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16th Workers Federation Congress Closes
Havana Cubavision
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000001925
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     FL2901004990
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-90-020          Report Date:    30 Jan 90
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     1
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       11
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       29 Jan 90
Report Volume:       Tuesday Vol VI No 020


City/Source of Document:   Havana Cubavision

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   16th Workers Federation Congress Closes

Subheadline:   Castro Speaks

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro Ruz during closing session of 16th Congress
of the Cuban Workers Federation, CTC, at the Karl Marx Theater in

Source Line:   FL2901004990 Havana Cubavision in Spanish 0208 GMT 29 Jan 90

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro Ruz during closing session of 16th
Congress of the Cuban Workers Federation, CTC, at the Karl Marx
Theater in Havana--live]

1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro Ruz during closing session of 16th
Congress of the Cuban Workers Federation, CTC, at the Karl Marx Theater in

2.  [Text] Distinguished guests, comrade delegates to the 16th Congress:

3.  Some of you may perhaps wonder if I am very moved as I walk up to this
podium, but I am not, because it is impossible for me to be more moved than I
have been these past few days. The entire congress, we may say, has been a
cause for unending emotion that culminated last night with the united march of
workers, students, and the people at large from the university stairs to the
monument of Jose Marti, whose birthday--as we all know--is being commemorated

4.  We have participated in all labor congresses since the victory of the
revolution. Hence, we are in a position to evaluate the changes that have taken
place. On this occasion, we are fully aware that we are at a labor congress
that is in line with the most decisive stage of the history of the revolution.
The previous congresses were held under normal conditions, but this congress is
taking place under exceptional conditions. Something I have noticed from the
very beginning of the congress has been the extraordinary combativeness of the
delegates, as well as the spirit that prevails here. I believe it was an
excellent idea to have you wear your militiaman uniforms. I have also noticed
that there is a new generation of union cadres, much better prepared and much
better trained representatives of the working class; representatives who are
much better educated and much more politically oriented, who are much more
conscientious and who are as revolutionary a group of delegates as we have had
in any time in our history.

5.  This congress is being held amid worldwide confusion.  You do not know how
important it is to have a clear mind and clear ideas at a time of universal
confusion. I do not know if it would be completely correct to speak of
universal confusion since the confusion is taking place primarily in the
progressive field, in the truly democratic field or in the field of truly
democratic ideas, in the field of socialist ideas, in the field of
revolutionary ideas, because the imperialists are not confused. The capitalists
are not confused. They know perfectly well what they have in their hands and
they know perfectly well what is at stake at this very moment in the history of
mankind.  Yesterday afternoon I was reflecting on these issues, first when the
guests were not present and then, on another occasion, in the presence of our

6.  I asked myself: Will they comprehend this congress? Will they understand
what is happening here? Will they perhaps think: A large group of fools is
meeting here-- people without criteria, without thoughts, a group of cowards
who are incapable of presenting their ideas or their nonconformist views, or of
categorically demanding certain rights or certain prerogatives? Will they think
that our congress is democratic or not? There were even some who were
surprised, while others were amazed, that a number of Politburo members were
present here, at this congress, and wondered if this might limit the delegates'
freedom, if this would inhibit them from expressing their thoughts, because, of
course, this is something unusual.

7.  This is not what happens in the world, let alone what happens in the
capitalist world, from where many of our guests have come. Do not forget that
when I speak of the capitalist world, I am talking about two capitalist worlds:
the developed capitalist world of the consumer societies which became rich by
looting the world for centuries, in addition to looting their own working
class; and the underdeveloped capitalist world, made up of former colonies
which were also looted for centuries and which today find it virtually
impossible to develop.

8.  In these countries, all the ministers do not meet to hold a dialogue with
the workers. The entire government does not meet to give an account of its
actions to the workers' representatives, to answer every question from every
delegate. This cannot be seen, nor will it ever be seen, in a capitalist
country. What is sadder, it has not always been true in all the socialist
countries, those that have divorced themselves from the masses. One also does
not see the leaders of such governing parties present at workers congresses to
give an account of their actions and to explain and answer questions from

9.  That is why this unusual occurrence drew the attention of some, with
satisfaction; of others, with suspicion; and for a few, with extreme suspicion,
a feeling which stems from this time of extreme suspicion in the world. It was
also unusual to see the working class, the representatives of the working
class, concerned above all with each and every detail of production, with some
very simple things, because this was not a congress of capitalist owners.

10.  It is a meeting of enterprises, and in a bourgeois society, the
representatives would be discussing all the details and problems of production,
including technology. They would discuss what to do to save raw material,
energy, resources, to recover a spare part, to make people work with discipline
and efficiency in every production and service activity, to make people work
with capitalist efficiency. In an owners meeting in a socialist republic, they
would have to act like they act at a meeting of capitalist owners. The owners
of the wealth of the country are here. The owners are here. [applause]

11.  No one spoke on behalf of the United Fruit Company.  No one spoke on
behalf of the companies that were owners of the nickel enterprises. No one
spoke on behalf of the electrical, telephone, or railroad companies. No one
spoke on behalf of the dozens and dozens of companies and monopolies that were
owners of the sugar mills, on behalf of the hundreds or a few thousand large
owners of our lands, mines, or factories. Not a single one of them was heard

12.  The owners themselves might not speak at a workers congress in a
capitalist country. Those who speak will be the workers, the exploited people,
those who give an elevated rate of increased value per work hour. The marginal
people, the oppressed, the enslaved are the ones who speak.

13.  Only after a socialist revolution, the concept of worker and owner--of the
worker as owner of the country's wealth--has identified the same person, not in
the sense of the owner of an enterprise, or the collective owners of a
factory--an idea that some have surreptitiously attempted to introduce in the
socialist ideology--but as owners of all of the enterprises and as owners of
the country's total wealth. This is the only true sense that socialist
ownership can have. Socialist ownership is not just the ownership of certain
means of production by a collective of workers.

14.  I have always believed and will always believe that there can be no other
concept of socialism but the ownership by all the people of the means of
production. Only in this way can we have a congress like this one, only in this
way [applause] because, otherwise, what we would have would be contradictions
and struggle among owners of means of transportation, among owners of
factories; we would not have the widely known port transportation-domestic
economy network, but war among ports, transportation facilities, and domestic
economy. In our opinion, private ownership by groups is not and will never be a
form of socialism. It will never be something more than a form of capitalism by
groups. This is our view, but we respect--it goes without saying--those having
different views of socialism.

