And today there are no Cubans in our fields who, except in cases of trying to reach a goal or fulfill a pledge, as a matter of honor—such as these comrades here, these Heroes of Labor…. The reasons why our workers’ put forth extraordinary efforts are not the same as in the past, when they were spurred by hunger and death, for now they are motivated by their sense of honor. [Applause]
The unquestionable fact is that the former motivations are not, nor could they in any way be, parameters of work. Neither could the Revolution simply say to the people of Cuba: “Continue working sixteen and seventeen hours a day while the country attains development.” Even if it were theoretically possible to keep that up, from the political point of view it would be entirely advisable to send any government official who tried to put such a measure into practice to the insane asylum.
Let us not forget that in the beginning we were just a rebellious people, emotionally revolutionary, but very confused regarding political and social problems, and thoroughly indoctrinated by imperialist newspapers, magazines, films, books, and other media.
Let us not forget it and we affirm it, not with any feeling of shame, but rather with pride. And as proof of what a people is capable of achieving, as proof of the possibilities of a revolution, we must say that in 1959 the majority of our people weren’t even anti-imperialists. There was no class consciousness. Only class instinct, which isn’t the same.
It is necessary to recall that the first years were the years of great political and ideological battles between the capitalist road and the socialist road, between the proletarian path and the bourgeois path, and the task facing the small revolutionary vanguard was above all to gain the awareness of the masses. [Applause]
No one spoke of production then—the capitalists were the ones concerned with production—nor of data or statistics or structures. The problem was the needs accumulated as a result of unemployment, exploitation, abuse, and injustice of all sorts.
The battle against the enemies of the Revolution was waged in daily events and on the ideological battlefield.
So there have been not only quantitative but also qualitative changes in the needs. And we must continue to carry out tasks like that of the harvest and still in conditions of manual labor. In these years many lifelong cane cutters retired, and many other Cubans who had formerly worked fifteen or sixteen hours a day shifted to other activities. And nobody was going to stop them. Nobody could stop them. No revolution could tell a man: “You are doomed to spend the rest of your life in this work, without hope of learning to operate a machine or of working at something else.”
And these tasks are carried out today, not by those who in the past had to do them in order to avoid dying of hunger, but in the great majority by workers from industry and other services, students, and soldiers.
And we said that in these new conditions the tensions become evident, and in these conditions we waged the heroic battle. But we were unable to wage the simultaneous battle.
This term was much used before the ten-million-ton harvest, and while the cane for the ten-million-ton harvest was being planted. It referred to our need to carry out that indispensable effort that, as we explained on one occasion, was required not as a sports activity but for basic needs of the economy, for our development, to overcome and climb out of our poverty.
Let us not forget that in spite of everything during these years we have had an unfavorable foreign trade balance, mainly with the Soviet Union. Let us not forget that we must import more than five million tons of fuel, a product we must import because oil exploration and discovery and putting oil wells into operation requires detailed study which can’t be carried out from one day to the next. We are a country without coal, and practically without hydraulic energy. Our rivers are small and best adapted, under the conditions of our climate and other circumstances, to irrigation.
We import all the energy for the lights we use, for every lathe that moves, for every machine and motor of every kind. This energy replaces man in all kinds of activities; it powers cane-conditioning centers, moves machines, satisfies essential needs.
We have never found a single citizen who says: “Why so much light? Why not reduce the light?” But rather citizens who say, “There is no electricity; we want more electricity; we need power plants; we need this and that; we need machinery; we need transportation; we don’t have this and we don’t have that.”
And even so, we import more than five million tons per year plus the wheat we consume and the raw materials we use in many of our industries and the machinery we need. And we have been investing somewhat more than we have produced.
I repeat that we were incapable of waging what we called the simultaneous battle.
And actually, the heroic effort to increase production, to raise our purchasing power, resulted in imbalances in the economy, in diminished production in other sectors, and, in short, in an increase in our difficulties.
Of course the enemy insisted that the ten-million-ton sugar harvest would lead to some of these problems. It was our duty to do everything possible to avoid it. And actually we haven’t been capable of doing so.
