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Castro Closes Eighth National Assembly Session
Havana Rebelde Radio and Television Networks
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000022621
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA3112004790
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-90-251          Report Date:    31 Dec 90
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     2
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       10
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       28 Dec 90
Report Volume:       Monday Vol VI No 251


City/Source of Document:   Havana Rebelde Radio and Television Networks

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Closes Eighth National Assembly Session

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro at the eighth session of the National
Assembly of the People's Government

Affiliation(s):   ANPP

Source Line:   PA3112004790 Havana Rebelde Radio and Television Networks in
Spanish 2214 GMT 28 Dec 90

Subslug:   [Closing speech by President Fidel Castro at the eighth session of
the National Assembly of the People's Government (ANPP) at the
Palace of Conventions in Havana--live]

1.  [Closing speech by President Fidel Castro at the eighth session of the
National Assembly of the People's Government (ANPP) at the Palace of
Conventions in Havana--live]

2.  [Text] Comrades, I am going to speak, but this time I am going to be very
brief. [laughter] I am going to speak because I have no choice. Juanito [ANPP
President Juan Escalona Reguera] was saying that it was customary to say a few
words at the end of the year. I have had to talk twice these past few days,
first, at the computer parts forum and then at the FEU [Federation of
University Students] Congress. On each occasion, I spoke about different
subjects, and I do not like to repeat myself. In fact, the students have asked
me to publish my speech before the FEU. I agreed to do so, and it will be
published in JUVENTUTD REBELDE on 30 December and in GRANMA the following day.
Tonight there will be an important activity organized by the youths. They will
speak, and the things that we will hear will surely be very interesting.

3.  The Assembly has been held, and we have discussed a very important program,
so I imagine the press will cover it tomorrow. It makes little sense to deliver
a speech at the ANPP closing. I believe that the food program discussions are
self-explanatory. Everyone took part. I personally spoke many, many times. I
figure that out of 48 hours, 24 were spent discussing the food
program--yesterday, the day before yesterday, and also part of this morning. We
were not even able to discuss all the topics, but everything said was of great
interest. In addition, everything was said with seriousness and there were
in-depth arguments. Countless hours were dedicated to the Assembly. Work was
intense and we worked under pressure to finish in time for tonight's main

4.  I perceive a general feeling of satisfaction among deputies and guests and
people on the street. I have not been out on the street myself, but news
trickles back and the people are satisfied about all the information they hear. 
This was possible because there was live radio and television coverage. Many
people were surprised by the news. At other times these events have been
covered by newspapers. Perhaps the excellent service at this Assembly could
fetch me some water or something else.  For some unknown reason, my mouth is
dry. Can I get water or tea? [applause] We have spoken so much about the
hydraulic program that my mouth got dry. [laughter] Is that what we are having
for lunch? This new habit of having lunch in the middle of the Assembly makes
people sleepy and thirsty. It is risky. I do not know what you are having for
lunch, but there is a great cook upstairs. I generally do not stay, but a few
days ago I stayed talking and lunched there. There was all sorts of food. In
fact, last night we had pigs' tail, feet, and tripe.  [laughter] Perhaps Luis
[not further identified] thought he was obliged because of the food program.
Can you imagine pigs' tail, feet, and tripe and then have to come to a meeting?
[laughter] Just as well that when I was ready to doze in a nearby chair,
Almeida [not further identified] woke me up. [laughter]

5.  I was saying that I detect a feeling of satisfaction about all this work,
but some people have said they knew nothing about the ANPP. These events are
published in the newspapers as often as 10 times and still many people know
nothing of them. They only find out about an assembly debate or an event like
this if they happen to hear it on the radio or if they watch it on television.
The feeling of satisfaction they experience is because they are able to see for
themselves the efforts that have been made. We ourselves feel satisfied because
at one of the revolutions' toughest moments we see better work, we see more
efficient work, and we see that things really get done.

6.  We could describe the things that have been organized this year and the
forces that have been organized this year--and they are fully operational right
in the middle of the special period--as incredible. I doubt that any country
has the food program we have--any country in the world. That is the truth.
There may be countries with millions of square kilometers of land, and they may
be able to let loose some cattle, goats, sheep-- anything--and allow them to
multiply by themselves without supervision.

7.  There are countries with many resources; there are oil producing countries
that are filthy rich with millions and millions of dollars and they can buy
things and import things. Small countries like ours, however, with a large
population like ours....[changes thought] We have as many inhabitants per
square kilometer as the PRC. Well, almost. We undoubtedly have a much higher
percentage of tillable land than the PRC.

