Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-96-147 Daily Report 26 Jul 1996 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Cuba: Castro Gives Moncada Barracks Anniversary Speech

PA2707155396 Havana Radio and Television Networks in Spanish, 2336 GMT 26 Jul 96 PA2707155396 Havana Radio and Television Networks Spanish BFN [Speech by President Fidel Castro Ruz on the ceremony marking the 43d anniversary of the attack on Moncada Barracks, at the Calixto Garcia Iniguez Plaza in Holguin -- live]

[FBIS Translated Text] Compatriots of Holguin and all Cuba, distinguished guests, relatives and comrades of the Moncada Barracks and Bayamo. We have commemorated 26 July many times following the triumph of the revolution but this time it just happens that this 26 July anniversary coincided with the 100th Olympic Games; and all of us, sports lovers -- although many never practice sports -- practice the great and honorable sports of work. They are acquainted with harsh physical efforts. [applause]

We all tried to follow, at one time or another, these emotive Olympics where our comrades are struggling. These Olympics are difficult and they are hard; and we realize they are exerting their maximum effort while we realize, as each year goes by, that we must also exert ourselves even more in sports. We see the pride with which our people see the flag being raised for each of their children's victories. Likewise, hundreds of Cuban instructors are working as trainers in almost all the continents; and they will make our victory even more difficult because we cannot be selfish and deny support in this sector.

That is why we make a sacrifice precisely today knowing Rodolfo Falcon was going to swim 200 meters in the finals; knowing three boxers will begin, when this event is under way, the boxing matches in which Cubans participate today. Everyone was so excited that we set up some screens at the pioneers' congress every time a Cuban participated.

On this occasion we are not going to do it. If there is some good news perhaps we will report it to you. I told Sierra [not further identified]: Sierra, see if you put up a screen, invent something, so that the people who arrive early are not deprived of the pleasure of the games, especially of the victories.

I know how pleasant it is for the children of this province to have won the host-status for this 26-July celebrations.

For the first time we ceased rotating, as we could call it, the 26 July celebrations' host city and cities began really competing, a tremendous competition throughout the country, to be chosen host city. I believe that as a result of this experience, the incentive effort next year will be even greater, stronger.

It was not difficult at all, I mean easy, to choose the host city. Other provinces competed strongly and it was almost at the very end that the decision was made. The decision was not made based on only one factor, but on many. But the deed of being first in the sugar-production endeavor, of going beyond the goal by at least 15,000 metric tons, and of producing the incredible amount of 510,376 metric tons in the province, which is not the largest of the sugar-producing countries, reaching 80 percent of its historic average and contributing to the harvest with an additional 140,000 metric tons, and not under normal conditions, but in the midst of the spring season, with tremendously heavy rains, the fact that the province reached its objective, that this achievement was made, was, in my opinion, decisive.

Other sugarcane-related activities were not abandoned: the cultivation, the planting, the weeding, surpassing the spring sugarcane planting goal. This is something that made all of us feel really proud.

Since we had been constantly monitoring our precipitation charts, throughout the harvest we were able to determine early on that it would be raining heavily in Holguin. We were also able to determine that the province that reacted the most rapidly, in the least time, to reestablish cutting and production operations was precisely Holguin. This fact was brought to my attention on numerous occasions and it made me feel confident that we would be able to meet the production target we had established.

The weather in the province... [pauses] in several provinces but particularly in two, Las Tunas and Holguin, the weather was just plain ruthless. These conditions were kept closely in mind when the time came for us to describe Holguin's performance as a heroic deed. This province's performance also stood out in several other aspects. As relates to tonnage, during the harvest it was the second province in the country to obtain the lowest production costs. It also occupied the second place as relates to rational use of industrial capacity, in spite of the heavy rains I mentioned a while ago. In addition, Holguin also was able to attain first place in nickel production. As you are all aware, the country's nickel production is in full bloom. [applause]

In part, all of this was accomplished with our own resources, as well as by mean of advantageous agreements we have been able to ensure with foreign corporations. We were able to procure the minimum amount of resources required. Nickel workers responded in such a tremendously positive manner that by the end of this past semester they had already produced 27,000 metric tons and are determined to break all historical nickel production records by the end of the year. [applause, chants of Cuba, Cuba, Cuba].

Holguin's metallurgy industry has shown a phenomenal trend in its performance with adjustments of the sugar combines, all of this at critical moments. By proposing major initiatives this industry has been able to improve old sugar combines, and by applying new techniques it has been able to build much stronger combines that may well produce three times that of the machines that have not been modified.

