Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-96-104 Daily Report 17 May 1996 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Cuba: Fidel Castro Address on ANAP Anniversary

PA2805214396 Havana Radio Rebelde Network in Spanish, 2151 GMT 17 May 96 PA2805214396 Havana Radio Rebelde Network Spanish BFN [Address by President Fidel Castro at the ceremony to mark Farmers' Day, the 35th anniversary of the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP), the 37th anniversary of the Agrarian Reform Law, and the 50th anniversary of the killing of peasant Aniceto Perez Garcia at the Camilo Cienfuegos Square in Ciego de Avila -- live relay]

[FBIS Translated Text] Viva the farmers! [applause] Male and female farmers! People of Ciego de Avila -- Avilenos. It used to be that to say Avileno was not the same as saying farmer because none of this used to exist. Ciego de Avila, and I hope I anger no one by saying this, was a hamlet. But after the political and administrative division, and even before, it began to grow and now has institutions comparable to the ones in the country's capital.

You cannot hear because of the microphones. I do not know what make they are. Maybe they are [words indistinct]. [laughter]

Well, let us hope something can be heard. Can you hear me over there? [crowd shouts: "Yes"]

I was saying that there are institutions comparable to the ones in the capital, which were built and continued to appear before the special period. We have just walked by some installations nearby, the stadium under construction, and several others.

There are many structures that had not been completed and now are being completed, through a big effort. I recall that a few days ago, a visitor of a Latin American delegation that was in one of the provinces, Cienfuegos I believe, upon seeing a hospital in Cienfuegos, said: I wish we had a hospital like this in our capital. [Words indistinct] and have not lost their hopes to expand it, but because here you have another historic and large city, that of Moron, some things had to be shared. This happened in some universities where we have them: in Ciego de Avila and Moron. The same happened in Granma, Manzanillo, and Bayamo. We had to make distributions. We should not worry about that. The capital of the province has grown and continues to grow, like the northern zone, like the rest of the province, and like all this area, which will experience an extraordinary growth as a result of the great tourist hub being developed throughout the cays in the province's north.

Many peasants came to the city and settled in Havana Province, not only in the province, but also in Havana City. One could even say that the peasants are taking over [campesinaje]. Many ended up in the capital. We are aware of this, but I did not come to criticize you, let alone criticize life, especially the very hard life our peasants endured in the past.

From the mountains, especially the eastern mountains, how many peasants marched west with the rebel army? How many more peasants followed their relatives?

There were no roads, schools or hospitals. These problems could not be solved overnight, at least the problem of the roads could not be solved overnight, but the problem of schools was almost solved overnight, not with buildings, but with institutions, with teachers and [word indistinct]. The level of poverty that prevailed in the rest of the country was such due to the lack of basic services in all sectors, and obviously many people sought better prospects in the city. [Words indistinct] the fact that peasants made up a large portion of our Army. The hostility of our powerful neighbor compelled us to create a huge armed forces, in which who knows how many hundreds of thousands of young peasants joined to offer their services over the years. Thus, many sectors suffered, such as the coffee sector in the mountains, and the tobacco sector in some provinces, where crops were lost. It was an opposite movement than what would take place in a country... [pauses] where living conditions were so difficult, where the peasants were idle in the rural areas, in their own fields, and they had to go to the mountains without anyone's help, penniless, to find some land. This was done by the stronger and most courageous people, who went to try to survive in the mountains. Undoubtedly, the mountains are very cold, because hundreds of thousands of hectares were cut down. There was no way to utilize the prairies. They were burned, then some tubers were planted instead of coffee, so finally people could obtain a land-ownership deed by claiming the land after three or four years, and the peasants would have to move to sow another tobacco plantation. Thus, our last liberation [words indistinct] this had already happened in a large portion of the Sierra Maestra, where there were ever fewer virgin places in which to cut down trees. You all know that in places where trees are cut down and burned, a [word indistinct] grows that was known during the war as [word indistinct]. Those places were hell, where no one could walk. It might take hundreds of years to reforest the area. This was not criminal action only against man, but also against nature. It can be categorically said and contended that the Revolution took care of the mountains.