8.  Anyway, our country today exports food for 40 million people. We must not
forget that we are exporting food for 40 million people with the sugar and
citrus we export.  In other words, for every Cuban in this little overpopulated
island....[changes thought] We are feeding 40 million people in the world and I
believe that no other country exports more food per square kilometer or more
food per capita with the amount of tillable land that we have. That is the
truth. Our agriculture works. It is far from perfect and we hope it will work
even better because not only do we produce a large amount of the food for our
country, but we also produce food for four people per each inhabitant in this

9.  It is noteworthy that we have such an organized country and that we are
striving to implement a food production program like this one, given that we
are facing a reduction of 3 million tons of fuel, and when there are so many
problems, catastrophes, and instability throughout in the world.

10.  The plans we have reviewed here for developing the hydraulic installations
have no precedent. In fact, keep in mind that we are building the most
difficult dams. All of the simpler ones--which dammed 150 or 200 cubic meters
of water with the movement of 1 million cubic meters of earth and whose sluices
were easy to build--have already been completed. A dam will be built in
Llatera, which will require the removal of 4 million cubic meters of land and
will dam 100 million cubic meters of water. One million cubic meters of earth
removed to dam 25 million cubic meters of water.  Many of the dams we are
building are like this, in which we have to use cement, and which have [word
indistinct]. This poses a problem because [words indistinct] and we have to
build a canal which measures more than 70 km long. In sum, these are the most
difficult dams and we [words indistinct].

11.  In a single year, we are building more than what we built in the 1980-1985
five-year period. We are building a large number of canals and wells. We built
wells and mini-dams where there were none. We are constructing a larger number
of irrigation systems and are also constructing a large number of engineering
systems for rice and sugarcane. We are going to apply these engineering systems
for basic products next year. We are carrying out a program for the production
of greens and vegetables.  There are also programs to increase the production
of rice, sugarcane, pigs, eggs, poultry, beef, and goat meat.  There are also
programs for the production of citrus fruits and fruits in general. Many of
these programs are part of the Manati Plan.

12.  We will plant fruit trees wherever there is room, along with forest trees.
This is included in two big plans, two tremendous plans we are working on: the
Turquino Plan and the Manati Plan.

13.  The Turquino Plan has social and strategic objectives. It is important
that the people return to the mountains, that the mountains are suitable for
living, that the mountains have trees, forest trees, and fruit trees and that
they be suitable for the production of food. It is important that the mountains
have their own source of electric energy and communication. It is especially
important to populate the mountains.

14.  We are happy to report that we are already producing 50,000 cubic feet of
wood from the forests we have planted. We have set up a new sawmill in Pinar
del Rio and it will produce approximately 50,000 cubic feet of wood from the
forests planted by the revolution.

15.  These two plans, the Turquino and the Manati, are very important plans.
These programs are being carried out everywhere in the country.

16.  The plans for planting pasture. Last year we planted pasture in more than
13,000 caballerias. This year we planted 20,000 caballerias.

17.  I think that we have to start planting pasture from the beginning of 1991
to be able to plant more than what was planted this year, and to do it while
improving both quantity and quality because pasture now is being planted with
more attention being paid to the soil, the variety of pastures and to the

18.  We are increasing the planting of legumes as a source of protein. This
year we have planted 140 caballerias with [word indistinct]. In 1991 we plan to
plant 1,000 caballerias, and the following, 5,000 or 10,000 caballerias,
depending on the legumes used for planting.

19.  This year we bought 100 kg of legumes. The following year we will have
more than 1 ton of legumes for planting.

20.  A special efforts is being made in all branches of the agriculture sector.
In some branches we are advancing faster than in others. What is being done in
Havana is revolutionary. It began some months ago. It was only until a few
months ago that we fully understood the problems in Havana, the white fly and
the effect of heat on potatoes, which negatively affected the country's
harvest. It became necessary to do a special spring planting and we planted in
spring time and all the plantations were quickly planted with pasture.

21.  It became very evident that if the labor force problem was not resolved,
other problems would not be resolved.  We no longer had students available.
Many of the workers were going on vacation. At a meeting at the Central
Organization of Cuban Trade Unions building, we discussed a party document on
this issue. That meeting took place in July. This is December. Within five
weeks at the latest, 61 new camps capable of housing 310 workers each will be
completed. The conditions are being created for the mobilization of 20,000
workers from the capital, without counting 5,000 or 6,000 workers who will work
in Pinar del Rio Province on tomato crops to be shipped to Havana. If you could
only see the changes that have taken place in that province!  Workers that used
to work four or five hours are now working at least eight, inspired by the
noble effort of and the sacrifices being made by the workers from the capital.

22.  They are being inspired by the long work hours, by the productivity of
those workers. There has been a revolution in the province. Conditions have
been created so that the province may be able to satisfy its own supply needs.
In general terms, I believe that by the second half of the year, the province
will be able to satisfy its own supply needs, except for pineapple and other
goods it may receive from abroad, as long as there is no hurricane, a danger
that, as I have said on other occasions, exists.

