Speech by President Fidel Castro at the concluding plenary session of the Sixth Congress of the Union of Young Communists (UJC), in the Plenario Room at the Convention Palace in Havana 4th April 1992
Today we are not only closing the Sixth Congress, we are also commemorating the 30th anniversary of the creation of Cuba's Union of Young Communists (UJC). The decision made at that time, when we were debating what to call our youth organization, has great significance. It was once called the Association of Rebel Youths. I remember clearly that I proposed the name UJC. (Applause) It was the name that best fitted our convictions, and today we are proud of that decision.
At that time there was also apprehension and fear that the word communist was too strong. In those days, talking about socialism or communism was scary for many people. Then it became natural and for a long time the world proclaimed these words, which rightfully was considered a great step forward. Minds were liberated and people were not so afraid to utter the words socialism or communism. Imperialists and capitalists trembled, but a large part of mankind heard those words with pleasure and satisfaction.
Today we are again facing times when talk about socialism or communism seems to be prohibited. We have gone backward. There is talk of capitalism, the great discovery! There is talk of neoliberalism, the fifth essence of modern capitalism! But just as people are afraid to call themselves socialists or communists-this is why many parties and organizations have changed their names-so are they also afraid to talk about imperialism.
Check whether today any newspaper of the former socialist bloc or the former USSR mentions the word imperialism. That is truly prohibited. But imperialism has not disappeared; it is more present and stronger than ever.
Those are a few characteristics of the times in which we live. Reaching this stage of fearing to say the word imperialism stands as a true symbol of the partial setback suffered today by the world of ideas and politics.
What have political organizations accomplished by changing their names? What have they accomplished by giving up their cause? What have they accomplished by feeling shame? There are some who are embarrassed at having been communists, even of having been socialists. There are those who believed they would win votes by changing their names. What is incomprehensible is how people can be embarrassed when they have lost all self-respect. We are not embarrassed. We feel proud to call ourselves socialists and feel even more proud to be communists. (Applause) This is why our party will not ever change its name. Our youth organization will never change its name, because it will never renounce its cause; it will never renounce its aspirations, which are the noblest, fairest, and most human ever conceived.
This is why today we remember with joy that act of courage; if one had to be courageous to call oneself communist then, today one has to be much more courageous to call oneself communist. (Applause) If it was an honor to do so then, today it is an even greater honor. We are pleased to say this now, 30 years after the day the UJC was created.
We just held the Sixth Congress. Every congress of our organization has been fruitful and exciting but this one has been particularly so for many reasons. Among others, because of the current situation in the world and our fatherland.
Much has been discussed; hundreds upon hundreds of delegates have participated. First, the 17 commissions addressed various issues; then the discussion continued here at the plenary meeting. Of course, had all those who wanted to speak done so, the congress would have had to last seven days, and that is not possible.
I can imagine the great number of interesting things that could have been said here by the number of interesting things that were said here in one and one-half days. None of us could participate in all the commissions; but perhaps it would be advisable to somehow summarize the discussions within the commissions and at the plenary meetings, to give us an idea of all the things we have discussed and how we went about doing so.
We cannot say all the problems were thoroughly discussed. It is very difficult, there is not enough time to discuss each and every problem in depth. We tried; some were discussed more, some less. Everything presented and discussed, however, is important, and is a matter of interest because they allow us to learn about those matters that cause concern, matters that disturb us, matters that require solutions, matters that should be cleared up, and matters that should be analyzed. Just the enumeration of those matters that have been discussed is always of interest.
The idea to hold the discussions in commissions was very good. It was a very original and interesting idea to begin this congress on the construction of tunnel sites and to hold the commission meetings at the work sites, at the study places, and where services are offered. This is where the ideas must be gathered up, so that everyone, so that the people can also participate, even though the knowledge and the information on all the issues that were discussed are learned from different sources. I believe the issues were discussed from the rank and file up, in the provincial assemblies, in the municipal assemblies, at work sites, everywhere. We should try to use and to take advantage of that huge amount of ideas, of contributions, and of suggestions.
We could not summarize the congress based only on what has been discussed at the full sessions. Many of the issues were not even discussed. Some of them were discussed at the last minute, such as the very interesting tourism issue. This is an issue for discussion and debate. The sugarcane harvest was somewhat discussed, very little. Much was not said about science. We recently participated in a congress with workers in the scientific field. We know how much there is to discuss in this field and how much you can talk about science. We were able to discuss several issues. We were able to take up these issues within our time limitations.
The food program was fairly well discussed, as were some matters associated with the food program. The whole food program, however, was not discussed. Currently, this is the top priority issue. Different aspects of the food program were discussed. This program is very important.
At the end we discussed ideology. Ideology is related to all of this. You saw here a comrade who declared that among the challenges are those who believe that the special period must end in 10 days. Others think that problems can be resolved quickly, from one day to the next. Still others think the problems are the result of stupid acts committed by some people, or by many people, by some cadres, or by many cadres.
We should demand that each issue be thoroughly discussed. We should gather as much information as possible. We must engage in an all-out war against superficial matters and against simplistic analysis. We must engage in an all-out war against those who are ignorant of the facts. It is appropriate to recall...(pauses) someone here mentioned that there are persons who are allergic to the repetition of arguments. We should not tire of repeating specific arguments, over and over again.
There are religions in the world and, as you can see, they are strong. According to the annals of history, the Christian religion will celebrate 2,000 years, or nearly 2,000 years, because the Christian religion did not exist, not even on the day that has been noted as the day Christ was born. There were other religions before then. The Jewish religion is much older, perhaps some 3,000 years. There are religions in India that are much older than these. All peoples had religion. The Incas, the Aztecs, every tribe had its religion.
Our Ciboney and Atabey Indians also had their religions. The misfortune of some of these people was their belief that the conquistadors were gods. Had they known the conquistadors were mortals, they would have settled accounts with them much sooner and perhaps history would be different. The conquest of the Aztec empire is incredible. It is incredible how they were led to believe the conquistadors were gods that were returning, according to certain legends.
Religions repeat their same or identical arguments every year. Otherwise, they would not exist as religions. The same or identical dogma is repeated, otherwise they would not exist as religions. The same or identical principles are repeated. They are not only repeated every year; they are repeated every month, every day, every hour.
We are not a religion and we are not a dogma; but our principles and our fundamental, basic ideas, our arguments must be repeated, not only every year, but every month, every day, and every hour because the truth must be repeated once, 10 times, 100 times, 1,000 times, a million times (Applause) if we want to spread the word, if we want the truth to be known, and if we want it understood.
We must not be discouraged by those who believe arguments must not be repeated. I am not talking nonsense, I am talking about arguments. I am speaking of reason. It is impossible to ignore the facts. It has to be said once and a hundred times. Our country is guiltless, without any blame, because if there is a country which has consistently fulfilled its internationalist duties for more than 30 years, it is our country. If there is a people who has fulfilled that task in an exemplary manner, it is our people. We do not have to regret having fulfilled these duties; if others forgot their principles, our Revolution, our people, our nation in no way bear any responsibility for this. If any people have confronted imperialism for over 30 years with exemplary firmness, without a single smear, without a single omission, those people are our people. (Applause) We must not regret our decision to fulfill those duties.
If others tired that was not our fault. If imperialism was able to stab socialism in the back in Europe and the former USSR, it was not our fault (Applause) because we have fully carried out our duties.
The comrade who talked about sports pointed out that we have been absent from the Olympics for the past 11 years. Why did we not attend when we had previously participated in all events? When we were even willing to swim to participate in a Pan-American Game there in Puerto Rico we were denied visas. They had to grant us visas in the end because we docked our Cerro Pelado ship three miles off the coast and warned that they either granted us permits or we would get there swimming (Applause) although we had not yet won even a bronze medal in swimming. I do not know whether we would have had to transport weight lifters or boxers by raft or boat; but we were there.
When California or Los Angeles was going to host the Olympics, they said that (pauses) the Soviets said security conditions were nonexistent. We replied it was not a matter of security; we have never sought security. We said it was a matter of solidarity. An inexcusable mechanism was unleashed; if the USSR and other socialist countries were not going to attend, we should not show up out of a desire to participate and win a few gold medals. We decided not to participate, as a simple matter of solidarity. We reached that decision with our athletes. This was not a decision of the party or government; this decision was discussed with our athletes.
We did not participate as a matter of principle and solidarity. We lost the right to host the Pan-American Games in 1987 because of it. Indianapolis won it. Who knows the problems this decision cost us, but we did not attend. Moreover, (words indistinct) was discussed with no one; it came from above, from the land of the holy spirit, as we have said on a few occasions.
Then came Seoul. Every day there was heavy repression of students and workers, shots, tear gas, massacres, and everything else. This was an imperialist maneuver that had been organized there to support their allies. No one had foreseen it; no one opposed it. That was symptomatic of a wishy-washy and soft attitude, of weaknesses and concessions.
I recall a meeting there on the anniversary of the October Revolution;
I believe it was the 70th anniversary. We brought up these problems. At a summit of socialist heads of state we brought up the problem, we said: This problem with imperialism cannot be left behind. If there was no security there, much less would there be in Seoul. We wanted to be consistent with what had been done in Los Angeles. To facilitate a solution we demanded those Olympic Games be shared. I also brought up other economic problems. I explained the rectifications we were implementing and why we were making them, and also warned them to not be swept away by certain premises and ideas that would lead them to chaos. I said it publicly; I said it there. I warned them about the possible consequences of certain mechanisms and concepts they were applying.
They went to Korea after these symptoms emerged. One after the other, they plunged in head first. They were desperate. It was painful to witness. I would add that it was repulsive; but we did not attend those games. If one reviews history, one will notice that the Revolution has maintained a consistent policy.
