Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Discusses Free Farmers Markets
Havana Cuba Vision Network
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     FL2310213091
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-91-207          Report Date:    25 Oct 91
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     4
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       18
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       19 Oct 91
Report Volume:       Friday Vol VI No 207


City/Source of Document:   Havana Cuba Vision Network

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Discusses Free Farmers Markets

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro and other party members, held at the
Heredia Theater in Santiago de Cuba-recorded]

Source Line:   FL2310213091 Havana Cuba Vision Network in Spanish 0130 GMT 19
Oct 91

Subslug:   [``Excerpt'' of highlights of the 13 October session of the Fourth
Communist Party of Cuba Congress, with remarks by President Fidel
Castro and other party members, held at the Heredia Theater in
Santiago de Cuba-recorded]

1.  [``Excerpt'' of highlights of the 13 October session of the Fourth
Communist Party of Cuba Congress, with remarks by President Fidel Castro and
other party members, held at the Heredia Theater in Santiago de Cuba-recorded]

2.  [Excerpt] [passage omitted] [Castro] I have been waiting until the
discussion ended to make some comments. I want to express some thoughts but I
did not want to exert any influence, I did not want to influence any views
which the delegates might have, since we are very interested that this subject,
or any other subject, be discussed with complete freedom.

3.  I think we have been very democratic. We have done things correctly. We
have not been excessively democratic, but correctly democratic. I think it
honors our congress that any comrade, in this case the delegate from Pinar del
Rio, had wanted to discuss this subject again and did so from the first day,
even though this subject had already been discussed in the province. He
introduced this subject together with other subjects and we, undoubtedly,
agreed with him, especially on how the debates, the preparations, and the
speeches were to be conducted, on what to say, and all other issues of this
kind. He also took the opportunity to say that he had some other things he
wanted to talk about and that he was interested in discussing the issue of the
free farmers market. I said, we are going to engage in a debate on the free
farmers market.

4.  I believe his request to discuss this issue is correct for one reason, and
I believe we will all agree. Many people in many places brought up the issue of
the free farmers market during the assemblies to discuss the call to the
congress. I think it is good that this subject was also brought up and
discussed in the congress. We know there are many militants, common folks, and
honest people who ask themselves the same question and wonder if this could be
a solution, whether this might help to somehow solve the problems of the
situation we face.

5.  I believe that in order to understand well this issue, although many
arguments have been brought up, there is still a lack of supporting arguments.
It is a matter of important concepts. There are even historical precedents,
such as the role of small properties, of mini-states, of large production
enterprises, of work productivity, of agrarian production, all those issues.

6.  At the beginning of the revolution we almost made an enormous mistake as a
result of tendencies prevailing in the international revolutionary movement and
departing from the socialist experience in which the first thing always done
was to distribute the lands; they distribute all the land. That is the way it
was done in the USSR and in Bulgaria. I was told that 3 million parcels of land
were distributed in Bulgaria. The land was also distributed in the USSR. I have
my doubts that in the USSR [5-second break in reception]. There was no
machinery, there was no technology, there was nothing. All they had were
millions of [words indistinct] who were tired of feudal exploitation and
looting and who wanted the land. The slogan of the Bolshevik revolution was:
peace, bread, and land. They lacked economic development, manual labor,
literacy, and machinery. There was also a strong political demand for the land
to be distributed. Giving each person one or two hectares of land so that they
could be self-sufficient, was the best thing they could do. If they produced
more than they needed, then that food was sent to the cities.

7.  For years the farmers produced and produced more than they consumed. But
there came a day when it became evident that the small land owners could not
supply all the food for the people. The most the small land owners could
produce was 40 or 50 tons of cereal, but in the long run they found that the
country would not advance or produce more food if they did not unite the land.
Their biggest problem, the serious problem, [8-second break in reception] so
they used force to unite the land. They used forceful measures to unite the
land. There were many peasants who were revolutionaries and they were willing
to help; however, there were others who were not willing to help. The idea of
the gulags was developed and the gulags in Russia had six or seven, perhaps 10
hectares.  Some of our peasants still have 50 or 60 hectares and we have never
called these areas gulags. We have respected them, we have used different
terminology, ideas, policies. The Soviets who had to unite the land to promote
the production of food [4-second break in reception] gave way to the use of
force, to catastrophes, death of animals-many people killed their animals-and
they had to pay a very high price for doing this. Almost all that land was
divided into cooperatives. The peasants were given a piece of land, maybe half
a hectare, 4,000 meters, 3,000 meters, some had more, some had less.  During my
first visit to the USSR I was able to see that the piece of land they gave to
the peasants differed according to the Republic. For example, in Georgia the
peasants were given more land. They were given a hectare, a hectare and a bit
more. However, everyone was given a piece of land. All those peasants whose
lands were divided into cooperatives were given their piece of land. I believe
they also created some subplots. These subplots were not cooperatives but state

8.  Despite the way it was attained, despite technological backwardness in the
field of agriculture, the land was united. They did not use enough fertilizer,
they did not apply science to agriculture, they did not use the best seed or
the best variety, they had no machinery, however, they implemented a process of

9.  Some things happened in that country. I believe one of the things that
happened was a man called Lysenko, a great adviser and theoretician in the
field of agriculture who had much influence. I have read Lysenko's books and
many other books on agriculture and I believe Lysenko was mistaken in several
things such as fertilization and crops. It seems he was a great [3-second break
in reception] the great experts. We must avoid those great advisers. We must
avoid those men who are turned into geniuses and who know it all. Specialists
are needed to give advise and ideas, but a great adviser can get a prominent
party into trouble and can get a government into trouble.

10.  Some time ago, when I was trying to solve the problems our country was
experiencing, I read much about agriculture and I came to the conclusion that,
to a certain extent, Lysenko's ideas-and he was a knowledgeable man in many
fields-were not always correct and they exerted a negative influence. But
despite all this, they increased their cereal production by four fold and
produced 200 million, 210 million, 220 million tons of cereal.

11.  In the past the Soviet people ate cereal, oats, and dark rye bread. Then
they started eating more meat and eggs, and drinking milk. The people were no
longer eating only cereal. They no longer wanted to eat only cereal; they
wanted other foods. To produce these other foods, they had to invest three and
four times more cereal. Despite their large cereal crops, despite their 220 or
230 tons of cereal production, they did not have enough. To this we must add
that, they did not have a good infrastructure.  They did not have enough silos
and warehouses to store the cereal, therefore, some of the crop was lost. But
that was the way the Soviet agriculture developed.

12.  Other countries improved. They also copied the idea of cooperatives, but
they used more fertilizers, used better technology. That is why we see that
Czechoslovakia had a very good agricultural system. Bulgaria had a very good
agricultural system. Those who visited Bulgaria witnessed this. They joined
millions of small land plots and ended up building large agroindustrial
complexes. These were all cooperatives. The Hungarian people developed very
good cooperatives. East Germany had very good cooperatives. The USSR was left
behind in agricultural development because [6-second break in reception]. It
has been proven that small land owners could not solve the food problems.

13.  There are other examples. Mexico for example. I speak often with the
Mexicans. I am referring to the ejidos.  That is a little piece of land that
was the result of the revolution. The amount of food that Mexico must import is
tremendous. There are more than 80 million Mexicans and they need large amounts
of corn, cereal, and other things. Mexico does export some vegetables and some
tomatoes. Mexico has the manpower and good [words indistinct]. They export
vegetables and flowers.  There is a growing demand for flowers from many of the
developed countries. When I talked to the Mexicans, I have given them my views
on the matter. I have told them: well, you are [4-second break in reception].
Why are you not self-sufficient-I am not talking about a socialist country, I
am talking about a capitalist country?  Because they have millions of pieces of
land. They must have irrigation plans for all that land. They must mechanize
the agricultural system, they must apply technology, microjet [6-second break
in reception]. [Words indistinct] seven caballerias and has a processing plant
that uses cables to move the plantains to the water to be washed and then to
the boxes for packing. I keep telling them: You have a thousand plantations
[4-second break in reception] plane to take it to the processing plant.  Along
the way it [6-second break in reception]. And the world today is not turning
toward the small enterprise. In Europe and the United States they are turning
toward mechanization and concentration of the land.

