Television appearance on channel 2


Let overproduction be Paid to the Workers

Dr. Fidel Castro, Prime Minister of the Revolutionary Government and President of the Agrarian Reform Institute, appeared last night on a television broadcast, Channel 2 TV.  The panelists took this opportunity to ask him questions with regard to the Agrarian Reform and the various factions that have pronounced themselves in favor or against this strictly revolutionary measure, which has been well defined as the basic law of the Revolution.

In reply to the questions that were asked him, Dr. Castro remarked "to buy land, for what purpose?  if the INRA is going to give it free."  He stressed that the INRA will control the sale of the lands but will not actually sell them.

With regard to the demands made by certain sectors of the national sugar colono interests Fidel affirmed that the large colonos had sacrificed the small ones and that if the latter did not get ready at once to plant their canes, measured would be adopted, as deemed advisable in view of the circumstances, since he was not going to permit that the Revolution be sabotaged.

With regard to the donations made for the Agrarian Reform by some sectors of the national economy, composed of groups who, considering themselves affected, have initiated a campaign of protest, the leader of the Revolution stated: "We shall reject the 10,000 steers, the 2 million pesos from the colonos and the 2 million pesos from the millionaire," and emphatically added, "let overproduction be paid to the workers."

What a revolutionary program needs first is a sound moral basis and ideology.  A cent given by a poor child is worth more than all the millions of the large landowners.

In reply to other questions, Dr. Castro stressed: "We know that many rats will abandon the ship. We see all kinds of hands against Cuba. There may be fighting, but there is no danger. Only those who dare to tread upon our soil are in danger. Those who will provoke contraction will be the ones to get hurt. They are kicking against the pricks. The sound of the bell of sabotage will serve only to make us take on step further. We will not cross the bridge before reaching the river. Martines is responsible for the looting of the national reserves."

With reference to other topics and in reply to questions asked, Dr. Fidel Castro commented: "Note the 'news strips' published in 'El Crisol' . . . they are ill-intentioned.  Next time the intellectual authors will pay for it too.  It is a mistake to confuse generosity with weakness.  For us this will be a fight for life or death.  Our patience has been exhausted about three times,, but we have searched for more.  Half a million cattlemen have combined into a pool to buy certain newspapers.


Moderator: Good evening. For very personal reasons, allow me to ask from all of you a minute of silence in memory of a very dear colleague who passed away today, Dr. Pablo Medina, whom we lost this morning. Thank you.

We now have the occasion, which have been announced so many times, to present Dr. Fidel CASTRO Ruz, Prime Minister of the Revolutionary Government, for the second time in the program "Tele-Mundo Inquires." Never before the phrase "introduction is unnecessary" was more apropos, since he does not need to be introduced because everybody knows him. Therefore, as we know the people are anxious to hear him reply to the questions that will be made by the panel we have selected, we are going to hand over the floor to our colleague Mario [Unreadable text], Director of the "La Tarde" newspaper.

Mr. Minister:  Mr. Prime Minister, there is an unavoidable subject, the Agrarian Reform, which seems to please you very much, but other sectors of public opinion have expressed their unconformity in this matter.

Dr. Castro Ruz:  Many sectors, what sectors?

Mr. Minister:  Sugar sectors formed by the colonos, for instance.  Just today the President of the Association has declared that, with respect to the Agrarian Reform, everybody agrees that the [Unreadable text] should be eliminated, but with regard to that portion which affects the small sugarcane growers - the 40,000 small colonos - they request that those caballerias be given to them, not distributed but sold to them, so that they may have absolute right of ownership over the property.  Is it possible, Mr. Minister, to agree to the petition of the colonos?


Dr. Castro:  I am going to tell you, is that the only thing that worries the 40,000 small colonos?  How came that those gentlemen can say the Agrarian Law affects 40,000 small growers, when it just happens that these colonos, who have been paying a small portion of their agrarian production for the land they cultivate, all their lives have been slaves of the land and, while they were dreaming of owning this land, the Revolution comes and makes them landowners as well as owners of that production which they had to pay every year; can this be considered detrimental to the small colonos? Now well, the law was made for those who could not afford to buy the land. Should the colonos that are included within the minimum wish to buy it, better still, let them buy it; they can buy it from the Institute, which can offer it to them with payment facilities.  I cannot see how this, in the long run, would benefit them; on the contrary, it would constitute a sacrifice for them, since they are giving up a benefit that the law grants them.  Why then buy the land and for what purpose?  To pay for it, what for?  To make use of the land graciously is very simple; they will always have the land at their disposal to use it freely.  What the law prohibits is that it be taken away from them through certain procedures, since what the law tries to avoid is that they be dispossessed of their piece of land. The Law tries to prevent anyone fro acquiring these portions of land, so that no more [Unreadable text] will ever be formed again.  The provision of the Law establishes that they can only sell to the State, this only implies a measure to control the land, but the Institute must keep close surveillance as to who possesses those lands.  Just imaging someone wanting to acquire these fertile lands to use them as a recreation farm; and, furthermore, suppose that at the same time a farmer is interested in acquiring these lands.  It is only logical but that the land be sold to a rural family, which means that the Institute does not forbid the sale of the land but will only control it.  It is very simple:  Land may be sold through the Institute, just the same as a parcel of land may be bartered for another one with the intervention of the Institute; that is to say, the land will be transferred and the Institute will sell it to the person who wants to acquire it.  In any event, the owner of a parcel can dispose of it freely, and the State will only see that this land is placed in the hands of another farmer, so that a new process leading to the concentration of property will not be initiated again -- because may [Unreadable text] were formed through the acquisition of small properties, but these colonos will not need to pay for the land they acquire.  They can enjoy the benefits and will have the same rights as if they were buying it.  There is only one requirement: that in case of sale, the Institute will intervene; that will be the only difference.  If they decide to buy it, better still, but in my opinion, if this is true, an investigation would be in order since these "Presidents of Colonies" are always talking about the small colonos in order to defend their own interests, and, in this case, they want the small colonos to believe that it is better to buy the land than to receive it graciously.  This is what they want to make them believe in order to rest value to the Law and the benefits granted by it.  Such is the policy of the magnates of the colonato.  There are only three or four large colonos of the kind who were there since the times of the Dictatorship, who still maintain their influence and who went to Palace after the 13th of March; these are the ones who are trying to convince the small colonos, when the interests of the small colonos are [Unreadable text] opposed to those of the large colonos. Why, if they want to help the small colonos - which would be a great thing and a great help - why then they don't give a participation of their quotas to the colonos, which would be an act of solidarity.  I am not going to speak of the colonos who have 30 caballerias; I am going to speak of those who have over 30 - 45 or even 50 caballarias - and pay a high average in cane.  Let them distribute those [Unreadable text] among the small colonos.  The large colonos have always sacrificed the small colonos because they have greater influence and are constantly claiming to obtain a larger quota, while the small colonos are being despoiled of their cane.  If they see that the large colonos do not claim their fields because they want to sabotage the Agrarian Reform, then what the small colonos should do is to plant.  The INRA and the [Unreadable text] are willing to make loans to the small colonos - and even to those who are not small - and they are probably willing to make these loans at a minimum rate of interest, lower than ever before, and they are determined to see that what is produced . . .


We are willing to give them all kinds of facilities but, if any decrease in production takes place and if the administration canes are abandoned as an act of sabotage against the Revolution, they will have to plant the cane so that we can meet the quota although, of course, we are not going to permit that the Revolution be sabotaged.  They will have to plant the canes, since we have declared that until the next crop we shall not touch the sugar [Unreadable text].  Therefore, there is no reason for failing to do so, unless it is intended as an act of reprisal against the Agrarian Law; but if they fail to plant the cane, we will take measures to counteract this attitude - among them to tell the colonos to watch closely the development of the administration cane so that they can supply any deficit that may occur.

Many colonos have a cane surplus each year.  The [Unreadable text] is willing to facilitate credit to the small colonos, and our recommendation is that they accept the benefits of the Agrarian Law because this will be more advantageous than to buy the land directly; furthermore, the Law protects them from despoilment and assures them a minimum of land.  The large colonos who find nothing else to invent are saying that it is better for them to reject the Law, so that they won't have to be thankful for anything, and that they should buy the land, although before they never sold these lands to the small colonos nor gave them any facilities.  The Law forces the large landowner to sell the land.  Should the colonos wish to buy this land, the Law gives them the right to do so; but it would be better for them not to buy it and save that money to invest it in improvements, installations, farmhouses, etc., since one of the objectives of the Agrarian Law is that a man, after becoming the owner of the land, will love it and improve it, in order to attain a maximum of production, at the same time, protecting it from erosion and attrition.

The large landowners are still maneuvering further; they want to be paid the best price in each; but, on the other hand, if the small colonos accept the law, the large landholders will receive the value of the land in bonds.  They want to subdue the colonos for 15 years more, receiving the money in cash and, therefore, they advise the colonos not to recourse to the Agrarian Law and to buy the land.  But we must open the eyes of the small colonos, so that large landowners will not play into the hands of the colonos by telling them to meet, talk and discuss what is best for them. It is inconceivable how these Batista followers, who have discredited the colonato, can now speak in the name of all the colonos.


That is why we are going to reject the contribution of 2 1/2 million pesos that they have offered us, we are we going to reject the 10,000 steers that the cattlemen have offered us and the 2 1/2 million pesos offered by the millionaires (Applause).  In the case of the colonos, for instance, because the contribution, which was apparently intended to impress public opinion belongs largely to the small colonos, but by making use of it, the Batista followers who direct the Association have been trying to play politics and make a counterrevolutionary campaign.  We will only accept individual contributions, especially those coming from the small colonos, but we do not want the 2 1/2 million pesos nor the 10,000 steers from the cattlemen, who have been speaking in the name of all cattlemen when they only constitute a small group, since the great majority has been benefited by the Revolution which has generated them a good price by eliminating the middleman.  What happens is that many of those large cattlemen are also middlemen, and there are cattlemen who even want to raise cattle in the farm of the small landowners, but what the Revolution fosters is that anyone who owns land for cattle will raise his own cattle instead of giving his pastures to the great castle magnates.  The Revolution has granted a good price to the producer.  Then, what are the response to make such statements?  The only reason is that the rule of the magnates is to speak in the name of the "youngsters" because here the "big man" have always spoken in the name of the "little ones" and have tried to confuse them with these campaigns.  Therefore, we reject the offer of the
10,000 steers and will accept only individual contributions -- if people want to make them -- but will reject any contributions made in the name of an Association that has made counterrevolutionary statements.

We reject the 2 1/2 million pesos with which they tried to confuse and impress public opinion in order to buy a right that no one has here; the right to create obstacles and difficulties to the revolutionary laws; the right to buy people. The time when people could buy government officials have come to an end because we cannot be bought with those 2 million pesos nor with all the [Unreadable text] and sugar mills put together (Applause).


Therefore, let them use the money to make propaganda or to pay the sugar workers the overproduction, which is still pending.  In short, let them use it for this purpose, but they should stop protesting and complaining so much.  We reject those 5 1/2 million pesos gladly because we do not want the help of the counterrevolutionaries.  We have our reasons. We do not want to make revolution by using the same money with which a pool is being organized to make counterrevolutionary campaign; we do not need that money.  As you can see, we are men who realize that everything is not a question of money.  A revolutionary program should be based on moral principles, ideals and, above all, a spirit of sacrifice.  We do not care if we have to get those 5 1/2 million pesos through other means.  We are sure that the people are going to give this and a lot more, because the Agrarian Reform is the goal of the Cuban people and, as long as its work isn't finished, they must contribute to it as much as they can.  The cent that a poor child deposits in an envelope and sends to the Agrarian Reform is worth a lot more to us than the millions of pesos of the great magnates, who do not carry the Agrarian Reform in their hearts; who supported it while it was not officially approved to combat it later on the grounds that the Agrarian Reform, as it was approved, did not conform with their interests); and who, in more than one occasion, have failed to leave the money they said they were going to give which, by the way, they didn't hasten too much in giving.  Therefore, a cent given by a poor child through his school, which sends it to the Agrarian Reform Institute, is worth a lot more to us because these are the factors which make a revolution.  We must not forget that when we started the revolution in Mexico, we began with the income derived form the sale of a coat.  We had no money and people though we were crazy.  With what money were we going to start a revolution?  We did not have any money, so we started to collect it from the people, and the people contributed.