Not even two years had passed since the Los Angeles games. We had been deprived of hosting the Pan-American Games, and Indianapolis was already the site of some event, and the Soviets and everybody else were there. We know many things about the behavior of some Olympic committees of some socialist countries. We did not go to Los Angeles or Seoul. We failed to win gold medals, but we kept our honor and our dignity. I ask myself: Would we have won the 140 gold medals we won in the last Pan-American Games had we lost our honor? I also ask myself:
Did our athletes obtain those 140 medals for money? Or because they wanted to become professionals, or receive thousands of dollars, privileges, and other things? Everybody knows our athletes have no greater honor or prize than our people's recognition, applause, and prestige. Our people pay them with their affection, not with gold, or money, but with admiration, support, and love.
Some abandoned their principles and took a different path. Our people have fulfilled their duty, all together, in peace and war. They did so during the October crisis. As you know, this problem was recently discussed by a commission of U.S., Soviet, and Cuban representatives. Documents were published, and Cuba's position was clearly explained: a position of steadfast principles. The fact that the Revolution has principles is not new! The fact that the Revolution remains firm at any cost is not new! The fact that the Revolution refuses to make concessions is not new! That position is old, as old as the Revolution! It is as old as '68 and '85, as old as Moncada and Granma, as old as Giron and the October crisis! (Applause) We flatly refused to make any concession to the reactionaries and imperialism. We have complied with our duty. If a detachment of the revolutionary movement failed to comply and made things easier for imperialism, if they even cooperated with imperialism in annihilating socialism and the USSR, making it possible for imperialism to achieve without firing a single shot what Hitler could not after sacrificing the lives of over 20 million Soviets, that is not our fault.
We ask the fifth columnists, weak, cowardly, and opportunistic, those who even criticize from alleged revolutionary positions, if our country did or did not comply with its duty, with important and risky internationalist missions, to the last consequences. We fulfilled our duty victoriously, and we were successful because of our firmness and determination. Without firmness and determination, without a consistent spirit, the Revolution would not have succeeded. Those who make concessions, who surrender, who become weak, never get anywhere.
Naturally, these phenomena were reflected in our economy. We were the only Third World country that had obtained a fair, equitable trade. You will remember when the foreign debt matter was discussed in 1985 with many of you, how we always used the argument that we had fair trade relations with the socialist bloc, noting that was the type of trade relationship that should exist between the Third World and the industrialized world. We were the standard bearers of the battle against foreign debt. What has been achieved in that field is due largely to the battle Cuba led, the battle Cuba waged. The imperialists became frightened in the face of those denouncements, in the face of Cuba's charges relating to the debt. We had an equitable trade exchange; and that exchange was lost from one night to the following morning, from one day to the next.
Our country lost more than 50 percent of imports. They were imports of all types: food, raw materials, equipment, everything. Our country lost over $4 billion in imports.
If a ton of sugar at the world market price is equivalent to $190 today, a little less than $200, the loss of $4 billion is equivalent to the loss of 20 million tons or the price of 20 million tons of sugar at world market garbage dump prices.
We received 800 rubles ® from the USSR, when the ruble was equivalent to the dollar or was worth more than the dollar. We received more than R800 per ton of sugar. Sugar price reductions alone made us lose nearly $2.5 billion in sugar alone. What the former USSR has paid us for the little sugar we have sold them is less than $200 per ton. In addition to sugar, we used to sell nickel at fixed prices, we used to sell citrus fruits, and we used to sell other products. We had access to trade credit and long-term credit, large amounts of credit. We sold sugar to other socialist countries at prices that were lower than the ones the USSR paid, but still twice the world market price. We also got trade credit and investment credit from those countries.
We have abruptly lost over $4 billion in exports. Oil consumption in our country had already reached 13 million tons. Today we are working with figures closer to 6 million tons, less than half. It was paid for in sugar at world market prices. It was paid for in sugar, for which we got less than a fourth of what we used to get. Of course, oil prices did go up and when the Revolution triumphed in 1960 and the Yankees wanted to take the oil away from us, we, with a ton of oil-we have to repeat it once, 10, 100, 1,000 times-with a ton of sugar (pauses) we bought seven tons of oil. Seven. Today with a ton of sugar, we buy 1.7 or 1.8 tons of oil. We are buying 25 percent of the oil we used to buy when the Revolution triumphed. How much sugar and what sugar markets do we need to obtain 12 million tons of oil or 13 million tons? There has been a tremendous change because oil is sold at monopoly prices in the world. There are many countries that pay higher prices for sugar, as the socialist bloc did. Europe pays higher prices. The United States pays a higher price for the little it does buy.
They used to import 5 million and are now importing 1 million; they subsidized sugar production. In other words, for us to secure the oil our country used to consume, we would have to sell all the sugar we have, if we could find markets and if there were suppliers willing to give us oil for sugar. Sugar prices are in the dumps while petroleum enjoys monopoly prices.
The real cost of producing a barrel of oil today stands at between $5 and $6 per barrel, some more and some less. That barrel is sold at $17, $18, $20, and at times, at $30. The price goes up and down, but stays very high.
Of course, we, based on the existence of a socialist community, drafted our plans and coordinated them to the plans of that community, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, and also based our economic and trade agreements on them. Who would have predicted that the USSR would be eliminated, that imperialism would eliminate the USSR and the socialist bloc without firing a single shot.
It is inconceivable; how could this happen? In this regard I recently wondered: What needs to be done to allow that to happen? And what must not be done to ensure that that does not happen? The truth is that they destroyed the socialist bloc with the cooperation of the socialist bloc and the USSR. It was a case of suicide and self-destruction, without knowing what the future held.
Perhaps we should view the problem from this standpoint at some other time. Without belaboring the point, that had terrible consequences for our country, terrible and unimaginable consequences for our country. Instead of one blockade, we are facing two blockades. We are facing a blockade from the United States, from imperialism, its allies, its closest friends, and we facing a blockade from what used to be the socialist community.
The Yankees, to prevent the sale of a small amount of sugar to the former USSR at garbage dump prices on the international market, which is below production cost, offered credit to that country to sell it 2 million tons of sugar on condition that it not buy from us. We sold 1 million tons of sugar to the USSR, when we used to sell more than 4 million tons at a price of more than $800. Are these objective facts? Are these objective realities?
This obviously had to have repercussions on everything. From the USSR came all the cotton our country consumed; from the USSR came a large portion of fertilizer; from the USSR, or through it, came a large portion of the food we consumed, of cereals and grains for human and animal consumption. The country lost all this. The country was virtually left without fuel, which is so essential in a society that, on the triumph of the Revolution, had 6.5 million inhabitants and only 50 percent of them used electricity, and a small amount. Thirty years later it became a society in which more than 90 percent of the population uses electricity. The population is now 10.5 million. It now consumes double or triple the amount of electricity it used to. Are these not real facts?
They left us without fuel. They left us without fertilizer. They left us without animal feed. They left us without food. Was it not a terrible blow for any country, for a country like Cuba, for a Third World country, for a country that was also blockaded by imperialism, to have virtually a new blockade added? If we had been made of clay, if we had been made of egg white, if we had been bland, what would be left of this country? What would be left of this Revolution? They obliged us to do make enormous efforts.
We had already been doing some of these things; we had been doing some of these things. The nutrition program was being carried out. It was accelerated tremendously in the special period. The tourism programs we were carrying out were accelerated tremendously in the special period. The scientific, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical programs were being carried out and were accelerated tremendously as the special period drew near. The strange thing is that we were implementing most of the programs.
In the nutrition program, we were obliged to produce more food, more milk, more beef, with much less fuel, which is not indispensable to till the land but for transportation, for irrigation. Without fertilizer, the little available had to be dedicated to certain priority crops. Without animal feed for the cattle, that is, in the worse conditions imaginable, we have had to implement these programs; you can well imagine with how much difficulty.
Here, for example, we are constructing 6,000 pasture grounds. In a period of 15 months, we will move all livestock to systematic pastures. In a period of 15 months, we will have thousands of caballerias of sugarcane cultivated in former livestock areas, to produce sugarcane-based saccharine. In a program in a period of 15 months we will be introducing legumes, (leocaena) and (aglicinia), which were discussed here during the scientific congress. Of course in 15 months we can plant thousands of sugarcane caballerias, but not the legumes we need for the protein banks. The country has had to invest its scant resources in buying material for electrical fencing, wiring for electrical fencing, material to make mills to charge batteries if power goes out, dozens of kilometers of hoses to irrigate the pastures. It is a totally new technology to provide enormous amounts of drinking water, so the animal does not have to move if it wants to drink. It has been a total change of technology, in an accelerated manner.
Similar problems have occurred with the pigs, which were left without feed, with much less fuel. We have sought formulas to be able to feed them, not only with liquid animal feed but with protein supplements, seeing how we can add cream or honey protein, seeing how we can manufacture it, not only in factories where we used to make torula liquid yeast, but in handicraft factories our scientists have designed and that can move this food product to the central pig farm without having to resort to a lot of transportation.
Our livestock has suffered much in all these important areas throughout this period, throughout this accelerated period of transition from one technology to another. We have had to work with research centers to find replacements for fertilizers, develop benign bacteria and fungi and insects to combat plagues, and develop nodular bacteria or other kinds of bacteria to absorb nitrogen from the air in our vegetable and rice plantations. We have worked hard on this because each crop, and even each kind of soil, requires a specific kind of bacteria. We have put to work all available fermentations in reproducing these bacteria, developed in the countryside and research centers.
We are using the (asotobacter) bacteria in nearly all the rice we are now growing. We are developing other kinds of bacteria. We are testing them; we are carrying out accelerated work at the research centers; we are carrying out accelerated work in the production of all these biological elements to aid the fertilization process. I will not tire you by enumerating the many things we are doing in this field. The research centers and biofactories are working to produce plants, to discover new varieties that will resist heat and plagues and give higher yields. Scientists are working everywhere and have been close to the furrows. University professors, workers, and students are mobilizing; teaching units are doing their part.
