REFLECTIONS BY THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF
The demise of the
The Gross Domestic Product progressively plummeted to 35 percent. What country could have withstood such a terrible blow? We were not defending our lives; we were defending our rights.
Many left-wing parties and organizations became
discouraged in the wake of the collapse of the
The reactionaries’ criticisms coming from all
platforms and mass media were ferocious.
We did not add our voices to the chorus of capitalism’s apologists, beating
a dead horse. Not one statue to the
creators or followers of Marxism was demolished in
Nor had we ever practiced personality cults in our country, something that we had taken the initiative to prohibit right from the first days after the triumph.
In peoples’ history, it has been subjective factors that have brought forward or delay outcomes, independently of the leaders’ worth.
I spoke to Lula about Che, briefly outlining his story for him. Che used to argue with Carlos Rafael Rodríguez about the of self-financed and the budgetary method, things we didn’t consider that important then as we were involved in the struggle against the US blockade, their aggression plans and the 1962 October Missile Crisis, a real survival issue.
Che studied the budgets of the great Yankee companies
whose managers lived in
What happened in the
He was a self-sacrificing, studious and profound man;
he died in
You didn’t know him, I told him. He was disciplined in voluntary work, in his studies and behavior. He was modest and selfless, and he set an example both in production centers and in combat.
I think that in building socialism, the more the privileged receive, the less will go to the neediest.
I repeat to Lula that time measured in years was now flying by very quickly; each one of them was multiplying. One can almost say the same about each day. Fresh news is published constantly, relating to the situations anticipated in my meeting with him on the 15th.
With plenty of economic arguments, I explained to him that when the Revolution triumphed in 1959, the United States was paying for an important part of our sugar production with the preferential price of 5 cents a pound; for almost half a century this would be sent to that country’s traditional marketplace which was always supplied, at critical moments, by a secure supplier just off their shores. When we proclaimed the Land Reform Law, Eisenhower decided what had to be done, and we hadn’t yet nationalized their sugar mills –it would have been premature to do so– nor had we yet applied the agrarian law of May 1959 to the large estates. Because of that hasty decision, our sugar quota was suspended in December 1960, and later redistributed among other producers in this and other regions of the world as punishment. Our country became blockaded and isolated.
Worst of all was the lack of scruples and the methods
used by the empire to impose its domination over the world. They brought viruses into the country and
destroyed the best sugarcane; they attacked the coffee, the potatoes and also
the swine. The Barbados-4362 was one of
our best varieties of sugarcane: early maturity, a sugar yield that sometimes
reached 13 or 14 percent; its weight per hectare could exceed 200 tons of cane
in 15 months. The Yankees resorted to
pests to wipe out the best. Even worse:
they brought in the hemorrhagic dengue virus that affected 344 thousand people
and took the lives of 101 children. We
don’t know whether they used other viruses –perhaps they didn’t because they
were afraid of the proximity of
When due to these problems we couldn’t send to the
When Lula asked me what the purchasing power was of 5 cents, I explained that with one ton of sugar at that time we could by 7 tons of oil; today, the reference price of light oil, 100 dollars, will only buy one barrel. The sugar we export, at current prices, would only suffice to import oil that would be used up in 20 days. We would have to spend about 4 billion dollars per year to buy it.
figures on Brazilian agricultural products that are of great interest. He tells me that he had a study made by the
Brazilian press showing how world soy production will grow 2 percent annually
until 2015, which means an additional production of 189 million tons of
What is the problem?
Many countries already don’t have any more land available for crops.
I add to his explanation that what many Latin American countries have are millions of people earning starvation salaries and growing coffee, cacao, vegetables, fruits, raw materials and goods at low prices to supply US society which no longer saves and consumes more than it can produce.
Lula explains that they have set up an EMBRAPA
research office –Agriculture and Livestock Research Company of
“Thirty years ago, Fidel, that area of Brasilia, Mato Grosso, Goiás, was considered a part of Brazil that had nothing, it was just like the African savannah; in the course of 30 years, it was transformed into the major grain producing region in all of Brazil, and I think that Africa has an area that is very much like this region in our country; that's why we set up the research office there in Ghana and we also would like to become associated with Angola.”
He told me that
I make the comment that
Fish in the cool waters that mainly flow around its western coast feed the developed countries that sweep into their nets all the large and small species that feed on the plankton in the ocean currents coming in from the South Pole.
Africa, having almost 4 times the surface area of Brazil (18.91 million square miles) and 4.3 times more population than Brazil (911 million inhabitants) is very far from being able to produce Brazil’s surplus foods, and its infrastructure is yet to be built.
The viruses and bacteria affecting potatoes, citrus,
bananas, tomatoes, and livestock in general, swine fever, avian flu,
foot-and-mouth disease, mad cow disease, and others that in general affect the
livestock of the world, proliferate in
I spoke to Lula about the Battle of Ideas that we are waging. Fresh news arrives constantly that demonstrates the need for that constant battle. The worst media of our ideological enemies are bent on spreading throughout the world the opinions of some nasty ‘worms’ who cannot even stand to hear the term “socialism” in our heroic and generous country. On January 20th, five days after the visit, one of these papers published the story of a young ne’er-do-well who, thanks to the Revolution, had attained a good level education, health and employment situation:
“Don’t even mention socialism to me”, and he went on to explain the cause of his anger: “many people were pawning their souls just to get a few dollars. Anything new that happens in this country, whatever it is, they should give it another name," he declares. Quite the little wolf dressed up as a granny.
The very same reporter, who prints this, gleefully
goes on: “Official propaganda telling the Cubans to go to the polls talks more
about the Revolution than about socialism.
For a start,
We are dealing with imperial capitalism’s vulgar appeal to individual egoism, as it was preached almost 240 years ago by Adam Smith to be the cause of the nation’s wealth, meaning everything should be handled by the market. That would create limitless wealth in an idyllic world.
I think of
It is about these issues that I spoke with Lula.
Fidel Castro Ruz