Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana in Spanish to the Americas 0211 GMT 6 July 1962--E

(Fidel Castro speech to delegates to the Helsinki Youth Festival and
departing Soviet technicians)

(Summary) Something significant is taking place here tonight. It is very
important for you of the new generation in our country, particularly for
you young people. We are here to say good-bye to several contingents of
young people. some of them are soviet technicians who have been imparting
to us their experience and knowledge of agriculture for a year. Those 350
Soviet youths are going to take the ship to return to their country after
having worked hard in our country for one year. (Applause) The same ship
will carry a contingent of Latin American youths who are members of the
delegations of several countries to the World Youth Festival in Helsinki.
On the same ship there will be 400 Cuban delegates to that same
international event.

We come to say farewell to all of them with gratitude, emotion, and pride.
Gratitude to the youths who worked in our country, who left their families
and their country for long months to come here to help us; emotion toward
all of them, thinking of the thoughts these youths must have tonight, the
feelings of those who are going home, the feelings of the Latin American
youths who are going to Helsinki from countries where the exploitation of
the workers and peasants prevails--youths who are passing through our
American country, our free territory of America; (applause) and the
feelings of our young patriots who are leaving our country for some time,
crossing the ocean to meet with youthful representatives from the entire
world. We understand the mixture of emotion, enthusiasm, and, at the same
time, sadness. We come to bid farewell to everyone warmly and fraternally.

As Cubans we are proud of our representation to the Helsinki festival. We
can say that our youth is sending a magnificent representation. Our youth
can send a high quality representation because our youth has had in the
past, has now, and will have in the future a very important role in the
Cuban revolutionary process. Our youth has paid a high price in this
revolution because our youth has written brilliant pages in the defense of
the country and in the realization of revolutionary tasks our youth is the
best of our country, the greatest hope of our country, the future of the

"We know that in our youth we have an extraordinary treasure. We know that
in your youth we have the greatest wealth of the country. We know that if
our difficulties are great today, if our obstacles are great, if our
sacrifices are great, if our country was poor in industry and economy--an
exploited country for 60 years, plundered by the imperialist freebooters
who plunged this country of ours into backwardness, lack of education,
vice, and poverty--and if today we must face up to that backwardness, that
poverty with they left as a legacy, and struggle against our shortages,
struggle against material difficulties while we are working for the future,
while we are making efforts to create the means of production to make
possible better living conditions, there is one field in which we have
gained more territory than in any other--there is one field in which we
have made giant strides. There is one field in which we can already see the
fruits of our revolution; it is in you, the youth, the new generation, the
contingents of technicians which are being trained, (applause) in the
storehouse of experience, knowledge, education, and technology, which our
youth in accumulating."

That is why our youth will represent our country in Helsinki. It is moving
to think that our country can send such contingents to old Europe, such
contingents to the capital of a European country where such a magnificent
youth event is to take place.

Who are the ones who will take the Soviet transatlantic vessel? Not the
sons of the wealthy, the sons of the owner of the sugar central or of the
factory. Those are the ones who used to go. A worker on a boat to Europe?
Never! The workers could not even dream of going to Helsinki or even, in
many cases, to the capital of the republic. It used to be the wealthy who
dominated our country and who, therefore, claimed to be the representatives
of our country everywhere.

Today it is the youth who are going, children of the working class and of
our peasants, humble youths because today those who dominate, those who are
masters of the destiny of the country are not the powerful, the parasites,
the millionaires, but rather the humble, the workers, the peasants, the
working people.

"Therefore, this act cannot but be moving for us because we are sending out
of the country, to represent our country, a contingent of working youths,
of the best of our people. Who was selected to go to Helsinki? The best
workers, the best students, the most devoted, the most responsible were
selected to go to Helsinki. Who selected them? They were selected by their
own comrades (applause) in each factory, each school. With them are going a
group of young Cuban athletes and artists. (Applause) Because of their
efforts and abilities they were also selected to go to Helsinki. With them
also goes the representation of our revolutionary armed forces (applause),
youths, who, because of their achievements in the defense of the revolution
were selected to be part of the Cuban delegation. Simple youths, humble
youths, voluntary workers of those who made possible the success of our
harvest, female comrades who cut more than 200 arrobas of cane. Finally, we
can feel satisfied and proud of the youths who make up this delegation.
They were not arbitrarily chosen, they were selected on the basis of
merits, democratically. (Applause)

"Possibly none of these youths thought they would receive this distinction,
this honor, this recognition, this prize. When in their schools, their work
centers, and their factories they were doing their duty, when they were
among the best producers, or students, or the most devoted to discipline
and danger, they were not thinking of Helsinki. They were not thinking of
receiving honors. They were not thinking of any prize. The thing that makes
them worthy of the honor they have received is the fact they have known how
to do their duty disinterestedly. (Applause)

"It is society which decorates them. It is society which distinguishes
them. When privilege has disappeared, as it should, this can happen; and
only when privilege has disappeared can this happen. It is then that each
individual knows that society will recognize his merits, prize his merits,
even if he does not aspire to the prize, even if he does not make efforts
to be honored. But in his way the highest concept of work is created, of
duty, of the spirit of sacrifice, of honesty. Our people will be more
discriminating as time goes on. There is nothing more honest or just than
the judgement of the masses because the masses are just. Therefore, we know
that the comrades have selected those whom they consider the most worthy to
represent them in that event.

