Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-96-106 Daily Report 30 May 1996 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Cuba: Castro Praises Workers at Holguin Sugar Mill

PA3105042196 Havana Tele Rebelde and Cubavision Networks in Spanish, 0000 GMT 30 May 96 PA3105042196 Havana Tele Rebelde and Cubavision Networks Spanish BFN [Speech by President Fidel Castro at the Nicaragua Sugar Mill in Holguin Province; from the "NTV" newscast -- recorded]

[FBIS Summary] Big applause greets Castro as he begins his 45-minute speech by telling the "companeros of the Nicaragua Sugar Mill and of Holguin" that they are good sugar workers. He explains that reaching the sugar production goal of 4.5 million tonnes "would not have been possible without serious, enthusiastic, steady, and intelligent work, without your spirit, sugar workers, and without that of all the other sugar mills." He adds: "Almost all of them have already fulfilled their goals."

Fidel Castro explains how the various sugar mills helped each other as needed within provinces and how some provinces helped other provinces facing a difficult situation, and this is why, he said, "we now have the 4.4 million tonnes figure."

Castro reports that the main accomplishment of this "harvest of dignity is that it was carried out under unfavorable weather conditions and in the very midst of the special period." He adds: "We obtained some resources that of course we must pay for. We have produced enough additional sugar to pay for the resources we requested to produce the sugar. The increase in the amount of sugar produced will be sufficient to pay for those resources, but we will need resources again, and the enemy, of course, is on the move. It does not want us to have a single penny to buy a nut. It wants to stop our work, which is making headway, which shows what can be done in many fields: tobacco production has increased, rice production is increasing." Castro goes on to note that the production of roots and vegetables has also increased. He also notes that construction for tourism is increasing.

Referring to the Helms-Burton law, Castro comments: "There are crazy people, no? They are cretins, fascists, fanatics, and reactionary people." He then lists Cuba's achievements and protests that this is the country that must endure a U.S. blockade.

Castro notes that nowadays all the land belongs to the Cuban people and recalls that in the past much Holguin area land belonged to foreigners. An unidentified person tells Castro that the Nicaragua Sugar Mill is the former Boston Sugar mill. Castro answers "Ah, Boston, after a U.S. city. All the stores around it belonged to the enterprise and all the land from there on belonged to United Fruit and other enterprises." Castro goes on to explain that this land belonged to foreigners "who came and took everything. This is why they hate the revolution. This is the sin they want the revolution to pay for at any cost. For 37 years they have been trying to exact payment," he declares.

"We have conquered our independence in the face of that power, which owned all this," Castro affirms.

Castro recalls feats of the revolution in spite of the special period -- the neighborhood doctors, better housing. "Our people have worked throughout these years. We have defended ourselves, our honor, and our independence. The people have withstood," he emphasized, "terrible blows from the world's greatest power."

"The people have resisted and will continue resisting, and the economy is beginning to grow. Now we have to defeat that law, not only with words, criticism, or charges; not only before international opinion, buy by working well, by working better every day," Castro proclaims.

Castro notes the importance of being increasingly efficient and declares that "after five years of blockade combined with the special period, the people's spirit is stronger, because mankind is brave and gains strength under adversity, under struggles, under difficulties. Man is no meringue topping that fades under a whiff. Humans are children of their own history, and very few countries have a history as beautiful as ours."

The Cuban president calls for unity to be even better. Castro states that he sees a good future for Cuba and that the island "will be able to continue struggling, resisting, and defeating the powerful one, who used to own everything and whom we will not permit again to own anything or any part. We will never let it be the owner of our people," he affirms. Castro closes his speech by stating his admiration for the people of Holguin and all Cuba and pledges "Socialism or death; fatherland or death."