One of the first plans to build roads and highways was implemented in the mountain areas. The Sierra Maestra was teeming with roads, and so was the Escambray and Pinar del Rio. You all know how things are in the mountain areas. There is firm ground and then a river; the river might be 4 km or 4.5 km long, but we had to climb 1,000 meters to return to the same place. In the mountains you get tired of building roads and yet you always find yourself relatively isolated. In these 35 years, the Revolution has given priority status to the mountain areas, and during the special period, we made great efforts. It is in the mountains where it took place. However, the situation was not the same. We undertook an effort to bring about what we might refer to as a repopulation of the mountain areas, but under different conditions. Our first objective in this area was to conduct literacy campaigns, and our first move in this regard was to build 10,000 classrooms, because there were 10,000 jobless teachers. They were created all at once, a plan that included 10,000 teachers. Later, we realized we had not hired enough teachers, and we hired students in the city to go teach in the rural areas. The same problem experienced in the mountain areas was taking place, although on a smaller scale, in the plains: there were no roads or public services.

Who had seen a hospital in the rural areas? Who could have said then... [pauses] and I am not referring to the many young people, whom, with great satisfaction, we see here today, but I am referring to your parents and grandparents. Who among them had seen a hospital in the rural areas, even a mobile clinic? How many of them knew a doctor, even a visiting doctor? Who knew of a mouth disease specialist even though there were a few around with equipment that looked like scissors sharpeners. They were trying to resolve mouth disease problems in rural areas. There were some rural schools, not in the mountains but in the plains, and they only had one teacher, one teacher if they were lucky. Even though the entire country had problems, it was in the rural areas where peasants and workers, not only peasants, but agricultural workers and workers from the latifundia... [pauses] we took the basic services to these areas to save people's lives. How many children were dying every year because of epidemics of gastroenteritis and what have you? There were epidemics of all kinds; there were many diseases that do not exist in the rural areas today. The Revolution did away with the diseases to such an extent that it was able to achieve an infant mortality rate of less than 10 per every 1,000 live births. This is not only the case in the cities, but also in the rural areas, primarily because of an outdoor lifestyle. There is a better quality of life in the rural areas, but this complement was missing. Not only health services, but also doctors and hospitals reached the population in these areas with the construction of roads, as well as better living conditions and food. Before, the peasants had to keep their food and sell it at any price once a relative was taken ill or something unexpected happened in the family.

Today, we are speaking about the 37th anniversary of the signing of the agrarian reform, the 35th anniversary of the creation of the ANAP, and the 50th anniversary of the brutal assassination of peasant Aniceto Perez. However, we still speak as though we were living in that period. We had gotten so used to those years and those conditions that we did not notice that the situation in the rural areas has changed. Change is what can be said and change is what can be found in the clever remarks of the Nabori Indian, always affectionate and zealous about the peasants' cause, as well as the remarks by the comrade who spoke here on behalf of the visiting delegates, and the outstanding remarks by Lugo. They outlined different issues, and I thought: I have nothing else to say. Although there are always a few things one can say. When they pointed out the work of the Revolution they were reminiscing about what life was like, the agrarian reform, and how many people it benefited and how many people received lands thanks to it. Lugo reminisced about people's farms, which provided jobs to the hundreds and thousands of landless peasants who lived in the rural areas without land and receiving insignificant wages after many years of work. Those men waited for the sugar harvest by waiting in line in the sugarcane fields in places as sparsely populated as Camaguey and some parts of Ciego de Avila. They would come from as far as Havana to cut sugarcane. They would buy their ticket and stay in a shack, and were assigned quotas of sugarcane to cut.