Our enemies say we have problems, and in this our enemies are right. Our enemies say we have problems, and in reality our enemies are right. They say there is discontent, and in reality our enemies are right. They say there is irritation, and in reality our enemies are right.
As you can see, we aren’t afraid to admit it when our enemies are right. [Applause]
But I’m going to give more data. This that I have here is not a speech. No sir, it is not a speech. This data is part of a highly secret economic report. What I have here is not a speech but the secrets of the economy [applause], one of those things that are written and discussed in secret so that the enemy won’t learn of them. Here we have them. We aren’t revealing them for the benefit of the enemy. We couldn’t care less about the enemy. [Applause] And if the enemy makes use of some of the things we say and causes us deep shame, let us welcome it! [Applause] The embarrassment will be welcome if we know how to turn the shame into strength, if we know how to turn the shame into a will to work, if we know how to turn the shame into dignity, and if we know how to turn it into morale! [Applause and shouts of “Fidel, Fidel, Fidel!”]
Here are the secrets for the people. [Applause.]
To analyze the problems by sectors, in the agricultural field we explained the problems of sugar cane, the sugar produced, and the records that have been established.
In rice planting, there has in reality been a considerable increase in the area under cultivation, increases in production; but we are a long way from being able to be satisfied yet, both in quantity and in quality, with the advance of our rice plans.
In pastureland, as of June 15 some 92,300 acres had been planted, equal practically to the amount planted throughout 1969. There are almost 175,600 acres in preparation, so we can say that this year’s planting should top the 330,000-acre mark, which will reverse the decreasing trend in the amount of available pastureland that we have been feeling in the last few years.
Meat. Deliveries of cattle on the hoof to the Meat Enterprise have been similar to those of 1969. Average weights have been low. Thousands of head: 485. That is, in 1968 there were 485,000 head; in 1969, 466,000; the trend in 1970 indicates the figure will also be around the 466,000 mark. In thousands of tons: in 1968 it was 154,000; in 1969, 143,000, and this year is expected to be about 145,000.
Average weight: In 1968, 697 pounds per head: in 1969, 675 pounds per head; in 1970, 682 pounds per head.
The shortage of fattened cattle and problems of transportation have produced distribution delays in the provinces of Oriente, Matanzas, and Havana.
And that is not all. The effort made in regard to pasturelands, which, as we stated, is on the increase, is not enough. A tremendous effort must be made to increase the number of calves born; likewise, a tremendous effort must be made to create pasturelands for regular grazing and for cattle fattening, for unless such an effort is made the result may very well be a reduction in the herds—because in a growing population it is imperative not only that every cow, or as many cows as possible, give birth to a calf, that the maximum number of calves reach maturity, but that all reach maximum weight in the least possible time. Otherwise the consequences may be that a cattle population that increases as a result of the nonsacrifice of cows may have to be reduced to avoiding cutting levels of meat consumption. And, of course, every effort, every possible effort, must be made to avoid this!
Fresh milk output from January through May is 71.3 million quarts, a 25 percent decrease compared to the same period in 1969, which was 95.1 million quarts.
This output drop occurs in both state-owned and privately owned sectors, but is relatively greater in the latter. This decrease is a result of the limited number of installations and of nonreplacement of dairies which were taken out of production, such as the old palm-thatched dairies.
Our milk potentials are not being fully exploited due to a lack of installed capacity.
Therefore, the milk problem is no longer a matter of the number of cows and heifers with potential milk-producing capacity, but rather a problem of installations for handling milk output.
This output decrease has made necessary a notable increase in powdered milk imports from the freely-convertible-currency area in order to meet consumer demand within the established limitations.
These imports, for 1970, amount to 56,000 tons, at a cost of close to twelve million dollars. Similar imports are planned for 1971. Imports of saltless butter also result from this decrease in milk output.
Fishing. Although the fishing plan for the first half of the year was only 78 percent fulfilled, this represented approximately 8,000 tons over the catch for the same period in 1969.
Cement. The amount of available cement as of July is slightly over that for 1969, and 23 percent less than the figure for the same period in 1968 due to difficulties in the transportation of sand and movement of the finished product.