Our country is making a tremendous effort. I would say it is making an admirable and marvelous effort in this area in an accelerated manner. Techniques are being applied: Irrigation systems using minijets are multiplying in plantain fields; the use of drop-by-drop irrigation on citrus crops is multiplying; investments have been made in factories capable of producing up to 40,000 km of hose to ensure the application of techniques in an accelerated manner. These was discussed at a meeting with the food commission.
There was an in-depth discussion of what is being done and the state of agriculture. Among the issues discussed were the number of camps we have built in a very short time to solve our main problem, a labor shortage; 15-day mobilizations; daily mobilizations-this was analyzed here, and where and how they must be applied were determined here-and the contingents. Another issue discussed was the mobilization of dozens of thousands of workers from construction duties to agriculture to support the food plan. The preliminary results of the plan are already evident in the production of plantain, vegetables, and other crops. The country is making an enormous effort in this area.
There was talk here of the efforts being made in the scientific and other areas. The harvest was mentioned, but not at length. The harvest plays a determining role because the small amount of fuel we manage to obtain comes from sugar revenues. To buy medicine and raw materials, we depend on the revenues obtained from the sale of nickel. We also use those revenues to obtain fertilizers that we need, despite the application of biofertilizers, which cannot solve all our problems. We wish they could because we would solve problems quickly. They involve simple methods using intelligence and equipment that is not very expensive.
We are also using techniques to multiply plant roots to help them absorb even trace minerals from the soil. On 3 April it was said that Los Pinales de Mayari is rich in phosphorus; but phosphorus must be made soluble. No roots are needed to absorb phosphorus. In sum, the country is making great efforts in this area of science and this was analyzed here.
I said that we must make further efforts, as is the case with the harvest. Not much was said about that here. I said the harvest yields the sugar we need to import essential items, some of which we cannot do without.
The principal product we obtain with sugar exports is oil. As I said, we obtain other products with foreign exchange we receive from nickel. Nickel is self-financing. It also needs ammonia, sulfur, and fuel. Nickel production has been organized in such a way that it will self-finance the raw material it needs. Naturally, any surplus will be for our national economy.
Fishing also provides income -- lobster and shrimp exports. Shrimp is produced naturally and also in what can be called shrimp hatcheries. That income is used for other things.
Other exports, such as tobacco and other products, cover other needs. Some citrus fruits are exported, and any surplus is distributed among the population. It is not lost.
We also obtain income from tourism. That is why tourism is so important. Some people find it difficult to understand this. When a new hotel or tourist resource is developed, some people react as if they were losing something. They are not losing anything. The country is receiving something. What can we do? We do not have the oil wells of Kuwait or other countries, but we have sun and air, and therefore we must produce services and export them.
I think that the news we heard from our comrade from Baradero is good, with regard to the way income is growing through tourism. The income we obtain from tourism is for food and medicine; it is equivalent to food, medicines, raw materials, and essential goods. We need so many things! How are we going to get the money to buy those things? We have lost 4 billion (currency not specified)!
Almost everything we produce, a large part of our sugar production, must be used to purchase fuel so lights will not go out and kitchen fires will continue to burn. We need fuel for electricity, which has a high consumption. We need fuel for the kitchens and for public and cargo transportation. We are in desperate need of foreign exchange amid a double blockade. Can you see the extraordinary effort our country and people are making?
I mentioned the sugarcane harvest. I must say that the sugarcane harvest is delayed. Not all provinces are at the same level as Granma. There are a few provinces that are way behind, and the last part of the sugar harvest will be tense. Some of the largest sugar-producing provinces are far behind. This is because of various factors. There has been a lot of tension. We need funds to maintain the sugar refineries. Regardless of the amount we saved in the famous repair of the sugar refineries, there are approximately 160 in need of repair; equipment must be replaced and we must invest in steel and other material, electrodes, everything. The situation has been very tense as a result of fuel and oil shortages. In some provinces the climate has not been favorable, as there have been unexpected rains.
There have been efforts to accelerate the harvest. I can assure you... (pauses) because I have met with the party secretaries in the provinces and with those in charge of the sugar refinery activities. We met on 10 February and again recently on 30 March to study all these aspects: the strategy and tactics for the sugarcane harvest, and the national and provincial strategy and tactics for each sugar refinery-such as which refineries should complete the harvest first-because it rains earlier in some areas. There are sugar refineries where the rains could come earlier; therefore it must be determined where the harvest should begin first. If it starts raining early, we must make sure that the sugarcane harvest is not paralyzed, and that all the cane is cut. Not only is it necessary to harvest the sugarcane; thousands and thousands of caballerias must be prepared for the next crop. The harvested areas must be plowed. This must be done at the same time the land is being plowed for spring rice, at the same time the land is being plowed for grass, sugarcane, and legumes. This happens simultaneously with the peak of the food and vegetable harvest. All this requires fuel, trucks, tires, and batteries.
I can assure you, the effort is tremendous, extraordinary. I would say it is an effort worthy of admiration and respect. Some of those remarks meant to discount this enormous effort by our people are unfair and unworthy.
Imagine the difficulties we face to get fuel, but still the country is fulfilling its mission; the lights are not turned off, even though lights may be off in certain provinces some of the time, we know that. How are hospitals, schools, cold storage plants, and transportation running? The transportation problem is alleviated by this fabulous invention of the past-the bicycle.
I think one of the conclusions we must draw from this congress is that we must support the provinces in the completion of their sugarcane harvests, which we must ask of the young people here. They have their strategy, their tactics. The provinces that finish their work first should help other provinces that have fallen behind- with manpower, with equipment, with combines, and with everything possible. The time factor is important. You have seen the rain that fell recently during a big potato harvest. We have all been looking to the sky to see whether it rains. We are in constant communication with the national observatory, asking if it stopped raining, if it had been a sunny day, if there is the chance of resuming the harvest on 6 April if it does not rain.
More than 100 mm of rain fell in some places in two days, or nearly 100 mm. There was less rain in other places. With a little time we can perhaps resume the harvest. We must work very hard for 12 to 15 days so that this potato, which we have planted and cultivated with so much effort, can yield all it can.
Here when it... (pauses) since the largest plantations are located in Havana and the tensest situation is in Havana, where no fewer than 1 million quintals of potatoes have been stored, we can say that the May, June, July, August, and September potato has been stored. We have the September supply stored. The May potatoes can be distributed in April if there is a good supply of potatoes. A potato can be stored at home for 30, 40, or 45 days. Harvesting a potato when the ground is humid is not the same as when the ground is dry. There are problems with potatoes when the ground is humid, but it must be harvested. It must be uprooted one way or another. The fact is that we have a five-month supply of potatoes in cold storage in the city.
If we could pick the remaining potatoes without problems we could have an eight-month supply-eight pounds of potatoes each month, of course in addition to bananas. Bananas like the rain. The rain is good for bananas.
As that companera would say-I think she said it during this congress-water is good for her. That was in El Paraiso, yes. It was a companera from El Cangre who said that people complained because it adversely affected potatoes; but she said it was good for her because it had rained in the cattle areas.
I think that we have discussed the food program, about which I do not want to go on at this time. I repeat, one of the conclusions that we must draw from this congress is the need to help the provinces. We must all pick up that banner and contribute to the final battle of the harvest. If we are clear on this idea, then it is all right to spare greater discussion about the sugarcane harvest.
I also want to tell you that for the first time we are going to conduct an experiment; we are going to plant nearly 500 caballerias of soybean land with sugarcane. Soybeans will be cut and the land will be planted with sugarcane during the winter season. Sugarcane planted in the cold should yield more cane 14 or 15 months later than that planted in late spring. We have acquired enough seed. We are producing rhizobium to inoculate the seed of this leguminous plant; if we are successful with this experiment, which we are conducting on a certain scale and with certain information, next year we could plant thousands of caballerias. A large part of the sugarcane that was once planted in the spring will be planted in the winter season before the planting of soybean, which should enrich the ground because it provides nitrogen and improves the condition of the soil. This is an important innovation, which we are going to attempt with sugarcane production.
If there is something else I should say about the food plan it is that fuel limitations have put restraints on parts of the plan. We are working on everything I have mentioned: developing pasture land, growing legumes and sugarcane, all that.
The engineer's system for growing rice has been brought to a halt because each of the rice brigades needs at least 1,000 tons of fuel per year. Of 17 brigades, 15 are not working. We have the equipment to organize 10 or 12 more brigades; but because of the fuel shortage, that part of the engineering system for growing rice, which has the potential of doubling the production of rice, has been halted.
The work on irrigating and draining sugarcane parcels was brought to a halt this year; the work to build new dams has been brought to a halt. The scarce resources we have available are being used to finish dams under construction, the most important dams. Construction work on irrigation systems has been halted except in the case of rice and other crops that do not require the system but already use part of the works.
With regard to ducts, we are building those most necessary and those that serve for water that is not being utilized at this moment.
This year, 1992, is the first year we have had to freeze many projects. We were facing a great enigma. Because of our needs, we have had to delay some programs.
We hope that by the time the dry season arrives we will be able to resume our construction of dams, not the completion of dams under construction but the construction of dams, those that represent a higher priority, an urgent need.
The ducts to be built will be those that represent a higher priority and an urgent need where there is water that is not being utilized, or where a duct is important to a crop that requires gravitational irrigation. We also expect to renew work on the engineering system for growing rice and on the irrigation and drainage system for sugarcane parcels.
We must to wait and see what resources become available. The construction of embankments was halted. The tourism sector has been instructed to use its own revenue, its own resources, to acquire the necessary fuel to continue building embankments, work that has been brought to a halt.
This first year we have had to stop many things. We must now develop ideas and find solutions to set in motion some of the things we have halted. I must tell you that some important programs have been brought to a halt.