15.  Our guests have seen here how this congress has proceeded and how each
delegate hs fought for the interests of the people, for the interests of the
entire society. Apart from this, each delegate can express the specific
problems of one sector, as was done here time and again. As an example, we can
mention transportation and its problems, the ways to organize transportation so
that it can benefit the economy, so that it can benefit the people; or problems
dealing with construction, agriculture, sciences, and techniques. It would take
a long time and would be unnecessary to repeat here the topics discussed during
this congress.

16.  Where else in the world but within a deep socialist revolution could one
hear that phrase that has time and again been heard here: We have not come here
to ask. In which strange place, on which planet, in which corner of the world
can one hear the phrase we have not come here to ask but to give, in a congress
of workers?

17.  It is natural that this may have made some guests get the impression that
instead of riding a plane they were put on board a rocket and sent to another
planet. [applause] This is the way our congress has been carried out.

18.  But it was something more than that. It was a congress that breathed
internationalism, that breathed revolutionary spirit, that breathed patriotism,
determination, and a willingness to fight from every pore. A congress that
breathed the unity of our people from every pore.  [applause]

19.  Unity, unity--what a strange thing. To many in this world, it must also
seem like something from other planets, from another planet. Anyone who reads
the press will understand this. Political processes are taking place in
fragmented societies because they are being fragmented, following the well-worn
paths of Western capitalist philosophy. This must be obvious to anyone who
sees--as one cannot help but see--10 parties, 15 parties, 25 parties, 35
parties, 40 parties in an election-- so many parties that are really and truly
parties at a single point--split down the middle. [play on the word
``partidos'', which means ``split'' as well as ``parties''] [applause]

20.  So it goes down the line. What a great thing it is for imperialism, which
has a single party, even though it may be disguised with the symbol of a
donkey, I think, or an elephant, and other parties with other symbols. They are
experts in this--you should know this. But it really is the party of
capitalism, the party of imperialism, the party of the monopolies, the party of
the transnationals, in which the policies of the different parties are
virtually indistinguishable, because the great crimes are supported by both
so-called parties in unison. The Grenada invasion was applauded by both
parties. The criminal war against Panama was applauded by both parties, by the
two so-called supposed parties. The cold war, the arms race, and all the crimes
committed by the imperialists for so long have always received the support of
the sole party of imperialism and capitalism.

21.  How great it is that our peoples and our societies have been broken into a
thousand pieces. They have such extraordinary facilities to keep our societies
underdeveloped, subjugated, dominated. The imperialists would give anything to
maintain the people divided into 2 or 3 pieces, into 100 pieces. How easy it
would then be to land here and impose their boots [botas] in the heart of our
people. How wonderful it would be for the imperialists if such a thing occurred
in this small country, which with so much energy, bravery, and determination
has opposed such a scenario for so many years without the empire being able to
conquer it. That is why we stress unity so much, and that is why, when I was
talking with a group of European parliamentarians recently and they brought up
this subject, I told them: Our Warsaw Pact and NATO are the unity of the
people. [applause]

22.  This small country has defended itself with this unity, and with this
unity it will continue to defend itself against the reactionary and aggressive
imperialist colossus we have for a neighbor. We will never permit anything to
weaken or divide our people. Let there be no doubts about it: This unity is the
foundation of our revolutionary ideas and the most just social concept ever
known to humankind, the social concept of socialism and communism. [applause]
In these times, when the mention of socialism seems to be a crime and when the
mention of communism is an even bigger one, we must say that word out loud, we
must say that word out loud.  [Crowd shouts: ``Communism!'']

23.  A few minutes ago [CTC Secretary General Pedro] Ross said that not all the
delegates to this congress are communists. I would phrase it differently. I
would say that not all the delegates are members of the Communist Party of Cuba
[PCC] [applause] or the Union of Young Communists [UJC]. [applause] However,
all the delegates I have seen here are communists. [applause] Our people are
communists even though only some are members of the PCC and the UJC. What would
a communist party do without a communist working class? What would a communist
party do without a communist people? [applause]

24.  We have analyzed our problems. We are not here today to attend an unusual
performance. We have attended every session of the CTC congress precisely
because we want to know how our workers feel, what they want, and how they feel
our problems should be solved. We have come here to find out what it is we have
to do in the next few months; we have come here to draft our agenda for the
next few years, months, and days. Our agenda will be based on the information
we have received, the resolutions that have been approved, and debates that
have been held. This is why the party directorate--not all the members of the
directorate--and the government have been present at these meetings. Every
single government member has been present at these meetings; not a single
minister or vice president of the Executive Council has missed a meeting--that
is why whenever an issue was discussed or answer sought, we did not have to
send someone to find them in their offices. In this country, where there are so
many important things happening, where there are many mass organizations, what
could be more important to us than this labor congress?

25.  We have discussed and analyzed the problems and the measures we should
take as if we were living in normal times. Of course we have to strive toward
normal times.  We have to work every day, at all times, and we have to make our
schedule, our plans; however, this does not mean that these times are normal.
We have all been aware that the times we are living in are not and cannot be
normal. We are very aware, and we must be more so every day, that we are living
in uncertain times. We have discussed here what to do with the batteries, how
to save fuel, how to save everything, how to carry out the plans, but we do not
know if this saving we have talked about will be sufficient. Who knows what we
could do in normal times, in both the economic and military spheres, in both
the economic sphere and with the international situation?

26.  We have no doubt that we are making greater efforts to do things well. We
do not have the least doubt that we are rectifying many things, and in the way
in which we must--not hastily, not thoughtlessly, not in an improvised way, but
by taking solid steps in each of the fundamental aspects of the country's life
and the country's development. If we had no doubt that we were making greater
efforts than ever, if we had no doubt that the coming years would pass under
the same international conditions in which entire 5-year periods passed,
working as we are working today, we could do practically anything we met up our
minds to do.

27.  It is not that previous years were not productive. No. We were analyzing
some simple figures. Electricity, for example, today reaches almost 90 percent
of our population, and will exceed 90 percent this year. Our production of
materials, of cement--we discussed how to save this product yesterday. From
about 700,000 tons, today we produce almost 4 million tons, to invest in the
country's economic and social development.

