Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19900220
-YEAR-
1990
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
-AUTHOR-
-HEADLINE-
Fidel Castro Present at Special Assembly Meeting
-PLACE-
CARIBBEAN / Cuba
-SOURCE-
Havana Radio Rebelde Network
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS-LAT-90-035
-REPORT_DATE-
19900221
-HEADER-
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000003347
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     FL2102015590
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-90-035          Report Date:    21 Feb 90
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     2
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       9
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       20 Feb 90
Report Volume:       Wednesday Vol VI No 035

Dissemination:  

City/Source of Document:   Havana Radio Rebelde Network

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Fidel Castro Present at Special Assembly Meeting

Subheadline:   Castro Speaks

Author(s):   Fidel Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Central Committee of the
Communist Party of Cuba and president of the Councils of State and
Ministers, during the extraordinary session of the National
Assembly of the People's Government , ANPP, at the Palace of
Conventions in Havana on 20 February--recorded]

Source Line:   FL2102015590 Havana Radio Rebelde Network in Spanish 2305 GMT 20
Feb 90

Subslug:   [Speech by Fidel Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Central
Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and president of the
Councils of State and Ministers, during the extraordinary session of
the National Assembly of the People's Government, ANPP, at the
Palace of Conventions in Havana on 20 February--recorded]

-TEXT-
FULL TEXT OF ARTICLE:
1.  [Speech by Fidel Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Central Committee of
the Communist Party of Cuba and president of the Councils of State and
Ministers, during the extraordinary session of the National Assembly of the
People's Government, ANPP, at the Palace of Conventions in Havana on 20
February--recorded]

2.  [Text] Comrades, the truth is that Juanito [Juan Escalona Reguera] did not
give me the microphones, he forced the microphones on me. I was asked whether I
was going to speak. I did not know. I said that it would depend on what Juanito
was going to say. I did not know if he was going to speak. I did not know if he
had prepared a speech; I did not know if he had prepared some notes or
something. Depending on what he said, I would speak. I also thought I would
have more time to review some information, some figures, at least something
released by the international press, but that was not the case. What we heard
was a very substantial, but brief speech. Escalona spoke filled with the kind
of emotion that, as he said, we can just imagine. Not only can we imagine the
kind of emotion he must feel, but we have also seen it and we have heard it in
Escalona's words.

3.  I believe a good choice has been made. This has been proven by the number
of votes cast, positive votes. The idea was not to drop a piece a paper in a
ballot box; the idea was to vote directly for our comrade while being alone
with our conscience and in the solitude of the voting booth. We marked our
ballot; not a single ballot was annuled. This will give you an idea of how well
we can all follow instructions. The secretary explained the voting procedures,
and no one made a mistake. It was only logical that there should be some
differences. This is not only logical but good. Some comrades did not feel that
the voting procedures were appropriate. Ten comrades did not vote for Juanito,
that is fine; approximately 17 comrades did not vote for Comrade Zoila [Zoila
Benitez de Mendoza], that is also fine. They expressed their viewpoints, they
expressed their opinion and that is good. I also believe that the assembly has
shown that it holds these comrades in high esteem.

4.  I was talking to the electoral commission....[changes thought] By the way,
did you know that we violated the laws? No you do not. Who can know it with all
the laws we have approved and have not had time to study. Well, according to
the law, there should have been 23 members on the electoral commission;
however, a deputy suggested the appointment of two additional members. He
suggested a representative from the Republic of the Isle of Youth--excuse me,
Montane [not further identified], the Special Municipality of the Isle of
Youth--and another one from Cienfuegos. It was then decided that the electoral
commission would have 25 members. Since the assembly is sovereign, I believe it
can take care of that technical mistake. However, no one remembered that there
should only be 23 members on the electoral commission. No one caught the
mistake, not even the lawyers who are members of the assembly. I met with some
of the lawyers and we analyzed this technicality. I explained a principle to
them. They asked me the party's opinion about this. The party's opinion is that
it will never give up its role as leader. [applause]