All of the country's provinces and councils requested the allocation of some of the 300 machines. Were they 300 or 275? 275. I was not very sure of this figure. It was impossible to give each complex a machine because that was not the right thing to do. They had to be fitted with Cuban motors, which are of a much higher quality and more economical than the engines fitted into the former combines, of the Taino type. In addition, the country made an effort to purchase a certain number, several hundred, of very modern and very good machines to assist the old KTP2 machines that had not been converted. But, for the coming sugarcane harvest, this mechanical installation is converting 500 KTP2 into KTP2-1 fitted with some improvements and one of the world's best engines. These engines are powerful and virtually never break down. I remember the old engines used to break down up to three times a day. The new engines are capable of working throughout an entire sugarcane harvest without the need for repair. This is very important. Consequently, we will have 500 of these machines for the next sugarcane harvest. They will be of great help. We will also receive 15 machines of a new model, KTP3, which has many important improvements for greater productivity. We will test these 15 machines in a sugar mill in this province. [Words indistinct] The manufacturer is manufacturing a large number of carts and trailers to double the hauling capacity of our tractors. In this way, we will increase our transportation capacity by 7,000,000 or 8,000,000 arrobas daily. Most of this equipment comes from Holguin. They are working in refitting many tractors with engines. These tractors will play an important role because our existing machines are fuel guzzlers. I am not very inclined to mentioning the origin of these machines because we have some friends here, who have honored us with their presence. Their visit has been a great honor.

But I am referring to something that is already known, I am referring... [applause] I am referring to the Duma delegation of the Russian Federation headed by its president. [applause] They also know about these difficulties with certain equipment. Not all, but some of these motors were heavy fuel guzzlers. This is a problem that I believe is being resolved or is trying to be resolved; but now, it is essential for production.

I do not want to advertise either for or against anyone. Now we have open doors to see where the most efficient motors are, the less costly, and more economical. We are not committed to a single brand. We follow this up carefully with tests. We are installing new engines because we have... [pauses] well, I believe we have more than 50,000 tractors from the former USSR and we cannot just purchase anywhere. We do not have the resources and we cannot purchase new equipment that cost three or four times more. This equipment is strong and we know their weaknesses. Not in all of them, but a great majority have problems with their engines. We are studying the market and taking steps to install new engines. But this cannot be done in one or two years.

We need to find the most intelligent solutions to each of these problems. I am also proud that we have a factory that was built with the cooperation of the Russians, where work is done on combine harvesters. And the 26 de Julio factory, which is next door. I was forgetting that they are either manufacturing, assembling, refurbishing, or renovating such important equipment as rice combine harvesters.

Rice, as I have explained on other occasions is becoming increasingly scarce; prices have skyrocketed. As you well know, manual harvesting with an sickle is out of the question because there is no personnel for this. It turns out much more expensive that way than cutting it by machine. We have a rice program that we are pushing ahead in which the Holguin metal working industry plays a decisive role. There are other industries; in Santa Clara, Havana Province, and in other parts [words indistinct]. But the fundamental role is being played by this factory in Holguin. In addition, it has helped all the country's provinces in the question of mechanization, maintaining machines... [applause] Many of these factories, including the one for motors, are in the capital. I am referring to the Taino motors. Hundreds were also used in this harvest and were installed in old combine harvesters. No, these had to be adapted because we did not have motors for the 260- odd combine harvesters used in 1995.

There was exemplary cooperation and all provinces are grateful. I have mentioned three industries. First we have three branches in Holguin.

However, we can mention tourism. They do not have as much as Varadero or any other center, but it has already become the country's third tourism center with approximately 2,000 rooms. [applause] You see what kind of example Holguin has given. The comrade who delivered the hatchet, or one of the comrades who delivered one of the hatchets, contributed, or has contributed $17,000, in dollars, to the public health sector. [applause]

What an example! It is equivalent to more than 400,000 pesos, at the current exchange rate not the one which prevailed one and a half years ago. How much has she given? I would say she has given over 1 million pesos to purchase medicine, milk, and resources for the hospitals. I think she deserves a hatchet, too. Madame, did you receive it or deliver it? [unidentified speaker says: "She received it."] Ah, she received it. You see, I was thinking what should be done. I saw you around here but you were dressed like the others! [applause] I congratulate everyone! [applause] And I particularly congratulate her because she has given a truly extraordinary example. Many have made contributions but hers breaks the records.

Obviously, tourism is being quickly developed in this province; and it is working with an increasing efficiency and good results. The province has worked in the rest of the agriculture sector; it has managed to raise the production of tubers and vegetables a lot. There is talk about the square-shaped plantain, which cost one peso and later cost five cents. They had to send square-shaped plantain to other provinces because the farms yielded a lot. Last year they produced 2.3 million quintals but that is not enough because, though they are self-sufficient to some extent, the province has slightly more than 1 million inhabitants.

In 1996 they will produce, they have produced, more or less 1.7 million, and they intend to reach 3 million quintals in this province. They intend to reach 4 million next year, and 5 million the next. [applause] I do not doubt that they will do it if they seek new varieties, not only plantains but also other tubers and vegetables. They must seek varieties, a new variety of plantain that is resistant to Sigatoka. This Sigatoka was undeniably brought here by the enemy. You can see an air route through which the black Sigatoka appeared here, because it did not exist in Cuba, throughout Camaguey Province, not throughout, through Camaguey Province. This is a disease brought from abroad by air, using peaceful airplanes, to kill, or try to kill, our people through starvation.