28.  In the same way, we could talk about many areas, and what has been done in
those areas, in any sector: in the merchant marine, where from a few ships, a
few old ships, today we have an entire fleet, which, however, is still not
sufficient; the building of highways and roads, which has exceeded 30,000 km in
these years of the revolution, and I am giving a conservative figure. Or the
dams--the reservoirs that we have mentioned--have multiplied the country's
water storage capacity by more than 100 times; nevertheless we are now building
more of these dams than ever, and in a more integrated way than ever, plus the
major canals [canales magistrales], plus the irrigation systems, etc.

29.  It is not that these have been lost years, not at all: Today there are
practically no young people who start jobs in industry or in the surface sector
who have not completed 12 years of school, in a country that formerly had 1
million illiterate people; almost 300,000 professors and teachers, in a country
in which almost half the population had no classrooms or teachers; the indexes
of health our population has now.

30.  We have heard of entire provinces that have an infant mortality rate lower
than 10 percent. In some places like Guines, where there is no family doctor,
the infant mortality rate rose only 5 percent per 1,000 live births.  We have
made enormous advancements in many areas, despite the deficiencies, the errors,
the negative tendencies. We are overcoming this. We are overcoming these
errors, these deficiencies. We are doing things with much more common sense,
and above all, we are doing things by using our own heads. With our own heads,
we are interpreting revolutionary ideas, the possibilities that are available
today. We are making a much more solid and promising revolutionary effort. This
cannot be compared with any other moment in the history of the revolution. This
precise moment is one of the most uncertain and problematic times in the
international area that we have known during the past few years of the

31.  For decades, our plans, our 5-year and annual programs, were based on the
existence of a socialist field, on the existence of several socialist countries
in East Europe, in addition to the USSR, with which we signed accords,
agreements, and with which we established extensive economic relations. We
developed markets for our products, sources that supplied us with important
equipment, and various types of merchandise. We made an effort in that
direction, an effort to integrate and complement our economy.

32.  That socialist field does not exist in a political sense today. We will
not lie to ourselves. We will not tell our Pioneers that the socialist field
still exists and that everything is wonderful in those countries. We have to
continue to call them something. We will call them the countries of the
socialist field. If we call them countries from the socialist field, we are not
saying former socialist countries or countries of the exsocialist field. A
socialist field is a group of integrated countries with certain political
positions, with development programs, and with long-term possibilities.

33.  CEMA exists. God help us if I say that the CEMA does not exist! I can see
Carlos Rafael Rodriguez [vice president who attended the most recent CEMA
meeting] sitting in the corner.

34.  CEMA continues to exist; it continues to formally exist.  In fact, people
are fighting to maintain that institution.  People are fighting for it. Our
country has joined the battle to maintain the institution or at least, at least
[repeats himself], a group of countries than can coordinate certain economic
activities in reference to the common interests created over several years, in
regard to common economic needs that exist between those countries. We could
create an association. It can be maintained and we have to fight to maintain
it. That is our duty as CEMA, as an economic organization. Of course, there
have been changes in CEMA. It was customary in the CEMA to call those attending
the meeting ``comrades''; now the word ``comrade'' has been abolished by a few
members. CEMA representatives are not called ``comrades''. They are called
``gentlemen'' and ``ladies'' or ``Miss,'' if there is one there. [laughter,

35.  The terminology will change. The declared purposes of some of these
countries is to construct capitalism. Some of them are constructing capitalism.
In the majority of these countries, there are strong procapitalist currents. 
They speak of markets, private properties, and market economies. Combine
private property with a market economy and you will have capitalism, or you
will have a system conducive to the construction of socialism.  Such a system
has been declared in some countries, and the U.S. advisers are right there
promoting the construction of capitalism.

36.  The anticommunist feeling grows more and more in some of these countries.
We could say that in almost all of them, with the exception of the USSR, there
is a strong and growing anticommunist feeling. In almost all those countries,
demands are first of all being made to abolish the constitutional article that
establishes the vanguard role of the communist party in power. Well, whether or
not the constitution indicates that a party has a vanguard role or not is not
essential. Does this mean that I am making some concessions to the neoliberal
and bourgeois currents? I say no, because we did not have them to begin with!
Nevertheless, we had a movement, followed a party, that created the revolution
and directed the state for many years; it will continue to lead the state for
many years to come. [applause]

37.  It was history that bestowed the leadership role to our party. It earned
this role through struggle; it was not given to it by the Constitution. The
Constitution is not the mother of history or of the revolution. Our socialist
Constitution is a daughter of history; it is a daughter of our revolution. If
you love this girl, you may give her one name or another, you may give her
something nice to wear; you may dress her with colors of your choice, but do
not deny the fact that the Constitution is the daughter and that the revolution
and history are her mothers. The socialist revolution did not create a party in
our country, but a communist party created a socialist constitution in our
country. [applause]. Similarly, similarly, [repeats himself] the reason that
there is socialism in Cuba is not because there is a socialist constitution.

38.  Cuba has a socialist constitution because there was socialism in Cuba. We
were the first. It was a minor point, a technicality, but we included the word
socialism in our Constitution and we will not strike it out, and that is that.
[applause] I repeat, it would make no difference whether the word socialism
was, or was not included in the Constitution, but since it was.... [Castro
changes thought] And since the first thing the Yankees, the imperialists, and
the reactionary sectors demand is that we strike the word out--they use this as
a weapon, an instrument to battle socialism--we refuse to strike it out.  Maybe
in the future, when there is no more imperialism, our legislators may decide to
draft a fancier constitution and make some sort of a change, more of a
formality than anything else; however, we will not do it, and that is that. The
way we see the future, we see the party leading the country indefinitely.

39.  Marx, Lenin, and Engels never talked about the end of the communist party.
They never did. They did say that the state would disappear someday, but not
the party. As far as we can tell, the day for the state to disappear is still
very far away ; in the meantime, we will continue with this system. What are we
going to do? That is still to be decided more in practice than in theory. On
what day and in what world will the state disappear? On that day, we will not
have to get on a rocket to visit another planet, because on that day we will be
on another planet.

