Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-95-247 Daily Report 23 Dec 1995 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Science, Technology Forum Opens in Havana

Castro Addresses Forum

PA2512192995 Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks in Spanish, 0129 GMT 23 Dec 95 PA2512192995 Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks Spanish BFN [Speech by President Fidel Castro to close 10th Science and Technology Forum on 21 December at Convention Palace in Havana]

[FBIS Translated Text] Dear fellow comrades: I was given a diploma; they made me hand out I don't know how many awards and then they send me to [45-second break in reception] perhaps one day I will ask for one of those small dolls that you hand out [words indistinct] the diplomas [laughs] for introducing an innovation on how to deliver brief speeches. I have nearly won this award at international events [10-second break in reception] commissions and two days of plenary meetings.

The method seems to be good. The commissions delve into the main issues. All participants become familiarized in one way or another [10-second break in reception]. I think that there is actually no need for a summary, because we had the privilege of hearing two excellent speeches by Pedrito when [words indistinct] and by (Baynegra) today.

They managed to give a summary that was not too long on the movement's history and the general work done over the years, especially during recent years, and on the results of 10th forum. Thus, those of us who were unable to attend the commission meetings received a general outlook. Nevertheless, I do not think that everything was mentioned. We received important news [25-second break in reception]. I am particularly impressed with what I heard, but I realize that I must continue collecting and receiving information.

We were able to collect much information prior to the event, thanks to the media. Nearly everyday there was something on television about the science and technology forum [5-second break in reception] the work that the Armed Forces and the Interior Ministry had done. Television visually aids this effort considerably. They reported on all of the activities, but there is no doubt that they played a very important role in the organization and preparation process [35-second break in reception] that reflected this movement's current reality.

I was recalling the teachers and professors whose day will be marked tomorrow. A comrade already congratulated them because their work is reflected here to a great extent. I associated this with the words of Adolfo Sr. -- I think that the two bear the same name -- the words of Adolfo Sr., who is said to be 88 years old -- although no one believes it. They say that he will continue to work for a long time for the revolution and I believe that. I recalled his statement about the days of capitalism, when he was working on a farm where he could not find a man who could keep a list of workers due to illiteracy.

Today, and I do not think that I am exaggerating, it might be much more difficult to find a worker who cannot quickly learn to operate a calculator or computer [5-second break in reception] were suggested -- they were not requested -- but suggested knowing that there would be awards; I think that there are about 100 calculators in addition to the computer that was promised yesterday [5- second break in reception] the preparation of our people that allowed us to witness [6-second break in reception] and can still marvel at this, because there are things that are beyond anything one could imagine. And that is my view of this 10th forum.

Of course, the most impressive difference is not the level of education of the participants. The most impressive difference is the human quality, moral integrity, enthusiasm, dedication, and revolutionary spirit of the participants who expressed themselves here.

At that moment, I felt so much more love for socialism. [applause] Because you understand that without socialism this would be impossible. Without socialism we could not organize a forum like this. Things such as these, and many other things, we can never renounce. Without socialism, a movement of this kind could never take place. As we have said on other occasions: In the midst of egoism, individualism, and competition, there would be none of these things we have mentioned, nor could we pronounce those beautiful words spoken by Moinegra when he recalled that: Nothing that was done here was done for money.

Those persons who harbored in their minds strange ideas regarding changing the socialist system or ideal, and socialist behavior -- what it is and what it means -- for capitalism, are without any doubt persons that have been left behind by history. I say it now, and I have said it before. However, now I say it with greater justification, because I have seen what has occurred. [5-second break in reception] and what has occurred elsewhere. When I say this elsewhere, I need not mention any names. [22-second break in reception] with the pretext of correcting errors, which could give rise to attitutes, conduct, and acts such as this. And how it hurts to see the work of so many years destroyed. Work such as this [words indistinct]

Because they speak to me of the recent student congress, and I ask myself, where could they celebrate a congress such as this? [words indistinct] where would they celebrate the next worker's congress, or when the FEU [Federation of University Students], the CDR [Committees for the Defense of the Revolution], or many of our other revolutionary organizations meet, and I ask myself where could they be carried out like they are carried out here, in Cuba. And how they could live without it? It is so strong that I do not believe that those capitalist powders that fall upon us are going to change, [13-second break in reception] could ever change the beauty and hardness of crystal [15-second break in reception] everything that we do is something that will always preserve the essentials. Neither the profiteers who charge 700 pesos to fix a television set, nor [10-second break in reception]. However, including the differences which have been established between one and the other, the inevitable results of the changes and facts of life, and which we all throroughy understand we have taken [18-second break in reception] of our revolution [20-second break in reception] of those who [19-second break in reception] the generations which preceded us [9-second break in reception] of this revolution, to reach [7-second break in reception] of the country. They are all unanimous regarding the same idea, or concept. It is good to say this on an occasion such as this, when we begin to see the reward for maintaining our dignity, patriotism, and courage to resist. [7-second break in reception] moments for me, of unexpected and devastating blows to the country and the country's economy.