New and good varieties have already been introduced in Holguin and are being produced in the Center for the Production of Legumes. Something similar is being done in other provinces, where they have a better plantain than the (?Bush) variety. It is larger, better tasting, and of a higher quality. There are several varieties [words indistinct], which should be observed closely. We are willing to give the province all the possible support so it can complete its program this year and so it can continue to work as earnestly as it has been working this year. The province can meet its goal even despite a drought. We will have to see how many dams we can put in operation. We will have to resort to water and a certain degree of fertilization to ensure the quantities that are being proposed.

The food industry has grown and has yielded very good results. Mayabe is already one of the country's most prestigious manufacturing plants. In Mayabe we can beer of several brands and of high quality. This beer, which we formerly imported, is sold to tourists and brings foreign currency when it is sold in stores. This beer is of a high quality. People have produced yogurts of various types, such as soybean, which was an excellent solution in the special period in times of peace and is virtually of the same quality as regular milk yogurt.

Holguin has distinguished itself in several lines of its food industry. The province has distinguished itself in the construction industry with several thousands of houses. Also, in the repair of homes, which is very important. It placed first in the province. [applause] Of course, the province stands out, not only in material production lines, of which I might have forgotten some, but in other lines as well, like investments. For instance, we have completed the [words indistinct] plant, capable of producing 240,000 kw. This helps us with the available electrical power, which had been reduced during the special period in times of peace. If we have sufficient fuel, we are assured of completing development plans. We are also working in the second unit and the repair of the other plants to have sufficient electrical power available. The shortage of resources in the first few years of the special period was such that we could not even repair the active plants. Fuel, whose price has increased recently, is another limiting factor. At least we have the capacity. As the result of a beautiful international action, the Holguin International Airport, so important for the tourist development of all the northern area of the province, has been completed.

Much work has been done for education; indexes, results have improved. [applause] The number of teachers for students in class is two teachers. [as heard]. This is the highest or should be among the highest in the world. I am not trying to make a comparison with other countries, but I am comparing it with other provinces. There is just no comparison with other countries. No country in the world has the number of professors and teachers per student that Cuba has. [applause] Cuba is ahead of any developed country. The number of schools has increased; many schools have been repaired, and a special effort has been made during the special period.

Hard work has been performed on hospitals also; you know how this city has grown. I hardly know the city now; I go for a ride and get lost. I tried to go by the (?periquera) and there was none. One hardly knows where roads lead to; either coming or going [laughs]. I said, let's go to the square and I ended up asking a taxi to bring me here. Where is the 20-story building that has been completed? Where is the new Holguin? How is the old Holguin?

I remember when the Lenin hospital was inaugurated. Now it has 1,000 beds. I also remember with regret that this new surgical-clinical hospital should have been completed had it not been for the special period. We were building a series of those hospitals during the special period, before the special period... [applause] Now we have resumed construction of some. We feel the duty, as a prize, as encouragement to the people of Holguin, to make a special effort [applause] to continue this hospital and to have as soon as possible at least 300 beds and go on to 600. We need to see this beautiful hospital because [words indistinct] it is practically finished. We need to find the foreign currency for some of the special construction materials and for the hospital's equipment.

In the public health sector the infant mortality rate reached 8.7 [per 1,000 births]. We thus want to tell all Cubans, all our fellow countrymen, that Holguin has carried out a great effort with the participation of all the people. Without this participation never... [applause] would this event have taken place.

It is encouraging to see what the reaction of our people is during this very difficult time that the country is experiencing and [words indistinct]. This means encouragement, motivation, incentives for the remaining provinces so that none of the provinces feel envious of Holguin, but instead recognizes unanimously that the decision to grant Holguin the seat of the 26 July celebrations was well deserved. [applause] I was forgetting to mention something very important: defense. Holguin Province also took first place. [applause]

In making this acknowledgment I have tried not to forget anything or to forget as little as possible. This is an acknowledgement that should be extended to the entire country because the entire country worked and struggled hard: The people of Pinar del Rio, with tobacco; the people of Sancti Spiritus, to speak of another sector; the rice producers of Granma, Camaguey, and Sancti Spiritus. The spirit of the construction workers, their efficiency, is also rising and this is very important to speedily be able to use their abilities, which we need for many things, but especially in tourism, as we get the resources.

The people have answered the call for planting sugarcane, weeding sugar fields, cutting sugarcane.

There are those beautiful scenes of the Holguin people cutting sugarcane by hand and carrying sugarcane loads by hand, in the rain. This is what patriotic fervor means, this is heroism, this is socialism. [applause]

I would like to know in what other place, in what capitalist world, the people are capable of doing the things you, the Cuban people, did. [applause]

The effects were evident. Things were not the same everywhere. It was not possible. I know that the people of Las Tunas did a great effort. By the beginning of April, almost all the sugarcane was already at the former Manati Central, the Argelia Libre Central. They cut all the sugarcane. None was left. This would have been damaging. At the end, 11 or 12 [not further identified] remained. The rains had begun. It was June.

We were able to cut what we did cut thanks, to a certain extent, to the efforts made by the construction workers, who went there to open channels, to build roads, and to do other works to guarantee access to almost 150 million arrobas the province had yet to harvest in April, near the beginning of spring. This is unusual. They cut 140 million arrobas in that period. I know of the effort they made, but productivity dropped with each new rainfall. They kept cutting cane but there was no sense in cutting more.