14.  The Yankee imposed an agrarian reform on the Japanese. They went into the
country and gave everyone a piece of land. The Japanese tractors look like toy
tractors. They cultivate the land with their bare hands. The Japanese pick rice
by hand. The Japanese hectare yields much more than the American hectare. They
can easily produce six tons per hectare. They do their planting by hand.
However, the American cannot produce six tons per hectare; he probably gets
three or four tons. The Japanese put in 50, 60, or 70 hours to pick five tons
of rice, whereas it takes the North American six or seven hours to pick three
tons, three and a half, or four tons.  They produce less per hectare, he has
more land, and produces much more per person. [sentence as heard]

15.  Now, there are subsidies for the small land owner. When rice on the
international market sells for $300, $260, or $250 a ton, the Japanese
Government pays the rice farmer $850 for the ton of rice. Almost three times
the [words indistinct]. Europe also subsidizes, but the tendency is to
concentrate the land, mechanize, and increase production. In those countries
there are fewer and fewer peasants. No, the land ownership does not solve, nor
will it ever solve, the problems of food for the ever-growing world population.

16.  This is an important precedent. At least, we had a warning. [10-second
break in reception] the viewpoint of the People's Socialist Party. That party
was a staunch and loyal supporter of the International Communist Movement. The
tendency in Cuba, following the triumph of the revolution, was to distribute
the land in little parcels like it was done in Bolivia after that famous
revolution, and like it was being done everywhere else.  Am I correct, Carlos
[Carlos Rafael Rodriguez]? More or less? Well, tell me. Tell me. We are at an
open congress.

17.  [Rodriguez] It was not the system back then.

18.  [Castro] It was not?

19.  [Rodriguez] It was not. [Words indistinct].

20.  [Castro] In what year?

21.  [Rodriguez] [Words indistinct].

22.  [Castro] After the triumph. Why?

23.  [Rodriguez] They reached the conclusion that [words indistinct].

24.  [Castro] We reached the conclusion that....

25.  [Unidentified speaker, interrupting] There were large estates and we felt
that the state should be given these large estates and that the state should
work them. The small units of land would remain in the hands of the peasants.
What we did during the first phase of the revolution was to defend the idea of
small parcels of land being distributed among the peasants.

26.  [Castro] Fine. Lionel [Lionel Soto Prieto], what was the theory behind
this? Pardon me, but there are some old communists here. Lionel? [Words
indistinct] What was the theory?

27.  [Soto] The distribution of land. When the right to work land that belonged
to someone else was implemented in the USSR, the peasants....

28.  [Castro, interrupting] It belonged to the state but the man who worked

29.  [Soto, interrupting] The person who had the land, enjoyed it and worked

30.  [Castro] Only a piece.

31.  [Soto] In other countries the land was distributed. As far as I recall,
the party's position in the early days of the revolution was that large estates
had to be taken over by the state. It seems to me that we were not very clear
on the issue and the distribution of land was the idea everyone supported.

32.  [Unidentified speaker] I can bring an article written by me that served as
the basis for the policy....

33.  [Castro, interrupting] In what month?

34.  [Unidentified speaker] No, no. Years before the revolution.

35.  [Castro] Oh.

36.  [Unidentified speaker] Years before the revolution.  Well, I recall

37.  [Castro, interrupting] On not distributing the land?

38.  [Unidentified speaker] On not distributing the land.

39.  [Castro] I congratulate you.

40.  [Unidentified speaker] I believe that the party's platform....

41.  [Castro, interrupting] You, Osmany [Osmany Cienfuegos], who were a sort of
a communist or within the rank and file of the communist party....

42.  [Cienfuegos, interrupting] I am not going to talk about the theory. I do
not know what theory the socialist party had at that time.

43.  [Castro] Carlos Rafael?

44.  [Cienfuegos] In practice, as early as 1959 land distribution was started
because of well-intentioned influences exerted by members of the People's
Socialist Party. I remember when you announced your decision. It was in Las
Villas, in Yaguajai. You decided to halt that distribution. I do not recall the
theory, but in practice those actions were initiated.

45.  [Rodriguez] That is what happened.

46.  [Castro] Risquet, old and noble member of the old and noble communist
party, let us hear from you.

47.  [Risquet] I really do not know a lot about the theory they had, because
when this happened in 1959 I was in Oriente Province. My opinions are the ones
that were expressed in the first resolution of the congress of the party, our
Communist Party of Cuba. I think it was a magnificent resolution. This
resolution corrected two things about the cooperative movement. One was what
you have said: that there should not be small properties within the cooperative
if they did not cover the members' consumption, correcting the mistakes we had
seen in socialist Europe. Two, the resolution of the first congress prohibited
the free farmers markets.

48.  When we discussed the free farmers markets, one of the arguments I
used-and I remember that there were eight months left before the second
congress-is that we were violating the resolutions of the first congress. In a
few months we were going to hold the second congress. Let us have a pilot
project now, without violating the first congress' resolution. I opposed the
idea of the free farmers market from its inception.

49.  [Castro] I congratulate you. And what was to be done about the land? What
were the prevailing ideas in 1959?

50.  [Risquet] Well, we had the sugarcane cooperatives. Even sugarcane land

51.  [Castro, interrupting] Your memory is failing you, Risquet.

52.  [Risquet] What?

53.  [Castro] Your memory is failing you.

54.  [Risquet] Why?

55.  [Castro] Because that was later.

56.  [Risquet] Well, 1959, 1960, I do not remember.

57.  [Unidentified speaker] Fidel.

58.  [Castro] Pepe [not further identified], is a man with a lot of authority
and respect. I am afraid that if he talks here, he will bring down all my
theories. Alright, Pepe, you have the floor. [applause]

59.  [Pepe] Thank you for your praise. In the first place, I am going to give
my opinion about the questions you asked.  This was very [words indistinct]
agrarian reform under the leadership of the old party [words indistinct].
Certainly, when I first joined, the propaganda of both, the Party of the
Revolutionary Communist Union [Partido Union Revolucionaria Comunista], and
later the People's Socialist Party, was a true agrarian reform that distributed
land [passage indistinct] therefore, you have to distribute it among half a
million people....

60.  [Castro] Right. You are the one most authorized to talk about this.

61.  [Pepe] But in addition, in addition [repeats], Fidel [words indistinct].

62.  [Castro] You were involved in this.

63.  [Pepe] I remember that, if my memory is not letting me down, in your book,
``History Will Absolve Me,'' in mentioning agrarian matters, you also talked
about distributing land to the farmers who did not have land.

64.  [Castro] But I was talking about the cooperatives.

65.  [Pepe] Of course, you were talking about the cooperatives, certainly.

66.  [Castro] No one had talked about cooperatives, because at that time I did
not want to distribute land.

67.  [Pepe] Yes. Well, the old party also talked about cooperatives, but
basically they talked about distributing land. This was a fundamental slogan.
And that was the propaganda of Grau San Martin, and the propaganda of all the
bourgeois parties. Agrarian reform, but when they came into power they forgot
their promises.

68.  [Castro] I do not want to compare those shameless people with the members
of the People's Socialist Party.

69.  [Pepe] No, no, of course not.

70.  [Castro] In no way.

71.  [Pepe] Of course not. Now, Fidel, about the other topic, allow me to speak
briefly about the topic that gave rise to this.

72.  [Castro] No, no, not now, I am not talking about that now.

73.  [Pepe] But will you allow me to speak or not?

74.  [Castro] About the free farmers markets?

75.  [Pepe] Yes.

76.  [Castro] No, because it would interrupt my story. I want to talk about

77.  [Pepe] Oh, yes, that is true, you are right. I will speak later if you
wish. Pardon me, pardon me.

78.  [Castro] For greater illustration ....

79.  [Pepe, interrupting] Pardon me, and it is very good that you should do so,
very good.

80.  [Castro] I am not criticizing the People's Socialist Party and its
policies. I am not criticizing them. Since I became aware of Marxism-Leninism
and began to read a lot of books and books that were everywhere, and based on
all the historic experience which always has great strength, the prevailing
idea, the catchword for the farmers-and it is still so in many parts of the
world, in the progressive movement-is the distribution of land.

81.  The Chinese also did this. They distributed it by mu. But mu does not mean
that an ox says ``moo'' here, and someone says that an ox is distributing land.
No, a mu means about 900 square meters of land, less than one tenth of a
hectare. Land was distributed to everyone. I do not doubt that this has been
done correctly in many places, and I do not question it in China. They even
distributed it a second time, and I do not question this.  That was when they
created the communes, and I can explain why. So I do not criticize this policy,
because it was very revolutionary. It was a class struggle, and if there are
millions [word indistinct] going hungry and unemployed, what better and more
revolutionary watchword than distributing the land?

82.  Now, in Cuba the circumstances were different. In Cuba there was [words
indistinct] all this. The revolution triumphed with enormous popular support,
from more than 90 percent of the population. The revolution did not have a
political need to distribute land. As a political need, it is very nice, very
pleasant. I thought the revolution was strong enough to pursue other changes.
Because it was very clear to me that if we distributed land, we would destroy
agriculture in this country. The country lived from agriculture. I can imagine
1,000 caballerias of sugarcane, which supplied a large sugar mill, divided up
into [words indistinct] each farming family would plant a bit of sugarcane,
another of yucca, sweet potatoes, corn, [words indistinct] and all those other
things peasants plant [words indistinct] for the sugar mills would end, and the
country's sugar exports would end. The hopes for mechanization and all those
things would end.

