Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19610630
-YEAR-
1961
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
SPEECH
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
CASTRO'S SPEECH TO INTELLECTUALS ON 30 JUNE 61
-PLACE-
CUBA
-SOURCE-
PALABRAS A LOS INTELECTU
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19610630
-TEXT-
FIDEL CASTRO'S SPEECH TO INTELLECTUALS ON 30 JUNE 1961

Source: Pamphlet entitled Palabras a los Intelectuales (Words to
Intellectuals), Havana, National Cultural Council, 1961, 32 p.

Male and female Comrades:

It is now time for us to take our turn, following three Sessions
at which various problems related with culture and creative work were
discussed, and at which many interesting problems were posed and the
various different opinions represented were expressed. We are not doing
this as the person most qualified to speak on the matter, but as a question
of a meeting between you and us, out of the need for us to express certain
points of view here.

We were greatly interested in these discussions, and I believe
that we have demonstrated what could be called "great patience" with this.
Actually, however, it was not necessary to make a heroic effort, because it
has been an instructive discussion for us, and I would say sincerely that
it has been pleasant. Of course, in this kind of discussion, we men of the
Government are not the most qualified people to express opinions on the
matters in which you are specialists. At least, that is the case with
respect to me.

The fact of being men of the Government and agents of this
Revolution does not mean that we are obliged to be experts in all subjects,
something which we hardly are. It is possible that if many of the comrades
who have spoken here were to attend a meeting of the Council of Ministers
to discuss the problems with which we are more familiar, they would find
themselves in a position similar to ours.

We have been agents of this Revolution, of the socioeconomic
revolution that is taking place in Cuba. This economic and social
Revolution must inevitably produce a cultural revolution in turn in our
country.

For our part, we have tried to do something (perhaps during the
first moments of the Revolution there were other more urgent problems to be
seen to). We could also perform a self criticism by saying that we have put
the discussion of a matter as important as this one somewhat to one side.
This does not mean that we neglected it entirely. This discussion was
already in the Government's mind, and perhaps the incident to which
reference has been made repeatedly here contributed to accelerating it. We
have had the intention for months of calling a meeting like this one for
the purpose of analyzing the cultural problem, cents have been taking
place, and it was especially the recent events that prevented this meeting
from being held earlier. Nevertheless, the Revolutionary Government had
been taking certain measures which expressed our concern with this problem.
Something has been done, and several comrades in the Government have
persisted on the matter on more than one occasion. It can be said
provisionally that the Revolution in itself has already wrought certain
changes in the cultural atmosphere: the working conditions of artists have
changed.

I believe that there has been a slight emphasis here on certain
pessimistic aspects, I believe that there has been concern here which goes
beyond any real justification for this problems There has been hardly any
emphasis on the reality of the changes which have taken place with respect
to the environment and the present situation of artists and writers. In
comparison with the past, it is undeniable that Cuban artists and writers
cannot feel as they did in the past, and that the conditions in the past
for artists and writers were truly depressing in our country. If the
Revolution began by bringing a profound change in the environment and in
the situation in itself, why suspect that the Revolution which brought us
these new working conditions might stifle the conditions? Why fear that the
Revolution would eliminate precisely those conditions that it has brought
with itself?

It is true that the problem being discussed here is not a simple
one. It is true that we all have an obligation to analyze it carefully.
This is an obligation of yours as well as of ours. It is not a simple
problem, since it is a problem that has been posed many times and that has
been posed in all revolutions. We might say that it is a skein, that it is
quite tangled and not easy to disentangle. It is a problem that we shall
not be able to solve easily either.

The various comrades who have spoken here expressed an infinity of
points of view, and they expressed them with their arguments. There was
some fear of entering into the matter on the first day, and so it was
necessary for us to ask the comrades to delve into the subject, and for
everyone to say what it was that troubled him.

Unless we are mistaken, the basic problem hovering in the
background of the atmosphere here was the problem of freedom for artistic
creation. This matter has been brought up more than once by various writers
visiting our country, especially political writers. There is no doubt that
it is a matter which has been argued in all countries where profound
evolutions such as ours have taken place.

By coincidence, a comrade brought us a pamphlet a moment before we
returned to this salon. On the cover of it, or at the end, there is a short
dialogue which we had with Sartre which Comrade Lisandro Otero collected in
the book entitled Conversaciones en la Laguna (Conversations at La Laguna)
(Revolucion, Tuesday 8 March 1960).

A similar matter was posed to us on another occasion by Wright
Mills, the US writer.

I must confess that these matters took us somewhat by surprise, in
a certain sense, We did not have any Yenan conference with Cuban artists
and writers during the Revolution. Actually, this is a revolution which
took place and attained power in what might be called record time.
Differntly from other revolutions, it did not have all the principal
problems solved.

Consequently, one of the characteristics of the Revolution has
been the necessity of facing many problems hastily. We are just like the
Revolution, that is, we have improvised a great deal. Consequently, it
cannot be said that this Revolution had neither the stage of gestation that
other revolutions have had, or that the leaders of the Revolution did not
have the intellectual maturity that the leaders of other revolutions have
had. We believe that we have contributed to the present events in our
country to the extent of our forces. We believe that we are carrying out a
genuine revolution with the efforts of everyone, and that this revolution
is developing and appears to be destined to become one of the important
events of this century. In spite of this reality, nevertheless, we who have
had an important part in these events do not believe ourselves to be
theoreticians of revolution nor intellectuals of revolution. If men are
judged by their deeds, then perhaps we shall have the right to
consideration for the merit which the Revolution means in itself.
Nevertheless, ye do not think this way, and I believe that all of us should
have a similar attitude, whatever our deeds have been. No matter how
meritorious they may seem, we must begin by placing ourselves in the honest
position of not presuming to know more than others do, of not presuming
that we have learned everything that can be learned, of not presuming that
our points of view are infallible, and not presuming that those who do not
think exactly the same way are mistaken. That is to say, we should put
ourselves in this honest position -- not out of false modesty, but rather
from true evaluation of what we know. Because if we put ourselves in this
position, I believe that it will be easier to march forward correctly. And
if all of us -- both you and we -- adopt this attitude, personal attitudes
will disappear, and that certain dosage of personalism which we inject into
the analysis of problems will disappear. Actually, what do we know? We are
all learning. Actually, we have a great deal to learn, and we have not come
here to teach. We have come to learn also.

There were certain fears in the atmosphere, and certain comrades
expressed those fears.