So a high goal is set for him. The more sugarcane he cuts, the more he gets paid, and the more he is praised. They were told sometimes to cut more than 200 arrobas instead of 150. (?In the first place), in that situation, the number of jobs is less than the number of jobless workers and those who have a job usually work for one and one-half months out of three, sometimes more, sometimes less. And then there were adjustments and idle periods devoted to weeding. There were no shelters. Did any of you ever hear of a shelter in a sugarcane field? Or of a workers diner in a sugarcane field? Or of a passenger bus in a sugarcane field? Or of a bed or a mattress in a sugarcane field? Did any of you ever hear of cold water in a sugarcane field? Our workers toiled in those conditions during the sugarcane harvests. Something curious happened, however. In (?the plains) something similar to what happened in the mountains took place. All kinds of jobs emerged everywhere. Although living conditions in the plains, however harsh, cannot be compared with those in the mountains regarding distance and all that. In fact, cemeteries along the Sierra Maestra and the coast tell the story of relatives that took their sick children to wait for the passage of a schooner to take them to a doctor. Lots of crosses were left there.

When capitalism is discussed, it must be said that capitalism is to cut sugarcane, not brand-new cars that are used in industrialized countries that pilfered the world, and that forged their development at the expense of the other peoples' poverty. When we think about capitalism, there are so many things we should see, including the lesson of those small cemeteries left behind by those who had hoped to save someone, someone who could be here among us. They [not further identified] died many years ago, many tens of years ago.

The revolution involved many things; it mainly united men who, in addition to being exploited and neglected pariahs, were peasants and countryside workers. They were a man or a woman who, most of the times, did not even know how to sign their name. They had to use their fingerprints. I believe that with the revolution the use of fingerprints is reserved for identification cards of some [word indistinct] whether for voting or for signing a piece of paper, and one had to look for a stamp pad. They were the people who were despised by a rich and exploiting class; they were exploited and despised by a pro-imperialistic government that had surrendered even the last square centimeter of the flag of this country, which had attained many glories, and which had shed so much blood from our people.

That man was a victim, the last card in a game; he was fully mistreated. It was an honor to be greeted by a large estate owner, and he should never strike a rural guard. A beginner, who wanted to purchase their land, purchased it when he wanted and at the price he wanted. This was the real market prevailing there; it was the time when products accumulated because the people, workers, families had no money to buy them. This shows how the rich despised that society.

The first and best thing the revolution did was to unite people; they did not have to be rich or wealthy. They later had the same privileges the rich and wealthy people's children had, because the revolution did away with that. When I talk about the revolution, I am talking about the people, because the revolution is nothing more than people with power. The revolution sent over 100,000 people who taught how to read and write, and created tens of thousands of schools to teach how to read and write, and made people graduate from sixth and ninth grades. It created hundreds of thousands of scholarships for, first, the children of men and women of the countryside, the mountains, and the plains. They were peasants and workers. The houses of rich people in the capital, without having to evict anyone out of their houses because they hit the road to Miami believing it was for a few days only, alone lodged 100,000 peasant daughters. They left the mountains to learn something, not only to (?ride a horse) but also to sew their clothes. We do not know how many tens of thousands of sewing machines were given out in this country. In this country, most peasant women are capable of making such an elegant dress, it could compete with foreign fashion shows in Paris [words indistinct] everything that could be done was done. This was done by another man, another man and another woman. Then, those children went to those schools that seemed to be made of straw because there was not a single [words indistinct] underneath a single tree. They studied and became doctors, engineers, lawyers, economists, or mouth disease specialists, the careers that were created. They became teachers, professors, or officers of our glorious revolutionary armed forces or our Interior Ministry, or they went to the (?state) to offer their services because by then the posts were not distributed in exchange for electoral favors and such things, as it was done before.

