Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Speech at Bratsk Stadium

Moscow in Spanish to Cuba 1300 GMT 13 May 1963--L

(Recorded speech by Fidel Castro at a meeting at Bratsk Stadium 13 May.
Speech was recorded in Spanish and is provided with a Russian translation,
sentence by sentence)

(Text) Dear comrades, leaders of the party and leaders of the Soviet of the
Irkutsk district, dear builders of the Bratsk hydroelectric station:

We have come from a faraway country, we made a long journey to arrive in
Bratsk. Bratsk is our meeting point with the vanguard of the work of the
Soviet communists. Bratsk is the farthest east point of this great country
that we have reached in our tour. And it was worth undertaking such a long
journey to know Bratsk. (Applause)

We have hard many things about the work that you are performing, but it was
not the same as to see it with our own eyes. We knew that tens of thousands
of young men and women, answering the fall of the party and of the
Komsomol, had come to this region of Bratsk, where not a single person was
living, to build this giant project. We had a great interest in knowing
these courageous workers, and in seeing all that they are achieving. In
fact, it can be said that the work you are doing is not something that the
Soviet Union alone is legitimately proud of, but all progressive mankind,
all the champions of a world of justice without exploitation of man by man,
are proud. This effort which you are achieving is a moment to the ideas and
to the founders of scientific socialism, to the founders of the first
socialist country of the world; it is a true monument dedicated to the men
who gave their blood and their lives for the Soviet Union.

When we visited Volgograd, we had the chance to see the memorial to those
who fell in the battle of Volgograd. Your secretary general reminded us of
the Siberians who died fighting in Moscow and Volgograd. But I think that
here, as well as there, a monument is being built. I think that the
comrades who fought there and those who are working here are equally
heroic. They were the heroes of the defense of their homeland; you are the
heroes of the creative and peaceful work of the Soviet people. But what
does this enterprise also tell us, this giant work which is nearly
finished? It tells us about the USSR today, about the extraordinary
progress achieved, and about the technical problems that have been solved.
In a few words, it means that a power station of 4.5 million kilowatts
exists in Bratsk.

Such a project cannot be easily accomplished. This work reminds us of the
great works achieved by other peoples at various historic moments. Many
countries are famous for the works they built, great engineering works.
Thus, we hear of the pyramids of Egypt,and of other great construction
works. When this morning we visited the power station, we said: This work
by itself will make the Soviet people, famous, apart from many other
reasons that they have to be famous. (Applause)

But if they had built nothing else they would already deserve fame. To
build this work, economic foundations had to be laid, a great industry had
to be developed, and a very advanced technology had to exist. Figures cause
amazement--4.8 million cubic meters of concrete! From the data I know that
only about 400,000 tons more are needed to finish the work. The figure is
unbelievable, but it is not only the volume of material needed for the
work, the volume of water, the amount of electric power that can be
produced. In this work we can see a synthesis of all the progress of the
USSR in many fields.

For example, the machinery which has been installed has come from the
various places in the USSR. The machinery includes enormous generators of
more than 200,000 kilowatts, large cranes that can lift tens and hundreds
of tons of weight, and electronic equipment. But above all is the
technology of building, the solving of all the problems, some of them very
serious problems--such as those connected with climate, ice floes, stopping
the flow of the river, calculating everything, and solving everything with
exactitude. This could never be a achieved unless development in many
aspects was achieved previously, and this is admirable.

But this was not the essential for the building of this project. Technology
was not enough, nor machinery. No single living person could build this.
Only the Soviet people could do so. Who could develop these enormous riches
in such a distant region? The Soviet communist, the Soviet workers
(Applause), the Soviet youth! (Applause)

Under what conditions did they have to work; were there any houses in
Bratsk? Very cold weather, no comfort, much work to be done in the future,
a powerful river to tame, a historic and giant work to be built, very cold
weather, 50 degrees below zero, 55 degrees below zero!