We had the impression at times that we were dreaming a bit as we
were listening. We had the impression that we had not yet put our feet on
the ground well. Because if there is some concern and some fear that
restrains us today, it is with respect to the Revolution itself. The great
Concern which all of us must have is the Revolution in itself. Or is it
that we believe that we have already won all the revolutionary battles? Is
it that we believe that the Revolution has no dangers? What must be the
primary Concern of all citizens today? The concern that the Revolution
might reveal its measures, that the Revolution would asphyxiate art, that
the Revolution is going to asphyxiate the creative genius of our citizens?
Or should not the Revolution itself be the Concern of everyone? The real or
imaginary dangers that night threaten the creative spirit, or the dangers
that might threaten the Revolution itself? It is not a matter of our
invoking this danger as a simple argument, we are merely pointing out that
the state of mind of all citizens of the country and the state of mind of
all revolutionary writers and artists, or of all artists and writers who
understand and justify the Revolution, must be: what dangers might threaten
the Revolution, and what can are do to help the Revolution? We believe that
the Revolution has many battles yet to wage, and we believe that at first
thought and our first concern should be what we can do so that the
Revolution can emerge victorious. Because this is the first thing. The
first thing is the Revolution itself, and after that, we can concern
ourselves with the other matters. This does not mean that the other matters
should not concern us, but that the basic Concern in our state of mind must
be the Revolution -- as it is in mine, in any case.

The problem which has been discussed here and which we are going
to touch on is the problem of freedom of expression for writers and
artists.

The fear has been stirred up here that the Revolution could stifle
that freedom, whether the Revolution is going to smother the creative
spirit of writers and artists.

Formal freedom was spoken of here. Everyone agreed with respect to
formal freedom. I believe that there is no doubt concerning this problem.

The matter becomes more subtle and actually turns into the
essential point of the discussion when freedom of content is involved. It
is the most subtle point because it is exposed to the most diverse
interpretations. The most debatable point of this question is whether or
not there should be absolute freedom of content in artistic expression. It
seems to us that some comrades are defending that hint of view. Perhaps it
was out of fear of the prohibitions, regulations, limitations, rules, and
authorities ties to decide on the matter which they visualized.

In the first place, permit me to tell you that the Revolution
defends freedom; that the Revolution has brought a very large number of
freedoms to the Country; that because of its essence, the Revolution cannot
be an enemy of freedoms, and that if anyone fears that the Revolution is
going to stifle his creative spirit, that Concern is unnecessary and has no
reason for being.

Where can the raison d'etre of that Concern lie? Only someone who
is not certain of his revolutionary convictions should truly concern
himself with this problem. Someone who lacks confidence in his aim art and
in his real capacity for creating might be concerned about this problem.
And it might well be asked whether a genuine revolutionary, an artist or
intellectual who sympathizes with the the Revolution and is certain that he
is capable of serving the Revolution could pose this problem. That is to
say, whether or not that doubt would be present in truly revolutionary
writers and artists. I believe not; that the field of doubt is left to the
writers and artists who are not counterrevolutionary, but who do not feel
themselves to be revolutionary either. (Applause.)

It is proper that a writer or artist who does not feel himself to
be a genuine revolutionary would pose himself thin problem. That is, that
an honest writer or artist who is capable of understanding the raison
d'etre and the justice of the Revolution without joining into it would
posit this problem. Because the revolutionary puts something above all
other matters. The revolutionary puts something above even his aim creative
spirit. He puts the Revolution above everything else, and the most
revolutionary artist will be that one who is prepared to sacrifice even his
own artistic vocation for the Revolution. (Applause.)

No one has ever assumed that all men, or all writers, or all
artists must be revolutionaries, just as no one can assume that all men or
all revolutionaries must be artists, or that every honest man must be a
revolutionary because of the fact that he is honest. Being a revolutionary
is also an attitude toward life. Being a revolutionary is also an attitude
toward present reality, and there are men who are resigned to that reality.
There are men who are adapted to that reality. And there are also men who
can not resign themselves to or adapt to that reality and who try to change
it, and thus are revolutionaries. However, there can be men who adapt to
that reality and are still honest men. It is just that their spirit is not
a revolutionary spirit. It is just that their attitude to reality is not a
revolutionary attitude. And, of course, there can be artists and good
artists who do not have a revolutionary attitude to life. It is precisely
to that group of artists and intellectuals that the Revolution in itself is
an unforeseen event, a new event, an event which could even affect their
state of mind profoundly. It is precisely this group of artists and
intellectuals to whom the Revolution could be a problem.

It would never be a problem to a mercenary artist or intellectual,
or to a dishonest artist or intellectual. Such a person knows what he must
do, knows what is of interest to him, and knows in which direction he must
go. The problem truly exists for the artist or the intellectual who does
not have a revolutionary attitude to life and who, nevertheless is an
honest person. Of course, someone who has this attitude to life -- whether
he is a revolutionary or not, and whether or net he is an artist -- has his
purposes and objectives, and we may all inquire into those purposes and
objectives. To the revolutionary, these purposes and objectives are
directed toward changing reality. These purposes and objectives are
directed toward the redemption of man. The objective of revolutionaries is
man himself, one's fellow beings, the redemption of one's fellow beings. If
we revolutionaries are asked what is most important to us, we will say the
people, and we will always say the people. The people in the real meaning
of the word, that is, that majority of the people which has had to live in
exploitation and in the most cruel neglect. Our basic concern will always
be the great majorities of the people, that is, the oppressed and exploited
classes of the people. That is the prism through which we look at
everything. What is good for them will be good for us, whatever is noble,
useful, and beautiful for them will be noble, useful, and beautiful to us.
One does not have a revolutionary attitude if he does not think this way,
if he does not think for and about the people -- that is, if one does not
think and act for that great exploited mass of the people, that great mass
for whom redemption is wanted.

At least, that is the crystal through which we analyze the good,
the usefulness, and the beautiful in every action.

We believe that it is tragic when someone understands this and yet
has to acknowledge himself to be incapable of fighting for it.

We are, or we believe ourselves to be, revolutionary men. Someone
who is more an artist than a revolutionary cannot think exactly as we do.
We are fighting for the people, and we are not hurt by any conflict because
we are fighting for the people, and we know that we can achieve the
objectives of our struggles. The people are the principal goal. We must
think of the people before thinking of ourselves, and this is the only
attitude that can be defined as a truly revolutionary attitude. The problem
to which we referred exists for the ones who cannot or do not have that
attitude, but who are honest persons. It is also to them that the
Revolution constitutes a problem, and it is they who constitute a problem
for the Revolution, a problem with which the Revolution must concern
itself.

The case was correctly pointed out here of many writers and
artists who were not revolutionaries, but who nevertheless were honest
artists and writers and who also wanted to help the Revolution and in whose
help the Revolution was interested; people who wanted to work for the
Revolution, and in whose knowledge and efforts to its benefit the
Revolution was interested.