83.  I had the deepest conviction that since the revolution had triumphed with
that great strength, the revolution did not have to pay that price to
strengthen itself politically. I say, with the same tactical, strategic, and
revolutionary criterion, that if the conditions had been different, with great
sorrow I would have proposed the distribution of land, because that is very
nice. If we had had to distribute land to save the revolution, we would have
had to distribute land. No, I said, we must save the chance to develop a
great... [rephrases] modern, mechanized, and highly productive agriculture.

84.  Of course, it is beside the fact that at that time we did not have a
single-party system. There were several parties, and each one had its own
style. We would have to do a critique-which is not appropriate now-of the style
of each of the three basic organizations, which were the 26 July Movement, the
People's Socialist Party [PSP], and the Revolutionary Directorate. Each one
wanted to do what was best for its organization, according to how each
organization saw things, and according to how each group within each
organization saw things. [Words indistinct] history. Our own organization was
very heterogeneous. I said it was like an immense river, like an Amazon of
people and that a stream [words indistinct] our organization was not enough for
that enormous mass of people. The PSP was isolated and it was a small party,
but it had prestige and influence among the workers, from which it had been
expelled completely [words indistinct] more members, more organized, and it had
its own policy also. Is that not true, Carlos? Or do you not remember the
things we talked about in the Sierra Maestra, during that famous offensive? But
we are not going to hold that conversation here. [Words indistinct] the Jibacoa
[words indistinct].

85.  [Rodriguez] [Words indistinct] the party plan to make sure that what I am
saying is [words indistinct].

86.  [Castro] No, no, Carlos. History is history, and the different stages,
phases. All this is nice. This is not....

87.  [Rodriguez, interrupting] [Words indistinct] true, but they are two
different things. The distribution of land was in Las Villas....

88.  [Castro, interrupting] I am not criticizing, Carlos, I am giving an
opinion. I am not criticizing and I thought your policy was correct.

89.  [Rodriguez] No, no, no. Fidel, you are talking about history.

90.  [Castro] Yes. Now, when the revolution triumphed, and everyone was
sectarian, the sectarianism of the PSP. I am not talking about the sectarianism
of Anibal, but of the party in general, with all the excellent relations we
had. They were excellent. I really educated myself with the books of
Marxism-Leninism that Carlos Rafael sold at [words indistinct]. I still have a
debt pending there. I bought some when I had a little money but they also sold
me books on credit.

91.  Back then the books came from the USSR. Everything was printed in the
USSR. No other country printed these books. I had been buying those books for
years because I was a communist who was not affiliated with the party.  I had
my ideas, my concepts, all that kind of thing, and I was absolutely convinced,
that it was correct, absolutely correct, to make a socialist revolution. So
this is old. It is not from 1959. Many people followed the line of socialism
after the revolution [words indistinct] socialists or communists and all that.
But since the organizations had their policies and each one wanted to win over
supporters, you know this, they recruited [words indistinct] and if he was a
soldier, the more quickly he was recruited. This was a conspiracy. It cannot be
called anything else. They were careless in that sense because they could have
created very serious divisions and disputes. They could have created [words
indistinct]. That is history.

92.  But I remember that in these battle between the organizations, there were
attempts to take over land, and land was taken over. [Words indistinct] a
dispute, and not only a dispute, [words indistinct] a law that anyone who took
over a piece of land would lose the rights the agrarian reform might give him.
It was necessary to pass a law. The law is there, and I wrote it. Really, those
were the ideas that were in vogue. The prevailing tendencies and the belief in
doctrine, could have resulted in a slack [relajo] in our organization. We did
not yet have a single-party system. From very early, we began to work for
unity. This was [words indistinct] before the agrarian law was passed, which
was in May. So we passed the law so that this would not happen, but that rather
we would have an orderly reform.

93.  So this orderly reform, many of the [words indistinct] were something
else, one more step. Then we realized we were moving backwards. One of the most
combative sectors of our proletariat were the sugarcane workers, educated by
Jesus Menendez and the Communist Party, and we were moving backwards
politically, ideologically.  We were going to [words indistinct] and proposed
the cooperatives. I myself had proposed them. All those large sugar plantations
would be sugarcane-growing cooperatives. But after [words indistinct] these
workers are not cooperative members. They are agricultural workers [words
indistinct]. I had to meet with the 1,000-plus cooperatives and during a
lengthy meeting I had to persuade them that they should no longer be
cooperatives and should become states enterprises, people's farms, in order to
develop, property of the entire people and not property of the cooperatives.
But we did not distribute land.

94.  Another thing was the situation of the farmers who had pieces of land as
squatters, renters, sharecroppers.  Without any discussion, we gave them
ownership of the land, to those who already had their little piece of land. 
That was the promise, to give the land to the farmers who paid rent, sometimes
one third, sometimes 40 percent, sometimes half of their crop in rent. Later
came the agrarian reform. We discussed the agrarian reform law. Che [Guevara]
had asthma and was at what is today the Pioneers' City. We held several
meetings there. We drafted the law quite quickly. You [not further identified]
were there. How many of us were there? You remember quite a lot of all these

95.  [Rodriguez] (Pino Santos).

96.  [Castro] Who?

97.  [Rodriguez] (Pino Santos).

98.  [Castro] (Pino Santos).

99.  [Rodriguez] Blas [word indistinct].

100.  [Castro] Who? Blas, Che.

101.  [Unidentified speaker] Was the president of [words indistinct] there?

102.  [Castro] No, no, that must have been someone else. No, that would be
someone else. [repeats] There were several commissions, but the commissions
that were drawing up the law a few days before the signing of the (?money) law
[words indistinct]. Jimenez, who was the great historian and geographer, was
there. [Words indistinct] various people [words indistinct]. That law was
conservative and moderate. I made a few changes to it. I do not know if the
papers are somewhere. While on the plane, I even made changes to the law after
that commission had studied it.

103.  Well, the 100 caballerias were left in, although, very reluctantly. Those
were the highly developed farms. And I put in the 30 [not further specified].
Thirty when there were Yankee companies that had 15,000 caballerias. The fact
is that the law was radical, very radical. [Words indistinct] this law lacks
something. Look it up.

104.  I sneaked the concept of cooperatives into the agrarian law. The draft we
took with us to the Sierra did not include this concept. We filled it in along
the way. The implementation of the agrarian reform even was more radical than
the law. The implementation was even more radical. I want to tell you that if
we had distributed the land we would have destroyed agriculture in this

105.  Nevertheless, we had other experiences. Our 26 July Movement called
together an enormous assembly of workers, at the beginning of the revolution
when the companies did not yet belong to the state, demanding a fourth shift at
the sugar mills. I had to confront a crowd the size of this crowd who were
frenetically supporting that demand. And the leaders of the [words indistinct]
and I do not want to mention names. What for? None of them are here? They were
agitating for a fourth shift. I said: This is crazy. This is absurd. The
problem of employment in our country cannot be solved by distributing what
there is, running short on everything, but by developing the country. In spite
of the fact that it was still a private company, I had to become a magician. 
How to convince the workers, who were seeing the difference between what they
wanted and what the capitalists wanted, that the fourth shift was not a good
idea. They believed that that was the bourgeois economy [words indistinct].
They claimed they would not do as they pleased with that money, that they were
not going to use that money to develop the country, because that was written in
``History Will Absolve Me.'' But, ``History Will Absolve Me'' was moderate
thinking in which I made the maximum use of my moderation, in order not to
start talking about Marxism-Leninism or socialism, because that would have been
very absurd. [applause]

106.  I made use of [words indistinct] and that the state [words indistinct].
If you read between the lines you will see that ``History Will Absolve Me'' is
the essence of a socialist program. The state had to develop that program, not
the law of free enterprise, the law of supply and demand.  Back then I was
already against the famous market economy. I was no more than an adolescent
recently graduated from university in 1953. I was already against the market
economy, but I could not come out and say that. But I said that that was not
the way to develop the economy of the country. I said that the economy had to
be nationalized; that it had to be a state task, a state matter. Many did not
pay attention because so many programs had been drafted [words indistinct]. The
first revolution in this country in many [words indistinct].

107.  [Unidentified speaker] [Words indistinct] that no one would have noticed
that [words indistinct].

