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Castro Moncada Barracks Anniversary Speech

Discusses Rectification, Angola

FL2607233088 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2203 GMT 26 Jul 88

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at rally to mark the 35th anniversary of
the assault on the Moncada Barracks held in Antonio Maceo Revolution
Square, Santiago de Cuba--live]

[Text]  Dear Comrade Heng Samrin, secretary general of the [People's
Revolutionary] Party of Kampuchea and chairman of the Cambodian Council of
State; distinguished guests; comrade relatives of the fighters and dead of
Moncada; comrade fighters; comrades of Santiago de Cuba, of the easternmost
provinces, and of Cuba;  [applause]

I have not come here to deliver a formal, grandiloquent speech, although
the atmosphere and solemnity of this ceremony would seem to so require.  I
prefer to converse with the residents of Santiago and to ponder along with
them--if it is possible to converse at a grandiose ceremony such as this.

I was trying to calculate how far away the last row is.  I think that there
are at least 400 to 500 meters from this podium to the last row.

In the first place, I want to say that perhaps some people may think that
the commemoration of the 35th anniversary of 26 July in Santiago de Cuba is
essentially the result of a historical tradition.  The truth is that
Santiago de Cuba, both the city and the province, earned the legitimate
right of hosting this 35th anniversary.  [applause]

However, let us remember something even more important:  Santiago de Cuba
and the eastern provinces earned the historical right to be the setting for
26 July 1953.  [applause]

Time has passed.  Perhaps some of us may think it has passed quickly.  Many
certainly cannot have a recollection of those times, because it is said
that around 70 percent of the population of Santiago de Cuba is under 40
years of age.  Perhaps more precise figures could show that around 60
percent are under 35.  The truth is that we all come together today, the
old and new generations, to mark this date.  It is also true that the
changes occurring since then can be clearly seen, especially the changes
that have occurred since the triumph of the revolution, almost 30 years

This province's population [clears throat], which stood at 570,000 when the
revolution triumphed, today stands at 968,000.

The workers, who in 1958 numbered around 85,000, today number 349,000.  In
other words, if the population grew around 70 percent, the labor force grew
more than 300 percent.  The number of women working at the time of the
triumph of the revolution was around 8,000.  There are 120,000 women
working in Santiago de Cuba Province today.  The number of women employed
in the economic and service sectors alone is greater than the total number
of workers in the province at the triumph of the revolution.  This force
with tremendous potential became involved in the country's development.

The province's economy has improved.  I am not going to give many figures.
I will give only some to illustrate the economic changes that have taken
place.  There are many.  People speak of successes in education, health,
sports, and culture, but do not mention the economic successes of the

Let's say that around 250,000 tons of cement used to be produced in
Santiago de Cuba.  Today, more than 400,000 tons are produced.

What is now the Province of Santiago de Cuba refined about 1 million tons
of oil.  At present, it refines almost 3 million and its refining capacity
is 3.7 million.  The refinery produced 2,600 tons of liquid fuel, liquid
gas a year.  At present, it is producing 16,000.  It used to produce 12,000
tons of kerosene for domestic use.  Today it produces 231,000 tons.

The electricity industry had a capacity of 30,000 kilowatts.  Today it has
a capacity of 561,000 kilowatts.  See how much this capacity to generate
electricity has grown.

In agriculture, production of the main items grew.  The province's citrus
production was 85,000 quintals.  It now produces 1.8 million quintals.
Production of tubers, vegetables, and other agricultural produce has grown
manyfold.  Port production grew six-fold.  Poultry production grew
five-fold.  Egg production was 9 million.  The production now is 173

Construction grew.  Around 800 km of paved roads were built during these
years of the revolution in this province.  Around 2,000 km of rural roads.
You can travel by road anywhere now, fast, whether along the coast, or
Guantanamo, or Mayari, Cueto, Palma, or anywhere else in the province.  We
still have a few kilometers to build.  Big dams were built.  Scores of
minidams, irrigation systems.  Tens and tens of thousands of new houses
were built.  The number of housing units in the province practically
doubled during these years.

If we speak of social development, logically we must include the famous
public health system.  How can the success of the revolution and public
health not be recognized if no country in the world in such a short period
to time has made similar progress?  First of all, the budget for public
health in the country was barely 20 million pesos before the triumph of the

Today the budget is 67 million pesos.  In other words, the revolution does
invest in public health.  The public health investment in Santiago de Cuba
is three times greater than what it was for the whole nation prior to the

From an original 33 health facilities, today the province has 127.  Many of
the current institutions did not exist.  The polyclinics did not exist.
There were three emergency facilities in the whole province.  Today there
are dozens of polyclinics.

The number of doctors in Santiago de Cuba Province was approximately 180.
Today the province has 2,470 doctors, 2,470.  [applause]  You have to use a
computer to figure out by how much the number of doctors increased.  The
number of stomatologists was between 5 and 15.  Today there are 551
stomatologists in this province.  Tell me if 5 or 15 stomatologists could
care for a population 70 percent [as heard] of which is elderly.  The
number of nurses was 96 for the whole province.  Today there are, if my
memory serves me right, 4,529 nurses in Santiago de Cuba Province.

Logically, the results are evident.  Life expectancy has increased by 15 to
20 years in this province.  The infant mortality rate has decreased from 60
to 11.8, which was the rate for the first half of 1988.  [applause]  We
have a better infant mortality rate than that of the capital of the United
States, better than Washington's.  [applause]  I think that is a fact which
speaks for itself.  The institution of the family doctor did not exit.  The
institution is very recent.  Today the province has 501 family doctor
clinics; out of those, 283 are in the mountains.

They are in those abandoned, forgotten mountains which did not have a
single kilometer of road.  They are in those mountains where neighbors
would go to the coast to wait for a ship to go by.  They put a cemetery on
the southern coast along the mountain range of the Sierra Maestra.  Today
there is not a single neighbor in the mountains of Santiago de Cuba
Province who does not have very nearby his own family doctor. [applause]
There is not a single rural area in the world, not even in the rural areas
of the richest and most developed capitalist countries, where there is such
attention to the basic medical care of the population.  Not even the United
States or any other capitalist, industrialized, or rich country has
anything similar to that.  Not only has there been a quantitative increase
in medical services but there has also been an extraordinary qualitative

We could say similar things about the educational sector.  For example,
prior to the revolution, the budget for education in the whole country was
barely 80 million pesos.  Today, just in Santiago de Cuba Province, which
has less than a tenth of the country's population, there is an investment
in education of 100 million pesos.  This is more than what was invested in
the whole country prior to the revolution.  Of course, and the results are

For example, there are 22 pre-university institutes just in Santiago de
Cuba.  This is more pre-university institutes than we have prior to the
revolution.  Today in Santiago de Cuba Province there are 53 polytechnic
centers.  This is several times more than all the ones we had in the whole
country at the time of the revolution.  There are new institutions, all
types of schools, special schools for children who have difficulties--there
are over 40 schools of this type.  There are dozens of child care centers
which did not exist, just as special schools did not exit.  There are great
schools for physical education, sports, military vocational schools.  There
is a great hard science school which is a true higher education institution
model.  University centers were multiplied.  From an original number of
over 1,000 university students, today the figure is over 30,000.

There must be in Santiago de Cuba Province as many teachers and professors
as there were in the whole country; that number is 21,900.  That, of
course, is evident in the fact that in 1953--I'll go back a little further,
during the Moncada Barracks assault--elementary school enrollment was not
even 27 percent.  Today almost 100 percent of the province's children are
enrolled.  They have their classrooms, schools, and teachers.  This is true
not only for elementary school age children but also for mid-level
school-age children.

I think illiteracy was 35 or 36 percent in this province.  Today, it is so
rare to find an illiterate person in the province.  It is so rare to find a
10- or 12-year-old child who does not know how to read and write.

It is not only unusual to find a child who does not know how to read or
write, it is unusual to find a 10- or 12-year-old child who is not in
fifth, sixth, or seventh grade.  This is how tens of thousands of
university professionals and mid-level technicians have been trained.

Considerable advancement has been made in sports.  From 50... [corrects
himself] 60 sports installations, we now have 382.  We have gone from 50
physical education professors to more than 1,700.  In the culture sector,
we have established dozens of 16-mm movie theaters that did not exist in
our rural areas, our towns.  We now have dozens of culture houses,
libraries, art centers, museums, etc.

None of this existed that 26 July 1953.  None of this existed 10 years
after the triumph of the revolution.  We should think about this reality,
not simply to feel satisfied, but to appropriately evaluate the work of the
revolution and the fruits of the effort that began that morning on 26 July
1953.  [applause]

Much has changed, much.  That is why the pride with which the people of
Santiago celebrate this anniversary is justified.

I should say something else that I was able to observe during these past
few days in the city of Santiago de Cuba and in other parts of the
province.  I have never seen the people of Santiago so enthusiastic and
happy, and I have come to this city many times.  [applause]  I never saw
them, I repeat, I have never seen them so enthusiastic and happy. I have
never seen them so optimistic and decisive, and that is an index that is
more important than all the other indexes.  it is more important than the
public health or education indexes and more important than anything else
that has been done because it shows that those who were born after 26 July
1953, these new generations of Santiago residents, are still more
enthusiastic and revolutionary than the generations that preceded them.
[applause]  It shows that those who were not born on 26 July 1953 were able
to receive the message.  They were able to assimilate the message of the

What have we seen on this date?  We have seen many things,  but we have
seen a work that is truly extraordinary carried out by the people of
Santiago de Cuba.  They have risen to the height of this 35th anniversary.
I don't want to say just one word to flatter the people of Santiago.  I
simply want to express what I feel, what I see, what I observe.

We could add that we have never seen the people of Santiago de Cuba working
so much or so intensely as they have been working in honor of this
occasion, and it's not just a matter of simple words, but of acts, figures,
numbers.  We are all truly surprised with all these words.  We are all
truly surprised by what the people of Santiago have recently done.  Much
can be observed in many areas.  Some of those things, which are not of
little importance, are the projects completed for 26 July.

Many figures have been given and, although there are differences, they mean
the same thing.  Some talk about hundreds of projects, others quote 531,
and I am going to give the smallest figure:  74 projects.  It all depends.