It is easier to evaluate this when individual cases are analyzed,
There are many of these individual cases that are not easily analyzed.
However, a Catholic writer spoke here, He stated what it was that concerned
him, and he said it quite clearly. He asked whether he could make an
interpretation of a certain problem from his idealistic point of view, or
whether he could write something defending those points of view. He asked
quite frankly whether he could express himself in accordance with those
feelings within a revolutionary system. He posed the problem in a form
which might be seen as symbolic.

The thing which concerned him us finding out whether he could
write in accordance with those feelings or in accordance with that
ideology, which is not precisely the ideology of the Revolution. That he
was in agreement with the Revolution on social or economic matters, but
that he had a philosophical position different from the philosophy of the
Revolution. This is a case which greatly merits Consideration, because it
is precisely a case representative of the type of writers and artists who
show a favorable disposition toward the Revolution, and who wish to know
what degree of freedom they have in a revolutionary situation to express
them selves in accordance with their feelings. This is the sector which
constitutes a problem for the Revolution, just as the Revolution
constitutes a problem for them. The Revolution has a duty to be concerned
with these cases. The Revolution has the obligation to be concerned with
the situation of these artists and these writers, because the Revolution
must aspire to having not just all the revolutionaries and all the
revolutionary artists and intellectuals marching alone with it. It is
possible that the men and women who have a truly revolutionary attitude
toward reality do not constitute the majority sector of the population.
Revolutionaries are the vanguard of the people, but the revolutionaries
must aspire to having all the people march along with them. The Revolution
cannot reject having all honest men and women march alone with it, whether
writers or artists, or not. The Revolution must aspire to having everyone
who has doubts become a revolutionary. The Revolution must try to win the
major part of the people over to its ideas. The Revolution must never
renounce having the majority of the people with it, having not just the
revolutionaries, but also all the honest citizens who are with it even
though they are not revolutionaries -- that is, even though they do not
have a revolutionary attitude toward life. The Revolution should reject
only those who are incorrigible reactionaries, who are incorrigible
counterrevolutionaries. And the Revolution must have a policy for that part
of the people. The Revolution must have an attitude for that part of the
intellectuals and writers. The Revolution must understand that reality, and
consequently must act in such a way that the entire sector of artists and
intellectuals who are not genuinely revolutionary find a place to work and
to create within the Revolution, and so that their creative spirit will
have an opportunity and freedom for expression within the Revolution, even
though they are not revolutionary writers or artists. This means that
within the Revolution, everything goes; against the Revolution, nothing.
Nothing against the Revolution, because the Revolution has its rights also,
and the first right of the Revolution is the right to exist, and no one can
stand against the right of the Revolution to be and to exist, No one can
rightfully claim a right against the Revolution. Since it takes in the
interests of the people and Signifies the interests of the entire nation.

I believe that this is quite clean. What are the rights of
revolutionary or non-revolutionary writers and artists? Within the
Revolution, everything against the Revolution, no rights at all.
(Applause.)

This will not be any law of exception for writers and artists.
This is a general principle for all citizens. It is a basic principle of
the Revolution. Counterrevolutionaries -- that is, the enemies of the
Revolution -- have no right against the Revolution, because the Revolution
has a right: the right to exist, the right to develop, and the right to
win. Who could have any doubt about this right of a people which has said:
"Fatherland or Death," that is, Revolution or death?

The existence of the Revolution or nothing, of a Revolution which
has said "We Shall Win," that is, which has posed an objective for itself
very seriously. No matter how respectable the personal reasoning of an
enemy of the Revolution is, the rights and the reasons of a Revolution are
to be respected much more, especially since a Revolution is a historical
process, since a Revolution is not and cannot be the work of the caprices
or will of any man, and since a Revolution can be only the work of the need
and the will of a people. The rights of the enemies of an entire people do
not count in comparison with the rights of that people.

When we spoke of extreme cases, we did so simple to express our
ideas more clearly. I have already said that there is a great variety of
mental attitudes between those extreme cases, and there is also a great
variety of concerns. This does not necessarily mean that harboring some
concern means not being a revolutionary. We have attempted to define
essential attitudes.

The Revolution cannot attempt to stifle art or culture when the
development of art and culture is one of the goals and one of the basic
objectives of the Revolution, precisely in order that art and culture will
come to be a genuine partrimony of the people. And just as we have wanted a
better life for the people in the material sphere, so do we also want a
better life for the people in all spiritual spheres and a better life in
the cultural sphere. And just as the Revolution is concerned with the
development of the conditions and the forces which permit the satisfaction
of all the material needs of the people, so do we also want to develop the
conditions which will permit the satisfaction of all the cultural needs of
the people.

The people have a low cultural level? A high percentage of the
people do not know how to read or write? A high percentage of the people is
also going hungry, or at least is living or lived in difficult conditions.
It lived in conditions of poverty. A part of the people lacks a large
number of material goods which are essential to them, and we are attempting
to supply the necessary conditions so that all these material goods will
reach the people.

We must supple the necessary conditions for all these cultural
goods to reach the people in the same way. This does not mean that the
artist has to sacrifice the value of his creations, or that their quality
must necessarily be sacrificed. It means that we must conduct a struggle in
all senses in order to have the creator produce for the people, and to have
the people raise their cultural level in turn, so that they might also draw
closer the creators. No rule of a general nature can be indicated.

Not all artistic manifestations are of exactly the same nature,
and we have sometimes posed matters here as if all artistic manifestations
were of exactly the same nature. There are expressions of the creative
spirit which by their very nature can be much more accessible to the people
than other manifestations of the creative spirit. Thus, no general rule can
be laid down, because in which artistic expression is it that the artist
must go to the people, and in which one must the people go to the artist?
Can a statement of a general nature be made in this sense? No. It would be
too simple a rule. Efforts must be made to reach the people in all
manifestations, but everything that is within our soon must also be done in
turn so that the people will be able to understand ever more and ever
better, I do not believe that this principle contradicts the aspirations of
any artist, and much less so if one takes into account the fact that men
should create for their contemporaries.

Don't say that there are artists who live with their thoughts on
posterity, because without, of course, claiming infallibility or anything
of the sort for our opinion -- I believe that anyone who operates in this
way is engaging in auto-suggestion. (Applause.)

This does not mean that someone who works for his contemporaries
must renounce posterity for his work. Because it is in precisely creation
for ones contemporaries that works have acquired historical value and
universal value, independently even of whether or not the contemporaries
have understood it. We are not making a Revolution for future generations.
We are making a Revolution with this generation and for this generation,
independently of whether or not the benefits of this work benefit future
generations and become a historical event. We are not making a Revolution
for posterity. This Revolution will pass into posterity because it is a
Revolution for the present and for the men and women of the present.
(Applause.)