Nevertheless, today we are not weaker. Today, we are [word indistinct]. One of the things that impressed me regarding this meeting was to see, to prove, and to express beyond a doubt that today we are stronger, better, and more efficient. That was reflected yesterday in every speech. No longer was there only news of disaster. Many comrades said many beautiful things. The congress of the new scientist was brilliant.

[55-second break in reception] According to everything we have listened to here, the ox is a part of the science of labor and agriculture. You want productivity? There are two oxen doing the work of 20 or 30 men. You want productivity, not only from the worker, but from the land? There are oxen which elevate land productivity 20 to 30 percent. Meanwhile, the oxen helped solve the most difficult problem which we faced during the special period, because someone said here, I think it was [word indistinct], who said during an interview that 80 percent of the Cuban people live in urban areas, whereas 20 percent live in the rural areas -- many of those working in the fields are working in areas that have nothing do with the fields, the reverse of what you see in China and Vietnam, where 80 percent live in the rural areas and 20 percent live in the urban areas.

Without any machines, or gasoline, what could help us increase productivity under those circumstances? The ox! It is all right to continue using machines [words indistinct] we cannot escape that. [words indistinct] some 100 caballerias in a few weeks of [indistinct word]. Working between rains and storms. Between the end of the harvest and the beginning of [13-second break in reception].

The preparation [indistinct] thousands of caballerias in a few days, is probably one of the biggest headaches of our agriculture. [13-second break in reception] so many men [words indistinct] [5-second break in reception] to break ground between the spaces [5-second break in reception] if he has not stopped the cultivation of the land. Why, if it is what the majority of men need, [words indistinct] not one ox, several teams of oxen.

Today, it would be impossible to substitute the sugarcane combines because the cost of mobilizing 350,000 men is unsustainable, in terms of clothing, footwear, food, and transportation. We must, therefore, find the necessary means, the fuel, to get the combines working because we no longer have the cranes [gruas] where the oxen transported the sugarcane. Because there are collection centers now and the distances are long. The cultivation of the land using oxen, however, represents a savings of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of workers, the performance of a more efficient and timely job, and provides the adequate frequency required by that type of job.

But (?Bouza) spoke yesterday with a wise man and said things [6-second break in reception] summit events [words indistinct] The Earth Summit and the desperate conservation of the environment by modern man. With books written on the subject, could there still be someone who can say he has not read a single word associating animal work, the way he did things yesterday, with the conservation of the environment? He said it was useless to talk about sustainable development and the conservation of nature if we destroy the earth, which has already suffered greatly because of modern agriculture, in a few more years. [8-second break in reception] [words indistinct].

There is the air needed by the earth, with the [words indistinct] and the organisms that [words indistinct] there, the fundamental work to create the conditions for food production.

The way he presented the argument was quite brilliant but [words indistinct] this fashionable philosophy, which is even more fashionable when associated with environmental conservation. He wisely said it may resist for a while, but the time will come when it will resist no more. This is linked to the very serious problems facing the modern world: The feeding of the modern world -- mankind is growing by 90 million persons a year and the amount of soil that is eroded and washed out to sea each year is measured in billions of tons -- the erosion and the desertification of lands; the loss of cultivable lands for many reasons.

With a population of barely a billion or almost one billion people at the turn of the 20th century, the earth will arrive at the year 2000 with 6 billion people. The population will have grown sixfold. Mankind will have grown six-times since man first existed, but which has grown during hundreds of thousands of years. It continues to grow, nobody can stop that. They have not been able to stop the richer countries, much less the poor ones. There are countries such as China, which is currently making heroic efforts to reach a population equilibrium, but it still has to wait a good number of years to attain population stability. [17-second break in reception]

Land is lost due to the construction of highways, plants, and cities. This is a visible fact. At this very moment, the world is facing problems with its food supply. This was one of yesterday's main points of discussion, and possibly one of mankind's main problems.

