Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-96-107 Daily Report 31 May 1996 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Cuba: Castro Addresses Sugar Workers on Harvest `Feat'

PA3105181596 Havana Cubavision Network in Spanish, 0029 GMT 31 May 96 PA3105181596 Havana Cubavision Network Spanish BFN [Speech by President Castro at the Fernando de Dios Agro-Industrial Complex, CAI, in Holguin Province; date not given -- recorded]

[FBIS Summary] The crowd chants "Fidel, Fidel, Fidel, Fidel..." as President Castro begins his 31-speech speech by saying that "today is the day of Holguin." He notes that "a few days ago you fulfilled your sugar production target of 44,285 tonnes." Castro then notes other CAI's recently met their production quotas. He states: "We cannot talk about the sugarcane harvest in Holguin Province without remembering the Fernando de Dios CAI."

Castro continues by pointing out that "we are living a difficult period. These are difficult times, in which an extra effort is required." He then recalls the accomplishments of the Fernando de Dios CAI in the 1970 sugarcane harvest. Fidel talks about the different varieties of sugarcane processed in this facility. He also notes the adversities posed by weather conditions and other factors during the recently concluded harvest. Castro reports that, "since we are friends and we must speak with the truth, technological discipline in production was lost, to some degree." He continues by saying that "we are now reversing that trend, recovering lost habits."

The Cuban president adds "we are designing a model of combines that has a sugarcane top-cutting device." He notes this machine facilitates the expulsion of leaves and has "more powerful engines." Castro adds that currently an effort "is under way" to study what our industry can do to increase the number of towing equipment, carts. He remarks "these hydraulic equipments make the life of sugarcane cutters easier." He says "there is a series of factors that can allow us to increase the yield in sugarcane fields."

Castro says "we must continue to improve irrigation in this region" to obtain better yields. Fidel notes all of the measures being applied to improve the sugar industry "will gradually yield results." He points out "there has been an increase in morale among workers, and I believe this has been one of the most important factors in this sugarcane harvest, during this special period." He states the people "have done their best" to have a good harvest, praising workers at the Fernando de Dios CAI.

Castro adds that for 57 months this facility "surpassed" the potential for grinding, which he terms an "extraordinary feat." He argues that heavy rains delayed the harvest in this province, "in a region not characterized by heavy rains. The same thing happened in Las Tunas Province."

Castro tells workers that "thanks to your quick reaction, your ability to overcome difficulties, you have succeeded in this harvest." He expresses confidence sugar production targets will be met, "provided that no heavy rains occur."

Castro stresses that thanks to the efforts of workers, "the country was able to produce 4.4 million tonnes of sugar." He adds: "This is a cause of satisfaction for the entire country, this is a cause of admiration for you, this is a cause of support, affection, and gratefulness for sugar workers."

Castro then refers to the unpredictability of weather conditions and how it may affect harvest efforts. Addressing workers, Castro expresses: "You deserve the warmest congratulations for the effort done." He affirms that the sugarcane workers still in the field will follow the same example set by workers in Holguin Province. And he continues: "With patriotism, we will be able to defeat that great superpower, which hopes to bring us down, which hopes to starve us to death." Castro explains that "once more, we will show them how firm, patriotic, and decided Cubans are, from Maisi Point to San Antonio Cape." He notes this "special patriotism" originates in workers.

He states that in the past, "slaves were brought in to cut sugarcane," adding that "today our sugarcane is more honest, more dignified; it is sweeter." Castro again stresses the need to have more transportation equipment so that the combines do not remain idle. He reports that the communications system in the sugar industry will be improved next year as well. He says two million people in Cuba live off the sugar industry.

Castro wraps up his speech by thanking workers "on behalf of the fatherland," and concludes: "Socialism or death; fatherland or death; we will win!"