5.  I already said that this was not a constitutional matter and I am not going
to repeat myself. I spoke of this during the Cuban Workers Federation Congress.
It is not a matter of whether it is constitutional. All I said was that we were
not going to erase it from the constitution and even though it is only a
technicality, we are not going to eliminate it. We have said that the
constitution is the daughter of the revolution and not the mother of the
revolution; the constitution is the daughter of the party and not the mother of
the party. The party exists per se as an instrument of the revolution and, in
addition, we will firmly maintain the concept of the single party. We did not
get this idea just from Lenin. We also got the idea from Marti when he founded
the revolutionary party for the independence of Cuba. He did not make three or
10 parties, just one party to lead the revolution for the country's
independence. We had several parties and several organizations, however, we
made them one because one day we discovered that it was best to struggle for
the unity of all the forces. These are two sacred principles; Marti's
principles.

6.  I believe Marti talked about the party before Lenin did.  We would have to
review the history books to see when it was that Marti talked about the party
and about organizing the party and when Lenin talked about this.  We are doubly
inspired by this; we are inspired by Marti and we are inspired by Lenin; it is
also a revolutionary inspiration born from a specific reality and a need.

7.  The unity we achieved when all the revolutionary forces were united was a
victory for the revolution. The progress the revolution has made is a victory.
This unity has given the revolution strength and has helped it defend itself
from the attacks of the enemy, from all the conspiracies of the enemy, and from
a blockade that is over 30 years old. This is a heroic resistance against
imperialist hostilities, a heroic loyalty to the principles of revolutionary
internationalism, which has written brilliant pages and in which a large part
of our people have participated. Therefore, we say these are principles for
friends, enemies, and for those who are neutral.

8.  Now, what our party has to perfect is its method of leadership, its work,
even its structure. As we recently said, we have have to perfect not just the
party but also the state's institutions and the mass organizations that
overloaded their personnel rosters--certain problems arose as a consequence.
Some institutions have dual leadership roles, or jobs, which is not convenient
under any circumstance. We must rectify all these aspects. We have been
fighting a battle over this for a long time.  However, even in the factories
and all the work centers the personnel rosters became large. But we will not
say that we will decrease the personnel rosters overnight. We have no reason to
hurt the honor, or the self-worth, of thousands, of tens of thousands, or of
hundreds of thousands of people by telling them: Your work is useless. Go home,
even if it is with a salary. A man feels humiliated when he is sent home, even
if he being paid.

9.  We know how we must carry out this effort, all this work, even this entire
principle of rectification and strengthening--but without taking away an iota
of authority from the party. On the contrary, during the entire process of
rectification we have increased the role, authority, and prestige of the party.
The party is our fundamental instrument, par excellence, of the revolution and
of the construction of socialism. It is a historic and extraordinarily
difficult task because socialism must be constructed under the conditions that
our country has had to face--a few miles from the most powerful empire in the
world and under its constant traps, hostilities, and aggressions. It is a
historic, gigantic task. How long will we have to work under these conditions?
It is possible that as long as imperialism exists. Otherwise, how many things
couldn't we do? But for now, the unity of the people is the most sacred thing
and the number one weapon of the revolution. It is the sine qua non requirement
to win the battle of the construction of socialism under these conditions.

10.  The imperialists would like to have us divided into 10,000 pieces. There
are East European countries that already have around 80 parties. Defend the
revolution with 80 parties, or with 20, or 10, or with two, or divided in two.
Not long ago I was talking with some Italian deputies about this subject. We
told them: Our NATO-- I started talking about NATO because I was talking to
Italians--is our unity. Our Warsaw Pact, what defends us, is our unity. With
that weapon, with that force, we, who do not belong to any pact--and I add that
we do not want to belong to any kind of military pact--have been living for a
long time exclusively defending ourselves. A long time ago we made the
necessary assessments, however we have a NATO and a Warsaw Pact for defending
ourselves--our unity. We will never accept anything that will divide our people
in any way. We will never accept anything that will break in any way that
fundamental force of our people. This is so clear that I think even the
children of the child care centers can understand it. I think this can be
explained to those children who are two or three years old.

11.  Why do we need unity? Why do we have a party? Within the advantages, there
are also inconveniences, and those are the ones we must know how to overcome in
our process of rectification, but always basing them on these principles.