I said one day when I arrived here that we had a big job ahead -- when we disembarked at the Las Coloradas beaches -- and I say this again because now that we have arrived at a new beach -- the beach of power -- where a long and hard struggle awaits us, we continue to find the hardships of this struggle.  We still have to face disappointments and treasons.

After we landed at the Las Coloradas beaches, we suffered many difficulties, and there was a time when we were less in number than when we first arrived.  The same can happen to us now in this new undertaking, and perhaps we will eventually be less in number than we are now.  Perhaps many of those rats that now in the ship, when there is no storm, will abandon it later when the struggle here becomes too arduous.  We already know by experience what are the results.  We already know that, when difficulties are encountered, many will abandon the ship of the revolution, and we are glad because we know that in difficult times there are many who leave while in times of glory and success all remain.  We all have difficult times, and those who will abandon the ship are the opportunists who joined the revolution after it was successful; so may we will again be less in number, but we will continue to fight, and if some day we succeed in our struggle, then we will again be numerous, but then, of course, we will know better who is who in Cuba.  We now have among us in this struggle many revolutionaries who did not join the revolutionary forces in the mountains and who, when we arrived here, were in great distress because they felt they had not done anything.  Many honest Cubans felt very sorry because they had not done anything, but now is their opportunity to do something. We are in a stage of hard struggle, and there will be a next time, when we will have concluded our work, when we will be able to say again that a great victory has been obtained because we are going to obtain a great victory in face of great obstacles, and then no one will have the excuse of saying that he is ashamed because he has not contributed to it.


Robreffo: Dr. Castro, the subject of the Agrarian Reform is very important, but because of its magnitude and because we will return to it again, I want to ask you a question that perhaps can be considered personal. Some weeks ago Josquin Martinez Saens was accused of an act which had no connection whatsoever with his activities and conduct as President of the National Bank. I considered that accusation to be unjust and deceitful and published an article defending him on that occasion, and I think I must have been right in my judgment because a Revolutionary Tribunal absolved him at that time of that particular accusation. I did it, and as a Cuban, as a man, and as a newspaperman, I feel quite satisfied that my defense met with the approval of the Revolutionary Tribunal. Nevertheless, at a recent luncheon which you attended, you made reference to those who defended Martinez Saens after five months, and I think I read you called them cynics and men without shame. Do you believe I am a cynic and shameless person, Dr. Castro, because I defended Martinez Saens for an act that he did not commit? I think that accusation was unjust, and as I habitually...

Fidel:  Look here, Robreffo, you have no reason to think that my allusion was made against you.  You know I am sufficiently frank to have said it to you face to face.

Robreffo:  Thank you very much; this gives me a great satisfaction.

Fidel: I am sure that you did what was right in speaking and defending him against an accusation that was false, because false accusations harm the Revolution. It would be detrimental to the Revolution to condemn someone with false arguments, but I was not referring to you, I was referring to those cases where they want to throw a towel on Martinez Saens, trying to save him from those accusations that are not false but true -- such as his complicity in the squandering of our reserves -- because he was there sitting in that Bank, and he was an accomplice in all this shameful behavior, while the criminals of war, the [Unreadable text] of the tyranny, looted the public treasury and carried away millions in their sacks. It was a chain of unending dubious businesses. He knew it and did not resign, thus becoming an accomplice in all those shameful actions. He was there seeking how the money of the Republic was looted, with which arms were bought to kill compatriots and mercenary soldiers were paid. He was an accomplice and he did not resign.

Shameless and impudent are those who are trying to make the people of Cuba forget those imputations, which are not false but very true.


Newspaperman:  Doctor Castro, a few minutes ago you were talking about internal dangers that threaten the Revolution.  Let's talk about possible external dangers now.  We refer to the incidents that took place as the Cuban Embassies in Santo Domingo and Haiti.  What is you opinion about this and what do you see behind those incidents?

Fidel:  The incident is part of a chain of provocations against Cuba. It is not an isolated case.  First, when the war criminals left this country, they found shelter there -- but this is of lesser importance. Everybody expected them to go to Santo Domingo, but what the dictator of Santo Domingo had no right to do was to steal the 4 planes used by the criminals of war to escape.  He confiscated them, alleging that armed persons were on them -- that is, his allies, his protegees -- and he stole the four war planes.

Then, they started to mobilize and get organized to initiate counterrevolutionary activities. Later, the Dominican diplomats, who were in charge of the acquisition of arms in the United States, were caught loading a plane with arms destined to Santo Domingo. All this time, they have been recruiting mercenary elements and buying planes and arms to use them against Cuba. Some incidents followed, such as the ones which took place in Santo Domingo and Haiti. Everybody knows that heading the manifestation were Ventura, Martia, Perez, Carratala, and all the other criminals who are so well known to all. They were with impunity heading these actions. For an hour and a half they attacked the Embassy. They didn't kill our diplomats because the latter fought the war criminals face to face -- as in Haiti -- but if they wouldn't have done this, they would have been murdered, the same as Captain Aloma' to defend himself bravely when in Nicaragua, where he had to stop off, some elements attempted to "finish" him.

Newspaperman:  Do you see behind this the hand of powerful foreign enterprises whose interests have been damaged?


Fidel:  We see all kinds of hands in this campaign against Cuba -- and national hands also.  We also see hands that are here making a counterrevolutionary campaign.

Newspaperman:  Do you think that this campaign places the territory in danger of an invasion?

Fidel:  This territory cannot be endangered by anyone (Applause).  As long as there are people like the people of Cuba, there can be no danger; there may be fighting, but not danger (Applause).

Newspaperman:  I was only referring to the danger of being invaded.

Fidel:  That constitutes no danger.  Should all the criminals of war decide to join into a common front, this, far from being a danger would be an advantage to the country.  The best that could happen to us, now that they have escaped, is that they would come back.  The problem is that they don't come back; they cannot make up their minds to come back.  They carry out campaigns; open international campaigns, and all sorts of counterrevolutionary activities.  Naturally, they can go to even more serious extremes because, since the moment that those elements dared to attack with guns the diplomatic residence of a country, breaking all precedents and all norms of the civilized Law, one can expect any acts of villainy from them, any type of aggression through any means: from the crime against an individual to air-borne incursions.  One can expect that, in their boldness, they will be capable of anything, if the Dominicans don't decide to throw them out of the country, because what is really happening is that they are scared to death that an internal revolution will be formed.  Therefore, if they can continue to maintain the regime of terror that they now have there, one can expect all kinds of aggression.

As you can see, we have assumed a very [Unreadable text] and serene attitude.  When they attacked our Embassy, we triplicated the protection of their Embassies bars.  And you could see for yourself how the people of Cuba behaved.  Not one single citizen went there to throw anything, not even one stone.  Just notice the maturity and comprehension that the Cuban people demonstrated to have at this time.  While the war criminals were attacking our ambassadors, the people of Cuba didn't move because they have faith in their destiny and trust the Revolutionary Government.  They know that we are struggling against these difficulties, and they know that we will always act as the circumstances demand; that we will not let ourselves be grabbed by their provocations; that we are trying to avoid any mistakes. But the people of Cuba know that they can feel confident and safe because the destiny of all these dictatorships is inexorable.  Just see, if you have any doubts, what is happening in Nicaragua.  Just see how the people of other countries are more and more determined each day to defend their prerogatives and their rights.  This awakening of America is precisely what has made these bloody oligarchies, which still oppress some nations, lose their control.


Fighting is going on in Nicaragua, and only two dictatorships still remain: those of Paraguay and Santo Domingo.  This is because the example of Cuba has produced a tremendous impact in the conscience of the people of all nations, an that is the hatred they have for us.  There, the criminals of war have gathered together to [Unreadable text] their impotence.  Of course, they have seen what happened to the Batista dictatorship.  The Batista dictatorship was strong, well armed, and had a numerous army at its disposal.  People were always talking and saying that the dictator was the leader of those soldiers and, in spite of this, they were defeated.  All the resources they employed were useless.  And it is precisely the example set by Cuba what has arisen so much hatred for Cuba on the part of those elements.

As far as danger is concerned, the people of Cuba are prepared for any danger of an aggression or invasion.  The people of Cuba know that this Revolution has to pay the price of this danger.  With regard to the danger itself, however, we might as well say that we are not the ones in danger; there is only danger for those who would dare to tread on our floor.

Newspaperman:  The people feel at ease because they see the [Unreadable text] of their rules.  For example, one of your companions in the landing of the [Unreadable text] expedition and in the Sierra Maestra, and one of your most efficient and dearest lieutenants, Dr. Guevarra, was sent by you to Cairo.  If imminent danger would exist, you would have made him stay in Cuba.

Fidel:  No doubt he is one of the most necessary companions in a case of emergency.  But we have so much confidence in the people of Cuba that not only comrade Guevara, but 10 commanders, even 20 commanders, could leave the country.  Here remain the lieutenants, and the lieutenants can defeat any invasion (Applause).  The companions who made the Revolution were nothing when they started.  They only had good will and a disposition to fight, and on the march they became officials.  The maximum grade in the Rebel Army is, as you know, commander.  There will be no more generals.


Newspaperman:  What is the purpose of Dr. Guevara's trip to the Near East?

Fidel:  As you know, I was invited but could not go.

We had to send someone to represent us, and comrade Guevara is one of the most characteristics figures of our revolution, and very intelligent also.  For an economic mission of this nature, I can assure you that if there is any possibility of selling our products there and establishing a trade between Cuba and those countries of the Near East, Dr. Guevara will make good use of it.  No one should make room for any suspicion.  We sent him there and he will be among us again within 30 or 45 days; but I am convinced that, should he have to return at once, we would not have to send him an order to make him come back to Cuba (Applause).

Mr. Parajon:  You declared yesterday that the Revolution had many enemies within the country.

Dr. Fidel Castro:  In the economic sector, yes, many.

Mr. Parajon:  What does the Revolutionary Government plan to do to prevent those enemies from sabotaging the Revolution by bringing the circulation of money to a halt?


Dr. Fidel Castro:  They will be the first harmed, and they will also be the last harmed, since the contraction that would be artificially provoked by their counterrevolutionary activities would force them to suffer, too, the effect this would have on the economy of the country.  Furthermore, these measures would not solve anything, and the Government would be forced to take pertinent countermeasures to prevent this from happening.

Mr. Parajon:  In what would these measures consist?

Dr. Fidel Castro:  I can cite the case of the tobacco growers.  We had a meeting with the National Bank and the Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank for the purpose of having them finance the crops, extending credit to the tobacco growers at 4 percent interest in cases of less than $3,000 loans, and at 6 percent interest in cases of loans exceeding this amount.  Therefore, the contraction would not be possible. We have the case of the Cuban Land Tobacco, which is one of the most important firms in Pinar del Rio Province.  They have a large organization and their lands yield from $70,000 to $80,000 per caballeria.


The sharecroppers there sometimes receive somewhere between $5,000 and $8,000.  We are also going to extend this protection to the agricultural worker.  We make possible for sharecroppers to become landowners.  The Cuban Land Co. has the value of their lands well assessed for tax purposes and agrees to receive the price in bonds, which will pay them an interest beneficial to them.