Today, world cereal reserves are lower than ever. If before the norm was 18 or 20 percent, now it is approximately 11 percent. The price of food is skyrocketing, including wheat and grains in general. For example, in the case of rice, we are making special efforts, which were stopped during the special period. In other words, there is the preparation of all land for rice cultivation, improvement of productivity by hectare, conservation of water, and triplication of productivity per man. Practically, all the rice paddies are built, the country's main rice channels are ready. Cuba has enough land to be self-sufficient, if we could have finished the engineering projects we had planned. We already had 17 brigades, and we expected to reach a total of 40 to build the terraces.

At present we are mobilizing some resources, as we did with tobacco and sugarcane, which are tied to the growing prestige the country is receiving. We are confident and believe the country will be able to resist. Therefore, the 17 brigades will be able to return to work in the upcoming months.

The required equipment is kept in a safe place, because we had to resist requests to use them for other chores. It is always easier to use the equipment than to repair what is available. There is enough equipment to provide for 40 brigades. We must establish a deadline to have all the rice crops under the so-called engineering system. We must use our industries for the building of combines, as we are already doing with the sugarcane equipment. The plants are working, they are building new models, which are potent and can double production results. All these could be achieved by our own means with the industrial base we possess.

We have the necessary water, the dams are filled. A metric ton of rice costs $350. It is magical to produce 8,000 quintals of potatoes, 15,000 metric tons of cabbage, and any other product that could be grown under our conditions, not because of the special period but because the world will soon face food shortages, mainly of grains.

We cannot grow wheat because of our climate; we will have to seek more reasonable and productive crops, not only regarding product volume, but also the product's trade value. Because humanity is beginning to live in a special food period, our food programs must be prioritized. This is why it was important, very important [words indistinct] yesterday's discussions on these issues: Food production, the construction of hydroponics and organic orchards, the development of the land, manpower, and hectare production.

We just made a tour and visited an important [words indistinct] town. We could observe a strange phenomenon there on what the demographic explosion has meant to the world. When the war of liberation ended, the PRC had approximately 500 million inhabitants; I mean... [pauses] 500 million. It now has 1.214 billion people. By the year 2000, which is just around the corner, it will have 1.3 billion people. By the years 2010, 2020, or 2030, it is estimated that its population could be stabilized at approximately 1.6 billion people. We see that they do not have 100 million hectares of farm land; of course, they have prairies and forests; however, they only have 100 million hectares of farmland. They have to feed 12 people per hectare. However, they also have to produce fat, practically everything. They still have certain tracts of land that cannot be used to grow rice, grains; they could be used to grow cotton though. They have... [pauses] They believe that, within this immense territory... [pauses] the PRC has 5 percent -- I believe they have 5 percent of the world's farmers and are currently feeding 22 percent of the world's population. They have made a big effort. They produce approximately 300 to 450 million metric tons of grains. They are planning to produce 500 million, and, in the next 20, 25, or 30 years, they have to grow at least 10 billion metric tons of grain per year.

When the land ebbs because of urban construction... [pauses] For instance, insofar as peasants make progress and have materials, they occupy the land, factories, railroads, and roads. I repeat, the land is eroded when it is tilled. Being able to guarantee a larger increase in production is almost a scientific miracle; it could happen though. It is estimated that what the PRC's needs for the year 2010 could amount to approximately 600 to 650 million metric tons of cereals.

We note a similar phenomenon in Vietnam, which has 7 million hectares of farm land for 72 million inhabitants. These countries grow rapidly. In some cities such as Shanghai, it could be that they are building 100 skyscrapers simultaneously. The truth is that Chinese builders are unlike our builders.

Any of those buildings are finished in two years. This applies to anything they do. How they build! It is incredible! And, how they go about changing everything. How their exports increase. [words indistinct] in a country that is going to have big resources. The same goes for China.

China started in an industrial phase superior to the one in Vietnam. They were countries that had resources to buy food through this tremendous growth of exports. Nevertheless, they set the goal to meet the challenge of producing the cereals they need. This, today, would be an aid to humanity. The success of those projects [words indistinct] increase agriculture production signify a benefit to humanity because if [word indistinct] potential increases in food production in the rest of the world does not grow and are not enough for the growth of world population, the least that will happen is that there will be a big price increase.