40.  Karl Marx said that humankind came out of prehistory.  I believe, have
always believed, and will continue to believe that the day there is no more
exploitation of man by man, the day the world abides by socialist principles,
by communist principles, then prehistory will have come to an end. The truth is
that man has lived in prehistoric times and what man sees everyday is
prehistory. Man sees the imperialist and the capitalist; man sees the monstrous
crimes committed throughout the centuries.  Man has witnessed the extermination
of whole societies.  The Yankees exterminated the U.S. Indian population;
however, they claim they defend ethnic groups. The United States exterminated
the Indians. They sent the Indians to live on reservations; they were taken to
reservations as you would take animals to a zoo. They exterminated the Indians.
The capitalists, imperialists, and colonialists exterminated whole nations,
whole communities that had yet not become nations. They enslaved hundreds of
millions of people. You know the crimes they have committed, you see the crimes
every day. Look at what they did in Panama a few weeks ago. That is not
something a civilized society, a civilized world would do.  It is something you
see in prehistory.

41.  We still do not know when the most precious aspirations of some the
founders of scientific socialism, of the great revolutionaries of our time,
will come true. Therefore, these instruments are indispensable and no one knows
for how long they will be indispensable. The imperialists demand the
abolishment of articles this and that from the Constitution and immediately
demand the dissolution of communist parties. In some places, they take away the
party headquarters; in other places they seize the headquarters and demand the
dissolution of the party. In some countries, the party has been dissolved, and
in others, the party is being dissolved. Some parties have already given their
word they will dissolve; those parties have already been divided. Behind all
this is ferocious anticommunism.

42.  How can you speak of socialism by unfurling the banners of anticommunism?
Anticommunism is the definition of antisocialism. Don't tell me you can talk
about socialism, even though this is a very handy word. In the kingdom of
private property, one cannot speak of socialism under the empire of capitalism
and private property. No socialist theoretician said this, and the confusion is
such that socialism is discussed amid the most fierce and demanding capitalism.
It has all the characteristics of capitalism. It is a disguise, a fig leaf used
for covering up. How can one speak of socialism while unfurling the flags of
anticommunism? Communism won the hatred of the capitalists--that was the
precise reaction--because it wanted to eliminate the system of private
property. Who are they trying to confuse with these stories? The anticommunist
tendency is growing and it can be seen.

43.  Well, we could fight to maintain the CEMA. It would be a mixed society. It
would no longer exist as stated in its statutes: a union of socialist countries
with socialist goals. If we maintain that joint society, change the statutes,
and if it has some use, we will remain within that organization--I repeat--if
it has some use. It could be useful, since strong interests have been created
among the economies of these countries.

44.  We know that there are many large oil pipelines that run from the USSR to
socialist countries. There are large gas pipelines, large railway lines, and
large electrical lines.  When the peak hour has passed in one country, the peak
hour begins in another. Electricity is even transferred by intercommunicated
systems. I do not doubt that those countries that want to construct capitalism
today have a tremendous need for those gas pipelines, oil pipelines,
communications lines, electrical lines, and raw materials, which they may not
be able to acquire elsewhere.  There is an economic basis for maintaining ties
among those who once were part of the socialist community, the so-called
European socialist community. We cannot deceive ourselves. We do not have large
oil or gas pipelines, power lines, or railway communications [as heard]. We
export some raw material. We export some food. I do not think that they are
worthless in any sense, but they do not have the same kind of power that energy
has. They do not have the same kind of power that fuel, oil, gas, electricity,
etcetera, have.

45.  We do not know what kind of governments these countries will install.  We
do not know this in the year 1990.  We hope that some of the existing trade
agreements will still be complied during 1990.

46.  We have no security, and we can have no security. So much disorder has
occurred in some of these countries.  There have been strikes and unrest, and
production has been paralyzed. We do not even know if those products that
historically and traditionally have come to us will continue to arrive. This is
for the year 1990. In regard to the year 1991, on what can we base the 5-year
plan for 1991 to 1995? Who will we make agreements with for this plan? What
products will be guaranteed? What markets will exist for our products? What
price will they pay for our sugar? Will they try to pay for sugar at the
dumping prices of the world market? The immense majority of the sugar in the
world is distributed in accordance with prearranged prices. The United States
buys sugar from a few clients that still supply it with sugar, but it has
changed to a system of national self-sufficiency.  Their prices are not the
same as world market prices. All the sugar that the EEC buys from countries
that are associated with them in some way-- Third World countries--have a price
that is sometimes 2, 3, or 4 times that of the world market. The world market
price is the dumping price of sugar; it is the price of surplus sugar.

47.  So what? Are we going to sell our sugar at garbage prices [Crowd shouts:
``No, no!''] and buy beads? It is also true that not all the merchandise we buy
is always of the best quality. The thing is that we have become champions in
using machinery and equipment; thus we have become inventors and rationalizers,
because sometimes when one nut falters, we use another. Our equipment has been
useful, but it is not always sophisticated; it is not always equipment of the
best quality. We have bought it and we have been able to use it, not always...
[Castro changes thought] In other cases, we have bought some chemical products
which have been useful and valuable--we cannot deny that. We have bought just
about everything, but I understand that this type of trade has been beneficial.
Yet, from one year to the next, we have no security as to what trade will be
like in 1990, and an important portion of the products we consume come from
that area. We have no security about this in 1990, and we are completely
uncertain about the period from 1991 to 1995.

48.  I do not include our economic relations with the USSR.  To this point, our
relations with the Soviet Union have not been affected by this process. On the
contrary--I should say this with all honesty--the Soviets have recently
expressed, and they continue to express, their utmost willingness to maintain
economic relations with us and to continue with the same or similar trade
principles. They...[interrupted by applause] Of course, the USSR plays a
fundamental role.

49.  The problems that we have begun to encounter are the ones that stem from
the same problems that the USSR is facing. They are fundamentally derived from
the same problems. Problems could also arise from the situation that is
occurring in countries that comprised part of the socialist community--those
other countries of East Europe.

