Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speech at 29 Mar Potato Harvest Ceremony
Havana Television and Radio Networks
Report Type:         Daily report             AFS Number:     FL0505125292
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-92-088          Report Date:    06 May 92
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     5
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       15
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       01 May 92
Report Volume:       Wednesday Vol VI No 088


City/Source of Document:   Havana Television and Radio Networks

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Speech at 29 Mar Potato Harvest Ceremony

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro at a ceremony to mark the end of the potato
harvest at the Guira de Melena Miscellaneous Crops Enterprise in
Havana Province on 29 April-recorded]

Source Line:   FL0505125292 Havana Television and Radio Networks in Spanish
0134 GMT 1 May 92

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro at a ceremony to mark the end of
the potato harvest at the Guira de Melena Miscellaneous Crops
Enterprise in Havana Province on 29 April-recorded]

1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro at a ceremony to mark the end of the
potato harvest at the Guira de Melena Miscellaneous Crops Enterprise in Havana
Province on 29 April-recorded]

2.  [Text] Comrades: The comrades of the Communist Party of Cuba [PCC]
provincial leadership suggested that a ceremony be organized to congratulate,
to celebrate, we could say, and at the same time recognize the efforts made in
the potato harvest that has just ended. It is impossible to hold a ceremony for
every crop, but really the potato battle, as we can call it, was a great
battle. I would say that at the end it became a heroic battle. It merits a
small break-I say a small break because we cannot take many breaks-to
congratulate those who participated and to reflect a little on the event.

3.  The potato crop went very well. The weather was favorable for potatoes.
That is an element we must keep in mind. The rains delayed planting. The rains
in September, October, and November hindered the preparation of the land at the
optimum time.  The ideal is to plant potatoes in November and December. Really,
we were able to plant very few potatoes in November.  Almost all the potatoes
were planted in December.  Potatoes were being planted up to 31 December, which
is the very latest that potatoes can be planted. Anyway, we would have planted
the potatoes in better time if it had not been for the bad weather.

4.  There are other circumstances. The fact that almost the entire potato crop
was planted in 30 days meant that they also had to be harvested in 30 days,
because when the potato crop is ready to be harvested, it cannot wait.  It must
be harvested. That made for a truly large harvest peak. Besides being the
potato harvest peak, it was the peak time to harvest tomatoes, cabbage,
carrots, and other crops.

5.  That means that the weather had been generally good, a little cooler than
last year. There were fewer pests, which was the result of better fumigation,
better irrigation, more weeding of the potato fields, and better weather.  That
improved growing conditions. It generally did not rain during that time.

6.  What was it that complicated the potato harvest, which was developing
normally? The early rains in April did.  Up to 2 or 3 April, the weather had
been good, favorable, but it rained on 2 and 3 April, coinciding with the Union
of Young Communists [UJC] Congress. There were heavy showers at all the potato
fields, with many millimeters of rainfall. If it rains hard when the potatoes
are being harvested, then the harvest must be stopped. The machines cannot be

7.  We have machines to harvest potatoes, and when they are in good condition
they work well. When the land is well prepared, they function better. They
barely harm the potatoes, and they harvest the potatoes. They leave the furrows
covered with a carpet of potatoes. That is the time when everyone is the most
productive, because the potatoes are very close to each other. Furthermore, if
the soil is dry, if it is well prepared, then when the machine is used, the
fields do not have to be harvested more than once. But if it rains hard-40, 50,
60mm, at times I have seen 80 or more millimeters-the machines cannot be used.
We must wait five days. You know the risks of waiting five days to harvest
potatoes after the plants have been cut; they are in the ground running the
risk of rotting. There are many problems. But if it rains and then rains again
in three days, we have to wait another five days and so on. That is what
happened when 40 percent of the potatoes still needed to be harvested.

8.  If the potato crop is not harvested with the machine, then a tiller can be
used. Tillers were used. The tiller is a tool to cultivate and prepare the
soil. It was developed in Cuba, the kind we are using, the kind we used in the
harvest, so that we did not have to wait five days. After three days, using
tillers, we could try to dig up the potatoes from the wet ground. But the
yields are not the same as with the machines. The tiller does not leave a
carpet of potatoes, but it moves the soil, and some of the potatoes remain
buried. A great physical effort must be made to harvest the potatoes with a
tiller. We use the tiller only when there is the danger of losing the potato

9.  It was really infuriating to see such a crop, to see the work that had been
done in danger of being lost as a consequence of the weather situation and the
rain.  Because it is not just that it rained on 2 and 3 April, but it rained
hard again on 7 April at almost all the potato fields. After 7 April it
threatened to rain every day, practically every day, because of this year's
abnormal weather patterns. I do not mean that it always rains at the potato
fields when it rains in the capital. Fortunately, it rained many times in the
capital and the rain did not reach here. But the problem is that it threatened
to rain here, at the potato fields. There was the danger of losing hundreds of
thousands of quintals of potatoes.

10.  That is what forced us to make an extraordinary effort to harvest the
potatoes with machines when we could use them and with tillers when we could
not use the machines. A considerable physical effort was made. The yield per
man is smaller because many potatoes remain in the ground. The tiller must go
over the ground again.  Sometimes the tiller is used the first time, and if the
soil becomes drier the machines are used. You have to harvest the fields again
and again. At the end we were harvesting the potatoes one by one.

11.  They were truly very anxious days, when nature threatened the fruit of
man's efforts. It made the harvest more difficult. There was more danger that
the potatoes would be damaged. More care must be taken at the cold-storage
centers, because if it rains on the potatoes while they are in the trucks, or
if they are too wet, they cannot be kept well in cold storage. If they suffer
damage from the machines, they cannot be kept well in cold storage. All that
really required an extraordinary effort. The greater part of the potato harvest
was being stored while the rest was being distributed for consumption.

12.  Consumption began in February of the few potatoes we were able to plant in
November. Afterwards, quotas increased in March and April. It was even
necessary to move up May's potato distribution quotas in the capital.  I do not
know what it was like in the provinces, whether it was also done in the
provinces. The May quotas were distributed early. The potatoes were good for
consumption, but could not be stored at the cold-storage centers, because only
the best potatoes were to be stored in the cold-storage centers, the most
select, those that were in the best condition. Because they must be stored for
months, we must be careful in selecting those potatoes.

