Esta tierra nuestra (1959) - full transcript


Broad is the uncultivated land of Cuba

And clear is the justice to open it

To whoever uses it and would sidestep whomever

Is of no use to it - José Martí

Wide is the land, and generous

To he who bends over it every day

Who ruts its furrows and fills it with seeds

Who sinks into it and gives it his daily sweat

He who knows that the land is a living thing

that returns man’s work

And that in it a whole nation can find the strength to develop

Wide is the land

In it a village can get rich or lose itself

Because the land gives the same to one as it does to many

And then it all depends on mankind

He who daily works the land

Who knows it well

Knows that the land is wide and generous

That it extends far beyond where he can see

But he also knows that before him

There have been other men who have handed it down

From the land comes our primary riches

Sugar, for example,

whose sale in a single market has depended almost exclusively on the rhythm of our economy

Sugar that, when released from the plant

goes through a complicated stock market mechanism

that determines how many times a man from our village can eat a day.


with its time of harvest and time of rest

Our primary wealth arisen from the earth

But on the land

man has also erected fences of all kinds

large and small

And each ends in a certain type of land ownership

There are large swaths of land in the hands of few

This is called latifundio

And there are many landless campesinos

This is called our people’s misery

In the field are sometimes unending fences that demonstrate the precise limits of the latifundios

Fences that surround large tracts of someone else’s land

And while a large portion of our people go hungry

Not all of this land is used as a source of wealth for the nation

Sugar companies control 1,880 hectares (or 188,000 caballerías) of land

Right now, half of this land would suffice for a normal harvest

Cattle ranches control about 3,000 hectares (300,000 caballerías)

While less than half of this land would provide for that amount of cattle

But on the other side of these fences

The people are different

On the other side of the fences

Men who have nothing must do the hardest jobs

To simply avoid dying of hunger

The latifundio results in some striking figures:

The average income per person among farm workers is 25 cents a day

44% of these people have never attended school

91% are clearly malnourished

11% drink milk, and only 4% eat meat

84% live in homes with dirt floors and roofs made of guano

And the vast majority of the rural population suffers

On the other side of the fences

Our economy stagnates

The latifundio is the reason that we spend an average of 150 million pesos annually

importing food products that could easily be produced in Cuba

That would mean work for many unemployed Cubans

The latifundio is the reason

that the land is not used in all its productive capacity

On the other side of the fences

farm workers only find work for part of the year

The low purchasing power of the population prevents the creation of new national industries

Of new sources of work

In Cuba there are more than 700,000 unemployed and under-employed

Sometimes, for the campesino to work a piece of land

To occupy land that rightfully belonged to him

must do so under the cover of night because it was land stolen from the state by large companies

It is easy to prevent the campesino from building his ranch on fenced land

However, it is not quite so easy to evict him

once he has already established a home and has worked a piece of land

To do it

the law must be ignored

But it is already known that the law in Cuba

is only applied when it is convenient for the powerful

For the campesino, happiness is always fleeting

And the simple evils have lasted more than 100 years

It is without a doubt that if the entire nation has suffered the consequences of inadequate land distribution

If the entire nation has suffered the consequences of the latifundio

It is the guajiro who has suffered the most directly

And who has also most directly fought to overcome them

These things have been happening in Cuba at any time and any place in our countryside

The culmination of the fight for land

The culmination of the struggle between campesinos and landowners

The culmination of the fight against misery,

against unemployment, against injustice, against theft, against shamelessness

The culmination of the struggle of the peasants of Realengo 18

of the merchants of Casanoa, of Las Mámoas

and of countless other places

That was going to find their natural path in the Revolution, in the armed insurrection

The campesino joins the ranks of the rebel army

And from there he will demand his right to life

The blood fee to be paid would not be little

The dictatorship respected neither women nor the elderly nor children.

7 years of oppression

7 years of struggle, of death, of suffering

But at the end the people united defeats tyranny
And makes the triumph of the revolution possible

Now the land

this land of ours, watered with the blood of so many people

Will have a better fate

No more idle land

No more men without work
No more landless campesinos

No more violence in the fields to impose the right of force against the weakest

The people are already beginning to build the foundations

for a more rich and just future

And that is called

Agrarian Reform

The land has to be newly redistributed

and used in all its producing power

Above races, ideologies, and religious creeds

The people have come together to defeat misery

And the campesino is not alone

Along with him an entire nation has grown and become stronger

Now the soldier is also of the people

And his strength is his reason

Now all will march united along the same path to exercise their right to life

And to defend it with their death if necessary