23.  In a matter of months, there has been a revolution in the countryside and
in the cities and this has to do not only with the number of caballerias
planted, but with the quality of the planting, and in the utilization of
technology. This is why I was asking Constantin Pere, the companero from Santa
Clara or Santo Domingo, about cycles, about the production from a short cycle
and a lengthy cycle of sweet potatoes and yucca, and other details. All this is
important because Havana Province will have to plant approximately 650
caballerias of sweet potatoes and yucca, after it plants potatoes, tomatoes,

24.  That is the only way to have enough edible roots for the second half of
the year because we will have potatoes during the first half. All these
details, and many more, are necessary to sow and harvest things; to sow things
in flowerbeds; to fight the burrowing insect or (tetuan) as you call it. All
this information is enormously important for the sowing that must be done in
clean, absolutely clean, plantations. I want you to know that Havana Province
once had so many weeds among the potato plants that the fields first had to be
cleared with a machine. Many of the administrators told me: We sowed the
potatoes and as soon as we harvested the seeds we were left without a labor

25.  Not a single weed will be left among the plants now. The weeds that have
to be pulled out by hand will be pulled out by hand; and the comrades estimate
is that they will get 6,000 quintals or more per caballeria per province, in
all the farms, because they have never had all these means and resources and
conditions. This will be possible if we do not get exceptionally hot weather or
something such as a winter cyclone--like the ones which have occurred here. The
plantations look good. The tomatos are coming out well in Pinar del Rio and
Havana. The same goes for the garlic, onions, and potatoes.

26.  The whitefly has almost disappeared because it has a lot enemies
entrenched beside it, ranging from natural products like the refuse from coffee
plantations to certain biological controls and other kinds of controls. The
whitefly problem is being completely controlled. There are no weeds so far, and
weeds harbor all these plagues.  Hundreds of laboratories were built in a
matter of weeks to have all the biological means.

27.  Plantains are being raised at a tremendous rate. I think that the
plantations being built by the Blas Roca Contingent in Holguin--the first 50
caballerias will have the microjet system--are something worth seeing because
each caballeria has 900 columns. You do not know if they are sowing something
or if they are building a sugar mill instead of sowing a crop. The 50
caballerias for the aerial microjet system being built by the Blas Roca
Contingent and the 30th Brigade will have 45,000 concrete columns.  They will
build....[changes thought] Two hundred caballerias will be equipped with the
aerial microjet system in Havana Province and 200 caballerias will be equipped
with the surface microjet system. One hundred caballerias equipped with surface
microjet system will be sowed with burro-type plantain and another 100
caballerias will be sowed with burro-type plantain and raspberries. Only the
state will sow 600 caballerias. You know how to add and divide, and you will be
able to calculate how much plantain these caballerias can yield--without

28.  We are adopting anti-plague measures, preventive measures, using all kinds
of products. We have asked our scientists to concentrate their efforts in the
struggle against yellow sigatoka and against black sigatoka, too, because it
has appeared all of a sudden in some isolated areas of the republic, like these
things always happen. We are undertaking all the necessary measures to fight
that disease. We have asked the scientists to make an all-out effort and study
it; if necessary, we have to produce the pesticides here to control that
disease. Just imagine, only the state will sow 600 caballerias with different
crops and at an incredibly high technical level, and it was done in a few
months. This has been since July.

29.  Meanwhile, the comrades's efforts increased. They organized some Youth
Labor Army battalions. We realized that we needed almost all the Youth Labor
Army in Havana if we really wanted to have all the labor force we needed.

30.  Right now, all the plans are ready and more than half the camps have been
built, with the remaining camps already pinpointed exactly where they should
be. The Council of Ministers Executive Committee discussed each and every point
concerning where camps will be located and where each community and town will
be.  Quality scale models of each town are being made. The building of these
towns will begin during the first quarter of 1991. I want to warn you, dear
comrades, that this work took several weeks. This should give some idea of how
fast work progressed.

31.  This program is not just for Havana, it is for the entire country. That is
why yesterday I asked the Holguin Province delegate--because at the beginning
of the year we looked for all the steel we had and sent it to Holguin
Province--if they could increase their irrigation area. All the available steel
was sent to Las Tunas Province to deal with the drought and to build the
requred irrigation system. We are pleased to hear that in a couple of years
they will have nearly three caballerias, or at least two and a half caballerias
for every 1,000 inhabitants. Bear in mind that I am comparing it to Havana
Province, which will have about one caballeria for every 1,000 inhabitants.
This will be more than enough.