12.  And when you want to work....[changes thought] It is not new. I said
before the Central Committee when we were analyzing the Politburo's proposals:
Do not think about spectacular things. Let us leave spectacular things aside. 
Let us do a lot. Let us work a lot and promise little. I said: It is important
that the steps we are taking are not misinterpreted and that all kinds of
expectations are not unleashed inside and outside the country. Within the
country, our document was completely understood; it explained the decisions of
the Central Committee. Outside the country, it was not interpreted the same way
or in a correct way. When I read the newspaper, I can frankly say there was a
headline I did not like: Far-Reaching Agreements. The word far-reaching was not
necessary--important, they are very important agreements. The headline made it
sound like the process of rectification was new and like we were talking about
rectification for the first time. We are a small country; and as small as we
are, you should note what is published abroad about what Cuba does. It was one
word. It could not have been more critical than what it was. Now, it would be
more critical because they know more.

13.  It was in the report to the third party congress where the process of
rectification began. It began at a time when no party in the socialist arena
talked about those things, nor did they talk about restructuring, or anything
else. Note the dates of our party congress. It was held in early February, then
it had a second session. In mid-April 1986, the bugle sound alerted us to a
series of phenomena we had been watching. It has been a continuous, tenacious,
and persistent struggle to gradually overcome errors, deficiencies, and
negative tendencies. For many people in the world, last Friday [20 February]
would have been the first time they ever heard of rectification.  Our
rectification started before anyone else's, before any party's rectification.
We have followed our path. We have not copied anyone's path. One of the things
that rectification consisted of was to sweep away a set of concepts, ideas, or
ways of constructing socialism that we had copied. We discovered a lot of
phenomena in what we had. We said, this leads nowhere. We must improve this. So
we worked hard. We have worked a lot.  However, the world does not know that we
were the first.  But now, they apparently do not know where we are headed. I
will say a certain phrase that we used here some time ago: We will not go
backwards, not even to gain momentum. [applause] We will go forward. Like I
told the workers: Yes, we will have change, but it will be revolutionary change
to get more revolution, to make the revolution more solid. Do not let anyone
dream that we will head toward capitalism, or to anything that looks like
private property for production.

14.  Besides, we do not have to invent the independent agricultural worker
because we are surrounded by independent agricultural workers, peasants, from
all our provinces. How many [hectares] do we have? Seventy thousand, that is
not a small amount. They have up to 70,000 hectares of land. Some of them are
rich. At the beginning of the revolution, the two agrarian reforms were done
and we told them: We will respect your wishes, if you wish to remain as
independent proprietors. We know what independent property is and what it
gives, and we know what it does not give.

15.  I could give you a list of the products produced by the state. I could
mention that the 2.4 billion eggs the people eat are produced by the state. I
could also tell you how much rice, sugarcane, meat, poultry, basic products,
and even pork, are produced by the state; approximately 100 percent is produced
by the state. So much was said of the famous free peasant market, yet the free
peasant market only produced two percent of the food that was needed.  Prior to
the free peasant markets those products were sold to the state, but later were
sold by the pound and at any price. Many people have suggested that the real
story of the free peasant market be written up and that it should be compared
to large-scale production. There is no future in the small independent peasant.
I accept the idea of capitalist agriculture, large scale agriculture. I accept
the idea of using techniques, good seed, fertilizers, machines. That is the way
we work our land. If we did not use this system, how could we have cut down the
number of sugarcane cutters from 350,000 to approximately 65,000 cutters. How
else could we have done it if not with the use of machines and techniques; how
else could we have increased our production. Because we have applied this
system today we have thousands of construction and other kinds of workers in
our industry sector. This was possible because we mechanized the sugarcane
industry. Just imagine what it would be like today if our sugarcane industry
were not mechanized.  What would have happened to the country, especially in a
country where everyone has the opportunity to study, where hundreds of
thousands have become teachers, professors, professionals, and so forth. What
kind of progress could we hope for without a mechanized sugarcane industry? 
What kind of mechanization would have been possible if all we had were small
landowners? The cooperatives use their own combines, but cooperatives are
something else. The cooperatives are not little parcels of land inside a larger
area. The cooperatives are self-sufficient.  Their combines can be moved from
one place to another to cut cane; the irrigation channels can also be moved to
take water to the farthest corner, a sort of artery system to irrigate plants.
We are no strangers to the problems encountered when an irrigation system has
to be installed on the land owned by a small landowner.  We do not have to go
to far to see this. We saw it in--Pepe [not further identified] what is the
name of the place--Camalote, Camaguey. You should have seen the problems we had
digging an irrigation channel there-- trace a curve here, a rectangle there, a
complete star going this way and that way, something else right in the
center--a real disaster. We were working with the United Nations on this; we
had our plan. We built dams, minidams, channels, but did we have problems,
tremendous problems because small independent property clashes with today's
techniques, it clashes with science.  You know that we have most of our hopes
placed in our sugarcane, in irrigation, and in the field drainage system.  We
have 121 brigades working on this, and by the end of the year we will have 200
brigades in all. This system practically doubles the amount of sugarcane
produced.  In the near future we will have many areas producing twice as much
sugarcane, not all the areas, but many of them. We have 800,000 hectares that
we can apply this system to. Just imagine if this were being done in an economy
of small landowners; something like this being done in a country where the land
is owned by 100,000 or 200,000 small landowners. I break my head and still
cannot figure out how the system could be applied under those circumstances.