This report would not be complete if I did not to mention that we have not disregarded our defense one single day. You dedicated this congress by building tunnels. We are building hundreds of tunnels. This represents expenditures in the form of fuel, cement, and rods.
You can see all that we are doing with our scarce resources, and that we are doing it without disregarding a single front, any fundamental aspect, and the most fundamental aspect is defense. Can we now forget about the enemy? Now, when it is more conceited than ever? More arrogant than ever? More aggressive than ever? When it believes itself the master of the world? It is the master of most of the world but, of course, not of us. Of us, at least, imperialism is not master. (Applause) Nor are we more afraid of that imperialism, despite its being the only (superpower) left in this unipolar world. We were not afraid of it while the USSR existed. We are even less afraid of it now that the USSR does not exist. (Applause) (Crowd chants: Fidel, be strict! Cuba deserves respect! Sound or ill! Yankees go to hell!)
At the final session of the plenary session, the congress discussed the most important issue of ideological and political work. What I said before is linked to this.
It is unfair. It is miserable to try to blame the Revolution for these problems, for which it is not to blame. I really believe the Revolution is performing an unprecedented feat. That is what a Latin American leader told me: You are performing an unparalleled feat in history. Thinking about this, we now knew that there was some trash in the socialist field. Che, wise man that he was, spoke of that garbage. (Applause) As a man of exceptional vision, he spoke of the game with capitalism and all of those things. We must be careful not to throw fuel on the fire of international reaction, on the fire of capitalism. We must be very careful. I myself used to be very critical of what they did, when they were well, when they were strong. At a summit meeting I spoke of these problems with frankness. It is a shame it took much work to retrieve it. I reviewed the material when I spoke of the Olympics and when I spoke of economic topics, but the recordings took much work. They were not too clear and they were not that good, since I would have liked to hear each one of the words that were pronounced; but the essential ideas are there. Of course, we could not say, therefore we cannot and must not fuel the fire of international reaction. We must not dwell on everything the socialist countries did, much less on everything that the Soviets did, because the Soviets did many extraordinary and exceptional things. The industrial development of the country following the first intervention, in the wake of World War I; the country's development was a feat, an epic deed, something unprecedented, which we must not forget. One of the most backward countries of Europe was turned into a great multinational state. What a great historic feat! After resisting and defeating fascism -- because it was the USSR that defeated fascism -- the others opened a second front in Europe, around 1944, when Hitler was already defeated, when Hitler had already smashed against the heroism of the Soviet people. It was an unprecedented feat.
Also, the Soviets rebuilt the country after World War II in a period of approximately 20 years. That country was destroyed twice over a 20-year period, approximately. They rebuilt it. The others developed a nuclear weapon, conducted a human experiment in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, because to get the Japanese to surrender it was really not necessary to drop those bombs where there were hundreds of thousands of people. They could have dropped them on a military area, on a base, on an island, instead of on a city. They wanted to terrorize the world with the new weapon they had developed and used the bombs on two cities. Naturally, they had a monopoly on nuclear weapons. Scarcely five years after that war, I would say four years after they had dropped their first bomb, the Soviets exploded their first nuclear weapons. They developed missiles and the Soviets developed even more missiles. They were the first to place a man in space. They achieved the conquest of cosmic space -- that country, which had been defeated twice, whereas the United States had not lost even a screw in that stage, when the United States had accumulated the gold of the world, when the United States emerged as the richest country, was an ally of the richest industrialized countries, had not suffered the destruction that the Soviet Union had suffered. The Soviet Union managed to produce over 600 billion tons of petroleum per year, over 700 billion cubic meters of gas, approximately 650 million tons of steel, a similar number of tons of cement, and tens of millions of tons of fertilizer. It managed to construct a network of gas lines, oil pipelines, and an enormous electrical network, which were a success despite errors and neglect in the field of science, or neglect not so much in science as in the application of scientific research.
Very often they sold their patents and the westerners worked with Soviet patents. They did not make use of their patents in their own country. No, I do not deny the mistakes, but I do warn against disapproving of everything the USSR did. We must have an objective, critical spirit to judge the mistakes made by different political types, the violation of principles they committed -- we are not going to deny that -- but it would be unfair to deny the huge successes they had as the first socialist country. We cannot deny the significance to the world of the October Revolution. We cannot forget that for a second. How it speeded the people's liberation movements, how colonialism ended, how it facilitated the independence and revolution in other countries, especially in Africa.
We must look at the significance of the October Revolution and its influence on the liberation of other countries, in the liberation of China, of Vietnam, of many countries of Asia and Africa. It served to counterbalance U.S. world hegemony. That was beneficial for all countries of the world, all Third World countries. The unipolar world is no small concern for many countries today, including developed capitalist countries. The situation we are experiencing right now, with arrogant and overbearing people trying to dictate laws to the world, is also no small concern to them.
We must be careful. That is why I manage criticism. Many things were being questioned and we began to make our corrections long before anyone talked about perestroyka in the USSR. When we saw that perestroyka could be a rectification, we thought it was a good thing. To improve socialism. We thought it was magnificent and marvelous.
They are going to improve socialism. Who could be opposed to that?
The first things that were said were fine. There were many clear concepts, such as accelerated development based on the consistent implementation of science and technology, the development of intensive and nonextensive economy, and the fight against corruption and against income not resulting from labor. Tell me, gentlemen, is capitalism not the Olympic champion of income not resulting from labor? All the money won by capitalists comes from the work of others, not from their own work. Capitalism is the total denial of the principle that income should result from labor.
It was all very fine until pandemonium was unleashed in that country. They did everything that could be done to destroy socialism. We could agree with any idea to improve socialism, but we could never agree with the idea of destroying socialism, let alone with the idea of assassinating socialism.
We must say that many people were aware they were working to assassinate socialism. The ideal conditions were created for those people to assassinate socialism. It was a conspiracy, it was a great imperialist plot, which had internal support.
The international imperialist conspiracy had internal support in the assassination of socialism. If socialism did not die as a consequence of its mistakes, socialism did die as a consequence of its assassination. We have to be very clear about this: They assassinated socialism. It died as a result of being incapable of defending itself. It died as a consequence of the lack of vision of its leaders and politicians. They lacked vision. Only history will have the last word. Constantly there is talk of who agreed to liquidate socialism in this country or that. I think that history will search in the archives to find out the role of each person in this plot to destroy socialism. Socialism did not die of natural causes. It was stabbed in the back. Socialism died due to the incapacity of its parties and leaders to defend it.
What is left of that beautiful socialism that was going to emerge from its perfection process? Terrible news reaches us everyday, and I wonder if this can be defended. I wonder if these overnight saviors who are appearing here and there can find a suitable answer to this problem, and solve it. It is as if the traumatic experience that we had just all lived through had not been enough. There are a lot of idiots out there. But we must be careful with the idiots, because idiocy can be a mask hiding something else. Pseudo-revolutionarism can be a great mask hiding something else.
There are two-bit strategists who are saying what has to be done now, when we can see that despite everything, this little country, so close to the United States, has persevered. (Applause) We can see that despite everything, (Applause) we have known how to defend ourselves. Despite everything, we have not done what has to be done to destroy ourselves. On the contrary: We have done not just what had to be done not to destroy ourselves, but also what had to be done so that they cannot destroy us. We have millions of reasons to defend ourselves. Capitalism is indefensible. Imperialism is indefensible. Socialism, with whatever mistakes human beings may make -- and there will be never be a human effort in which people do not make mistakes -- is the most noble, the most just, and the most worthy work that can be undertaken. (Applause)
In the economic field, I am going to cite one example of confusion. Once we made the mistake of having the free farmers markets. Well, the idea came up, it had support, and it was approved. Afterward, we began to see all the consequences of free farmers markets. What consequences? The first was that it delayed the progress of the cooperative movement. The cooperative movement had been progressing very well. A large group of people began to get rich. Middlemen began to appear. All kinds of people began to appear. Farmers were becoming rich. They were taking the fertilizer given to them for sugarcane, or whatever, to use on the crops that they were selling in the free markets. They stopped delivering many of the things that they had delivered to the state collection centers, in order to sell them in the free markets at a price three or four or five times higher.
We began to see all the famous drawbacks of the so-called free market. The free market idea came from the USSR, where everyone had a little piece of land. Historically, it was a concession they had made. I am not going to debate whether it was good or bad. I am not going to debate that point. It responded to their situation. Everyone had a little plot. They used grain from collective farms. If they gave me half a hectare, I would have 20 cows if they gave me corn to feed 20 cows. Or I would have 10,000 chickens, if they gave me corn to feed 10,000 chickens. There were many people who, instead of working on the collective farms, went to work on the small farms, because they earned more on small farms than on collective farms. So there were these kinds of problems.
We meditated a great deal on all this. When we created our enterprises we established, well, collective self-sufficiency. Above all, several years later, when we saw that with only specialized enterprises they could not supply their own workers, we formulated the principle of the self-sufficiency of state enterprises. When we formed the cooperatives we established the principle as well of the self-sufficiency of cooperative enterprises. We also maintained the principle of choice. Those who wanted to remain independent farmers, stayed independent.
That was a promise made to the farmers.
Also, at that time there was the theory that to keep the farmers from raising prices, the cooperatives had to sell in competition with the independent farmers. Even the state enterprises had to sell in the free farmers markets. All of this was total madness, since there could be no plans. You can draw up plans for the farms in order to produce, to have supplies to distribute to the people, but not to compete with individual farmers in some supposed free farmers market.