Fields may give 10,000 metric tons this year, and next year 25,000 metric tons, but the fields would be destroyed. We had to stop. They did not want to stop.

I do not like to give some data, but you have heard information at the international level from the people who trust in Cuba, who want to invest in Cuba, who are prepared to finance some or many of our projects. During the first half of the year the economy grew by 9.6 percent.

The economy had decreased in 1992 and 1993. In 1994 it grew by 0.7. In 1995 it grew 2.5 percent, and it has grown this year during the first semester. However, you must realize that the first half of the year has the benefit of the harvest season. This is why the growth is so big. At the end of the year, the economy should have grown approximately 5 percent. I think this deserves also an Olympic medal. We dedicate the 9.6 percent growth as a greeting -- no -- as a message, to Messrs. Helms and Burton... [applause] so that they can swallow the message. [applause and chanting]"

We have to continue working hard because that law makes things more difficult, as Lage said on television. Things have been made more difficult. But things were difficult before that law was passed. I will refer to this again a little later on.

Another incredible thing, in spite of the very severe blockade, stumbling blocks, harassment, and threats, the child mortality rate during the first half of the year was 8.2 -- the lowest in history for a six-month period.

Education, like health, has improved very much and continues to improve. It is overcoming the greatest difficulties that existed at one point. I have spoken to you about the child mortality rate. There are 27,000 family doctors and in August more than 3,000 doctors will be graduating. This is the estimate. In August the country will have 60,000 doctors. [applause] This is the country with the largest medical service. No other country has something like this, and I am not talking about third world countries. I am speaking about developed, very developed, countries.

They do not have doctors everywhere, at schools, at children centers, or at places of employment, doctors that struggle not only against diseases but against the factors that produce accidents at the workplace.

The number of nurses has increased and the quality of the nurses has improved, having now university level. Some nurses who had retired from work when the national currency was at its worst devaluation point, have returned.

Equipment is being sought, medical attention programs are being provided.

I said this included education and more. Some education data are truly amazing. I have reports saying that 97.5 percent of all children between six and 14 years of age have gone to school and this happens right in the middle of the special period in time of peace. There are, not less, but a few more schools. There are also 190,000 teachers. This is important. I already said 97.5 percent of children have gone to school. The average number of those who completes their sixth grade is very high, one of the world's highest. Here is another important news. Of every 100 boys who reach the sixth grade, 98.2 enter basic secondary school. And 92.8 percent of those who approve secondary school move on to higher learning. There are programs of one kind or another for all children, not only day care centers and preschool, which includes children from 0 to five years old, but programs to take care of those children.

Regarding material production, indexes similar to those of Holguin province have been obtained. Sugar production was a little under Holguin's figures. I wish everything was similar to Holguin. Sugar production increased by 1,100,000 metric tons, or 33 percent. This is an evident sign of recovery. The nickel production has also been noteworthy. The only source of nickel is in Holguin. The nickel-related work, such as equipment renewal and plant update, has continued in Camarioca. In addition, mines in Mayari continue to be worked on. Of course, this is a national program that will continue in Holguin. I have already mentioned the tobacco and rice production improvement and technical efforts to raise the per-hectare productivity. We are also working on the production of tubers and vegetables. This year we experienced a record production of 8,000,000 quintals of potatoes. Progress is being made in the production of citrus fruits. Fishing has become more efficient. Efforts are made so Holguin can hold one of the first places, although fishing is not one of the most important sectors of Holguin's economy.

The country is recovering. Slowly. I always warn against the tendency that may arise, that we have come out of the special period. No! [laughs] We are in the midst of a special period, making enormous efforts in every sense, but under difficult conditions, which have also been publicly explained. I do not have to repeat them -- the shortage of hard currency and the problems. There is still an excess of money in circulation, although the peso's exchange rate, which went up to 150 for a dollar is now approximately 22 pesos for one dollar. No economy has achieved such a revaluation of its currency to the degree that we have, with intelligent measures, I would say, without becoming desperate, without going crazy, without becoming irrational, and without falling into the clutches of capitalism! [applause] The deadly clutches of capitalism; the merciless and monstrous clutches of capitalism! These clutches are becoming more merciless and more monstrous.

Even though we adopted one type of measure, then another, and still another. The ones you know about. They were announced and explained. Ah, but these measures have led to a reduction of approximately 3 billion pesos in the amount of money in circulation. These measures helped revalue the peso. These and other measures, not only these ones. These measures were not adopted capriciously or inadvertently; they were analyzed and meditated: The farmers' markets, with the participation of the state enterprises and the cooperatives; the industrial markets; self-employment, as many factories ran out of raw materials, as a form of helping people find a job because their income was not enough, as a form of helping pensioners who can still render some services.

