Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Fidel Castro Speech to FEEM Congress
Havana Cubavision Television
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA1312035191
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-91-240          Report Date:    13 Dec 91
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     4
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       13
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       08 Dec 91
Report Volume:       Friday Vol VI No 240


City/Source of Document:   Havana Cubavision Television

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Fidel Castro Speech to FEEM Congress

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro during the closing of the Eighth Congress
of the Federation of Secondary School Students, FEEM, at the
Convention Center in Havana on 6 December-recorded]

Source Line:   PA1312035191 Havana Cubavision Television in Spanish 0145 GMT 8
Dec 91

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro during the closing of the Eighth
Congress of the Federation of Secondary School Students, FEEM, at
the Convention Center in Havana on 6 December-recorded]

1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro during the closing of the Eighth Congress
of the Federation of Secondary School Students, FEEM, at the Convention Center
in Havana on 6 December-recorded]

2.  [Text] Guests, Comrades of the Federation of Secondary School Students

3.  After two days, two days of intense work, and with hardly any time to think
a bit, I am speaking to you to close the congress. But I am doing so with great
affection and deep sympathy. I can almost say, with revolutionary devotion. We
have experienced unforgettable moments during these days. I think that your
enthusiasm did not flag for a single minute. You have left a great impression
on us. Words have no meaning if they do not express reality. Perhaps it is the
times, more difficult than ever, which have made it possible to have a meeting
that has been better than any other. We are really amazed by your talent. No
one who has been present during these two days could say that I am
exaggerating. We are amazed by your spirit, your firmness, your awareness. We
are amazed by your enthusiasm and your determination to fight.

4.  Well, we were talking about dreams and dreams must be interpreted two ways:
dreams that may be utopias, that may be utopian; and realistic dreams. I think
what we have seen during these days is not either of these things, but rather a
kind of dreams and utopias that have become reality. If all those of us
who-long before you were born-began the revolutionary struggle, had been able
to imagine students like you after a period of time, and we imagined this, I
would say that we would not even have been able to imagine anything just like
these students. We imagined very good young people, very good people, very good
students. Good in the meaning of the word: To us, good means people of
integrity, noble people, courageous people, revolutionary people. So much so,
that not even those of us who at some time dreamed of these things could have
dreamed of students like this.

5.  The thing is that at times, dreams even exceed.... [corrects himself] I
mean the opposite: Reality exceeds dreams. What you are would be a cause of
pride for any country and any revolution. I think that what you have conveyed
in eloquent words or inspired poems or moving songs defines our students,
defines our students in the special period. Will there be better students than
you in the future? Will they be? Could they be? I would not dare to say yes.
When times are different, when circumstances are normal, when we do not have
inside us so many things like the things that push us today, perhaps you may
have better professors, better teachers, better spelling, better roofs, better
buildings, including art schools and vocational schools-which as I said, have
never been forgotten, but time and circumstances have not allowed us to
complete the programs they were included in-perhaps you may have better clothes
and shoes, although I think you will not have prettier ones.  Here, where the
imagination of the young people and the designers has worked, you have obtained
a colorfulness such that perhaps one day you will be dressed in silk or any
other sophisticated material that comes from science or chemistry, but I am
sure that nothing future generations have will be able to reproduce a more
beautiful image than what we have seen and witnessed during these days, and
especially today. [applause]

6.  They will have more certainty, more things, many more things, but it will
be impossible to relive under normal conditions this response you are giving
from your hearts to the dangers the nation, the revolution, and socialism are
facing. I see and understand that you have understood very well the time we are
living in, the dangers we are experiencing, the threats we are living under. I
see that you have understood very well the unhealthy joy of those who think
that the time is coming to take revenge against the revolution's work, against
the revolution, and against the revolutionaries; the unhealthy joy of those who
think they can once more make our people yield and kneel down; those who
imagine it is possible to force us to live once more in the repugnant
capitalist society.

7.  Because capitalism cannot produce this. Capitalism cannot produce these
kinds of actions, or these kinds of scenes, or these kinds of events, this kind
of unity, a common purpose like the one that involves us all. What we see
everywhere is students being beaten, students being repressed, even in some of
those countries that at one time considered themselves socialist but that
already had within themselves all the cancer and all the habits and all the
corruption of capitalism. We see students, especially in the capitalist world,
in Latin America, almost every day we receive news about students on strike,
students being repressed, students being shot, students being killed, almost

8.  We also receive this news, and we see this in Europe, and we see this in
Asia. In the country that is the favorite ally of the United States, South
Korea, every day, almost without exception, there is a battle between the
students and the police, between the students and the repressors, the friends
and allies of imperialism. The unity we see here cannot be seen in any
capitalist country. They are divided into many, many factions. What is left of
the students' strength? What is left of the workers' strength?  What is left of
the strength of the young people, the women, the farmers, the professionals?
They are fragmented into 100 pieces, fighting against each other, organized
into a multitude of parties fighting against each other, because that is what
the system really wants, what the system needs in order to enslave and be able
to exploit people.

9.  I ask those countries-who present themselves or try to present themselves
as model societies and democracies, models they want to impose on us-if the
Pioneers meet to discuss all their problems with the party and the government,
if the workers meet to discuss all their problems with the party and the
government, if the farmers or the women or the residents of districts do. I ask
myself if in any of those countries the students meet to discuss all their
problems with the party and the government, the administration, the state, and
not only those problems that interest the students but also those that interest
the whole country, the whole nation. When the women, the farmers, or the
workers meet, they discuss the country's problems, the whole country's
problems. Or when the young people meet in coming months, they will be
discussing not only the young people's problems. They will be discussing the
country's problems.