In Cuba, there were only the independent farmers, who retained 10 percent of the land. In the case of the USSR, these tiny fields did not exist. In our agrarian reform, we did not redistribute the land. This was the first great thing the Revolution did right, not redistributing the land. We maintained large-scale production. Another great thing we did right was not forcing cooperative associations. In the USSR, at a certain time, they did that. We did not. Because of this, I was able to say to Gorbachev from this same platform that there was no reason to rectify errors that had occurred in the USSR if they had not taken place in Cuba. If you make a mistake there, if you have a headache there, and you have a toothache here, why are you going to take some medicine for a headache here? Or why would you take a painkiller for your tooth when you had a pain in the kidneys, for instance? So here there was no forced socialization of the land or of our peasantry.
Now, the free farmers markets delayed the progress of the cooperative movement. They made fun of the cooperative members. It was here in this same place -- or if it was not here it was in the Karl Marx Theater -- in a meeting with all the members of cooperatives in the country, that the categorical abolition of the free farmers market was proposed. They said: It is not possible to go on like this. It is ruining our efforts. It is ruining our work. They make fun of us. The free farmers markets were abolished. When this happened, we also started the food program. If it is a matter of producing bananas, tubers, vegetables, and fruits, well, we are going to produce them, if we have all the resources. We can say that from that moment the food program began on a large scale and with large production plans for pork and poultry. The installations were built; they are built.
There were great plans for the production of milk, meat, eggs, tubers, vegetables, everything, until this situation came up and interrupted the great momentum these plans had. Well, the philosophy of the free farmers markets did not die. Every now and then at some meeting, the idea of the free farmers markets is brought up as if no one has given serious and profound consideration to the question of what purpose this free farmers market would serve. Well, now the facts are beginning to show that we were right, in the midst of the special period. Let us say that, for example, in Havana Province, in vegetable crops, the independent farmers have 10,000 hectares. The cooperatives have about 10,000, and the state has 22,000. In Havana Province we have moved 750 caballerias from sugarcane to the vegetable crops. Okay. In the country, the proportion of state property is even greater. Eighty percent of the land, more or less, in sugarcane, in all crops, is in the hands of the state. The state produces almost all the rice consumed in this country, 80 percent of the sugarcane used by the sugar industry, more than 90 percent of the milk, beef, pork, poultry, eggs, and almost all of the principal products that are consumed in this country. The free farmers markets do not. I think the free farmers markets produced 2 percent of these products. However, the philosophy of the free farmer markets was born. When we have adopted new forms of organization to restructure agriculture, little by little -- this can not be done suddenly, we continue to work in this -- what is certain is that, for example, last year, 1991, the state increased production of vegetables and tubers by 15.8 percent, 15.8 percent. The cooperatives reduced theirs by 6.9 percent. The independent farmers reduced their production, their deliveries to the state collection centers, by 24.3 percent.
Of course, last year was a bad year for agriculture. There were whitefly, tomato pests, and pests that damaged the potatoes. It is understandable that the production of the cooperatives would have dropped somewhat in comparison to 1990 because of climatic problems. It is also understandable that the production by the independent farmers would have dropped some. But it dropped more than some; it dropped by 24.3 percent. The final result was an increase of 1.5 percent in 1991. Now let us analyze Havana Province, which is making a great effort. A great effort is being made throughout the country, but there has been a special effort here in Havana Province because they have to feed almost 3 million inhabitants in Havana City and Havana Province. Do you know how much the production of the state enterprises grew in 1991? It was a bad year, climatically unfavorable. It increased 67.1 percent. The other day, when I was talking to the scientists, I said 64 percent. It was not 64. I reviewed the figures carefully, and there was a 67.1 percent increase in the production of vegetables and tubers by the state enterprises. Production by the cooperatives dropped 2 percent, which is not much. I repeat that it was a bad year. Production by independent farmers dropped 19 percent. You have to consider the effect of the bad weather and the effect of misappropriation of resources for shady deals. Of course, I know many farmers who are very good, excellent farmers. But, unfortunately, they are not all the same. There is always the temptation: Someone comes by, someone looking, offering a better price. I cannot say exactly how much of this drop in production was due to the diversion of goods from state collection centers into the black market and how much resulted from pests. But, despite the bad weather, I repeat, the bad year for agriculture, the state enterprises increased production by 67.1 percent. You can see the difference.
This year I hope the cooperatives will increase over last year. The cooperatives are working well. Here it has been said, of the cooperatives, that standards have been raised. All of these things can happen because there is a certain contradiction between having a mobilized and wage-earning workforce but making the production the property of the cooperative members themselves. That is, there is a certain logic, and it is explainable, because of this contradiction, that the cooperatives would raise standards so they would have to pay less for the labor of those who earn wages. Not the wage-earners, because when they lack workers the farmers pay two, three, or four times the wage. (Sentence as heard)
They can do it because their products get very good prices. Potatoes and other crops get good prices. The price of potatoes has even improved this year. The price of garlic is excellent. To harvest garlic, the state cannot triple the wage from one day to the next because it has to take care of the people throughout the year and attend to their social problems, their housing, food, and everything. The independent farmers can hire a person for three, five, 10, 15 days. They can pay them whatever they feel like, and sometimes they take workers from the state. But now there are camps that are helping the cooperatives. I have discussed this with them.
I should say here that I have a very good opinion of the cooperatives and of the cooperative members. They seem to me to be an excellent institution. They are not perfect. I believe that the state enterprises are more perfect and more just. They are the property of all the people. I have no doubt of that. (Applause) They take care of the workers throughout the year. They concern themselves with the families. They take care of, or they should take care of, housing and all those things. I say they should, because they did not always take care of things as they should have. Not the enterprises, but the socialist state did not concern itself as much as it should have with housing in the countryside. This is one of the things we are resolving with the rectification process.
But cooperatives are a good way of organizing production. I wish that all the land that was not state land were organized into cooperatives for agricultural production. I wish this were true, because it would make production much easier. It would make collection much easier. Generally, the cooperatives are not involved in speculation with their production. They deliver their production to state collection centers.
It is because of this that I say that the free farmers markets delayed the progress of the cooperative movement. This was the greatest damage that they did. We must work with the independent farmers, and we are going to work with them. It is simply our political duty, our revolutionary duty, because no one can...(pauses) the farmers are allies of the working class, and we have to treat them as allies. We have to work with them. We have to persuade them. Perhaps we have to monitor more closely the way they use their resources, if we give them fertilizer, fuel, resources, tires, if we give them whatever we can so that they will produce a given commercial product, sugarcane or potatoes or tomatoes or onions. If they start planting those things that could be diverted into the black market, really they are not acting as allies of the working class.
However, the methods we use with the farmers have to be political: political work, persuasion, and organization. We have to work with the farmers. We can get what we want, because the farmers are really good people, noble, patriotic people. The recalcitrant are a minority in all these things. But, of course, there are a lot of people who put pressure on them, saying: Sell me this, sell me that. They try, they put pressure on the farmers. The farmers are noble, but they do it, many times, to please someone. But their production cannot be a 100-percent guarantee.
This year, for example, in the capital...(pauses) in the province, they have planted 117 caballerias of carrots. However, 25 caballerias in the farmers' sector are full of weeds. They yield less. To work on garlic, they worked less on carrots. You can harvest a tomato field six or seven times. The farmers can get good tomatoes, but there are times when they make one, two, or three passes and do not make the fourth and fifth. With one or two or three passes, you can get 3,000 or 4,000 quintals. If you make six passes, you can get almost 6,000 quintals. At times you can see a field of beans that looks really good. The tomato field does not look so good. The garlic looks good. The carrots do not look so good.
All of this has to be said, and I only have to say to the comrades:
Let us have a congress of the farmers and put the truth up front. We must say these things to our allies as they really are, putting truth up front, along with persuasion and political work, and use a correct line with them as the allies of the Revolution that they are. They are allies not only of the Revolution but also of the working class, the rest of the workers of the country. With them, with the farmers, we can use the method of asking them: What do you want to plant? The program is for such-and-such, this much garlic. How much do you want to do? Then do that much. This is how much carrot must be planted. How much do you want to do? Then do that much. If one says: I do not like that crop, we say: Do not worry, the state will do it.
The state plants what the farmers do not like. If they do not like to plant boniato, the state plants boniato, or whatever is needed. If it is yucca, the state plants yucca, or tomatoes, or potatoes. We ask the independent farmers: How much potato do you want to plant? They say:
This much. We say: Fine. Now, the rest is planted by the state and the cooperatives. We work extremely well with the cooperatives, and they deliver their products to the state collection agency. There is no problem with this.
I am explaining all this for those who were dreaming of the free farmers markets as a solution. Now, I ask myself which free farmers markets would have been able to bring 300 trucks loaded with tubers, fruit, and vegetables to the city everyday for two months. It has been almost two months. Do you know how many quintals of tubers, fruit, and vegetables have been brought to the capital during March? There were 2,004,000 quintals. There had never been such a large amount of tubers, fruit, and vegetables brought to the city. Of course, this includes tomatoes and citrus. Some of the citrus is from the Isle of Youth, some from Jaguey, and some from Havana. Consumption of citrus in Havana this year has been higher than anywhere in the world. It has been very high. In March alone it was more than 500,000 quintals. Consumption of tomatoes was almost 500,000 quintals.
So, could this...(pauses) what then is the way to ensure supplies? Was it not done by solving the work force problem, creating camps, mobilizing needed workers? Was there any better way of ensuring supplies? A planting plan for 500 caballerias of banana with microjet irrigation is being carried out. Could this be done on the 10,000 hectares of the small farmers to solve the problem of supplying Havana? Supplying Havana is done through the efforts of the state enterprises, which had great potential, and machinery can be used on them. There are also the cooperatives, which also had good potential, and machinery can be used on them too.