13.  In those days, after 7, 8, 9, 10 April, almost every day, I personally
toured those areas. When we saw that it was raining heavily in Havana, we
decided to see what the situation was like out there in Alquizar, Melena, and
Artemisa. It had rained more than 150mm in Artemisa. It was incredible. No one
knew how the potato harvest in Artemisa could be saved. What was the situation
in Batabano, Melena, Guines? When we could not go to any of the enterprises, we
asked. We called the PCC officials at night and asked if it had rained or not,
because there were tremendous storm clouds over all those places, over all the
enterprises. They came from the north heading south.  When the wind blew from
the north there were no problems because we had hope that the clouds would go

14.  It could rain during the day or at night. We had to wait until midnight or
0100 to learn how the rains were because, as I say, it really hurt to lose all
that effort, for the most part. That is why I was able to witness the feats
performed by all the workers, the permanent ones, as well as those mobilized
from the capital, those mobilized for two weeks, the contingents, the Armed
Forces [FAR], the Youth Labor Army [EJT] who are part of the FAR, mobilizations
of all kinds because really, everyone was mobilized for the potato harvest in
the province.  Everyone cooperated; everyone made a great effort.

15.  I should say, for example, that, well, there are many outstanding groups.
Right here we gave a banner to a camp, which was the best camp of those
mobilized for two weeks in the potato harvest and other vegetables.  They
harvested 70,000 quintals, the workers at the Victory Smiles Camp. All the
fields surrounding us here were planted in potatoes, and a few carrots were
planted here, here on my left around to the front. The contingents moved their
camps from place to place. The contingents moved from place to place. Military
units, tank units, special units besides the EJT units, cadets, schools, in
short all kinds of FAR and Ministry of the Interior [Minint] units were moved
around, and helped in the potato harvest.

16.  I had the opportunity to talk with some of those mobilized FAR units, and
they really did impressive work, really impressive. It makes one proud of the
FAR for their ability to respond as they did to the kind of situation that has
just ended. [applause] That same spirit was found everywhere, in all the camps
for those mobilized for two weeks, and the contingents. That spirit was found
in the schools, as a rule, among the school students working in the fields. You
know that there are dozens of schools whose students are working in the fields
in Havana Province. Almost all of them are at miscellaneous crops enterprises.
The students work three hours daily. There are also technical, pre-university,
and secondary school students who are based in the city and go to work in the
fields for 30 days every year.

17.  We cannot forget the mobilizations of municipalities in the province.
Thousands of people were mobilized to harvest potatoes and other crops during
that time, to help the state enterprises and the cooperatives. There were some
cooperatives, agriculture-livestock production cooperatives, that at times had
700 mobilized workers in the days of the potato battle.

18.  I saw a lot of things. I saw, for example, the foundry workers from San
Miguel del Padron. They were mobilized for two weeks to the El Mamey Camp near
here.  They are tough, strong workers, the foundry workers.  They were
desperately harvesting potatoes so that not one would be lost, potatoes that
had been dug up with tillers. A great effort had to be made to gather them one
by one. They cut their fingers in the wet soil. They worked there eight, ten,
more than ten hours a day. I visited the camp several times, because it was so
encouraging to see those men working late into the night. When they had
collected the potatoes, they worked late to store them inside in case there was
a big storm. [applause]

19.  Not far from here is the (Ciro Bergues) School [words indistinct] is here.
They canceled classes for three days- that is very important-they canceled
classes for three days. Before, to cancel classes was a crime. Now the crime
would be to lose the potato harvest. [applause] The crime would be to lose the
potato harvest. [repeats] The crime would be to have a young person become
accustomed to seeing potatoes in the fields, which could be lost, and not
harvest them. The boys closed the school for three days, and with their
teachers they spent the entire day gathering potatoes, they and their teachers. 
That earned them the (?admiration) of the workers of the El Mamey Camp. I
should add that they worked as hard as the foundry workers.

20.  The boys worked in the fields the same hours as the foundry workers. They
worked as hard as the foundry workers. [applause] I asked the foundry workers
one afternoon, when they were working those hours, I asked them: You work hard,
very hard. I want you to tell me which is harder, working in a foundry or
harvesting potatoes from wet ground, dug up with a tiller where the machines
cannot be used? They told me it is harder to harvest the potatoes. That is what
the foundry workers, who have one of the hardest jobs, told me. I think all
this forces us to think, forces us to reflect on many things.

21.  We saw things in the students that were marvelous. What does the behavior
of the students working in the fields depend upon? It depends on the director.
It depends on a good director, in the first place. [applause] It depends on
good leadership of the students. It depends on teachers who are capable of
setting an example for them.  But what the students can do is incredible. I say
this because once again I must warn against the tendency toward excessive
paternalism, which occurs with the enterprise directors and farm chiefs. They
felt sorry for the boys, but the boys could outlast an Olympic boxing champion
because they have more energy, because they can bend down easier and quicker,
because they are more active.

22.  It is difficult to compete with them in certain tasks. In certain tasks-I
do not say in everything. You usually cannot have the boys loading the
potatoes, loading them onto the trucks. That is what the stevedores do. There
are some strong ones who can do it, and they do, but not as a general rule. We
must watch out about the jobs we assign to them. But I remember right here at
this Victory Smiles Camp, which I visited several times, they were harvesting a
field of potatoes here, or a field of carrots, 1.5 or 1.7 or 1.8 caballerias.
Of course, that 1.5 caballerias had been planted using a kind of machine that
is not the ideal kind, but we did not have the ideal kind. Next year we will
have it. The carrots had to be thinned. A lot of seeds had been planted. It was
necessary to thin them for a better yield. Some were thinned, the extra plants
were pulled up, but others were not thinned. The part that was thinned had much
higher yields, but the normal yields were reasonable.

23.  However, near here there was a camp for the Guanabacoa Technical
Construction School, and those boys had really low yields. I do not think that
their transportation and food at the camp was paid for with the yields they
got. I was interested in that, and when they finished harvesting those carrots,
I wanted to know what kind of yields they had, what was the difference between
the carrots that had been thinned and those that had not been thinned. I
discussed it with the farm director, and I asked him what standards he had set
for the boys. He said five bags, like the book says. I said: What book are you
talking about? What period are you talking about?  He was talking about the
period of academicism, of the time when such work was looked upon with
indifference, of the time when pseudo-intellectual and not truly educational
criteria prevailed at this school. I told him to forget about that book, that I
never wanted to hear about that book ever again, and to see what those boys
could really do. Nothing had ever been required of them.  Nothing had been
required of the camp director.  Nothing had been required of the teachers. What
there was was paternalism. They spent two weeks pulling up carrots.

24.  I give this example because it is one of the negative examples, alongside
many excellent examples, excellent in every sense. Wherever I go, I see the
good, but I also try to see what is not going so well, and how each person is
acting. To what is that due? To the excessive paternalism of the enterprise and
farm directors. I would also say that there has been excessive paternalism by
the party officials, because they are there, and they were supposed to try
[words indistinct] in these difficult times in which we live, and that the boys
are not educated by setting insignificant standards for them so that when they
reach them they think the world has come to an end, when they can do two or
three times more than what they are doing. When they had met the standard, they
would begin to play around and talk.