108.  [Castro] But there were some 10 or 12 who knew about this. These were
people I had indoctrinated into communism, with the books of Marx, Engels, and
Lenin, the literature from the party library. Because we had Marxist study
circles, before 26 July. But all that was done under cover. [applause]

109.  [Words indistinct] saying all those things. Telling them how things
should be done. It was a plan we wanted to implement. We saw ourselves
implementing it in phases.  The best thing I could do was to free myself, not
holding myself to anything. First of all because I was stupid.  Second, Carlos
Rafael got me into the party. And we would not be experiencing the special
period because there would have been no revolution. [laughter] We would still
be copying the books. We would no longer have a party. Well. But we did what
had to be done and we did it properly. We had firm ideas.

110.  How did we handle the [words indistinct] sugar. Anyone who wishes can
calculate what sugar has given this country during these 30 years of
revolution. Just think of the good price we have been paid for it. All that
money has been used to build schools, hospitals, and a million other things
[words indistinct]. The standard of living is above that of the other Third
World countries. This has been done even though we have not put our resources
to optimum use. Cuba is one of the countries in the world that produces more
food per capita. For every citizen in this country, we feed four people in the
world. We give them calories. Perhaps Argentina can produce more per capita,
but I am not sure of that. However, Argentina has 60 times more agricultural
surface than Cuba.

111.  It is a country with [words indistinct] produce food for 40 million
people in the world. There is no other country. Whatever is said, our
agriculture produces. It can produce much more. We know this very well- bananas
and everything, with the technology and organization, and all that-but
agriculture was saved and we have to do many other [words indistinct].

112.  Then we developed the state enterprises. We bought land. Then we promoted
the cooperative movement.  There were two agrarian reforms, one that put a cap
of 30 [caballerias]-and 100 in exceptional cases-and another, stronger one that
coincided with Hurricane Flora. That one made a cutback to five caballerias.
That one was traumatic. The first affected a few hundred landowners, and the
second affected thousands.

113.  I will never forget that at the time of the floods caused by Hurricane
Flora, [words indistinct] in the middle of the night, we had to go [words
indistinct] around there by the Cauto River. I talked with the man about this
and that. He did not even have candles, but he gave us shelter. It was all
flooded. He had a farm, and he had just been affected by our agrarian reform
law. He had 10 or 15 caballerias. I asked him about what he had. He told me,
and added that now he had this much. Here I was seeking shelter from Hurricane
Flora and ended up at this man's home, and he had been affected by the reform. 
I was really embarrassed. [laughter] Well, the truth is that he was not very
rich, [words indistinct] a little more in practice, but a limit of five had
been set. [Words indistinct] caballerias by the Cauto with [word indistinct],
and 20 other caballerias, planted with potato, in Guines. They are very
different things.

114.  But our laws were not perfect. The second [words indistinct] the dairy
farms, the house, everything, and we got the land. Well, the other one was even
harsher, because it represented an expropriation or confiscation of 30
caballerias, with all the buildings. They were left with the house and nothing
more. That second agrarian reform law was a harsh one. But we enriched the
state land holdings. Later we bought, rented, and so one, until we had [words
indistinct]. The farmers were left.

115.  Then we started the cooperative movement. We did it in order of
priorities. Our first investments were in dairy farms, [words indistinct],
enterprises that were owned by all the people. We gave the farmers the
ownership of the land they had. Some were the legal owners. [Words indistinct]
farmers also wanted [words indistinct] from the state. Even some who had [words
indistinct]. When a catastrophe hit, we pardoned their debts. I am convinced
that no other farmers in the world have ever received better treatment than the
Cuban farmers received, without discussion. The received generous, noble,
respectful treatment. They were treated as allies. We said: You are our allies,
and they are our allies. Our allies were those who had less than five

116.  Then we guaranteed those farmers their markets and market prices. We
guaranteed them loans, machinery, fertilizers, everything. We did something
more: We promised there would be no further agrarian reform. We have kept this
promise during the 32 years of the revolution [words indistinct]. Some became
members of cooperatives.

117.  We started a movement. It grew, and our cooperatives, organized by small
farmers are excellent. That is, as a rule, right? They are productive. They
have high productivity. For many years we gave them more resources than we gave
the enterprises. First they moved their houses, then they built magnificent
houses. The cooperative members have houses like doctors used to have. We gave
them trucks, combines; we gave the cooperative members everything.  We
continued to give the individual farmers all the [words indistinct]. There
would be no [words indistinct], and if they wanted to be there on their land
all their lives, that was all right. That is the agrarian policy the revolution
followed, and I do not think any other country has followed that policy. That
is also why we have such good relations with the farmers.

118.  Well, the farmers had schools, all kinds of opportunities.  First, the
literacy campaign, teachers, schools of all kinds, scholarships to study in
pre-university schools, and the university [words indistinct]. They were given
the opportunity to become engineers, doctors, teachers, nurses, officers in the
Revolutionary Armed Forces, officers in the Ministry of the Interior. The
revolution gave so many opportunities to those who left the rural areas. They
ran from the rural areas.

119.  One of the problems we have today is that we lack a labor force in many
rural areas. If you were to analyze the statistics for tobacco in Pinar del
Rio, which is grown on small plots, we see that each year there is less
tobacco.  We see that the farmers are older each year. If 3,000 caballerias
were planted, [words indistinct]. We are making a great effort to increase
production. How do we increase this? We are organizing agricultural camps. 
What happened in the agricultural areas of southern Havana Province? That
everyone left. The revolution, with the possibilities it created for man,
produced this logical and spontaneous movement. Everyone wanted to study a
career. The peasants, the grandparents and parents, [words indistinct] got old.

120.  [Words indistinct] a young woman [words indistinct] the people's
government in Guines, about 15 km [words indistinct]. The role of the people's
government is to create [words indistinct]. This was not said here.  Everyone
created payrolls in industrial quantities in this country, and between being
out there weeding the fields and being in an office with a fan, it was a lot
more comfortable to be in an office with a fan. To have a fan, and go on visits
on Sundays. I visit a lot of farmers' houses, and I like them a lot [words
indistinct]. I see what small farms are here, and I know some excellent
farmers. We have them as advisors, you see. We recently created the Institution
of Farmer-Advisors. We have about 12 advisors. There are 20, 25, or 30 who are
researchers, creators, knowledgeable men. We are taking advantage of their
experience. A farmer could do what the state could not do.

121.  Many people from the eastern provinces moved to Havana, like the ones who
made their own little town in Alquizar. There are those who received a piece of
land and I think there are, I do not know how many families there. The farmers
hire them. Sometimes they hired people from the state factory to harvest the
crops. How much did they pay them? Thirty pesos or 40 pesos. The state could
not pay 30 or 40 pesos for potatoes that were being sold at 6 or 7 centavos
each. In addition, this would create chaos with very high wages. The farmers
received and still receive the same price for their [words indistinct],
therefore, when they are short of workers, those caballerias can pay for their
work force. They hire retired people, residents of the area, and pay wages that
the state cannot pay. Many of these small farms have kept going. But they keep
going, we support them, we will continue to support them, we defend them, and
we coordinate with them.

122.  Now, the cooperative movement was doing wonderfully well. Listening to
Comrade Carlos, he said some true things, that there is a black market and all
that. That is an old market. It existed before the free farmers markets and
after them. [Words indistinct] says it will not solve anything. [Words
indistinct] and we applaud the fact that the plans are [words indistinct]. He
saw the free farmers markets as a way to avoid the problem of the black market.
The only black market we have here is not an agricultural product black market.
That is perhaps the smallest black market that exists here. That is what I
believe. [applause]

123.  Here there is a black market with those who steal avocados. The people of
the Habana Vieja contingent picked 500 quintals last year; they harvested 3,500
this year. A man came by and took 15 quintals of avocados, that is a source for
the black market that has nothing to do with the problem of [words indistinct]
but with theft and crime.

124.  This means whoever takes a bag of yucca, or kills an animal at the dairy
farm, or steals a few pigs, some chickens, all that is a source for the black
market. Some steal 100 chickens and will not eat them. They sell them.  They
kill a steer, but will not eat it; they sell it. They kill a pig, or several
pigs and sell them. All those who steal from the cigarette factory sell those
cigarettes on the black market. Those who steal fabric sell it on the black
market. Those who steal shoes, perfumes, or other merchandise, everyone who
steals a container from the port sells it on the black market.