10.  So our country lives from one congress to the next, congresses not only of
the party but of the Union of Young Communists [UJC] and mass organizations.
Our country lives from event to event, not only with congresses of workers
organized nationally, but of workers organized in individual unions. A few days
ago I had the opportunity to participate in the congress of the agricultural
and livestock workers, and within a few days, I understand that the congress of
the teachers and professors, the education workers, will be held. So not a year
goes by, not a month goes by, without the people meeting united, or the united
people meeting to discuss and analyze the most varied views and problems of the
entire country. There is no country in the world-I can say it this way-that has
more active and direct participation by the people in the nation's problems.

11.  I ask myself in what country have we read, in the news reports, that the
students meeting united have discussed the issues that have been discussed
here, that range from history classes to each and every one of the issues that
interest and affect them, presenting successes and advances and positive
results, presenting difficulties, setbacks, reverses, abundances, and shortages
that may range from books to land for self-sufficiency, without forgetting any
of these problems. There may be problems that are not resolved for certain
reasons, in many cases for objective reasons, or subjective in some cases, but
the problems are not forgotten. The lengthy lists of subjects you discussed in
commissions show this. More than 80 students have spoken, more than 80
delegates. We have not yet counted up how many have spoken here, in the plenary

12.  A large number of problems have been considered. I am sure we have not
considered all the problems. We have examples that not all have been considered
and that a few have been left out and have not been discussed because of lack
of time. As an example, I could give that of the comrade from the fishery
school, where that school turned out not to have boats or canals or ocean or
fish. Really, if she had not spoken, it would have been a problem we would not
have become aware of. We must become aware of the problems even in the midst of
great limitations, because as long as there is a problem that can be solved, it
should be solved. I find it difficult to imagine that fishery school beside
that quarry whose stones turned it into a kind of erupting volcano, threatening
not only the roof but the radar sets and the school's equipment, in addition to
the safety of the personnel.

13.  But this is why, aware of this, she thought that we do not need a congress
to find out each and every one of the problems we have. In fact, I know that a
great number of problems have been discussed at meetings of the FEU [Federation
of University Students] or the FEEM National Council, and many of them have
been solved.  Plans and programs have been drawn up, some were underway, and
many solution were found, and others were in the process of being found when
these unfortunate circumstances came about. They have forced us to make so many
restrictions and have limited so many materials for us to solve each and every
one of the problems we want to solve, old problems and new problems. Life
always presents new problems, such as some of those we have discussed here
concerning the issue of manual work, concerning the schools for skilled

14.  These are new problems that have arisen with the revolution itself such as
the problem of the exodus of workers from some activities, as I explained in
one of my speeches. These are problems created by development itself. These are
problems created by our successes, because life will always impose on us the
need for a perennial, constant struggle to resolve what is left from the past,
to resolve what comes up as something new, and to resolve what can be
anticipated for the future. I was thinking that we must be alert to every
problem. I recall the words of Robertico [Robaina, president of the UJC] when
he said that there are issues that are impossible to resolve in a material
sense. But there are issues that are subjective and can be resolved. He told
me, when I was commenting on the delegates' tee-shirts, their clothes, he told
me: We had that same fabric before, and more fabric, and even better fabric,
but we lacked ideas, designs, initiatives.

15.  This is why the FEEM Secretariat, the FEEM Council, the FEEM leaders, have
to constantly have the spirit of the congress, constantly be in contact with
the problems and with reality, and constantly struggle to resolve them, the
ones that can be resolved. That is their task, and our duty is to cooperate
with them, listen to them, attend to them, poke around, search, find formulas
for solving any of these problems. We should not ignore any of them. It is
impossible for us to know everything. We find out about many things from
reports, or because they appear in the press, but I have been able to realize
the extent to which the comrades in the FEEM leadership are informed about the
FEEM's problems, because there was practically no problem that they did not
know about. I could ask any question about any school and they would
immediately tell me what the school was, what its characteristics were, what
problems it might have, what things they had discussed, and what issues had
been brought up. I was also able to realize that the comrades who are leading
the FEEM knew in great detail about any difficulty and any problem in any
province and any school. They are in constant contact with the minister or the
ministers. It is often necessary to coordinate between several institutions to
find solutions.

16.  But again I ask myself: What country does this occur in?  Some of the
problems brought up here are the result of universal education. Elsewhere,
elites are educated.  There are universities that cost students thousands of
dollars a year, private universities in the country or abroad. There is a vast
mass of people who do not have any kind of opportunities. Life and reality
there, and poverty, are what select or determine who can study and who cannot,
and what schools they go to. There are state institutions, but generally they
are the first to suffer from financial cuts. They are the first to have their
budgets reduced. They are the first to pay the consequences of any crisis, and
they live in constant crisis, or they pay the consequences for imperialism's
policy, or the foreign debt, or any of the many calamities they suffer from.

17.  That is why I said that under our conditions, as I said in one of my
speeches, it seems incredible that our schools are still open, in a country
that has lost billions of dollars, billions, [repeats] in imports of products,
raw materials, and especially fuel. It is incredible that these schools are
still open, that there is not a single child without a school or teacher, that
there is not a single adolescent without a school or teacher, that there is not
a single young person like you without a school or teacher. It is incredible
that there are hundreds of thousands of young people studying at the
universities, young people and workers who are not so young, taking regular
courses, taking seminars or independent study courses, etc., in the various
educational systems.

18.  It is incredible that we are able to do this under these conditions. In
any other country under a capitalist system, it would have been absolutely
impossible, and I can assure you that what we have endured, no other country
would be able to endure. A capitalist system would never have been able to
endure this. We have had to take measures, more measures, many measures, but
two years have gone by since the collapse [of the socialist bloc] began, or it
has been two years since the collapse, and the Cuban Revolution is here in the
heart of the West. It has not collapsed! [applause]

19.  The Cuban Revolution is here, 90 miles or 90 millimeters away, and it has
not collapsed. Our people are organized here; there is order in our country.
The party, the state, the administration are here, working in a single
direction, closely united. There may be problems and difficulties, deficiencies
and mistakes, but there is no disorganization. There is no chaos. We can say
that this country has a party, a state, and an administration, which are things
that have disappeared in some countries. This is something that has happened in
the Soviet Union itself, unfortunately. It is a gigantic country, a very
powerful country.