A series of measures, which I will not enumerate, have led to these results. This means we are on the right track. This means it was proved that we could resist. While preparing for this event in Holguin I was recalling, I was reading what I said in Holguin -- no, not in Holguin, in Camaguey -- on 26 July 1989. It was an excellent year because we had built so many works. We were immersed in the rectification process, the construction of polyclinics, hospitals, schools, construction materials industry, plans to build 100,000 houses per year. We were doing splendidly well.

Obviously, our economy was mainly based on our relations with the socialist bloc and the Soviet Union. We predicted, we foresaw the events, the threat of the socialist bloc's dissolution; even the threat of the USSR's disintegration. When I said this at such an early stage I suspected that some would think it was a figment of my imagination. Who would have thought this of that great country, which destroyed fascism, which waged the first revolution, which made so many contributions to mankind? I will not discuss that, much less will I discuss complex issues, in the presence of visitors whom we appreciate and whom we thank for their participation in this event. We appreciate this very much. [applause]

I only bring this issue up because while all of this was taking place, Cuba continued resisting, Cuba continued to struggle. After seven years of having made these statements, it is fair to say that Cuba has been able to continue struggling, Cuba has been able to resist, Cuba has honored its word. [applause] Even though afterwards the country was left on its own, but more blockaded that ever.

However, I believe that now the blockade is becoming more strenuous. We had confidence in our people. This is a people endowed with a tremendous fighting spirit tradition. This can be attested by some of our songs, the poems of our youth, and so forth. Of you people of Holguin, there is much that could be said with respect to your historical accomplishments. To the honor and glory of this province, the region of Holguin has distinguished itself in all of our encounters with history. Whichever progressive cause arose, it received full support from the people of Holguin, even before the wars of independence.

Noteworthy also was the role played by the people of Holguin, together with the people of Bayamo, Santiago, and the other eastern provinces during the revolutionary struggle. They were among the first to rise on 10 October, the first to fight, attack, and strike against the enemy troops. This city itself was attacked on more than one occasion. That illustrious son of Holguin and Cuba, Calixto Garcia, is from this region. I am going to use the present tense instead the past tense. [applause].

A word such as was has no place when we refer to the heroes of the fatherland. They were, they are, and will continue to be. Calixto Garcia, head and leader of many victorious battles. He was one of the first to surround and take cities, ambush numerous enemy troops and cause innumerable casualties. Tireless. One who prefers to shoot himself in the chin rather than fall into the hands of his enemies and become a prisoner. One whose mother -- at whose grave flowers were fittingly delivered today -- refused to believe in her son's death, or that he had been taken prisoner, until she was finally told that he had shot himself. It was then that she uttered that well-known expression: Ah, that is my son.

He fought tirelessly because when he was able to, he escaped from Spain, where he was banished, and returned to the so-called Chiquita War, in which Holguin Province actively participated.

The third independence war began and he hurried back to Cuba. He was winning when the imperialist intervention took place or when the first imperialist war of our time took place, in Lenin's sense of the word. He again landed. He fought and took part in a very significant way in support of the forces that were landing, supposedly friendly forces, which later inflicted upon Calixto the humbling decision to forbid the entry of Cuban forces into Santiago de Cuba.

I recall that what moved us the most on the day we arrived in Santiago de Cuba, on 1 January 1959, was to remember that we had redeemed the memory of Calixto Garcia. [applause] [Word indistinct] with determination when there was an attempted coup d'etat, manipulated by the Yankee embassy, and we said: this time the Mambises will enter Santiago de Cuba. [applause]

The struggle of the people of Holguin was also extensive throughout the false republic with all the revolutionary movements that took place. There were expeditions that came this way, strikes, demonstrations, armed struggles, participation in the clandestine movement during the Machado and Batista days, up to times near the revolution when Holguin then actively took part in the clandestine struggle.

The people of Holguin had the Batista tyranny in such a state that it ordered the atrocious massacre called the bloody Christmas, in which more than 20 people were murdered and selected and chosen by that cruel and blood-thirsty henchman called (Cowley).

Those same repressive forces seized the people in the Corinthian expedition and murdered all of them, almost without exception. However, Holguin residents were also the ones who did just one day, and eliminated the henchman in a courageous and unforgettable manner. [applause] The repression against the people of Holguin was very bloody. Many Holguin residents started to join the rebel army in the Sierra Maestra, the plains, and everywhere. So, Holguin merits recognition for its beautiful and courageous history.

We know, we have always known that we counted with people such as the ones here and we always had confidence in them. We were sure that the promise made on that 26 July would be kept and it is being kept. [applause] That is why I am not surprised with the achievements and today more than every before, we require that all our people carry out similar achievements. I repeat. The enemy is full of arrogance, anger, we could say, and frustration because this small country, facing exceptionally difficult conditions, has not surrendered. We have had to attend to the lives and needs of 11 million people. This has been much more difficult than caring for a small amount of troops in the mountains. The revolution feels responsible for the life, sufferings, labor, and difficulties of the entire population.

This undertaking, in my opinion, has turned our people into international heroes. Yes, they are international heroes because they have done all this under such conditions. What they have done can be summarized thus: they have fought, resisted, and started to advance.