125.  But there are people who sell on the black market from their rations. I
know families who do this. I have talked with social workers.... [rephrases] A
woman-since there are no restrictions on having children like in China-has
eight children. She has a baby every year, and each one has a different father.
Is this not terrible? No, I am not criticizing this woman on moral grounds, not
at all.  These are things that happen in life. She went out and got a room
somewhere in one of the buildings where some people live. She has her room. She
does not have to ask anyone's permission. Here we do not have those
restrictions. We do not have restrictions on moving from any province to Havana
and finding a place [words indistinct] without having a husband. So, what does
she do?  She sells half of her milk ration, and some of the rice ration, and
some of something else. There are two adults and neither one of them works. Do
you know what they live on? The rations. That is a source for the black market,
but it is an old, well known, and tolerated source. But rationing was a
necessity, and praise rationing. One day we will have to build a great monument
to honor this rationing. We did not have the World Bank, or the Inter-American
Development Bank. No one gave us any of that. We were able to have all the
teachers and doctors we wanted. We did not have the famous excess of money that
would put prices sky-high and make holes in the people's pockets. Rationing has
done a great service to this country. But there are people who trade on their
ration. We have just now created a source for the black market with the
cigarettes. Because if two million people do not smoke, and they are given
cigarettes-and we know the price they pay for cigarettes on the black market:
5, 6, or 7 pesos....

126.  [Unidentified delegate, interrupting] Ten!

127.  [Castro] Well, I am conservative. [laughter] I base this on conservative
estimates. We are giving a 17-year-old young man cigarettes. Maybe he will give
them to his father or brother. Very good. Maybe he will say: Well, if I want to
go to Pabexpo or somewhere, I am going to [words indistinct] and we have given
him the material, whether we knew it or not, whether we liked it or not. 
[Words indistinct] deserve all the attention and all the respect. If we were
going to put an end to the black market for produce by setting up the free
farmers markets, if that was one of the fundamental objectives, why would we
not put everything on unrestricted sale? Put everything up for sale. Soap,
[words indistinct] cigarettes, the container from the port, and all the other
things. We have to fight against this evil. We cannot solve [words indistinct]
interests of the collective [words indistinct] good desires to eliminate the
existence of the black market. But when I see what it gives, I do not agree
with [words indistinct]. They claim it does [words indistinct], well, I say the
opposite. I say this gives less. It provides fewer goods for the people,
definitely, really.

128.  We made a great mistake, an enormous mistake, when we set up the free
farmers markets. We are a party, democratic centralism exists, and we must obey
it. If you agree tomorrow on the free farmers markets, I will be the first to
obey. The party leadership agreed on it. I naturally had my opinions, but I
respected, and I do not want to evade my responsibility, perhaps it is a great
responsibility [words indistinct] that wonder. But, well, it is an idea. The
issue came up every time we experienced a crisis. Whenever we had a crisis,
when we were short of this or that, the idea popped up. Those who defended the
idea, some of those who defended the idea are not among us. They did not have a
clue of what a crisis is. Problems are the ones we are having now.

129.  They said we lacked some hard currency, or we lacked something, some
poultry, some chickens, some turkey.  And we were able to obtain some of that.
It was a mistake in many senses. Well, everyone who visited Moscow saw free
farmers markets. Very good. But in Moscow, all the agricultural workers and all
the cooperative members had a piece of land. They had agricultural production.
In addition, they used the enterprise's grain for the chickens, cows, or pigs.
I remember that Khrushchev in that famous congress when the (?Stalin) [words
indistinct]-I read real thick books on this and went around philosophizing a
lot about all this-they themselves were beginning to discover that the free
farmers markets [word indistinct] was negative. They, [words indistinct].  I
remember when they replaced him for reasons of health and age, [words
indistinct] one of the things they accused him of was that he was against the
small farm plots. And they gave more plots, more facilities, and more grain for
the small plots. It was a political thing. [Words indistinct] but Khrushchev
said at that famous congress- Carlos, you who know so much about the history of
the communist movement, look up what congress that was, I think it was in 1961
or around there 1960-the one where [word indistinct]. In the beginning he
denounced it, but later [words indistinct] the first congress of the CPSU after
the triumph of the [Cuban] revolution. A tremendous problem, and I will not
forget it. I was thinking about all this. When they thought they could catch up
with the United States, which was another of their crazy ideas, or one of their
crazy ideas, they tried to introduce the consumer society as an ideal and a
concept of socialism. That was one of the great ideological mistakes of
socialism, I say. But no one has analyzed this. We had thought about analyzing
it, but it will take some time to do. One of the great strategic mistakes was
to put into people's heads to consume, consume, consume, to reach the levels of
the United States. All that is madness. But he was sincerely concerned [words
indistinct] and he launched fertilizer production program, a great program in
those years, and was concerned about all those small farms. And the disorder
this brought about because many farmers worked the small farms but did not work
the collective land. Yet they used the grain.  If I were given a piece of land
the size of the floor in front of this table, and they give me the grain, I
would raise 10,000 chickens. So they raised the animals, and produced milk,
meat on that land. It is the most unproductive way of producing. With a good
feed formula, well-balanced, which we, gentlemen, unfortunately, cannot have
now since one day we get corn, the next we get wheat, and then the next we get
soy, the formula has to be changed every day.... [changes thought] Because of
all these problems that I have already explained, and because we do not have
the money to go out and buy it on the international market from enormous
distances away, nor the ships.... [changes thought] The other day I did not
mention that some of the merchandise the Soviet fleet used to bring must now be
brought by our fleet which has grown a lot but is still not sufficient to bring
what the country needs to import and take what the country needs to export to
other places. Our fleet is not big enough to bring a considerable part of the
merchandise the Soviets used to bring. With all the unfulfilled deliveries, it
is impossible for us to ensure balanced feed for a poultry farm here today.
Before, we even had our reserves. So, balanced feed gives results. You can use
up to 3 kg for 1 kg of poultry meat, and so much feed for a dozen eggs. We had
reached [word indistinct] levels, however, today these levels have been
affected by the ingredients of the feed.

130.  The most unproductive thing is for a person to feed them corn one day,
wheat the next, something else the next, because what is spent to produce one
pound of chicken or eggs is much higher. There is nothing more efficient than
an enterprise [words indistinct] and so poultry-raising was developed. I do not
recall how long eggs were unrestricted in this country. Where were they
produced?  All of them, 100 percent, were produced in the state enterprises.
There were no eggs produced by small farmers. Beef in this country [words
indistinct]. A large part of the sugarcane in this country is produced in the
state enterprises. The cooperatives also participate [words indistinct]. The
farmer also cooperated when we succeeded in the long struggle for him to hold
back his sugarcane. Good prices were paid, but there were other things out
there that provided more income on the black market.

131.  The small farmers have a larger share in tobacco. They have a larger
share in some crops, in the coffee crop. In our country it is really the state
enterprises that supply most of the food. Almost 90 percent of the rice is
produced by the state enterprises. There are some good cooperatives, and we
want to help them, encourage them, give them flat terraces so that they will
produce more. The thing is that in this country it is the noble state that
produces the food. The state also produces food for 40 million people in the
world, in calories, mostly for [words indistinct] agriculture that produces.
But what is not produced also matters. Wheat for bread, powdered milk, cattle
feed. Much of that came from the socialist bloc. Another part of it had to be
bought with hard currency from the West. We had to depend on others for some of
our supplies.

132.  We began the free farmers market when the organization of our
cooperatives was, with great good sense, based on collective self-sufficiency.
Otherwise, in a country where land [words indistinct] like in the USSR where a
town is 3 km long and 3 km wide [words indistinct]. What town can we build on
the farms. [Words indistinct] a greater percentage of arable land. The farmers'
cooperatives could have their own child care centers, schools, all those
things, drinking water, electricity. Because giving a piece of land to each
person forces you to build farmers' communities [words indistinct] state
enterprises collective self-sufficiency. Cooperative farms, collective
self-sufficiency. Pepe was right in saying that [words indistinct] defend the
idea of small farms within the enterprises. The farmers of the cooperatives
[words indistinct] and a number of farmers have their piece of land somewhere.
One or two hectares that he received for [word indistinct] the land. [Words
indistinct] three fundamental factors, the production of [words indistinct].
The credit and services cooperatives, the agricultural production cooperatives,
and the [word indistinct] cooperatives are the fundamental factors for
supplies.  So, we had a farmers market, even for some farmers who did not have
the piece of land they had in the USSR, but who had 60 hectares, 40 hectares,
30 hectares. When a farmer like that, paying any kind of wages to harvest a
caballeria of garlic, harvested 1,000 or 1,500 quintals and sold a bunch of
garlic for $1. He got thousands of dollars [words indistinct] and that farmer
who had 4,0000 square meters, 3,000 in the USSR, a farmer had one, two, three,
four, five caballerias [words indistinct] at free prices. If the prices are not
free, then there is no free farmers market. [Words indistinct] 20, 30 or 40
percent more. Either it is free or it is not free. Why?  Otherwise, why would
they do it.