50.  Of course, any difficulty that the USSR has, any serious difficulty,
inevitably has repercussions on supplies to our country. Therefore, we must be
aware that the stability of the Soviet Union is a matter of the utmost
importance. When we hear news of destabilization in the Soviet Union, it is
logical that we are profoundly concerned. When we hear news that threatens the
integrity of the Soviet Union in one way or another, it is logical that we
become profoundly concerned. When we hear of internal conflicts within the
Soviet Union, it is natural that we become profoundly concerned. When we hear
that parts of the USSR want to secede from the Soviet Union, it is natural that
we become profoundly concerned. We see how important the integrity of the
Soviet Union is to us and to the world, because we see all the sorts of danger
that can be unleashed by nationalist movement. This would seriously put the
integrity of the USSR at great risk. We all read the newspapers. We all read
the news that we get from the USSR.

51.  There is another phenomenon. There are currents within the USSR that opose
the type of relations that exist between the USSR and Cuba. Some of the press
have published several unjust articles--profoundly unjust-- which have started
an opinion campaign against the type of economic relations that exist between
the USSR and Cuba. I say with all frankness and with all honor that economic
relations between the USSR and Cuba have been very important to us. During the
years of the revolution, the USSR has maintained a generous policy toward our

52.  However, we are not a country of beggars. We are not a country that
receives gifts. We have received credit, just as all Third World countries have
received credit. Even the richest countries that export oil, like Venezuela,
which is the largest oil exporter in Latin America, have received credits for
more than $30 billion. What country in the world, however large its
income--originating from the privilege of having certain products--has not
received credits? We have received credits from the USSR, as others, as all the
Third World countries, even developed countries, have received credits. One of
the countries that has received the most credits is the United States, to give
an example. One of the most indebted countries in the world is the United

53.  If the developed countries have received credits, what is so strange about
Cuba receiving credits from a country that is its friend or ally? Was and is
our friend; and it was in the sense--to explain it well--in the sense [Repeats
himself] that it was a matter of friends and countries with close ties. Now,
how much does it cost to produce a ton of sugar in the USSR? We export millions
of tons of sugar to the USSR. How much does it cost to produce nickel and
cobalt in the USSR? We export tens of thousands of tons of nickel and cobalt to
the USSR and the countries of East Europe. We produce foods such as citrus
fruit, not only sugar, and in recent years, we have begun to export other
goods. In this same year, 1990, the value of the products from the
pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and medical equipment and medical
furniture that we will export to the USSR will exceed 200 million rubles. These
important categories of our country's exports to the USSR are being created.

54.  No one gives us things. We buy them and we pay for them. If our sugar
receives a higher price than the world dumping price, it is still a fair price,
because it put an end to the phenomenon of unequal terms of trade. In the
initial years of the revolution, the USSR paid us more or less the world market
price, until the USSR itself realized that while the prices of industrialized
products that are exported were constantly rising, the prices of products of
the Third World were dropping, and this became robbery, looting. We have
proposed the kind of fair economic relations which were established between the
USSR and Cuba.

55.  Now there are people in the USSR--not in the government, not in the party,
but in the mass media and the parliament--who advocate abolishing the economic
relations that exist between the USSR and Cuba. So, we see two dangers: the
dangers that derive from the problems in the USSR itself that prevent it from
meeting its commitments even if it wants to; and even if they do, what they
have been doing to meet as well as possible their commitments to us. The
current internal problems, unquestionably associated with reactionaries and
imperialism, openly advocate the end of these relations.

56.  This is why I said we live in times of uncertainty. We also are seeing
manifestations of great demagogy in some sectors which are gaining strength in
the USSR. The evolution of these events in a negative direction would naturally
have very great and negative repercussions on the supplies our country
receives, as well as on our country's economy. The Yankees know this, even more
so at this time of elation and triumphalist euphoria.  They are counting on the
problems we are going to have--and it is certain we will have them because of
what has happened--and the much greater problems we could have because of what
could happen. They hope that the USSR will not be able to overcome its
problems, or that the problems will be such that they will directly affect
economic relations between the USSR and Cuba.

57.  They say it openly; they do not hide it. They build it into their plans,
independent of their old aggressive plans, independent of their boldness, their
arrogance, their euphoria, which has led them to commit monstrosities such as
the invasion of Panama--a monstrosity that was a crime against international
law, but also a political monstrosity that showed complete scorn for
international public opinion and the Latin American countries.  These are
things we should know about and keep very much in mind, with a great sense of
reality. The reactionaries and imperialists of the world believe many more
things. They think we will not be able to overcome the difficulties we face.
That is what they hope.

58.  They confuse this indigenous revolution, born in the hearts of our people,
with other revolutions or political processes that were extraordinarily
influenced by special circumstances in international life or in the
international situation. They confuse a lot of things. Perhaps they also think
one would have to travel to another planet to see a people capable of enduring
under all these problems.  They say euphorically that we are going to be left
isolated, that we are going to be left alone, that we are going to have great
problems, and they are sure that we will not be able to endure.

59.  Not only our enemies say this; there are many friends in the world who are
worried, and sincerely worried, by this situation, by the problems that may
arise for Cuba from this situation. They wonder how we will be able to endure.
Those who want, who sincerely hope that we will be able to endure, wonder.
Well, some even express their condolences, some mourn for us while we are still
alive, some think that the revolution could collapse here as other political
processes have collapsed in recent months. Our enemies, of course, dream day
and night, but every day that passes they see that the Cuban revolution
continues to exists. It is like a great nightmare when they wake up in the
morning--a waking nightmare.

60.  But there are others who are sincerely worried by these problems. They are
concerned about Cuba's situation.  But it is not a simple problem of
solidarity. There are a lot of people, many who have not even traditionally
been friends, many who have nothing to do with socialism or communism. Many
people talk about progressive democrats, some that are not even so democratic
or so progressive. But of course, among all the democratic and progressive
people in the world, there is concern about Cuba, and many other people are
concerned because of other factors, other reasons.

61.  There are a lot of people concerned about the turn of events in the Third
World. On 7 December we said that if the development of certain very negative
trends continued, the world would be moving away from a period...[rephrases]
would be moving away from bipolarity toward unipolarity; that is, domination;
that is, toward unipolarity under the domination of the United States.  This is
what I stated on 7 December. I know that this is a very deep concern of the
leaders of Third World countries. They are extremely concerned about it. A
world where the United States is the master is one of the problems. We
mentioned some brazen interventionist actions. There has even been the case of
the Philippines, where, independent of the internal problem, the U.S.  sent its
planes to intervene in an internal problem of the Philippines; operations in El
Salvador, where special units disembarked during the offensive of the
Salvadoran patriots; and the threats against Panama.