20.  Because of the October Revolution, the Soviet Union confronted foreign
intervention, which it combated and rejected with unsurpassable heroism. It
undertook to industrialize in the midst of embargo conditions. It confronted a
fascist invasion at the cost of tens of millions of lives. What fascism was not
able to do, what imperialism was not able to do, what invasions and embargoes
were not able to do has been done by the mistakes of men. The time has not yet
come for a final summing-up, or a final analysis, but there is no doubt that if
you want to improve something, you cannot begin by destroying it.

21.  There is no doubt-anyone understands this, you understand this, the
Pioneers in the second grade understand this-that if you want to improve
socialism.... [changes thought] We have been struggling to improve socialism,
and we have been struggling to improve socialism since before people talked
about improving socialism in the Soviet Union. But you cannot improve
socialism, and I would say that you cannot improve anything at all, if you
begin by destroying a country's history, by destroying a country's most sacred
values. I ask myself what respect is felt today for those 20 million Soviets
who gave their lives fighting against fascism, fighting against Hitler.

22.  What ceremony and what homage is paid to them today?  How are they
remembered today? Or how can those who spilled rivers of blood to defend the
October Revolution, to defend the first socialist state in the history of
humanity, be remembered today? This history has been full of heroism and merit.
How can socialism be defended... [corrects himself] or improved by destroying
all those values? How can socialism be improved by destroying the party's
authority and prestige? How can socialism be improved by destroying the state's
authority and prestige? How can socialism be improved by destroying the
government's prestige and authority?  How can socialism be improved by
destroying socialism's essential values?

23.  Of course, no one spoke in those early days about a market economy. That
was something odd and strange, which began by negating any development program
and plan. Of course, in those days no one spoke about capitalism. That word was
very far from being mentioned. But what is left today of socialism? You should
ask yourselves: What is left today of organization? What is left of order? That
is why we have all read Gorbachev's dramatic call with great attention. We have
read with deep concern what is stated there, the risks and dangers which range
from the total disintegration of the Soviet Union to the danger of wars between
nations and republics which used to make up that powerful and unyielding
multinational state.

24.  Of course, the consequences of these phenomena touch all of us very
personally, as I have explained other times, since all our programs and our
economy were based on trade with a country with such an extraordinary history
as the Soviet Union's, a country that had passed tests as difficult as the
Soviet Union's, and based on the premise of those solid, just relations, which
were not relations of plundering like those the developed capitalist world
practices against Third World countries. Based on those just relations, I
repeat, on these premises, we have worked during these 30 years. All this has
collapsed, almost all of a sudden, in a matter of a few years. We could say, in
a matter of months. That is what has put our country under the difficult
conditions of the special period, where the element that affects us the most is

25.  This is not because we have not made enormous efforts to get fuel. We are
not a country with great rivers, with hydraulic power, capable of producing all
the electricity a country needs. Practically all the electricity the country
needs, with the exception of the famous Salto de la Nabanilla and some small
hydroelectric power plants, comes from oil. All transportation in our country,
all mechanization in our country, transportation of the populace and
transportation for the economy, services, the lathes and the machinery of
industry, household appliances, from irons.... [changes thought] It has been a
long time since people stopped using coal. This is not the time of that
photograph. This is not the time I was reminded of by the photograph two
comrades from Santiago got for me, when there was no refrigeration, at least in
the rural areas, nor anything else to cook with but coal. That was a different
time. All our household appliances operate with electricity. Everything
operates on fuel. As I explained recently, when the revolution triumphed, the
price ratio between oil and sugar was one to seven. You could buy seven tons of
oil with one ton of sugar.

26.  The problem is that when an item becomes universal and is in the hands of
a small number of countries, it is susceptible to a policy of monopoly. That is
not like the case of sugar and other products. As you know, sugar can be
produced from cane in the tropics or beets in cold countries. Oil is not like
that. Oil is a gift of nature. It is very abundant in some countries and
totally lacking in others.

27.  It is susceptible to being monopolized and having monopoly prices that
have nothing to do with its production costs.  As a result of the wars in the
Middle East, or the opportunities those wars provided for the oil-producing
countries to organize and establish monopoly prices, the current price ratio
between the monopoly price of oil and the price of sugar on what we call the
garbage dump of the world market.... [changes thought] A large part of the
sugar in the world is marketed through agreements, through prices set by
agreement and not by the world market. We used to sell a small part of our
sugar at those garbage dump prices, but we used to sell the vast majority of
our sugar to the Soviet Union and other socialist countries at fair prices.

28.  With China, we always had the world market price, since China is a country
with lower levels of development than the Soviet Union and other countries in
East Europe, with lower levels of development and lower standards of living.
That is, we sold our sugar to the Soviet Union at prices set by agreement,
which were below the cost of production for sugar in the Soviet Union. At that
price, at the so-called international sugar price, at those garbage dump
prices, if you sell sugar at that price to buy oil at a monopoly price, which
is what oil has on the market, you can get 1.3 or 1.4 tons of oil for each ton
of sugar.  Really, before the oil monopoly arose, when the revolution triumphed
in 1959, 1960, 1961, in the early sixties, you could buy seven tons of oil with
one ton of sugar, on that same market.

29.  Now, calculate what it costs to buy one ton of sugar. To plant sugarcane
over enormous areas, each sugar refinery needs at least 3,000 workers. Where
there are large deposits of oil, you can hire 1,000 workers and take out tens
of millions of tons. A sugar refinery needs at least 1,500 caballerias or
around 1,500 caballerias-that is, almost 20,000 hectares of land-to get 100,000
tons of sugar. Then there is what it costs to plow, plant, cultivate, harvest,
transport, and produce one ton of sugar.  On the so-called world market, world
market prices are below the production cost of sugar.