133.  They began to earn large amounts of money. The cooperative movement was
going to hell. It would have been good for this country for the cooperative
movement to continue its progress until one day [words indistinct] we would
have had to find combines, machinery, [words indistinct] We would have had to
[words indistinct] a plane to spray herbicide, pesticide, or spray fertilizer. 
None of that can be done. You cannot use modern technology and machinery on the
large plantations.  [sentence as heard] You have to go with a backpack and do
everything by hand. Sugarcane must be cut by hand [words indistinct]
cane-growing farmers here. [Words indistinct] the city workers. For years we
had thousands of farmers who did not cut cane. We had to plant and cut the
sugarcane for them. The money was put in the money in the bank. Has this ever
been done anywhere in the world? Nowhere. Some measures were taken: Well, sirs,
if you cannot work the land, then sell it. Do something, but work it. So we
made the free farmers markets for a group of farmers who had land, and they had
quite a bit of land. They made large amounts of money. Not all of them; there
were many farmers who always refused to go to the free farmers markets. They
felt ashamed to. Their sense of honor prevented them from going there. But,
there were some of those apostles of socialism, which we have had in this
country, who felt that other problems had to be solved. They claimed that to
compete with the farmers and lower the prices, the cooperatives should also be
included in the free markets and compete with the farmers.

134.  In order to compete with the farmers, the state should also participate
in the free farmers markets. A tremendous distortion was caused in the existing
cooperatives.  They began to produce things that had nothing to do with
agriculture. They wanted to have restaurants, bars, parties, businesses,
motels, manufacture of handicrafts, and what is worse, some cooperatives that
could produce these things, took their permits, got hold of an illegal vendor,
bought all the vendor's products, and sold it as if they had produced it. All
of this occurred. When rectification began, all this had to be stopped, really.

135.  What did many farmers do? They would hold back some of what they were
giving the state and would sell it on the free farmers markets. The fertilizer
they received for their sugarcane, instead of using it on the cane, with which
we buy oil, wheat, rice, and so many things from the USSR, they would use to
fertilize some rows planted with garlic and a number of other things. They made
a larger profit by using the fertilizer on those things than on the sugarcane.
Should I use the fertilizer for this or for that? For something that I can sell
at a very high price?  Should I use it for this or that? Keeping up the
sugarcane became a real headache, with the business they could have selling
some of those other things at the free farmers markets. It was better business
to have a few chickens, plant a little corn. The few chickens could be sold for
5 or 6 pesos a chicken. All that happened. We began to corrupt these farmers.
We should have won them over to socialism, and the cooperatives, and modern
production, and for the production that was needed. And what did we do? [Words
indistinct] and many laughed at cooperative members.

136.  I had an idea that with rectification, the free farmers markets had to be
eliminated. We had to study it, take some time, analyze everything well. One of
the first things that was done was to start a parallel market as a source of
income and to achieve a financial balance. A pound of rice was being sold for 1
peso, and the state is giving them a ration of rice. The state should be
selling it and the money used to find those things that Rodriguez was concerned
about-the financial balance. The parallel market was a way of [words
indistinct] to meet some needs and collect money. Not money that was going to
end up in private pockets or one man's pockets. This was money for the state's
pocket and used for hospitals, schools, the country's development, to help
people.  What does the state want money for? Where does the state's money go?
There may be excess staffing, excess everything, but there are 300,000
professors and teachers who must be paid. There are doctors and nurses, 700,000
people in the health and education services who are paid by the state.

137.  Well, the market, the parallel market was expensive. The parallel market
took its prices from the farmers markets, and became a source of state income,
because we knew there was a need for (?products) not only for the cooperative
movement. It was not only that people here began to get very rich. Materials
were sold freely in some places, in Havana. People from Santa Clara would come
with their trucks and all to get the materials that were sold freely in Havana
in order to build themselves little palaces. When were we going to start
building cooperatives if all the peasants were [words indistinct] buying the
materials without restrictions.

138.  Intermediaries arose, and they brought plantains and all those things
from as far away as Holguin. They began to affect the production of the state
enterprises. They made themselves comfortable. How wonderful! They planted two
or three things and did not plant a parsley plant, or a garlic plant-nothing!
The free farmers markets made the state enterprise people happy. Did they plant
okra, string beans, or condiments? None of those. Now there is a program for
planting condiments to take them directly to the small markets. There was none
of that. [words indistinct] and this began to affect the basic production of
the small farmers themselves, because of what I have explained about the
fertilizer and other things. That is what the country's economy depended on.

139.  We corrupted the small farmers. There are many very wealthy farmers. I
know very wealthy farmers. They became rich honestly, without the free markets,
because a farmer who has one good caballeria of potatoes, can earn tens of
thousands of pesos. The state buys potatoes, pesticides, fertilizers, and an
honest, hardworking farmer who needs workers and pays them 20, 30, or 40 pesos,
can earn 30,000 or 40,000 pesos a year. I know good, honest farmers who have
hundreds of thousands of pesos, and never participated in the free farmers
markets. Because the prices the state pays to the farmers are really very high,
and the state sells at low prices.

140.  One of the things that I think we must do in some cases is to find a
better balance of prices. We want to encourage the production of some things by
our farmers [words indistinct], we must pay a little higher price. We must
raise some of the prices a little for some agricultural products in order to
encourage the farmers' production.  One plants something that gives him a lot,
and another does not want to plant it. When one has to deal with the farmers,
one has to pay them a price for their products so that they will not [words
indistinct] and plant other things the populace needs. [Words indistinct] raise
some of the prices a little for some things. Some are too cheap [words
indistinct] could cultivate other things. But of course, [words indistinct] the
price of the product rises.  Some prices have already been raised and [words
indistinct] on the market to encourage the production, which is the only thing
that we are all talking about and not the pricing policy.

141.  We have not wanted to solve the problem through pricing. The comrade
president of the State Committee for Finance explained here the problems
arising from an excess of circulating currency. But under special period
conditions, it is impossible to prevent an excess of circulating currency
unless we begin doing what they do in other countries which is to put half the
workers out on the street. Raising prices sky-high is the solution applied
everywhere, in capitalism and neoliberalism. We have even refused to raise the
price of electricity. We have preferred the vexatious work of persuading
conscientious people not to use so much electricity, while there are shameless
people who do not use less. We do not want to leave a single citizen without a
job, leave a single citizen without an income even though we cannot guarantee
him a job.  We do not want to leave a single citizen unprotected. Only
socialism can do this.

142.  But what can we do in the special period, when the amount of goods has
decreased? If we are receiving $3 billion less in goods than we were received
in 1989? It is $3 billion less, when you total everything that no longer comes
from the USSR, plus what no longer comes from other socialist countries [words
indistinct] dollar to dollar, it costs more. Can you imagine what it means for
this country that in less than two years it has stopped receiving $3 billion in
imports, that exports [as heard] have dropped by half, and we do not want to
sacrifice anyone. If we continue with this principle of not sacrificing anyone,
how can we not have a financial imbalance? The monthly income in money that is
received is more than what is spent. [as heard] Anyone can do the mathematical
calculation and find out how many people have to be turned out into the street
or how far wages have to be reduced, or how far prices have to rise. Try to
match that. Who does this hurt? Who? Someone who has 300,000 or 400,000 [not
further specified], those who had the free farmers market and all that. Who
does this hurt? The poorest people, the retired people. It is not that we do
not think that some things can be done, but whatever is done in any sense, must
always be such that it will not hurt the low-income workers, the honest ones
who live off their wages, who are not illegal vendors, who do not go around
stealing things. [applause]

143.  These are very delicate subjects, and we have considered them again and
again. Now, excess money is worth less.  That is why the price of a cake of
soap has gone up and things run short. That is why a packet of cigarettes, and
bars of soap, and all those things [cost more]. Now, we are talking about this
moment. We do not know [what is going to happen] if the situation gets more
complicated.  The plans for a special period in wartime involve evacuating many
cities. The [words indistinct] plans for special period in wartime. We do not
yet know what kind of measures we will have to take if fuel is reduced to half
or one third of what we have today. We must think about this. [Words
indistinct] to meet our goals. We must think about what we are going to do. Can
we perhaps [words indistinct] in hard currency? [Words indistinct] and money
does not have the same value. Perhaps the most likely thing is that they will
keep it so that they can exchange it for a cake of soap, or for this or that.
For something I do not have. He takes [his products] to the market, collects
the money, and what does he buy?