Their business depends on the sale of the product -- tobacco -- and the same technicians are going to continue to direct the production.  The sharecroppers are to become landowners and the agricultural workers are going to receive each year a 5-percent profit, which was the income earned by that Company as intermediary.  Thus, the unity of production is prepared.  An excellent solution has been found, which they must be already discussing.

We are going to do something similar with the tomato plantings.  We are going to produce the same type of tomatoes, and even more tomatoes, in the four Cooperatives located in the [Unreadable text] area, with the same U.S. technician that was formerly there.  There used to be a company in that area which produced the tomatoes.  Due to certain difficulties, however, they left; but they had a technician who directed the production and who says that there the soil is better than that of Bermuda for the cultivation of tomatoes.  We have organized the agricultural workers and we are going to give them sufficient land so that they can rotate the crops, and we are going to establish a Cooperative in Manacas - in one of the farms owned by Fedraza, which we hope he will never be able to recorporate.  We are going to create a tomato cooperative in the Manacas zone and produce tomatoes on a technical basis.  That technician will be the one in charge of supervising the production.  There will be an administrator general for the four cooperatives.  This technician is the one who used to sell the tomatoes and knows the market, so we are going to give him a 10-percent commission.  Therefore, he will be working as a technician, for which he earns a salary, and in addition will receive a commission for the sale.  In the cooperatives, tomatoes will be produced, and the total profits will go the agricultural workers who cultivate the tomatoes, and the Agrarian Reform Institute will grant credit for the necessary amount at 4-percent interest.  For this reason, I can say that, by using the technical resources at our disposal, we will implement an Agrarian Reform without causing the world to sin or lead anyone to bankruptcy.  The economy of the country is not going to collapse.


Dr. Castro Ruz:  When we said that we could produce 8 million tons of sugar for 1961, we were not saying a fabulous thing.

Newspaperman:  Have you already received my reply?

Dr. Castro Ruz: Not yet, but I expect there will be no more arguments for saying that internal production should be released, because we are going to have sufficient sugar for 1961, I think our offer can be accepted, and should there be any reason for fearing a shortage in supply, the measure is decisive. If we produce the 8 million tons and they accept this quota, there can be no arguments for saying that this constitutes a risk. What risk can there be in making our offer of 8 million tons? If it is believed that we cannot supply this amount, by accepting it, we would be guaranteeing an even greater production and there would be no reason for fearing a drop in production. We cannot predict anything, and we understand that it is difficult that it be accepted, but they'll never run out of arguments to combat the Agrarian Reform. If we say that we can product 8 million tons, it is because we can produce them. I want you to know that the Agrarian Reform moves at the same rate of speed as the tractors that are here. It does not move any faster because there are no tractors; because the manufacturers of tractors cannot supply them; because the 200 or 300 tractors of different types that we need have to arrive yet. We know that the Cubans are full of enthusiasm, and we only offer what we can accomplish. Now can anyone manage to prevent us from producing cane? We are training personnel to organize the Cooperatives and personnel for the Institute, because we are aware of the need for technical personnel, and all the professors and students of the School of Agronomy are preparing themselves for the Agrarian Reform. If an investigation would be made of the plans already underway, it would be worth while to have the people go and see for themselves the work that is being carried out there. All the technical personnel of the University is there, and we are training more personnel; we are going to build an organization capable of coping with anything that we are determined to do here. We cannot be intimidated by campaigns and sabotage because that sabotage campaign would only serve to make us take one step further to save the country from any counterrevolutionary attempt, because we are going to establish panel sometimes against my [Unreadable text] aimed at decreasing the production of sugar, which the wealth of the country and no one has the right to fight against it. The Revolutionary Government is aware of its duties -- this without threatening anyone -- and we can affirm that we are determined to take any measures that are deemed pertinent. We do not want to impress anyone, but people must be convinced that these counterrevolutionary activities are a mistake, so they must be convinced that the Revolution is a reality and that we regret these are not the old times, when the government representatives get down on their knees in front of the powerful interests, the Revolution has done away with the past. It does not get down on its knees; it stands up and steps on its feet defending the people, because never before have we had a clearer conscience or peace of mind, because we know that we are fulfilling our duty and we know that, if we do not do more, it is because we can't, because we doing the maximum within our possibilities. If this is the reason why we are attached - because for the first time the Government does not give in to the demands of the powerful interests - then we are ready to defend the interests of the people by taking any measures that are deemed necessary. They must be convinced that the Revolution is not going to hold back on account of this and that no one is going to defeat the Revolution. They should stop indulging in wishful thinking so that they will not die of disillusionment. They must understand that the people are too mature to be able to understand all the hatred we are arousing in fighting for this cause. The people are clear in these matters. We have the people; we have the support of the majority, in spite of their campaigns - and we shall see the survey which we have made. For more than 20 years, we have not spoken nor appeared in public.

Newspaperman:  Is the result of the survey known already?


Dr. Castro:  No, but we are certain that we have the support of the majority (Applause).  We have been working in the Pinar del Rio [Unreadable text], and while we were in the Zapata Swamp, while we were in Isle of Pinez, they devoted their time to make a campaign against us.  I had no time to appear in television; these are hours that I take from my daily rest.  While I am doing this, they are making a campaign throughout the Island; they should think that Batista cannot come back and that no criminals of war will ever come back.  Are they now going to oppose the Revolution?  Are they going to appear fighting the Agrarian Reform, encouraging the large landholders and allying with Trujillo?  Here no one can be in the middle; the process of the Revolution is very clear. Unfortunately for them, the Revolution does not have middle terms or conditions.  With these procedures, they are not going to get anything, except harming the country and, more than the country, themselves.  They are wasting away money in campaigns, and this is how the agitation begins. They want to stimulate and maintain a state of rebellion.  I have a small paper here that I think I should . . .

Newspaperman:  I think you should inform us.


Dr. Castro:  We are not going to cross the bridge before crossing the river.  Let's wait and see what attitude they take in order not to vermin our relations.  We want to convince them that this is the right of the people of Cuba.  It is worth nothing that the noise comes from those who possess large landholdings; it is the selfish sermon of those who have more than enough to live, against the just aspirations of a nation.  But we are hopeful that they can also be persuaded and that they will cease talking so much and stop worrying.  It is better to take it easy and don't get bitter, because they are not going to get anything.  They are conspiring on their own, making plans, and they have taken us for fools; they don't realize that even telegraph poles at the corners are listening.  It is a matter to be concerned about, since there is a press campaign that is going a little too far.  The "news stripe" of [Unreadable text] for example - and it isn't that I get mad about this because I know I still maintain the rating - presented my statement without making them stand out, while publishing the statements of those who oppose the Agrarian [Unreadable text] in a big headline.

There have been talk of an uprising, and I tell them that they are going to starve, because the peasants are not going to give them anything to eat . . .

Newspaperman:  Don't you with that they would go through all you have gone through?

Castro:  No, but I am inclined to believe that these sacrifices cannot be suffered by anyone.  These men who went to the mountains were men used to hard living, and one out of ten remained there.  That is why I advise them not to go to the mountains, because they are going to starve.

The other day I read in the same newspaper: "A term of ninety days is granted to deliver the land."  We have given ninety days to submit the information.  Imaging how scared must have been some landholders when they read the paper that morning!  We understand this is abusing of the freedom of the press, although this does not meant hat we are going to interfere or restrict freedom.  We face these matters with the same [Unreadable text] that we have considered the aggressions of Trujillo in Santo Domingo, and we are not going to lose our heads due to provocations of this type.  What they pretend is to unhinge the Revolutionary Government; but by all means, let them suffer the consequences of playing into the hands of the war criminals.  If in Ciudad Trujillo the war criminals read this, they will continue conspiring, and in Miami they will become more encouraged and from more words they will go into action.  Then, when this happens, everyone will have to share the responsibility, and those found guilty will have to pay for it.  Here those responsible for the deprivation of the army are enjoying a good life but, who else were responsible for the corruption of the soldiers and taught them to burn houses and use the [Unreadable text] to impose force but the [Unreadable text] and large landholders?  Who paid them a salary of from 200 to 300 pesos?  The sugar mills.  Didn't you know that?  Everybody knows it; everybody knows that those companies had these soldiers as their service and that the "[Unreadable text] treatment" any more, but this is the historic truth, and that dust left us this mud. There are many accomplices, but we punish only the war criminals and we don't want the country to be covered with blood again.  We don't want any more fighting, but when the times comes to assume responsibility, all will be responsible.  We have acted with [Unreadable text].  You have seen how the executions have come to an end as soon as the revolutionary justice played its role, and how in the same measure the counterrevolutionary campaigns are breaking out again.  It is a mistake to confuse what is done as a matter of conscience with an attitude of fear because we will always be consistent with our actions, but that does not meant hat we are defenseless because we are used to fighting in times of adversity and our cause is a fight for life or death.  We are convinced of our justice and we will not be easily defeated.  We will defend the Revolution, and if at any time revolutionary justice has to be applied in Cuba again, the responsibility will fall on those that are guilty, so that not only the material authors or active perpetrators but the comrade as well will get what they deserve.


It would be better not to encourage the enemies of the Revolution - not to [Unreadable text] a [Unreadable text] again.  It would be better if everyone would realize that these are matters with which you shouldn't play and that no interest can be sufficiently great to justify such [Unreadable text].  This is our sincere desire, and we will have to demand that those guilty assume the responsibility.  The Revolution has not yet ended; it is only in process.

That freedom is enjoyed by everyone is shown by the fact that there have been no acts of violence on the part of the rebels.  When has a rebel employed a weapon?  When has anyone been beaten here?  We never use violence but persuasion.  We have guaranteed a [Unreadable text] of freedom and security for everybody, and some are confused by those liberties and believe this is an abnormal situation without realizing that this is a revolutionary process.  They can look back into history and see that revolutions know how to defend themselves and that the people can defend themselves too.  Justice has not been abolished, and here the revolutionary courts are seeing that justice be done, as long as the cases are not transferred to civil courts, which have not been transferred yet because, as you know, there have been a series of incidents - such as the one of the [Unreadable text] (Zapata Swamp) and other incidents known to us -- which have impeded us to take care of matters other than the Agrarian Reform. This does not mean, however, that the State is going to be detached of Legal instruments.  We neither book anyone, nor torture anyone, nor murder anyone, but we will not hesitate to take before the firing squad those that are found guilty of any act against our country.  Our actions are guided by the Law and the norms of Civil Rights; our actions are the light of the world because we are conscious of the sacred rights of all men.  The State shall not remain defenseless, and you can rest assured that the Revolution shall not remain defenseless either.  In face of the attempts of its enemies to defeat it, the Revolution shall be well safeguarded, and it seems to me that it would be healthy for some people to understand these things, not because we want to threaten them but because we want to persuade them and, above all, point out to them their mistake in believing that the Revolution is defenseless.  There are still some who believe that this country is Shangri-la, as was the days some years ago, and that they have the rights to destroy a program which is decisive for all Cubans -- decisive for us, our children, and the generations to come.  Cuba cannot go backward.  Cuba can never return to the past, to any of its past eras; neither to the past era of tyranny, nor to the past era of political [Unreadable text].  The consequences would be fatal for the Nation, and the instinct of the country can perceive this.  They can reproach us only for having always [Unreadable text] with serenity and [Unreadable text], and for having used moderate procedures in all cases - always using persuasion but never violence.  We have always said it, and we said it again when arrived in Havana; that when our patience became exhausted, we would look for more.  We have already ran out of patience, and we shall continue to look for more, because we can never lose our patience.  We shall always [Unreadable text] as the circumstances deemed it, according to our concepts and belief -- and that is the only thing for which we can be [Unreadable text].  No one can reproach us for having incurred into any [Unreadable text] except, of course, for having enacted revolutionary laws, which have won me the [Unreadable text] of not too many but only a few; but these few have powerful influence in the country -- you know that as well as everybody else, since everybody knows many things that were never said. There were many things that were never said before until people started to talk about them, and now all we are doing is saying these things that were never said before.