For example, among the 74 projects, a project consisting of 17 supermarkets
appears as a single one in the 74 project count.  Family doctor offices
with doctor and nurse houses, that is, the office and the house for the
doctor and nurse, appear as a single project under the 74 project figure.
There are 120 family doctor and nurse house-offices.  Another example is
that hundreds of housing buildings have been built.  Almost 6,000 housing
units have been built in a year and they appear as a project in the list of
74.  If anyone wanted, it could be said that 200 multiple family housing
buildings were built.  This is why the figure is based on how these numbers
are considered--there is talk about 74, hundreds, 531, or thousands of
projects.  Actually, a supermarket is a project and another supermarket is
a project.  They are somewhat small projects but are not any kind of
project.  [sentence as heard]  Hundreds of hours and a number of workers
are needed for several months in order to build them.

Large projects such as the hospital inaugurated in Contramaestre, as the
investments in the Hermanos Diaz oil refinery, as the big factory of
medical equipment which has just been inaugurated in Santiago de Cuba, as
the parenteral serum factory, very important projects such as the
industrial gas industry--development cannot be achieved without
it--important hospital extension projects, as a whole, constitute truly
impressive work.

We cannot forget, for example, some of the projects I visited which are
important for health such as the blood bank, which is one of the two
largest blood banks in the country.  Also the remodeling and extension of
the Saturino Lora Hospital; the cardiovascular surgery building was
inaugurated there.  It has already been operating for some months now with
great success.  A fully equipped room for computerized axial tomography was
inaugurated at the Santurnino Lora Hospital a few days ago.  They have
X-ray equipment which is extremely important for diagnosis of illnesses.  I
should say that the one the Saturnino Lora Hospital has is the most modern
one in the country.  Images appear with great clarity and extraordinary
precision.  The extracorporeal litholapaxy service was inaugurated with
equipment valued at over $2 million.  If anyone wants to have an idea how
much $2 million is, I can tell you that sometimes we need bulldozers
[preceding word in English] and $2 million buys twenty 220-horsepower
bulldozers.  This amount is invested in the equipment to avoid traumatic
surgery for many citizens who suffer from kidney stones.  This is a very
modern, advanced, and non-traumatic method to solve those problems.  It
also has a hyperbaric chamber service.

I had the satisfaction of seeing at the Santurnino Lora clinic the most
modern equipment in the country, and I recalled those times that have
passed when we had public hospitals where people could go with a
recommendation from a politician or voter's card to secure a vote and
affiliation in the next elections.  Now the 968,000 residents of this
province don't have to be recommended by anyone.  Simply by being a
compatriot and a citizen of this country and this province, one can go
there and receive those services.

This would cost thousands and thousands of dollars in any capitalist
country.  How much does heart surgery cost, cardiovascular surgery, heart
surgery, open heart surgery as it is called with extracorporeal
circulation?  It would cost thousands and thousands of dollars.  How much
would a lithotripsy cost to resolve serious renal problems?  How much would
a kidney transplant cost?  How much would any of those services cost?  How
much would a plaque or a combination of plaques cost for any of those
pieces of equipment I mentioned?  They would cost hundreds of dollars, and
all those services, compatriots of Santiago de Cuba, are at your service
today.  They are at the service of your wives, mothers, fathers, nephews,
children.  They are available to any citizen of this province.  [applause]

When one sees the people work like this, when one sees a province work like
this, one considers helping them, helping the people, the province.  One
thinks about what other things could be done to feed that fervor or, more
appropriately, to respond to that constructive fervor, that creative

It would not be right to say that we were observing this phenomenon only in
the province of Santiago de Cuba, but it is noticeable in this province.  I
mentioned 74 projects were completed, but there are also 52 projects under
construction to mark the 30th anniversary of the revolution and in honor of
the Fourth PCC Congress.  Who doubts that the people of Santiago will win
the right of hosting the Fourth PCC Congress?  [applause]  Who doubts this?

If the people of Santiago, if the people of Santiago [repeats himself] have
been able to create this extraordinary atmosphere for 26 July, what kind of
a political, moral, and revolutionary atmosphere are they capable of
creating for the fourth party congress?  What will they not be able to do?

See what they have accomplished.  Among those projects that have
been finished is the hard sciences school, the higher institute of teacher
training.  I think the Santiago de Cuba vocational arts school is almost
completed.  These are big projects and they have more plans.  There are, I
repeat, 52 projects under construction and an additional 104 projects in
the planning stage.  Some of these are bold.  One of the things that is
being proposed is to finish the Santiago-Pilon road, but an important part
is still unfinished.  We have to work hard on this.  We propose to finish
several dams and micro-dams and begin others.  A series of industrial,
social and agricultural projects of all types are also being planned.

We must help.  We must continue to help the people of Santiago de Cuba.  We
can't say that we only help the people of Santiago but they deserve our
continued help.  They deserve our continued help.  [repeats himself]

I'm convinced that to help the people of Santiago more, we don't have to
take anything away from anyone else.  We don't plan to help the people of
Santiago by taking anything away from anyone else.  We plan to do this by
finding additional resources, by finding additional resources [repeats
himself], by promoting construction material industries, by guaranteeing

Yes, the construction material industry needs to be boosted.  There are
plenty of people in Santiago de Cuba to work in construction.  There are
and will be plenty of construction projects, there are and will be.
[applause]  We need construction material but we can produce it.

For example, the remodeling of the Santiago de Cuba cement plant needs to
be speeded up in order to increase its capacity to over 600,000 tons and
have the necessary cement.  Rolling mills for the production of iron rods,
steel for construction, are being made in Las Tunas Province.  A steel
plant is being completed at a fast pace in the capital to produce the raw
material those Las Tunas rolling mills will need.  We will have steel for
construction, as much as needed.

There is a lot of sand in Santiago de Cuba Province.  There is a lot of
gravel, clay, and raw material.  Therefore, we have to prioritize the
construction material industry, because I know this is the only thing that
can halt this drive, the only thing that can slow it down, and the only
thing that can limit it.

During these days we have been analyzing the problems the city still has.
We are aware of them.  We do not ignore them.  We are aware of
transportation problems.  They are not exclusive to the city, to the entire
country, or to the capital.  The causes of the difficulties have been
explained over the media.  They were not only subjective ones, they were
fundamentally objective ones.  All measures have been taken to alleviate
the situation.  The party has asked Havana Province and the Guanajai
industry to make a special effort, to work day and night, Saturdays and
Sundays, not take vacations, and postpone vacations for the building of 350
articulated buses.  Some of them will be sent to Santiago de Cuba.  Serious
efforts are being made.  [applause]  The equipment and technology to
produce gearboxes are being acquired.  The lack of supplies helped to
create this transportation problem.  Measures are being taken.

We know there are water supply problems in Santiago de Cuba.  These
problems were caused by two factors.  One of them was the severe drought we
had in previous years.  Fortunately, we have not had it this year.  A
second problem is the waste of water when there is water, because if there
is no water it cannot be wasted.  But let me note the following:  Santiago
de Cuba was supplied by the Charco Mono Dam, 6 million [cubic meters]; the
Chalons Dam--someone here should know how many millions it would have, they
say 1 million; Faustino [Perez] says this and he worked in this field--7
million; plus the San Juan wells. Which large dam supplied water to
Santiago de Cuba?  The revolution built the (Gilbert) with a capacity of 40
million.  The revolution built the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes with a
capacity of 200 million.  It is now going to be expanded to hold 50 million
more and it is going to be connected with the (Hilbert).  The Parada Dam
was built here.  Although it is true that numerous industries and many more
housing units have been built in the city, it is possible that the city has
twice as much water as the amount it had around the triumph of the
revolution.  Water sources created by the revolution which can supply the
city are at least 40 times as much as those that existed before, counting
all these dams which can supply water to the city.  Cota Blanda is being
built now.  It is also going to have some millions more and is going to be
connected with the city system.

However, we can't convert the city into a bottomless barrel of drink water.
Portable water is expensive.  It must be transported, sometimes from great
distances.  It has to be made portable.  It has to be pumped and carried
through networks that need to be maintained or constructed.

I think that after the capital of the Republic, the second city where we
can put in water meters is the city of Santiago de Cuba.  That will be the
second location because we have seen in Havana that where there are water
meters, 25 percent less water is used than in areas that don't have water
meters.  Each citizen receives about 100 liters of water free.  I don't
know if it's 90 or 100 liters, but there is a charge for anything over this
and it's expensive.

The capital of the republic would be capable of consuming all the water the
province needs in agriculture.  We are creating new sources in Havana.  We
are carrying out several different types of engineering projects to
increase available water by 100,000 cubic meters.  However, we need to feed
the population.  It doesn't help the population to bathe and be very clean
if they don't have any food.

In the capital we are even considering treating residual water to return it
to the crops, and we will not stop until we have accomplished this.  We
have to recycle water.  I think 100 liters is enough for any person even if
he sings in the shower [laughter], even if he sings in the shower.
[repeats himself]  It is enough for all of a person's needs.  That is why,
in addition to the construction of new bridges, we should think about the
appropriate repairs to the water network and its conservation.  This is
essential.  We can have all the water we need, but we have to conserve it
because it costs money.  It is expensive.

Good.  Some of the things we have discussed within the past few days to
expand the supply of water to the city by 600 liters a second is
construction work on the aqueduct to expand its capacity--the same one that
brings us water from (Gilbert) and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes--because the
pipes are not enough.  We propose to expand, as quickly as possible, the
aqueduct by approximately 15 or 16 km.  How much is it, Lazo [Esteban Lazo,
first party secretary of Santiago de Cuba Province]?  We plan to expand the
aqueduct by 18 km to make available 600 more liters of water per second.
We'll have to do more later.  We'll have to widen the tunnel later to carry
even more water.  That's not the only thing.

Studies have been accelerated for the construction of the Baconao Dam,
which will be able to supply between 60 and 80 million cubic meters of
water.  Do you know how much 10 million cubic meters is?  I'll give you an
example.  What is the city's population?  The population is 390,000.  Let's
say it's 400,000.  Let's assume that each of the 400,000 residents of the
city consumes 100 liters of water a day.  That would mean they consume 40
million liters of water a day, 40,000 cubic meters of water a day.  If you
multiply this by 350, you will see that for all the needs of a
citizen--besides the water used at school, the hospital, or a dining
room--15 million liters [unit as heard] of water is enough to provide 100
liters a day for personal use in a city of 400,000 residents.  We would
have to ask... [changes thought]  I don't know; these figures seem correct:
400,000 times 10 is 40 million; 40 million is 40,000 cubic meters; 40
thousand times 300 is 12 million.  I think the figures are correct.
[laughter]  They're right.  Not more than 15 million cubic meters are
needed. [pounds the podium with his fist]  [applause]

We are talking about dams that can hold 30 million, 40 million cubic meters
of water.  The Baconao Dam will hold more than 80 million cubic meters of

We also have to save in this industry.  We waste water at schools,
hospitals, dining areas, restaurants, and hotels, and we have to save water
there, too.  If we have a good water network, if we conserve water,
Santiago de Cuba will never lack water.