Who would follow us if we were making a Revolution for future
generations?

We are working and creating for our contemporaries, but this does
not deny the merit of aspiring to eternity to any artistic creation.

These are truths which we all must analyze honestly, I believe
that we must set out from certain fundamental truths in order not to draw
erroneous conclusions. We do not see that there is any reason for concern
on the part of any honest artist or writer. We are not enemies of freedom.
No one here is an enemy of freedom. Whom do we fear? bat authority is it
that we fear will stifle our creative spirit? Is it that we fear the
comrades on the National Cultural Council? In our conversations with the
comrades of the National Cultural Council, we have observed points of view
and feelings that are very alien to the concerns about limitations, nooses,
and such things imposed on the creative spirit which have been posed here.

Our conclusion is that the comrades on the National Council are as
concerned as all of you are to see that the best conditions for the
development of the creative spirit of artists and intellectuals are
achieved. The Revolution and the Revolutionary Government have a duty to
have a highly qualified agency which stimulates, encourages, develops, and
orients -- yes, orients -- that creative spirit. We consider this to be an
obligation, and could this possibly be an attack on the rights of writers
and artists? Could this constitute a threat to the rights of writers and
artists, for fear of engaging in arbitrariness or an excess of authority?
We might harbor the fear in like manner that a policeman would attack us
when we pass a traffic light. We might also harbor the fear that the judge
would sentence us. We might also harbor the fear that the force which
exists in the Revolutionary Power would commit an act of violence against
us.

That is, we would then have to be concerned about all these
things. Nevertheless, the citizen's attitude is not that of believing that
a militiaman is going to shoot at him, that a judge is going to sentence
him, or that the Power is going to indulge in violence against his person.

The existence of an authority in the cultural sphere does not mean
that there is any reason to be concerned with abuse of that authority,
because who is it that wishes or desires for that cultural authority not to
exist? One might aspire along this same route to the non-existence of the
militia, to the non-existence of the police, to the non-existence of State
Power, and even to the non-existence of the State. And if anyone is so
concerned about the existence of the slightest state authority, he should
not worry and he should be patient, because the day will come when the
state does not exist either. (Applause.)

A council which orients, stimulates, develops, and works for the
creation of better conditions for the work of artists and intellectuals
must exist. Who is the first defender of the interests of artists and
intellectuals, if not that very Council? Who is it that proposes laws and
suggests measures of various kinds to improve these conditions, if not the
National Cultural Council itself? Who is proposing a National Printing Law
to clear up the deficiencies that have been pointed out here? Who is
proposing the creation of an Institute of Ethnology and Folklore, if not
the National Council itself? Who pleads for the availability of budgetary
provisions and the necessary foreign exchange to bring in books, which have
not come into the country for many months, and to acquire the materials
with which painters and artists can work? Who is concerned about economic
problems, that is, the material conditions of artists? Which agency is it
that is concerned with a large number of the present needs of writers and
artists? Who is it that defends the budgets, construction, and projects
within the Government that are directed precisely toward raising the level
of the conditions in which you will work? It is precisely the National
Cultural Council.

Why look on that Council with reservations? Why look on that
authority as one which presumably is going to do the opposite, to lit our
conditions, and stifle our creative spirit?

It can be understood that persons without any problems of any kind
would be concerned about that authority. Actually, however, those who can
appreciate the need for all the activity and all the work that the Council
must do should never look on it with reservation. Because the Council also
has an obligation to the people and an obligation to the Revolution and to
the Revolutionary Government. That obligation is to fulfill the purposes
for which it was created, and it is just as much interested in the success
of its work as every artist is interested in that of his own.

I do not know if there are any of the basic problems that have
been pointed out here which I have not dealt with. The problem of the film
was discussed a great deal here. I have not seen the film, but I would like
to see it. I am curious to see the film. Was the film mistreated? Actually,
I don't believe that any film has received so many honors, or that any film
has been discussed so much.

Even though we have not seen the film, we have submitted to the
judgement of comrades who have seen it, among them the opinion of the
Comrade President and that of various comrades of the National Cultural
Council. It would be superfluous to say that this is a judgment and an
opinion which merits complete respect for us. However, there is something
which I believe cannot be disputed, and that is the right established by
law to exercise the function which the Cinematography Institute or the
Review Commission carried out in this cased Is it possible that this right
of the Government is being disputed? Does the Government have or not have
the right to exercise that function? In this case, the basic thing to us
above all is to establish whether or not that right existed on the part of
the Government. One might argue about the matter of the procedure, as was
done, determining whether or not it was suitable and whether a cordial kind
of procedure would have been better. One can even argue about whether or
not the decision was just. However, there is one thing which I do not
believe anyone disputes, and that is the right of the Government to
exercise that function. If we impugn that right, it would then mean that
the Government does not have the right to review the films which are going
to be shown to the people.

I believe that this is an indisputable right. And there is
something else which all of us understand perfectly well. Among
manifestations of an intellectual or artistic type, there are some which
are more important with respect to the education of the people or the
ideological instruction of the people than are other kinds of artistic
manifestations. I do not believe that anyone would dispute the fact that
the cinema and television are one of these basic and very important media.
And in reality, can the right of the Government in the midst of a
Revolution to regulate, review, and censor the films shown to the public be
disputed? Is it possible that this is what is being argued?

And can the right of the Revolutionary Government to censor those
media of communication which influence the people so greatly be considered
as a limitation or a prohibitive formula?

If we were to impugn that right of the Revolutionary Government,
we would be incurring in a problem of principles. Because denying that
power to the Revolutionary Government would mean denying the Government's
functions and responsibility to lead the people and to lead the Revolution,
especially in the midst of a revolutionary struggle. At times it has seemed
that this right of the Government were going impugned. And if that right of
the Government is being impugned, we believe that the Government does have
the right. And if it has this right, it can make use of it. It may do so
mistakenly, because we do not claim that the Government is infallible. The
Government does not necessarily have to be infallible in exercising a right
or a function that is its. But who is it that has so many reservations with
respect to the Government, who is it that has so many doubts, who is it
that has so many suspicions with respect to the Revolutionary Government,
and who is it that mistrusts the Revolutionary Government may always be
mistaken? I am not claiming that the Government was mistaken in this
decision, not by any means. What I am stating is that the Government was
acting in use of a right. I try to place myself in the position of those
who worked on this film. I try to understand even their sorrow,
displeasure, and pain in the fact that the film was not shown. Anyone can
understand that perfectly well. However, it must be understood that the
Government was acting in use of a right. And that this judgment had the
support of competent and responsible comrades in the Government, and that
there is actually no well-founded reason for mistrusting the spirit of
justice and fairness of the men of the Revolutionary Government, because
the Revolutionary Government has not given any reasons for anyone to put
its spirit of justice and of fairness in doubt.