Of course we must help the cooperatives. This has been shown here, and this was shown in the commission meeting. It was made clear that many cooperatives...(pauses) I think this was discussed here, when daily mobilization was talked about; it was said that some cooperatives have received up to 700 workers in one day. The cooperatives are good; they can solve problems, but they need help from the state. Because a lot of people have left the rural areas, and there is not a large enough work force. Now, we must repopulate the countryside. The construction of the camps will not be complete until we have built towns. The camps are not going to be the definitive solution. The definitive solution is going to be the transfer of people, repopulation, by paying suitable wages and creating suitable living conditions for the agricultural workers.
Of course, we are going to continue to have the students mobilized to work in agriculture, and all those things, but the permanent work force must be settled there through solving the social problems. Of course, the special period...(pauses) we had plans for 44 towns in Havana Province alone, but the special period has delayed this. Nevertheless, we are going to do everything possible to carry out the construction projects; if we cannot complete them in five years, then we will do so in six, seven, eight, or nine years. But we will not stop working on this. We will not flag in this, because it is the solution. This is very clear, and we are seeing this already this year.
We can see that there are problems that cannot be solved, and we are looking at methods of working with the small farmers without causing chaos or disorganization. We are looking at ways to monitor their work better. That is why I say that if there is a plan for 50 caballerias, we must count them physically. But we must not only count them physically but also look at how they are being cared for. Because one can plant a caballeria of carrots, and planted at the right time it can produce 6,000 or 7,000 quintals. Planted at the wrong time and without good cultivation, it can produce 1,500 or 2,000 quintals. This is the same for any crop.
But of course, you can already see that the state enterprises have changed radically. The workers mobilized for two weeks have become veterans. The contingents are already veterans. The students mobilized to agriculture are working much better and in a much more organized way. The students mobilized to agriculture are producing double or triple what they used to produce. A revolution has taken place. This is the right path, because to produce the 15 million (quintals) that I calculate...(pauses) I calculate that 15 million (quintals) of tubers, fruit, and vegetables are needed to supersaturate-not saturate but supersaturate-the market in Havana. This is a great field for research, we could say. What does this city need to saturate the market?
Now, by producing all this food in Havana Province, we free up the other provinces, which were the ones that had to send us tubers and vegetables, with the exception of Pinar del Rio, where a program has been carried out to supply some of the tomatoes the capital needs. I think this will continue for a few years yet. There is also a great plan like that in Jaguey. When exports drop and there is a surplus of citrus, that citrus should come here to be distributed to the populace. But I calculate that 15 million quintals are needed.
Let me give you another figure: In 1992, if there is no hurricane in Havana Province -- a hurricane is the only thing that could change these figures -- the state enterprises should produce double what they produced in 1990. They should produce double. In 1994, the way things are going, the state enterprises in Havana Province should produce four times what they produced in 1990 and almost double or fully double what the cooperatives and independent farmers are going to produce in these categories.
I know the most about the state enterprises in Havana Province because, well, that is where this movement began. I say that this movement benefits all the provinces, because yucca used to come from them. Yucca used to come even from Banes. You know what happens to yucca in trucks, how much it deteriorates in 24 or 48 hours. Bananas and plantains and tubers came from all over the country: Holguin, Camaguey, Cienfuegos. When this province can supply the almost 3 million people, there will no longer be a need to have tubers and vegetables come from the other province, with the exceptions of pineapples from Ciego de Avila and some citrus fruit from Jaguey. There will always be some of this because the province has its citrus plantation, which is being renovated. Drip irrigation is being used and someday will be able to produce between 150,000 and 200,000 tons of citrus fruit.
Some citrus fruit, surplus citrus fruit, will be able to come from Jaguey. For a certain number of years, it looks as if a certain amount of tomatoes will come from Pinar del Rio too, so that we will not have to take more land away from sugarcane in this province. That is the only reason. Because we might take some land from cane; but I do not think it is the best thing to do, for the nation's economy, for us to reduce acreage for cane in order not to have to bring in a few tomatoes from a neighboring province, a province that is nearby and has an excellent connecting road.
These are elements, facts, and realities that help us discuss with those who are confused, who do not understand, who oppose. I was saying that when people were talking about perestroyka, back when people were still talking about perestroyka, we ourselves were already effecting a process of rectification in a different way, because we ourselves wanted fewer small-time traders, not more small-time traders. We wanted fewer contradictions between the interests of the enterprises and those of the nation, not greater contradictions between the interests of the enterprises and those of the nation. There were some things we had to put a brake on. The marketing enterprises had profits and rewards, while the producing enterprises had no profits and no rewards; yet those enterprises, such as the sugar enterprises, were the ones sustaining the country's economy.
To follow the logic properly, in accordance with the system of economic management and planning, all the sugar refineries would have had to be shut down, for they appeared to be unprofitable. Now they were being paid 160 pesos for a ton of sugar, and a large part of that sugar was sold for 800 rubles. The sugar refinery got 160 pesos. So how could the sugar refinery make a profit? There were a bunch of things to be corrected, and we were correcting them. The minibrigades had disappeared, and there was no labor force for building housing.
Voluntary work was disappearing. Everyone wanted to be paid even for standing guard or weeding a garden. The best virtues revolutionary and voluntary work could give us, socialist virtues, communist virtues, were being eradicated. People wanted to be paid for everything. There were bonuses for everything, rewards for everything, and we were going to fall into even greater alienation than under capitalism. You cannot defend socialism by applying methods that are simply capitalistic. You cannot. It would be a disaster.
We have a few examples of how sometimes measures that must be taken for solid reasons are not understood and it is very difficult to get people to understand. To mention one that does not have unanimous agreement: the issue of cigarettes. There has been and there is a lot of misunderstanding. There is a bit less, but still a lot, about cigarettes, despite all the arguments about health, despite all the economic arguments, despite all kinds of arguments. And nothing has been taken away from anyone. Nothing has been taken away from anyone. Instead, production has been increased to some extent. Two more factories are being built to make the distribution more regional. Cigarettes are being sold at a much higher price, but not as high a price as on the black market. A limit has been set.
There has been a lack of understanding, very little understanding. I say: Well, this has a good side and a bad side. How would the people in this country react if the same thing were done to them as was done in the former USSR, and a kilogram of bread went from 1 ruble to 70, a liter of milk went up by hundreds of rubles, everything went up, and it cost over 2,000 rubles for a pair of shoes? This shows that our people do not understand anything about what is called the market economy, because with a market economy we could put everything at its market price tomorrow. Today all the money would be collected, and all the money would be gone. What price would be set on what is distributed? What price would be set on sugar? What price would be set on milk for the children? What price?
We had a parallel market because it was a way of collecting money; this is something we do not have to renounce for the future, because in the future we will have to try to obtain a certain financial balance. This is essential. It is preferable to obtain it mainly through nonessential products. We will have to raise the prices of some essential products in the future also, but not now. This is because we must try to make agricultural products at least pay for themselves, so that they do not have to be subsidized. But, of course, rum must always be sold at a much higher price. Cigarettes and tobacco must be sold at much higher prices. All luxury goods must be sold at much higher prices.
No one protested about the price of bicycles, and we know that people are paying 1,500 pesos for a bicycle in some places. However, the state is selling bicycles for 120, 125, and 130 pesos. The state is selling them at cost, plus perhaps transportation and distribution costs. Bicycles are being sold at cost. There are hundreds of thousands of them, and there will be millions of them. The state is not making money out of this necessity. The state feels that the country benefits when a worker's transportation to his factory is guaranteed, or when a student's transportation is guaranteed. The state benefits, fuel is conserved, and buses are conserved.
What are we going to do with those Hungarian buses, which really belong, comrades, to prehistory? You know what it means to spend hard currency now to buy spare parts for Icarus buses that pollute the city. So the state is not selling bicycles for 800, 1,000 or 1,500 pesos. There are lots of pesos out there, you know that. The state is selling bicycles at cost, and also giving credit to students for up to one year, to buy a bicycle. The state does not give them away, in order not to give things away, partly to educate, partly so that people will appreciate them, respect them. What did you say? What? And the students, right, I had forgotten. But we do not have to advertise the good things, did we not say that? Now, bicycles are sold to students at half price, with a grace period to pay for them. (Applause)
The state should have a pricing policy, but the socialist state is not like a capitalist state. The socialist state distinguishes between essential and nonessential goods. It tries to put essential goods within people's reach, and tries to raise the prices of nonessential goods, because it has to collect revenue. It cannot pay more in wages and pensions than the amount of products and goods it has, or pay more in wages and pensions than it collects. So the state has to collect what it hands out, what it redistributes; but it does so under different concepts than does capitalism.
Capitalism discovers a poison, and it is capable of selling the poison at a very low price and medicine at a very high price. The state has to sell the poison at a high price and medicine at a low price. That is socialism. That is what differentiates socialism from capitalism. These are essential things. That is the great advantage socialism has. It has millions of advantages. It has the possibility of putting everyone to work in something that...(pauses) I am talking about under normal conditions, right? Now we are in really abnormal conditions. Now, when we cannot guarantee work for everyone, we guarantee everyone an income. No one is left without an income.
Look at those shock policies in Latin American and the world. Look at the millions of unemployed in the developed capitalist countries. The United States has about 9 million unemployed right now. France, Spain, Britain- each of them has 2, 3, 4 million unemployed. If a factory here is left without raw materials, we give the workers an income. We do not throw them out on the street. No one is abandoned. That is socialism. Capitalist society is the society of privilege. It is the society of vice. It is the society of alienation. It is the society of selfishness. It is the society of man exploiting man, man the enemy of man, man -- as Engels or Marx said -- the wolf of man. Capitalism is a society of wolves, and not a new society.