I can tell you that we are not organizing and have the equipment for the
brigade that will begin constructing the Baconao Dam in August which will
supply water to the city of Santiago de Cuba.  [applause]  They'll have to
work hard.  They begin in August and they will work double shifts.

Meanwhile, we will see how fast we build those 16 or 17 km of aqueduct that
we need to bring water from there, from the west.

Baconao has the virtue that there are no agricultural areas, that the water
for the city does not have to compete with the rice, plantains, vegetables,
and fruits.  It does not compete with the production of food.  Thus, there
is no sacrifice of any kind for agriculture.  A big dam will be built.  We
will work double shifts.  We have not yet decided the completion date, but
it depends on when we get the plans.  A tunnel is needed and it will be
built by Minfar [Ministry of the FAR], some 400 meters deep into the rock
to divert the river, inasmuch as construction there is not easy.
Regardless, the construction of the Baconao Dam will begin an August.

The construction of the additional dam for 600 liters per second will start
in the next few days.  Six hundred liters per second supply a good amount
of water.  It would be great if we planned on finishing the Baconao Dam for
the fourth congress.  However, we are not all going to make the commitment
just yet.  Let's plan but not commit ourselves, because we have to talk to
architects, etc.  But, I know that working the way people are working now,
we might build the dam in 2 and 1/2 years.  However, this dam is not only
the dam.  We have to build tunnels afterward to bring the water to
Santiago.  Above all, dozens of kilometers have to be built.  We could
finish the dam, perhaps.  We have to see how much pipeline, how much work
this entails.  That is why we are not going to promise, but we will do
everything possible to speed up the project as much as we can.

Otherwise, we will leave it for the Pan-American Games in 1991.  But we
will see.  (?Two) efforts will be made to resolve one of these problems.
But there's something else.  We have to make an effort in this city not
only to build new housing for workers, teachers, technicians, the public.

We have around 40 neighborhoods that are classified as unhealthy in the
city.  These are our undisciplined neighbors from the mountains and rural
areas who moved on their own to Santiago de Cuba.  We must reach a
gentleman's agreement here.  Approximately 29,000 people live in those 40
unhealthy neighborhoods.  There is a big one that I know is called
Venceremos and Bam Bam.  It had yet another name given by the people.  The
university comrades conducted a study and found that many are workers, the
immense majority are enthusiastic revolutionaries, and that they are
willing to work toward a resolution of the problem.  Their living standards
are not bad.  They have a lot of electrical appliances.  They have more
radios per 100 residents.  Nearly 70 percent have television sets.  They
have a number of modern things.  The problem is that they have very poor
housing.  They have problems with the water supply.  They have to carry
water in a bucket.  It's a problem.

I think we can plan on making a special effort to get rid of those
neighborhoods, by organizing the social minibrigades, the same system used
in the capital where there are also a few dozen unhealthy neighborhoods.
If there is a worker who can be released from his work center, he can work
in these minibrigades.  If it's a housewife, she gets involved and is paid.
If it is a young person neither going to school nor working and he wants to
join in, he gets paid.  I propose a special effort.  Let's try as hard as
possible to get rid of those unhealthy neighborhoods by the fourth party
congress.  Notice that I say, let's try.  Let's try to eliminate them.

We have to put the residents to work, but to work with the spirit of the
minibrigades, as we have observed it.  Eleven hours, 12 hours, 13 hours, 14
hours.  Get the bricks, get the necessary equipment and construction
materials, and let's resolve the problem.  We must not forget that Santiago
de Cuba is seismic and we cannot build just any type of housing.

All housing built here, even those tall buildings, have a special
construction, as well as additional quantities of steel and concrete.  We
cannot build buildings here that will collapse in an earthquake.  All
construction must be made to survive earthquakes, big earthquakes.  This is
not because we have had catastrophic earthquakes throughout our history.
However, the (Baltre) fault, which is one of the deepest in the world, is
close to this city.  It is said that subterranean earth movement is the
cause of these earthquakes.

There has never been a catastrophic earthquake.  We cannot rely on
statistics, however.  If there has never been a 7-degree earthquake, we
must build buildings to survive 8- or 9-degree earthquakes.  We now build
dams to survive a flood as bad as Flora, that huge flood that broke all
world records in 36 hours, I think.  There were 2,000 millimeters of rain,
that is, 2 meters of rain, at the time. It is a good thing that flood
happened before the dams were built.  Otherwise, I don't think anyone would
have thought of building the spillways as high as they were built to
prevent that danger.  Today, all our dams are built to survive another
Flora.  [applause]

The cities and buildings in Santiago de Cuba and other cities and areas of
the eastern provinces must be built to survive earthquakes.  That is why I
say that housing projects will require greater effort.  Building those
housing units will require greater effort and more material.  I think we
can do it, but this should not compete with plans to build housing for
workers and for the rest of the population.  It would be unfair for a
teacher or worker in any of our industries to have to wait indefinitely for
unhealthy neighborhoods to be eradicated so he can have his housing needs

For example, we have seen this new Abel Santamaria neighborhood.  It
includes several thousand housing units.  It is located in a healthy area.
I think the Caonao Dam will greatly suit the new neighborhood, which will
continue to grow a great deal.  These are problems that we must plan to

This province has other ambitious goals.  Earlier, Santiago de Cuba
belonged to the old Oriente Province, where there are now five provinces.
There is no doubt old Oriente was unmanageable as a single province.  It
was wise to multiply the province, not to divide it, as was once suggested.
It was wise to make five provinces.  I think giving Granma, Guantanamo,
Holguin, Tunas, and Santiago de Cuba the rank of province greatly benefited
the population of those provinces.  Before, Santiago de Cuba was the
capital city of the other cities.  Today, it continues to be the moral
capital of all the eastern provinces and the moral capital of the Cuban
revolution. [applause]

There is no doubt, however, that the ideal is for each province to supply
its own food as much as possible.  For many years, this province has been
greatly dependent on other provinces for its supply of tubers and
vegetables.  I am not going to mention the potato, which needs a soil with
certain characteristics.  That sort of soil is not common here in this
province.  Therefore, Santiago de Cuba Province can continue receiving
potatoes from the western provinces, from Ciego de Avila, or from other
provinces.  The potato is a high-yield crop.  It is relatively easy to
preserve for some time.  This province can receive potatoes from other

As for the rest, it is bad to depend on the supply of roots and tubers, in
general, as well as vegetables from other areas.  Nevertheless, there will
always be some dependence.  For example, Guantanamo Province has the
Caujeri Valley.  It is a huge natural hydroponic area.  We are building
dams and irrigation systems there to produce tomatoes in the summer, as
well as other vegetables that are hard to harvest in the spring.  From
there, these vegetables will have to be sent to other provinces.

The ideal, however, is for each province to try to feed itself.  Such a
plan exists in this province.  I think that before the revolution, this
province did not produce more than 100,000 quintals of tubers.  Today, it
produces more than 500,000 quintals of tubers.  This province produced
approximately 20,000 quintals of vegetables.  Now, it produces more than
200,000 quintals.  But, we must produce millions of quintals.  Millions!

In this regard, the province is preparing and trying to develop a plan to
irrigate 900 caballerias to produce tubers and vegetables.  We must help
that plan.  Moreover, we are furthering a plan to increase the irrigation
systems, especially the drop [goteo] system, which doubles, almost triples,
plantain production.  We must take this plan to the province by supplying
it with the drip irrigation systems it may need for its plantain
plantations.  We must supply the most modern irrigation system, because it
lacks abundant land.  Over 60 percent of the province's areas are
mountainous.  The other areas are uneven terrain.  There are few plains.

An important things is that over 15,000 caballerias are used for sugarcane.
We are thinking... [changes thought] We have already transferred some
sugarcane areas to tuber and vegetable production.  We are going to
transfer some others.  However, 5,000 caballerias will continue to have
sugarcane.  We plan to increase yields even higher with those caballerias.
We are going to try to reach 90,000 or 100,000 arrobas per caballeria with
irrigation systems.  We hope to have 2,000 caballarias of sugarcane with
irrigation and level some land for tubers and vegetables.

We feel that with 900 caballerias irrigated for tubers and vegetables, the
province can amply supply itself with all these products.  In addition, the
rural population, cooperatives, state farms can supply themselves with
tubers and vegetables.  The goal is to produce tubers and vegetables for
the urban population.  An ambitious program exists.  We must support that

Our goal is to compete all pending dam construction in a short time, in 3
or 4 years.  We want to build dams and minidams.  We must help the province
implement this program so it can irrigate sugarcane, tubers, vegetables,
and some grazing lands, and increase its agricultural production.
Following our experience with drought, we know agriculture cannot be secure
in this province if we do not ensure irrigation for these areas.

These plans that the province has and that we propose to support are
ambitious.  These are truly encouraging plans.  Egg production will
increase.  I said that 173 million eggs produced.  Sometimes, eggs must be
brought from other provinces.  Egg production will increase to 300 million
each year.  This amount is almost double current production.  Poultry
production will increase.  Most of all, pork production will increase.
Santiago de Cuba residents already have two combines or two overall pork
production centers.  These centers produce 4,000 tons.  They are
immediately going to build two more centers to reach 8,000 tons.  They will
basically use food and agricultural waste.

Still, we are not resigning ourselves to that.  We have been coordinating
actions with the Sugar Industry Ministry to complete the unfinished parts
of the torula [years] factor at the [Julio Antonio] Mella Center to turn
that factor into one that produces liquid torula.  The plan will produce an
additional 8,000 tons of pork.  We have been discussing this matter in
detail with the Sugar Industry Ministry.  What is the factory's capacity?
How much sugarcane syrup does it need?  Where are we going to get the
sugarcane syrup over and above the sugarcane syrup it produces?  We
discussed the possibility of adding complete [integral] sugarcane syrup to
that factory without having to bring it from another site.  [applause]

The comrades of the Ministries of Sugar Industry and Construction will
immediately get to work to finish that torula factory.  In a few weeks, as
soon as the projects are there, the Agriculture Ministry will immediately
get to work building at least four overall combines.  We are going to work
at full speed to see if we can build it before the congress, although it is
not in our plans.