25.  We can say the same thing about the university students.  They have
behaved excellently, but that was also the result of higher standards and more
work, especially the work of the Federation of University Students [FEU]. 
Because last year I heard that law students had come to a camp nearby, I do not
know its name-La Rosita. They told me about it here at this enterprise. I hear
many good things about the university students everywhere, and it caught my
attention that at this enterprise they told me that the law students had not
done good work. I asked: Who has complained that there was a group here from
some school, because they preferred the mobilized workers? I said: How strange.

26.  I spoke with the FEU comrades. I told them certain things. I told them,
for example, that I had been told that music was on until 0100, and there was a
lot of partying and little sleeping. We made the suggestion to regulate the
music, the listening to music. Why not? It could help psychologically, the
state of mind, everything. But by no later than 2300 all the loudspeakers and
all the music must be turned off. Because no matter how young you are, you do
not work the same the following day if you have slept seven hours, or if you
have slept only four or three hours.

27.  No one can tell those of us who were guerrillas about that. Sometimes we
spent the whole night walking in order to reach a target, or for an operation.
Afterwards we had to walk during the day, and when we had gone a whole night
without sleep, we were much more exhausted the following day. A student cannot
do as much, even if the desire is there, if he has been partying all night.

28.  Everytime I have had reports of even the slightest detail that is not in
keeping with quality, I have told the comrades from the FEU and the FEEM
[Federation of Secondary School Students] about it.  Not only do I congratulate
them for good results, but I also tell them about those aspects that are not
positive ones.

29.  Well, indeed, (?as I was saying,) they talked about the law school, and
now, this year, the law school students constituted one of the best
mobilizations, one of the best mobilized groups from the university. They
worked excellently, for every person has in him a sense of pride, and those who
lead must know how to awaken a man's sense of pride, a man's sense of pride. 
It was not in vain that I think it was Agramonte or Cespedes who, when asked
with what weapons they were going to win the war, answered: With the pride of
the Cubans. [applause] That is because with a man's sense of pride, anything
can be accomplished.

30.  It is natural that a camp of university students will not have the
discipline of a unit of specialized troops, which arrives on the scene with its
tent, its field kitchen, and so forth, and sets up any old place. Of course,
they are extremely well prepared physically.  Some schools have a majority of
young lady comrades who, of course, although they make great efforts, there are
certain kinds of tasks they cannot do, certain physical tasks that are more
difficult. That is, they can do them, but not with the same productivity as a
man can.

31.  However, I must say that as a rule, the conduct of the university students
has been excellent, excellent, [repeats] although I know of a few cases in
which it was not excellent. I must say, for example, that when the medical
students were mobilized-more than 5,000 of them-a tremendous emulation campaign
was established. All the chiefs and leaders were with them, and they did great
work in the potato harvest, really. They came the right week, from 15 to 29
March. They did a great job. I saw them, I visited them, and it was a pleasure
to see.

32.  The following week-because not all the medical students were able to come
during a single two-week period-the fourth and fifth year students from the
Salvador Allende School came to the (Vialuno) Camp. I am very sorry I must
mention them. However, I do mention them because that group did not behave like
the rest of the students. Comparing those from the Salvador Allende School and
those mobilized when the 5,000 students were mobilized, the 5,000 had a better

33.  They were here in Batabano. The potatoes were hard, and they had to be
harvested or they would spoil, and (?there is no question that there were)
problems with those students. The camp chief was off for a few days of rest.
The camp chief was no longer there. The mobilization of the 5,000, that big
emulation campaign that had been established during the preceding two-week
period, was not going on. Well, those comrades, seeing the potatoes lying
there, on Sunday, were supposed to work until noon, but they left at about
1000. They were just fooling around out there.

34.  Well, I immediately told the student federation comrades about it and they
met with the students, of course.  I must say the director, the dean of that
school, is exemplary in her behavior. The problem was that the students were
not electrified by the spirit of mobilization of the preceding two weeks, and
they did not work as well as they could have. Nevertheless, during the next two
weeks, students from that same school arrived at that camp and, aware of the
weakness that had been shown by the work group that had preceded them, set
themselves the goal of restoring the honor of their school, and they did a
great job.

35.  I would like to add, so as not to leave anyone out or almost anyone-there
may be someone, I cannot assure you that there is not someone left, somewhere
out there-that the language students did not perform optimally either.  They
were out in Alquizar. Neither did the students from the art school of the
teachers training college. So, at this rostrum, we must congratulate and
encourage those who made their very best effort, but we must also criticize
those who did not. I say this, not in a spirit of criticizing people or blaming
people, because I know that people have pride, and when their weaknesses and
deficiencies are pointed out to them, they react.

36.  That is how we waged our war. Because often a unit would show very good
performance, and other times not very good performance. It would show itself to
be weak, to have weaknesses. However, when that unit was sharply criticized, in
the next battle it would really kick ass! That was not a matter of harvesting
potatoes.  Rather, what was at stake was one's life. Men are capable of great
feats, for honor's sake, for morality's sake, out of pride, and life has shown
us that timely criticism, criticism given in time, helps a lot.

37.  What does not help is paternalism, as well as a failure to set standards. 
That (?is not done through any) book.  That dates back to long, long ago. It
does not come from the special period. I think that little book has been
removed, and the standards established must be those a young person can really
meet. I would see that some of the mobilized university students would be set a
low goal-20 sacks or 20 quintals-when they could perfectly well do 30 more, and
some in fact did far more than that. I repeat that in some of the university
schools, women constitute a majority. Well, the standards were raised. One day
they were talking with me and they said: Listen, the standard is a bit high. I
said to them: Ask of me whatever you like, but do not talk to me about lowering
standards, because you will never in your life be able to get me to lower a
standard. [applause] Really, everything is a matter of mental habits. If we
become accustomed to softness, to having it soft and easy, we accomplish

38.  I have tried to highlight some of the weak points in the mobilization. How
many of the total number of individuals mobilized does that apply to? Let us
say 5 percent.  I mean, these are isolated cases in the midst of the general
performance. What I have heard about the university students, for example, is
excellent, as a rule, as the norm.  What about the secondary students working
in agriculture? Excellent, although not all the schools are alike. Some are
very outstanding; others are less so. I repeat: It depends upon the director,
on the teachers, on the example that is set, and on what is demanded of them. I
can see that the work of the contingents and the camps of mobilized workers
have had an extraordinarily good influence on the students. You should see what
an influence the spirit of our workers, the people mobilized from the capital
and Havana Province, the people mobilized into contingents and the two- week
mobilizations, have had. You should see how much they have influenced the
students.  Their attitude has changed.

