Castro Speaks to Unions 5

Jon Flanders 72763.2240 at
Thu Jun 13 06:33:27 MDT 1996

 Conflicts among the capitalists

   Of course, there are serious conflicts among the great
 economic powers. That is a law which was discovered by Lenin a
 long time ago, the economic conflicts among these countries, and
 sometimes what they create is a dogfight for markets and raw
   No one should think that life is happy, and as I said
 before - although at one point they were super-euphoric about
 what was happening, now they are more depressed because of what
 has happened, despite all the money they spent to dismantle
 socialism. They see that production isn't going up, but instead
 production is falling, that their illusions are more and more
 expensive, that capitalism doesn't solve anything, that not only
 where there was socialism, but also where there was capitalism,
 they are going to ruin. So they are embittered by these things,
 but they are also embittered by their inter-capitalist conflicts
 and struggles.
   All of these things are happening, and meanwhile, the Cuban
 Revolution goes on, and we can speak of the things we have been
 speaking of in these days, or have been talking about tonight: not
 a single school has been closed, not a single daycare center, not
 a single home for the elderly, not a single preschool, not a
 single institute or educational facility, not a single scientific
 center; in fact, there are many more scientific centers now. In
 some places, we have extra capacity in the schools. Of course, we
 would have continued to build schools to replace the old ones with
 new ones, but the ones we have are all in operation....
   A country like South Africa has asked for 600 doctors, which
 it will pay for, at a reasonable price, of course, because a
 doctor out there doesn't know how much his services would cost in
 a country like South Africa. The first doctors are already there I
 think there are 70 - and soon there will be several hundred. They
 are also going to give a part of the doctors' income to the Cuban
 public health system.
   We can do with doctors what we do with teachers and,
 professors, giving them advanced study courses, converting that
 scientific strength into an instrument for the medical personnel's
 further advancement, for retraining, for preparing them more. We
 had this same idea in the past with other professionals, but the
 ensuing situation made that impossible.
   If there is an excess of professionals, this can be used to
 retrain, for a year's sabbatical, for all those things. As I said
 yesterday afternoon or evening, it is much more reasonable to have
 a person trained as a doctor than to have a lumpen on the streets
 who doesn't know anything. True, there are much fewer admissions,
 because we have had to put a limit on admissions in this situation
 we are in. In a certain sense, we have exchanged quantity for
 quality, since we have more demanding requirements for entering
 the universities.
   But, well, we have achieved all these things - I repeat -
 in the context of what is happening in the world, in this country
 that they left without anything. And I ask again what they would
 say if they heard the delegates talking here about cutting down
 spiny marabu' bushes by hand. Listen, if cane grew as easily as
 marabu', we could flood the world with sugar. Those bushes grow by
 themselves! [Laughter]
   I had the urge to ask those comrades from Guanta'namo and
 other places when they talked, who planted the marabu'? Because
 it's as if for the past five or six years we had concentrated on
 growing marabu'. And what a brave battle to confront the marabu'
 with a machete and an ax! What a good idea of using it as fuel,
 like firewood for cooking, for all those things! And what a
 valiant job!
   The things we heard here today were truly admirable. That's
 why I spoke of the economic and social importance of what you have
 discussed throughout the year and above all in this congress.
   I really admired what I heard about the contingent from
 Santiago de Cuba that's working in Ciego de Avila, what it has
 done, the fact that it has done so through its own willpower and
 persistence; what the Mambisa Division in Holgui'n has done, in a
 relatively short time and in the midst of heavy rainfall; and what
 the comrades from Guanta'namo said about what they were doing;
 what the comrade from the UBPC said, the one we talked about
 before, and the other UBPC members who talked here. We heard
 things we had never heard before, and I know that spirit reigns
 throughout the country and especially in the rest of the country's
 provinces. The struggle in the capital is always a little harder,
 a little more difficult, more problems. But on the visits the
 comrades from the Political Bureau make to the provinces, all of
 them bring back very favorable impressions. Some of them, like to
 go out to the provinces to see the spirit prevailing there, to see
 that great boost the people are giving.
   Before no one could conceive of any project without
 bulldozers. In any case, we can't send to the Antillana Steelworks
 the bulldozers [Alfredo] Jorda'n [minister of agriculture] says he
 still has left. They would have to get the spare parts. He knows
 how many spare parts must be obtained in order to get them
 running. And some of these provinces that make efforts of that
 kind, if they can hand over a bulldozer or two, they should do so.
 It's only right, they should have them available.
   I want all of you to know that the Revolution bulldozed the
 marabu' areas and planted grass, planted rice, planted cane and
 planted many things, all kinds of things. I still remember that
 brigade which, with hundreds of bulldozers, got all the way to
 Pinar del Rio, and the Revolution also built dams and all the
 things it did. But there were a lot of resources, a lot of fuel, a
 lot of trucks, a lot of spare parts and money. The miracle is that
 now we're doing the things we're doing with the resources we have
 and with the awareness that we can do much more and we can be more

