Document 2: 2 September 1961 – B. Ponomarev report on Blas Roca‘s reception in the TsK KPSS [Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union] and attachment (text of Fidel Castro‘s message to the TsK KPSS)
2 SEP 1961
TO THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE KPSS
Arriving in Moscow, the General Secretary of the People’s Socialist Party of Cuba, Comrade Blas Roca, reported that Fidel Castro authorized him to inform the TsK KPSS on the situation in the country, on preparations to create a Unified Marxist Party, and before the arrival of Cuban President Dorticos to the USSR, to tentatively discuss a number of issues of economic aid to Cuba.
Comrade Roca announced that he had hoped to meet with the TsK KPSS before his departure to Prague, which should take place on 6 or 7 September, in order to meet with Dorticos and participate in discussions with the Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
It would be appropriate to receive Comrade Blas Roca at the TsK KPSS.
A draft resolution of the TsK KPSS and the text of a letter from Comrade Blas Roca to the TsK KPSS are attached.
Head of International Department
2 September 1961
LETTER TO TsK KPSS
1. The most important problems with the situation in Cuba
1. On the declaration of the socialist character in the Cuban Revolution
This pronouncement corresponds to the socio-economic and political changes that Cuba underwent.
An announcement on this was made in a timely manner, bearing in mind Cuba’s domestic and foreign political situation.
The announcement made it possible, with greatest clarity, to begin discussing the primary challenges facing us, the challenges of a transitional period.
2. On organizing the United Party of the Cuban Socialist Revolution
Advancing the revolution has gradually forced us onto a path of unification.
A united front would have made it difficult for the party to lead; merging facilitates arriving at a solution to this challenge.
A united front would have helped strengthen non-Marxist centrist groups, whereas merging made it possible for us to declare Marxism-Leninism as the predominant ideology of the revolution and revolutionary organizations.
Merging made it possible to crush the rightward shift to the “26th of July Movement” and enabled the elimination of the dissenting sentiments in the “13 March Directorate”.
Unity in practice: unifying revolutionary organizations. Advancing this process at the present time. Drafting the Charter and Program and their fundamental agreed guidelines. Schools for training personnel.
The difficulties and challenges before us, and the prospects.
3. On economic challenges
A defining factor in this regard is the growth of production: agricultural and industrial output grew, and an increase in employment was also observed. Plans for the country’s industrialization and the growth of livestock breeding are in progress.
Difficulties arose due to the fact that demand has grown more quickly than production. The imperialist blockade has deprived us of a number of products and goods, which is particularly felt in the areas of fats and meats.
We are experiencing shortages in: fats, meat, potatoes, and a number of Cuban varieties of toothpaste, oil, and some fabrics.
We recently held a national meeting on issues of manufacturing, during which the question was raised regarding the shortage of a number of foods and goods, why the shortage exists, and methods and means to overcome it.
In December 1962, we will already be able to dispense with rationing fats and oils. In March 1962 we will be able to send from 6 to 7 million chickens to market every month, which – along with achieving target figures for fishing – will make it possible by June 1962 to meet the most urgent needs for protein products. Starting in December 1961, we will have all varieties of potatoes in abundance.
This all happens, of course, on the condition that we will be able to provide a normal harvest of sugar cane next year.
4. Main issues that will arise during the meetings with Dorticos
A. Our country’s predominant problem involves manufacturing sugar and, primarily, in supporting the coming sugar cane harvest, the reaping and processing of which begins in January.
Our economy still depends on the manufacture of sugar. Traditionally, sugar makes up 80% of all our export in monetary terms.
America’s discontinuation of purchases of our sugar has been particularly damaging, since the American market carries away some 3.2 million tons of sugar at a higher cost than that of the world market. This made it possible for us to achieve an average profitable production, since the world market cost is, as a rule, lower than the production cost.
The world market currently has a sugar surplus; thus, we cannot count on the market absorbing more than it took before, nor can we count on prices increasing above the cost of sugar production.
It was specifically this problem that was the reason for the visit that we initially had wanted to organize for Fidel, and now Dorticos is orchestrating it. It is now necessary to discuss with you ways to coordinate our sugar production with the requirements of the Eastern bloc.
– Our future harvest will yield from 5,700 to 6,200 thousand tons of sugar.
We would like to now know what the possibilities are of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc overall to acquire the largest portion of our export based on prices that will pay for production.
– In regard to subsequent years, to 1965, we have two options for sugar production. One option involves increasing sugar production to 7,500 thousand tons, the other involves increasing production to 8.5 to 9 million tons. Both options entirely depend on the agreements we enter into with you and other socialist countries.
Our proposal involves negotiating an agreement that would provide us with the ability to increase sugar production to 9 million tons by 1965, since that would allow us to cover the current deficit in our export-import balance with the USSR.
B. Another problem is the exploration of ways for the overall coordination of our economy with the economy of the Eastern bloc and Cuba’s possible specialization in the development of sugar, metals, electronics, and chemical production.
Taking into consideration more distant prospects, one would also think that Cuba, beginning in 1967 or 1968, could begin exporting a significant amount of beef to socialist countries.
C. Based on the fact that Cuba’s trade with the USSR faces a huge deficit, and the fact that ships that deliver goods to Cuba are bound to return empty, we proposed that the USSR purchase an additional 500,000 tons of sugar, the cost of which would cover the existing Cuban deficit.
The USSR has not yet responded to this proposal, which we again repeat in the hope that it might be acceptable to you.
D. We are interested in signing a joint communique in conjunction with the visit on issues that are of joint interest for our countries.
This communique, we believe, must express the nature of our relations, that continue to become closer and all the more amicable in the interest of our people, the cause of peace, and the peaceful coexistence between nations.
We also feel that the Berlin problem should be raised from our common point of view, in favor of the need to see a peace treaty signed with the German Democratic Republic.
We must convey a united point of view from our countries in condemning colonialism and neocolonialism, along with imperialist countries interfering in the affairs of other countries to impose reactionary and anti-national governments which serve their policy of looting, exploitation, and war.
I believe that we should find a formula in which we allude to a denunciation regarding the activities of the Albanian leaders not just against the Soviet Union, but against the entire Eastern bloc.
We are of the belief that, taking into consideration the high standing of Dorticos, it is crucial to take advantage of his visit in order to repeat in the communique an expression of the Soviet Union’s solidarity with Cuba, and an expression against the harassment and threat of military attack by the United States on our country.