Let us see how much it takes, or how much an overall pork center resists
the constructive spirit that Santiago de Cuba residents have today.

Therefore, with this new center, there will be six new centers altogether,
12,000 more tons of pork will be produced, and I hope we do not stop at
that, because we are doing research on sacharina, a very promising
sugarcane-derived fodder that has been developed by Cuban researchers.
There are many things that cannot be said, that have not been completed,
but they are great possibilities that could develop from the fodder made
from sugarcane.  That is why we must increase the sugarcane production in
this province to at least 100,000 arrobas.  We are going to continue
producing the same amount of sugar, perhaps even more sugar.  From the
additional sugarcane we produce, we will produce pork, beef, and other
products.  As part of an immediate and specific plan, we are going to make
use of the torula plant.  We already know the cost of the components we
still need, and I think the agricultural sector is going to have to work
fast and hard in building the hog-raising centers.

There are also plans to increase milk production, although naturally we
cannot think that Santiago de Cuba Province will do all that in addition to
being self-sufficient in milk.  We have other provinces with large areas
adequate for dairy farming that we will use for these purposes.  Some
things have to be supplied to Santiago from other places; that is
inevitable.  But these agricultural plans are feasible, ambitious, and we
must promote them as much as possible.  You now have the great goal of the
congress ahead of you to do all this.

As I said earlier, we not only see this spirit in Santiago de Cuba
Province.  There are very high spirits in Granma, Las Tunas, Holguin,
Guantanamo, Camaguey, and Pinar del Rio Provinces.  I have recently seen a
similar spirit in practically all provinces.  That is why it is fair to
recognize this and recognize the efforts that the provinces are making.
These plans we have for Santiago must also be carried out in Guantanamo,
Granma, Holguin, and Las Tunas, because the population increased the most
in these eastern provinces during the years of the revolution.  The
population grew at a higher rate than in the other provinces, and although
there were many investments, these investments were lower than the rate of
growth of the population and work productivity.

In other words, the population grew at a higher rate than investments and
work productivity increased.  This led to a surplus of work efforts in the
eastern provinces.  As you see, despite a 311 percent increase in
employment, there is some surplus work effort in Santiago de Cuba and other
eastern provinces.  However, the party has outlined the just policy of
assigning priorities to investments in the eastern provinces.  This has
been established as a rule, as a principle:  No matter how many industries
have already been built in the eastern provinces, more industries will be
built there.  I think this effort is being carried out [applause], and in a
relatively short period of time, we will not be talking about a surplus of
work effort in these provinces.  In some provinces, such as Cienfuegos or
Camaguey, there is still a need, and great efforts are being made.
Ambitious plans are being carried out.

People are aware everywhere that we are simply starting, and we already see
the first results of the policy of rectification of errors and negative
trends.  For example, we observed in the construction workers congress
recently held in the capital city a noticeable change in the mentality and
spirit of the construction workers.  We know that no work is eternal; we
know that works must begin and end.  The Santiago people gave a brilliant
lesson on this during these days.  I was able to observe that spirit during
the meeting of the Havana Province enterprises; there were more than 1,000
enterprises.  The change during the past 2 years has been very noticeable.
There was a total lack of control; salaries were being threatened; there
was chaos.  There was a situation where accounting concepts, the concepts
of cost and efficiency, started appearing everywhere.  For those of us who
had the privilege of participating in three meetings--the first one, 2
years ago; the second one, 1 year ago; and a third one a few days ago--we
were able to observe changes that were truly deep in the mentality of the
cadres; there were certain ideas truly new and necessary that referred to
the need to implement the scientific techniques in the organization and
direction of the enterprises.

A good perspective and an adequate idea of the workers' role is necessary
for the organization and management of enterprise.  Seniority should not
be the main criterion for job assignments.  The basic criterion should be
the person's competence.  Competence is what matters, and seniority should
be used as a criterion only when deciding between two persons who are
equally competent.  [applause]

Socialism in the world and in our country--with an excess of paternalism
and following old ideas and confrontations between workers and
capitalists--fell into a series of poor habits and concessions that became
true obstacles to the development of productive forces.

A great example of applying new ideas and of a good perspective was given
in Matanzas Province during the inauguration of the country's largest
thermoelectrical unit.  That unit produces up to 300,000 kw.

By the traditional standards, we were short 531 workers in that unit.  In
accordance with the application of new ideas, the plant is working with
fewer than 249 workers.  The payroll was reduced by more than half.  You
can imagine how much we saved in transportation, cafeterias, offices, and
the like.  We must say that according to the traditional ideas, the big
office included in the project of the thermoelectrical unit... [changes
thought]  We now have an engineering school in what was going to be that
big office.  There are 200 students in that engineering school.  You can
imagine the size of that office.  And we still have space for
administrative workers.  The problem, however, is not only to reduce the
number of office workers, but also the number of workers of productive
units.  There is an enormous potential to increase efficiency and
productivity in our productive centers.  This idea must be taken not only
to the productive centers, but also to the service centers.  Those ideas
are spreading, and they promote efficient, highly productive work.

We do not want unemployed people on the streets.  The day we work
efficiently and well and the day we have a surplus of workers, the solution
would be to reduce the number of working hours.  We must be careful,
however.  We must not even think of that now.  We should not even dream of
that.  On the contrary, now we have to work more.  What did we tell those
workers who went to the Bacanao Dam?  We told them we must work day and
night.  We told them we must arrange two 12-hour shifts.  What did we tell
the comrades who are going to build the ring road?  By the way, I forgot to
mention that work.  We are going to accelerate the construction of that
road.  That road will link us to the new airport, which I have not even
mentioned.  That project, the new Santiago de Cuba airport, which will be a
kind of aircraft carrier along the coast.... [changes thought] The hole
that was there is being filled in to create an international airport with a
4-km landing strip.  We are building that airport.  The construction of the
ring road was going slowly, because we lacked some resources.

What did we tell the comrades who went to build that road?  We told them to
organize a contingent and work day and night, like the ones who built the
road for the oil project at Cardenas Bay or like the ones who just built
the road between Turiguano and Rosario Key at Ciego de Vaila.  A few
workers built more than 20 km of road in only 15 or 16 months.  They built
a road over shallow waters and joined the mainland to an island more than
20 km from the coast that has great potential for tourism.

They silently began their work in March [1987], and today they sent us the
news that yesterday or today, and as a tribute to the 26 July anniversary,
they had joined the mainland to Rosario Key.  [applause]

Today we tell our men that we must work hard and take advantage of our
machines.  If a bulldozer costs $100,000, we are not accomplishing anything
if we use it for only 5 or 6 hours a day.  If the bulldozer costs $100,000,
we have to use it for 15 to 20 hours a day.  If we treat it well and if we
maintain it well, the bulldozer can take the work.  We tell our comrades
that we do not have too many bulldozers or excavators, so we must put the
ones we have to work to the maximum.  To those who are building urban
highways, water works, and urban agricultural projects, we tell them we
must work hard.

Perhaps one of the tragedies of the Third World countries is that they long
for the consumption habits of the developed, capitalist societies.  In
those societies, people work for about 5, 6, or 7 hours a day.

What is a dream, an illusion.  If we want to have abundant material wealth,
if we want to have the things we need and the things we want to have, we
must work and work hard.  We must increase productivity and use all human
and material resources in a rational manner.  There is no other way.

Recently, I was amazed by some of the news I read in the papers.  I read
that Japan, the most industrialized capitalist country in the world and the
capitalist country that has developed the most in the last few years,
surpassed the United States, the European Community, and other
industrialized powerful sectors in the world.  The Japanese have an average
of 6 vacation days a year.  I am not proposing that Cubans have 6 days of
vacation a year; we already have some bad habits that are not easy to
change.  I am not proposing that much.  I am proposing that we work as much
as is necessary during the year's working days.  [applause]

If we add the month of vacation; the free Saturdays; the working Saturday,
which ends up being half a free day for some; the rate of absenteeism; and
the narrow perspective that exists in some industries, we discover we are
not working 8, 7, or 7 and 1/2 hours a day.

Anyone who tells people or citizens a country can develop and acquire all
it needs working inefficiently or working very little would be a demagogue,
would be irresponsible, and would be dreaming.   Obviously, with the narrow
perspectives, it is sometimes very difficult to find enough work to do for
8 hours.

One of the basic issues of our process of rectification is the studies we
are conducting and the ideas we have come up with.  Some of those ideas
have been applied in some new centers, because we do not want to create
political problems.  If we rigorously apply these new ideas in all centers,
we would have a working force surplus.  We want to use all surplus
rationally and usefully.  We do not want to create traumas, because if we
tell a man he is no longer necessary, even if we send him home with his
entire salary, he will be traumatized.  We do not wish to solve problems in
that way.  We do not want to solve problems by traumatizing people.

However, I say there are big possibilities for us if we can consistently
put those new ideas into practice.  We do not impose anything on workers;
we persuade them.  We tell them:  This is what is good for you as a
citizen; this is what is good for your country; this is what is good for
your fatherland and your people.  We work with persuasive methods and not
thorough edicts [ukases].  It is easy to issue edicts, but the difficult
thing is to do things through political, intelligent means.

Our methods often force us to go slowly, but it is better to go slowly,
because one gets farther.  If one runs, one does not get too far, or one
may not get anywhere, or one may even go back.

I believe important possibilities are opening for our country, and some
activities in our provinces are already confirming that.  I mentioned the
production assemblies of the industries located in the provincial capital
cities.  I can also mention the meeting of the PCC Central Committee in
which the various organizations reported on their activities and the
results they are obtaining from the rectification process.  I can also
mention the most recent meeting of the national Assembly, in which the
provincial representatives reported impressive and encouraging advances.

For the time being, and although this is a very difficult year, 1987, 1988,
and perhaps the next 2 or 3 years will be the most difficult years for the
revolution concerning convertible foreign exchange.

Because the prices of our basic exports decreased, because the currencies
from where we buy products rose in price, because droughts affected more
than 1 million tons of our products, we not only had to reduce our
convertible exports almost to zero, but we also had to acquire 1 million
tons of sugar per year to fulfill our obligations with the socialist

We have had to import 1 million tons during these years of drought.  The
revolution has never had so many difficulties in obtaining convertible
foreign exchange.  In the past, merchandise cost less and we could get
credit.  In the past, when droughts or other difficulties occurred, we
could always solve the problem of getting convertible foreign exchange.
Today, we cannot get foreign exchange and we have to pay cash for
everything we buy.  We have a normal trade exchange with the socialist
countries.  We supply them and they supply us, but we have a very serious
problem obtaining convertible foreign exchange.