Could there be an obstacle capable of discouraging us? Could there be an imperialist law or measure capable of making us kneel? [the people shout: No!] In this unipolar world, the empire is growing increasingly overbearing, arrogant. What is the meaning of a law of an extraterritorial nature that punishes citizens of the world for investing in Cuba? Besides, this is a contradiction. The opening to foreign capital investments is not a classical measure, although prior to the special period we thought it was suitable to open some areas to foreign investments, because we needed capital.

Some of those natural resources, like the Mayari pine forests and the mines, cost hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars. A modern industry can be set up there and it will be set up. This calls for studies and plans. This cannot be done overnight. Where would we get those hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of millions if we sometimes have to figure out how to get 6 million to establish the 300-bed hospital you need so much; or to make investments in industrial lines; or to build hotels and develop tourism, which has become an extremely important source of income?

I had not mentioned this among the country's things. Tourism has increased 46 percent during this first half. [applause] Despite all the campaigns and all the enemy's propaganda against Cuba, and its laws, and its provocations, and its harassment. We can fill this country with hotels. I mean the beaches and other sites. In fact, its gross revenues surpass even those of the sugar industry, except the sugar industry has not only an economic importance but also a social and political importance. At least two million people live from the sugar industry -- 2 million people, not workers -- and they love it, adore it in many homes. You can say this problem must not be considered from an economic viewpoint only, and you cannot think a tourism hotel is better than a sugar mill. No.

We have to diversify the country's source of income. This is why we have done a few things that bring revenue to the country. Some of these things are not entirely fair, we know that, but this is a price we must pay to save the fatherland, the revolution, socialism. We try to make the measures increasingly fair, to see that those who make much more money than others pay taxes and contribute their share. There is so much need that people have sometimes used their trade to abuse the people. Sometimes people invent stories, for example, that prices will go up because they must pay taxes. No, they cannot raise prices even if they want to. For example, prices in the farmers' markets have gone down because there was less money. This does not depend on those who sell there. In this case it depends on those who buy and how much they are willing to pay for something. It is a hoax. We ask those who earn a lot to remember the teachers who educate their children; remember the doctors who save their children's lives. [applause] Remember the defenders of the homeland or those who guarantee the safety of a citizen against an aggressor, against a criminal.

Let them remember the fatherland and its needs; the fatherland and its development; the fatherland and its independence; the fatherland and its ideals, and that they do not react selfishly. It is very important that the people understand this. If someone earns 3,000 pesos a day -- no minister earns 3,000 pesos in six months -- much more than what a teacher earns in a month or what an eminent doctor may earn. You have them here; just ask them. They know that the country has no money. What more would the country like than to have unlimited resources to be able to reward everyone who works and to resolve all of society's pending problems, despite the ones already resolved historically during the revolutionary years?

Yes, we need to take measures, but those measures need to be constantly studied and adapted to the situations.

Others have the privilege of having a relative. What are we to do, turn green with envy? No. If relatives send something, fine; if they purchase something, fine. This may help us complete the hospital. This brings in taxes. [applause] Already there are 1 million Cubans who, in one way or another, through self-employment, have access to certain amounts of convertible currency. But we are not envious; what we want is a better fatherland; what we want is the fairest society. We have not renounced nor will ever renounce those ideas. [applause]

With what we do or with what we will do, I can assure you that we will not fall into those claws that I spoke about before.

I said that the empire increases its blockade; it is increasingly hostile, more provoking against us. But we struggle, and we struggle on all fronts. When they commit a provocation, such as what resulted in the incident, or when an incident takes place due to the provocations of the imperialists and their underlings, we struggle there in the UN General Assembly, in a way, we must say, that no one struggles -- in the ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization], even though controlled to a great extent by the United States, and in the Security Council, where a speech, which lasted one hour and 23 minutes, was delivered in reply to the U.S. representative, by Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada, our brilliant president of the National Assembly. [applause]

There are times when the powerful empire -- militarily, politically, and economically -- imposes things, exerts pressure, in a terrible way to a country that will not kneel.

We fight with ideas in every field because we have ideas to defend and a very high morale to defend them with. [applause] We would fight. And every one of you knows how we would fight, under any circumstance, regardless of the imperialist technology. It does not matter. All things considered, what matters most is the individual.

We will strive to obtain technology. It has been a long time since we received any weapons, but we can still defend ourselves with what we have. No bullet-proof vest can resist a shell from a bazooka or a cannon. They better not believe that with technology -- smart weapons as they call it, and that sort of thing -- they are going to make us kneel.

First, they would have to exterminate all of us, because we are all followers of Calixto Garcia. [applause] Imperialism, with its haughtiness and arrogance, has turned into a tragedy for the world.

Why do they seek to destroy us? Because we have been able to accomplish the things we have just mentioned here. Because we have more physicians per capita, or teachers, than any country in the world. Because practically all our children are in school. Because there is practically no dropping out of school among our children, and nearly all of them are able to pass to higher grades. Because we have been able to reduce infant mortality to less than 10, in a tropical and hot country where illnesses are more frequent, and where the environment is more conducive for many ailments. These are the reasons they want to destroy us. Because we seek social justice, fairness for all. These are the reasons they seek to destroy us.