62.  Only a few weeks, a month, 6 weeks, after I said those words; only 2 weeks
after I said those words; the terrible aggression against Panama was launched;
the genocidal attack against the Panamanian people was launched.  This further
confirmed what we had been talking about.  A few days later, and with the
excuse that they were fighting drug trafficking, the United States deployed
carriers and battleships to block the Colombian coast.

63.  Latin America is very worried, very worried. They are sincerely concerned
about what could happen to Cuba.  The truth is that Cuba is a trench in Latin
America's independence. Cuba is the first trench in Latin America's
independence. [applause] Cuba has been capable of resisting for more than 30
years; Cuba has experienced many situations over these past 30 years. Cuba
helped Latin America in many ways. In the beginning it was profitable to join
the blockade because, thanks to the blockade, several countries were able to
distribute Cuba's sugar quota among themselves. This represented several
billion tons of sugar. Those countries later lost these quotas but they had it
good for quite some time.  They profited from the aggression against Cuba.

64.  Thanks to Cuba the United States remembered that Latin America existed and
a U.S. President organized the Alliance for Progress. This organization
distributed thousands of millions of dollars in donations and loans in Latin
America. Thanks to Cuba the imperialists began to give more thought to the way
they were treating Latin America. They opened doors for loans and treated the
area better because they feared the outburst of more revolutions throughout
Latin America. In other words, Latin American profited from our revolution.
Most of all, Latin America got more respect. Speaking before some organization
we once said that because of the Cuban revolution, the peoples of Latin
American became freer and more independent, and began to see more international
participation. Latin America acted more freely and with more dignity. This
became evident in recent years in Geneva during the debates on human rights;
this became evident recently when Cuba was proposed as a temporary member--for
2 years--of the UN Security Council. We have also been able to see more unity
and independence in Latin America.

65.  The Latin American governments know that if the United States were to
succeed and crush the Cuban revolution, the independence of the Latin American
countries would suffer a terrible blow. Those countries do not have the unity
we have nor do they have the defense capacity we have. We have a people united
and prepared for defense. Latin America and the Latin American politician do
not necessarily have to be prosocialist or progressive to understand that the
elimination of the Cuban revolution would turn the United States into an
uncontrollable power in this hemisphere.

66.  They know that the imperialist domination would increase, that there would
be an unmeasurable degree of euphoria and arrogance. They know this. They know
that our country is that first trench. This has been known since the time of
Marti, not just now. It has been known for nearly a century, since that time
when the United States was much less powerful, when it was not the empire it is

67.  On the eve of his death, Marti wrote that everything he had done and will
do was designed to prevent-- through Cuban independence-- the United States
from expanding throughout Latin America as another power.  Marti saw this
almost a century ago. What a visionary man. More than ever before, this is
today an indisputable reality, because Cuba not only continued to be in
opposition to the Yankees but it has also become a bulwark against Yankee
domination and expansion.

68.  That which was true almost a century ago is today 10 times, 20 times, 30
times more true. The peoples of Latin America and their governments are aware
of this. For a long time they lured and deceived the Latin American peoples by
instilling fear of communism in them, and now they themselves are saying that
communism is disappearing, that communism will disappear from the face of the
earth. They can no longer use this ghost.  There is another reality: If
imperalism managed to liquidate, to crush the Cuban revolution, it would treat
presidents of the other nations as mayors --perhaps even worse than mayors--as
mayors having less independence than that enjoyed by mayors in the United
States.  It would treat the sovereign Latin American nations as mayoralties and
it would try to give them orders by telephone. This does not mean that the
peoples will resignedly accept this fate because no people will ever resign
themselves to endure such a fate.

69.  Yet, you can see that the invasion of Panama did not elicit the resistance
it should have elicited. There were adverse reactions but no energetic,
decisive condemnations because of the tremendous level of economic dependence
the Latin American nations today have on the United States.

70.  But, if Cuba fell, this would put an end to the high degree of political
independence, to the degree of freedom achieved by those countries in the
international sector.  These countries would thus become an easy target for any
act of aggression by the United States. Hence, they are concerned about these
problems and about these situations.

71.  I believe these are subjects that merit reflection. For years our people
have prepared for certain threats. For 10 years we have been reinforcing our
defenses, we have applied the concept of the war by all the people, and we have
been preparing for 10 years. What a great effort! We have drawn up plans for
every contingency, including a possible total blockade of the country, in which
case not even a bullet will reach our country. We have known this for a long
time, before these problems erupted, because of the superiority in conventional
weapons the empire has in this part of the world and of its air and naval
superiority, which would make it impossible for us to receive a single bullet.
They could decide to impose a total blockade and we have drawn up our plans to
resist a total blockade. It could be just a blockade, or it could be a blockade
with harassment. Or it could be a blockade with a war of attrition against our
country. Or it could ultimately be a blockade with an invasion of our country. 
In the face of all these possibilities, we have devised the respective
contingency plans and we have prepared ourselves in the country with the
conviction that any form of aggression, no matter how costly it might be, will
sooner or later be defeated. Even--the worst scenario of all--the invasion of
the country. [applause] The worst of all would be the invasion of the country.

72.  We have divided the country into defense zones. Men, women, children,
youths, senior citizens; the people at large have organized to make the
aggressors pay an unpayable price: to inflict on them such heavy damage and
casualties that they would have no alternative other than to leave the country.
We have worked seriously on all those contingency plans. What great vision by
our party! How well we have used our energy all these years by working
according to a concept based on the people's participation in that struggle!
There may be other forms of aggression for which we must prepare. We call the
total blockade period a special period in time of war.  Yet, in the face of all
these problems we must prepare and even devise plans for a special period in
time of peace. What does a special period in time of peace mean?  That we would
have such serious economic problems in our relations with socialist countries
that, owing to certain factors or to the process within the Soviet Union, our
country may have to endure an extremely difficult supply situation.

73.  Remember that all our fuel comes from the USSR. What we could do, for
example, is reduce this by one-third or one-half because of the difficulties in
the USSR. We might even reduce it to zero, which is comparable to what we do in
the situation we call the special period during wartime. It would not be so
serious because possibilities would exist for exports and imports even under
these conditions, assuming there was peace. This would be the worst situation
the country might face during a special period in peacetime. We are working
intensely under this premise.