Despite this problem, however, there are some things that can be done.  We
can import less merchandise.  We can save our foreign exchange.  We can
increase our exports.  At the Central Committee meeting it was proposed
that we take advantage of the May, June, and July rains to attain these
goals.  Now is the time to clean the sugarcane fields.  We cannot talk
about vacations when the fields are filled with weeds.  We have asked our
agricultural workers, especially those who work in sugarcane production,
to render this extra effort.  We have asked them to clean the sugarcane
fields thoroughly during July and August.  If this is done, we could gain
hundreds of thousands of tons of sugar, and the country needs this sugar.
The sugarcane workers have responded positively; more than 200,000 workers
will clean the fields under the hot summer sun of July and August.  We
cannot live up in the clouds.  We cannot live without facing our realities.
We cannot go on vacation if it is possible to get an additional 500,000
tons of sugar by cleaning our fields.  We have received an excellent
response from workers.

We are achieving many things.  We are achieving many more things than when
our imports from capitalist countries were incredibly high.  We need to
develop our exports in all possible fields.  We can exploit this country's
wonderful resources; the sun and sea.  We have to develop tourism, and that
is why we are making an extra effort in this field.  International tourism
is in great demand, and Cuba has much to offer in this field.  You all know
our beautiful beaches and nature; Baconao Park is an example.  The park
shows what can be done in very little time and with few resources.  Baconao
now has three international hotels that are producing convertible foreign
exchange.  Some of you may say it is a pity that you cannot go to the
hotels, but we cannot have everything.  We cannot have aqueducts, schools,
hospitals, health, food, transportation, and everything, and also enjoy
hotels.  We have no other choice but to export our hotels even if they are
located in Bacanao.  We export hotel services.  Nationals will be given
preference at these hotels during off-season, when there is no
international tourism.  The only exception would be for B firms [as heard],
because some of them have no place in those keys.  I say this because some
people have unrealistic reactions.  I have heard petit bourgeois, really
petit bourgeois, opinions from persons who want to have universities,
hospitals, schools, careers, jobs, transportation, recreation, art,
culture--they want to have everything.  They are the ones who then say:
How truly sad it is that I cannot go to a hotel in my own country.  They
can go to these hotels.

We could also say it is a pity we cannot consume all our lobster
production.  We produce more than 10,000 tons of lobster, and we have to
export it.  We have to sell our production to the rich Japanese, French,
Spaniards, Canadians, and others so they may eat lobster.  We do not have
any lobsters left for ourselves.  Lobster is a delicious seafood, and we do
have it in some restaurants.  We may not have lobsters for all to eat but
the price at which we sell a ton of lobster in the international market
allows us to import 20 tons of powdered milk.  With 20 tons of powdered
milk, we are able to make 200,000 liters of milk, and with 200,000 liters
milk we are able to nourish many children who live in the mountains, many
children who did not drink milk before, [applause] many children who used
to have rickets.  [applause]  We can say that lobster is not part of the
Cuban diet, but there are no children begging in our streets.  Lobster is
not part of the Cuban diet, but [applause] our children do not have
rickets; we do not have children starving to death.  Every child in this
country drinks a liter of milk daily, which is why Cuba today is one of
healthiest countries in the world.  [applause]

We can say:  Let us export lobster and let us guarantee milk, beans,
chick-peas, and the feed needed for the chickens to produce eggs.  Or we
can say:  Let us eat lobster and waste $100 million, because we would not
be receiving $100 million.  And then there would be no parts for anything,
there would be no raw materials for medicine, there would be no surgical
instruments, and there would be no X-ray equipment.  Then the day that we
or a loved one needs these things would be the day that the truth will hurt
us, because there would be a lack of medicine or supplies for an operation.
Or it will be the day that the life of a loved one is saved or his health
is improved.

There are people who still do not understand.  They do not understand that
we have to exploit the sun and even the moon shining on us.  We can freely
exploit them.  We do not live in either the North or the South Pole.  We do
not live in a cold country.  We live in a warm country, especially here in
Santiago de Cuba.  That is wealth.  Others have petroleum.  They exploit
and export it, and who knows where that money ends up.  Many times they
squander and waste it.  We do not have easy wealth.  We have to obtain it
by working hard.  It is not easy to grow sugar cane.  It is not easy to
produce sugar.  Fortunately, we have mechanized that process.  We have to
work hard to earn our bread.  It is hard to obtain resources from exports.

One has to compete hard in tourism, too.  Tourism can be a source of
employment for tens of thousands of our countrymen who have to be
well-trained workers and who have to know how to treat the tourists as they
should.  Well, we are going to develop tourism in everything dealing with
national hotels or with enterprises linked to the country's interests.  In
these hot months, if there are no foreign tourists, we should also use the
hotels for the domestic tourists.  It would be an illusion, however, to
imagine that we are going to have a hotel room at each of the country's
beaches for the country's 10 million people.  With much realism and common
sense, we are developing the campground plans, because we must turn tourism
into one of the sources for importing foreign currency into the country.  I
think the people of Santiago must be in the frontline of this.

The traditionally hospitable Santiago must play a prominent role in
tourism.  Hotels are being built around Baconao.  We are going to build
hotels over there. [applause] Of course, there are many things that are
used by the population.  If we build an aquarium, all the population and
the tourists will enjoy it.  If we build a zoo, all the population and the
tourists will enjoy it.  If we build a child and youth recreation center
like the one we have in Baconao, all the children will enjoy it.  Tourism
development will also help the people with many things and will produce
important revenue for the country.

I think this is another of the ambitious plans we must promote in Santiago
de Cuba Province.  I think the people understand it.  The proletarian
understands it.  The worker understands it.  The petit bourgeois does not
understand it.  There are still young gentlemen here who have been brought
up like a petit bourgeois.  That is the truth; there are some around.

We must continue making efforts in this process.  I was explaining how
despite that terrible shortage of foreign exchange, we are doing more
things than in other years, and the economy is growing.  In Santiago de
Cuba it grew more than 7 percent this half of the year, and it grew in
almost all provinces 4, 5 or 6 percent, despite the difficulties.  But it
really grew.  It is not a matter of inventing figures.  One does not do
anything in a factory that has to produce 90 products but only produces 40
and then invents an X number of millions with the 40.  Of what use is the
factory if it does not produce the other products?  Or what is the use of
inventing an X number of millions in construction projects that are never
finished?  Just to sink cement, fuel, and materials in them?

The economy is growing despite last year's drought.  It should continue
growing.  We must really manage despite those difficulties so things will
increasingly get better, so we can increasingly solve more problems, and so
can better solve the problems.  That is what is involved in this
rectification process.  It is not we alone.  We all know from reading the
newspapers that the other socialist countries are analyzing their history,
actions, and work and that they are trying to overcome their difficulties.
Socialism, despite its gigantic achievements.... [changes thought] because
there has never been a historical era in which a social system has made
such gigantic achievements in such a brief period.

In any human undertaking, however, there is room for criticism, analysis,
and ways to overcome difficulties.  A revolutionary is never satisfied and
should never feel satisfied.  He must always be a nonconformist.

We analyzed our difficulties, errors, and negative inclinations with great
realism, clarity, and courage at our party's third congress.  We began this
process of rectification then.  Something similar occurred in the Soviet
Union and in other socialist countries, in a more or less simultaneous way.

There are some who believe what is being done in other places is what we
must begin to do right away.  There are those who think that way.  They are
people who have no self-confidence.  They have no confidence in their
fatherland, people, or revolution.  They quickly say that we must copy
others.  [applause]

That is the wrong attitude.  That is the wrong attitude, because no two
revolutionary processes are the same.  No two countries are the same.  No
two histories are the same.  No two countries have the same
characteristics.  Some have some kinds of problems, others have other kinds
of problems.  Some make some kinds of mistakes, others make others.

Similarly, if someone has a toothache, why should he look for a cure for
corns?  If his corns are hurting, why should he look for a cure for his
toothache?  Our measures are therefore not the same and cannot be the same.
It would be completely wrong if we looked for the same solutions or if we
were to automatically copy other countries' solutions.

I begin by saying something:  This revolution was noteworthy not for being
an imitator but for being a creator.  [applause]

If we had followed the plans of others, we would not be meeting here today.
There would not have been a 26 July.  There would not have been a socialist
revolution in this hemisphere.  There still would not have been a socialist
revolution in this hemisphere.  According to conventional theory, this
revolution could not have come about.  That was the theory.  That is what
books said.  That is what manuals said.  Let this be understood very well:
That was the theory.  That is what books said.  That is what manuals said.

Our situation was no worse than that in other Latin American countries.
Objective conditions in Cuba, no matter how bad they were--and let me tell
you, they were bad--were unlike the objective conditions of any other Latin
America country.

Today, we see that a socialist revolution has not emerged in the other
Latin American countries. I make an exception, but I am not placing it in
the category of socialist revolutions; I place it in the category they want
to be in.  It is a revolution; I believe it is a true, profound revolution.
This exception I am making is the Nicaraguan revolution.  [applause]

According to them, they know how to do things there.  They know how to
tackle their problems.  Daniel recently talked about the essence, nature,
and socialist sense of the Nicaraguan revolution.  That caused a great
uproar, but he did not say anything.  He only mentioned essence, nature,
and sense.  He did not say it was a socialist revolution.

Anyway, there has been no other socialist revolution in the rest of Latin
America, and the problems I mentioned here continue.

There are some Latin American countries where more than 100 children die
out of every 1,000 who are born.  There are other places where this figure
is 150, and even 200 in still other areas.  There are very few countries
where infant mortality is less than 60 per 1,000.  Prostitution, drugs,
beggars, and poverty are everywhere.  Rickets, malnutrition, children who
do not attend school, and youths without jobs and who cannot enter a
university are everywhere, and there has been no revolution.

A revolution requires many conditions.  A revolution is not easy in
any sense.  We would still be waiting for the revolution if we had said:
Let us wait for a big economic crisis, such as that during Machado's time
or one worse than that.  If we had waited for hunger to drive people to
fight, we would still be waiting.

Based on the principles of socialism, Marxism, and Marxism-Leninsim,
however, we drew our own conclusions.  We did not come to conclusions from
pamphlets; we came to our own conclusions.  We said:  In Cuba, there are
objective conditions for a revolution, but there are no subjective
conditions for it.

Our people have special characteristics.  It was possible to create the
subjective conditions for the revolution because the objective conditions
were present.