The teachers we needed in schools were taken to manage other places. Our workers and peasants from cities and the countryside became the new administrators. At the beginning, one of these nationalized sugar mills had to be managed by a comrade who had only attended the 10th or 12th grade of school. There were doubts. Where were the managers? Who did they learn from? From the middle-class and the large landowners? The people became managers; of course they did not have a great deal of administrative experience. Many mistakes of all types were made everywhere. Suddenly the people saw the results. They were the owners of everything there was: land, factories, institutions of all types. It was said here that schools and hospitals would never be privatized. Institutions of all types emerged; arts schools and instructors soon followed throughout the country. Sportsmen and sports instructors followed in this country, too. Cuba nowadays is not the country we all recall. We have the largest number of teachers per capita in the world, in the world, not in some part of the world. We have the largest number of doctors per capita in the world; we have the largest number of sports instructors in the world. We have a large number of scientists, I do not have figures here to make a comparison now. We reached first place in many things.

This country, which is being blockaded, has the lowest infant mortality rate among third world countries, even lower than those of many industrialized countries; this country where crime, abuse, and evictions, as well as diseases, ignorance were eradicated. What we had to do was to stomp it out as if it were a bug. This is not the country where those crimes were committed and where injustice prevailed. Now, we have new laws in the country to do away with this. That is why when we speak about the agrarian reform there is an issue that is very important to mention: the fact that we were living in a country that was not ours. It was a country that belonged to a few thousand large land- and home-owners, to a large number of foreign companies, mainly U.S. companies. Who owned all this land? Who owns most of the land in this workplace? Of course, there were small peasants who had been able to own their land, but they did not have guaranteed credits, markets, or prices. However, they did have many injustices guaranteed, but at least they held the titles of the land. Who did those immense fields belong to? The ones we see today planted with sugarcane, citrus or rice fields belong to the people. They belonged to others. In this country, the agrarian reform recovered all this for the people. Of course, the large estate owners and the foreign companies that had taken over our land could not forgive this.

The day when the agrarian reform was approved, they started preparing the Bay of Pigs invasion and the economic blockade. The economic blockade was the price we had to pay. It represented hostility and the decision to destroy the revolution. It was a revolution that had started implementing the agrarian reform; it had to be destroyed according to the imperialistic concept. There were certain companies that owned 10,000 hectares, I mean 10,000 caballerias. There were a few that big. There were companies that owned up to 21 sugar mills, as well as the surrounding land. Speaking of hectares, there were certain U.S. consortia that owned numerous companies that, together, controlled more than 1 million hectares of sugarcane, more than 1 million hectares of sugarcane. Our country was not ours.

There was a major agricultural revolution on 17 May. It was a great day and a great night. It was the day the country became independent. [applause] It was the day we started being independent. Later, these fields changed into roads and highways, dams and canals, because the revolution filled the country with dams. Had it not been for the special period, which limits our access to fuels, how much more could we be producing now with the water we have held in dams?

We had already built an irrigation [fregato] factory, one of those that can irrigate up to 70 or 80 hectares. Irrigation would be increased at a rate of 150,000 hectares annually. We had great possibilities. We know the blow it meant having to stop what we were doing, things like the engineering systems in the rice fields, and the drainage of the sugarcane fields. We are again beginning to recover all these things, little by little, amid an increasingly harsher blockade. Many houses were built. In fact, nowadays it is very difficult to find a hut that has a dirt floor. The party and the province governments are seeking them out and trying to put an end to them. New ideas on how to built low-cost or low-maintenance homes emerge. A number of this type of activities, even during the special period, allow us to talk about tens of thousands of homes in the countryside.

The revolution has done many things. We have mainly talked about the ones primarily associated to rural areas. We have done new things in the midst of the special period, in which fuels are scarce and in which we again resorted to oxen. We had stopped using oxen, because everything was done with oxen before: work and transportation of sugarcane and product. The revolution organized tasks and created the sugar combines that did away with the sugarcane cutters. The only ones left are those who volunteer to cut the sugarcane where the combines cannot cut. The revolution has accomplished more things under these conditions. It would take longer to explain this, but I do not wish to take long.