39.  Also, the ministry has taken a much more understanding position. The
Education Ministry is not horrified at seeing classes canceled for three days.
They might, in fact, be canceled for a week. Or are we going to create a
society of intellectuals? A country that gives everyone the opportunity to
study is going to turn into a society of intellectuals who reject manual labor.
Then who is going to do the manual work? Before, the slaves used to do it. 
Then, in Cuban society before the triumph of the revolution, it was done by
those who had no other job and were starving. That is who would do the work. In
the developed capitalist countries, it is done by the immigrants, immigrants
from Latin America, over there in the United States and other northern
countries. In Europe, it is immigrants from Africa and Asia who do the hardest

40.  What are we ourselves doing if we do not teach the teenagers, the young
people, how to work with their hands, and simply stuff them full of
intellectual and theoretical knowledge? There cannot be a truly revolutionary
educational system if it does not educate young people about work. I repeat:
They cannot be educated with paternalism. We cannot set an easy, soft standard
for them. Man gives what is asked of him, and we must know how to ask it of
everyone-the camps of workers who are mobilized for two weeks, the contingents,
the students from the rural schools, and those sent to work in agricultural as
part of their schoolwork, and the university students.

41.  I am speaking at a time when everything has changed, a time when people
are expressing an extraordinary spirit.  Nevertheless, even now, not everything
is the same yet. I sometimes see that too early....[pauses] At this time of the
year, when it gets dark at 1930, I have seen people leaving the fields at 1700.
I immediately asked them: What is going on? Why are you leaving at 1700? One
reason for it could be that the flow of arriving seeds has stopped. While
planting boniato, the flow stopped. I have seen that happen. We must always be
on the alert, to require things of man, to activate a man's sense of pride,
confident that it is the only road to success under any circumstances in life.

42.  I must also mention the role of the multidisciplinary teams, because the
scientists have also gone out into the fields, to give advice, to help, to say
how things needed to be done. They are to an important extent responsible for
the results of the....[commotion is heard]

43.  Is there a doctor here? [pause]

44.  The scientists have played a role and have had a lot to do with the
success that has been achieved.

45.  We have also mentioned here the effort by the permanent workers, the
workers who handle the machinery. By working incessantly, they managed to
prepare the soil in a very short period of time.  We have spoken of the workers
responsible for watering and of those who tended to the machines. In general,
everything was much better this year than last year, in every way. Basulto [not
further identified] talked here and gave us some figures regarding yield and
production. I too had some figures here, not a lot. I am going to use fewer
figures than Basulto, I think. Some of my figures may be kind of repetitive.
However, speaking of potatoes, I must say that out of the 446...[pauses] 436
caballerias of production for consumption....[pauses] I am talking about those
for consumption because there are also the potatoes to be used for seed. I
think he said there were 29 caballerias for seed, right? Yes? A total of 465

46.  But let us talk about the ones for consumption. The ones for seed are for
seed. The state sector planted 334 of the caballerias to be used for
consumption. The state sector bore the main burden for the potato planting. The
small farming sector planted 101 caballerias, but the cooperatives bore the
main burden of the planting by that sector.  The agricultural-livestock
production cooperatives planted 84.2 caballerias, and the credit and service
cooperatives-that is, the individual small farmers- planted 17.4 caballerias.
We have said to those small farmers: What do you want to plant? This is the
plan.  You pick. However, potatoes might have all the problems. That is why,
except for 17.4 caballerias planted by independent small farmers, the potatoes
were really planted by the private [as heard] sector, which planted 334.4
caballerias, and the agricultural-livestock production cooperatives, which
planted 101.6 caballerias.  Because that is the small farming sector, but a
distinction must be made between the agricultural-livestock production
cooperatives and the independent farmers. [all figures as heard]

47.  We have said here that the state sector averaged 6,193 quintals per
caballeria. The small farming sector had much less land. For about every three
caballerias the state had, the small farming sector had one. Its average was
lower: 5,971 quintals per caballeria. Within that, there are cooperatives that
had high yields, such as the Niceto Perez Cooperative mentioned here, and
others.  [applause] There were small farmers like Juan Gomez, who averaged
11,200 and who also served as a consultant to another area there, belonging to
the state, which averaged over 10,000. [applause] But it is encouraging, and an
expression of the revolution, that the state enterprises have
obtained...[pauses] the fact that the yield for 334.4 caballerias was 6,193
quintals, which is higher than for the small farming sector, which had 101.6

48.  The cooperatives as a whole had good yields: 6,261, for their 84.2
caballerias. I am talking about the agricultural-livestock production
cooperatives. Meanwhile, the independent small farmers, with their 17.4
caballerias and in spite of some excellent producers such as Juan Gomez and
others, averaged 4,569.  That is far below the agricultural-livestock
production cooperatives and far below the state enterprises.

49.  It has also been mentioned here how the different enterprises did. It is
worth repeating: Melena del Sur, with 50 caballerias, 6,764. We awarded a
banner here to a Melena del Sur camp that had 18 caballerias and averaged over
7,400. These were figures....[pauses] How much were they?

50.  [Unidentified speaker answers: 7,533.

51.  How much?

52.  [Unidentified speaker: 7,533.]

53.  They had 7,533. A camp, a contingent, the (Flavio Bravo) Contingent,
averaged, with 18 caballerias, 7,533 quintals. That is a true feat. Melena was
the one that obtained the highest yields.

54.  Next came Guira, with 20 quintals less per caballeria. Of course, we must
keep in mind a merit of Guira's: the fact that the state enterprise there
planted 69.6 caballerias. In Melena del Sur, the state enterprise planted 50.
It had greater production with a little less land. Guira too is greatly
deserving of praise, even though it ended up in second place in yields.

55.  Artemisa, with 32 caballerias, obtained 6,144, although I must say,
Artemisa had a very heavy rainstorm. I must say that the rain limited the
yields somewhat. However, it affected the yields not by hundreds of thousands,
but by a few tens of thousands of quintals.

56.  Alquizar with 60.3 caballerias obtained 6,136. Guines, with 54 obtained
5,850. Batabano with 48.5 obtained 5,588. Batabano has rocky soil, too. It is
not easy. It harvested a certain amount of potatoes for export, a small amount.
Batabano had to use the tiller.

57.  Quivican with only 20 caballerias produced an average of 5,510. There
there was a UBP [expansion unknown] of three caballerias at the Fructuoso
Rodriguez Polytechnical School. The school director was careless, and the
potatoes were choked out by weeds. We can only say that there were 20
caballerias but deduct three of them where they had very low yields. That
affected the results of Quivican's 20 caballerias, whose production was 5,510. 
As one goes around one finds out many things.

58.  Now, the production of those three caballerias was what?

59.  [Answer indistinct]

60.  Their production of 2,300 lowered the average. Their yield was less than
half. That shows that we cannot forget a single caballeria anywhere, and that
in every unit and farm we must have people with sufficient mental clarity and
energy to prevent such things from happening.