Furthermore, the issue is not only to produce so many metric tons of cereal but rather there is a variation, not only in the consumption of food, but also in the type of food. With the development of society, it is no longer a matter of consuming wheat, corn, rice but of consuming poultry, pork, [words indistinct] that are bred in a farm. The increase in the requirements for food and grains are not only based on population growth but on the people's change in habits.

I recall that when the war ended, the Soviet Union produced approximately 60 million metric tons, and it was able to fulfill its needs. Later, [words indistinct] the change of habits of the population.

The efforts made by those countries is impressive. They plant the rice plant by plant. The rice starts to grow in nursery beds where it remains at least a month. As soon as the crop is reaped, the rice is ready to be planted again. There are areas in southern China where there are three crops.

This, however, is associated with water. Competition for water no longer includes only agriculture. Competition for water occurs between the cities, agriculture and industry, between urban and rural zones. The increase in the consumption of water in [words indistinct] is enormous and is at the cost of agriculture. There are limitations in water resources. There are many places, such as in the United States, where underground reservoirs were very abundant and it could be extracted at 15 meters previously. However, it now has to be extracted at 80 or 100 meters. The same thing happens in other continental territories.

Thus, man has been depleting an important part of his water reserves, and scientists are very concerned with this situation. Their concern is not limited to erosion; it includes changes in the environment, contamination with pesticides and insecticides and fertilizers. This is no exaggeration and is clearly observable today. The scientists are progressively gaining more insight into this situation. It would be good for our population to have more information on all those topics. This would be a positive factor to help people have a greater awareness of the importance of agriculture; the importance of futhering scientific and productive agriculture that will preserve the soil; the importance of water, the care of water, and the preservation of water. It would be good if our population were more aware of the problems I am mentioning.

They should be more aware of the need to work, gentlemen. I have to say that people in those countries work and work hard, very hard. Most of the work is done manually. They use a bit of animal labor to prepare a few plots of land, but they hardly prepare the land, because one crop is followed by another. It is a lot of work. We can say that we envy them.

We used to work our fields as they work theirs. This changed later when the tractor came in and all the mechanical equipment arrived. Some people worked four, five, three hours, [words indistinct], and so forth. We know all that. The work in those countries is hard, hard and difficult [words indistinct]. water and land, most people. Of course, insofar as they develop themselves and seek jobs in the cities, certain contradictions regarding mechanization emerge. They can save; they can increase man's production. The enormous amount of men who need to work [words indistinct] are nothing.

These are some of the problems the two countries I visited have to resolve. They are engaged in solutions and are succeeding notably. These countries are no longer blockaded; they have development facilities. Given the size of the Chinese market, practically all enterprises in the world want to invest in the PRC, in Vietnam. They are united; they are well-organized. They take their businesses and agreements quite seriously. They are creating an inconceivable feat.

Regarding the case of the PRC, it is enough to say that it is 120 times, approximately 120 times... [pauses] it has 120 times the amount of Cuba's population. Could you imagine Cuba 120 times larger? Take off a bit, 115 times larger? To lead this huge population, to organize it in order to be able to produce their food, shoes, clothes, [words indistinct]. The PRC is a country that has a very old culture, that has capable leaders. We could see this there. They are currently making a contribution, a contribution akin to the world's new conditions: An economy that has globalized itself, competition.

However, they [not further identified] are making it difficult for the PRC to join the World Trade Organization, because they fear its productive ability. What they are making in Shanghai is a new New York City. It is new, and it took only a few years. In other PRC regions, they are building giant cities, modern factories with high technology and production techniques, following the irreversible decision to defend socialist principles. In addition, they do not dream about having no socialism; they do not even think about resolving the minor problems. To resolve the problems of that country or those countries, they use socialism and the Marxist-Leninist principles, under the leadership of the Workers Party and under the people's democratic system. Literature has characterized this situation in different ways: A dictatorship of the majority, a dictatorship of the proletariat; it is a people's democratic government under the leadership of the Party.

We do not have the slightest doubt; they are moving forward at incredible speed. They are moving forward; they have the working spirit and the ability to organize themselves. I [words indistinct] compared to us, they have a major advantage: They have no blockade. So far, as anyone can see, it is the largest obstacle our economic development has. It is an obstacle that we must be determined to defeat, willing to defeat, as we were determined to defeat it in its first day.