30.  As I have explained on other occasions, if Cuba had the same price ratio
today, with 2 million tons of sugar-and it would be nothing for us to produce 2
million tons of sugar, it would be nothing [repeats]-we would have all the oil
the country needs under normal conditions, not in the special period. If we had
the prices of 1959, 1960, 1961, when sugar prices were not high, when the price
was 5 cents, we could get seven tons of oil for one ton of sugar. It is
reasonable, because one ton of sugar costs a lot to produce. It was favorable
to the Soviets for them to buy sugar from us. They paid us with their
manufactured products. They paid us with oil. It cost them much more to produce
the sugar themselves. So when they gave us a large amount, several tons of oil
for one ton of sugar, they were buying sugar at a lower price than it would
have cost them to produce it.

31.  That is why we have explained that the most difficult, most complex
problem we have is the problem of fuel.  That is what we have been lacking.
Right now we are working almost with half the fuel the economy normally needs.
It is incredible what we have had to do. It is incredible the number of
programs we have had to slow down, or that we have had to halt, in order to
save the highest priority things: the food program, the biotechnology program,
the pharmaceutical industry, the tourism program to obtain hard currency. We
are working with almost half the fuel. But even that half is not assured. As of
this hour, this date, not a single ton of the oil corresponding to December has
been loaded onto a ship from the Soviet Union to Cuba. As of today; it is now 6
December, and not a single ton of fuel has been shipped from the Soviet Union
for December.

32.  We have discussed this, analyzed this. It has been discussed, and we could
spend six months discussing this, but fuel is something we need every day.
There are a lot of people who think that trade should be based on the ratio of
prices on the world market. That would mean that the Soviet Union would pay the
garbage dump price for our sugar, and we would pay the Soviet Union-or what is
left of the Soviet Union-the monopoly price for oil. This would mean that with
1 million tons of sugar, we could buy barely 1.4 tons of oil. [numbers as
heard] Almost all the country's sugar would go to buy a minimum amount of oil.
This price could rise, and the price of sugar on the garbage dump could drop.
All that is possible. So the situation at this time is zero tons of oil for
December, and discussions in which we are trying to trade one product for the
other, for which oil would have the monopoly price-I repeat-and sugar the
garbage dump price.

33.  That is why we have to analyze and discuss some reasonable formulas if we
want to continue some form of trade of sugar for oil with the USSR or with what
is left of the USSR. I am giving this news, I am giving these facts, to you,
the FEEM delegates. Of course, it is not so easy to find markets for sugar, for
all that sugar that was going to the USSR. It is also not easy for them to find
sugar on the market, all that sugar they used to receive from Cuba. It is not
so easy to find the oil on other markets, even at the market price... [corrects
himself] even at the garbage dump price for sugar and the monopoly price for
oil, as a result of the Yankee pressures, the Yankee embargoes.

34.  This is why I am saying that the revolution has to undergo this very
difficult phase, called the special period, and that as a result of what I am
explaining to you, it may become worse, much worse. We may have to work not
with half the fuel but perhaps with one third of the fuel with which we
normally worked. You can understand the country's tasks. The country has been
electrified to the extent that more than 90 percent of the population has
electricity in their homes. The country has been mechanized, to the extent that
most activities are carried out with machines. So you can imagine the efforts
being made to reduce fuel consumption by almost half of what we had been

35.  The problem is that what is lacking has not been lacking during the whole
year. It has been lacking.... [rephrases] The sharp drops have occurred in
recent months, and in December we are threatened with having zero imported fuel
from the Soviet Union. It is my duty to explain this to you, because we must
begin based on reality. Of course, the country produces a little heavy fuel,
oil. It can be used in some electric plants. It can be used in some cement
factories. It can be used for some things, but in very small amounts. We are
not sitting around idly; not at all. We spend all our time thinking and
searching for possible solutions.

36.  This is why, alongside the privilege of being the only country capable of
carrying out the historic feat we are carrying out, of assuming a historic role
we did not ask anyone for, which fate has put on our shoulders or on the
shoulders of our people, alongside this privilege, the difficulties to be
overcome are great. But the difficulties are to be overcome under any
circumstances. No one is going to give the country the oil it needs under
normal conditions as a gift. No one is going to make us a gift of it. The
country would have to buy it with whatever sugar we had.

37.  I imagine.... [corrects himself] I wonder if this country can be led
without the revolution, if this country can be governed without the revolution
and without socialism, [crowd answers: ``No!''] if this country can produce 7
or 8 million tons of sugar without socialism and without the revolution. [Crowd
answers: ``No!''] Those who believe that by selling out the country they can
improve things are dreaming. Only the revolution can solve the country's
problems, however difficult they may be. [applause] The disorganization and
chaos that have been created in the so-called socialist countries have not
solved a single problem. The USSR, that gigantic and powerful country, has
almost been brought to its knees before the empire, right now.

38.  This does not solve any problem, and what has been created there is such
chaos and disorganization that one racks one's brains, and even wishing with
all one's heart that they will be able to solve their problems, one cannot see
the way, the path, to solve them. Even to import goods, the ports need to
function, and one wonders what ports those are, and in which republic's hands
they are. A fleet is needed, and one wonders what fleet that is, and in which
republic's hands it is. Railroads are needed, and one wonders what railroads
those are, and in which republic's hands they are. Electrical grids are needed;
oil pipelines, gas pipelines are needed. In which republic's hands are these
networks? Does each one want to collect a tax for the gas that passes through
their territory, or for the electricity that passes through, or for the oil
that passes through, or for the goods that pass through? Can the goods be
transported? Can they be loaded at the ports? If the state apparatus has been
destroyed and everything has been decentralized, if sometimes there is not even
anyone to discuss with or talk with or negotiate with?