144.  But we had corruption. There were small farmers....  [changes thought] As
a rule, there were no old junkers left. With a few exceptions, there were no
old cars left which did not end up in the rural areas. The small farmers were
able to buy up however many of the old junkers. Not only those who participated
in the free farmers markets, but some who earned their money honestly did this,
because of the prices of the goods they received. I know honest farmers who
have their cars.  They paid 20,000 or 25,000 [pesos]. Others used to go to the
cities, and they bought those apartments we had given to workers and families
in the cities for their daughters or sons, or newly married couples, or
students.  They paid 20,000 or 25,000 or 30,000 or 40,000 pesos for an
apartment. They had surplus money.

145.  Of course, the illegal vendors also do this. Of course, thieves also do
this. Embezzlers do this. They do this.  But with the free farmers markets, we
established a process of corrupting the farmers. We harmed the major economic
sectors. The cooperatives and state enterprise almost got involved in this. Of
course, the situation is not the same everywhere. It does not happen in a town
with a few farmers around it, but it does happen in the large cities; it
happens in Havana where there are 2 million inhabitants. [Words indistinct] if
not these plans we are making now, if not these plans. [repeats]

146.  How are we going to supply them when we have to produce 15 million
[quintals] of vegetables and tubers in Havana and we have never even reached 10
[million quintals]? But with these plans that we have talked about we are going
to reach 15 million. We have to reach the 15 million under conditions which are
more difficult than the conditions at the time when the plans were created. 
The first drafts of the plans were done in 1989, 1990. We had large amounts of
fertilizers and many other resources we do not have today. But we drafted plans
to produce the amount of food that the city needs. We would not be able to
supply these large cities if it were not for the food program.

147.  Therefore, it is logical that more dreams of a free farmers market
reappear when the parallel market had to be eliminated. Why did we have to
eliminate the parallel market? Because everyone asked that whatever was being
sold there, was evenly distributed among all, even if it was only a can a
month. [Words indistinct] do not sell it unrestricted anymore. The people asked
for this.  They said: look, do an equitable distribution, so at least we get a
little. [applause] How are we going to sell a chicken on the parallel market
which brings in a lot of pesos when there are no chickens to fill the quota.
Or, how can we sell rice or beans when there is none to fill the quota? When we
established the parallel market we were clear on this from the beginning.
Whenever a product that is being sold is missing from the quota, it will be
automatically eliminated from the parallel market. This was the condition on
which the creation of the parallel market was based. When products started to
be sparse, the parallel market was eliminated.

148.  There were some products that were being sold freely, similar to a
parallel market but different, products were not in the quotas, were being sold
at a determined price.  Yogurt could have been sold at 60 centavos. We did not
want to implement a policy on this. What did the people ask? That yogurt be
distributed to them. [Passage indistinct] being sold freely everywhere. Because
the people asked that it be [words indistinct].

149.  I now ask myself, if we are going to have free farmers markets, is it not
a contradiction that a chicken is sold there for 10 pesos. A man with lots of
money can easily pay up to 20 pesos for that chicken. What is going to be the
people's reaction? Happiness? Unless the people hold the false illusion that
any four bums will overload Havana with chickens. What are the people going to
say when they try to buy a chicken and it costs 20 pesos?  They will say, why
not distribute it by the gram among everybody? It is paradoxical, that on one
side the people had asked that everything that was being sold freely be sold at
normal prices and were happier because now they could get things that they
never got before.

150.  The line stander [colero], the man standing in line to buy the cream
cheese being sold, for as many things as could be sold freely the line stander
was the man in business.  Many people say: I cannot stand in line. Please!
Bread?  Sorry, I cannot stand in line. The line standers were the ones buying
bread freely [therefore we] rationed the bread. Would it not be a great
contradiction if we now were to begin to freely sell chickens at 20 pesos when
the people had asked that all products be regulated? How long is the line going
to be in order to buy a chicken freely? Tell me, do we really gain anything
from this, from restarting the process of corruption? [Audience shouts:
``No!''] That is my reasoning: It is a contradiction. It can be nothing more
than an illusion to think that this could solve a problem, because when this
existed, all the quotas had no backlog. When the free farmers markets were
eliminated the parallel market still existed, and it lasted for years. In the
parallel market, even turkeys, rabbits, pigs, and a lot of other things were
sold without hampering anybody's quota. Sometimes things we imported things or
special productions were ordered.  Everyone asked that free sales be halted.
Then, where is the logic of the people asking for a free farmers market?

151.  There is something else. Rodrigo [not further identified] said that
[words indistinct] much money around the place and we recently had to make a
very serious decision to solve the cigarette problem. We already explained why
we had to do this. The machines were too old, lack of discipline, absenteeism,
lack of raw material, disorganization. [Words indistinct] all the factories are
located in the east [corrects himself] in the west. We are planing to built two
factories here in Oriente to avoid having to bring truck loads of cigarettes.
We have old factories in good repair in this region so that we can open two
factories here. But it all got disorganized, [words indistinct] the
coordination on the part [words indistinct].

152.  This was a sector that during the days of capitalism had enjoyed certain
privileges. When the regulation of wages began, they kept their traditional
wages, but well, there was bad management, bad administration, lack of
rigorousness. This gave rise to problems even of theft of cigarettes. The party
in Havana has fought against this, and I can assure you that a tremendous
effort has been made. It continues to be made and will continue to be made.
Besides this, an incredible amount of money, and the lack of other products has
increased demand for cigarettes. What should we do with cigarettes? Cigarettes
are not milk, yogurt, cream cheese, beans, or anything.  Do we ration them? How
do we reconcile rationing with a campaign against smoking? It is the devil. I
said to a comrade here: Do not smoke. To a young man, I said: Do not smoke. I
recommend that you not smoke. And on the other hand I am ordering two or three
packets of cigarettes. This is the same man I am telling that he will die
because he smokes. There is a tremendous contradiction in this [words
indistinct]. It is like the famous [words indistinct] and the lack of the
product. [Words indistinct] and suddenly we said we are also going to ration
them. There was not even a campaign against smoking then. Then a parallel
market was started when there was a surplus, with much higher prices. We had a
dilemma. What do we do with this poison. Do we ration it, do we distribute it?
We put a very high price on it because it is poison and we also collect money.
It balances things out. We talked about putting a lower price on cigarettes, a
little more than 3 pesos, not 10 or 5 or 6, and sell them without restrictions.
The executive committee analyzed this a lot. Then we met with the Havana
people's government bodies, all the presidents of the councils [words
indistinct]. Then we met with the organizing commission. We said: We are not
going to get the party into this on the eve of the congress. The almost
unanimous opinion was, as painful and paradoxical as it would be, not to solve
this through pricing. In spite of the fact that it is poison. The absolutely
majority view prevailed that they should be distributed through rationing. Do
you know how many pesos the state will no longer receive because of this? Nine
hundred million [currency not specified]. Look what we could have done with
that money. The state would have received 900 million [currency not specified].
And now that we are in the special period we established the policy. We said
that new factories would be opened  and an effort made to increase production.
The other things can be sold without restrictions when they are sold, without
any rations or increases in rations. The new amounts of poison are going to be
sold at very high prices. Well, we will collect money from those who have it,
and we already know who has it. But we will get a little money.  That is the
idea, the idea of increasing rations. But the state will no longer receive 900
million per year, in order not to harm those who have less, so that those who
have more money will not smoke and now we are going to establish the free
farmers markets so that hundreds of millions [of pesos] will end up in the
hands of private individuals, and what is sold there would be part of what is
delivered or must be delivered? I think that [words indistinct]. What do we do
with the small farmers? We are working with them, and our relations with the
small farmers are very good. Our relations are not bad. They are not all the
same. There are many farmers who are very good and very revolutionary.

153.  How are we doing the plans in Havana? In Havana we have 22,000 hectares
owned by the state, and 10,000 hectares owned by the cooperatives, and 10,000
hectares owned by private individuals.

154.  What is this service from? I am not referring to those who have [words
indistinct] tubers and vegetables in Havana are based on those 42,000 hectares.
We have increased this amount by almost 5,000 hectares [words indistinct].
Since the rectification process began, 750 caballerias that had been planted
with sugarcane were planted with tubers and vegetables. This has also been done
in Santiago. In spite of this, sugar production has not dropped. We even plan
to increase it. We plan to put in irrigation and all that-that is if we can,
right? If we have a minimum of fuel.

155.  In the entire country, more than 5,000 caballerias have been turned from
sugarcane to growing tubers and vegetables, since the rectification process
began. The amount of land area with irrigation has doubled in this country. The
water management system has been revived in this country, and we are building
more projects than ever. We are even building a dam on the Mayari River, and we
are building a tunnel to carry the water from the Mayari River to northern
Holguin and central Holguin, where it is so dry. We intend to carry the water
one day from all that northern part, the Sagua River and all that, to Las
Tunas. Think of what a project that is, and we are working on these projects to
make the water supply even more and more secure.