It was not a whim.  We were thinking about the revolution even before 10
March.  We would have followed the revolutionary path with or without 10
March.  I am saying this because it is true.  Long before 1- March I was
already thinking about a real revolution.  [applause]

There were a few of us thinking about a real revolution; a revolution with
the people; a deep revolution; and a revolution that would one day become a
socialist revolution, because we cannot conceive of any other type of
revolution in our country dominated by neocolonialism, by imperialism.
This was a country in which everything--the railroads, the mines, the
ports, the best land, electricity, telephones, and rubber production--was
all owned by foreigners.  We were worse off than a colony.

Based on two currents of thought--to be more exact, based on the
Marxist-Leninist though and based on the Marti though [applause], and based
on a correct assessment of our people, their history, and their objective
realities--which were not as terrible as those suffered by other
countries--we reached the conclusion that the revolution was possible in
our country.  That is why our country, which was the last one to gain
independence from Spain, was the first in this hemisphere to gain
independence from Yankee imperialism.  We were the first.  [applause]  We
were the first ones with a socialist revolution.

I would like to know what some of these cheap imitators would do in
circumstances such as those that we faced on 26 July.  We would place them
in the exact circumstances as our revolution was at the beginning to see
what they would do.  That is why I say the first real proof that our
revolution was a creative one was that it did not follow schemes.  In the
construction of socialism, our revolution made many contributions and it
was always loyal to Marxist-Leninist principles.  The work-study principle
was proclaimed by Marti and Marx when the history of the British working
class began and when children were exploited.  Children were a productive
force.  Marx conceived the idea that in a socialist society there should be
work-study.  Marti, once he knew about our people's idiosyncrasies, said
the same thing.

Our country was the first in the world to put those principles into
practice on a wide scale, and today we see this in the conduct of our
youth.  It is not by change that these new generations have the
revolutionary qualities we see in them.  For over 20 years, entire
generations and all those young 35-year-olds at some time or another
participated in work-study programs.  For this reason, when they are called
to work, they are volunteers.  They are not scared.

The powerful mass organizations were created by our revolution.  The
defense committees and the women's federation--not as top-level committee,
but as a rank and file organization--were a creation of the revolution.
[applause] The peasants organizations--and I am not speaking about
something that already existed, which were labor unions--and the mass
organizations created by our revolution were used by other revolutions as

Many Third World counties waging revolutions today have defense committees.
They way in which our country carried out agrarian reform is different from
the way in which other socialist countries carried out their agrarian
reforms.  The other socialist countries divided the land, but we did not
divide the land.  Ah!  If we have divided the large cattle and sugarcane
properties into smaller estates, today we would not be supplying calories
to 40 million people in the world.  In the form of sugar, we export
sufficient calories for 40 million people in the world.

We maintained those farms as big production enterprises.  We gave land to
the peasants who already worked the land, whether they were small tract
farmers, tenant farmers, squatters.  We told them: Here, take your land.
We did not later force them to form cooperatives.  We have taken 30 years;
we have done things gradually, based on a strict principle of willingness.
Not a single peasant in Cuba can say he was forced to join a cooperative.
There cannot be a single one.  Nevertheless, more then two-thirds of them
have joined cooperatives; they are advancing, they are progressing.  In our
country, 80 percent of the land already is included in state farms that
have their own self-supporting collectives.  Cooperatives also produce
enough for their own consumption.  They represent different ways of doing

Our revolution cannot be denied by anyone.  It has maintained itself with a
tremendous ideological strength, because here who can defend us?  If
imperialism attacks us, who is going to defend the island?  Nobody will
come from abroad to defend our island; we will defend our island.
[applause] It is not that no one wants to defend the island.  It is that no
one can, because this socialist revolution is not just a few kilometers
away from the USSR.  This socialist revolution is 10,000 km [as heard] from
the USSR.

If there were a crisis in the revolutionary process in Cuba, who would save
it?  Is imperialism going to come to save the revolutionary process?  If
the revolutionary process in Cuba weakens who will save it?  That is why
everything we do has an exceptional importance.  It is not that we want to
be more virtuous than anyone else, or more pure than anyone else.  We are
90 miles from the most powerful empire of the world, and 10,000 miles [as
heard] from the socialist countries.  We are 2 millimeters [as heard] from
the empire here at the Guantanamo Naval Base, and that is why the empire
tries to ideologically weaken the revolution.  That is why it wages so
strong a campaign, releases so much propaganda, and tries to sow distrust
and doubt; it tries to divide, to weaken the revolution to swallow it
later, like a ripe apple.

This ripe apple theory has already been mentioned in other centuries.  The
United States has not been able to do it, in spite of all its plans and
conspiracies.  It is trying to undermine us, and that is why I feel such
contempt for those who have a stout heart but a weak mind and little will
power, and who allow themselves to be cheated and carried away by the
illusions.  They are not able to understand these facts.  I think that our
country has made a great and extraordinary achievement by building
socialism here under these geographical conditions.  That is why we must
watch over the ideological purity of the revolution, the ideological
integrity of the revolution.  [applause]  That is why we cannot use any
methods that reek of capitalism.  This is essential for the survival of the

For that reason, we must closely follow Marxist-Leninist principles and
Jose Marti's principles.  We must follow those principles.  We must neither
play nor flirt with capitalist things.  We believe in socialism; we deeply
believe in socialism.  [applause]  We believe in socialism because it
transformed our fatherland.  Socialism transformed our lives and it
promises a lot more.

If we can talk about housing projects, water problems, unhealthy
neighborhoods, food, etc, it is because we are the owners of our own
country.  Socialism made us owners of our country.  Socialism made us
owners of our land, sugar mills, factories, and mines.  Socialism made us
owners of everything.  Thanks to socialism, we can say we are going to work
and do this and that.  Could that happen in a Yankee neocolony, or in a
capitalist society, or in a caricature of a capitalist society, which this
country was?

We believe in socialism.  Therefore, we must be very careful with its
interpretation and application.  We must be very careful in every step we
make.  The revolution has always been like this.  The revolution is soon
going to celebrate its 30th anniversary and it is healthy, strong, and
splendid.  [applause]  And only 90 miles from the United States.

That is why each country must develop its own methods according to its
history and specific experiences.  We respect each country's individual
methods.  We greatly respect them.  We are happy for the efforts made by
the socialist countries to overcome difficulties and problems that appeared
throughout history.  There are, however, many problems that appeared in
other countries but not in ours.

Our problems are different.  They are different because we did not copy
other countries; we are creators and not mere imitators.  Sometimes, I have
even criticized our attitude, because we were so determined to apply our
interpretations that we did not take advantage of the positive experiences
of the socialist countries.  Sometimes, however, we copied the negative
experiences of the socialist countries.  That is the truth.

Now, we will continue looking for our own path and our own way.  We will
continue to pay attention to anything that any socialist country does that
could be useful for us.  We will continue to refuse to subserviently copy
prescriptions for illnesses that we do not have.

Obviously, we not only want but need the socialist countries to succeed in
their efforts to overcome their difficulties.  I trust they will succeed.
I am not pessimistic at all.  I have great confidence in socialism.  I
believe all of us [are confident] because we have reasons to believe in
socialism.  We believe socialism has done extraordinary things.  What the
Soviet Union and the Soviet people did is unprecedented: the October
Revolution, the resistance to the wide-scale invasion by all capitalist
countries after the war, the resistance against fascism, the 20 million
lives the Soviet Union surrendered to save socialism.  That is
unprecedented.  A country that had recently been built was destroyed and
the Soviet people rebuilt it.  The Soviet Union achieved parity in nuclear
weapons.  That is an incredible achievement.  The Soviet Union has
spaceships that are traveling through space toward the moons of Mars right
now.  We know about all about the Soviet Union's successes.  It can achieve
even more, that is true.  We must try to attain more, that is true too, but
we will not deny and will never allow people to deny the gigantic
achievements of socialism.

I mention this because based on the self-criticism of the socialist
countries and the Soviet Union, the imperialists are trying to discredit
all the achievements of socialism.  They are trying to take away historical
achievements and demoralize socialism.

If somebody asks me, I can tell what their [the imperialists'] defects are,
but I have no right to talk about that.  I have thought of those defects on
many occasions, but I have no right to mention them, because each person
must analyze and solve his or her own problems.

I can tell which group has problems or even which socialist group is
technologically behind, but I can also mention many good and marvelous
things about socialist technology and equipment.  We have produced
thousands of sugar combines thanks to the cooperation of the Soviet Union.
We reduced the number of sugarcane cutters from 350,000 to 70,000.

Of course, we can improve these machines, and we are trying to improve
them.  We could make them more productive, and we are trying to do this.
We could have hydraulic, rather than mechanical, mechanisms.  We have tried
all this.  We are now in the second generation, and soon we will be in the
third generation, and we will eventually have excellent machines, starting
with the factories and equipment supplied by the USSR.

Our country produces sugar tandems [preceding word in English].  It
produces almost 60 percent of the sugar tandems at our mechanical
industries, which are supplied by the USSR.  Our country has increased the
productive capacity of this refinery [not further identified] to 3.7
million tons and it is recycling fuel and lubricants with Soviet
technology.  It produces lubricants, oil, and naptha, and it will produce
180,000 tons of high-quality asphalt, which will be used to pave 2,000 km
of highways a year; all of this with socialist technology.  There is Rente,
the former Rente plant, now the Antonio Maceo thermoelectric plant, which
has Soviet equipment.  It can produce 500,000 kw, in addition to the former
plant and the expansion that was done previously.  The units are there.
Thanks to them we have power and light.

It is not only thanks to this, but also thanks to our trade with the USSR,
and thanks to the oil that the USSR provides and that we pay for with the
fair prices that we receive for our sugar, nickel, and other products.  In
other words, our trade is not unequal.  I think the USSR has won historical
merit for this.

Cuba's largest textile factory has Soviet machinery.  And in Ariguanabo, we
also have a second factory, modernized with Soviet machinery.  Practically
all the tractors that are used to work our land, a large number of the
vehicles in which our merchandise and raw material is carried, and a large
portion of our construction equipment are Soviet.  Our weapons, with which
we have defended this country, are Soviet weapons.  [applause]

The surface-to-air missiles, the efficient modern antiaircraft weapons, the
MIG-23 airplanes, and the T-55 and T-62 tanks that have gloriously
completed their internationalist mission in Angola are Soviet weapons.