We will also grow, but not at the speed they are growing. If the blockade disappeared, we could also join the bloc of countries with high growth rates. Because of the blockade, we must be aware that our growth rate will be more modest. However, we are going to grow. If we do what we are doing, if we behave as we have behaved in this meeting, if we put into practice all the ideas we have discussed here, this democracy [words indistinct], even with the blockade, we could not only resist. We have resisted; the new possibilities constitute the reward for our ability to resist and to our feat of having resisted. [applause]

What happened in the other places, where they erased the word Marxism, the principles of Marxism-Leninism from the blackboard? What has become of them? Those who received and accepted the neo-liberal recommendations of the IMF and the World Bank. What happened to them? They have received total rejection at all forums. I do not want to say and I believe there is no need to recount the calamities suffered. Nevertheless, we, without gas, raw materials, oil, coal, energy, with nothing, suffering a double blockade, because the blockade was redoubled, were able at some point to halt the downfall of the economy and improve it somehow.

This year, we were able to improve the economy a little bit, and we planned to continue doing so next year. We have received resources from those who believed in Cuba, who have seen Cuba's organization and ability to work, our serious approach, and honesty. Honesty is something which is cherished more than a gold mine. The fact that no revolutionary leader could be bribed [33-second break in reception] to the interest and our possibilities.

Nobody knows what will be the end. Congress and the administration have not reached an agreement. [words indistinct] The idea that [words indistinct] or believe the blockade will continue. The existing regulations will continue, but the world is challenging these regulations. People are more tired and bored with that nonsense. Every day, it becomes harder to maintain the measures against us. People find ways of flouting these measures. They flout them and will continue to do so. [words indistinct] for the worst variation [words indistinct]. The changes taking place in people's attitude.

I have attended many meetings, but in fact, no other meeting encourages and inspires me more than a meeting like this one. No other meeting can strengthen our self-assurance more. We have overcome the worst. Regarding material matters, there is not much left. [words indistinct] Patriotism is stronger, the revolutionary feeling of the people is stronger. It does not matter that some have the illusion that this country could go back to capitalism. Our people will make sure this does not take place. [applause]

I was talking about a municipality where no infant deaths have been reported in five years. No one had died of lectopyrosis. They had a number of specialists. Could capitalism have family doctors, could they have a health system similar to ours, a similar education system? Could they have our dignity or system of equal rights? Because some have more money than others due to specific circumstances does not mean they would have the revolutionary power [applause] or have more rights than others. Maybe some material privileges.

We have to find solutions to the things that upset us. We need to establish a well-drafted tax system in response to the circumstances and which guarantees proper implementation. Tax discipline should be guaranteed. It is unimaginable for one person to earn only 700 pesos. He can earn any amount of money and may not register or pay taxes if he does not want to. Taxes will be progressive; those who earn more will pay more taxes in pesos and in convertible exchange. We will work on remittance taxes. It will make no sense if they do not send it.

There are people here earning in foreign currency; for example, someone rents the house the revolution gave him for 500 or 600 pesos. He does not care if Havana becomes a hotel, and he moved in with a neighbor. We have to pay taxes, because we must pay for health, education, and to keep the streets clean. We have to develop and defend the country. [applause] So far, we will not begin a witch hunt, but you must be aware of the situation, and people must help us.

Many people could [words indistinct] have problems with the revolution. But if a person owns a house and a potential tenant comes in and rents it, well, I would not lose sleep over that. How much is the income, how much does it cost in pesos or dollars? If a person has a home restaurant, how much does it earn? He has to pay taxes in pesos or dollars. Paying taxes must be seen as a sacred duty by those who are not state employess. I am not referring to the worker in the factory, the teacher teaching classes in a school, or the doctor offering his services at hospitals or clinics. I am referring to the self-employed worker, who runs his own store or business. He could be earning a lot of money in the free or farmers markets. It is only logical and fair that he pay taxes based on his income. The principle of taxes is something demanded by the circumstances. It is not that we want to irritate anybody. It should become a basic principle to maintain the achievements of the revolution and diminish the privileges and inequalities that may arise .

The clearly legislated rules, and others that are being regulated, are being implemented gradually. We are doing things as we believe we should. The country has remained in order and organized, not only preserving its values but multiplying its revolutionary values, because, during difficult and hard times such as these, the revolutionary spirit is put to the test. I will not lose sleep if someone gets soft. I think our people have performed a great feat, and that feat opens new horizons and possibilities to preserve what we must preserve. The greatest historical responsibility would be borne by this generation and future ones if they prove incapable of preserving what we have created. Our values and spirit were reflected, like at no other time, during this meeting. Our people's organizational abilities, talent and creative spirit were reflected, as well as the culture achieved by our people. The experiences obtained by our cadres in the party and the government should be enriched. The most capable persons should always be in charge of important posts.