We cannot think that we are perfect, and we cannot even think that
we are alien to strong feelings. Some persons might say that certain
comrades in the Government have strong feelings, or are not devoid of
feelings. But can those who believe such a thing really claim that they are
devoid of feelings?

And can attitudes of a personal nature be attributed to certain
comrades without acceptance of the fact that those opinions themselves
might also be inspired by attitudes of a personal kind? We might say here
that the person who thinks himself to be perfect or who feels himself to be
devoid of feelings should cast the first stone.

I believe that there have been personalism and strong feelings in
the debate. Weren't there personalism and strong feelings in these
discussions? Did everyone come here absolutely stripped of strong feelings
and of personalism? Have absolutely all of us come stripped of a group
spirit? Haven't there been currents and trends within this discussion? This
cannot be denied. A six-year old child sitting here would have noticed the
various trends, points of view, and strong feelings that were confronting
each other here.

The comrades have said many things. There were interesting things
said. Some have said brilliant things. Everyone has been very "erudite."
There has been a reality, however, above all else -- the very reality of
the discussion and the freedom with which everyone has been able to express
and defend his points of view. The freedom with which everyone has been
able to speak and explain his opinions here in an extensive meeting, one
which has been more extensive every day. A meeting which we consider to be
a positive meeting; a meeting at which we were able to dissipate a number
of doubts and concerns. Were there any quarrels? Who could doubt it? Were
there any wars and skirmished between the writers and artists here? Who
could doubt it? Were there any criticisms and super-criticisms? Who could
doubt it? And have certain comrades tested their weapons and proved their
weapons at the cost of other comrades? Who could doubt it?

Those who have been harmed have spoken here, expressing their
resentful complaints against what they considered to be unjust attacks.
Fortunately, the wounded rather than the corpses have passed by here. Even
some comrades who Ire still convalescing from the wounds received. And some
of them have submitted as an obvious injustice the fact that they were
attacked with heavy caliber guns without their even being able to return
the fire. Did any hard criticism take place? Who could doubt it? In a
certain sense, a problem was posed here, one which we will not attempt to
explain in a few words. Cut of the things which were posed here, however, I
believe that one of the most correct things is the fact that the spirit of
criticism should be constructive and positive, and not destructive. That
is, insofar as we understand it. This is not generally taken into account,
however. For some reason, the word "criticism" has come to be synonymous
with attack, when it actually does not mean any such thing. When someone is
told, "So-and-so criticized you," that person becomes angry before asking
what it was that he actually said. That is, he thinks that he has been
destroyed, Actually, if someone of us who have been a trifle removed from
these problems and these struggles, to these tests and proofs of weapons,
is told about the case of certain comrades who have been virtually on the
brink of irremediable depression because of devastating criticisms levelled
against them, we might possibly sympathize with the victims, because we
have a tendency to sympathize with victims. We sincerely wish only to
contribute to the understanding and unity of everyone, and so we have tried
to avoid words which might harm or discourage anyone. One fact, however, is
unquestionable -- that there might occur cases of these struggles or
controversies in which equal conditions for everyone do not exist. From the
point of view of the Revolution, that cannot be just. The Revolution can
not give some people weapons against others, The Revolution must not give
weapons to some people to use against others, and we believe that writers
and artists should all have the opportunity to express themselves. We
believe that writers and artists should have a cultural journal through
their association, a broad one to which everyone has access, Doesn't this
seem like a just solution to you? However, the Revolution cannot put these
resources in the hands of a group, The Revolution can and must mobilize
these resources in such a way that they can be extensively utilized by all
writers and artists. You are soon going to form the Artists' Association.
You are going to convoke a congress. That congress should be held with a
truly constructive spirit, and we are confident that you are capable of
carrying it out in that spirit. From it will arise a powerful Association
of Writers and Artists to which everyone should come with a truly
constructive spirit. Because if someone thinks that there is any desire to
eliminate or to stifle him, we can assure him that he is absolutely
mistaken.

It is now time for you to contribute in organized fashion and with
all your enthusiasm to the tasks which are yours in the Revolution, and to
form a broad organism of all writers and artists. I do not know whether the
matters posed here will be discussed at the congress. However, we do know
that the congress is going to meet, and that its deliberations, the
deliberations which the Association of Writers and Artists should have,
will be a good subject of conversation for our next meetings. We believe
that there should be other meetings. At least, we would not like to deprive
our selves of that pleasure and of the usefulness of these meetings, They
have also been an occasion for attention to all these problems. We must
meet again. What does this mean? That we must continue discussing these
problems. That is, that there is something which should be the motivation
for tranquillity on the part of everyone, and that is learning of the
interest which the Government has in the problems and of the opportunity to
discuss all the matters in broad assemblies that there will be in the
future. It seems to us that this should be a motive for satisfaction on the
part of writers and artists. Along with this, we shall also continue to
acquire more information and better knowledge.

The National Cultural Council must also have another informational
organ. I believe that things are taking shape, This cannot be called guided
culture, nor stifling the creative artistic spirit. How can anyone who has
his five senses and is also a true artist think that this constitutes
stifling the creative spirit? The Revolution wants artists to put their
utmost effort into the service of the people. It wants them to put their
maximum interest and effort into the revolutionary undertaking. We believe
that this is a just aspiration of the Revolution.

Does this mean that we are going to tell the people here what they
have to write? No. Let everyone write what he wants to, and if what he
writes is no good, it doesn't matter. If what he paints is no good, it
doesn't matter. We are not forbidding anyone to write on the subject that
he prefers. On the contrary. And everyone should express himself in the
manner which he believes proper, and express the idea that he wants to e
express. We shall always evaluate their creation through the prism of the
revolutionary crystal. This also is a right, one of the Revolutionary
Government, and one to be respected as much as the right of everyone to
express what he wishes to.

