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Clement Speaks on Cuban Land Reform


Castro's failure to provide land for Cuban smallholders, despite promises made during the revolution, may be a serious flaw in his land reform plans, according to the director of Harvard's Atkins Garden and Research Laboratory in Soledad, Cubs.

Speaking at a showing of two movies on post-revolutionary Cuba sponsored by the Harvard Latin American Association last night, Duncan Clement, who left his post in Cuba last January, said Castro is apparently more interested in the economic strength of state farms than he is in fulfilling the popular desire for small private plots.

Though less efficient than large tracts, Clement said, small farms have long been a dream of Cubans and, indeed, all Latin Americans. He indicated that by not giving the Cubans the land promised them, Castro might be weakening popular support for his reforms.

Reginald R. Isaacs, Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning, the second speaker, said the first film shown, on housing improvements, was "good as far as it goes," but noted that Cuban planning is still inefficient and that progress since the shooting of the film in 1959 has not been groat.

Because of the emigration of many Cuban planners, he said, Castro has had to import experts who frequently do not understand Cuba's problems.

The film on housing, narrated in English, pictured Cuba's slums before the revolution as obviously poor places to rest, eat, and talk "when a man comes home from work." It also covered housing developments in construction (although not completed). The whole process was observed by two slum boys, one white, one Negro.

Clements said however, that Castro's urban reforms, which took the form of tax and rent changes as well as housing developments, were aimed more at destroying Cuba's middle class than at providing new housing for the lower class people.

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