61.  The highest yields were obtained in Guira de Melena by the
agricultural-livestock production cooperatives. In Guira de Melena it was the
small farming sector, but it was basically the cooperatives. They had yields of
6,880. In Guines, yields were 6,408. In San Antonio, yields were 6,293, and in
Melena del Sur 6,000. In Alquizar, yields were 4,587. Artemisa obtained yields
of 4,011. The yields were high but lower than the yields obtained by the state
and the agricultural-livestock production cooperatives.

62.  Now, how many potatoes do we have?  We have consumed close to 900,000
quintals, a little more than that including consumption by the populace and for
state entities. We must not forget that the potatoes must supply almost 3
million people. The 2.1 million inhabitants of the capital and.... [pauses] How
many people are there in Havana Province, how many?

63.  [Answer indistinct]

64.  And 651,000 in Havana Province. We could say that there are 2.75 million
people to whom we must give potatoes or a quota of potatoes.

65.  Furthermore, consumption at state entities represents a large number of
potatoes as it includes all the schools, hospitals, workers' dining halls,
restaurants, and hotels.  We must give potatoes to 6.75 million [as heard]
people plus to the state entities, which equals more than 3 million people.
Now, how many potatoes do we have in cold storage? I will give you the
figure-it is no secret.  This is an estimated figure. There could be one sack
more or less. We have 1,652,400 quintals of potatoes in cold storage.

66.  We must consider that in the last few years we have built three new, big
cold-storage centers. The one in Berroa, which is now finished after years of
construction, the one in Alquizar, which was built in record time, and the one
in Guines, which was also built in record time. That adds up to an increase of
cold-storage space by almost 1 million quintals. We must say that right now the
old and new cold-storage centers are practically full. Of course, there are not
only potatoes in them. Some space is being occupied by other products. We have
a certain amount of cabbage, which can also be stored two or three months. 
That way there will be some cabbage in May and maybe even in June. We have
stored cabbage. We have stored carrots, not as many, but we have stored a
specific amount.  There are 1,652,400 quintals of potatoes in cold storage.

67.  We must be very careful about what is published. Sometimes the director
and deputy directors of collection centers are asked for details and they give
details. All of a sudden they say that there are enough potatoes to give out so
many per capita until December. That is incorrect. We cannot talk that way. We
must say that we have twice the amount of potatoes that we had last year in
cold storage, twice the amount. We could say that the potatoes are in much
better physical condition. They have been selected better. The inspection of
the potatoes brought into the cold-storage centers was rigorous. But 1,602,000
quintals [as heard] would not last until December.

68.  There are several reasons. In the first place, potatoes lose weight. After
a few months in cold storage, one pound of potatoes may have more nutritional
content but less water. Potatoes lose a great amount of water in cold storage.
On the other hand, it does not matter how careful you are, there will always be
a potato that might have been damaged. Sacks are checked to see if they carry
dirt or not, to check the humidity level, but the potatoes are not checked one
by one. One potato may have a bruise that later in cold storage could begin to
deteriorate. However careful you may be, some of the potatoes stored in cold
storage deteriorate.

69.  Cold-storage units are always in danger of having some type of problem in
some of their chambers. The gas may run out, something else may break down, or
a valve could break. That could cause some problems. The potatoes may have to
be distributed immediately. Those are the reasons why, if you calculate that
the supply will last until November and still have some left over, you must
begin to deduct the losses that could arise.

70.  Besides, it is a question of moral values and principles. If there were a
natural catastrophe in a province, a hurricane or something else, then you
would have to take out some of those potatoes that are stored in cold-storage
units to help that province. In fact, just recently potatoes were sent to other
provinces. It was not part of the program, but there was a drought and other
problems and we sent them potatoes. There was a surplus of cabbage, because the
cabbage matured too fast due to the same rain that gave us problems during the
potato harvest.

71.  A little cabbage was distributed to different provinces.  Cabbage was sent
to Santiago, Guantanamo, Holguin, Isle of Youth, and Pinar del Rio. That is
what we have to do. There may be a need in a specific province owing to
difficult situations or drought. Some of those potatoes must be considered a
reserve to help other provinces. It is our duty. If there were a hurricane here
that knocked down all the banana plants, Havana would have to ask other
provinces for help. Therefore, we must administer what we have stored here.

72.  I believe it will last until November provided that in September, October,
and November a smaller amount is distributed than in June, July, and August,
which are the famous peak months. We cannot distribute the same amount during
all these months. The potato distribution for May is already ahead of schedule.
So we have from June on, but we must always see how the situation is and how
the rest of the supplies are. That has to be administered. We cannot make an
exact and rigorous program at this point to tell how many pounds of the
potatoes are going to be distributed per capita. For that reason we must be
prudent in what we say. But it is satisfactory to have twice the potatoes that
we had last year, and they are in much better condition.

73.  Now, the movement began a little more than a year ago.  A little more than
a year ago the first 60 camps were completed. We must say that we can already
see the results of the efforts we are making. Let us see what happened in 1991.
It was an unfavorable climatic year. It was bad for the potatoes, tomatoes, and
other crops.  Nevertheless, despite this, the production of tubers and
vegetables in Havana Province increased by 22 percent during 1991, in spite of
the fact that it was a bad year.

74.  Now, during that bad year there was a 2 percent drop at the
agricultural-livestock production cooperatives in comparison to 1990. As for
the individual small farmers, there was a 19 percent drop in comparison to
1990. It was a bad year. But you would also have to see what portion of the
drop was caused by diversion of products.  That is something that needs to be
analyzed by the comrades of the National Association of Small Farmers [ANAP] at
the meeting of the....[pauses] at the ANAP congress.

75.  I must say that in Havana Province there are 42,000 hectares dedicated to
vegetables and tubers. Of the 42,000, approximately 22,000 are state-owned.
They are held by the state. Of those hectares, 10,000 are held by the
agricultural- livestock production cooperatives. The remaining 10,000 hectares
are held by the independent small farmers. We have the three types of property.
That is why no one can say to us that it is better to have parcels, small
plots, private property, collective property, state property, or cooperative
property, because we have all three types.

76.  We are constantly observing what goes on in each one of them. There are
some small farmers who are truly outstanding. Some of the individual small
farmers are wise men and scientists. Thirteen of them are advisers to the
executive committee. Those farmers know a lot.  Unfortunately, not all small
farmers are like that. Not all of them are wise men and scientists. Not all of
them have the same social attitude.

77.  There are many small farmers who are honest and give everything they have
to the state collection centers. They show exemplary behavior. There are others
who divert resources and sometimes use fuel, fertilizer, and other things. What
they deliver to the state collection centers is disproportionate to what they
use or what they cost the country. Right? They have friends, relatives, and
others who need something or other.