16.  The new irrigation system--the microjet and drip system--has practically
doubled our rice production. We know how much the state's agricultural sector
is producing in our country. We know we have problems and we are finding
solutions. One of the problems we are confronting is the peasant looking for
other jobs. They have sought easier and more pleasant jobs; they have sought
more stable jobs. We know what the future of our economy depends on; we cannot
destroy it. We have our own ideas, but we respect the ideas of the peasant. 
Everyone knows the free market destroyed the cooperative movement.  That is the
truth. They began making lots of money. If garlic was scarce on the market, you
could sell the head of garlic for a dollar, then the man who planted a hectare
of garlic was making lots of money.

17.  We also have some bus owners for whom, when the demand for transportation
is strong, this become a tremendous source of income. All they had to do was
stop at a corner and say: I am heading for the beach.  People would just fill
the vehicle. All the driver had to say was: I am heading for the rural school.
No one has any idea how many people got into the vehicle and no one ever knew
how much money the driver made.

18.  Nevertheless, you see many of those old jalopies from prehistoric times
driven there. They are of different makes and almost all of them are in peasant
hands. In the free market, you can see 15,000, 20,000, or 25,000 of them there.
Sometimes one passes through peasant areas and finds three of those old cars.

19.  The free market resulted in nothing and I will give you an example. In
three and a half years alone, our state pork production plan should increase by
100,000 tons.  That is 100,000 tons of pork, only one kind of meat. I am not
talking about the sheep production plan, the milk plan, production plans for
other agricultural items, or poultry. Six hundred large chicken coops are being
built a year. This is also a three-year program to increase egg production, to
increase poultry meat. This is just one example.

20.  The entire peasants' free market did not produce 3,000 or 4,000 tons. It
did not produce 4,000 tons of meat that was supplied beforehand in one way or
another.

21.  Fertilizer for sugarcane was used for anything but sugarcane, whatever was
interesting. That is the reality. We have lived a real, practical experience
and we know how to increase production. We know how to convert 12 million
quintals of rice into 24 million quintals. We know how to do this and we are
doing it with all the irrigation plans, canals, all the systems we have
established. We know how to convert 12 million quintals of rice--I am talking
about our quintal--into 20 million, 22 million, or 24 million quintals. We know
how to do this and we are working toward this. We are making the pertinent
investments for this purpose. We are applying the pertinent technology for
this, which will save 40 percent of our water. Our technology increases the
productivity of the drainage workers [anegadores]--that man who carries the hoe
on his shoulder--by four or five times. That man can work on four hectares at
the most.  With the other system, just by opening and closing doors, he can
attend 180 hectares of land. He can ride his bicycle on the roads between the
fields. Go do that in an agricultural system comprised of small landowners.