Moderator:  Dr. Castro, let's talk about the subject of tobacco.  Is each sharecropper who is no cultivating a piece of land going to receive this land and become its owner, or is he going to possess it in [Unreadable text]?


Dr. Castro:  Those rules are not for those who are cultivating the land at a maximum production rate, and should they fail to produce because of lack of resources, we will facilitate these resources; but a property belonging to the sharecropper cannot be seized or taken away from him.  The Law protects him but, in order to defend his interests, it must have a control over the property through the Institute to prevent the concentration of property.  It is the interest of the State to avoid the concentration of property in a few hands.  How could then the farmers be consumers of the industrial products?  Because if a farmer works three or four months a year, how is he going to be a consumer?  This is nothing now; most of those ideas -- and I want to prove this to you -- were said four years ago.  We haven't done anything that we haven't said before.  We had no hidden cards on our sleeves; they were all on the table.  Look here, for instance, in my pamphlet "History Will Absolve Me" (he reads); "Only the form of benefits has been changed based on the declared land value by the landowners."  Here is another paragraph (he reads another paragraph) and still another small paragraph down here (he reads it).

I just wanted to prove to you that there is nothing new.  I cannot explain to myself why at that time so many people said "thank you Fidel," and now they don't say it any more.  What did they expect?  Did they think that we were going to fool the people, like the politicians?  That's what they believed, because look what it says here (he reads).  In what aspect does the Agrarian Reform differ from this?

Newspaperman:  In absolutely nothing.

Dr. Castro:  We don't need any other proof, then.  Why are they trying to fool themselves about the Agrarian Reform in that campaign?  IF they want me to, I can prove it with documents.  If they are interested, these are the documents that one is forced to show, although it would have been better not to show them, but certain things occur that force one to show them.

This is a letter from the law firm [Unreadable text], lawyers in La [Unreadable text], dated February 25, 1959.  The Francisee Sugar Company,
106 Wall Street, New York City.  Gentlemen:  The writer, in compliance with the wishes of your company, on February 23 extended the meeting [Unreadable text] by the Cuban Cattle Corporation . . . (he reads).  [See Appendix at the end for text of letter.]

That is what these gentlemen say in a letter addressed to The Francisee Sugar Company, 106 Wall Street, New York City, N.Y.

Newspaperman:  How did that letter come to your hands?


Dr. Castro:  That is what I say . . . You can rest assured that this is not violation of correspondence.  The walls, the tables, the people . . . These letters, these documents, are placed in our hands by persons who love the Revolution - and believe me, without the intervention of the police or any type of regressive forces, and without any surveillance, but just by [Unreadable text].  What happens is that they think we are fools.  I have had this letter with me for about two months.  I didn't say a word about it, but a series of things are being said that force us to show these documents, which come to our hands through the collaboration of the citizens, who spontaneously, without our asking them, provide us with this type of information.  We have reports of all kinds.  They don't know it, but we do.  Why are we going to bother publishing all this?  Only if there were a strict necessity for it, would we publish it.  Should anyone want to see this, be may; it is at the disposal of anyone who wants to examine it. There are many other letters - some in English and some in Spanish.  Here is a letter from [Unreadable text].  Unfortunately, one finds oneself in the necessity to publish this.  You know that the walls can hear.  Some of these days, I am going to show up with a roll of papers about what is being said here.  There is always a citizen who helps us. This help and collaboration comes from the people.

Here no one wants Ventura and his kind to return and to start seeing again piles of dead bodies in the streets and the cemetaries full of dead people, and the mothers asking for their children, whether they are dead or alive.  Since no one wants this, everybody helps us.

Newspaperman:  Do you come prepared to answer any type of question?

Dr. Fidel Castro:  Of course, I have to come here prepared with papers.

Dr. [Unreadable text]:  In this program, the questions are never prepared in advance.

Dr. Fidel Castro:  An I am going to make this clear, in favor of the program.  Any question can disclose some information . . .

And I am going to read this. (Dr. Castro reads several informative documents.)


Well, I am sorry I cannot go on, since I brought it only as a matter of illustration.  The truth is that they are moving with enough freedom.  They have enough influence to buy arms and they have resources; so, naturally, they can move.  Well, these are things that I cannot explain to myself. . .

Newspaperman:  Influence, in what sense, Dr. Castro?

Dr. Fidel Castro:  They are moving with great freedom of action.  They buy arms and equipment and the authorities in Miami have been very lament and have made their entrance easy, with a minimum of interference in the purchase of arms.  If we know all about it here in Cuba, how are they not going to know about it there?

Newspaperman:  And what about the small plane which distributes papers, Dr. Castro?

Dr. Fidel Castro:  Well, I am not going to add anything more.  I know about the small plane distributing small papers.  One cannot speak too much about these things because we can also drive the pigeon away.  One of these days we are going to catch one of those pigeons.  Here everybody is used to seeing how bombs of 500 pounds are tossed down, and they don't care about small papers.  The people have to feel sure of themselves and have to get used to all this.  With the resources they have, they have boldness and [Unreadable text] and one can expect anything from them.

Naturally, it is not convenience to insist upon this subject.

Newspaperman:  Are they being helped in the United States?

Dr. Fidel Castro:  The U.S. public opinion has repudiated this group of gangsters.  We have some letters which say so.

Newspaperman:  Do you have the letter with you?

Dr. Fidel Castro:  Well, among the papers . . . Generally, they have a fair opinion.  And I am going to mention one case:  In Germany, after the war, people who were not so criminal as those in Miami were killed, and all those whom we have executed were worse than the war criminals of Germany. I am sure that if a survey would be made among the U.S. students, they would [Unreadable text] allow the war criminals to come into the country.

Newspaperman:  To what do you attribute this, Dr. Castro?

Dr. Fidel Castro:  To an erroneous plan on the part of the U.S. authorities, who have given shelter to all these people, who are criminals, murderers, and thieves.


Dr. Castro Ruz:  Murderers, bandits, isn't that a mistake?  What's the difference between [Unreadable text] and Al Capone?  Who was more of a thief?  Who robbed more?  What's the difference between these two gentlemen?  Which of them stole more?  Why is political asylum given to these people?  Because these people do not aim at anything useful.  That is the true political crime.  One cannot aim at conquering power to practice piracy, and it is a fact that they took millions of pesos with them, just as true as you can call them delinquents.  They stole money to have a good time, not even to make a revolution; they robbed to go to night clubs, to go on a spree; they assaulted the citizens and stole everyone in order to spend it in orgies, and we cannot call this political crime . . . We cannot call this exactly what Al Capone did.  Here we arrest these gentlemen, as the International Laws demand it, and we return them to their country.  We had a case here of two persons against whom certain accusations were made, and we consulted the United States and they said that there were no [Unreadable text] to support this and, consequently, they were set free. Our line of conduct is to place all kinds of evidence - dope dealers or any others - in the hands of the authorities of their country.  These gentlemen, on the contrary, enjoy there a liberty that delinquents should not have because this is detrimental to the very authorities of that country and International Law.

Newspaperman:  Al Capone was not arrested for killing but for defrauding Tax Revenues.

Newspaperman:  Dr. Castro, here in the Agrarian Law, there is another aspect which is being widely commented, namely, the hereditary [Unreadable text] of the land.  The Law says that the land can be transferred only by one heir, and there are people who think this may be the cause of family disputes.


Dr. Castro Ruz:  What are the heirs going to do with the farm?  They are either going to divide the profits or divide the land.  Imaging a rural family of 7 members who divide 1 1/2 caballerias among the seven, what is left for each heir?  Don't forget that the [Unreadable text] must be avoided.  Just imaging what would it be if the parcel were divided among the seven children.  A father has seven children and a caballeria of land, which he divides among his seven children giving one-seventh of the total to each.  Then came the grandchildren and each gets one-fourteenth of the total.  They wouldn't be able to keep it if they divide it, but they can retain it if they remain united.  What we mean to say is that they cannot divide the land

and, if sold, it must be sold jointly. The lease contract is not prescribed, but if one remains working the land, would it be fair to continue paying rent to the others?  This would be against the principle of the Law.  There would be one working and paying rent to the other seven; some would be studying at the University and the other paying rent, and that is not fair.  When a Law is made with logic, people criticize it.  In what way should it be made then, so that it won't be criticized?

Newspaperman: It is left to one heir only? It is not compulsory. Can it be retained by one family alone?


Mr. Castro Ruz: If they cannot live there, they should live in the Zapata Swamp when we dry it, or they can earn a living through industrial activities, since the percentage of the population engaged in agriculture is becoming lower. When Cuba becomes industrialized, the percentage of the population now working in the fields will be reduced from 40 to 50 percent; the remainder will be engaged in industry. Industry is another of our great enterprises; it will also take more time and we cannot progress as fast as with the land, but it is also programming, although some believe that they are going to defeat the Revolutionary Government. You will see, and those who believe that with "little tricks" they are going to deter the progress of the Cuban people, will see it too; they will see how wrong they are. I think that we are at the head of all Latin American countries. During the past century -- as a Spanish colony -- Cuba fought against a European nation and all by itself conquered its independence; alone it freed itself of the tolls that were diminishing its sovereignty; alone it fought against tyranny; and alone it will fight and defeat the counterrevolution. With their campaign to sabotage production, they want to deter what the Government of Spain couldn't deter; in spite of it, we are going to have an Agrarian Reform, we are going to have industrial development, you can ask the people. . .


They engendered skepticism and indiscipline among the people to the point where no one believed anything any more because they had always been treasoned; but when, for the first time, the people see that we are fighting without yielding, in spite of these sad antecedents, the people will know how to overcome these obstacles, no matter how much campaigning is made.  Some people are speaking of not buying.  If so, it will be better because in this way we will save foreign exchange to invest it in the purchase of tractors.  These people think that they are going to deter the Revolution because they do not know the people of Cuba, so they tell the people not to buy Cuban products.  The Cuban had lost faith in the domestic products to such an extent that the manufacturers were giving our products American names, and now they are trying to take advantage of this situation.  I won't say that the struggle that is ahead of us pleases us, but this I will say; that the people truly appreciate what is hard to get and can be obtained only at the expense of many sacrifices.  They want permanent victories, such as the place of honor Cuba is going to conquer in Latin America and the future that awaits our children, which can only be obtained at the expense of great sacrifices, but I am sure that the people will pay the price.  Do you know what the cattlemen wanted!  They wanted
400 caballerias for each of their sons.


The Reform tends not only to a better distribution but to the creation of a consumer market, because without a market there can be no industrialization.  These gentlemen have tried to intimidate the people with the ghost of hunger; but it just happens that the majority of the people have been starving and they are used to it.  They try to provoke hunger through economic paralization and then blame the Revolution for it, but the people should know that if there is hunger, they will be the ones to blame for it, as this will be the result of their sabotage tactics,and that this hunger will be temporary, not like the hunger that our peasants suffered for so long.  From the first day we told the people that they should be prepared to endure hunger, and I am the first one who is willing to submit himself to a food diet (Applause).  If this is the sacrifice that the Agrarian Reform imposes on us, let us welcome it, as it will only be temporary.  Next year we will have other resources and production will have increased considerably. When the Zapata Swamp is dried and 15,000 caballerias more will be made available, in addition to the 4,000 cabellerias in the Isle of Pines to plant pangola and foster the raising of Cuba (Brahman) cattle in this suitable region, production is going to increase considerably.

Newspaperman:  And the Cuban lettuce, the production of which has ceased almost entirely.  When is the production of rice going to increase?

Castro Ruz:  Within two years, when the Zapata Swamp will be planted with seed.