32.  We have set certain goals, but they are very modest goals.  The 2,700
caballerias the cooperatives have, about 17,000 caballerias--between 16,000 and
18,000 caballerias--that the farmers have, plus the 22,000 caballerias the
state has, will serve to grow our food in these approximately 40,000
hectares--slightly more than one caballeria for every 1,000 inhabitants. This
will be more than enough land for the province, except for growing potatoes.
Nearby provinces will grow them. We also plan to grow plantains in Ciego de
Avila Province. These are crops that would be affected the most by a cyclone.
The same holds true if there is a cyclone anywhere else.  Havana Province can
cooperate perfectly well. Between Havana and Ciego de Avila provinces we might
end up with some surpluses. Under normal conditions we can export these
plantains. It is expensive to build microjet irrigation systems for plantains.
More than $20,000 in convertible foreign exchange must be spent on tubing and
hoses, plus the underground tubing. In addition, each caballeria uses 80 tons
of fertilizer each year. I have calculated that if we export 100 caballerias of
plantains we can purchase all the raw materials, pesticides, and fertilizers
needed for 2,500 caballerias of plantain. This is why we are going to see if
plantains can finance the convertible foreign exchange we will need for
fertilizer and pesticides. I can assure you comrades that this enormous
achievement in agriculture in Havana, from the moment we became fully aware of
what we had--was basically only kept up by the students. We must say that about
1,000 quintals dropped to the ground in each caballeria, to be later picked up.
[sentence as heard]

33.  Agriculture in Havana Province will now flourish under these new and
revolutionary conditions. I say that here is where we had the biggest problem.
I am happy to learn that Las Tunas Province is going to have three caballerias
for every 1,000 inhabitants. We must apply all possible techniques.

34.  Holguin is going to have at least two. It must be taken into consideration
that in your province, the rural population that is self-sufficient in
producing vegetables is larger. Your urban population is smaller. Santiago de
Cuba will have 1,030 or 1,100 caballerias. This will be possible, to a large
extent, thanks to the efforts of the party, and to the work of Comrade Laso,
who sought self-sufficiency in suplies for an area where self-sufficiency
seemed so difficult.

35.  They have an urban population of approximately 600,000 and they are
cultivating food in the mountains.  Havana, I beg your pardon, Santiago de Cuba
can be self-sufficient with 1,100 caballerias or 1,000 caballerias because 1.5
or 1.6 caballerias provide full self-sufficiency.  [sentence as heard]

36.  We have made careful estimates about what each field can yield and how
much the rotation of crops can help.

37.  Let me tell you that self-sufficiency can be provided not with three or
four quintals, but with five quintals.  [sentence as heard]

38.  The 600 caballerias planted with plantain in Havana alone should produce
almost four quintals of plantain per capita. This is just one little example.
The caballerias being irrigated with microjet pumps are producing 30,000
quintals. The caballerias with on-the-surface irrigation systems are producing
20,000 quintals. The caballerias planted with plantain of the burro variety are
producing 10,000 quintals.

39.  It is important that all this technology gets to you, that you implement
the new techniques produced by the universities. I am happy to see clearly that
we are going to have improved production in spite of a drought.  Provinces
facing troubles would be helped. If we have to reduce some export, we will do
it. One advantage of self-sufficiency is that we save on gas. If we have a
surplus of goods, perhaps not plantain but items such as sweet potatoes and
yucca, we can help the pig farms.  They will benefit from surpluses, including
the stubble, leftovers, and rotten fruits. Pigs can be given sweet potatoes
when there is a surplus and yucca. I am not going to say plantain. Plantain can
be exported. It is not suitable to feed plantain to pigs.

40.  I assure you that with the kind of irrigation that provinces are acquiring
they will be able to be self-sufficient, but not at the level of three
quintals. Five quintals represents a surplus. We have to reach for the sky, for
surpluses, so that if there is a difficulty, we still would have enough. If we
push only for what is needed and we run into a difficulty, we would run short.

41.  You have to carefully study the variety of plants, the soil, the climate,
and crop rotations. There is a more efficient plow. Do not forget. Let us see
if by the next cold season we have approximately 1,000 of them. We have built
some plows. When Comrade Ignacito spoke yesterday about the 276 more efficient
plows, he meant to say 276 tillers for preparing seedbeds. There are two kinds
of tillers: one that goes behind the new efficient plow and cuts the soil, and
one that goes over the surface, cultivating it.  The latter is the cultivation
tiller. Havana has 66 tillers for preparing seedbeds. They are cutting devices.

42.  We have a project for producing durable devices that will not break when
they run over rocks or into any other kinds of resistance. We discussed this
during a meeting with the people of Havana. We have a plan. We cannot do the
same for all the provinces but we are going to see if we can make available
here some 250 units of that kind of equipment. We are thinking about such a
plan. There are approximately 1,000 more efficient plows now. They are easy to
build. The building of the two tillers is more complicated. These plows must
include the tiller for preparing seedbeds and the cultivation tiller.