A number of measures are being taken, and we have pointed out some
of them. For those who are concerned with the problem of the National
Printing House, we can report that a law which will regulate its operation
is under consideration, one that will create various publishers who will
see to the various Publishing needs, correcting the existing deficiencies
of the present time. The recently created National Printing House had to
come forth under difficult working conditions, because it had to begin its
work at the plant of a newspaper which suddenly ceased publication. We were
present on the day when that newspaper plant became the country's first
printing plant, with all its workers and writers, It also had to take care
of urgently needed works, many of them of a military type. And so it has
shortcomings that will be rectified. There is no need to repeat the
complaints which have been expressed about the National Printing House at
this meeting. The relevant decisions are also being taken for the purpose
of acquiring books and acquiring working material to solve all the problems
which have concerned writers and artists, and on which the National
Cultural Council has been quite persistent. You know that there are various
departments and various institutions in the state, and that everyone within
the state requests and aspires to have the necessary resources for being
able to satisfy his aspirations and fulfilling his functions fully. We
would like to point out certain aspects in which progress has already been
made and which should be the occasion for encouragement for all of us. For
example, there has been the success achieved with the symphony orchestra,
which has been reconstructed and totally reintegrated, and which has
attained high levels not only artistically, but also revolutionarily,
because 50 members of the symphony orchestra are already militiamen.

The Cuban Ballet has also been reorganized, and it has just
completed a foreign tour in which it received the admiration and
acknowledgment of all the countries visited.

The modern dance group is also having success, and it also has
received very valuable praise in Europe.

For its part, the National Library is developing a cultural
policy, engaging in arousing the people's interest in music and painting.
It has organized a department of painting for the purpose of publicizing
these works to the people. A music department, a young people's department,
and also a children's section.

Shortly before coming to this hall, we were visiting the
children's department of the National Library. We saw the number of
children who are already associated with it, the work that is being done
there, and the progress which the National Library has achieved. This is
motivation for the Government to supply the Library with the resources that
it needs in order to continue developing that work. The National Printing
House is already a reality, and with the new organizational forms which it
is going to take, it also is a conquest of the Revolution which will
contribute greatly to the training of the people.

The Cinematography Institute is also a reality. The basic
investments for supplying it with the equipment and material that it needs
in order to work have been made during this entire first stage. At least
the Revolution has established the foundations for the cinema industry.
This has been a great effort, if one takes into account that it is not a
question of an industrialized country, and that the acquisition of all that
equipment has meant sacrifices and if there are no more resources for the
cinema, this does not mean a restrictive policy of the Government, but
simply is due to the shortage Of current economic resources for creating a
fan movement which would permit the development of all talents in the
cinema, and which will be put into practice when we have those resources.
For its part, the policy at the Cinematography Institute will be the object
of discussion and of emulation among the various working teams. The work of
the ICAIC [Instituto Cubano da Arte e Industria Cinematograficas; Cuban
Institute of Cinema Arts] cannot yet be judged. The Cinema Institute has
not yet been able to have enough time to carry out a task which could be
judged, but it has worked, and we know that a number of its documentaries
have contributed greatly to publicizing the work of the Revolution abroad.
However, the thing that is of interest here is to emphasize that the
foundations for the cinema industry are already established.

Publicity, conference, and cultural extension work through the
various agencies have also been carried out. In the end, however, this is
nothing compared with that can be done and with what the Revolution hopes
to develop.

A number of problems of interest to writers and artists remain to
be solved. There are problems of a material nature -- that is, there are
problems of an economic nature. The previous conditions do not exist at the
present time. That small Privileged sector which bought the works of
artists no longer exists here. They bought them, of course, at poverty
prices, because more than one artist ended up a neglected indigent. These
problems remain to be faced and solved. The Revolutionary Government must
solve them. They should also be the concern of the National Cultural
Council, as should be the problem of the artists who are no longer
producing and are completely forsaken. The artist must be guaranteed not
only the proper material conditions at present, but also security for the
future. In a certain sense, the reorganization of the Copyright Institute
has already achieved a considerable improvement in the living conditions of
a number of authors who were miserably exploited and whose rights were
mocked. These people now have incomes which have permitted many of them to
emerge from the situation of extreme poverty in which they were.

These are steps which the Revolution has taken. However, they are
nothing but some steps, and we must go on to other steps which will create
still better conditions.

There is also the notion of organizing some recreational and
working site for artists and writers, on one occasion as we were traveling
about the national territory, the idea occurred to us in a very beautiful
place -- the Isle of Pines -- of constructing a district, a hamlet in the
midst of the pine trees for the purpose of rewarding and paying homage to
writers and artists. At that time, we were thinking about establishing some
kind of prize for the best progressive writers and artists of the world.
That project did not take shape, but it could be revived, The idea would be
to build a hamlet or village in a backwater of peace which invites one to
rest, which invites one to write. I believe that it would be well worth the
trouble for artists, including architects, to begin to design or conceive
an ideal resting place for a writer or an artist, and to see if they can
reach agreement on that. The Revolutionary Government is prepared on its
part to put the resources in some part of the budget, now that everything
is being planned. And will Planning be a limitation imposed on the creative
spirit by us revolutionaries? Because don't forget that in a certain sense
we revolutionaries see ourselves situated somewhat rashly before the
reality of planning. And that poses a problem for us, because up to the
present we have been creative spirits of revolutionary initiatives and of
revolutionary investments which must now be planned. Don't think that we
are exempt from the problems. From our hint of view, we might also protest
against that. That is, we now know what is going to be done next year, the
following year, and the next year. Who will dispute the fact that the
economy must be planned? There is room within that planning, however, for
the construction of a resting place for writers and artists, and it would
truly be satisfying if the Revolution could count that accomplishment among
its undertakings.

We have been concerned here with the present situation of writers
and artists. We have neglected the prospects for the future somewhat. And
we, who have no reasons to complain about you, have also devoted a moment
to thinking about the artists and writers of the future. We think about how
it would be if we met again in 5 or 10 years, as the men of the Government
should meet again with writers and artists in the future. This does not
mean that it would be we ourselves necessarily. This would be at a time
when culture had acquired the extraordinary development which we hope for
it to achieve when the first fruits of the present academy and school plans
emerge.

The Revolutionary Government had been concerned about the
extension of culture to the people long before these matters had been
posed. We have always been very optimistic, I believe that one cannot be a
revolutionary without being an optimist, because the difficulties which a
Revolution has to overcome are very serious and one must be an optimist. A
Pessimist could never be a revolutionary.

The Revolution has had its Stages. The Revolution had a stage in
which a number of initiatives originated from various organisms. Even the
INRA [Instituto National de la Reforma Agraria; National Institute for
Agrarian Reform] was carrying out cultural extension activities, We did not
even fail to clash with the National Theater, because work was being done
there and we were suddenly doing other work on our own account. This is all
being fit into the framework of an organization now, and so the idea of
bringing culture to the countryside, to the farms, and to the cooperatives
arose with respect to the peasants of the cooperatives and the farms.