156.  When we have droughts, like this year in these provinces, it is hell. But
we are building dams, minidams, irrigation system, canals as if the devil were
after us. They are primarily for tubers and vegetables, and for sugarcane.  The
province has 100 caballerias of bananas; 70 of these have microjet irrigation,
and 30 have Fregat irrigation machines. This is for bananas, right? How many
caballerias have Fregat irrigation?

157.  [Unidentified speaker] Thirty and 70 with microjet irrigation.

158.  [Castro] And 70 with microjet irrigation. This is a great effort. In
Havana the peasants are working. I meet frequently with the state enterprises,
the agricultural production cooperatives, and the credit and services
cooperatives. That is how we draw up the plans to supply 2.1 million
inhabitants plus those in Havana, which gives 3 million people. Do not draw up
a plan with irrigation and equipment, do not devote what little fertilizer we
have to this alone, and see if you can really supply the 2 million, the 3
million people we must supply here. There are more when you count some of them
twice, in the schools and the factories.

159.  What have we told the farmers. Well we have told them: Look, we need this
many potatoes. How many do you want to plant, 10, 20, 30, 50 [not further
specified]?  Plant them. We do not tell them: Look, you have to plant this many
potatoes. We say: How much garlic do you want? Oh, you want all garlic. It is a
profit-making crop.  They can have all garlic-the farmers of the credit and
services, not the cooperatives; the cooperatives operate with a lot more
coordination. There has been the same coordination as with the enterprises. But
we have to ask the individual farmers what they want to plant. We need so many
caballerias of carrots. How many do you want?  This many. They like to plant
carrots, it grows almost wild. How many [words indistinct]. We let them choose
what they like, and we give them seeds and all possible resources.

160.  Of course, we are introducing real technology into state production. We
have acquired some experience as have some small farmers who have small plots.
The tomato seeds, the sweet potatoes, how these should be planted to get 7,000,
8,000, 10,000 quintals; what varieties of yucca should be planted. [Words
indistinct] yucca seeds and sweet potato seeds. They came from the provinces. 
Somewhere around there we have a plan of what we calculate Havana will need. We
have reduced potatoes a little to plant more yucca, because potatoes are
expensive-the seeds and pesticides. But we have perfectly coordinated the plans
in a very orderly way between the three sectors: the state, the cooperatives,
and the small farmers, with whom we have excellent relations.

161.  They even have enough money to make candy. Do you know what we tell our
peasants? What is needed is patriotism. I know that to obtain money you do not
have to do much. But the country needs you. The country needs your help. It
does not matter if you have 200,000 or 300,000 pesos, the country needs the
food that can be produced in those lands. We are appealing beyond the peasant's
spirit of gain to their patriotic spirit. What is money today? If you have
300,000 pesos what do you want 350,000 pesos for? You can just sit at home and
do nothing. We are offering them the best technologies they can get. There are
some crops that are grown in small plots. Some crops. That is not possible with
sugarcane or rice. [Words indistinct] garlic, some onions, some types of crops
in which the great plantation is not the solution.  A great plantation and
mechanization is the solution to the major and fundamental crops. But I have
been working with the farmers and have some experience. In the last year, I
have dealt and visited a lot with peasants and I believe that today you can
conquer peasants more with with patriotism than with money. I can tell you. 

162.  They have money. Some crops they like more than others because they are
more familiarized with them.  They could probably produce more and maybe
increase their wealth a bit, but that is not the most important thing. I know
some outstanding peasants with very good production who are very patriotic and
decent and only their friendship, their love of the country, their love for the
revolution inspires them more.

163.  I do not know the details of how things are in every province, but there
are areas in Pinar del Rio where they have planted hundreds of caballerias with
tomatoes.  There are thousands of people of Havana. I want you to tell me how
those people move, what money do they use to move to the southern part of
Havana Province in these months of November, December, January, and February,
to those solitary places where there are no trees and the mosquitoes appear in
great numbers. I have gone there to visit the citizens of the city, people like
this comrade from Plaza who just spoke to us, from Guanabacoa, and other
places. Under the hot sun, because even in winter it is still hot. When the
southern winds blow it drives anyone crazy. You cannot even see because of the
dust that rises. Then there are mosquitoes and [word indistinct].

164.  Thousands of people go there and I ask myself, what money could motivate
these people to go there? No one is forced into farming. When we cannot give a
person a job in the city, they go home. You can move them from this factory to
the other, but go to the south of Pinar del Rio and take that, you cannot do
that with money, comrades. And I will tell you that if we are not capable of
creating an awareness among the people, the workers, the party members, the
young people, and the farmers, of appealing to their patriotism, and appealing
to the supreme values of the nation, honor, the people's interests, justice,
for which so many times throughout history man has given his life, then we
cannot [words indistinct].  We will not resolve [words indistinct] cigarettes
and everything. It helps and I will not deny it. And that woman who was here,
she does not look like a rustic farmer, yet she is chief of a brigade and has
been there for eight or nine months. She has also promised to remain there for
two years, and keeps saying that she wants to stay there longer. How can this
be done? She says that they are going to exceed 120,000 or 130,000 quintals.
They are going to double what they had, and triple it. Of course, the banana
plantations and all those other things [words indistinct]. They had the best
seed, they had more experience. But is it not wonderful to see people like

165.  How many have gone from Havana to the countryside?  There have been
200,000. How many have enrolled in contingents? About 15,000. If we wanted all
of them to be in contingents, tomorrow we would have them all in contingents.
We have not wanted to do this for political reasons. We want the people to
participate. The contingents are more productive and more experienced.  [Words
indistinct] we wanted to make them all contingents. The contingents are
obtaining fabulous results.

166.  Can this be done for money? We give the best attention to the people
because [words indistinct]. What you have to buy at a store with money you can
do with the money you earn, with less than what you earn, or with what you
receive when you are going home. I have witnessed this movement for more than a
year out there. I used to ask myself whether they would get tired, bored. The
early days were difficult ones. There was bad management, little experience.
You do not know what these people have learned. The farmers also. If we want
them to produce more, we will achieve this with the means we are employing. It
is true. Now more people go to buy things.  I do not know with what trucks,
what fuel, with what things they are going to go to Havana, for example, to
deliver the merchandise.

167.  We use a large truck that is not fuel efficient to carry merchandise to
the agricultural distribution centers. We take it. Do we not?

168.  We have to do much more political work with the peasants. We need to meet
with them more. There has to be more control. [Words indistinct] three hectares
of carrots must be three and not two and a half. We must improve the collection
system. It was operating poorly, very poorly. [audience murmur: ``No. No.'']
What I mean is we are doing it. Lalo [not further identified] could talk at
length on what has been done to improve the collection system. In the capital
we have built agricultural distribution centers. We will continue to study the
problem and find solutions. If your products are not picked up, take them to
the agricultural distribution centers, but do not take them to the peasant's
free markets. Take them to a small market, or take them to an agricultural
distribution center. We can even pay you a little more, a small amount more to
cover expenses so that you do not lose money. It could be done in different
ways. We must think of all the things that have been presented here and all
that must be done. I believe that the way we are working now is how we should
be working to resolve the supply problem.

169.  Free farmers markets would complicate the situation very much. It would
disorganize everything we are doing, and I am completely convinced that it
would sow corruption and demoralization. I am convinced that this is true. If
things get worse, what will it be like? Imagine if part of the population had
to move to the countryside, just imagine. How would we distribute things? With
money? With free markets? Because it is during times of crisis when there is
the least amount of unrestricted things. During wars, the capitalist countries
put a halt to everything that is sold freely, and they establish food coupons,
rationing. Are we, a socialist country in the midst of a special period, and
without having yet entered its worse stage, going to invent new market
mechanisms?  Sell things without restrictions? Bring all these consequences
down upon ourselves?

170.  You will forgive me for having spoken at such length, but I felt it was
essential to talk about these problems [words indistinct] the story of what we
did not do, what we did then, and how we did it. What we are going to do now is
precisely to find a solution to these problems. It seemed necessary to me, even
though you, almost unanimous, presented the problem, I thought there was still
something about this problem that had to be focused.  [applause]

171.  In addition to all these things, I have great respect for the delegate
from Pinar del Rio [applause] because he had things to say and he said them
with all honesty, integrity, and courage. Some of the things he said the first
day were useful, and some of the things he mentioned today are a reality: the
black market and all that. We thank him because he gave us the opportunity to
broach this issue at this congress. We will discuss this, and any other issue
we may have to discuss, here in this congress. We thank him because he has
given us the opportunity to demonstrate the respect, liberty, and democracy
with which we discuss these issues here. [applause]