find other sources of income so
that the people there won't have to depend only on growing tobacco, which
is something out of the 19th century.

We are making a big effort in construction.  The minibrigades movement has
spread throughout the country with great impetus.  Materials are at a
premium now but the movement is getting organized and the country will
undoubtedly get a big boost.  I believe the country will advance rapidly.
I believe we are going to recover the lost years.  We are going to make up
for them in a few years.  I have never felt as much optimism about the
prospects for agriculture as I do today. I really am optimistic and I
should say so.

And this feeling is based on the fact that I have been at many discussions
at various times, from the times when people with 3d and 4th grade managed
the farms, up to today, when we have thousands and thousands of engineers.
The times when the cooperatives were just a big mass of land.  A lot of
inefficiency everywhere, a lot of ignorance.  A large, dispersed peasant
mass.  Today we have a strong cooperative movement.  The cooperative
movement should not only be measured in terms of the percent it produces
for the agricultural economy, but in terms of the influence it exerts over
the whole peasant sector.  The cooperative will make it possible to
incorporate that mass of peasants that is still isolated.  It contributes
ideas, knowledge, initiatives, examples.  It can help state agriculture.
The cooperative's efficiency can be a point of reference for state
enterprise.  In other words, the role the cooperative sector is called to
play in the economy is a very large one.

In addition, it consolidates the revolution, it strengthens it, it makes it
stronger politically.

Thus, we are not underestimating you in the least.  I do not believe we are
exaggerating when we see the importance the cooperative movement has.  This
is seen today.  Had there been other meetings such as this one?  Two years
ago we were pulling our hair because of the number of things we were doing,
the foolish and crazy things we were doing and mistakes we were making.
Only 2 years have gone by.  We held the congress.  We have held this second
meeting.  Progress has been seen.  Clear and important progress has been
seen.  This is encouraging. This shows that when we discover mistakes early
we can correct them.  We can see how when we need to criticize ourselves it
helps us a lot in resolving problems.  This makes us feel more sure of
ourselves, brings more satisfaction, more awareness, and we understand
better what socialism is.  This happens when we fix the nonsense and
deviations and work as we are working now.

This is why I say I had never felt so optimistic over these possibilities
and am sure you will do everything in your power so that agriculture does
not lag behind industry, construction, education, public health, or sports.
With peasant pride, peasant honor, and peasant courage, we can develop a
vanguard agriculture in the future.  I repeat, I am sure we are going to
achieve it, because of the seriousness with which discussions have been
carried out here, because of their weight and degree of responsibility.

I was saying this yesterday at the ceremony.  It really is delightful.  All
the comrades present were pleased.  I was able to perceive a happy note, a
note of satisfaction, of pleasure regarding the meeting.  This is why I
say, and I repeat... [changes thought] you call it the third meeting.
Which one do you call the first?  [indistinct response from speakers] But
it wasn't like this encounter.  I think you invited me to go for a short
while.  Let's call this one the second meeting.  That was a bump and not an
encounter.  [laughter] I just happened to be there. [applause]  Let's call
this one the second meeting.  Let's call it the second because it contained
extensive analyses, criticism, self-criticism, everything.  If not, we
could say that the first one was the time in which we met with sugarcane
cooperative members at the beginning of the revolution.  Lugo, I believe it
is better to call it... [indistinct words from speakers] Pepe [not further
identified] gets nostalgic.  He doesn't want that first one to not be
accounted for.  What do you think we should do, Pepe?  Should we call it
the second meeting?  Well the world is not going to come to an end because
of one more.  We already named it the third; let's call it the third
meeting I have to figure it out since the one in which we met to look into
all the problems and we started working... [indistinct words from speakers]
Yes, it is the first one of the rectification process and the third general
cooperatives meeting. [applause] It's all right.  So, the next one will be
the fourth meeting. Is is clear?  Very well, comrades.  We'll see you at
the next meeting.  Fatherland or death, we will win! [applause]