We must work like ants, like a worker bees. We must work hard. This way we will be able to promote our goal and save the sovereign and free fatherland, the revolution, the achievemens of socialism, and I mean socialism. Defending socialist achievement does not mean yielding the right to build socialism. Whenever we build a new good factory we are defending socialism. The majority of the economy is in the hands of the people, of the state. Efficiency is another big challenge we face, and we have achieved it without shock policies, but with humane policies.

This is the way we have kept the country going, the only country in the world suffering a blockade. There are other more recent cases, but for other reasons.

We have maintained the necessary organization and conditions to work and to make progress.

I am not going to repeat here all the things that were discussed at the forum. The harvest is ahead of us. This will be a hard task. No other harvest has been discussed so much. I believe this was discussed at the sugar mill level, at the sugarcane truck level. We cannot indulge in the luxury of leaving any sugarcane uncut.

We have worked hard for the past few months. We have worked on sugarcane. We have cleaned it in these hot months, the hottest in recent years. Often, rains would not let the machinery work. We have made a big effort everywhere. We have followed up closely on everything and discussed everything: Steel laminae, machinery, screws, raw material, spare parts, motors.

Never before have we prepared for a harvest like we have for this one. We have received credits to buy the resources we need for the harvest, to repair the sugar mills, to fix the sides of the wagons, the machines, to do all we had to do with the sugar combines. All this has to be paid for with the sugar we will produce, to be able to have resources next year, to have resources for rice, to accomplish all we have planned to do with rice. We are going to pay credits with price differences between production costs and [words indistinct].

We must take advantage of increased fuel production.

This does not mean we are going to be better off next year or the next. We are setting the economy in motion. We are going to promote the country's development.

Of course there will be some visible benefits: It is not the same to work barefoot rather than to have a pair of shoes on, to work with torn clothes rather than good clothes. There are the shoes, the clothes, the caring for the people. The life and work conditions of the workers will be made suitable in each of the activities. This does not mean that tomorrow we will have 300,000 [words indistinct].

We know what we want. The strategy is clear. [words indistinct] to work with flexibility.

We have been implementing this, and all these measures are being discussed. All the measures have been discussed in the National Assembly and with the people, once, twice, three times.

We have implemented policies with the agreement of the people. A persuasion effort was necessary, an education effort was necessary to make people understand that we had to do things that we did not like but that had to be done, that we could not avoid doing. The revolution has never had so much merit as now when it has found itself obligated to do difficult things and has tackled them with the support of the people.

To implement revolutionary measures is easy: the Agrarian Reform Law, the Urban Reform Law, all kinds of laws. All that was done for many years directly benefited the people: Schools, hospitals, etc.

Now, under terrible conditions, we have had to allow privileges, differences. Revolutionary ideology suffered a terrible onslaught, and it had to maintain the trust and confidence of the people. When many were philosophizing, conjecturing, and getting confused and confusing others, we had to keep the faith and confidence of the people. Five years have passed since the Soviet Union and the socialist camp were dissolved. What is happening in those countries? Something very strange. The West imposed its multiparty system. A country has 45 or 46 parties. Imagine, a country with 45 or 46 parties. It must be something tremendous to see a science and technology forum with the participation of 45 or 46 organizations.

Crime here, [words indistinct], corruption there. I am not talking about any country in particular. I am referring to many, in general.

The infant mortality rate is going up, the poverty index is growing, in spite of fabulous recourses. Imagine how things would be here if we could have all the oil we needed. Imagine that. All the iron, all the steel, all the raw material, all the industries. Imagine that. But I think that what you are imagining is wrong. You probably think this would be great. We would probably be wasting oil, steel, coal, everything, and removing parts after three days of use and substituting them for others.

We would be better off anyway, right? [laughter]

We would not have the shortages we have, but we would also not have learned to work as we have, to save as we are learning to save. We would not be the nation of men and women we are now. [applause]

We are learning now. Even our children are lending their uniforms to each other. There are pioneer boys in primary school using their grandmothers' uniforms. [words indistinct] The effort is big and we have to do more.

Yesterday, I spoke with the companera who works with the pioneers. She was pressed because she needed I don't know how many yards of material, because there were 400,000 pioneers without their triangular neckerchieves. We were all racking our brains about what to do, so that no pioneer would go without a neckerchief.