39.  I wonder if someone is going to or can solve the problems through those
means. I wonder if there can be capitalism without capitalists, and when
capitalism would be operating in the Soviet Union. It is possible that 20, 30,
40, or 50 years will pass before any kind of efficient capitalism will be
operating there. Developed capitalist countries became organized as such by
exploiting their colonies and exploiting the world for hundreds of years. I
wonder if that history can be repeated. I wonder if that can be resolved in
two, three, or four years.

40.  Disrupt the distribution networks, put all the businesses a country may
have in private hands, and we will see what will happen to the populace.
Destroy the transportation networks, destroy the organizations that collect the
products and distribute them, whether milk, tubers, vegetables or whatever,
grains, imported or domestic products.... [changes thought] If the entire
organization is disrupted, if there is no planned economy nor market economy,
because the situation is that neither one exists, then there will be
counterrevolution, which is what has happened in many East European countries,
in spite of imperialism's goodwill and the aid that has been offered but has
never arrived. Because when everything has been disorganized, not even aid can
be received. Not even aid can be distributed. Who will distribute the aid?
Perhaps the illegal vendors can become capitalists and distribute the aid?

41.  That is why I ask myself who are the ones who are going to organize
distribution under the current conditions in the Soviet Union. But besides
this, even if we accepted the idea of trading some amounts of oil at the
garbage dump prices for sugar on the world market, for oil at monopoly prices,
I am not really sure there is any institution right now in the USSR that is
capable of shipping the oil, and having the oil arrive here, even if we sent
them the sugar. Because to carry out that trade, you need a minimum of
organization. You need a minimum of efficiency.

42.  That is why I say that only the revolution can solve, in an organized way,
without chaos, the problems that may arise, however difficult they may be. The
revolution is working, and working seriously, on programs to find solutions to
these problems, and these programs are progressing. It is just that the
collapse over there is occurring at a quicker pace than the pace of development
of our best programs. However intense our efforts, there is a mismatch between
the maximum pace at which we can find solutions and the maximum pace of the
Soviet Union's deterioration. This can be seen in the letter you have seen
published in our newspapers, Gorbachev's call to the parliaments of the
different republics of the Soviet Union.

43.  So, we have this task for giants ahead of us. There is a need to adapt to
these conditions, which may bring greater restrictions, without a doubt. How
much fuel will we have in January? How much electricity will we have in
January? These are things that must be said to the people with great frankness,
since as revolutionaries we cannot go around hiding problems. We cannot go
around as demagogues. We can adopt measures, we can confront problems, based
only on reality, based only on truth.

44.  Of course, if we were not a race of giants, if we did not have young
people like you, what the future would hold for us would be to become slaves,
to become a colony, to become another Puerto Rico, to become another Miami,
which they say is one the main centers of crime, prostitution, and drugs in the
world. If we did not have people such as ours, we would lose our independence,
we would lose the revolution, and we would lose socialism.  [applause]

45.  Sometimes history imposes immense, terrible sacrifices upon peoples,
hopeless sacrifices. What the famous discovery of America brought was the
conquest of these lands by the Europeans, the Spaniards, who immediately took
possession of the lands and enslaved the people under the pretext of converting
them to Christianity, and they wiped them out. There were practically no
natives left, only a few residents of the eastern region still carry some of
the genes of those original inhabitants of our land. When the Indians were
decimated, the sailors, the pirates from all over Europe turned their attention
to Africa to catch Africans and enslave them. Tens upon tens of millions of
Africans were uprooted from their land and enslaved here. This slavery lasted
until almost the end of the last century.

46.  Finally, in the 1880's, slavery was legally abolished, yet it was replaced
by another form of slavery without chains, a more subtle but in many cases
worse form of slavery.  Then came the immigrants, when we were turned into a
neocolony by Yankee intervention, and they bought the best lands of our country
and destroyed the forests of precious wood to plant sugarcane. That wood was
burned in the boilers at the sugar mills. Tens upon tens of immigrants
harvested the sugarcane, and finally, the starving population had to do it.

47.  They imposed capitalism on us for almost 60 years.  What did it leave us?
What did we inherit from Yankee neocolonialism after almost 60 years? We
inherited 100,000 prostitutes out of a population of almost 6.5 million
inhabitants; 600,000 unemployed, out of a population of almost 6.5 million
inhabitants; and millions of illiterates; and tens of thousands of children
dying every year due to the lack of medical care and hospitals. Total
abandonment in every sense. A paradise for the majority of the bourgeoisie and
landlords. But what did they leave us?

48.  Not even 10 percent of the women had jobs, or were part of the labor
force. The situation we observe here at the secondary school level, where the
majority of the delegates are female, would have been impossible because the
women of the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie, the daughters of the aristocracy
and the bourgeoisie, were only educated for marriage. The rest of the women,
the daughters of the proletariat and the peasants, were prepared for a life of
hunger, for most of them, or otherwise were prepared for prostitution, or to
work in bars and cabarets, or to do domestic work. Those were the jobs for
women in our country.

49.  That is what we inherited after 60 years of capitalism, all those social
problems and vices which the revolution has eliminated in 30 years. From the
fight against illiteracy at the beginning to this miracle of the human mind and
muscle which is to have eradicated illiteracy and has managed to guarantee that
not even a single child lacks a school or a teacher, that not a single citizen
lacks medical attention or doctors, that not a single woman has to give birth
at the hands of midwives at home. We do not know how people survived tetanus
and so many epidemics or how they managed to survive, hardly survive. Only by
reproducing and reproducing could they compensate for the losses to disease, to
hunger, to all that. That is what capitalists brought us. Farmers had to pay 50
percent of their harvest for rent. There were immense estates, and hundreds of
thousands of families going hungry in the countryside.