74.  In reality, we did not expect all these catastrophic problems, the things
that occurred in those countries with which we had established solid economic
ties, the countries which helped us defend ourselves from the imperialist
blockade, and which were a basis for the country's development. Intermediate
situations could arise. They may not be as serious, but they are still serious.
We do not know what kind of difficulties we may still face in 1990. We are
trying to foresee this, but there are things we cannot control and they slip
through our fingers. No one knows what kind of difficulties we will face in
1991. Nevertheless, the country must be more serious and firm in confronting
these difficulties, but I am not just talking about simply confronting these
difficulties to survive. We want to confront these difficulties and, in
addition, develop. We know which strategic points we must continue to work on.

75.  The food programs cannot be discontinued. They are strategic. What we are
doing in water-resource management, water sources, and canal and irrigation
systems, should not be stopped under any circumstances. If we have 5 million
tons or 3 million tons, we must continue with that program in one way or
another. We would discontinue some other program before we discontinue these
programs. We cannot discontinue the programs for the development of the
pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, which have great possibilities in
this country. We cannot and should not discontinue these programs. The programs
for the development of certain resources with external currency, such as the
programs we are planning in tourism, should not be discontinued.  No matter how
large the restriction the country must make in a certain situation during a
special period in peacetime, or during a very difficult situation in peacetime
because of these problems, we should not discontinue programs strategic to
development under any of these circumstances. It would take us more time and it
would be a very difficult test, but we would have to maintain the principles of
surviving and developing. I think that our people are capable of doing this. I
am absolutely convinced that this people--you, this congress, the people you
represent--are capable of doing this. [applause]

76.  Imperialism and world reactionary sectors should know that the revolution
cannot be defeated. Our friends throughout the world should know that our
people will be able to resist under any circumstances. They should know....
[interrupted by applause] They should know that in Cuba, the revolution will
not crumble! Socialism will not crumble in Cuba! [crowd applauds and chants:
``Long live socialism! Fatherland or death, we will win!  Long live Fidel!
Socialism or death!'']

77.  I can remember that during the war of our liberation, Batista's army
surrounded the Sierra Maestra and shelled it. The soldiers would not allow
anything to get through--not salt, lard, clothes, or medicine. However, tens of
thousands of peasants remained in the Sierra Maestra, they never left the
Sierra Maestra. Those were difficult days; no one knew how long it would last.
Very difficult times, however, that was nothing new to us.  Some had it worse
than others, but we were all one people and one blood. I am sure that had this
situation occurred in another area, the people would have reacted in the same

78.  Today we have a different kind of responsibility. I briefly explained this
to our youths last night in Central Park.  We are living in times of
uncertainty and threats. We are experiencing serious military threats and, as
you can see, the United States is bent on continuing its hostilities.  They
want to force a television station on us and to do this are using a frequency
that is ours and that no one has a right to use but us. These are provocations.

79.  The other day a shot was fired and it was a miracle that a guard at
Guantanamo Base was not killed. Their battleships and carriers sail around us.
They are arrogant, they are mad. They have gotten brave and euphoric. They are
under the impression that socialism no longer exists and this makes them more
aggressive and more dangerous. A new era, a new phase is beginning. Times of
trial may be starting for our people.

80.  I was thinking about this yesterday when I was addressing the youths. I
recalled our history. I recalled our 10-year war. No greater feat has ever been
recorded; 10 years during which our people not only fought against the
Spaniards but also fought men who had been born in this country and who were
fighting on the side of the Spaniards. They fought barefoot and practically
naked for 10 years. They had practically no ammunition or food. Our country has
even lived through situations that amaze us. Even under those terrible
conditions when our people reached the conclusion that they could no longer
continue fighting, even at that moment, and as an expression of our people's
irreducible will and heroism, Antonio Maceo rose and, in light of El Zanjon
Pact, proclaimed his decision to continue fighting there in Mangos de Baragua.
[applause] During those very difficult days we had our El Zanjon, but we also
had our Baragua. It was not El Zanjon that went down in our history, it was
Baragua; and because of what happened at Baragua, we became an independent
nation despite the Spanish Army and later, the U.S. Army.

81.  That was the supreme lesson of which we are privileged heirs. That is how
the soul of this people was formed and how the people established their
tradition during difficult, very difficult times. We must remember that. We
also toured the streets of the city with torches then, in tribute to Marti.
There was not a single rifle or bullet, but that did not stop the fight.
Afterward, we had a few rifles and a handful of men, and this did not stop the
fight.  That was the will of Baragua. That was the spirit of never yielding and
of never weakening in the struggle. This made our successes possible. This made
the revolution possible. It made socialism possible. It made Giron possible.
This made possible the integrity with which our people confronted the October
crisis. It was and is based on that policy. It didn't matter that there were
nuclear weapons involved. [applause] It must be said that we did not give a
single inch. If those missiles had been ours, they would still be here. There
is absolutely no doubt about it. [applause]

82.  We did what was possible to resist the blockade. We developed
international relations and fulfilled internationalist missions. We were able
to make victory possible in the internationalist mission in Angola. The
perseverance, the firmness, the will to fight, the spirit of Baragua is what
triumphed there. That has been the spirit expressed at all times. That is the
great inheritance of our people and I think this generation is privileged. Our
youths, students, working students, the people, everyone [claps his hands once]
is privileged because I think it is a privilege for everyone, even those who
are 100 years old, to be living this historic moment. [applause] It is a

83.  The fact that many peoples have their eyes on Cuba is a singular destiny
for the reasons I have already explained.  There are many revolutionaries and
there are more revolutionaries each day, so confusion is dissipated. 
Everything is seen more clearly and one can see what Cuba is. Cuba has become a
trench for Latin America, as well as for the entire third world. It has become
a trench for the world's revolutionary, progressive, and just ideas.  Here we
are not ashamed to speak of Lenin and to praise Lenin while others are taking
Lenin's name off streets and parks and tearing down statues of Lenin, Marx, and
Engles. We build those things here. We construct them.  [applause] We do not
construct these things of marble, bronze, or steel. We build them with our
revolutionary conduct, our heroism, our worthy stance, our profound
convictions. We elevate more than ever the banners of Marxism-Leninism, of
socialism, and of communism.  [applause]

84.  Today more than ever, we raise the name of Marti, Maceo, Cespedes,
Agramonte, and the unending legion of heroes of our war of independence. It
fills our hearts with joy to see the figures of our patriots, especially that
of Marti. We can see it in the work of the youth in the newspaper, the slogan:
``My sling is the sling of David'' [name of the torchlight parade held on 27
January]. That enthusiastic search in the infinite well of revolutionary ideas
from Jose Marti enriched us and the wealth of the men born here should be ours.
That which was given by these extraordinary men born here should be ours. We
have made ours the ideas of extraordinary men born in other parts of the world.
What an enormous source of revolutionary ideas. How contemporary, how opportune
those ideas are. What banners they are and what a lesson they are for everyone,
even those who thought that this stage had passed.