"The masses are honest. The masses are against privilege. Everything that
is privilege irritates the masses. All favoritism irritates the masses.
That is why everything that is just pleases the masses, everything that is
honest pleases the masses. (Applause)

"This fact, the method used to select the comrades, is a great step
forward; it is a great achievement of the union of Cuban communist youths.
(Applause) And it will invigorate the youth movement. it will raise the
view of our people regarding merit, sacrifice, and work. A work cult is
needed. A merit cult is necessary. A sacrifice cult is needed. The history,
the future of the peoples, the progress of the peoples is not created by
the lazy or the corrupt, or by those with vices, or by the parasites."

The history of the fatherland, who wrote it in the past? Was it the
volunteer who fought alongside the Spanish troops? Was it the plague of
parasites who,k while the Mambises were fighting in the jungle, were
demanding the execution of the students? Was it those who stayed home? No,
the history of the fatherland was written by the selfless men, those who
sacrificed themselves, those who died on the battlefields,k those who
followed Maceo and Marti during 30 years of struggle, (applause) those who
walked barefoot and experienced hunger in the jungle. They were the ones
who wrote the history of the fatherland. And every page of the history of
the fatherland has been written by the most selfless, the best men.

The history of our labor movement was not written by strikebreakers but by
the firmest, most honest, and most sacrificing workers. Social advances
were won by the most worthy and devoted workers. The history of our country
at all times was written by the most selfless, and most sacrificed men.
Those who are writing the history of the fatherland today are not the
cowards, the traitors, or the parasites: they are the most devoted, the
most loyal.

"Without the hands of the worthy men and women of our country, the traitors
would have removed from its masthead the sovereign flag of the fatherland.
Those bought by Yankee gold, the rabble, who, rather than earning their
bread honestly and sweating for it, go to get a crumb from their
imperialist bosses, would have torn down the sovereign flag of the
fatherland. Without the firm and vigorous hands of our workers, our
militiamen, our soldiers, our peasants--who not only made our flag free and
unfurled it with pride, but have also defended, defend, and will defend it
against all aggressions, and at all times--against the cowards, those who
have been bought, the parasites who would destroy the sovereignty of the

"That is why our people must worship sacrifice, work, and merit, because it
is those who work and make sacrifices who have made possible the victories
achieved by our people, who have defended the sovereignty of our country,
and who are building a better tomorrow."

This is why the adoption of that method of selecting the comrades who are
going to represent our youth is correct and why it will be of great benefit
to our country. In this way you have shown the 70,000 scholarship students
and the young workers the right road. In selecting the best, the most
disciplined, and the most studious workers, you are recognizing that you
must study, work, and do your duty. And every youth must try to act in this
manner. Every youth will try to have everyone think highly of him. That is
how it will be in the future. It will be the opinion of society, based on
the merits of each individual, which will indicate to each one his post in
life, his place. It will not be a pointed finger, the will of anyone, or
the favoritism of anyone, or the friendship of anyone, or the whim of
anyone. So it will be for each of you. So we must try to make it. Each
person's place, each person's concept, each person's responsibility must be
determined by his merit, his conduct, his actions."

Comrade Soviet technicians, Comrade Latin American delegates: Our people
bid you farewell with emotion and gratitude. Our people will always
remember you and this ceremony full of symbolism, meaning, international
solidarity, warmth, and human fraternity, after which you will leave,
together with our youthful compatriots.

Cuban delegates to the Helsinki congress: Our people bid you farewell at
this time (applause) with warmth and enthusiasm. We feel infinite
satisfaction in thinking of your happiness, emotion, and satisfaction over
the high honor you have received from our people. And we know that you will
represent our country worthily. Take with you, therefore, the pride of
leaving a revolutionary country, the pride of bearing the name of the
country and people of America who today arouse the admiration of the world.
It is outside Cuba that one really learns the value of the name of the
fatherland, the value of the concept the world has of our fatherland. The
concept the world had yesterday was that of the unknown island submissive
to the Yankee empire, a country without independence, a Yankee semicolony.

The country you today represent, the Cuba that the world knows, is the Cuba
that was able to free itself from the Yankee yoke, (applause) the Cuba that
has been able to resist three and one-half years of Yankee aggression, the
Cuba that defeated the imperialists at Playa Giron. (Applause)

When one is outside the country one can feel much pride over the high
opinion that the world has of Cuba. You will feel it there in its highest
degree when, with your heads high, you present yourselves before the
representatives of all the youths of the world. We know that your pride in
your country will increase.

Workers, exemplary workers, exemplary students: Take with you the name of
the fatherland and the flag of the nation whose right to create its own
future has been won with so much sacrifice by our people. And there in
Helsinki you can say that your country will be loyal to the slogan of
Fatherland or Death, We Will Win!