50.  No, our people will never resign themselves to that, especially our young
people. [applause] Some say that older people might resign themselves because
they lived through the capitalist period, but our young people would not. You
are living proof of the reality; you know more than you were taught. [applause]
You comprehend, you understand through your intelligence, through your talent,
through reasoning, that everything you have can only be the result of a social
change as profound as the one that took place in our country; that all this
equality, all this brotherhood, all these opportunities that each of you have
could only have occurred when capitalism disappeared from Cuba, [applause]
could only have occurred with the establishment of a just social system, a
truly just system, which is socialism, even though it is socialism in a Third
World country.

51.  This country was underdeveloped. It has progressed during these years. It
has progressed a lot during these years, precisely because there was a
socialist bloc which would support us against the imperialist embargo. Of
course, if the socialist bloc had not existed, no one knows how many Yankee
invasions we would have had to resist. Because we resisted at the Bay of Pigs
and during the October missile crisis in spite of the fact that the USSR
existed, and the USSR had nuclear missiles.  Because what I have said does not
reduce by an iota our gratitude to the Soviet Union we knew, the peoples who
made up that Soviet Union, who showed such solidarity towards our country, who
gave us so much aid, who treated our country so fairly.

52.  With their weapons we have defended ourselves from imperialism's threats.
Their weapons were in our hands, because we defended ourselves. We counted on
their solidarity. But if the imperialists think that the alternative we have to
accept is the yoke once again, they are mistaken, even though there is no
socialist bloc. If they think that the alternative is to accept colonialism
once again, they are mistaken. If they think that the only alternative left to
Cuba is to accept capitalism once again, they are mistaken. [applause]

53.  If they think that the alternative is to accept once more all that
injustice, inequality, and vices, they are mistaken. If they think they are
going to make the women of this country prostitutes again, they are mistaken. 
[applause] If they think they are going to turn them into luxury objects, they
are mistaken. If they think they are going to educate part of society to be
wives, while others suffer all the calamities, the vast majority suffered all
the calamities there ever were, they are mistaken. If they think they are going
to bring begging back to this country, they are mistaken. If they think they
are going to bring illiteracy back, they are mistaken. [applause]

54.  If they think they are going to bring back to this country the spectacle
we see in Latin America of tens of millions of homeless children, tens of
millions of homeless children, [repeats] begging for money in the streets, or
living at the garbage dumps, they are mistaken. If they think they are going to
have in this country, as in Latin America, a large part of our children without
teachers or schools, they are mistaken. If they think large numbers of children
are going to die once more without medical care, they are mistaken. If they
think they are going to have unemployment and hunger here, they are mistaken. 
[applause, chanting]

55.  If they think they are going to come to leave all the university or
technological school graduates out in the streets without giving them anything
but the miserable status of the unemployed, and telling them to work it out for
themselves, and not what our country does in the midst of its limitations on
resources ....[changes thought] Our country is able to guarantee an income if
there is no job for any of those young people. If they think they are going to
destroy this humanitarian and social work, they are mistaken. If they think
they are going to bring back drugs and gambling to our country, they are
mistaken.  [applause]

56.  If they think they are going to bring racial discrimination back to Cuba
and turn all those clubs back into private clubs, and prohibit people from
going to Santa Maria del Mar because it excluded whites as well as
blacks....[rephrases] If they think they are going to establish again any kind
of discrimination, not only social, not only sexual, if they think they are
going to have the slightest form of racial discrimination in this country, they
are mistaken. [applause, chanting]

57.  If they think that alongside a privileged minority of millionaires we are
going to see once again swarms of hundreds of thousands of homeless people,
homeless children, hundreds of thousands of beggars, they are mistaken. If they
think they are going to reestablish a classist society, they are mistaken. In
short, if they think they are going to reestablish exploitation of man by man
in this country, I repeat, they are mistaken. [applause] If they think they are
going to collect rents from the farmers once again, and pitilessly make them
sweat, they are mistaken. If they think they are going to turn a large part,
the vast majority, of our 300,000 professors and teachers into unemployed
people, they are mistaken.  [applause]

58.  If they think they are going to leave hundreds of thousands of university
graduates and intellectual workers without jobs, and that they are going to
send them to weed sugarcane to earn a living, and by hand, all of it, and cut
it, because capitalism was not able to bring in any machines-when they brought
in a machine for something, when the population was 6.5 million, there was
total protest and total resistance by the workers because they had turned
machines into the enemies of men....

59.  If we cut sugarcane and weed sugarcane, we do it voluntarily because the
need to save the revolution, the nation, and socialism has been imposed on us.
[applause] If we have to make thousands of sacrifices, we will do so, but we
impose them on ourselves to save the nation, the revolution, and socialism.
That is why we do so.  [applause, chanting] If we are willing to do all this,
we do it as free men and women, the masters of our country, and not as slaves.
If we are willing to make sacrifices, it is for something very much superior,
not to live all our lives in humiliation and exploitation.

60.  If we are willing to make sacrifices for one, two, three, or five years,
we will make them, because we know that we stand for freedom, independence, the
revolution, socialism, justice, and the future; because we are fighting for a
future, and what we want is to preserve our right to that future. To those
weaklings or cowards, or those with mercenary souls, or those who have never
felt the nation's blessing in their souls, or who have never had the idea of
justice in their minds or hearts; to those who say that the struggle has no
future, we have to say once and for all that the only thing that has no future,
the only thing that destroys any future, is not to have a nation, a revolution,
or socialism. [applause, chanting]

61.  Whoever surrenders the nation, the revolution, and socialism will never
have any hope. We will defend that hope, which the nation, the revolution, and
socialism give us, with our last drop of blood. [applause, chanting] We would
rather die than be left without a nation. We would rather die that be left
without the revolution and socialism, because the alternative is moral death,
the most terrible of deaths. [applause, chanting] To those weaklings and
turncoats, we must make our language and our firm, unshakable action felt.