Newspaperman:  How many families will be able to live there?

Castro Ruz:  A great many; it all depends on the type of crops that are planted.  Rice supports a family with an income of 2,000 pesos.  In an area of 14,000 caballerias, from 10 to 12 thousand families can live on rice, excluding those who are engaged in transportation, teaching, and other activities.  Estimating five persons per family, the total number of persons may well be 60,000.  We are going to plant different varieties of rice, so that people can eat white rice, as well as chicken and rice, but first we are interested in the quantity and then in the quality. Furthermore, we are going to encourage the consumption of fish, poultry, jerked beef . . .

Newspaperman:  From the cattlemen!


Castro Ruz:  Yes, because we are not going to pay any attention to the protests of the large magnates, since we want to encourage the production of high-quality beef for export.  The same cannot be done with poultry meat, as the latter can be produced in the United States under similar conditions.  With beef, it is different, however,and there is a possibility of exporting 500,000 head annually in a 5-year period, with a value of
80,000,000 pesos.  If we buy jerked beef from Uruguay, we can sell them alcohol and sugar, so it won't be detrimental to the domestic production if people consume jerked beef.  This is the best business our nation can make because it will provide foreign exchange, thus permitting the development of an important economic line of business.  What happens is that the large cattlemen, middlemen, and cattle feeders controlled the most market, and each time they wanted to increase the price of beef, they blackmailed the Government, caused a meat shortage by suspending the supply of meat, and came into an agreement with government officials to increase its price.  In this way, the price was considerably increased.  Each time they caused prices to go up, they didn't do it on the basis of cost-of-living conditions but through blackmail, just as they have been doing with us, threatening us to leave us without meat; but we are just waiting for it.

Moderator:  What would the Government do in that case?


Castro:  We would simply go to the cattle ranches for the head
(Applause).  We would send the rebels to the large latifundia to get the necessary cattle to supply the population.  And you just have to see what happened in Matanzas, where the rebels were in charge of getting the cattle.  Commander Calixto Garcia, companion in the [Unreadable text] expedition, did a wonderful  job.  In Matanzas the rebels took cattle away from many people, especially the cattle obtained through graft.  They brought the cattle for distribution, and even watched how the pound of beef was sold.  There was even someone who was selling the meat and charging for additional weight to prove that it was too expensive; therefore, they were adding more ounces to the real weight.  They supervised the sale and the supply of meat was not suspended in Matanzas.  If they try to take measures against supplying the beef market, we will take countermeasures to lower the price of beef and assure an adequate meat supply, no matter what they say, because they will say that we do not have the right to go to the cattle ranches in search of the cattle, but they do not have the right either to bill people from starvation (Applause).  That is the difference: They used to do this before and now they cannot do it any more.  If there would have been a supply, they wouldn't have been able to exert pressure, and now there would not be a campaign against the importation of jerked beef.  Our concern is not that they won't sell the meat but, on the contrary, that they sell too much meat, because the people should consume more fish.  It is absurd that the people of Cuba have such a low consumption of fish, when we import 8 million peace or fish.  You know that fishermen are paid a trifle for their fish, and later the fish is sold here at extremely high prices ranging from 40 to 45 cents per pound.  The people must increase their consumption of fish, poultry, eggs, and milk, end to that end, the Government is going to reduce the cost of production of feed as well as the price of fish and increase fishing.  We are going to develop all these industries, which can provide work for thousands of Cubans, and we are going to sell the product cheaper and improve our fishing industry, thus saving foreign exchange.


Here we have to balance the diet of the farmer, who never eats fish unless he lives in areas near the rivers, because sometimes people sell him shark for codfish, and we won't say that it is not nutritive, but the farmer is cheated because shark costs less, so they sell it to the farmer as codfish.  We we are going to try to increment the consumption of fish, through certain educational campaigns, since whatever is being done to start antipatriotic campaigns should be counteracted by teaching the farmers that they should consume more fish.  Of course, the farmer does not consume beef, nor poultry, nor milk, nor eggs, nor anything.  We are going to develop a production with a view to supplying the farmer with those products at lower cost.  With regard to beef for domestic consumption, we should consume only as much as it is necessary and concentrate on the development of this produce for export, which would not harm any interests because there is a market for beef.  We have to think about the development of special breeds of cattle, according to foreign market demand, as well as the continued improvement of its quality and the adjustment of most consumption to a certain diet.  The importation of jerked beef does not harm the beef industry but, on the contrary, it will constitute a benefit to us and will permit us to export tobacco and sugar, for example, to Uruguay, where there is a large demand for these products.  They can buy tobacco and sugar from us, and we in turn can buy jerked beef from them, at the same time, permitting us to meet the demand according to the increasing consumer capacity of the people; so this protest is not valid.

Newspaperman:  That will be good news for the tobacco growers since they have been struggling for 20 years for a commercial treaty with Uruguay.


Castro:  We must go into barter negotiations so that instead of wasting our tobacco away, it will serve to obtain better nourishment for the people; and don't tell me that the people eat what they need.  They don't consume as much beef as they need because the consumption of beef is insignificant in this country.  Therefore, to improve the diet of the country, especially when it is going to affect the cattle interests, we have to enter into such type of Commercial Treaty as long as there is an opportunity to do so, instead of wasting our product away.

Newspaperman:  Since the Stabilization Fund exists, tobacco has produced around 20 million pesos.

Castro:  About $6,000,000 has been stolen.  The Agrarian Reform Institute guaranteed a loan of 1,000,000 pesos, plus 1,600,000 pesos which they are already collecting there; that is to say, many times it is necessary to buy poor-quality tobacco that cannot be processed or manufactured, as was the plan of the Stabilization Fund.

What we must try to avoid is that more tobacco be wasted and, as far as tobacco growers are concerned, we are ashamed to talk about them here. Haven't you heard about the sharecroppers' problem in Pinar del Rio?

Moderator:  Just a little.


Castro:  Look here, you know is what consists the sharecropping contract.  There are some small landowners who own their farm, and we have already said that the case of the small landowner can be solved by considering each case individually.  I have the authorization of the Institute.  How are we going to give land to anyone who already has a farm and loses it because there shouldn't be any absentee landowners?

Moderator:  A solution can always be found.

Castro:  Our only concern is that the land is idle when it should be cultivated, which is what we are striving for.  Those who will be affected by this will receive adequate indemnification -- that is within the faculties of the Institute.  So now you know in what does the sharecropping contract consist:  the farmer works the land, but he has to give from 25 to
30 percent of the produce to the tobacco planter.  There may be some business firms which give a gross 30 percent of their product.  Net profits may be considered.

However, the farmer receives the loan and pays 12 percent interests.  He has to buy the fertilizer, which costs between 4 and 9 pesos, and receives for his tobacco crop the minimum price set by the law.  Furthermore, 30 percent of the gross output is taken away from him.

Can anyone conceive a more unfair institution?  In the case of sugarcane, they charge 1/2 arroba of sugar for each 6 arrobas produced.  In the case of tobacco, they take from 25 to 30 percent of the output, in addition to charging a high rage of interest for the expensive fertilizer. Moreover, among these landowners are large magnates and latifundists who are mobilizing the families that, by exception, have been damaged, when we will never leave those families in misery nor in a precarious situation. The family who is affected by the law because it has one or two caballerias of land is not going to be left abandoned.  We can either give them more land or indemnify them.  The case of the small landowners will not constitute a problem.

The mother of one of our companions, who died here, came to see me. She said she had 2 or 3 caballerias in a central in Matanzas, from which she derived a rental income of 600 pesos annually.  There are other cases where people lose their land, and yet they continue to be revolutionaries. The family who ha only one farm from which they make a living, for example, will be allowed to continue to cultivate their land, and we won't leave them helpless and unprotected.

Newspaperman:  Do you intend to go to Pinar del Rio to persuade those tobacco growers?


Dr. Castro:  I am not going to persuade anyone.  They spoke by radio and I am now speaking to them on television.  They gathered there, and we are gathering the people too (Applause).  I can persuade the small landowners because their interests are not opposed to the law.  But I am not going to attempt to persuade the large magnates, who have been mobilizing those small landowners.  I speak publicly, and we are going to have a big concentration in Pinar del Rio, a big concentration.

You know that they have already come to bring the ownership titles of a farm where there are many squatters, leases, and sharecroppers. There are many landowners today who are jointly and spontaneously bringing those titles. The title is a piece of paper, and they do not have to deliver the land because it is already in the hands of the possessors. They cannot say they are not going to deliver it because they have no land. They can keep the papers; what matters is the land. We are not going to search anyone to take their papers away. The land is in the hands of the true possessors or sharecroppers. the land is in the hands of those who are going to receive it and are going to remain there.

In any event, we are going to give more land or a just indemnification to those who have been affected by the law and for whom the land constitutes their only means of support.  Those people will have no problem.

We arrived at Blanca Rosa Urquiaga's farm.  It is a beauty, with the small savings that she obtained.  It has 23 sharecroppers.  Do you know how much those sharecroppers earn annually? One hundred pesos annually -- maybe
140 or 145.  This is just one case among many, where sharecroppers are starving.  There are cases where they have a small parcel in a latifundium or a large farm, but the owners of those large farms are trying to mobilize the group that can be affected by the law.  The maneuver used by the affected interests is to make the small ones speak in their name.  It is apropos to define the boundaries of the fields.  Precisely the small producers, the small cattlemen, the small colonos, the small landowners are freed from the yoke of the large magnates, who have no right to speak in the name of the small ones in order to defend their interests and land the small peasants who are going to be benefited to take counterrevolutionary measures.  That is what they want:  that the small producers will play into the hands of the large affected interests.


Furthermore, they are those who have culture -- they speak English, French, have been in Paris, and have traveled throughout the world. Therefore, there is the latifundium of culture also, because the people didn't have the chance to study, nor the chance to acquire titles; they do not have refined manners, as we said last night, that refined hypocrisy, the art of wheedling, speaking, finding reasons to support their arguments, more than reasons, sophisms.  Then those gentlemen who have the monopoly of culture and money, are those who speak in the name of the little ones. But, needless to say, that we are very clear when we say that those gentlemen are using the small colonos, cattlemen, and sharecroppers for their counterrevolutionary ends.


They do this simply because the law affects the interests of the minority.  They are the same as those who, in the case of the colonos, for example, controlled the Association in times of the Batista dictatorship. Let's see how long they will last.  I have a letter from a farmer in the Central Vertientes, saying that, with regard to the statements of the President there (who had made some statements against the law), they give their full support to the Agrarian Reform.  And the same happens with the small colonos, the small cattlemen, and small producers.  In general, it is a movement directed toward defining their situation, their true revolutionary position, because they do not want the large landholders to present them before the public as counterrevolutionaries, when in fact they have been benefited by the revolutionary laws; otherwise, they would continue to be exploited, as they have been to date, and directed by an opportunist minority.  In face of this campaign, we are going to mobilize the small producers, half a million "guajiros" (peasants), so that they may come with their "yarey" but, their clothes,and their machetes.  The "guajiros" are already seeing the tractors and the plows which are on the way to Camaguay and Las Villas, Oriente and Pinar del Rio.  We already have four development zones.  When was this seen in Cuba before?  does this mean that production is going to decrease at any rate?  Let the large landholders stop worrying, because we are going to cultivate their lands. They don't frighten us, because we consider ourselves sufficiently capable to organize the production.  It is contradictory to speak of a decrease in production when that big flow of agricultural equipment is being sent to all parts of the island.  Do not speak of lack of fertilizer, etc. . .