If we had the resources, we would not be going through the hardships we are enduring, but we would not be administering them the way we administer what we do have and we would not be acquiring the experience we are acquiring. We would not be forging now the nation we will be tomorrow.

What do those people do nowadays? What has capitalism given them? Chaos! Humiliation! The loss of all influence in the world, or much of it.

And now, the voters are voting for those who were communists. Who would have thought it. Just a few days ago, they (?received) their first lessons in capitalism and saw it up close. They saw the beast, the wolf, the tiger up close under different and difficult conditions. In most of the countries, people are voting for communist parliamentarians, those who were communists. They are being missed, despite all errors, deficiencies, and problems, big historic errors that surely were made. There was bureaucracy and everything else. And now the voters are voting for communists. The West says it is unconcerned and not very scared by the fact that communists received most of the votes, because the parties that participated came out first [words indistinct]. They destroyed, wrecked, and disorganized everything. What are they afraid of? I remember what the officer in charge of the soldiers when I was captured after the attack on the Moncada barracks told me. I do not know where he found that phrase, but he had it clearly in his mind. The officer's name was Sarria. He was black and tall. He firmly prevented his people from settling accounts with us quickly. He said: Ideas cannot be killed. And he repeated it. Now those who were so happy and cheerful when [words indistinct] can be told: Ideas cannot be killed. [applause] [words indistinct]. And historic investigations show that the number of fatalities, not of maimed, was [words indistinct]. Now there were armies of advisers, experts, specialists in capitalism [words indistinct] money, deception, lies.

People discover the truth. Ideas survive. They might not like this. Keep in mind that [words indistinct]. The National Assembly met right here. Gorbachev delivered two speeches. With elegance and courtesy, he said we did not have to do what they had done. We had to correct the mistakes they had made. [words indistinct]. Yes, but the clear idea remained. We had no forceful collectivization. The peasants paid rent. There were peasants with 75 hectares here [words indistinct]. We kept to the pledged word. We had tens of thousands of [words indistinct]. As for the land, we had nothing to learn. We were familiar with the concept of cooperatives and farms. There was a time of agitation, when the party and the country's government were destroyed. Nothing was left. Neither the Chinese nor the Vietnamese made these mistakes. They saved their history, the party, the government, the ideology. Let us see what the future holds. Let us have dreams. Let us wait patiently and watch the development of events, [words indistinct], the conflicts that some people have. What will happen in Russia? We will wait patiently. I see you are more patient. Of course, you are more [words indistinct]. But we will wait patiently. Patience many times is not in life but in the thought. I am utterly convinced that capitalism is marching toward chaos. It is now hopeless after they sank the world into chaos with their colonialism and neo-colonialism. One meditates much on whether these people want a consumer society to be the Third World society [words indistinct] 4,300 people to ride cars everywhere. What will happen? [words indistinct] entire continents, such as Africa, are starving and dying of disease, deserts are expanding, the population continues to explode. In Latin America there is no progress but increasing poverty and disease. We discussed these subjects here. What is the solution?

This is why the World Bank cannot tell the Chinese and Vietnamese what to do. They cannot be told to erase Marx's name and begin studying Adam Smith. What can they teach mankind? They sank it. They have no future, only problems, crises. Very rich and highly developed countries (?experience) tremendous problems. In Europe and Latin America and everywhere else, television screens show commercials, fire engines, police on horseback beating people in very rich countries. The higher their development, the higher their unemployment rate, because the more modern and automatic the machines the less the people are needed. They have no solutions for their problems. At least, we are developing solutions for the world's problems. We are devising ways we think these problems should be solved. Other people are doing the same.

It is clear to us that the model of a capitalist consumer society is sheer lunacy. It was said here that without spare parts we would last 15 years at the most. And I think that this need for spare parts started about 35 years ago. There was a time when we were embargoed. All of the spare parts were taken away from us, at a time when all the industry and machinery were capitalist and we were a bunch of illiterates.

And yet we have succeeded in keeping the industry going for these 35 years. Of course, this blow was heavy and overwhelming. It took place as the result of the majority of the population is [words indistinct] and has not acquired consumer habits or different ways of living. But this started 35 years ago, when the country was forced to manufacture wooden spare parts. Of course, the country was not [words indistinct]. Then, with a million metric tons of sugar, Cuba could have all the fuel it needed. [words indistinct] We spent not even 5 million metric tons of fuel. The situation is now very different. We had a prepared people. What would have happened if we had not had the prepared people we have today? What would have happened if we were in the time that Adolfito referred to? It is incredible. The country has kept functioning in the middle of huge shortages and difficulties. When the Armed Forces comrades were given their diplomas, I thought about the true miracle of maintaining combat skills and perfect preparedness to defend the country.