43.  We will do our best to distribute enough of them. If we cannot distribute
100 percent, then at least a sizeable amount of equipment will be distributed
throughout the provinces to sow the wheat. Thus, by October, you should have
the equipment manufactured by our mechanical industry. We must bear in mind
that these plows not only turn the soil, but that it also compacts the soil and
does many other things. Keep your eyes on the province as far as edible roots
and vegetables production are concerned. The experience acquired in Santo
Domingo and many other places must be used here. Everyone is working hard in
the agriculture sector and looking for every available patch of land to raise
things. I think this is excellent, and it has never before occurred in our

44.  Since we mentioned excellent attitudes--even though I mentioned them--we
must point out the attitude adopted by the people of Havana who were mobilized
not only every 15 days but also for two years. They are going to work hard;
they are not going to a picnic in the countryside. The amazing thing is that
they fulfill and surpass the goals--men and women alike are sent for 15 days.
During the first four or five days they get blisters and all kinds of things
but still fulfill and surpass the goals. They work at least 10 hours.

45.  The contingents are more seasoned. We have sent contingents to areas where
plantain crops must be sown, where hard work is necessary, and where towns must
be built. We have sent a contingent wherever it is necessary to build a town.
Those working on the plaintain crops will hardly have time to build houses.
They need reinforcements to build the town because work in the plantain fields
continues all year long. Those who work on assorted and seasonal crops will
build the town when they are not working in the field. I suggest that you all
follow the same principles and organize the first contingents. Then we will try
to provide them--as we did with the construction groups--with the same living
conditions that they had here. You know through experience that everything
which starts here immediately extends to the rest of the country, and we
certainly want you organize at least one contingent in each province. We must
try to give them the same material comforts and the same food that the
contingents have here. Those mobilized from the capital who are working many
hours are being given almost the same food that is given to the construction

46.  You may use these ideas. I have spoken about the efforts we are making
with citrus. We are planning to increase, as of 1992, or as soon as we can
expand what we have, the amount of land irrigated by the microjet and dribble
systems. The planned increase is 1,000 caballerias annually. Next year we will
be irrigating a few hundred caballerias that will be used for plantain
production. We are going to have 40,000 km of hose lines. This is enough for
irrigating more than 2,000 caballerias annually.

47.  I have explained already that part of this will be maintained in storage.
We do not know what would happen to rubber hoses in case of a hurricane. Other
devices are safe because they are held up in the air. How will the bars resist?
I think they will resist fine. How will the steel where the bunches of plantain
are tied resist? When bunches weigh more than 60 pounds they make the plant
bend and collapse, even without the influence of winds.  In Ciego de Avila, the
workers using the microjet system are producing bunches that weigh up to 100
and 120 pounds. We have estimated the damage that a hurricane can produce and
we believe that it cannot destroy a plantation. We would have to repair hoses
but not underground pipelines. A plantation with a microjet system can last up
to 40 years. Plantations with surface irrigation systems may last 12 or 14 or
15 years.

48.  Think about this joint effort. I wonder if there is any Third World
country, or any other country, making such an effort to produce food.
Supposedly, it is necessary to have an annual increase of 40 dairy farms to be
able to meet the needs of the population increase. We are creating 240 dairy
farms annually.

49.  There are also installations that have nothing to do with dairy cattle.
Serious obstacles must be overcome. We must resolve problems related to food,
insemination, volume, and the availability of milking cows. All this requires
that all provinces make a special effort. I recommend that this special effort
be made because it is in these areas where we have had the most difficulties.

50.  The executive committees have thoroughly discussed the pork issue. There
are many recommendations. We also made a special recommendation. Then there is

51.  We must win that battle in 1991. We have to win. There are technological
innovations. We must introduce automatic feeding and reduce losses. We must
prevent the death of piglets by asphyxiation. We must forget the system of
cages mounted one on top of the other. We must substitute concrete with hollow
bricks. We have to adopt such measures.

52.  There are other kinds of problems, which I have explained here. They
concern the resources to purchase grains and the arrival, unloading, and
transportation of grains.

53.  We should not have to constantly modify formulas because of their poor
quality; this considerably and negatively affects production.

54.  You have heard all that has been said about saccharine.  This represents a
clear possibility for implementation in the raising of cattle, which needs it
the most. We must safeguard cattle, even if we must use sugarcane from the
mills, although this should not be necessary. In the future, when we have more
sugarcane in the mills, we can get sugarcane from there. Cattle and pigs must
receive excellent protection--the best kind--to be able to have the production
increases we are aiming at.

55.  It is probable that egg consumption will be regulated because egg
consumption has increased tremendously.  Even if it goes under regulation, we
are going to continue increasing egg production throughout the country. We are
going to implement a plan that calls for an additional 700 million eggs. We are
already building facilities. So we will have 3,000 or 3,500 eggs, or
approximately 300 eggs per capita. [figures as heard] The 300 eggs include
those used in the food industry, in sweets, cakes, and in everything that
contains egg. There are social consumption eggs: the ones made available to
schools, hospitals, and dining halls for workers. If we produce 30 million
eggs, this does not mean that everybody is going to get 300 eggs. At least
one-third of those eggs will be for social consumption, but still, ours is a
high consumption figure, one of the highest egg consumption figures in the
world.  This should be clear. It is noteworthy that our country is able to do
this at this moment.