We are going to have a manufacturing plant of nitrogen fertilizer and another one of gumno, which we are going to manufacture even for export. All threats are temporary.  It is contradictory to speak of a decrease in production when we have at our disposal all the technical did necessary to produce, and we are going precisely to double production through the use of the hand plow and the yoke of oxen.  We have been employing the Roman system, the Egyptian system, which are 2,000 years old or more, in this century of technology.  Those old methods represent ten times more of physical effort in man labor, with a consequent slowing down in the economy of the country.  And now these gentlemen, who had in their hands  the possibility of making the country progress and who never did anything for Cuba, come up with this instead of acting as it is proper of someone who loves this land, those who prefer the country to gold.  At a time when this creative flow is emerging, these wiseacres speak of a decrease in production, and I can tell them to stop worrying, because on half of the land they owned, we are going to produce an equal amount of sugar, and we shall have land available to produce meat, grains, and food crops.  Reason is on the side of the Revolution.  The Agrarian Reform will boost production, because a man with a yoke of oxen and a hand plow cannot produce as much as with a tractor.  That is one of the first advantages.  I want the people to know that a century ago, many hours were needed -- 40,
50, or even many days -- to produce a quintal of wheat.  Today an hour of labor can produce ten times more wheat than what was produced a century ago.


Agricultural technology is beyond discussion.  To date the methods employed in Cuba have been the same as those employed in Rome.  Does this make sense?  Isn't it a contradiction that we still use the hand plow and the yoke of oxen?  and the existence of the "bohios" (thatched-roof huts), full of parasites, without any possibility of health or hygiene, isn't this a contradiction also?  Then, when we have agricultural technology at our disposal, when we are going to make man labor easier, which will permit us to compete with other countries, because we can do it, we do not have a winter season and we can have two crops annually, isn't it a contradiction to speak of a decrease in production?  They want to confound us and to destroy us, but without any base or fundament, because reason is on our side.  They, in fact, are guided by a question of "ceros."  If instead of putting a cero to the right, we would have put two or three, they would be happier.  If we would have granted them 3,000 caballerias, they would be rejoicing now; and if we would have granted them 30,000 caballerias, they would have given us two models . . . And then, in their campaign they speak of totalitarianism.  But the people know that their arguments lack fundament and sound reasoning.

Newspaperman:  A number of the Bureau of Investigations has some documentation that seems very important.

Fidel:  Does it have anything to do with the Agrarian Reform?


Newspaperman:  The counterrevolutionary material.

Fidel:  They are working.  Those are the things that I do not understand.  Those people are now buying arms; all they had was here and they left it to us, and we now keep it very well "greased."  Weapons that we did not have or were acquainted with, big tanks with bullets and projectiles, everything was left here, and now they are engaged in the purchase of arms to come here.

Newspaperman:  After speaking of such business matters as those having to do with three ceros and the three medals, we are going to talk about a matter that is very much spoken of:  we are going to talk about bonds.  We have received a telegram from the Association of Lottery Ticket Sellers and another one from the National Federation of Bond Brokers.  they are not large landholders who agree with the Revolution and the Agrarian Reform but are concerned with bonds and do not agree with the bond system because they say that it leaves losses, and they want to know whether you are still considering the idea of changing this system?

Fidel:  What is it that they want?

Newspaperman:  I am going to read what the telegram says (he reads it).

Fidel:  Let's analyze this.  If five prizes still remain, somebody stole them.  What happened before when a prize was left? It never remained there.  Some days before the offensive, in the Bayamo zone, it just happened that the soldiers won the prize because Batista, after the prize was drawn, divided some lottery tickets among the soldiers and officials to give them the impression that they were lucky.  This time Pastorita has there the prizes that remained.  In the past, the prizes appeared in the hands of the director of the Lottery.  that is not the problem; the problem is that we must know how to defend the deposits, no matter how hard this may be. It is a fact that even if bonds remain, there is a considerable number of people who do not want other system to be established.  There are many people who want the restoration of the bonds to be maintained.  It is true that they are hindering the plan of the sale of bonds.  We are constructing and we think that the Institution can overcome the obstacles that is logically facing now; let them give a solution, but will the solution to be institute gambling again?  Do you know what it means to establish gambling again?  We have no reason for doing this.


We want to sustain the Revolution and maintain our normalizing purposes.  We cannot take a step back in such a healthy problem as is the question of gambling.  We want to save the country and encourage the virtue of saving money; we want to increase the campaign of persuasion for the purchase of bonds; what we do not want is to retract in the question of gambling.  If the State exploits gambling, others will consider themselves in the right to do the same.

Newspaperman:  Do you believe that Lottery with just one prize is virtue and with more than one is vice?

Fidel:  The truth is that before the individual who gambled lost money. A mechanism was established on the basis that the mentality of the people could not change by Decree.  They were going to attempt to gamble clandestinely.  We began by substituting the exploitation of the people through gambling, although the incentive of gambling still exists.  The objective was that the day would come when gambling would be substituted by the sale of savings bonds with a greater interest and incentive, and we understand that here no scientific propaganda was made because with propaganda anything can be sold.  It cannot be explained why a system which permits to give prizes, paying an interest and that does not steal anything from anyone, can be attacked; because a system like this never existed before, in which the prize is given with interest; because before it was more difficult to win the prize and the people bought the number, and also they inscribed themselves in gift plans in order to obtain the possibility of one in a million.  Here the money is returned with interest.  Besides, we are protecting the people against their own vice.

Newspaperman:  The gambler psychologically thinks that his number used to come out because it was in the drawing bowl, and now it is not.

Castro:  But who says that the ball is not in the bowl because it hasn't been dream?

Newspapermen:  But no one has the number . . .

Castro:  Sometimes it is so because if there are 40,000 lottery tickets and 20,000 remain unsold, the prize can be among those which were sold or among those which remained unsold.  The possibility is even.

Newspaperman:  It is a question of the gambler's psychology.  For example, he is playing poker and a friend grasps his chair or talks to him, he thinks that this brings his bad luck.

Castro:  But mathematically he has the same chances to win the prize and we have to change the psychology of the gambler. . .

Newspaperman: I have gambled but haven't won the prize.

Castro:  But in five years you will derive a good interest.

Newspaperman:  A few minutes ago you were saying that this regime is not characterized by violence, but the citizens are alarmed by the shots that escape from the game of the rebels.

Castro:  And do you think that we didn't have trouble with that at the States?  We had to create a law for the loose bullets who could uncover the hidden place of a troop or cost the life of a companion, and we established the death penalty in cases where the loose bullet would bring fatal consequences.  Fortunately, we didn't have to apply this penalty.


Everything costs hardships, and we have great tasks to carry out that require time because not even God could create the world in one day, since he needed seven.  We have to teach the people, adopt measures, and luckily only the bullets are loose and not the people.  We forbid the soldiers to have bullets on a firing position and we teach them how to handle the gun. But let's go back to the bonds.  Have we agreed that you are going to buy bonds?  Then let us tell the people not to get discouraged, that there are many people who do not want this plan changed because never before there has been a savings plan like this.

Newspaperman: Another thing that worries the criticisms is the delay in transferring the trials of political prisoners to civil courts.

Castro:  Did you say the citizens?  You must refer to that group of citizens comprised of the prisoners' relatives.  We shall take this measure, and the procedure for the transfer is being prepared, but if at any time a counterrevolutionary struggle takes place, we shall pose another law transferring the trials to the military courts again.  It is better to prevent them later have to lament (Applause).

Newspaperman:  Last Sunday, on the occasion of the celebration of the Day of the Freedom of the Press, Mr. Gainza Paz said:  "Post dictators and aspirants to present dictatorships."  Do you know to whom he was referring?


Castro: I have no grounds for having an idea as to whom he was referring, but he has said that here a complete freedom of the press did not exist, so it seems to me that he has his sight a little blurred. I suppose that he is thinking in the military ranks, in the traditional genius of the various countries; but I d on't consider myself alluded in any way. Newspapermen should speak more clearly and say who are the true aspirants to dictatorships because these ambiguous expressions lead to confusion, and I cannot conceive these people who are always speaking in a veil ed manner. I understand men who speak clearly and blame the ambiguous language for having confounded us all in Latin America (Applause).


[Unreadable text]:  Dr. Castro, permit us to ask you another question in which the citizens are very interested:  The problem of Channel 12; they have been calling us over the phone in this respect.

Castro:  I am willing to solve all problems.

[Unreadable text]:  Forty stocks, valued at 1,000 pesos each and belonging to Andres Domingo, were found in the savings [Unreadable text] and therefore, Channel 12 was intervened, and it seems that the intervenor slipped up and had problems with the press. Dr. Bustille said there was a mistake that had to be studied further.

Castro:  There were 40 steaks, were they partners or not of Andras Domingo?  They explained this to me; I even considered it and asked again because I was careful not to make any unfounded statements.  I found out that this belonged to the chapter of embezzled possessions and, in this instance, what complicated everything was the association with Morales del Castillo.  In the latifundium, we have maintained our criteria with respect to associations with grafters, because we understand that a common association with embezzlers is a crime in the Rural Code as well as in the Moral Code.  I cannot tell at this moment which procedure will be followed is these cases, which degree of guiltiness exists -- whether it was just a demand for the concession or whether it was a partnership or association. We would have to investigate in order to give a just opinion, so without having those necessary data to form a judgment, I cannot give an opinion. I hope it is solved as soon as possible so that the newspapermen and the workers can resume work again.  We don't want to take anything away from anyone, but what we want to prevent is that anyone will keep anything that has been robbed.  Turbid businesses should not remain unpunished, since we do not want the Revolution to become demoralized.  We have already made too many concessions.  Many embezzlers are walking freely on the streets because revolutionary justice has not been too severe; on the contrary, it has been rather generous.  Here the problem is that we would need Solomon to solve some problems because they are too complicated.  I trust, however, that a solution can be found for the problem of Channel 12, but I cannot answer your question since first we have to see the degree of guiltiness that exists in this matter.


Newspaperman:  All the soldiers of the Batista Army are in an ambiguous situation, and they want to know whether they can retire.  Many of them have been discharged from the army and they want to hear whether they can occupy civil positions because, in this ambiguous situation, they are neither soldiers nor civilians.

Castro:  The dictatorship is to blame for this because everything that has happened had been said previously by us, and somewhere around here I have my pamphlet (he reads).

Newspaperman:  I read it at that time, which was more difficult than now.

Castro:  It is convenient to read it once in a while.  Here where we said that the army . . . (he reads).  We do not instead to discharge all soldiers since we cannot consider that all men were bad.  Many of them were due to old aspirations of the rural people to enlist in the army, and we had to discharge some because guns and ammunition were lost and, in face of such a situation, how could we felt sure in the headquarters where the arms were kept with the presence of such a numerous troop of the old army? So as a security measure, we had to discharge almost the entire army with a few exceptions. It was against our will, but we had to do it for State matters.  We continued to pay them for some months, which involved a series of economic sacrifices, in order not to leave them on the streets.  In the case of an army officer, who has spent sufficient time in the service to be eligible for retirement, it is fair to give him the right to retire.  If he still needs to serve a longer period of time to be entitled to retirement, let the years he already spent in service be accredited him for his later retirement in another position.  We do not have the least intention to deprive him of the right to occupy other civil positions.  In cases where military men have been punished or trialed for inhuman actions committed by them. . . that is another story.  This is my reply to this question.

Newspaperman:  You have said on several occasions that culture has always been in Cuba a weapon in the hands of vested interests.


Castro:  That it has always been a weapon in the hands of vested interests?  That certain people who have had access to culture have had the monopoly?  We cannot say this in general terms because there have been many thinkers who have been at the service of the nation.  The large cattlemen and their families have certainly had access to culture, which the people didn't have, and I am not referring to the intellectuals.

Newspaperman:  I was not referring to them but to the means which were in the hands of those interests and to which you have made reference.