We have experience. We have our own war doctrines. They are 100 percent ours. Long before the fall of the socialist camp, we had developed many of our principles and had adequately developed the idea of the all-people's war. We have fighting techniques and have preserved them.

After five years, we have maintained our light and heavy weapons in perfect combat condition. After these five years, we have Armed Forces that incorporate all the people, as they always had, armed forces permanently united with the people and with the efforts of the people [words indistinct] in the defensive condition we maintain the country. This is a miracle.

The enemy had thought that after three or four years, four-fifths of our war equipment would not be able to move. It would have been probably right [words indistinct] longer time. I had no doubt that it would be able to move only that much more efficiently. [words indistinct] how did it imagine it would be in 1995. We have seen places where in a matter of weeks everything became disorganized, all the steel got rusty, rifles could not shoot. I am not mentioning any place, but I am thinking about a few places.

We have experience. Going around [words indistinct]. This was made clear here at this forum today, very clear, just as we clearly saw the importance of uniting everybody at this moment.

This is not a matter of the Armed Forces solving their problems [words indistinct]. This is not a matter of the Armed Forces solving their own problems [words indistinct]. For them it is necessary that other sectors help solve problems. This was made clear during the discussion of gas LB-12.

I wanted to laugh. When this was being said, I was at an Armed Forces target range testing gas expansion. The duty of the Armed Forces is to have rifles wherever they go all the time.

Cooperation is important, and this was important business. I say business but I mean matter.

This has to do with the necessary refrigeration. It uses products that will be on the market soon. There are problems to be resolved efficiently. [words indistinct] that they be resolved.

I am almost sure people will have the equipment needed to increase production and to guarantee production, as results and experience allow us to do this. Perhaps the other product can be used for cleaning. You will have the final word on all this. This cooperation among all sectors is essential. Its biggest challenge is this harvest, although not all harvests.

No single front can be neglected. Regarding spare parts, this must become an industry of this country, as I said yesterday. We used to buy many socialist bloc spare parts in Europe, Spain and other places. Why are we not able to produce them?

It is true with regard to some equipment, such as motors and related things, for example, or something as important as television sets, that the amount we need is so small that there is no need for an industrial plant to produce them, unless we have a sure market. Because in a matter of days, these plants' production would satisfy all the needs for any particular part.

Sometimes we say: Why don't we build such a thing? There are intermediate cases, such as crankshafts. If we were to buy the machinery to build crankshafts, we would have too much machinery, but some shops could acquire semi- elaborate crankshafts and be able to provide all the crankshafts needed at minimum cost, as long as we don't have a market that justifies a bigger plant.

The production of some parts is set to satisfy the demands of millions of consumers. This is why some of these things that appear easy are not so easy, like a little motor, etc. Our companeros have to think a lot about this to find rational answers. We cannot go overboard. I have said that all our equipment has to be inspected and renovated in the future, case by case, as suitable. Some day, we will have to solve the problem of television, an essential media. This country does not have 50,000 television sets. This country has 1.6 million or 2 million television sets. It has 2.5 million television sets. This country has 1.6 million refrigerators.

These are problems we have to face, study, and find the best solution to, and we will do it one way or another.

I said at the beginning that you have worked hard. I recall that yesterday when Mainegra spoke of a recess until tomorrow, there was general applause. I think you want to return to your work centers, to your habitual tasks.

I think also that you are entitled to leave with heightened optimism, with more hopes. The person telling you this has witnessed many events. I can give testimony of changes. I can assure you this has been a great meeting. We have noticed an outstanding change, really impressive progress.

I am not going to mention again all the people Pedrito and Mainegra have congratulated. I think justly that practically everybody deserves acknowledgment, all the institutions and organizations, for their cooperation.

Personally, I modestly thank you for the diploma. Inside of me I leave with something better: Heightened enthusiasm, and I am not known for being short of enthusiasm; heightened convictions, and I have always had solid convictions; a more-trusting-than-ever revolutionary spirit; and more admiration for our people.

These are impressions I will never forget.

Socialism or death! Fatherland or death!

We will win!