62.  It is necessary that our enemies know this. It is necessary that the
imperialists and those willing to play along with them know this. In 1868 there
was no oil or electricity. If we end up without oil or electricity, I say that
in 1868 there was no oil or electricity, yet our comrades fought on for 10
years. In 1895, there was no oil or electricity, but there were those who
traveled from one end of the island to the other in coaches or on horseback,
and sometimes by sea. Our people were familiar with hard times.

63.  I have said that when Bolivar began his fight for independence in
Venezuela, which nowadays swims in oil, there was no oil or electricity. He
fought throughout the continent in a noble effort to free and unite America. 
How much it has cost the peoples of this continent not to have taken advantage
of that opportunity to be free and to unite! All these countries formally
gained their independence, but were again subdued by the power of the empires.
Unfortunately, today they are a galvanized...[correct himself] a Balkanized
continent struggling for integration, for unity, in the face of the opposition,
and ferocious pressures from the powerful empire that emerged in the north.

64.  I say this because we have to be willing, if it is necessary
....[rephrases] We will not do anything that is not necessary, but will do
everything that we can to avoid sacrifices for our people or to reduce to a
minimum the sacrifices of our people. We will work, as we have said before,
with courage and intelligence. Our enemies have to know that we are willing to
defend our ideas and our cause at any cost, at any cost; [repeats] that we are
willing to fight without limits. This country cannot be subdued in 100 years.
[applause] There is no imperialist or reactionary able to withstand 100 years
of fighting with our people, people who are willing to fight under any
conditions, as we have said before, even under a complete occupation by the

65.  The enemy cannot even imagine what kind of people they would have to face.
If they were looking at you through a peephole, I believe they would think
twice about it. If they had seen the Pioneers through a peephole, they would
think twice about it. If they could observe the meetings of our workers through
this peephole, or they toured our fields today, or saw the work of the
contingents, or what the mobilized workers from the city accomplish, they would
think twice about it.

66.  If a year ago the problem was figuring out our people's willingness to
participate in mobilizations, today the problem is how to ensure that no one
lacks an opportunity to participate. There are many comrades, especially many
women who have children or family, who cannot be mobilized for two weeks, and
they beg that, even as an exception, they be allowed to go for one week. They
cannot live without making a contribution, without adding their support.

67.  If the enemy could observe what we see in the countryside and many other
places, what we just saw a few days ago on 3 December-the 30th Brigade and a
large number of students at the first congress were commemorating the
anniversary of the Revolutionary Armed Forces the following day-if they could
see the kind of people that I saw there, if they could have looked through a
peephole, I believe they would entertain fewer illusions. This is why I say
that we will defend our dreams. It would not be the first time that our people
defended our dreams under very difficult conditions. It would not be the first
time that we ourselves, our generation, must defend our dreams under very
difficult conditions.

68.  Here, we have had a little bit of everything. We had the Moncada and the
need to resurrect the struggle once again; from prison, we renewed it. We had
the Granma and the need to resurrect the struggle from zero, from almost
complete oblivion. We had the Bay of Pigs, which was a complex plan to involve
the OAS and provoke an intervention. Later, we had the October Missile Crisis,
and the whole world knows that we did not yield. You yourselves well know that
others yielded. Others were in a hurry to withdraw the missiles, but it was not
us. We never asked anyone to withdraw even a single missile.  Why? Because we
were willing to die before we submitted to the Yankee blackmail. [applause,
chanting] I had just mentioned the Granma. I could have mentioned Alegria de
Pio on the 5th [month not specified], when our congress began, or on the 6th,
when we were in a small canefield buried under the grass, surrounded by
soldiers day and night. That day, seven or eight planes had attacked us. There
were three of us men with two rifles. We were three men with two rifles there.
We had 30 bullets for one rifle and 80 for the other. That was all; we had
nothing else. It was a day like today. Today is the 35th anniversary of that
night when we were hiding in the grass. Once in a while we moved with great
care in order to peel a piece of cane, and I promise you, comrades, that in
those moments we did not lose even an iota of hope. [applause]

69.  Neither did the country lose hope at any time. The country did not lose
hope when Marti fell at Dos Rios.  He died knowing that he died for what we
have today, what we are defending today. [applause, chanting] When Marti died
at Dos Rios, he knew that there would be men and women like you, willing to do
what he did. When Maceo died at Punta Brava, he knew that he was dying for a
people like this, you, and that there would be men and women capable of dying
as he did.

70.  Now the imperialists have become even bolder than ever. They will see what
we are, what type of steel we are made of, full of thorns. I was saying some
comrades have said that we are much more than that, that we are like a grenade,
full of shrapnel and thorns, shrapnel and thorns. If an elephant were to
swallow this grenade, it would certainly explode into a thousand pieces. 
[applause, chanting].

71.  What a hypocritical empire! It speaks of human rights and international
laws, but at the same time, it turns the naval base in illegally occupied Cuban
territory into a concentration camp for Haitians, into a concentration camp for
Haitians. [repeats] There are thousands there.  They will not let them enter
the United States. They are not Cuban counterrevolutionaries; they are
Haitians.  They have saturated the area with Coast Guard vessels to ensure that
none will make it to the United States despite the terrible conditions in

72.  Thousands upon thousands of people travel in dinghies.  For years we have
had to help them when they land on our shores, when they are shipwrecked on our
shores.  Lately, as a result of the events in Haiti, this emigration has
increased. There are more than 1,000 of them right now on Cuban territory. What
the Yankees are doing is taking everyone they catch to the Guantanamo Base. 
They are violating everything, not only their hypocritical statements on human
rights, but they have turned that base into a concentration camp for Haitians.
Who knows how many more thousands will end up in there?

73.  Guantanamo Province has for many years made sacrifices to help these
immigrants every time that they are shipwrecked. These immigrants in general
are seeking to make money, income that we do not have. They want to go to the
United States but, I repeat, they are not Cuban counterrevolutionaries, and
they are not wanted there.  They are not accepted. They are returned to Haiti.
They tell them that they are willing to take them to other places. Where are
they going to take them, to Central America? To be as hungry as in Haiti? They
want to go and work as immigrants where the Yankees do not do any hard labor.
They know that the Yankees do not pick tomatoes in the Florida heat, or
cultivate the land, or do any hard work. That is the work of the Haitians.