Dr. Fidel Castro:  Well, not exactly.  I have access here to this podium, as well as many other citizens, to express their views.  But, in general terms, we can way that the most powerful economic sectors are the ones who have greater access to means and resources with which to pay for propaganda and advertisements; a certain amount of money is needed even to use a newspaper for propaganda purposes of any nature.  This cannot be done by the small cattleman, but only by the large cattleman, who sometimes even pays those campaigns with the money of the small cattleman.

Newspaperman:  But you know that here in Cuba the National Institute of Culture has an appropriation of only 6,000 pesos annually.

It is of interest to the Revolutionary Government . . .

Dr. Castro:  Do you know if they have this appropriation in the new budget?  The appropriations for Education exceed 90 million pesos in the new budget.

Newspaperman:  For cultural acts of the National Institute of Culture. I am not referring to the Administration.  I was very much interested in hearing you talk about this, because it seems to me that the same as the traitors are being placed within the reach of the people, the same should be said of music, the theater. . .

Dr. Castro:  The books are being placed within reach . . .

Newspaperman:  The textbooks, but not other books, whose prices are extremely high.

Dr. Castro: there is the National Printing Law. It also deals with books, although I don't know whether it is only applicable to textbooks but, in any event, the Minister of Education and the Revolutionary Government are willing to bank with the necessary credit the expansion of the culture of our people; the same as I am of the opinion that we must help the ballet. You know that government support was taken away from them during the Dictatorship. We have a series of first-class artistic manifestations which we must convey to the world in order to help people know Cuba. We can send our companies of artists to the United States and the rest of America, so that they will come to visit us and know how Cuba is like.


Dr. Castro:  Just take a look at the newspaperman.  They are earning 22 pesos per week. Who can live with 22 pesos?  The intellectual working class is underpaid in Cuba.  The Revolution is beginning to reinstate the pays of the intellectual workers, the teachers, who are going to receive better salaries, according to a resale system.  We cannot do this at once because we do not have sufficient revenues to increase their salaries too much.  We have to proceed slowly.  We will go little by little, but just take a look at the salaries that the teachers, in general, and the engineers are being paid today in Public Works; just the same, the Agrarian Reform Institute is going to pay good salaries to its engineers.  We are beginning to raise the level of the intellectual worker, who is underpaid in Cuba.

Newspaperman:  What social reform laws still remain to be enacted by the Government?

Dr. Castro:  The basic Law of the Revolution, the question of Retirement, and a series of social-type legislation that still has to be made.

Newspaperman: Could you outline them? In some sectors, people are afraid to invest because the types of measures which the Government plans to take are as yet unknown.


Dr. Castro:  At the moment, the effort and energy of the Government are principally directed toward the realization of the Agrarian Reform and toward the increase is domestic production and economic development.  We have to go forward, according to th program that the Revolution has set forth.  Don't you think that the Agrarian Reform by itself imposes on us a huge task that has to be accomplished?  There are many other measures.  The Revolution has not completed its work program.  But essential measures, such as the Agrarian Reform, can be considered the basic measures of the Revolution.  But they would not be lame, then; they would be measures, programs to develop agriculture and industry.  There still remains to be done, for instance, the Penitentiary Reform, the Tariff Reform, the General Educational Reform.

Newspaperman:  What do you mean by the General Educational Reform?


Dr. Castro:  It is a little late already.  We are determined to organize the Educational Reform as a whole, from the Kindergarten to the Secondary School.

Newspaperman:  Without touching private education?

Dr. Castro:  I am referring to that of the State.  We will develop it progressively, trying to improve it in the six provinces.  Up to the present time, the educational centers have been organized in a disarticulated manner, without keeping any relation.  We have to prepare the professors for the Nation's aims.  The university students are now being oriented to technical professions, in accordance with our industrial, economic and agricultural purposes.  In short, above all, we intend to produce professionals according to the needs of the country.  We have to introduce modern methods of teaching an an organic whole.  Study without vocation cannot be conceived.

Newspaperman:  Don't you think that in the Secondary Education, the excess of scientific subjects has contributed to a great extent to that lethargy of the civic conscience of which you have spoken about?

Dr. Castro:  I am not a technician in educational matters, but my personal impression of the Secondary School (Bachillerate) is that is it a Kindergarten for grown-ups, since it is a teaching based on memory.  Memory is being tortured by imposing it the task of remembering names that are later forgotten, and if a title is not obtained, the profession has been entirely useless.  I think that not one single minute of life should be spared.  A minimum of culture is necessary to teach men to think and develop their thinking, as well as to prepare them to attain an objective in life.

Newspaperman:  Are you in favor of the division of the Bachillerate into Sciences and Letters?


Dr. Castro:  The Bachillerate must have an objective in itself.  It seems to me that specialization should start before the fourth year.  A greater culture should be given to youngsters of from 10 to 12 years old, and then prepare them by stages to occupy determined positions.  We should go a little more toward specialization without abandoning general culture. The youngsters can be easily directed, since an early age up to 13 years old, so that they can start specializing in the fifth grade -- some in Science and some in Letters.  They enter the University without having a notion of what they are going to study and without being prepared for such a career.

Newspaperman: Some study Law and then shift to Medicine.  At that time, they could make such changes, but now those who study Sciences have to finish Sciences at any rate.

Dr. Castro:  When does a boy determine what he wants to study?  At the age of fourteen, usually one can already discover a vocation in a man.

Men can find their vocation at the age of 25 or 30.  There is a study made by some writer on vocation which complains that sometimes a man discovers his vocation when he is 30, 35 or 40 years old.  But this is the exception.  Some tendencies can be observed at the age of 12 and 14.

Newspaperman:   What function have the Regional Centers created within the Rebel Army in the Agrarian Reform program, and what is the goal set for the former in that Law?

Dr. Fidel Castro:  In the Agrarian Reform, the farmer is the social factor called to be the defender of the law, and he is organized in order to be more prepared to achieve his purpose.

Newspaperman:  And what about these Regional Centers?

Dr. Fidel Castro:  They are the organisms created to collaborate with the Agrarian Reform.

Newspaperman:  I am referring to the law which created them within the Rebel Army -- the one on technical assistance to the former.

Dr. Fidel Castro: they form part of the law which was created by the Department of Assistance to the Rebel Army.  There are different aspects. As far as teaching is concerned, there is already a commission of volunteers who are giving classes at the Sierra Maestra.  The Departments for Reforestation, Technical Assistance, and Culture were also created. The purpose is to assist the farmers and the victims of war as soon as possible.  It is a Department related to the Agrarian Reform.

Newspaperman:  With regard to the plans for industrialization, do you contemplate the creation of the war industry in the country?


Well, we had the best war armament industry in Cuba because we took the arms away from Batista's soldiers. No, this type of industry is not being contemplated.

Newspaperman:  I am referring to Colonel Barqufa's mission.

Dr. Fidel Castro: The war armament industry is very technical and the arms produced here to be of good quality. . . and this requires experience.

We trust more the arms that might be brought by our economies than those which we could manufacture.

Newspaperman:  And the Dominican weapons?

Dr, Fidel Castro:  We were the ones who lost there, because we were told that the San Gristobal was the same as the M-1, but later we started to see the defects.  We have enough with the arms of Batista's soldiers.

Newspaperman:  Speaking of the Agrarian Reform.  We have received several telephone calls with regard to Article 63 of the Agrarian Law on cases of hairs at law, and they want to know whether in such cases it would be possible to provide authorization of a division among legitimate heirs with a limit of 30 caballerias assigned to each.

Dr. Fidel Castro: That is impossible.  The property of a corporation is also undivided property.  In the case of the United Fruit, for instance, we would have to distribute their properties among 2 million stocks.

Newspaperman:  In the case of a family having 150 caballerias, for instance, each of them should have 30 caballerias, which is the legal limit.

Dr. Castro Ruz:  And what is the difference between a father who is alive and one who is dead?  Let's take as an example the case of a father of seven children who is already dead and, due to this circumstance, he has the right to divide the farm of 150 caballerias among them.  The difference between a father who is dead and one who is alive must be established, because on the same basis all these who have the father alive can come here to claim the same rights.  No one will be allowed to succeed any matural or juridical person.

Newspaperman:  The answer has been made clear to the televisioners.


Dr. Castro Ruz:  This is a legal and juridical answer.

My family was affected by this Law.  We cannot do anything about it. It is a matter of economic principles.  If we start dividing the land, there wouldn't be an Agrarian Reform. Here everyone used to break the law, and it has always been said that the one who made the Law invented the trick also. Here a tail has been put to every law.  Here everybody has brothers, sons, cousins, and the land is divided among the family; that is why we introduced this law since the first of January; it is very easy to start distributing latifundia and simulate sales.  There are cases more or less painful, where the patrimony should not be divided, but there is nothing else we can do.

Newspaperman:  The leasee has the right to a portion of the land in cases where he pays a rent, as well as in cases where he is in arrears in paying the rent, does he have to pay the arrears before being able to enjoy the benefits of the Agrarian Reform or is the INRA going to pay the leases?

Dr. Castro Ruz:  Debts are taken into consideration, whether they are mortgages or liens on the land.

Newspaperman:  It was made clear here that. . .

You stated that the obligation to deliver the ownership titles is not compulsory and that a term of 90 days was given for the information of those concerned.  Then, those who plant tobacco and have less than 30 caballerias, can they start to plant at once?

Castro:  Yes, of course, and they can make a request for credit to finance the crop.

Newspaperman:  You spoke of a project to construct a highway in the Isle of Pines, in which the Government wouldn't have to make any investment.


Castro:  I have explained to the people that first we have to develop the crops and then to reduce the cost of transportation and increase tourist attractions, because there are fabulous places there and a hotel has been built which is a winner, but they charge a tremendous rate.  A low rate is going to be fixed in the summer for the national tourist and a higher rate during the winter for foreign tourists.  After carrying out all these measures, we shall proceed to build the highway, which may cost 80 million pesos. But who said that it is not going to cost money to anyone? If a toll is collected, it would be a tax paid by the people; but before we have to build an electric plant instead of thinking about onerous concessions. We are going to invest 10 million pesos in agricultural development and suppress the free zone, because the people have requested this unanimously.  The Isle of Pines has been exploited by the the first as well as the last of the pirates, and it is necessary to reintegrate it to the rest of the Island.  The people of Isle of Pines realize that it is necessary to suppress the free zone before investing the 10 million pesos since, otherwise, it would be spent in foreign products.

Newspaperman:  Is the building of the prison going to be converted into a hotel?

Castro:  No; there we will raise chickens.  The crimes which were committed in the Isle of Pines prison spread tenebrous legends throughout the Island since the times of Castall.  It is not convenient to maintain the prison there, since the population has lived in constant tension due to the evasion of prisoners, awaiting to hear the shots that would confirm their capture.


That type of prison must be eliminated, since one should be constructed in each Province in order not to separate the prisoners from their relatives and prevent their being dehumanized. We must take them where the relatives can visit them. That prison in the Isle of Pines is completely absurd, and we intend to achieve our p urpose through the Penitentiary Reform, since it costs a fortune to poor families to have to go from Oriente or any other province to visit their imprisoned relatives in the Isle of Pines.

A businessman in the Isle of Pines told me that if the Free Zone were suppressed, he would be affected together with his 25 employees.  this only serves to demonstrate the patriotism of the people, since when things are explained to them, they understand everything.  We are going to spend 10 million pesos in the Isle of Pines instead of the 1 million pesos that have been spend there for many years.

Newspaperman:  Is the suppression of the Vivac and Castillo del Principe prison being contemplated as one of the plans of the Penitentiary Reform?

Dr. Fidel Castro:  I think there is a project to that effect.  It is better to leave those ancient castles as historic sites.

Newspaperman:  I want to ask you what is the project with regard to the payment of the Havana Tunnel toll.