Actually, it would be advisable to establish a more direct relationship between agricultural workers and production. This is how the basic cooperative production units [UBPC's] emerged; they deal with practical aspects similar to those of the agricultural production cooperatives. These cooperatives were created a few years before, in 1974, 1976. Perhaps they should have been promoted earlier, observed and advanced little by little. The agricultural production cooperatives were really a success. Logically we took advantage of the experience and some mistakes were made. The UBPC's taught a great deal to the revolution: to save personnel, to save resources, to work efficiently, and how to work productively. I recall it was said here today that in Ciego de Avila the production of one peso costs 52 cents. It would be excellent if we could obtain similar results at the UBPC's, with which the state put millions of hectares of land in the peasants' hands and made them responsible for production, thus reinforcing the principle of large-scale production. Everybody knows that sugar combines, the modern ones we are modernizing, the ones we are making more modern, cannot work in small and isolated plots of land to harvest sugarcane; they cannot work on large rice fields. Combines can produce more than 1,000 quintals in a day.

We have been assimilating all these experiences and we kept them very much in mind when the UBPC's were created. At the beginning, we promised the peasants that there would never be a forced collectivization. It was an experience very different from that of many other countries. The peasants' will and right to produce were respected as a sacred matter to make them independent and cooperative members. This is something very significant that cannot be ignored in a day like today [words indistinct] our agrarian reform laws [words indistinct] independent peasants, agricultural production cooperatives, UBPC's. [words indistinct] cooperatives, units supervised and operated by the Youth Labor Army [EJT] which, by the way, is doing an excellent job. There are several distinct units which, because of some very specific features and circumstances it is more convenient to have them continue working at the level of state communities.

New concepts, new ideas continue to emanate from numerous experiences accumulated by the CPA [Agricultural- Livestock Cooperatives] and the UBPC. Therefore, we now have five different ways and responsibilities. It has even been possible to obtain new crops which undoubtedly are the work of experience, something done by the family, such as the coffee crops from the mountains which some people, with due reason, had claimed had all but disappeared. We have been giving land to people in rural communities and even to some from the city.

In this respect, there are many city people who feel nostalgic for the rural area and the other way around. All sorts of favorable conditions have been granted, such as lots to produce coffee and to be self-sufficient in the coffee areas.

In the tobacco areas, we have also been distributing land intended to increase production. This project is proceeding well and we continue to accumulate numerous experiences. Years of experience are now starting to bear fruit, and we must continue this trend. Life is too rich in experiences and ideas. Nature gave us all brains to think with, and act, and this is how nowadays there is a variety of ways in which land is exploited.

But no one can say that there is exploitation of man by his fellow man here. Neither are there firms in the mountains that are owned by the United States or by landowners. [applause] Capitalism, as we have already said, is exactly that. Capitalism is not merely a bunch of wooden crosses at the foot of the Sierra Maestra, which i cite as an example, but they were all over the country. Capitalism tends to take everything away from the people. It excludes them from everything. It means taking away the land from the people and turning it over to landholders and to large foreign corporations. This land belongs to all of you, Cubans and to all independent workers. This land belongs to all the CPA members. In fact, this land belongs to the UBPC's because they have an exclusive and free use of the land. They are the owners of production, in addition to the major means of production.

In this respect, we all have to work with more common sense. As you have been able to witness, on many occasions machines have broken down [words indistinct] because the road is dry due to the lack of rain. On other occasions we have to transport them to other sectors. We must improve our resources and our options. You, sectors of agriculture, must remain united and use this unity in the work we must constantly carry out, most of all in the sugar harvest. Machines must sometimes be moved hundreds of kilometers. Sometimes we must send them from one province to the other, because it rained as expected in one province, while in the other there was too much rain. In some regions we can find teams from other provinces helping to meet harvest production. There are many issues that I would like to address today, but I do not wish to go on for too long.

I have mentioned a few topics such as the farmers markets, and even politics. I appealed to the patriotic spirit of farmers to work, to struggle to improve the purchasing power of each peso earned by each worker, each physician, or teacher. What would we do without their work? What would we do without factory workers? What would we do with the country's millions of workers and employees? Keep them in mind also. Be generous. They also struggle with you. This was the revolution of workers and farmers, which other workers decided to join. This revolution is the outcome of an alliance of workers and peasants. [applause] It must be protected forever as something sacred.