The origins of capitalism go back more than 3,000 or 4,000 years. They talk so much about Greece, as the example, the cradle of Western civilization. If you sit down to read ancient history, you will find that when Athens, the center of light, art, architecture, painting, theater, poetry, even philosophy...(pauses) Because many of those philosophers had five, 10, 15, or 20 slaves. We are not going to insult them now, because they were born in that society. We are analyzing the society and not the Greek philosophers, who made many contributions to thinking. They were the founders of philosophy. But when Athens had 40,000 inhabitants -- including men, women and children -- there were 35,000 slaves working in workshops and in agriculture. There were 25,000 slave women for domestic work in the houses. There were 10,000 slave children for services in the houses. They were used for that. There were 20,000 slaves in the mines.
In fact, there were 40,000 citizens who were called free, but not all were equal because, among those 40,000, there were some who were very rich and others who were poor. But in addition to that, they had 90,000 slaves. When I was talking to the scientists here recently, I said: Well, we cannot return to that era when slaves worked for so-called free people. That is capitalism, neither more nor less. That is what the wage earners are. That is what the unemployed are, the reserve army of the labor force. That is what the classist society is, the society of exploiters and exploited. I was saying that our society cannot be only a society of intellectuals, because then who would work with his hands?
But do not think that the citizens of those so-called democracies in Europe -- in France, Spain, all those countries, the United States -- are those who grow the tomatoes, or the potatoes, or the tubers and vegetables. No, the immigrants do that. Immigration is a new form of slavery in Europe. Immigration is a new form of slavery in the United States. Those thousands of Haitians who ended up at the Guantanamo Naval Base -- why did they go there? They were going to the United States to harvest tomatoes. Millions of Mexicans and Latin Americans harvest the tomatoes in the United States, and they harvest the vegetables. It is the immigrants from Africa in Europe, or the immigrants from Turkey or Asia, who do the hardest work. It is a new form of slavery, in which the people are not tied up or anything but they are the ones doing the hardest work.
So that is capitalism, which is 3,000 years old. Society has thought of another form of organization now, in this contemporary era, a more just society, where man has put science, technology, and machines at the service of man, really. Production is at the service of man. That horrifying inequality that existed between some human beings and others has disappeared. Marxism-Leninism is so noble that it proposes not only a socialist formula for distribution, but also dreams of a communist formula for distribution. Marxism dreams of giving to each according to his needs. We must acknowledge that we are far from doing that, but socialism is a great step forward. The special period resembles communism quite a bit, because we have no alternative but to distribute things as equitably as possible, of course.
Capitalist society and imperialism, I repeat, are indefensible. They cannot be defended from any angle, in any aspect. Private ownership of the means of production is indefensible. The idea of turning our excellent doctors, especially the family doctors, into private doctors is simply criminal. A great amount of work would have to be done to turn our thousands and thousands of family doctors into bandits. The simple suggestion is criminal, or thinking that this country would gain something from that is criminal. I assure you that no matter how they try to present it, the capitalist system, which is in essence the imperialist system, is criminal and indefensible.
That is what they are offering us. Because in addition, there are two types of capitalism: developed capitalism, which has tons of calamities and social injustices; and underdeveloped capitalism, which is even worse. What are they offering us? Underdeveloped capitalism. Is it perhaps to use science and technology? No one can promote science and technology more than socialism is doing, because no one else can seek the integration, the cooperation among all scientists, all the scientific research centers, all the professionals, all the hospitals.
What movement like the spare parts forum can there be under capitalism? What movement like the scientific hubs can there be? What movement like the science union can there be? What movement like this extraordinary cooperation that is being developed among all science workers can there be? Only socialism, only our country, has the privilege of being able massively to apply technology. Not for nothing does our country hold first place in the world among the underdeveloped countries in the field of science and technology. (Applause)
What capitalism could bring about a congress like this one, where it can be said that the best young people in our country have been chosen to represent the young people? (Applause) I do not say this to flatter you. In these days I have seen so many excellent kids and so many excellent cadres, in the Federation of University Students, among the medical students, everywhere, mobilized in the fields. I say that those who have come here representing the young people must be good, because our young people are very good. (Applause)
What kind of democracy can there be in a country that is fragmented into a hundred pieces, a youth fragmented into a hundred pieces? What strength, what unity can there be in order to work together to undertake the great tasks of our society, our Revolution, our people? It is a crime to fragment that strength in a Third World country that needs to push hard, that needs to develop, that needs to confront the empire's attempts to dominate it, the empire's attempts to absorb it, that has to confront the embargoes and all the calamities of today's world. What are they offering Cuba? To turn it into a Puerto Rico? A Haiti? A Central America?
No one is going to give us anything for free, and when imperialism gives anything away it is because it fears something. Now they are looking for a way to give something to the former USSR, because they are afraid that over there they will begin to sell tactical nuclear weapons, and they will begin to sell everything. They are afraid there will be pandemonium there, a civil war. They are scared now. They were very happy at the beginning, but now they are frightened of the disintegration of the USSR and the ultimate results. No one is going to give us anything for free, and we do not want anyone to give us anything for free, either. (Applause)
We do not want anyone to give us for free what we can produce with our sweat and our intelligence. We do not want anyone to give us anything at the cost of our people's dignity and honor. (Applause, chanting) We do not want anyone to give us anything at the cost of our ideas. We do not want them to give us anything at the cost of our nation, our independence, our principles. For a long time they have wanted to give it, in past centuries. The imperialists of the North have wanted to buy this country; but this country exists as a nation with its culture, its personality, and its independence, because it has known how to defend them in heroic wars and in very difficult times during this whole century.
We have been threatened with absorption for over 150 years. We do not want to become a Florida or a Miami. We do not want to become a neocolony. We also know that being a neocolony brings people unhappiness, sorrow, suffering, inequality, injustice, and humiliation. Those who have experienced dignity will not forget it nor ever renounce it. Those who sordidly sell themselves over there, those who surrender today, never had dignity or true honor. They turned dignity and honor into a mask, and the title of revolutionary into a mask. True revolutionaries never surrender, never sell out, never betray. (Applause)
That is for cowards, traitors, and opportunists. None of us wants that trash they are offering us. We prefer any sacrifice, any fate to that of slavery, to that of the contempt that capitalist society entails, the humiliation that capitalist society entails. Here at this congress we have seen how you have been concerned about the women who are pregnant. There are 27 of them. You do not want them to ride bicycles. We will have to get them their bicycles, if they did not get theirs yet, because after they give birth they will need to exercise on their bikes. (Applause) You watch over them as if they were the apple of your eye. That is the pregnant women.
But you want to watch over not only the pregnant women but also the children. You know that those pregnant women are going to deliver in the hospitals. I will not say "give birth," so as not to get too fancy here. (laughter) "Deliver," as the physicians call it, as the people say. No midwife is going to deliver any of these babies. They are going to have pediatric intensive care wards, neonatal intensive care services. Where else in the world would they have this?
You worry about keeping the children from dying in the first year of life, and about their having food to eat, about keeping them from dying within the first five years, about keeping them from dying between the ages of five and 15. You are concerned that the number of fatalities should be minimal, for all those children. You are concerned about seeing that the little girls that are born of those pregnant women do not become prostitutes tomorrow. There may be whores (jineteras) here, but one would have to add that they are strictly voluntary ones. (Applause) No woman in this country is forced to prostitute herself.
Well, what can capitalism bring? What can it promise? For Cuban women, prostitution with a high educational level. It would promote there being female teachers, professors, technicians, engineers, and even physicians-I do not mean to say anything exclusively about physicians, but I mean, even physicians!-who are prostitutes. As if we have put 44,000 physicians to work in this country and are going to employ another 4,000 this year....(pauses). We will continue employing them as long as the university keeps turning out physicians. We will regulate the number of graduates, of course, as is logical. I mean, everything has its limits.
When capitalism throws them out on the street, when formulas from the IMF and the World Bank are applied, and education, health care, sports, and everything are left without budgets, what are they going to offer this country's women? Brothels? Here in this country where almost 60 percent of technicians are women? Is that what those two-bit theoreticians, those dissipated proponents of capitalism, or those hypocrites who disguise themselves behind the masks of revolutionaries are going to promise?
No, you do not want the children of the more than 100,000 pregnant women in this country, who are young people like yourselves...(pauses) because I also understand that elderly women no longer bring children into the world, and among the accusations young people could make against them is that one. The young people are Olympic champions! Well, they are young. It just so happens that all these Olympic people are young, and it just so happens that all women who give birth are young, and that the most fertile age, par excellence, is your own. So what are they offering you for the daughters of those pregnant mothers? What are they offering you for the sons? Begging in the streets? Cleaning windshields? Becoming drug addicts? (Audience: "No!")
Well, what can capitalism offer these children? That is what we do not want. That is why we prefer even death. That is clear. It is not a whim, or an intuition, or fatalism. I mean, there are things that simply cannot be accepted! What are they going to offer our students, our hundreds of thousands of students, who are being educated the way they are being educated? There is something I can say with no fear of being wrong, and I'll say it: Our students are the best in the world. (Applause)
I have seen them. I do see them. I see them at work. I see them doing so many things. I see them being so conscientious, so enthusiastic. Our teenagers are the best teenagers in the world. I do not mean to say that our teaching system is the best in the world, but we can make it so if we set our minds to it. We have all the necessary personnel, all the teachers. Our children are the best children in the world. They are the most wholesome, the most innocent. Our athletes are the best athletes in the world. They are the most wholesome, the most selfless. There are no others like them in the world. What, do they want to destroy all that?
The best young people in the world -- and I say this without having the slightest doubt in my mind about it -- are the young people of Cuba. (Prolonged applause and chanting) I can say that the most noble soldiers in the world are our soldiers. I mean, I see it in the comrades of the Youth Labor Army, in what those boys do. (Applause) I see it in the regular troops. One gets one extraordinary impression after another. I met with 120 soldiers. It was 1900, and they were harvesting potatoes. They had started working at 0700. Do people do that kind of thing for money? Would any young person, any soldier, anywhere in the world do such a thing?