22.  We have a very solid idea and a total conviction about what has to be done
in agriculture. If you go from traditional irrigation to the microjet system,
plantain production triples. Everyone knows that. You have to tie the plants
up. Production goes from 6,000 quintals of banana to 18,000 or 20,000. The
plantation lasts 10 years and you do not have to renovate it completely, unless
a hurricane strikes. Hurricanes are one of the enemies of plantains in our
country. We know how to increase productivity. There are climatic changes. For
example, you are now observing rains that are not in season. They are the
result of the warming of the atmosphere in the middle of February. All this
creates problems. Sometimes there is an excess of water and other times there
is a drought, which requires one to desperately rely on hydraulic plans. The
necessary water must be distributed from where it is located to where it is
needed, which is what we are doing so we can irrigate fields and compensate as
much as possible for climactic changes. Man has to adapt to nature and has to
use his intelligence to overcome the obstacles of nature. We have followed this
example.

23.  How can we privatize agriculture? Latin America is privatizing everything
at the suggestions of the IMF.  This involves many industries that belonged to
the state, including many of the basic industries. The great modern crusade of
the imperialists is privatization and we are in favor of socialization.

24.  What are we going to do? Should we privatize our medical and health
services? You know what we have and you know it well and we keep getting more
each time. We have a system of specialized hospitals that treat this country's
children; that have helped reduce infant mortality to about 11 percent. It is
clear that in a little while we can lower it to 10 percent, under normal
conditions. I could not say the same if we had abnormal situations. Would we
privatize the Hermanos Ameijeiras hospital in view of the imperialist offensive
to privatize?  What would we do with our family doctor--privatize him? The
family doctor is in every corner in every rural area... [corrects himself] in
the mountain area and that service is extended more each time. The doctor is in
the factories, in the schools. What will we do with him-- privatize him?

25.  We cannot privatize anything. On the contrary, we must gradually
socialize, because we are not going to confiscate anything from anyone. We will
not confiscate anything from any of those peasants who have taught us so many
lessons about agriculture. These are the peasants who have taught us what we
can expect from agriculture because they are the most privileged peasants in
the world. They have received all kinds of loans, which have been pardoned many
times. They do not pay taxes. They are the only peasants in the world who do
not pay taxes.  We love our peasants. We do not throw in their faces the fact
that they have private property. We respect them because they are part of our
revolution. They are part of our history.

26.  No country in the world has done what we have done with our peasants. They
are given all the tractors they want. Everything has been mechanized.
Electricity has been taken to everyone. Naturally, in the isolated areas it is
more difficult to take electricity to them. It has to be through the
cooperatives. Many who are isolated have set up their [word indistinct]. I was
looking at the figure that shows that 92 percent of the population is already
receiving electrical services. That figure is impressive. A large part of those
people live in the country. In other words, no one else has done for the
peasants what Cuba has done; and no one has done for Cuba what the peasants
have done for it. They have taught us that agriculture must be socialist. There
must be large-scale state enterprises that apply science and technology and use
the agricultural production cooperatives. This is what the peasants have taught
us and we are very grateful for that.

27.  It is not their fault we started a corruption process of those peasants.
We did it with the invention that we copied. We invented a copy of the famous
peasant free market. That was used in the different historical conditions of
another country; there they have their little bit of land within the collective
land. I will not intervene, I will not criticize anyone. We have no reason to
criticize anyone. What we have to know is what we need to do.  That is why this
is one of the basic questions, to advance without injustices or trampling on or
violating anyone's right. Maybe even some of the great-great-grandchildren of
some of those who are here know an independent agricultural worker who may have
stuck there generation after generation. If they want to have that piece of
land, let them have it.

28.  We have never forced anyone to join a cooperative or a farm. We only apply
the law. Sometimes we bother someone if we have to build a dam. We cannot leave
him in the bottom of the dam. We will bother someone when we have to build a
large canal, or when we have to build a railroad, or highway. Sometimes we have
to bother the peasants because that is beyond the will. This is established in
all the constitutions of the world--the right to expropriation for reasons of
public interest, or social use.  This is in all the laws of the world. We never
apply it. We have always negotiated with the affected party. If we have to
build a highway, we say: Look, we have to build a highway that is very
important. We will give you another house elsewhere. We try to satisfy the
person we are affecting. We do not tell them: Look, we will give you money. We
know that with money he will not buy another apartment. Whenever we affect
someone's home, we build them another home. Whoever we bother involuntarily, we
try to help them and to ensure that he is satisfied with the negotiation with
the state. Not even in those cases does the state apply the law. I think there
have only been exceptional cases in which people have sat down and asked for
the capital in exchange for an apartment. We have told them: That cannot be
done. We will build this and we will apply the law. But generally speaking,
with all the operations we have carried out we have said we will not commit any
injustices. We will respect that, logically. We would break our promises if we
tried to socialize or put in a cooperative everyone who is on that land. It
will have to be done through persuasion with the peasant. We would never do it
by using the power of the state to reach those objectives, nor do we need to do
it that way. We have many years to work the lands of the state enterprises and
cooperatives.