56.  Yesterday we were asking about fuel because dams, channels, irrigation
systems, and engineering systems for rice must keep functioning. As I
explained, we will have two, or perhaps more, rice production brigades. Next
year we will have at least 27, and if we try real hard we may have 30 brigades.

57.  Next year we will build 350 harrows, twelve each month.  Twelve each month
represent 164 harrows and maybe one or two more. [figures and sentence as
heard] We can do this for rice at least. These projects cannot be halted for
any reason. I think we all clearly understand that.

58.  The construction of embankments with rocks can be delayed a little. It can
take three, four, or five more months. This is a more flexible plan. Work can
be done in the spring, when dams often have to stop functioning.  This work is
done with rocks, not clay.

59.  Yesterday we were studying how to prevent the following from no longer
functioning: dam and channel systems; irrigation systems; gully and irrigation
systems; enginnering systems of rice fields; microjet systems in plantain
fields; the irrigation of citrus by the microjet and dribble systems; the
irrigation works being carried out by an agriculture force, which includes more
than 30 brigades working on a variety of crops; and irrigation works for
citrus. None of these must stop working, and we are adopting every measure to
prevent any kind of delay, even if the special period becomes harsher and even
if we have to use the 200,000 oxen we are training now.  Anything but a stop.
This kind of activity cannot stop, just like sugar harvest machines cannot stop
because they would have to be replaced by 300,000 men.

60.  Imagine the cost of camps, transportation, food, beds, mattresses, and
clothes for 300,000 men. This is why we will get fuel for the sugar harvest
machines from any source. It is preferable to use bicycles for personal
transportation in the cities than to have these machines stop working.

61.  I think our people should be proud of what we are doing and how we are
doing it a time when the country has less convertible foreign exchange, the
trade with the socialist countries of Eastern Europe is virtually nonexistent,
and the Soviet Union is experiencing great difficulties. No one would have
dreamed of what we are doing in our position.

62.  It should go without saying that the special peacetime measures--in
addition to some of the characteristics for which the people praise
them--allows and even forces true optimization. These measures force us to do
things perfectly. We usually do many things in normal times.  None of these
things, however, can be done during the special peacetime period. The
construction of new schoolhouses has been stopped. We can build one because it
will be devoted to a special project and will replace an old one. There will be
no new schoolhouses for the time being, however. We have such fine buildings
already--although the number is still insufficient--and we can not afford to
build any more schoolhouses for a while. We have such fine clinics and
hospitals, as you have seen, that we can afford not to start the construction
of any more hospitals. We will try to complete the system as soon as it is
practicable. We have a great need for housing, but any houses we may build will
have to be built to solve an urgent problem such as when a dam is being built
and the local residents must be evacuated.  We will now consider the food
program and the need to keep the capital supplied. The construction of new
homes has been suspended in the capital. Houses must be built, however, where
there is an urgent need for them. This is the meaning of optimization. So we
will have to wait for some time.

63.  We will take care of our construction materials industry.  We cannot for
one second overlook the importance of a quarry, a sand bed, or a construction
block manufacturing plant. We have spent more than $100 million in the past
three years to have these materials available. We spent $15 million only to
increase the capacity of a Mariel plant by 400,000 tons. It is already
operating at this higher production level. We will even continue to build a
cement manufacturing plant with the help of the metalworking industry so that
we can build 100,000 homes per year as soon as possible. We have reached an
impressive production capability for blocks, bricks, and tiles. We have
expanded the capacity of the Antillana Industries to nearly 1 million tons. We
will continue to work on our steel mills--not so much on steel rolling--
because with the steel mill we have in [words indistinct] we can easily
manufacture 200,000 tons of steel rods. We will proceed slowly but at the same
time we will store materials so that we can resume our construction activities
full steam as soon as possible. This is when we will use many of the spare
hands. Some of them we will even have to send home. We will have to cut the
working shifts to four or even three hours a week. The time will come when we
will also have to [one-second break in transmission]. We must also preserve
this industry and this store of materials for the time when we can resume our
normal construction activities.

64.  The special peacetime measures makes it possible for us to optimize our
resources. Should anybody want anything pretty, I tell him to be patient. We
concluded some works, such as the Concentradores market, several weeks ago. We
also concluded the construction of the structure for the Pan-American Games and
the congressional facilities, which will be even more comfortable. There are
unavoidable commitments, where the investment is nearly complete. We are at the
last stage. The special period allows for optimization. This is one of its
advantages for the country's economy. The special period has forced us to buy
bicycles, whose health advantages for the people have been discovered. People
will no longer have to hang on to buses. When we again have more than enough
fuel and when we again can operate whatever needs to be operated, we should
continue to use the bicycles. I think bicycles are here to stay. In this
country, which does not have a single subway and where everybody has had to use
buses, bicycles were more and more conspicuous by their absence while doctors
every day praised the virtues of exercise and stressed the need to fight
inertia. Millions of bicycles will be put in circulation during the special
peacetime period. We are building five bicycle-manufacturing plants. I hope
that someday there will be as many bicycles per capita in Cuba as in the
Netherlands, which has been using bicycles--although it is much older country
than ours.  They are a wealthy people and one of Europe's most highly developed
countries. I think they are a good example of what a developed society can do.