The day we met in the commission for agriculture, I met 120 male and female comrades from the Revolutionary Armed Forces at El Paraiso Camp. Could it be possible to find in the world better people than those? I say this just like that, without jingoism. I say it with absolute conviction. What extraordinary quality! That is what they want to destroy. That, which constitutes the best work of the Revolution. What do they want to turn such men and women into? What do they want to do with this country? Atomize it? Divide it into a hundred pieces? Lead it into civil war? Who are the criminals who seek to accomplish such things? Who are the criminals who would like to do the international reactionaries and imperialism such a service? They want to rip to shreds this example, which is unprecedented in history!
Has any people ever confronted a greater challenge? Does there exist a people that has had to face greater difficulties? Does a more serene, and at the same time braver, people exist? Could anyone in the world conceive of Cuba's remaining standing, despite the disappearance of the USSR and the socialist bloc? When imperialism has not yet disappeared and when it is stronger, more powerful, and more influential than ever? Has any people ever written such a page of history? Has any people ever confronted a greater struggle?
Right now, what is being done? All the guns of imperialist propaganda are now aimed at us. They are not aimed at the former socialist bloc, the USSR, or China. They are not aimed at anyone at all. They have commercial and all kinds of relations with all those countries. They are aimed against a country called Cuba, and that is what the mediocre people, the frauds, hypocrites, and opportunists refuse to forgive us for. Because according to their mathematical calculations, the Revolution had to collapse, and in fact should have collapsed some time ago. Since the Revolution has not collapsed, instead of blaming their calculations, they blame the Revolution, and they blame the Cuban people.
They have to let fly their hatred and frustration against something, and that something has to be big, when they find out that not only has the Revolution not collapsed, but also that in order to do away with it they will have to do it over the dead bodies of all this country's revolutionaries! (Prolonged applause and chanting) Today, all the resources of the imperialist propaganda machine are directed against Cuba. They have tens of thousands of millions (of dollars) at their disposal, and we could say they have more than tens of thousands of millions, if the propaganda of their allies is added to that of imperialism. All of this is directed against Cuba.
There is no other case in the world of such a bombardment of publicity as is being carried out against Cuba. There are more than 500 hours of radio programming per week, launching all kinds of slogans to sow ideological uncertainty and to encourage subversion, crime and sabotage. There are more than 500 hours of radio programming. Even, in these days as this congress began, they had the cynical idea of putting their television broadcast on the air in the afternoon, when in order to save fuel, making great efforts to survive, the country has deprived itself of a number of television broadcast hours. The country has deprived itself of television for a certain number of hours, including the afternoon hours. This was done, thinking not so much about how much it costs to broadcast, but rather how much the reception costs, the reception by hundreds of thousands of television sets when they are turned on.
While the country does this, imperialism cynically begins broadcasting its television signals at midday. Thus, not only do they embargo us, not only are we facing a double embargo, not only do they do the indescribable to keep our trade from developing and to keep our nation from developing, but they also want to force us to use up fuel, as they employ their poisonous methods of publicity! They are determined to get their television on the air here, but they have failed to do so up to now.
They claim it is to keep us informed, (laughter) when the most ill-informed population in the world is the population of the United States. That is why we too feel we have the right to inform the population of the United States, and we are indeed going to inform them, employing that same right with which they wish to inform us, through certain radio stations that can reach U.S. territory perfectly well. We are going to inform them, (applause and chanting) we are going to inform them, (repeats) since we will be informing the most ill-informed population in the world. Because statistics and surveys show that a huge number of Americans do not even know where Latin America is, nor what the capitals of Mexico or Brazil are, and they confuse Argentina with Brazil, Brazil with Colombia, and so forth. There is generalized ignorance.
They know nothing at all about Cuba, but they want to inform us. This of course also gives us the right to inform them, to the extent that we can. But it is truly cynical, at this time, to carry out this crude provocation against our country, to carry out this crude aggression against our country. But they simply do not know our country well enough, and they are trying, under such circumstances, to do something totally superfluous. The 500 hours of radio programming are not enough for them, and they are determined to put television on the air here at midday. That is what we can expect from imperialism, from its arrogance, its self-importance, and its hegemonic role.
But let them not confuse us with others. Let them not confuse us with others. They will be responsible for whatever problems, whatever incidents with Cuba might arise, for there are things that are simply intolerable. They are doing this, counting on their strength, on their status as masters of the world. But this has been going on.
That is why we are right not to neglect our defenses. That is why it was an excellent idea for the young people to kick off their congress in the tunnels. Yes, they know that we no longer receive the weapons that we used to receive, but I think that with what we have, we can put up quite a lot of resistance to the imperialists. We are not looking to clash. We do not want conflict. However, neither are we prepared to get down on our knees before the empire. It is as simple as that. (Applause)
Fate has given us this singular, extraordinary role, superior to the forces of just anybody, in order to preserve hope, that hope of which the Soviet woman spoke in the message she sent with the comrade who came to this congress as a guest. Fate gave us the role of defending sovereignty and independence. We are not defending only socialism. We are not defending only socialism. We are not only defending the most noble ideas; not only defending the ideas of Marx, Engels, and Lenin, adapted, as is natural, to our own conditions; because revolutionary ideas cannot constitute a dogma. Rather, they are an ensemble of principles and objectives, and every specific nation must adapt them to its own conditions. We always said we were Marxists, Leninists, and followers of Marti. We always stated this. Never, not for a single second, were Marti's ideas forgotten, was Marti's image forgotten, were Marti's teachings forgotten. Never, from the time of the Moncada Barracks to today. That is why we have such a legitimate right to call ourselves followers of Marti, combined with Marxism-Leninism. (Applause)
Just look at our symbols, our symbols, the symbols of the young people: Che (Guevara), (Jose Antonio) Mella, Camilo (Cienfuegos). Can there be any symbols better than these? Can there be any symbols superior to these? (Audience: "No!") (Applause) I ask myself the following: In circumstances such as these, what would Che do? Would he be talking about capitalism and the market economy and such things? (Audience: "No!") What would Mella do, that Mella that you know so much about, that shining figure that preceded this generation? Would he be talking about the market economy and capitalism? (Audience: "No!") What would Camilo do? Would he be talking about the market economy and capitalism? Would he go around talking about such trash, as some people are doing, the mediocre people, the traitors and opportunists? (Audience: "No!")
But if we go back further, if we were to meet up with Cespedes, if Cespedes were alive today, if Agramonte were alive today, if Maceo were alive today, if Gomez were alive today, if Marti were alive today, would they be doing something different from what we are doing today? (Audience: "No!") Would they be talking of backing down, of making concessions to imperialism?
Would they be talking about renouncing the fatherland? (Audience: "No!") Would they be talking about renouncing independence? (Audience: "No!") About renouncing honor? (Audience: "No!") About renouncing dignity? (Audience: "No!") Never! I believe we are doing what they would have done. (Applause) Just as they never gave reasons for others to be ashamed of them, this generation of revolutionaries will never give reasons for future generations to be ashamed of it. (Applause)
Is this generation of young people and revolutionaries going to renounce the privileges it has? Never! (Audience: "No!") Will it renounce the fatherland it has? (Audience: "No!") Will it renounce the principles it has? (Audience: "No!") Will it renounce the Revolution it has? (Audience: "No!") Who are the beneficiaries of everything that is done today, of all that we do together? You are. Your children are. Your children, whom you do not want to become prostitutes or drug addicts. The boys and girls that you do not want to suffer discrimination, humiliation, or enslavement.
Why would you renounce everything you have here today, the things that no other Third World country has, and the things that no capitalist country has? Why would we give up such a level of pride, honor, security, self-confidence? This high level of revolutionary glory that we have achieved? How can they think that the new generations are going to renounce this? Will we renounce the culture we have obtained, and once again have sick people without hospitals? Children without schools? Lose everything, including even the houses in which those families which have welcomed you so generously live?
When the capitalists come and claim everything...(pauses) or if they were to come, because they are not going to come, (Applause) they will not be able to claim anything as long as there is an arm capable of defending it. When they come to claim...(pauses) or if they were to come to claim lands, houses, factories, and childcare centers, as I have said once before, to turn the preuniversity schools in rural areas into bordellos, or kindergartens into bars, who do they think they are going to fool?
Will we give up our research centers? Will we give up the achievements of tens of thousands of researchers, and of hundreds of thousands of efficiency experts and innovators? Will we give up the achievements of the Youth Technical Brigades? Do you think that a society that has had that would renounce it? A society cannot be forced to renounce such things.
We will not commit suicide with cowardly concessions and compromises. We will not destroy ourselves. We will not give up our independence or our complete unity. We will not give up hope. We will not renounce the opportunities that life has given us to build our destiny in spite of the current difficult conditions. To take away what we have, they will have to exterminate us, if they can exterminate us. (Applause, chanting)
No other young people in the world have the number of educated people that you have, or fewer illiterate people that you have. No other young people in the world have as many scientists, specialists, engineers, professors, teachers, or doctors. We are the country, in the Third World and in the whole world, with the most teachers per capita. This includes teachers and professors. Are we going to give that up? (Audience: "No!") We are one of the countries with the highest number of doctors per capita, and the highest if we take into consideration the distribution of doctors, who are truly per capita. Are we going to give that up? (Audience: "No!") No other young people in the world have had so many resources.
That is why even if there is a unipolar world, we are free and independent. Even though there is a unipolar world, we are free and independent because we are capable of defending this freedom and independence. I also say that no young people in the world have as many physical weapons as you have. No young people in the world have as many moral and political weapons as you have. (Applause)
That is why we trust you. We have full and complete trust in you. That is why we are sure that we, the new and past revolutionary generations, will know how to defend our fatherland with acts, not only with words. We will know how to defend, with all the courage and all the energy required, our fatherland, revolution, and socialism. (Applause)
Socialism or death!
Fatherland or death!
We will win!
by Fidel Castro