85.  Some fools have filled their mouths with garbage and say that the heroic
phase has passed. Like Palmero would say: They are souls in their underwear.
[laughter] They say that the heroic phase of the revolution has passed.  There
is no lack of fools like this or of dreamers who think that the revolution can
be destroyed. There is no lack of fools, of traitors [zajoneros]. Things get a
little rough and they begin to think: Well, we must be careful.  We must be
careful because of things, reforms, reforms [repeats himself]. The revolution
is the largest and most extraordinary reform in history because it changes
everything.  [applause] Do we want capitalist reforms? [Crowd answers: ``No!'']
Do we want bourgeois reforms? [Crowd answers: ``No!''] Do we want neoliberal
reforms? [Crowd answers: ``No!''] We don't even want that in our dreams. 
[Crowd answers: ``Never!'']

86.  Everyone should know that the revolution will not step back an inch. As I
was telling you yesterday, there are some people who wanted to save socialism
by making concessions. How little do they know about the voracious, monstrous
mentality of imperialism and of reactionary forces. If you give them a little
nail, they will want a phalanx of your little finger; if you give them a
phalanx, they will want a finger; if you give them the finger, they will ask
for a hand; if you give them the hand, they will ask for the forearm; if you
give them the forearm, they will ask for the arm; and when you give them the
arm; they will cut your head off. [applause]

87.  How does one defend socialism by becoming armless and lame? To lose one's
arms is to lose strength. One would also be left without something else,
without a heart for instance [laughter, applause] without a spirit.  What ways
of defending socialism and revolutionary ideas are these? Hence, our revolution
will not step back an inch.

88.  We convey our gratitude to those who are truly concerned and who have
advised us to make changes. We have answered, yes, we will carry out
revolutionary actions. We are going to make revolutionary changes. We are going
to be more and more revolutionary because we are still not revolutionary
enough. [applause]

89.  There are always fools or idiots--although there are just a few harboring
illusions and believing that here it is possible to organize fifth columns at
the service of imperialism, at the service of the objectives of imperialism.
You keep a close watch on those people. You check on them because many of them
might even raise the banners of imperialism and reactionary forces tomorrow.
Like the United States, they want to perfect this revolution, just as they
wanted to do it over there, by unleashing a gigantic and revolutionary wave
which began disguised as changes and reforms; this is known here, but they will
have to go to another planet. I am not saying this in the liberal sense that
they will be dead, because we do not know if heaven, the earth, or hell is on
some planet or beyond the planets. We do not know this.  But we do know it will
not be here in this country that there will be those believing they can
organize a fifth column; those believing they can repeat the story that
happened in other countries. Those seeking to play the counterrevolution here
will have to confront the masses, they will have to confront the people, they
will have the masses here facing them. [applause]

90.  This also applies to those seeking to play the imperialist game at this
decisive time of history, at this time when everything is at stake. It is a
well-established, realistic idea in Cuba that revolution, socialism, and
national independence are essentially linked. No one should dream about
imperialism achieving its dream of crushing the Cuban revolution. We would thus
be less independent than Puerto Rico, less independent than Panama today. It
would never again release this country.  Never again. We would disappear as a
nation. Therefore, we cannot play with this here. We will not allow that game
here. Nor will we allow anyone to play it.  [applause]

91.  We will not be the ones who will crush them. We cannot kill cockroaches
with cannon shells. The people will crush them. [applause] The people will
crush them.  [applause]

92.  Our defense committees, the workers in our factories, the students in our
centers, the workers, will crush them.  [applause] Let them not indulge in
wishful thinking; this is a people ready to sell their lives high, a people
ready to shed even their last drop of blood for the values they believe in. You
cannot play with this people. With a people who bear on their shoulders the
responsibility Cuba has, of being the first trench for the interests of Latin
America and the third world, and the revolutionary and moral values of this
world. We never sought such things. It was destiny that has placed on our
shoulders a very great responsibility at this time, as a brake, as a trench;
against reactionaries, against imperialism, against the exploiters, against
those who have looted the world for centuries and intend to continue to loot

93.  When a people has the responsibility on its shoulders, and that people is
this one, you cannot play with this people. [applause] We will leave here to
fulfill our tasks--we know them more and better--to strive more than ever, to
do our best more than ever in defense, at work, in fulfilling our duties and
our obligations, in working for the future as we have always worked, and always
ready to defend that future we want to win, always ready to defend what we have
won already, always ready to defend our ideals and defend our dignity and our
independence and our freedom, our nation. We will dedicate ourselves to
defense, work; to face problems and solve them--those we have now and those to
come, tomorrow or the day after or whenever.

94.  And if they do not come, we will also work with the same dedication. If
there is peace, we will know how to enjoy peace. We will know how to take
better advantage of each day, each hour, each minute, each second. This is the
spirit with which we should leave this historic congress, at this decisive
time, perhaps the eve of great trials. If these trials come, a day like today
in which we observe one more anniversary of his birth, we can say to Marti, we
should say that today, more than ever, we need his thinking; more than ever, we
need his ideas; today, more than ever, we need his virtues; but also to Marti,
to Maceo, and to all those who were like them, we can say, today, more than
ever, that we feel proud to be their followers, to be their disciples; and to
reaffirm today, 28 January, our two immortal watchwords; which join Marx,
Lenin, and Engels with Marti and Maceo and Cespedes and all the glorious heroes
of our independence: Socialism or death, fatherland or death, we will win!
[applause; chanting of ``Fidel'']