74.  That is where they want to go. But the Americans are afraid of them for
sanitation reasons, for health problems, for various reasons, and because they
are despised, because they are despised. [repeats] Because they think they have
enough. Because they do not have an immediate need for them. But, what are they
going to do? How is this problem going to evolve? They are going to turn
Guantanamo Base into a concentration camp for Haitian immigrants.

75.  We also have this problem. The normal camps we had in the area of Maisi
are no longer enough. We have to expand the camps, and we will have to prepare
ourselves, inevitably, to house thousands of Haitians. It is possible.  We will
discuss these problems with the United Nations, especially because they
want...[rephrases] they have emigrated in search of income that our country
cannot give them. Our country could give them employment or work there, but
under these conditions, we could not give them hard currency. We do not need
them, but for humanitarian reasons, our country is willing to help them. We
could offer them assistance because under the current conditions, they cannot
return to their country.

76.  We are not going to force them to return to their country, especially to
the conditions that Haiti in going through, where a group of the military has
taken over the government. They overthrew a government that was trying to help
the people. But, on top of all our problems and needs, we will have to prepare
ourselves for waves of immigrants who want to go to the United States, hounded
by Yankee boats, with strong winds blowing, a growing number of boats
capsizing, and a growing numbers of Haitian prisoners that the Yankees are
concentrating at the naval base. Who will guarantee the health measures that
should be taken? In our country, the health measures are guaranteed. We take
all the necessary precautions.

77.  There is a nunber of diseases such as malaria, for example. A large number
of Haitians have malaria, and this could present a certain risk for our people,
but we are taking measures. We are giving them medical treatment. We are trying
to prevent the disease from spreading by treating all these cases. There are
other diseases also. There is a high number of AIDS cases, for example,
according to what we have heard. But we have no other option than to face this
problem. What are we going to do?

78.  We will not force them to go back to Haiti. It is a problem that we will
have to put in the hands of the United Nations. Look, they are emigrants who
are here because they were shipwrecked. Their aim is not to remain in Cuba.
They have other aims. The United Nations should take care of the problem, but
meanwhile, we will give them assistance, medical treatment, food, and anything
else we may need to do. It would be impossible for us to act any other way. But
we have the right to do this in our country. The Yankees are the ones who have
no right to do what they are doing. They have converted that base in our
territory into a great concentration camp for Haitians. Look at what kind of
country they are. Look at the respect they have for human rights.

79.  Look at the respect they have for international law. That is imperialism,
with its insolence and arrogance. These are problems of the world. If they
believe that the crumbling of the socialist bloc has already given them
victory, they are very wrong. We could also say they are mistaken. If they
believe there is going to be peace in the world with the hunger that there is
in the world-in the Third World, in Africa, in Latin America, and Asia-if they
believe that the era of the revolutions has ended, they are mistaken again.
They are mistaken. Because this kind of phenomenona, as I have mentioned
before, these uncontrollable immigrations, are evidence of the situation in the

80.  Now, if a Cuban counterrevolutionary arrives in Miami on a little boat
dragged by the Gulf Stream, or on a raft, they will not return him. They will
exalt him, they give him publicity and propaganda, spread the news around the
world. They encourage that action, even though these people take the risk of
dying on the way. They are constantly encouraging illegal departures from our
country. However, since they are counterrevolutionary parasites, and they are
not Haitians emigrating because of misery and hunger ....[changes thought]
These are blocked by a entire fleet so they will not travel, and they are
returned to Haiti, or concentrated in a concentration camp on the Guantanmo

81.  The world will have all these types of problems. As you have said, our
country represents hope for this world.  The most fervent desire of all
revolutionaries-the true revolutionaries in the world, those that have not
allowed themselves to be fooled, anywhere in the world, and they tell us
this-is that we may be able to resist. They want us to resist. [applause] Many
people in Latin America and the rest of the world tell us: You must resist. The
greatest tragedy for the Third World would be for Cuba not to be able to
resist. This is what our friends and admirers say, and the country has millions
and tens of millions of them, everywhere in the world, especially in the Third
World. [applause]

82.  Today we are therefore not only defending the interests, the honor, and
the hope of our people, we are defending the interests, the honor, and the hope
of millions and millions of people in the Third World. [applause] Anyone who
thought that there would be even an iota of freedom left for the rest of the
United Nations ...[corrects himself] for the rest of the Latin American nations
if the imperialists ever crushed Cuba and turned it back into a colony, is
wrong. Because if they are able to destroy even this unshakable trench, there
would be nothing left that could resist them. Only the people could resist, and
it would be a long, hard, and terrible fight, for independence, what little
independence the Latin American countries have today. Many leaders of those
countries know it; they would be lost if the imperialists ever succeded in
crushing the Cuban Revolution. Marti's greatest concern would be fulfilled; the
empire would fall like one more force upon the peoples, it would spread like
one more force over all the Latin American countries.

83.  Therefore, today we are defending even that most heartfelt feeling,
Marti's conviction and great desire. He fought back then for Cuba's
independence. We are fighting today to maintain that independence [applause]
with the same passion that he had, and with the same zeal as he did. Never,
comrades and delegates, did so much responsibility, honor, and glory fall upon
the shoulders of a people. [applause]

84.  This congress reaffirms our convictions. It reaffirms our hope; it
reaffirms our faith in victory. You said that our country would never be
defeated, that the revolution would never be defeated. I can say that when I
look at you, listen to you, and observe you, I am absolutely certain of the
conviction that people and a country like this one, and young people and
students such as these, can never be defeated. [applause] Socialism or death,
fatherland or death, we will win!