   Must not lose a moment

   Not all lands are alike, not all crops are alike. I think
 Jorda'n knows a lot about this, along with Comrade Nelson [Torres,
 minister the sugar industry], in terms of taking any positive
 experience to the provinces. We can't go crazy and say that we're
 going to do everything in one year, but we must not lose a minute
 in extending these positive experiences. A positive experience in
 sugar cane is the recovery of the land. You can't imagine how much
 is saved and what it signifies.
   Yesterday we talked of millions of additional tons of sugar
 needed; a large part of that is hidden in the weeds that grow
 alongside the cane, in addition to a few more hectares that must
 be planted - and we must plant all we can - as well as the way
 it is done, the seriousness with which it is done, the application
 of fertilizers and herbicides, the use of drainage wherever
 possible. Aside from all these measures and along with all these
 measures, we can obtain those millions of tons. We have them, they
 are there, but it depends a lot on us, on our efforts....
   The harvest has these problems I mentioned. I can give you a
 positive statistic, which is that as of today there were 4.150
 million tons. [Applause] That means with 350,000 more tons of
 sugar, we will reach the minimum goal we had set ourselves. We say
 this is minimum, it all depends on the climate, the
   It is indispensable for us to achieve these proposed goals,
 because they also play a part in all the other things I explained:
 the confidence in us, the financing, both of which we need so
 much. That's why this month of May is going to be a month of a lot
 of work, and very hard work. June and the other months are also
 important, but this one will be decisive, because we have to
 cultivate that cane planted in April, which can be cut. Whatever
 we can plant in the first half of May will be very important.
   That's more or less the situation we have in the cane. Now,
 the problem is also, as I said, to achieve more growth next year,
 and we can do it if we work with the spirit reflected here and
 expressed by many comrades - and I repeat - there have been
 impressive things and impressive results.
   Now we're anxious to see what the workers from Santiago de
 Cuba will achieve in Ciego de Avila with their cucumber, their
 cabbage, their early potatoes and all those things. [Applause]
 We're anxious to see how the quality tests on the outer tobacco
 leaves come out in other provinces.... We're anxious to see how
 all the rice growing programs are going, to raise the large
 portion of the production, because rice is scarce, it's going for
 almost 500 dollars a ton on the world market, and it was worth 240
 or 250, and sometimes even with money you can't buy it. So we must
 work with great speed in all the rice paddies and we need some
   We are also progressing in citrus. A set of formulas have
 appeared and we are going to continue searching for formulas which
 allow us to find more jobs, more resources for the country.
   We have gotten an excellent impression from the construction
 workers, who were receptive to the things that were pointed out to
 them, and clear prospects can be seen in all of that.
   The sugar workers have had a marvelous response, and things
 had also been pointed out to them. And what we wanted to say is
 that we can't win this battle, we can't overcome this special
 period if we do stupid things, or we're negligent, or we lose
 faith. There was really no reason why the seed banks and other
 things were lost, when they should have been preserved.

  E-mail from: Jonathan E. Flanders, 13-Jun-1996

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