65.  Do you know why they use bicycles? Not because of a fuel shortage but
because they had fuel to spare and because they were poisoning their cities.
Not because of a fuel shortage but because they discovered that riding bicycles
was much better for their health. It is said that in the Netherlands even a
number of ambassadors ride bicycles. It has happened that an ambassador was
being awaited, when all of a sudden a man arrived riding a bicycle. It was the
ambassador, although those awaiting him could not believe their eyes.
Apparently they had expected to see him get out of a large Mercedes with three
flags, but he arrived aboard a modest bicycle. He was the ambassador to the

66.  We will have reason to be forever grateful for the special peacetime
period. Not only that, I am sure that this period forces us to make such an
effort and ponder such things that in the future the country's progress will be
two or three times more rapid. We will have won the battle of the
consciences--such as this one we are winning for the optimum use of natural
resources--over the danger of swelled payrolls. The country will profit greatly
and I am sure that our young people are responding. The university students
have opened the bicycle era. We held an impressive congress with them. Not long
ago we met with technicians, engineers, and representatives of hundreds of
thousands of workers who are in this program and we held a forum. It was
impressive. Our people are impressive. I keep in constant touch with
scientists. I keep getting more and more in touch with more and more
scientists. What they are doing is impressive. The role they have played here
is impressive. I have heard the opinion of the people on the favorable
impression caused by the scientists' speeches. Here we saw evidence that
another pillar and a great instrument of the country is being built for this
battle to get out of the special peacetime period as soon as possible and to
speed up the country's development. This is another privileged activity. I was
going to say priority and privileged came out of my mouth instead. Now that I
think of it, I should have said privileged.

67.  It is a privilege for Cuba to have the scientific personnel it has. This
is why I said I would not exchange the privilege of having these scientific
personnel for the privilege of having at our disposal the oil surplus of the
country with the most oil. I can assure you, comrades, that these scientists
are much more valuable than oil.  Their value cannot be assessed; it is
immeasurable. What they can give the country is also immeasurable. We have them
here and working. If the country cared for the work of the scientists and the
scientific research centers, this attention has now been multiplied threefold
or fourfold.

68.  Previously, the scientists had to be on somebody's back to get something,
such as a fermenter, a microscope, or anything else. Now the country will be on
the scientists' backs to learn what they need. These things, of course, will
not be to play or squander resources but to do what scientists must do at this
time for their homeland and country in this special period: Win this battle and
stimulate the country's development. That is one of the main priorities of this
special period. Fortunately, that takes up much less fuel than the construction
of dams and canals, but scientists will have the means, the equipment, and the
industries to work.

69.  Many times we have put scientists to work and at the same time we have
built manufacturing plants. Every time we have had the results of a scientific
research project, we have applied it to production immediately.  Ah, if the
socialist countries had done this, they would very likely be head and shoulders
above capitalism now.

70.  Sometimes capitalists went to the Soviet Union to buy an invention or a
patent to use it, and sometimes they took 20 years. We took some time with our
inventions too, but that has changed radically. That started changing since the
beginning of this decade, when we discovered the possibility of making some

71.  Sometimes the people were learning the techniques over there, and over
here the equipment they were going to use was already being installed. We do
not waste 24 hours and sometimes not even one hour between the time we have a
scientific result and the time the decision is made to make a laboratory with a
pilot plant. That activity does not depend on fuel. Comrades, that is an
activity that pays for itself.

72.  I would like to tell you that all this biology, science, and
bio-technology pay for themselves in convertible assets.  They no longer need
loans from tourism or sugar industries. Soon they will be able to lend to the
tourism industry and even to the sugar industry. It is enough to say that,
starting today, science, bio-technology, and the pharmaceutical industry are
self-sufficient and they get everything that is invested in them. The country
no longer spends money on them; they are financially independent as far as
assets are concerned.

73.  The best working groups will be assigned to these activities once they
have finished the work they are doing now or if the work has stopped. That is
why when we spoke to Comrade Cardenas a few days ago about a laboratory that is
to be built quickly for use by a group of eminent scientists who have made
important discoveries, I told him to get the best labor force for the job, the
best architects to make the designs, and the best construction crew to build
the laboratory at full speed. I said the same to (Undala) in the Ciego
Province: Get the best architects and the best labor force. In Villa Clara too.
I said the same to Comrade Lasso on 27 December. He is going to have too many
idle workers now. Lasso has constructed as many pig farms as he could in the
area. He has now practically finished the pig farms, or these will be finished
at the same time the congressional period ends. I told him: Take the best
personnel and the best architects to start research in science, bio-
technology, and the pharamceutical industry. During normal times we could not
have done this. We had a great amount of construction work being carried out.
We had so many commitments we could not break.