29.  Almost 80 percent of the country's land is in the hands of state
enterprises. We must overcome difficulties and deficiencies to solve our
problems and increase the production of food for our people. That is what we
are doing. We are doing this by applying techniques, by applying the most
modern techniques available in the world, the most modern techniques we are
aware of.  That is what we are doing. However, it is very important that the
idea behind our rectification process be known.  That is very important not
only in the country but also abroad. I heard that in Spain it was something
else. Huge headlines covering the front pages. They were thinking that what
happened in other countries would happen here, that what was done in other
countries would also be done here. Castro purges the Politburo. Well, if we
believe what those newspapers are saying then Pepe [not further identified] was
purged from the Politburo. They do not know that these comrades are respected
and loved by our party and people. As far as they are concerned, assigning
other duties to a comrade or relieving him from performing certain duties that
are no longer justifiable, is a purge. Two comrades have left and four others
have entered. Veiga [Roberto Veiga], the other comrade who left is sitting
right here. Instead of a purge, it was a counterpurge. Two left but four
entered.

30.  So they talk about a purge and they imagine that the world is coming to an
end. As if a terrible situation were unleashing. A terrible situation is the
one being faced by the rest of Latin America. Those countries are really facing
a terrible situation. They have millions upon millions of children abandoned on
the streets, children without parents and without family; an alarming
illiteracy rate, countries where not even 40 percent of the children finish
sixth grade, much less grammar school; countries where there is prostitution,
hunger, malnutrition, and poor health. Over there they talk about Europe's
developed capitalism; however, we have to live with the Third World's
underdeveloped capitalism. That is what we have to live with. But we are not
experiencing what those Third World countries are. They are just checking on us
and making plans. They think....[changes thought]

31.  In Miami, there have been people packing their bags, appointing
commissions for the day when the Cuban revolution ends. Hey, on that day the
island will sink in the ocean! How was that phrased? [audience reply
indistinct] It was Jose Marti who said it, right? Before giving up the fight
for a free and prosperous fatherland, the island will have to sink in the
ocean. That is what he said, right? And a serpent will be born from an eagle's
egg. But here, serpents will not be born from eagle's eggs.  [applause]

32.  Who do they think they are? Do they think they can come back here looking
for buildings? Do they think they can come back to privatize it all, destroy
all the state farms and enterprises? Do they think they can come here to
privatize schools, hospitals, everything? First of all, they will need a new
map. They can no longer direct themselves by where so and so's lands end. Who
do they think we are? Who do they think our people are? They know nothing of
our history; they do not know what our people and our fatherland are capable
of. I think the Hermann crew showed them, and they should have learned their
lesson from the Hermann crew. Those men were not armed, yet they did not care
if they were confronting one or 20 Coast Guard vessels. They did not care if a
carrier was behind the Coast Guard vessel. They will not come in and that is
that. And our country is a gigantic Hermann, but with steel. We have enough
steel to defend ourselves. As I said earlier, we have our NATO and Warsaw Pact
to defend ourselves. We have our armed and organized people, we have our people
who follow the doctrine of the war of the people. What do those people think?
What do they think we are made of?  What kind of blood do they think flows
through our veins? As I have said on other occasions, our blood is a marvelous
mixture.

