Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC



Source:  [not indicated], 11 October 1960

The first National Congress of Municipal Education Councils is meeting
in the city of Havana under exceptional circumstances as far as the
fatherland is concerned.  In view of the open aggression by United States
imperialism and its continental agents against the Cuban Revolution, this
congress feels that it is its first obligation to declare its unconditional
support for all actions and statements by the Revolutionary Government
which is headed by the beloved guide of the Cuban people, Dr Fidel Castro,
in the legitimate defense of the sovereignty and the rights of our people
to liberty, progress, culture, happiness, peace, and friendly relations
with all peoples of the world.

The congress declares that it is fully aware of the dangers coming from
imperialist aggression and that it is therefore determined to fight side by
side with people in general and the organized sectors of the citizenry, on
each and every one of the fronts involved and with all means that may be

On the basis of the above statements, the congress hereby condemns:

A.  The so-called "Declaration of San Jose de Costa Rica."

B.  The open aggression which imperialism is perpetrating against Cuba
directly and through its government lackeys.

C.  The colonization and exploitation of peoples, the promoters of big
land ownership, the monopolies, misery, racial discrimination, illiteracy,
and other social ills.

Similarly, the congress pledges special support to the following:

A.  The "Havana Declaration" and the statements made by the maximum
leader of the revolution, Dr Fidel Castro, to the General Assembly of the
United Nations.

B.  The agrarian reform, the industrialization of the country, the
nationalization of the confiscated foreign enterprises, the redemption of
foreign currency, the diversification of our foreign trade, the creation of
militia forces, and the education reform.

C.  The conversion of military barracks into schools, and the full
support for the peasants, workers, teachers, parents, and children of Latin
America in their struggle against military oppression, ignorance, and

D.  The underdeveloped and tyrannized colonial peoples, in their
struggle for their liberation and progress; especially the Republic of the
Congo, Algeria, Laos, Franco Spain, Santo Domingo, Nicaragua, Paraguay,
Haiti, and Puerto Rico.

E.  The effort of all peoples toward total disarmament, peaceful
coexistence, and international solidarity.

The congress wishes to emphasize to the people of Cuba the importance
of education in guaranteeing the success of our revolutionary program, as
well as the need for implementing the education programs in such a way that
they will help in the accomplishment of the grand objectives of the
revolution, while at the same time once and for all destroying the last
vestiges of the educational systems of the past which imperialist cultural
aggression established in order to assure its domination over Cuba.

The Prime Minister has designated the year 1961 as the Year of
Education; he has alerted the united people of Cuba, who are genuinely
represented at this congress, as to the necessity of making every effort
and launching every initiative through the Municipal Education Councils in
order -- with the direct participation of the Cuban family -- to carry out
the incorporation of our national school system into the liberation plans
of the revolution.  In this sense, the first National Congress of the
Municipal Education Councils declares that it pledges itself to see this
effort through to the successful accomplishment of the following objectives
during the Year of Education:

I.  An end to illiteracy (the literacy campaign).

The nation must make sure that the entire people will be a part of one
of the most revolutionary processes of all times; it is necessary to
upgrade a large portion of the nation (almost 2 million Cuban illiterates)
and to enable them to serve their country better.

II.  Healthy and strong children (pupil health and physical education).

Like all of the other Latin American countries, Cuba was kept in a
state of economic underdevelopment, in spite of its enormous potential in
terms of natural wealth.  Because of this situation, our children lived in
physical misery:  parasitism, tuberculosis, malnutrition, lack of physical
exercise and proper attention.  The enjoyment of a better life, to which a
people has a right, through measures promoting economic freedom as a basis
for political and social freedom, as far as our children are concerned
signifies the achievement of full health and integral physical development.

III.  Educational facilities (school buildings).

Our national school system was the victim of criminal abandonment over
more than half a century, by the pseudo-republican governments.

This official abandonment, on the one hand, and the population increase
as well as the growing current prestige of the national school system as a
consequence of the education reform which the revolutionary government is
carrying out -- these factors point up the urgent need for putting "each
school in a house" during the Year of Education."  This is a task for all
the people and therefore a task for all of the Municipal Councils.

IV.  School Premises and material.

The painful spectacle of miserable classrooms, paralleled by an
administrative breakdown, corruption, and confusion, was something like an
ulcer left over from the tragic past, a sore which was maintained by
treacherous Cuban officials, men without scruples in the service of
imperialist interests.

The revolution proposes to see our children happy in healthy classrooms
and equipped with all of the necessary training aids.

The accomplishment of such a tremendous program requires the immediate
and determined cooperation of all social forces represented at this

V.  Libraries for the people.

Ignorance has been cultivated in Cuba by the exploiters and by the
enemies of our progress and liberties.  Ignorance was promoted by making
books disappear and by prostituting the organs of public opinion,
propaganda, and information, such as the press, radio, television, the
movies, and others.

The revolution is awakening the best capacities of the people through
its message of culture.

The people's libraries, which will be beefed up with the help of the
National Printing Office, will be the culture brigades that will be
stationed in the most out-of-the way places of the country, as a bulwark of

VI.  Technical Education

In a country with a single-crop economy, an underdeveloped country
without any industries, there were no real possibilities for technical
education.  The primary schools did not develop a sense of productivity and

Through the agrarian reform and through the country's
industrialization, the revolution demands and at the same time facilitates
the development of a technical education system which will back up these
plans by training men and women capable of doing the job with greater
perfection, minimum effort, maximum yield, and greater speed.

Through the organization of the business and technological schools, we
can directly develop the kind of technical worker whom the fatherland
really needs.

Therefore, each municipal council pledges to achieve the above
objectives through the following work program:

1.  Muster all the energy and enthusiasm necessary in order to lend
impetus to popular culture as a factor in a truly democratic education

2.  Take dynamic action in the illiteracy eradication campaign; and see
to it that all of the sectors represented in the municipal education
councils will actively cooperate in that campaign so as to achieve the
great goal of the Year of Education:  "Death to illiteracy."

3.  Fight against parasitism, tuberculosis, malnutrition, etc, and
emphasize sports and healthy living habits in defense of healthy and
wholesome children and youths.

4.  Build at least one school center and one basic secondary school in
each municipality through economic contributions from the entire nation and
through volunteer work by workers and peasants.

5.  Procure premises on a priority basis in order to meet the needs of
the primary schools, the worker schools, the adult education schools, and
the business schools.

6.  Contribute to the procurement and maintenance of school premises
and material through the mobilization of the resources of the community.

7.  Organize, orient, and promote the operation of at least one
people's library in each municipality.

8.  Cooperate in the establishment of business and technological

The first National Congress of Municipal Education Councils promises
the people that it will fight with all strength to make sure that all
sectors and areas of the nation will have schools and teachers -- something
we are just about to achieve through the 15,000 classrooms that have been
created and through the generous support from our volunteer teachers.

In this great hour, which our fatherland is living through now, as it
moves in the vanguard of the struggle against imperialism in Latin America,
this congress marks a phase in the history of Cuban education, as the
destiny of our national school system is placed in the hands of the people
themselves.  Today, peasants, workers, teachers, and parents are meeting
for the first time in a people's assembly in order to spell out the
problems of education; on this occasion, the most beautiful example which
we could present to our children would be to reassert these declarations
and to swear that we will defend the revolution until victory or death --
and we shall win!

On, to victory in the battle of culture in the "Year of Education!"

10 October 1960, "Year of the Agrarian Reform."

Havana, Cuba

Free Territory of America