78.  Now, in 1991 the state enterprises produced 67.1 percent more. That
increase in production at the enterprises is considerable. It is in large part
due to the efforts of the mobilized workers, the contingents, and those
mobilized for two weeks. You can see very clearly in this figure how production
at the state enterprises increased, even though mobilized workers also help the
cooperative farms. The mobilizations of people from the municipalities of
Havana Province-in other words, from the rural part of the province or rural
Havana Province, to call it something-basically help the cooperative farms.
Those are the mobilizations that are carried out in Alquizar, Guines, Batabano,
and other places. Sometimes they are also mobilized to state farms. But our
party mobilizes workers to help the agricultural-livestock production
cooperatives. If we need to help the small farmers we will do so also. When
Gomez had to harvest 11,200 quintals of potatoes in three days, the people from
around the area were not enough. The special troops gave some help to Gomez,
who is an independent small farmer. That happened in 1961....[pauses] 1991.

79.  Now, how are they doing at this moment, during this first four- month
period? The figures still need to be more accurate. I hope that by the time the
ANAP congress begins we will have the exact production figures. I am speaking
in general and of this province. Right now I am referring to this province.
Production continues to increase. In the first four months of 1992, an increase
of 34 percent was registered in vegetable and tuber production in Havana
Province in comparison to the same period of last year. In physical terms it
represents 1,520,000 more quintals of products sold to the state. The state
sector in particular, and basically the miscellaneous crops enterprises,
increased their sales to the state by 44 percent. They increased their sales by
1,123,000 quintals more than in 1991.

80.  On the other hand, the agricultural-livestock production cooperatives and
independent small farmers also increased their production by 20 percent; that
is, by 397,000 quintals more than last year. I believe that here we should
separate how much of that 20 percent corresponds to the agricultural-livestock
production cooperatives and how much corresponds to independent small farmers,
but I do not have those figures.

81.  Now, the state enterprises in Havana Province contributed 61 percent of
the products sold to the state. Before, I was referring to what had been grown.
But now I am referring to what they contributed. The state enterprises in
Havana Province contributed 61 percent of the vegetables and tubers sold to the
state by the province during this four-month period in 1992. Their share in
1991 was 57 percent. So that increased because the state enterprises deliver
products for distribution to the populace.  It includes both vegetables and
tubers. For vegetables, the state enterprises in Havana Province contributed 78
percent of the products sold to the state by the province in 1992. That is 7
percent more than last year. In other words, that is their contribution, not
how much they grew, but how much they contributed as part of the total amount
of products sold to the state. They increased their deliveries by 40 percent.

82.  The province increased by 28 percent in comparison to last year. That is
the province in general. As a whole the province increased production of
practically all tubers.  That includes potatoes, boniato, malanga, yuca, yams,
plantains, and bananas. That was possible basically through the contributions
of the state sector.

83.  The non-state sector decreased its production of potatoes, boniato, and
plantains. There was a reduction in the planting of potatoes but much higher
yields were obtained, as you have been able to see. The state was in charge of
planting most of the potatoes. In terms of vegetables, during the first four
months of 1992, Havana Province increased its sales of vegetables to the state
by 42 percent in comparison to the same period last year; that is, 717,000
quintals of vegetables. The contribution of the state sector was 35 percent.
Both sectors experienced growth in comparison with 1991. The state sector grew
by 57 percent, and the non-state sector grew by 36 percent. In the tomato
harvest in particular, the province experienced an increase of 86 percent. The
state sector's delivery of tomatoes increased 2.7 times. The non-state sector
harvested 656,000 quintals of tomatoes, an increase of 67 percent in comparison
with 1991. Tomatoes were one of the crops that increased. Cabbage production
also increased.

84.  We are talking about what has been done so far. There are dozens of new
caballerias of plantains growing. The increase in plantain production-if there
is no natural catastrophe of any kind, such as a hurricane, which could be very
damaging for these crops, which would be disastrous for the plantain
crop-should also be considerable this year. It is true that by
December....[pauses] It is true that by October and November we will have fewer
potatoes, but we will have more plantains. We will be out of potatoes by
December, but we will have many more plantains and more boniato, or we should
have more boniato and yuca.

85.  Comrades, I do not want to take much longer. I have tried to use this time
to express certain ideas that I think are relevant in relation to this. In
order to be brief, I want to finally speak about the most important tasks at
hand: planting and cultivation. Because of the large concentration of
machinery, men and women, mobilized workers, and contingents used to save the
potato crop, for approximately two weeks all the areas planted and areas to be
planted were not given the necessary attention. Rains also hampered soil
preparation. To show you how Mother Nature acts, all that has to be said is
that by the time the potato harvest ended, so did the rain and the threats of
rain. We have had almost 12 days without rain or threat of rain, and in some
places it has been even longer.

86.  That is very good because that gives us a chance to prepare the soil. It
gives us a chance to prepare the soil.  That is why we have to take advantage
of every hour, every minute, and work day and night with the machinery because
the spring planting program is behind schedule. We are behind in the planting
of the potatoes we need for the second half of the year, particularly for the
last quarter. We are behind schedule. We are behind in the planting of yuca for
the end of the year and the first quarter of next year.

87.  I have already talked about boniato and yuca. We are behind schedule in
planting corn. In fact, we should have planted about 600 caballerias in April,
and right now we do not have 50 percent of that planted. But that does not mean
that we are going to lose the battle. It means we cannot waste a minute. It
means that the machinery should work constantly, day and night, I repeat, and
in addition we should not waste an hour of the days left in April. In practice,
it mean we have only two days left. We have to work intensely during the whole
month of May.  We are already into spring. That is why we have to speed up soil
preparation before more rainfall makes things more difficult.

88.  We have to be ready to plant all the corn that we have to plant. The corn
crop does not yield large amounts per caballeria. Corn might yield 300 or 400
quintals, sometimes a little more, but per caballeria it does not produce the
6,000, 6,500, or 7,000 quintals that a caballeria of potatoes yields. A
caballeria of corn yields 300 or 400 quintals, but we have to take advantage of
those fields so they do not become full of weeds. We have to plant and
cultivate a portion of the fields with corn.

89.  It is a product that the people like. There will be enough for a few
tamales, a little corn on the cob. One caballeria yields 300,000 ears of corn.
We plan to plant approximately 500 caballerias of corn in the two sectors. We
have to make a great effort these days. Corn is easy to grow because with one
ox you can take care of it on approximately 500 caballerias. But there is a
large amount of boniato still to be planted, and planting boniato is truly hard
work. Corn can be planted with machines if tractors and machines can have
access to the land, but boniato has to be planted stick by stick.