We are confronted with Mirages from the Western capitalist world.  We are
confronted with modern military technology, but the Soviet weapons are in
the hands of the Mambises [Cuban insurrectionists who fought against
Spanish domination] of our era, showing that it is possible to have better
weapons than the imperialists.

I say this because the imperialists are trying to take advantage of the
process of criticism and self-criticism that is being carried out in the
socialist countries and are trying to present a picture of demoralization.
Many capitalists feel the socialists have no choice but to adopt methods,
styles, even incentives, and certain capitalist idiosyncrasies.  They have
these illusions of fishing in troubled waters.  They are even trying to use
the fact that we do not do things exactly like the Soviets as a method of
intrigue in an attempt to divide us.  Of course, it would be to their
advantage to cause dissension, or a breach between the Soviets and the
Cubans.  However, there has never been more communication between us.  Our
communications with the CPSU leadership are excellent.  We understand each
other perfectly.  We speak a frank and clear language, and we have never
thought that we simply have to copy what the Soviets do.  Nor has it
occurred to the Soviet leaders to think that we have to copy what they are
doing.  That is clear.

This takes us back to the basic point.  Each person should have the right
to do what is most advantageous.  I hope socialist countries will be able
to correct any mistakes they may make during this process, because it is
almost certain that they will make mistakes.  I trust that they will try to
correct the mistakes they make.  We should be able not only to correct our
negative tendencies but to correct the mistakes we may make during the
rectification process.  I can tell the imperialists and their theoreticians
that Cuba will never adopt capitalist methods, styles, philosophies, or
idiosyncracies.  [applause]  This is what I believe.

Capitalism has made technological and organizational achievements.  There
are some technological aspects and some organizational experiences from
which we could benefit, but nothing more.  These [Cuban ideology and
imperialism] are diametrically opposed by definition and essence, and I am
proud of the ideological purity and strength of the country that has
confronted imperialism, Cuba has not only confronted imperialism; hundreds
of thousands of its sons have fulfilled international missions.  It is a
country in which one can simply raise one's hand, and if 10,000 teachers
for Nicaragua are needed, 10,000 teachers for Nicaragua appear.  [applause]
If needed, doctors go; when called upon, there are always 10 times more
fighters than needed to fulfill a mission.

Therefore, on this 35th anniversary, we must remember our location, we must
remember that we are not in the Black Sea but in the Caribbean, not 90
miles from Odessa but 90 miles from Miami, with part of our own territory
occupied by the imperialists.  We must remember that our people are
responsible for our country, and our party is responsible for our country,
its policies, philosophy, and defense.  Our party knows it cannot make
mistakes that will weaken it ideologically; therefore, during the
rectification process, the party's role must not be weakened; it must be
strengthened.  The party is increasingly essential to the rectification
process and its authority must not be weakened.  Without the party there
would be no social revolution, socialism could not possibly be built.  And
I must say here once and for all that we do not need more than the
party--just as Marti did not need more than the party--to carry out the
struggle for Cuba's independence. [applause]

Lenin, likewise, did not need more than the party to carry out the October
Revolution.  Those who believe that we are going to allow small parties to
organize counterrevolutionaries, pro-Yankees, and the bourgeoisie in Cuba
should not entertain any such hope.  No!  There is only one party here, the
party of our proletarians, peasants, students, workers, and our entire
people.  [applause]  This is the party we have and will have.  I hope that
when we celebrate the 70th anniversary and the centennial, history will
prove that we do not need capitalist political formulas.  They are complete
garbage, they are worthless, they constitute unending political deceit.

In the past, votes were bought in exchange for medical attention.  This no
longer happens.

We have created--because we do not copy from others--our own method of
organizing the people's power.  As you know--because you practice
it--candidates for district delegates [delegados de circunscripcion] are
not proposed by the party, but by the people in open assemblies held within
each district, where they are freely elected by the people, who can elect a
maximum of eight and a minimum of two candidates.  If one does not obtain
50 percent of the votes, a second election is required.  I can vouch for
that, as not once have I managed to avoid a second round of elections
within my district.  We know that.  We know the party does not handpick or
propose candidates.  The people do.  The district delegates who comprise
the Municipal Assembly are the ones who create the provincial assemblies.
Those delegates, who represent the people, who were proposed and elected by
the people, make up the National Assembly of the People's Government.
Absolutely no rectifications are necessary.  [applause]

We have a highly democratic system, which is much more democratic than all
those bourgeois systems practiced by the millionaires.  Plutocracy is
generally what really governs in those countries.  We have nothing to learn
from them, and we will not change our path, in which power comes from the
people.  You know that our party emerged from the people--it did not fall
from heaven--and that our activists are chosen from the best
representatives of our youth and our workers.

That was also an innovation, something absolutely new in the history of our
part, which has always made admission to the party conditional upon the
will, criteria, and support of the masses.  That is why our party is so
identified with the masses.  [applause]

I know there are millions of extraordinary men and women outside of
the party, even Communists.  I cannot say that all the people are in the
party, because the party must be selective.  That selection is necessary
because there must be a vanguard.  You know very well what it means to be
an activist in the party.  It means you must be first in everything.
Whenever there is a difficult task, an internationalist mission, a
sacrifice, a risk, the party's activists must come forward.  Ours is not a
party for the privileged, but a party that has emerged from the people,
whose activists must be an example for others.  Those who are not good
examples are expelled from the party.  [applause]

As I said, the party will become stronger as a result of this process of
rectification.  I repeat:  Socialism cannot be built without the party.
What can be built without a party?  That would be chaotic.  Capitalism can
be built without a party.  The results are chaotic:  There is no need for
organization, as it organizes itself, with all its nonsense.  However,
socialism is not the result of spontaneity.  Socialism must be built, and
the party is the main tool in building socialism.

Another essential point in our rectification process:  We will not reduce
the importance of development plans and projects.  We are convinced of
and have a clear idea of the importance of development plans.  We are aware
of that.  We must draft the best plans.  However, that is not all.  We must
prevent plans from beginning a straightjacket.  Therefore, in addition to
being good planners, we must also create the necessary conditions to
provide immediate solutions to new problems and situations, and produce new

For example, with the outbreak of the dengue epidemic, we could not wait
for the next 5-year plan in order to acquire the necessary equipment to
fight the disease.  We had to take immediate action, within 24 hours.  They
had to be brought by plane; we had to make telephone calls and transport
the equipment by plane.  We had to obtain it from any source; if we could
not get it from a socialist country, we had to get it from Japan, from the
FRG, or from any available source.

The country must have a certain amount of reserves at all time to solve new
problems and to meet new situations quickly, immediately.  This means
we must improve our ideas about economic development, but our development
plans and projects must be in accordance with socialism.  We will not let
this concept weaken.  This is clear.  You understand it.  We have discussed
success in Santiago de Cuba Province.  I ask myself and you:  Would this
success have been possible without the party's work?  [crowd shouts:
"No!"]  Those hundreds of projects, a miracle, would have been impossible
without the party.  The administration alone, the state alone, could not
have solved this problem, could not have worked a miracle.  This was a
political miracle.

The party is not trying to take the place of the administration.  Quite the
contrary, the party is trying to strengthen it.  The party is not trying to
weaken the state, but to strengthen it so the state can do its part.  But
the administration cannot perform political tasks; it cannot mobilize and
organize the masses.  The state cannot perform political and ideological
tasks, like organizing and mobilizing the people, and directing the mass
organizations.  Only the party can do these things.  I ask myself if this
tremendous success that Santiago residents are proud of today would have
been possible without the party leadership.  Would this success have been
possible without the persistent, constant, vigorous, intelligent effort in
close cooperation with the people of Comrade Laza [Esteban Lazo, first
party secretary of Santiago de Cuba Province]?  [crowd shouts:  "No!"]

We know the role that the party and the party cadres play and the
importance of the relationship between the party and the masses and between
the leaders and the masses.  We have a good example of this here.  Look at
this event.  It is possible to hold an event like this anywhere else?  I do
not mean the size of this crowd.  I mean their attention, their education,
their spirit, and their discipline.  [applause]  These are the fruits of
the revolution.  This is the result of our party's work.  Regardless of the
nature of our mistakes, against which we are honestly and courageously
struggling, and weaknesses, which we will persistently and vigorously
struggle to overcome, I invited you to think and talk about these topics.
This is the most important thing we can say.

There is something else to talk about.  It is inevitable.  I understood
this the day of the ceremony in Contramaestre when people there asked me
about Angola, about the situation there.  That is why I am going to use a
small part of my speech to talk about this issue.

You must understand that I have to be very careful.  We must try not to
offend any sensitivities because we are in a negotiations process.  You
have to be careful with everything you say during a negotiations process.
In this process, you commit yourself not to divulge the steps that are
being taken.  We do not want to do anything that might violate this

A difficult, critical situation was created in Angola last year.  I am not
going to explain the factors that determined this situation.  Better that
history take care of that.  I believe that history one day will tell
everything; what mistakes were made and why.  I will only say that Cuba had
no responsibility for those mistakes.  However, a difficult, complex,
critical situation was created as a consequence of a great military
escalation by South Africa, which intervened as a result of an offensive by
the Angolan forces in the southeast of the country, in a remote region of
the country's southeast, against the forces fighting the Government of
Angola, against the forces of UNITA [National Union for the Total
Independence of Angola].

A powerful Angolan force gathered there, in an area far from the extreme
end of the strategic line being defended by Cuba, being defended by our
troops.  As a result of this Angolan military operation, the South Africans
intervened with their tanks, artillery, and planes.  There were also forces
from Namibia along with those of UNITA.  They created a difficult
situation.  They caused setbacks to the Angolan forces, which had been left
without food, fuel, and ammunition south of the Longa River.  The
withdrawal began then.  That was the second time the South African's open
intervention had occurred the first was in 1985.  However, in 1985 they
repulsed the Angolan offensive an Angolan territory.  Remember all this is
taking pace on Angolan territory.  South Africa's military operations take
place on Angolan territory.

This time they chased the Angolan forces and surrounded them in Cuita
Cuanavale.  There were thousands and thousands of men of the best Angolan
units.  There was the danger that these troops would be annihilated.  This
would have meant a disaster for Angola.  It would have meant the chance to
destroy Angola's independence and revolution.  The Angolans requested our
aid.  This aid was imperative, it was imperative.  [repeats himself]
Otherwise, the effort of many years would have been lost.  The aid had to
be given.