33.  Do they think they are going to come here and pick mangos or what? Do not
even think about it. The meaning of our work and the agreement reached by the
Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba [PCC] is precisely expressed
in the slogan: The future of our fatherland will be an eternal Baragua!
[applause]

34.  Some sharp reporters saw this and have sent more realistic reports abroad.
They have captured the meaning of that sentence. And that is not all. On 15
March, the day of the Baragua protest, the date of the congress will be
announced. Everyone else is running to hold the congress earlier and we are not
speeding anything up. We will hold it on an appropriate date. [pounds podium
five times] It may be delayed a few days. We want to give the people of
Santiago de Cuba time to finish their theater, but if they do not finish it, we
will hold the congress under a circus tent. We will hold the congress under a
circus tent. [pounds podium five times; applause] It seems inevitable that the
congress will be held in Santiago. They may even have the hotel ready but if
they do not, we will set aside some rooms for the delegates from the buildings
and apartments that are being built there.  We hope the hotel will be ready by
then.

35.  Everything was preceded and inspired by Baragua, the most glorious page of
our history. It is the highest example of heroism that we have in this
hemisphere, in view of those who have abandoned their principles, in view of
the Zanjon declaration. Anyone can understand the meaning and effort of our
party and state, in what direction it is heading, what perfecting the system
means. What is its purpose? It is simply to strengthen the revolution, the
party, our institutions, the National Assembly, our mass organizations. Its
purpose is to make us stronger, not to make us surrender.

36.  Some people think these people can be made to surrender. [pounds podium
three times] Some people believe it. That word was erased from the dictionary a
long time ago, since the days of Antonio Maceo. Maceo could not do as much as
we can. He was fighting for independence. The revolution has a gigantic project
to defend and it has an extraordinary page of history to defend, and it will
defend it under any circumstance and amid any obstacle, and amid the most
inconceivable difficulties, if necessary. That is what the world has to know
about our country.

37.  We are working, all of us, to see what we can and should do to perfect our
party, its leadership role, how to do it.  We are working on what we should do
with the state to perfect it, how to perfect our state and party organizations.

38.  I was telling the comrades of the electoral commission here that the party
has other ideas and they have views on the election of the leaders of the
National Assembly.  We have several criteria. First of all, we need a comrade
who meets all the requirements, including the age requirement, to be able to do
the hard work of the National Assembly. The idea of having a woman be vice
president was not easy. We had to choose between so many valuable women. Some
of them are not in the assembly, others are. The more quality we have in the
collective of people, the harder it is to choose because well-trained cadres
keep increasing. These cadres are capable of undertaking a task in this regard.

39.  Among other subjects, I was explaining that we are analyzing the creation
of closer ties between the government and the National Assembly, a more
systematic tie.  I talked about inviting the president of the National Assembly
to the Executive Committee meetings, where all the problems are analyzed. This
way, the National Assembly can be incorporated not just in the legislative
tasks but also in the execution of the plans for the development of the country
as much as possible. Thus, one could take advantage of the cadres, the
experience, and the talent of the assembly. Now, we do not have the conditions.
This is one of the things we are also thinking about within the concept of
perfecting the state.

40.  Here, we will not do Montesquieu's famous division of power, which is
popular again; it is coming out of prehistory again. Here we have a power, it
is the people's power and the power of the revolution that exercises different
functions. Those functions are independent.  They are not independent or free
organs of the state. The functions are not carried out independently but
instead they have to strictly abide to the laws to do tasks of the government,
the National Assembly, the Tribunals, and the Attorney General's Office. But
here, we do not participate in the doctrine of the famous division of power. It
is hypocritical, because when there is a conservative government--like they
have in the United States--they look for the most recalcitrant judges of the
United States and assign them to their posts for a period of time. The person
who follows him, must remain with the....[changes thought] If a government that
is not too conservative comes, it turns out that all the judges are already
conservative in their school of thought, doctrine, and political thought. They
obey the system. The famous division is a great hypocrisy.

41.  We are more honest. If there is no unity within the state, we have other
independent functions that can be carried out. However, there is not a division
of power. There is no division of power within the state. It is good to recall
this because of the many doctrines that have been heard.  The sense of our
rectification is, among others, to strengthen the revolution, deepen the
revolution. That is the objective, to strengthen and deepen it under the
conditions we are currently living in, and in the world we are currently living
in it is more necessary than ever. It is necessary to accelerate the process of
rectification, which we have not stopped worked on. However, a lot still
remains to be done. That is why I take advantage of this opportunity.