What do they seek to give the world instead? The world's problems are becoming more and more complicated with the neo-liberal ideas and political recipes they have applied to countries as far away as Africa up to Latin America. Ever since we took up the first weapon in our struggle for independence we have refused to accept recipes from anyone. No one had the right to give us any recipes. No one gave any recipes to Cespedes, Agramonte, Marti, Maceo, or any of the founding fathers of this nation.

What has been their legacy in Africa? All sorts of fratricidal wars everywhere. More and more fratricidal wars.

What has neo-liberalism accomplished in Latin America and throughout the world? More and more unemployment. Less and less budget for education. Less and less budget for health. Less and less budget for retirees, the elderly, and those who worked hard all their lives. Less and less budget to assist the handicapped, to provide rehabilitation programs, and when possible, decent jobs for these people to earn a living.

There are increasingly less resources for the people. The gap between rich and poor people continues to increase. The gap between the rich and the poor was 30 to one a few years ago and now stands at 60 to one.

What will happen to the environment? Contamination problems increase every day, and they are increasingly more serious. The world's climate is getting hotter. The waters are rising. The occurrence of natural disasters multiplies. Strong droughts are assailing the world. The United States itself suffered a drought in recent months. China has suffered big floods and cyclones, and no one knows the consequences of those disasters. Or, rather, the consequences are known but, unfortunately, there is no awareness of those problems in the empire and many developed countries.

What will happen to the social rights that were discussed in Copenhagen? With what resources will we handle problems? World problems such as unemployment, which I already mentioned; the reduction of social security budgets; and the increasing number of older people. There are intense pressures to increase the retirement age. No one thinks of other possible alternatives to resolve the unemployment situation. The contributions of rich countries to the development of poorer countries is not increasing and is, rather, decreasing. What will happen with human settlements, which was discussed in Istanbul recently? The conference was boycotted by the rich countries that do not want to contribute to the solution of those problems.

But what will happen to human health? There are increasingly more new diseases, such as AIDS, which was unknown previously and is now an almost universal plague. There are new bacteria, new viruses, strange diseases. Old diseases, such as tuberculosis, are reappearing. Antibiotics, which were such an effective weapon in the past, are increasingly more ineffective because they have been used and abused. Increasingly there are more resistant strains. Tuberculosis itself, which had almost been annihilated, multiplies rapidly everywhere, and it has mixed with AIDS; some diseases mix with others.

We struggle against all this, and we do so successfully. We manufacture vaccines and protect our children against almost all the diseases. We advance in the health sector, which I believe is going to be one of the most serious problems in coming years. This has been reported by the WHO. This information was not invented in this speech here. I report what the world already knows, what the cables have published. The situation is getting increasingly worse.

I can say that this system is creating a world where there are more and more poor people. Who can deny it? The number of those who live under the minimum poverty level keeps increasing. It is a world where there are more and more illiterate people and less security, a world in which there are more and more drugs and violence, linked to drugs or not.

This is the world offered by the hegemonic empire. Can mankind be governed like this? In approximately three years there will be 6 billion people. Mankind's numbers have increased sixfold in a century, which it had not done in hundreds of thousands of years.

Food problems aggravate the situation. Food becomes more and more costly. These problems become even more serious as the result of soil erosion and environment, backwardness, poverty, and the countries' lack of resources, organization, or land for those who can till it. This is the world that the empire offers. A less and less independent world. A number of less and less sovereign countries, because the only sovereign thing that remains is the sovereign will of this empire to impose its rules and conditions.

As you have seen, this Helms-Burton law has elicited worldwide rejection. For the first time, the OAS issued a resolution against this law. It has been ferociously attacked by some U.S. newspapers. It has elicited Europe's rejection and Europe's determination to resist those extraterritorial practices, because the world now experiences a closeup of what has been done to us. They want to draft new laws, this time against other countries, and have warned that they will penalize enterprises that invest in certain countries. Iran and Libya are being mentioned, where European countries have large investments and where they are supplied with crude oil. It is only natural for these countries to react strongly, because they are beginning to understand that such a world is unmanageable, ungovernable, and without a future.

What does the United States want us to do? To return to those years that led up to 26 July, to have everything we have and have conquered taken away from us, even the houses where our people live, the schools, the hospitals, and the plants, under any pretext.

I believe it was Clinton himself who said this meant that the island of Cuba would have to pay $100 billion in compensation, when he was against the law, when his hesitations did not lead him to the mistake -- hesitations and political opportunism given the November elections and the myth that the Cuban extreme right can decide who wins or loses that state. That is a myth, that is a lie.

With the pretext of the 24 February incident, fully provoked by them and of which they were warned about countless times, he switches sides and supports the law of his enemies, the law he had been fighting for months, a law that came about after much lobbying in Congress and in which Republicans had a wide majority, both in the Senate and in the House. Thus, Clinton may have been unable to veto the law.

But what is, of course, a moral fault and a lack of ethics is to have backed that insensitive and cruel law against our people.