Besides, this aid was absolutely necessary not only to get Angola out of a
difficult situation but also for the security of our own troops.  We
concluded that if South Africa was allowed to carry out its operation to
annihilate the Angolan troops, the situation could turn dangerous,
including for our own troops.  That is why, without any hesitation, the PCC
leadership decided to help the Angolan solve their situation.

However, this was impossible without reinforcement.  The troops that had
been in Angola for years were not sufficient to protect a long strategic
line and also to solve the situation, help to solve the situation in Cuito
Cuanavale.  That is why it was necessary to reinforce the troops.  But, you
cannot take half measures with this type of action.  We had to send
whatever troops were necessary to Angola to solve the situation.  The
reinforcements could not be small.  They had to be sufficient to solve the

The South African enemy had possessed superior forces, a favorable
correlation of forces, for years.  It was necessary to change that
correlation of forces.  Our people again saw themselves obliged to carry
out a feat.  And they did.  I say our people, because our people are our
weapons.  Our people are the soul and the strength of our FAR.  [applause]
It was really impressive to see the way that the fighters responded, the
reserves, the units.  It was impressive even when we have been engaged for
many years in the fulfillment of this mission.  It was truly admirable.  It
is something that does not depend on technology, resources, money, or
anything else.  It depends on the human factor.  And the human factor was

You have just seen a documentary that explains many things about this.
That is why I need not talk about it too long.

Of course, some principles were followed: to be strong, and to be
sufficiently strong to avoid defeat; choose the scene of the action, not
one suitable to the enemy but one suitable to our own forces.  The South
Africans had chosen Cuito Cuanavale, a remote place were supplies and
logistics were made very difficult.  They had chosen this field.  We had to
prepare another strategy.  It was necessary to accept the challenge of
Cuito to stop them, to contain them in Cuito.  It was necessary to go into
Cuito in support of the Angolan forces.

Side by side with the Angolans we waged the historic battle of Cuito
Cuanavale in which the enemy was contained.  The enemy really dashed itself
against the Angolan-Cuban resistance.  It was a historic battle of great
importance.  Perhaps one day it will be written about and talked about.
But, the essence of the Cuban-Angolan strategy was the advance in the
western region of the southern front toward the south.  In this way, the
Angolan and Cuban forces advanced unchecked more then 250 km toward the
border with Namibia, creating a new situation.

None of those movements could have been carried out safely, in Cuito or to
the south of the western part of the front, without the reinforcements sent
from Cuba.  They were essential.  A potent, powerful force was created in
such a way that the correlation of forces changed in southern Angola.  It
changed in our favor.

I must say that Cuito Cuanavale.... [interrupted by applause]  Both in
Cuito Cuanavale and in the western part of the southern front, the Angolan
soldiers, so used to our company, so close to us, performed in an exemplary
manner, a heroic manner, an extraordinary manner.  [applause]

This changed the military situation totally.  In advancing more than 200
km, our armoured units, with strong air support, were moving away from our
air bases.  It was necessary to build an air base at full speed.  And I can
say here with satisfaction that if there is a place in the world where a
bigger effort has been made than the one we have seen here in our own
country in the past few days, it is there, in Cama.  In a matter of weeks,
they built a 3,500-meter airstrip.  And since one airstrip was not
sufficient for our forces, a second airstrip was built in a few more weeks.
[applause] With concrete and all.  With the parts that had to be in
concrete and in asphalt.  With all the hangars for the airplanes and all
facilities required.

Yesterday, the military command in the southern front sent us a telegram
information us that in honor of 26 July they had already finished the
second airstrip.  [applause]

So, there were not only military feats, but also construction feats.  Our
powerful units, reinforced with air means, with air support, were taking
all the necessary measure to fortify our defenses and prevent any surprise,
any enemy attack by sea [corrects himself] I mean, by air or land.

Thus our troops advanced, the Angolan-Cuban troops, close to the Namibian
border.  Truly experienced, powerful units have concentrated there, units
with very high morale.

However, our objective was not a military victory, humiliating and
destructive to our adversary.  If necessary, we had to be ready towage that
battle, and to do so in conditions of full success and victory, which are
the conditions  that were given there.  But we did not seek military glory
nor military victory.  We sought a political solution, a fair solution to
the conflict.  That was the basic objective.  That is why the chance for
negotiations was not rejected.  The alternatives for a negotiated political
solution were not rejected.  We worked seriously and responsibly to make
the most of any possibility for a situation of this sort.

It was necessary to act with a great deal of equanimity and serenity,
because when such powerful forces come together, the leaders, the people in
charge, more than ever before, must be level-headed, cool.  That is why we
worked in the diplomatic arena as well as to reach our objective without
bloodshed.  In itself, it was an extraordinary achievement to have reached
that objective at such a distance with a minimum of casualties.  A real
feat in the political and military arena.  It was truly impressive to see
the precision and effectiveness which which our forces advanced in the
southern front, in the same way that they thwarted the enemy action in
Cuito Cuanavale.

It was necessary to take risks, and we did.  But we are really at the
threshold of a political solution.  Considerable progress has been made.
The people have received rather extensive reports on the military situation
through the documentary and through the publication of the accords that
were reached in New York.  The groundwork for the political solution has
been laid out.  Progress continues to be made.  Thus, there exists a real
possibility for a fair, dignified, and honorable solution for all sides
that will include security for Angola and the independence of Namibia.

On the basis of this comprehensive solution, in common accord, Cuba and
Angila will be ready in practice to effect a gradual and total withdrawal
of the Cuban contingent of internationalist forces, if the agreement is
fulfilled, if the agreement is reached, if the agreement is signed.
[applause]  This withdrawal cannot be abrupt.  A minimum of time is
required so that the Angolans can take over the areas, facilities,
positions that we are defending.

Nevertheless, based on the principles and points included in the agreement,
our military presence would no longer be necessary in Angola.  We are
working seriously and we will strictly observe our part of the agreement.

Fourteen years have elapsed.  Thirteen years--1975-1988--13 years will have
elapsed with a demonstration of firmness and tenacity in the fulfillment of
an honorable mission.  It was possible not because of our party's merits,
but because of the merits of our people.  So much loyalty, so much will,
can only be possible when you have a people like ours.

So when the time comes to consider our missions accomplished, we will
happily welcome back our combatants; we will happily welcome back the
builders of fortifications and military bases.  We will happily welcome
back that hard-fighting army when they return to the homeland.  We will
happily welcome back the tens and tens and tens [repeats himself] of
thousands of men who will join this other colossal battle, the battle for
our country's development, the battle to make our revolution stronger.

Perhaps what is most salient in these past years is that they were
difficult years.  They were years when big efforts were necessary to
strengthen the country's defense.  It was necessary to conceive and
organize the strategy of the war of all the people.  Maybe no one ever
thought that a country as threatened as Cuba could remain true to the
discharge of its internationalist obligations.  Perhaps no one ever though
that a country as threatened as Cuba could be capable of sending the combat
equipment it sent to Angola.  Many of our antiaircraft weapons are over
there, our most modern antiaircraft weapons.

Why were we able to do it?  Why could we send tens of thousands of
combatants?  Hundreds of tanks, cannons, etc.?  Why?  Because we had the
people.  Because the concept of the war of all the people makes us very
strong.  Because the country's defense is the task of all the people.  Only
a people with this spirit, with those concepts, were capable of achieving
the feat of remaining faithful to those commitments and of sending the
reinforcements that they did without fears and without hesitation.  If
imperialism opportunistically had wanted to take advantage of the situation
for an attack on our country, it would have encountered our people and
would have experienced a Bay of Pigs, 2 Bays of Pigs, 3 Bays of Pigs, 100
Bays of Pigs, I am sure.  [applause]

This is what I can tell you.  Our duty from this podium on this 35th
anniversary is not to arouse passions.  We must be careful, we must not
boast, we must not use triumphalist language.  We are convinced that we are
walking the correct road to peace but we will be alert, we will be strong,
and we will continue to strengthen ourselves up to the exact moment when
the negotiated solution for peace is signed.  [applause]

I ask the Santiago residents to forge ahead, to keep working as they have
been working.  The 30th anniversary of the triumph of the revolution awaits
us.  The fourth congress awaits us.  Let Santiago be a worthy city and
create the atmosphere, the optimistic spirit, and the fervor that must
pervade this fourth congress, in which we will be able to acknowledge fully
the rectification that we are making today and the progress we will
achieve.  I think it would be difficult to find a better audience, a better
city, greater zeal, and higher spirit for a better congress, which will be
attended by delegates from all revolutionary, Marxist, socialist,
progressive, and democratic organizations of the world.  We have already
worked intensely in the construction of a theater and a hotel.  This
theater will be one of the country's best.  The hotel will later be
destined for use by local and international tourists and will become one of
the country's best.  And these will not be the only projects.  There are
many more.  Some have been reported, others are still in the planning
stage.  I am sure there will be surprises.  There will be more projects
than those that have been listed.  I am sure the country will make the
greatest efforts to cooperate with Santiago to prepare for this historic
event, which will honor not only Santiago, which shares with us the honor
of being the scene for that struggle, but the other eastern provinces as
well, those that previously formed a single province.  This honor will be
for the whole country.

Companeros and companeras of Santiago.  It was not by mere chance that the
eastern provinces were selected as the scene for the start of the last
struggle for the liberation of the homeland.  The first war of independence
started in the eastern provinces.  That insurmountable heroic feat that was
the Guaragua protest started in the eastern provinces.  The second war of
independence, the so-called little war, started in the eastern provinces.
The third war of independence started in the eastern provinces.  The blood
of Jose Marti was shed in the eastern provinces.

Our people have fought countless battles in these provinces throughout our
history.  The last struggle to free our homeland started in the eastern
provinces on 26 July.  The "Granma," the Sierra Maestra campaign, and the
second eastern front all originated from in the eastern provinces.  The
glorious columns of Camilo and Che came out of the eastern provinces toward
the island's center and west.  [applause]  We are proud that today's new
generation of eastern provinces is preparing the homeland for defense and
for fulfilling historic internationalist missions.  More than 6,000
Santiago-born people are fulfilling international missions and more than
24,000 sons of the eastern provinces are on internationalist missions, most
of them on the southern front in Angola.  [applause]

These are the fruits of Moncada.  These are the wonderful young people of
the new generation who today repeat and reenact Moncada, the 30th of
November, the "Granma," the struggle in the Sierras, 1 January, 10 October,
and 24 February.  They are the first.  We hope that for the honor of both
Cuba and our people, they can continue to be in the vanguard of our
struggle for freedom, justice, and socialism.  Fatherland or death, we will
win!  [applause]