90.  One caballeria of boniato has 600,000 sticks. That means that it takes the
work of 200 or 300 men in one day to plant one caballeria of boniato. Yuca also
requires hard work. But these are crops that are well adapted to our tropical
climate. Potatoes are not. Boniato, yuca, and plantains are well adapted.
Plantains laugh at the heat.  They are happy with it. Plantains laugh at the
rain. They are happy with it. All of that benefits the plantains. Yuca and
boniato endure all that quite well, but it is hard work to plant them. We are
behind schedule in the program for planting and cultivating those crops.

91.  That is why on 28 April we had a meeting with all the directors of
enterprises and cooperatives, the ANAP representatives, with the slogan of
turning all the equipment, all the work force, and all the resources, all our
efforts to cultivating and planting those crops, so that a few days ago the
machinery began to work day and night, and efforts have been made in that
sense. But it is a lot of work. We cannot rest on our laurels from our success
with the potatoes. I think this meeting is important not only to talk about
what has been done, but especially to talk about everything we have yet to do.

92.  It is necessary for us to leave here with an awareness of dedicating
ourselves as in the heaviest days of the potato harvest. We have to plant-and I
repeat-corn, boniato, yuca, plantains, malanga, cucumbers, and other crops on a
lesser scale. We have made adjustments, taking into account which crops require
a larger work force and which require less, but we must fulfill a program
[words indistinct] to ensure above all the supplies for the off season with
corn, corn that is planted in May, June, and July and is harvested in August,
the end of August and the beginning of September, as soft corn.

93.  The fields also produce forage for the oxen, and the number of oxen being
used is increasing. The fields also have to be ready to be prepared for the
winter crops. It is not only important to advance planting the crops, but
rather to the extent that we advance the planting we advance the freeing up of
fields so that potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, and other crops can be planted
again in the cold season.

94.  So what I most want to stress this afternoon is the effort we must make in
planting and cultivating, and that we must not rest for a single minute. I must
tell you sincerely that I am a little worried because of the excessive number
of ceremonies that may take place these days. Because for this ceremony, I
asked: How many will attend? They said: About 1,500. I said: At what time? I
know that this camp has come to a halt since noon. Finally those who had been
here stayed. That was arranged. You are leaving today?

95.  [Audience answers: ``Yes.'']

96.  Good, I am glad, because they were going to hold this ceremony with the
new people, those who were going to come for the next two weeks. I am thankful
that you postponed your departure by one day.

97.  They said: About 1,500. Of course, along the way I saw a lot of boniato
being gathered, coming out of the town of Guira de Melena. I said: It is a good
thing there are people gathering boniato right now. I was calculating the hours
that were being lost with this ceremony, the time lost today by all the
enterprise directors, all the party officials, with this ceremony. But this
ceremony could no longer be avoided. It was promised. I had promised to attend,
but a ceremony on 20-what? What day is today, 28 April? No, 29 April. We are
almost at the end of the month. A ceremony on 29 April. But in Alquizar they
told me they had I do not know what kind of ceremony on some day for I do not
know what award for I do not know what farm. I said: Well, there are other
ceremonies the enterprises and municipalities are holding. On top of this,
there is 1 May. There are ceremonies on 1 May. In addition, Sunday 10 May is
Mother's Day. On Sunday people have to work in the morning, whether they are
mothers or fathers. [chuckles] They must work.  [applause] They must work, or
the mothers are going to be given Saturday off, and they must be here Sunday
night or very early on Monday, very early. When I say very early I do not mean

98.  It is true that there are many ceremonies and many activities, and I am
concerned about that. The least I can do is convey that to you. There is work
on 1 May. If it is workers day, they must work on that day, at least in
agriculture. Agriculture does not wait. Agriculture does not know what workers
day is or 1 May is. It knows that the corn must be planted. Not a single day
can be lost; not a single minute can be lost. What time are the municipal
ceremonies on 1 May? At 0900? What a shame! Well, what time are the ones who
are mobilized returning to the camp? The whole camp is not going? Are you sure
about that? What? Is the camp chief not here?  Where is the Victory Smiles Camp
chief? Tell me, what are you going to do on 1 May?

99.  [Answer indistinct]

100.  Why? Can we waste....[pauses] afford that?

101.  No, that is Friday. Are you going to work until noon or are you going to
the ceremony?

102.  [Answer indistinct]

103.  And on Sunday?

104.  [Answer indistinct]

105.  Half a day of work. We are not doing well. I do not have anything else to
say. Are we not doing well? [applause] On 1 May, a half a day of work. On
Sunday, a half a day of work. When are we going to plant the corn, boniato,
yuca, and what we have to plant?

106.  [Answer indistinct]

107.  But what is a caballeria of boniato? It is nothing. How much do you have
to plant?

108.  [Answer indistinct]

109.  Well, why do you not work at least until 1500? Do something. Make an
effort. Well, that is paternalism on your part. You do not require of people
what you should require. There is no baseball game on Sunday....[pauses] There
is no baseball game on Friday. If you told me that it was Havana against
Serranos, I would say: Alright, stop now, so that these people will not die of

110.  But what are you going to do these days, seeing these fields that need to
be planted? Agriculture cannot afford it. It is not like other kinds of
production. Time cannot be wasted. The dry season cannot be wasted. We will
probably have some excellent dry days for planting. I can see that my concerns
are justified: a ceremony here, a municipal ceremony, 1 May celebrations in the
municipalities, working until noon. Look, Juan, [not further identified] on 1
May you will have nothing to do in the afternoon. I am sure that Juan will not
sit around doing nothing. He will be there taking care of the boniato and other
things that he has planted.

111.  Where are the people from the Niceto Perez Cooperative? Where is Orlando
[not further identified]? Orlando, what do you plan to do on 1 May? Go to the 1
May parade? For how many hours?

112.  [Answer indistinct]

113.  Are you going to the parade?

114.  [Answer indistinct]

115.  What time will it end? What time are you going back to work?

116.  [Answer indistinct] What time are you going to work until?