I repeat, what do they want? Do they want us to return to the past? Do they want us to lose everything, everything? Do they want us to lose the fatherland? [crowd chants: "No!"] Do they want us to never again be able to say that we are the country with the most merits per capita in the world, with the most teachers, and with the best attention to man? Do they want us to never again be the most humane country? They want us to return to the past and stop fighting for what many generations of Cubans fought for, from the very first Cubans to the Cubans of today.

It is not possible; it is not possible that we once again become a country without any rights, a country without honor, that we resign ourselves to live without honor or dignity and to be subjected. We have struggled for more than 35 years -- we, these generations. What is important is the decision to continue to struggle a further 35 years if necessary. [applause]

How can such senseless policies be intended to be applied to the world? We have a right to be free, because we feel free, and because we are willing to fight and die for that liberty. [applause] That is something that cannot be snatched away from us. [indistinct chants by crowd] [applause]

Let us continue struggling and struggling with increasing efficiency, with more awareness, with more responsibility. Let us not forget for a second of the moment and period we are living in, of the world we live in. The sacred duty is not to flee as some do. The sacred duty is firmness, the struggle. This is what future generations will recognize; your descendants.

I am sure that our ideas, that our example, will not be in vain. Many people will emulate our example in the world, our decision to protest, to struggle, and to resist intelligently, firmly.

With mad actions they cannot govern the world. The world is prepared to govern itself, but it will never accept being governed by anybody, or by an egotistical country without scruples.

Now that an international fiesta, the Olympic Games, is taking place with the participation of all the countries of the world, including ours -- and we have been quiet and discreet -- we find that the haughtiness and arrogance of the United States has reached such proportions that there are throughout the world hundreds of reports and news articles saying terrible things about the Olympic Games.

Our commentators have not been involved in that. They have been reporting sports details, but whoever reads international reports -- and we have the obligation to read many of them everyday -- will see there is an incredible number of protests. They are reporting the Centennial Olympics as something shameful, as a catastrophe. There is incredible disorganization, poor housing facilities.

Somebody reported there is one bathroom for every 30 women in the villa. There is lousy organization of information. Reporters are going crazy. They are not receiving the information they want or when they want to get it; transportation is terrible; teams arrive late for competitions; some athletes have been unable to compete; even policemen and bus drivers wanted to go on strike; things that had never happened at any Olympic Games.

The world is learning from this experience as it is learning from others. They paid no attention to anybody; they did not listen to people who had Olympic Game experience. They managed to get this Centennial Olympic games that should have gone to Athens, where the games began 100 years ago, but Athens was not given this Olympic Games; it was assigned another, after two intervals.

They had the responsibility of organizing this in a really efficient way, and we have learned from news reports of what is happening in the tracks. From a sports point of view, we have no complaint, except that third world countries only occasionaly win a little medal.

You have seen the equestrian competitions. How could the countries of Africa, of Latin America, including us, expend the necessary funds to participate in the equestrian Olympic competition? There could be one Latin American country there. How many tennis courts would we build throughout the country to participate in tennis; how many swimming pools would we have to build to allow many more people to train in swimming? There are many elite, rich sports. The sports of the poor countries are very few.

Nevertheless, whatever we have, one or 10 or 100 swimming pools, we must use them in two or three shifts, do whatever is necessary so that we may also participate in those competitions. I am not saying equestrian, because it is not worthwhile; it would be better to invest in other sports, whatever may have to be invested, in equipment, etc.

In the Olympic Games, you can see the differences that exist in the world. We must also struggle against turning sports into merchandise. Fabulous amounts of money are being invested. Imagine: Television rights were bought by a television station for $630 million. How much money circulates in the Olympic Games business? The Europeans were complaining because contracts have not been complied with. People throughout the world are saying terrible things about the Olympic Games. I am saying this so that you know.

Arrogance and haughtiness have led them into shunning everybody and paying no attention to experience. I hope someday somebody compiles everything that has been said so that our people may have an idea as to how these games have been organized.

Since I have mentioned the Olympics, I must rememeber what I said earlier. No news has reached here. We beat Germany in women's volleyball. Falcon was eighth. We lost the first boxing match. Hey, tell me no more. [crowd and Castro laugh] There are more fights, right? You will see: Our boxers are doing very well. They are boxing well, intelligently. We will see how boxing is going.

People of Holguin, I know that some of you are standing. We have been at this ceremony for some time. I beg you to forgive me for speaking a long time. [applause]

Allow me to congratulate the party, the people's government of Holguin, the mass organizations of Holguin, including the pioneers, all the people of Holguin, the provincial Politburo, and its secretary, Companero Sierra [applause], for the great honor and this achievement of being the host of the 26 of July event.

I appeal to all provinces to struggle as Holguin did and hope that for the next 26 of July we may be able to celebrate it with more achievements. I know that all provinces will say yes. I know they will struggle. It will be like that. You will be accused of having a monopoly if you win again, but you must make the greatest effort to win again.

In front of this couragerous, firm, and heroic people, in front of the statue of Calixto Garcia, I proclaim: Socialism or death! Fatherland or death! We will win! [applause and shouts of "Viva Fidel!"]