There are some institutions such as the UBPC's where the workers and peasants are practically the same thing, united as one. There is hardly any difference between them aside from their acronyms, which are UBPC and CPA. There is hardly any difference between the service provided to the state by independent farmers, and by these institutions. Therefore... [pauses] yes, the individual always seeks to accumulate wealth. However, he is also endowed with another marvelous attribute, which is instinctive and which is the spirit of solidarity. Without the spirit of solidarity there would have never been independence. [applause] But for the spirit of solidarity we would not have had the revolution or been capable of defending it. The fatherland would have perished. This spirit is more important than anything else. Keep this in mind when you gather to prepare for your daily work. Think about yourselves, your family, and also reflect on those who work for the country, and who in turn work for you and your relatives. We cannot forget these basic things. We must keep in mind that although we have achieved many things, there is still room for improvement. There is always room for improvement. Someone here... [pauses] someone here mentioned the middlemen. Unfortunately, as with every occupation we become involved in, despite every best intention to prevent it, these types of individuals always appear. They are not genuine middlemen. They are individuals who in one day seek to earn two and three times what a doctor earns.

Yet, they also have to consult a physician now and then, and receive all sorts of medical attention, for free. Our physicians look after these individuals and save their lives regardless of the cost. Their children also receive free high school and university education. Without any doubt, they are individuals who can only be described as vultures. These individuals should not shake our commitment to work. Those involved in this activity should stop for a moment and think, reflect carefully. [words indistinct] taxes to middlemen, not to farmers. Lugo already said that the country is in need of money. How is it going to pay for it? Currently, everything that is being done is for the people, even the defense of the country. They are some who earn more, but mostly through speculation, not through work. They are the ones Lugo referred to earlier and the same ones I am referring to now.

Production must increase. It has already increased, and it is still increasing -- the peasants' production and the production of the other groups, independent peasants, peasant cooperatives, the UBPC, and the integrated farms. They increased their production between 1994 and 1995, and they increased their production between 1995 and 1996. I believe the production of tubers, produce, and vegetables increased from 24 million to 29 million; and there is hope that, under normal conditions, the figure of 33 million or 34 million tubers and vegetables will be surpassed this year.

Organic orchards have emerged in recent years. Vegetables are readily available in cities. People can purchase fresh vegetables. They have been well organized. They must continue to grow them, and there are many ways to increase production. The potato harvest has been a great success, and it should be increased in various provinces that have less land dedicated to potato production; and a variety of plantain that is resistant to black sigatoka -- a strange disease that appeared one day in this country -- is being studied. Who knows who brought it -- we were free of this disease, as well as other diseases -- because more than once, bacteriological or biological warfare has been used against us. We had to counter this problem with new varieties that are resistant, because there are tens of millions of plantain plants in this country -- in Holguin, Las Tunas, everywhere. Were it not for this disease, they could yield three or four times the current amount with a bit of fertilizer, even in the dry season.

A great effort is being exerted to implement techniques, as was also mentioned here, and progress is being made. Let nothing stop this progress. More produce should be sent to the farmers' markets but not all of it. It is easier to produce cassava in our country than to raise an animal that must be fed corn, soybean, or imported wheat. There is an imported wheat that should be mainly used for bread. Large quantities were previously used as fodder for hogs, poultry, and cows, for the production of milk and eggs, without imagining that these resources would suddenly disappear. I call it a miracle, a veritable miracle, that the country has been able to resist. It was done with honor and dignity, it was done with firmness, and you are doing it with an increasing dignified spirit. You counter with increasing courage all the diabolical plans of those who want to destroy us simply because we have built a monument to justice. [applause]