42.  I think there are representatives from the press here.  Some of them
understood very well the sense of our Central Committee meeting. Others were
confused, and who knows how many things they thought because they do not know
our country. What can we do about it? We are a small country here in the
Caribbean. Although I think our country has great merits, it is not a great
power.  When we do something, no one finds out about it, even if we have been
doing it for years. When they feel like it, what we do even seems like
something new to them. This moment is very important; it is a very decisive
moment in the life, history, of our country and of the world. We have very
sacred banners to defend, and we know how to defend them until the final
consequences. Do not misunderstand. Here in the tropics, in the Caribbean
island, things are different, and those who do not know it, better know it.

43.  I think that today we have taken an important step in the election of the
new leadership of the National Assembly.  I will not praise the candidate after
he has been elected.  However, I think his biography is even too synthetic. I
remember when Juanito was with the General Staff of the Ministry of the
Revolutionary Armed Forces, at the time of the Angolan war in 1975. First,
there was [name indistinct] and he went to Angola. Then there was Acevedo [not
further identified] and he went to Angola.  Then Escalona was there. I
witnessed how he worked during that complicated time and an enormous effort had
to be made in which tens of thousands of men went to work there every few weeks
in the General Staff. When I read the biography, that was not stated. Everyone
has seen and discussed it here.

44.  A comrade from the electoral commission was speaking with much enthusiasm
and praise about his work in the Justice Ministry. Others spoke about his
prestige, his role in the trial of Case No. 1 [the trial against Division
General Arnaldo Ochoa]. Some mentioned how he was known by the population and
the respect and prestige he had. I am certain that this lesson--just like
Juanito and Zoila--will be very well received by all the people.

45.  This does not mean that we do not greatly appreciate and have enormous
esteem for Comrade Severo Aguirre del Cristo, who is an old militant. Severo
was a Communist when many of those present here were not yet born and he
remained faithful and served the revolution. He says he is 78 years old. No one
believes him. [laughter] He looks strong and healthy. Nature was kind to him,
generous to him. He is 78 years old and he has been a revolutionary most of his
life. He has fulfilled the tasks the revolution has assigned to him, such as
administrative, political, and diplomatic responsibilities, as well as the
National Assembly. What are they going to say now--that we have purged Severo?
The headline would read: Castro Purges President of the National Assembly! 
They blame Castro for everything. I am not worried about it, but they have the
style and concept of personalizing everything that happens. They also attribute
merits to me--hardly ever though--but sometimes they attribute to an individual
the merit that is exclusively that of the people. They, Westerners as a rule,
have this bad habit in their head. They say: Castro made and unmade. He purged
and unpurged. I want to express in front of everyone, in front of those we know
and in front of strangers, the great appreciation, the great consideration, and
great respect that we feel for Comrade Severo, who was the acting president of
the National Assembly.  [applause]

46.  The step we have taken today is an important one. It strengthens us and it
will prepare us. I really liked what Juanito said and the way he said it. I
liked the way he said that if the aggression should come, then we will pick up
our rifle to defeat the enemy. I liked that. He said what is undoubtedly going
to happen if they attack us.  We will defeat the enemy. There is no doubt about
that.  [applause] Even if they use all their might and occupy our territory,
they will find no peace in this beehive.  They will find nothing; everything
will be a battlefront if the enemy should attack us. That is how convinced and
determined we are.

47.  I do not usually say it, I usually only say the slogan; I do not ask them
to believe us, all I say is wait and see what will happen--that is what I am
telling those who are packing their bags--wait and see what happens. Those who
believe that the revolution is crumbling like a meringue, just wait and see
what happens. We never say these things because we do not want people to think
we are boasting, but we are going to crush the aggressors of our fatherland
like cockroaches; we are going to crush them even if we have to crush them one
by one. But we do not say that, we only say: Wait and see what happens.  But we
do know what is going to happen. (?They are going to die); there is no doubt
about this.

48.  I liked Comrade Juanito's brief but moving words. He was optimistic and
said: and we will again meet at the assembly and we will continue to make laws.
He must be optimistic and he must believe that he is bulletproof.  Perhaps he
has a bulletproof vest. Juanito, we will return; perhaps you will return; the
eternal and immortal people will return.

49.  Socialism or death! Fatherland or death, we will win!  [applause]
-END-


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