How? Well, by bringing in comrades and turning them into
instructors of music, of ballet, and of the theater. We optimists can
launch only initiatives of this kind. But how can an inclination for the
theater be aroused in a peasant, for example? Where were the instructors?
Where did we get them, that we could send them later on to 3,000 people's
farms and 600 cooperative? All of this presents difficulties, but I am sure
that you all agree that it will be positive if it can be achieved,
especially in the sense of beginning to discover talents in the people and
in turning the performing people into a creator, because in the end, the
people are the great creator. We must not forget this, and we also must not
forget the thousands and thousands of talents which must have been lost in
our countryside and in our cities for lack of conditions and opportunities
to be developed. Unless we presume that we are the most intelligent people
that have ever been born in this country -- and I will begin by saying that
I do not presume any such thing -- we can all be sure that many talents
have been lost in our countryside. I have often cited the example of the
fact that in the place where I was born, I was the only one of some 1,000
children who was able to pursue a university career, I was poorly prepared,
of course, since I was not freed of having to go through a number of
colleges with priests, etc. I do not wish to hurl an anathema at anyone,
but I do say that I have the same right to say what I please as everyone
else here had. To complain. I have the right to complain. Someone said that
he was shaped by bourgeois society, and I can say that I was shaped by
something still worse. That I was shaped by the worst reaction, and that a
large part of the years of my life were lost in obscurantism, superstition,
and falsehood.

That was the time in which they taught one not to think, but
rather forced him to believe. I believe that when an attempt is made to
truncate man's capacity for thought and reason, man is turned from a human
being into a domesticated animal. I am not revolting against man's
religious feelings. We respect those feelings, and we respect man's right
to freedom of belief and of religion. However, that does not mean that my
own freedom was respected. I did not have any freedom of belief or of
religion. A belief and a religion were imposed on me, and they were
domesticating me for 12 years.

It is natural that I must speak somewhat complainingly about the
years that I could have used -- at the time when young people have the
greatest interest and curiosity about things -- in systematic study which
would have permitted me to have acquired that culture which the children of
Cuba today will have an ample opportunity to acquire.

That is, in spite of everything, the only one among a thousand who
was able to get a university degree had to pass through that grinding mill
in which only by a miracle will one not be mentally pulverized forever. The
only one out of a thousand had to go through all that.

Why? Ah, because I was the only one out of the thousand for whom a
private college could be afforded, so that I could study. Now should I
believe for this reason that I was the cleverest and most intelligent among
the thousand? I believe that we are a product of selection, but not so much
natural as social. I was selected socially to go to the university, and I
am speaking socially here now about a process of social and not natural
selection. Natural selection left who knows how many tens of thousands of
young people, superior to all of us,in ignorance. That is the truth.
Someone who believes himself to be an artist should think about the fact
that many others, much better artists than he, may not have become artists.
It would be unrealistic of us not to admit this. Among other things, we are
privileged because we were not born as vagabond children. What has been
said proves the enormous quantity of intelligences which have been lost
simply out of the lack of opportunity. We are going to bring opportunity to
all those intelligences We are going to create the conditions that will
permit every artistic, literary, scientific, or any other kind of talent to
be developed. Think of what it means that the Revolution is permitting
this, and that the entire people will be literate by the next school year,
with schools everywhere in Cuba, with achievement campaigns, and with
teacher training. This will make it possible to find and discover every
talent, and this is just a beginning. In the countryside, all these
instructors will know which child has a calling, and they will indicate
which child should be given a scholarship to the National Academy of Art At
the same time, however, they will arouse artistic taste and cultural
inclinations in adults. Some experiments which have been carried out prove
the ability of the peasant and the man of the people to assimilate artistic
matters, to assimilate culture, and to put himself immediately to
producing. There are comrades in certain cooperatives who have already
succeeding in forming theatrical groups. In addition, the interest which
the peasant has in all these matters was proven recently with the
performances given in various parts of the Republic and the artistic work
which the men and women of the people did. Think, then, what it will mean
when we have instructors of theater, of music, and of the dance in every
cooperative and at every people's farms.

We shall be able to send a thousand instructors in each of these
categories in the course of only two years -- more than a thousand, for the
theater, for the dance, and for music.

The schools have been organized They are already in operation.
Imagine what it will mean in terms of cultural extension when there are a
thousand dance groups, music groups, and theatrical groups in the
countryside all over the island. We are not speaking of the city, because
it will be a bit easier in the city. Because some people have said here
that it is necessary to raise the cultural level of the people, but how?
The Revolutionary Government has taken an interest in this, and the
Revolutionary Government is creating the conditions so that the culture and
the level of cultural training of the people will have been raised greatly
within a few years.

We have selected these three fields, but one could continue
selecting other fields and continue to work to develop culture in all its
aspects.

This school is already in operation, and the comrades who work at
the school are satisfied with the progress of this group of future
instructors. In addition, however, construction has already begun on the
National Academy of Art, aside from the National Academy of Annual Arts.
Cuba is certainly going to have the most beautiful Academy of Arts in the
entire world. Why? Because that academy is situated in one of the most
beautiful residential districts of the world, where the most extravagant
Cuban bourgeoisie lived; in the best district of the most ostentatious and
most extravagant bourgeoisie, and also the most uncultivated -- let it be
said in passing -- because while none of these homes lacked a bar, their
occupants, with some exceptions, did not concern themselves with cultural
problems. They lived in an incredibly extravagant manner, and it is
worthwhile to take a tour of the area to see how those people lived.
However, they did not know that they were building an extraordinary Academy
of Arts, and that is what will remain of what they did, because students
will live in the homes that were the residences of millionaires. They will
not live cloistered. They will live as if in a home, and they will attend
classes at the Academy. The Academy will be situated in the middle of the
Country Club, where a group of architectartists have designed the
construction work that will be done. They have already begun, and they are
committed to complete it by December. We already have 300,000 feet of caoba
lumber. The music, dance, ballet, theater, and painting schools will be in
the middle of the golf course, in a site of natural beauty that is a dream.
That is where the Academy of Arts is going to be located, with 60 homes
situated about it, and with the social club at one side. The latter in turn
has dining halls, assembly rooms, swimming pools, and also a floor for
visitors in which the foreign professors who come to help us can be lodged.
This Academy will have a capacity of up to 3,000 children -- that is, 3,000
scholarship students -- and we hope that it will begin to operate in the
coming school year.

The National Academy of Manual Arts will also begin to function,
with other homes, another golf course, and with similar construction. That
is, they will be academies of a national type. This does not mean that they
will be the only schools or anything of the sort. However, the young people
who show the greatest ability will come to them as scholarship students,
without it costing their families anything at all. These young people and
children will have ideal conditions for developing. Anyone would want to be
a boy now, to be able to enter one of these academies. Isn't that true?
Mention was made here of painters who live on coffee with milk alone.
Imagine what different conditions there will be now, and let us say whether
the creative spirit will now find ideal conditions for developing.
Instruction, housing, board, general culture. . . .Some children will begin
to study in these schools at the age of 8 years, and they will receive
general education along with artistic training. . . . Won't they be able to
develop their talents and their personalities fully there? . . .