74.  Thousands of projects in the tourism sector, which is an important source
of income, sometimes lacked the necessary labor force. We will now ensure that
we have a sufficient labor force in our efforts to build as many hotels as
necessary. Tourism is another activity that should be self-sufficient. I
believe that tourism will soon be financing itself with convertible foreign
exchange to secure its entire development regardless of the fact that we have
mixed enterprises for those capitalists who wish to bring their resources and

75.  New possibilities are also emerging. Proposals are virtually flooding us
for mixed enterprises, partnerships, or societies. This proves that there is
trust in the revolution.  This shows us that the predictions that the Cuban
revolution would crumble like a house of cards were wrong. For as time passes,
far from crumbling, the revolution is growing stronger and more powerful.

76.  I can sincerely say that the current militant spirit is stronger than last
year's; it is greater. This shows that we can resist and that we can do better
things in difficult times. Perhaps we will do more things better as we face
increasingly difficult situations. The people have already started to use oxen
and grow gardens everywhere.

77.  It is evident that the Cuban revolution is very different and that it was
built on a solid foundation. Regardless of our people's mistakes--we know they
exist and we notice them--the sum total of our people's virtues surpass the
virtues of any people in the world. That is evident. We are not discouraged
when lumpen or rats escape from boats. They must feel ashamed all their lives
because they do not really escape but just jump into the water.

78.  We will wait and see what happens in the capitalist world. We will wait
and see what happens in the United States with the tremendous crisis that is
approaching.  We will wait and see what happens in the developed capitalist
world with the crisis that is approaching.

79.  I have not yet even mentioned the Third World. If this war explodes, which
would be very bad for everyone, its consequences will also be seriously felt in
the developed capitalist world and more so in the United States because this
country is entering a recession.

80.  The Third World will have to deal with the oil crisis in addition to the
capitalist world's recession, which purchases a host of things from the Third
World. Therefore, we shall see what happens around us. There are serious
problems. The USSR has serious problems. As we have said before, however, we
are hopeful that they will overcome these problems and difficulties. It is
especially encouraging to know of the feelings of friendship of the Soviet
people, of the Soviet leadership, and of the country's most prestigious people,
independent of a group of mercenaries and poor devils who sold out to the CIA.
It is a real fact that we have the friendship of the Soviet people, from the
most important sectors of that great country. They have good relations with us.
They love and trust us. They admire the way that Cuba acts, the dignified way
in which Cuba wages its struggles, and Cuba's courage and independent spirit.

81.  Nevertheless, we shall see what happens around us. We must be prepared. We
must continue to prepare ourselves and not for even a minute rest on our
laurels to ensure that we will continue to carry on our current projects even
amid conditions that are worse than now.  We are determined to resist at all
costs. That will be the task of our parties, state, government, youth, and mass
organizations. These are the tasks that we are not implementing and everyone
should understand this clearly.  The year 1990 has ended and here we are,
firmer and stronger than ever. [applause]

82.  The year 1991 is about to start and we await it with courage, with our
heads held high, with a greater morale, with more confidence, and with more
security than ever before. We will see. We will see. We have all gone through
difficult times. We have rearranged our forces.  We have reorganized to become
tougher in all fields.

83.  The Yankees thought we would sink. They said: With all the events that
have taken place they cannot save themselves. Then they found out that we were
strong militarily. Now they know how strong we are politically.  They know how
strong we are in getting organized and how strong we are in dealing with our
problems. They believed they could and we could not. They thought that only
their computers and scientists could solve problems. In the field of science,
we can do whatever they do, or, at least, many of the scientific things they do
and some we can even do better. In the science of politics we know more than
they do. In the science of the revolution, which is the highest expression of
politics, we know much more than they do.

84.  We are a hard nut to crack not only because of the weapons in our hands
but because of the beliefs of the entire nation. We will continue to be a hard
nut to crack during the special period. We know what we have to do in
situations such as this one and we know the policies that need to be followed.
See for yourselves how we are dealing with the first phase of the special
period. We have yet to turn off a single light bulb in any home. No one is
unemployed. We do not have any starving citizens in the streets. We are going
to have more food. At least, we will have more food of the kind we produce. We
will have much more food of the kind we are able to produce.

85.  I am sure that those who admired the Cuban revolution in the past will
admire it much more in the future. The history of our nation is rich in the
feats that have been carried out up to now but it will be much richer with the
feats we are carrying out now and the ones we will accomplish during this
period. It will be far richer with our accomplishments in the future.

86.  I said I was going to be brief and I have almost kept my word. I did not
forget for a moment that Juanito is tense or he was tense. Much less did I
forget that our duty is to be present at the big party, at the big event of our
glorious Communist youth.

87.  Socialism or death. Homeland or death. We will win.  [applause]