117.  [Answer indistinct]

118.  Why cannot the contingents at the camps do exactly the same thing as the
Niceto Perez Agricultural-Livestock Production Cooperative? [applause] It is a
matter of pride. It is a matter of honor. We are saying that we cannot waste a
single hour, because we are holding a party for the potatoes, and we will have
to get together for a wake for the corn and boniato. We are going to
act....[pauses] What world are we living in? Are we not aware of the realities?
We should not waste time. All this softness has its consequences. It does not
help to form consciousness. I agree that Sunday is for rest. But I think that
on 1 May we must honor the workers by working.  Because we are not under
capitalism; we are under socialism. We are not producing for the bourgeoisie;
we are producing for the people. Every quintal of tomatoes, potatoes, yuca, and
corn is for the people. [applause]

119.  That is what I wanted to tell you. I repeat my congratulations, and I
urge you not to lose a single minute.

120.  Socialism or death, fatherland or death, we will win!  [applause]

Report Type:         Daily report             AFS Number:     FL1005192692
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-92-091          Report Date:    11 May 92
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     2
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       4
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       08 May 92
Report Volume:       Monday Vol VI No 091


City/Source of Document:   Havana Tele Rebelde Network

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Delivers Speech at Geriatrics Center

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro at the inauguration of the Latin American
Center for Evaluation and Treatment of the Elderly at the Calixto
Garcia Hospital in Havana on 7 May-recorded]

Source Line:   FL1005192692 Havana Tele Rebelde Network in Spanish 0147 GMT 8
May 92

Subslug:   [``Excerpt'' of speech by President Fidel Castro at the inauguration
of the Latin American Center for Evaluation and Treatment of the
Elderly at the Calixto Garcia Hospital in Havana on 7 May-recorded]

1.  [``Excerpt'' of speech by President Fidel Castro at the inauguration of the
Latin American Center for Evaluation and Treatment of the Elderly at the
Calixto Garcia Hospital in Havana on 7 May-recorded]

2.  [Text] Well, I was saying that the members of the gerontology association
have been the main boosters and promoters of this center. We have given it the
same support that is given to all the efforts that are made in this regard. But
they have fought, worked, and promoted it. In the visitor's book I wrote that I
wished them success as great as the enthusiasm with which they have created
this center. In addition, in my opinion they have done this in an economical,
simple, and at the same time efficient manner because they have rebuilt a new
wing which has almost 100 beds and turned it into individual rooms. This
improves the quality of this hospital. In the future all its facilities should
be like this. They freed up this smaller space. I think that this is a good
facility for the beginning of this center. As he [not further identified] said,
by recommendation of the WHO, they put it within a hospital.

3.  Really this is one of the oldest hospitals. If not the oldest, it is still
quite old. There are a few that are older, from the last century, of the mutual
aid societies. How old is this hospital? [answer indistinct] 1800 what?
[unidentified speaker: ``1896.''] 1896? In the middle of the war for
independence? Was it a public hospital at that time? It was a military
hospital, of course, in the middle of the war. That explains why this hospital
was opened in 1896, although in general the Spaniards showed a lot of interest
in health care. Because we must say that the mutual aid institutions organized
by the Spaniards were wonderful institutions. It was an economical way of
providing medical care to the populace, when medical services were poor. Really
you could not go to the public hospitals. This hospital will soon be 100 years
old. I imagine that you will celebrate that also, right? [laughter]

4.  Now, this hospital, as Abelardo [not further identified] said, has been a
school for a large number of professionals and many prominent figures in
medicine. It was a university hospital, a teaching hospital. It was the only
one. Today, all the hospitals in the country are teaching hospitals. Not only
are all the hospitals in the country teaching hospitals but also all the
polyclinics are teaching polyclinics. Because the specialists in general
medicine are trained at the polyclinics, and the specialists are teachers
there. This is a concept that has been spread to all the hospitals in the
country. A municipal hospital may be a teaching hospital. But this is the only
one that existed, and so generations of outstanding doctors were trained here.

5.  He mentioned that nowadays in many institutions there are doctors who were
trained here. A great portion of the personnel who opened the Hermanos
Ameijeiras Hospital-a very modern hospital-were trained here at the Calixto
Garcia. This hospital has continued training professionals. Today, it is a
school; it is part of the Medical Sciences Institute. It is one of
the...[pauses] Abelardito, how many schools are there in Havana?  [answers
indistinct] Eight or seven? How many? Well, then there are seven. Seven which
train doctors, right?  The Calixto Garcia Hospital is a school. How many
students are enrolled at the Calixto Garcia? How many?  [answers indistinct] Of
course. It had one building before. (?You) never had one. The building where
the Biology School is located now, what was it back then? It was the School of
Medicine, the only one in Havana.  Now the Biology School is located there, but
we have plans to build a new Biology School in order to return that building,
which is nearby, to the medical school.

6.  You know that we had a beautiful plan to modernize this hospital by
building a center with an expanded capacity of approximately 300 beds and all
the operating rooms.  All the wings were going to be modernized and turned into
individual rooms, because we still have open wards in many of these wings. We
had made great progress in preparing the plans; they were in a very advanced
stage.  We would be building it right now if it were not for the situation
created by the special period. We still have the hope that these plans will
someday become reality.

7.  In the meantime we can renovate at least one wing, if not the whole
hospital. We can continue to create institutions such as this center. Many
other things can be done because even under conditions which are difficult for
our current economy at this time, we can continue to do things. Because when it
comes down to it, the important thing in all of this is not money. Money is
necessary, yes, it is necessary because all kinds of expenditures have to be
made. These hospitals cost money. The materials cost money. [words indistinct]
Fortunately, much of the equipment was already being produced in the country,
but we have to import other types. The most important thing is people, the
human personnel, doctors, nurses, and technicians. It is all the workers at a
hospital institution who establish its quality.

8.  Therefore, although we might not be able to build new hospitals for a
while, with what we have, the ones we have built, the ones that we have
modernized, and the ones being completed-there are a number of hospitals that
were being built when the special period began-we will be able to provide
medical services for many years.  These medical services, even during the
special period, can and should continue to improve.

9.  How many doctors does Cuba currently have? It has more than 40,000. What?
42,000. But 4,000 will be graduating this summer. In July or August? During
July and August 4,000 more doctors will be graduating in Cuba. It is getting
harder to keep a tally on the number of doctors and to know how many we have.
Prieto [not further identified] was saying: See, these are the consultants. 
Fine, but we cannot know them all because they come from everywhere; although
some of them we do know because they are well known. He said: These are the
Cubans, the Cuban staff; you know some of them. I said: Yes, I know some of
them, but it is getting harder and harder to know all the doctors here. In a
country with more than 40,000 doctors, it is impossible to meet them all. What
also makes it harder is that every one of them is employed.

10.  I wonder how many of them are going to become prominent through social
medicine and the cooperation among all the hospitals. What makes our medical
research so much easier? The fact that all our hospitals cooperate with one
another instead of engaging in a war against each other. The research centers
cooperate with one another instead of competing or fighting against each other.
This is the great advantage that our system offers for the development of
science. If we have to carry out a protocol, we have the cooperation of all the
hospitals to carry out the protocol. If we have to do any research project, we
have the cooperation of all the hospitals and the scientific research centers.

11.  This is why our medical and health-related biotechnology research is
advancing at such an incredible speed.  This is also why high technology
medical equipment is developing with such speed, because we unite our efforts. 
Instead of dividing efforts and minds, we put minds together. This is the same
as multiplying them because nothing is as highly valued as [words indistinct]
operation.  [applause]