These are more than ideas or dreams, They are already realities of
the Revolution. The instructors that are being trained, the national
schools than are being prepared, and the schools for amateurs that will
also be established. This is what the Revolution means. It is for this
reason that the Revolution is important for culture. How could we do this
without the Revolution? Let us suppose that we are afraid that "our
creative spirit will wither, crushed by the despotic hands of the Stalinist
Revolution," (Laughter) Gentlemen, would it not be better to think of the
future? Are we going to think about the fact that our flowers are withering
at a time when we are sowing flowers everywhere? When we are forging these
creative spirits of the future? And who would not exchange the present, who
world not even exchange his own present for that future? Who would not
exchange his own things, who would not sacrifice his own for that future?
And who that has artistic sensitivity does not have the readiness of the
fighter who dies in a battle, knows that he is dying and that he will cease
to exist physically, but who knows that his blood will fertilize the path
of victory of his fellow-beings, of his people? Think about the fighter who
dies in battle and who sacrifices everything which he has. He sacrifices
his life, he sacrifices his family, he sacrifices his wife, and he
sacrifices his children, and for what? So that we can do all these things.
And who is it that has human feelings and artistic sensitivity who does not
think that doing this is worth all the sacrifices that may be necessary?
However, the Revolution does not ask for the sacrifice of creative
geniuses. On the contrary, the Revolution says that this creative spirit
should be put into the service of this undertaking, without fear that the
undertaking will be truncated. However, if you should some day think that
dour work could be cut short, you should say: it is well worth it for my
Personal work to be cut short so that we can do something such as that
which we have ahead of us (Applause.)

We ask the artist to develop his creative effort to the maximum.
We want to create the ideal conditions for the creation of the artist and
the intellectual, because if we are creating for the future, why would we
not want the best for the present artists and intellectuals? We are asking
for the maximum development for culture and, very precisely, in function of
the Revolution, because the Revolution means precisely more culture and
more art.

We ask intellectuals and artists to put their grain of sand into
this undertaking, which in the end will be an undertaking of this
generation. The next generation will be better than ours, but we shall be
the ones who have made that better generation possible. We shall be the
forgers of that future generation. We, those of this ageless generation
into which we all fall; both the bearded ones and the beardless, and those
who have plenty of hair and those who have none, or who have white hair.
This is the under taking of all us. We are going to wage a war against lack
of culture. We are going to wage a battle against lack of culture. We are
going to launch an irreconcilable dispute against lack of culture. We are
going to fight it, and we are going to test our weapons, Someone does not
want to take part? Well, what greater punishment is there than depriving
oneself of the satisfaction in what others are doing? [Ye said that we had
been privileged. Because we were learning how to read and to write in a
school, and could go to an institute or a university, or at least acquire
the sufficient rudiments of education necessary in order to be able to do
something. And can't we call ourselves Privileged for being able to live in
the midst of a revolution? Didn't we devote ourselves with great interest
to reading about revolutions? And who is it that has not read the history
of the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution with great interest? Who
has not at some time dreamed Of having been a personal witness of those
revolutions? Something has often happened to me, for example. When I read
about the War of Independence, I regret not having been born at that time,
and I am sorry not to have been a fighter for independence and not to have
experienced that action, because all of us have read the accounts of our
war for independence with genuine feeling We envied the intellectuals, the
artists, the warriors, the fighters, and the commanders of that age.
Nevertheless, it has been our privilege to experience and to be personal
witnesses to a genuine revolution, a revolution whose power is still
developing outside the boundaries of our country and whose political and
moral influence is making imperialism on this continent shudder and
stagger, (Applause.), and for which reason the Cuban Revolution is becoming
the most important event of this century for Latin America, the most
important event since the wars for independence of the 19th century, a
genuinely new era of the redemption of man Because what were those wars for
independence except the replacement of colonial rule by the rule of the
ruling and exploiting classes in all those countries?

The experience of a great historical event has been ours. It could
be said that it is the second most great historical event which has taken
place in Latin America in the last three centuries. And we Cubans have been
participants in it, knowing that the more we work, the more
inextinguishable flame the Revolution will be and the more it will be
destined to play a great historical role. You writers and artists have had
the privilege of being eyewitnesses of this revolution. And a revolution is
such an important event in human history that it is well worth the trouble
to experience one, even if just to be a witness to it

This is a privilege also. Consequently, those who renounce the
Revolution are those who are incapable of understanding these things, those
who let themselves be deceived, those who let themselves be confused, and
those who allow themselves to be perplexed by falsehood. What can be said
about those who have renounced it, and how can one think of them except
with grief? To leave this country in full revolutionary development in
order to be submerged in the entrails of that imperialist monster where no
expression of the spirit can have any life? And they have forsaken the
Revolution in order to go there. They have preferred to be fugitives and
deserters of their fatherland rather than to be no more than spectators.
And you have the opportunity to be more than spectators, to be participants
in this Revolution, to write about it, to express yourselves about it what
will future generations demand of you? You might be able to execute
magnificent artistic words from the technical viewpoint, but if a man of a
future generation, a man 100 years from now is told that a writer or an
intellectual of this age lived during the era of the Revolution but outside
of it, and did not express the Revolution and was not part of the
Revolution, that would be difficult for him to understand. This is
especially so when there will be so many, many people in coming years who
will want to paint the Revolution and write about the Revolution, and will
want to express themselves about the Revolution, compiling data and reports
in order to find out how it was, what happened, and how we lived. . . . We
had the experience recently of coming across an old lady 106 years old who
had just learned how to read and write, and we Proposed that she should
write a book. She had been a slave, and we wanted to know how a slave
viewed the world when she was a slave, what her first impressions of life,
of her masters, and of her companions were I believe that this old woman
could write something more interesting about her age than any of us could.
It is possible that she will become completely literate in a year and will
also write a book at age 106. This is the stuff of revolutions! Who could
write better than she about what the slave saw, and who could write better
about the present than you? And how many people will begin to write in the
future without having experienced this, at a distance, collecting written
materials? On the other hand, we are not hurrying to judge our work,
because we shall have an excess of judges. It is not that supposed
authoritarian judge, the imaginary hangman of culture which we have
fashioned here that is to be feared You should fear other, much more
fearful judges -- fear the judges of posterity! Fear the future
generations, which in the end will have the last word! (Great ovation.)
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