Dr. Fidel Castro:  The toll of the Havana Tunnel has to be paid according to a fix rate.  We have reduced it from 20 to 10 cents, and the income derived from it will be used for the implementation of the Agrarian Reform.  Furthermore, there is an annual expenditure for the maintenance of electricity and the support of employees who make a living out of the Tunnel, so we are going to use the administration funds of the Tunnel for the Agrarian Reform.  In this way, the people are going to pay more willingly, and this money is going to be invested in tractors, plows, etc.


We are going to have a big automobile festival on the first of July to celebrate the inauguration of the public beaches.  The Revolutionary Government can say with pride that it has already terminated the beaches of Bacuranao, Jibacca and Megano, which have nothing to envy to the private clubs; and it has accomplish this without giving it a lot of publicity. therefore, a Revolution which took power in January has made possible for the people to be able to enjoy these beaches this summer.

Sixty-five beaches will be opened to the public throughout the Island. In Veradero, there are many residences which will be rented to rich tourists, and this will help most expenses so that the boys can go to the public beaches.  We have the satisfaction to know that the Revolution has made this accomplishment possible.

I remember the Viriato Beach because all the people who went swimming used to speak of the Viriato Beach.  There we have the Bacuranao Beach, where there were trolly cars and, nevertheless, after 5 months it has a swimming pool which has nothing to envy to the private modern swimming pools, and this without taking anything away from the people who have their swimming pools there.  There they are.  We have not taken anything away from anyone, not even from those who built one in the Miramar neighborhood. The people are going to have large swimming pools.  They are going to have hygienic conditions and comfort.  There will be order without alcoholic beverages because alcoholic beverages will not be sold in the beaches, so that everybody will behave well, with due respect, and they will have everything at cost price.  They will have their huts, their sport fields, their tennis courts, volley ball and soft ball fields -- they will have everything.  We will do this throughout the Island, especially in the area near Santiago de Cuba, in Oriente, as soon as the Santiago-Pilon highway is started.  In that zone, there are a lot of wonderful beaches.

In all these centers we will construct the beaches of Cuba, which will be administered by the Ministry of Defense through the Navy.  The Bacuranao beach has not been finished yet, and last Sunday there were 3,000 people there.  Other beaches will also be crated in the western zone.


This is one of the accomplishments of the Revolutionary Government, which is only a sample of what is coming next, in spite of the forecasts of those who say that the country is going to be ruined.  When at the end of last century it was said that slavery should be suppressed because it was cruel and abusive, the proslavery advocates also stated that if slavery was abolished and those men, who were beaten and maltreated, ceased to work, the sugar economy would be ruined, production would decrease, and the economy of the country would collapse, which is what the large landholders are saying now with respect to the Agrarian Reform.  But future generations will come, and they will say:  "How silly?  How could they have possibly said that the country was going to be ruined!  With that measure, the country advances.  With the abolishing of slavery practices, the industrial development progressed."  And, the future generations will look upon the small conflicts that we are now facing as matters of the past.

Newspaperman:  With regard to the beaches, what was that of "without alcoholic beverages". . . drinks are romantic.

Dr. Castro:  Those who want to drink shall have to go to another beach. Do you think that people should go to the beach to drink?  One goes to the beach to have a good time, to enjoy the sun, the air.  Let them take soft drinks, sandwiches, ice cream -- there are a thousand other things they can take.  It doesn't have to be alcohol; it can be guarupo [soft drink made of sugarcane], which is delicious -- guarupo before being fermented -- what else is alcohol but fermented guarupo?

Newspaperman:  There is a small glass here. . .

Dr. Castro:  Fortunately, I don't have the habit of drinking, but I do it on account of my throat.

Newspaperman:  As a medicine?

Dr. Castro:  As a hygienic measure.  That is all I have taken.

Newspaperman:  We were going to talk about the Tax Reform, with regard to the social news section.

Dr. Castro:  You know that everybody has their own initiative. Officially, we haven't had any news about the Tax Reform Law.  Right now I plan to revise it and study it.  The initiative was not of such a nature as to bring the world to an end by passing the law, but it served as a humorous escape to many, and to others, to make some notice with respect to the methods used by the Revolutionary Government.


My opinion in this matter is very personal and individual.  If we take the social news away from some people, what are we going to leave them?  As long as the latifundium is eliminated and the Agrarian Reform implemented, we don't care whether a Court is a Marquis or not.  We are not going to be concerned about that.

Newspaperman:  There is a tax exemption for the sale of books, and those who sell newspapers and magazines have asked to be included in this exemption.

Dr. Fidel Castro:  I don't think we will collect much from this.

Newspaperman:  There is a question about the sale of parcel lots on the installment plant.

Dr. Fidel Castro:  With regard to lots sold in neighborhoods, those which didn't have a sewage system, street sidewalks, and other requirements, will have to be valued again, but those who had these requirements will not have to be revalued.  That is the law.  I think that the Household Commission has organized a Department which is in charge of this evaluation.

Newspaperman:  But the price has been lowered retrogressively.

Dr. Fidel Castro:  But the contract was made under such provisions and in some way a difference had to be established between the one that made a good neighborhood out of another one.  Laws cannot benefit all interests. In some cases, they benefit the majority, and in others only a few.

Dr. Castro Ruz:  Those who bought those lots were very poor people who had no money nor the means to make money.  And the law takes them into consideration.

Newspaperman:  We want to make clear that we do not pretend to break any record, we are going to set a time limit.

Dr. Castro Ruz:  Every day I have more work to do, and there are hours which I take away from my daily rest.

Newspaperman:  I propose a question for each member of the panel and one for the Moderator.  Is that all right with you?

Dr. Castro Ruz:  It is all right with me.

Massens:  There is a question, Dr. Castro, which many persons have asked me with religious concern, pointing out to the fact that all the combatants manifested their religious belief by wearing a religious medal, and nevertheless, there is a catholic group who wants to make a statement in this respect.  They pointed out the fact that in all Cuban families God is invoked and that in the Cuban Constitution, at the very beginning, there is such mention of God's name; however, in the Fundamental Law, the name of God is not invoked.  The question is this:  Was this an oversight or is there any other reason to avoid this invocation on God?

Dr. Castro Ruz: I cannot tell you when this happened, as far as the Constitution is concerned.  I remember Sanguily's speech, "which was like an anchor suspended in the space," and the name of God was included in the Constitution.  I think that I agree with Sanguily's point of view.  Those are not fundamental problems, nor they should constitute a matter of debate.  The fundamental problems are the Agrarian Law, and not whether God's name is mentioned in the Constitution or not.

Newspaperman:  The Agrarian Law is under the jurisdiction of the Institute or is it attached to the Judicial Power?

Dr. Castro Ruz:  It has to belong to the Judicial Power, those are tribunals. . .

Yes, those courts are created to settle and pass judgment on problems arising from the application of the Law.

Newspaperman:  But, will they be under the jurisdiction of the Institute or will they form part of the Judicial Power?


Castro Ruz:  The procedure has not yet been established, but the intention is to create a type of court which will expeditiously settle land problems through a simple and effective procedure, and not as they were solved before; sometimes it took several years to solve a question.  In this respect, we will try to adjust ourselves to the general principles of the judiciary in Cuba.

Newspaperman:  And what about the institution that existed in Cuba before -- the elections -- is nothing being said about it?

Castro Ruz:  Do you think that institution is so discredited that no one speaks about it? But there is an institution of which I heard about a long time ago, which is called rest.  I am going to feel very happy the day that I can make us of it.  I the elections represent rest, they would be to my advantage.  In the midst of this tremendous task that we have before us, for which we do not find enough employees, if we start making politics, the results are going to be catastrophic.  The consensus of opinion is this: That as soon as the Nation demands it, we will go to elections.  It is our purpose to find measures that will suppress the vices of the traditional politics and not the electoral institution, but elections must be convoked as a democratic instrument in favor of the people and not to please those who have discredited the word elections and who are using it now with a view to detarring the Revolution.


If we make a public call to reassure public support to the Revolution, you will see that the attitude of the people is favorable.  With the struggle that we have ahead of us, however, it would be better for us to be interrupted in our plans and hold elections as soon as possible, that is, as soon as the circumstances are adequate.  The problem is that the word "elections" has been confused with "political chicanery."  I understand that a survey is being made and that there is a great number of people who speak of elections; later we may have another orientation as to when the people want elections held.

In this matter, we cannot overlook the desire of the people and we have to find out the true wisdom of the population, without any "pro or con" campaigns, so that the people may spontaneously show their feeling with regard to this matter.  The Revolution needs time to accomplish its purpose, and the less it is interrupted, the sooner this will be possible. If one can work without interruptions, the time needed will be considerably less.  It seems to me that once the Agrarian Reform is completed, which is the basic point of the Revolution, elections can be held at any time.

Newspaperman:  The Government contemplates the possibility of an economic reprisal on the part of those foreign governments whose citizens have been affected in their interests.

Castro:  We believe that any type of reprisal would be unfair because we are fighting for the good of the country, and it is only just that the nations and the people of other nations look forward to enjoying the wealth of their soil.  The Constitution of 1940 says that the State will adopt the pertinent measures to revert the land to Cuban hands, so we have fulfilled this precept.  An economic reprisal would be unfair and would constitute an aggression to the interests of the nation.

Newspaperman:  Do you believe in the possibility of such a reprisal?

Dr. Fidel Castro:  I cannot comment on this any further since, as I think this would be unfair, I do not believe in this possibility.

Newspaperman:  Isn't this purpose being contemplated in relation to the stabilization of the Cuban sugar through a treaty with the United States?


Dr. Fidel Castro:  We consider that with regard to the sugar system, its treatment should be influenced by a commercial agreement.  What happens with the sugar quota is that it has always been solved unilaterally by the Congress of the United States, without Cuba's intervention in this matter, and any type of commercial treaty with the United States should include the question of the sugar quota because it is of fundamental interests to our economy.

Newspaperman:  Is the Government interested in the investment of foreign capital in domestic industries?

Dr. Fidel Castro:  It depends on the type of investment.

Newspaperman:  In what sense?

Dr. Fidel Castro:  In certain basic industries, for instance, but I think it is better that the money be loaned to us.  Unless it is a basic industry, we are not interested in the investment.

We would appreciate it more if they would led us all the money we need to establish all the necessary industries.  In this way, we could pay the interests and amortize the capital, and the industry would remain in the hands of the nation.  Of course, it all depends on the circumstances under which the investment of foreign capital would be deemed necessary.

Dr. Castro:  It would be an ideal thing if we could obtain the financing necessary to create industries that would remain for the welfare of the nation.

Moderator:  The last question of the moderator:  Maritime.  We have spoken of the land and the sea, but only about fisheries.  You know that in Cuba about 160 million dollars are paid annually in cargo freights.

Dr. Castro:  I must say that I do not know if this is all paid in freight.

Newspaperman:  In sugar cargo freights:  import and export.  The Government is fostering the National Merchant Marine.  I would like to know two things.  The problem of the Canadian ships, for example, how is this matter developing?

Dr. Castro:  This is one of the many complicated problems that we have inherited.  The manner in which the operation was made makes it very difficult for us to revoke it, for reasons even of a political nature, as it implies that the Government cannot go against its own nations.  In view of the difficulty encounters in obtaining the ships -- it has even been a dubious business -- since we have invested half a million pesos, our efforts to have this money returned to us have impeded to solve one thing or the other.  The problem lies in that there was another credit organization guaranteeing the operation and, if this is not solved, it could well result in our having to pay for the ships -- ships that we are not sure we can bring here.  It is a very complicated problem.

Newspaperman:  Is the Revolutionary Government contemplating a campaign to the effect that Cuban merchants will have a preference for Cuban ships?

Dr. Castro:  There is a bill project, which is being studied by the Office of Maritime Development, so that we may have the right to claim our share in the purchase and sale freightage, which is the only by which we can maintain the Merchant Marine.


La Habana