If we work more efficiently and seriously here, we will overcome these difficult times even more quickly and we will again have what we had, and we will have more than what we had. The thing to ask is not when but if the independence, the Revolution, and socialism can progress more quickly; and if we can protect them. That is the important thing, because that is what will lead us to victory. If we lose this, nothing would be left, because the mere fact of being a Cuban would become a crime in the eyes of the imperialist world; and we must guarantee that this generation and future generations -- your children, the younger people's children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren in 20, 40, 50, 100 years -- will be able to tell the imperialists: Here we are. [applause] Here is Cuba. [applause] Here is socialism and the Revolution, with its monument to justice. Here are those who struggled in 1962 or those who would be capable of fighting as in 1868, and those who struggled in 1995, struggled throughout the republic, those who struggled against bandits, those who struggled silently, or those who fulfilled noble internationalist missions -- about which Lugo aptly reminded me today.

Here is the country's honor. It is indestructible. Here is its liberty, which is not negotiable. [applause] Here is its right to defend its destiny. Here is its right to be internationalist. What we are doing, now more than ever, is internationalism. We are struggling to save the homeland, the Revolution, and achievements of socialism. This is what socialism is all about. [applause] A comrade who spoke here on behalf of our foreign visitors asked us to do this, meaning to maintain Cuba's example, Cuba's will, and the Cuban Revolution, because the struggle not only helps us, it also helps them.

A large majority of the countries, the immense majority of the countries are living like we used to live during those days we talked about, and in many cases worse because they have worse problems. Rural men and women from so many countries with so much injustice and poverty would be very happy to have what we have today. What we have been able to preserve and what we will preserve... [pauses] no nation can be dominated regardless of how powerful the enemy may be and how much technology and inventions they may have. What has not been invented and will never be invented is the way to dominate a rebellious people, a people willing to fight and die for what it considers its most sacred principles. [applause]

We are that people today and we have to be better, we need to be better and more efficient.

We should become better as we have been doing this year thanks to the enormous work done by our city and country men, who helped to clean, grow, and plant sugarcane, enabling us to exceed last year's production by 1 million tonnes of sugar. [applause]

We have more tobacco than last year; We have more tubers and vegetables than last year. We have broken our potato production record with nearly 8 million quintals. [applause] When speaking of potatoes, I would like to especially congratulate this province for its excellent yield, for its great production, and for having fulfilled the idea, which seemed like a dream, of helping the people of Santiago produce and eat potatoes because they did not have potato-producing lands. [applause] They worked superbly well with the fraternal cooperation of the people from Ciego de Avila and they have achieved a harvest that will allow them to eat potatoes until at least next February. [applause]

See how many things can be done. The people of Santiago did not have lands, but they had hands. The lands in Ciego de Avila, added to the experience and hands of its people, were combined to get these results. During the labor congress, the people of eastern Cuba talked with pride and satisfaction of what they had attained in Ciego de Avila to fulfill their own needs. Other provinces that may wish to know how to plant potatoes, go to Ciego de Avila and ask the people of Ciego de Avila how to get great potato yields. [applause] You will see people here from Las Tunas, Holguin, and other provinces quickly learning what to do to a potato plant.

The spirit with which people worked in the cultivation of sugarcane is excellent, as I was saying. We will achieve a 30-percent increase in the production of sugar. We have done so in a record time. We have to continue to increase our sugar production as much as possible once again. Nearly 1 million people live off our sugar production. I am talking about farm workers and industrialists who work in this field. We are pleased to see how they have been working with a spirit of sacrifice. The workers of this province have worked hard to complete this sugarcane harvest, which was interrupted by the rains in various provinces. They have all mobilized to plant.

We cannot rest. Today, our rest must be our work. Our rest must be survival. Our rest must be victory. Our rest, most of all, must be to honor those who fought so long for this marvelous country we have today. [applause]

Our rest is with all fallen patriots and revolutionaries, all fallen peasants, all fallen workers at the Jesus Menendez in the struggle for workers. [applause]

We are capable of carrying out this effort with honor and pride for the fatherland's survival, independence, and for the understanding of the way with which we say with great honor and dignity: Socialism or death! Fatherland or death! We will prevail! [applause]