We have never felt a temperature of 55 degrees below zero, but I was told
that today the temperature was about 2 degrees below zero here, and we can
make an approximate calculation. (Laughter)

Coming as we do from a country where it never snows, we think that if we go
out in the street or if we look out of a window with a temperature of 55
degrees below zero we would freeze. (Laughter)

And here yesterday you had to work under temperatures sometimes below 50
degrees below zero. Not only did man have to conquer the cold weather, but
the equipment also has to do it--machinery, the concrete. The chief
engineer explained to us how it was necessary to cool the concrete by a
special method to keep it from cracking. Has a man ever worked under more
difficult conditions in the course of mankind's history? No! Have so many
problems ever had to be solved? No! If you were able to do it, if Soviet
science and technology could solve these problems, what must be said, what
can be said of Lenin? What a genius you were! How far you looked into the

When we see a statue of Lenin, or a picture of Lenin, the Lenin of the
first years of the revolution, fighting against thousands of difficulties
at a time when there was not a single hydroelectric power station in the
USSR, when there was not a single tractor in the USSR, when (not a single
tractor was built?), when there was hunger, when there was a shortage of
clothing, coal, fuel, and food, then we are reminded that the genius like
leader of the Soviet proletariat had a vision of the country of today. It
was as if, seeing the years to come, he could see works such as these. What
faith he had in his nation, in his party! He was certain that difficulties
would be overcome, even though the country was fighting alone, without any
help, without receiving any aid from other countries. But the country was
building up (means accumulated by its own labor?), then the Soviet people
were able to obtain the necessary means to defend their country against
imperialist aggressions and to rebuild a solid and important economy such
as this.

What a great satisfaction this gives to all of us visitors and to all the
Soviet friends to look at this (word indistinct) and to admire this
beautiful history of this country, the will, the courage, and the obstinacy
it has shown! And what a great satisfaction it gives us to see that it has
triumphed completely, that it has created the foundations on which the life
and economy of the Soviet people will march with greater prosperity.

The Soviet people have created the basis that will allow them first of all
to be strong, to find themselves numerous against the enemies of socialism,
against the aggressive and warlike forces. They have created the basis for
constantly improving the people's lives. The most difficult part of the
project has been covered now.

This doe not mean, as (it is proved here?), that everything is achieved. It
means that the great successes achieved will give strength for continuing
the fight, continuing to win battles here, continuing to develop the
creative work. Here is where the beauty of work can be seen, the greatness
it produces it the type of glory that nations wish to achieve, the glory
that comes from working and not the glory that comes from wars.

That type of glory is wanted by the exploiters, the imperialists; but they
not only want that glory; before glory, the look for profits. The peaceful
countries where exploitation has disappeared want peace; they struggle for
peace and their aspirations are for peace, for the great glory that comes
from work. (Applause)

We are told that the first power station had some 50,000 kilowatts of
power. It is said that the Soviet people were very proud of that
achievement. Later, more power stations were built of hundreds of thousands
of kilowatts capacity. These for a time were the biggest in the USSR;
later, there was another that surpassed the millionmark. It was the biggest
one in the USSR and in the world for a while. But a few days ago, we
visited another--the largest--power station in the USSR and in the world.
It produces 2.5 million kilowatts. Yet they tell us this record will not
last long, because when the Bratsk power station is finished, it will be
the biggest one in the USSR and in the world. But, when the Krasnoyarsk
power station is finished, it will take the record away from Bratsk. And
still others will come afterwards.

It is right that great works, the biggest in the USSR and in the world,
should remain the biggest for a short time because other larger ones
follow. This is creative labor; these are the victories won by work; they
are the great victories and glory that mankind wants. Thus, when we visited
Volgograd, we admired it very much. We saw the house of Sergeant Pavlov,
and we felt admiration for his heroic action in defense of his homeland.
But when we arrived here, we met another great hero. In this case, he is a
hero of labor. We had the honor of meeting Boris
(Boris/Gahmulin--phonetic/, an injured building brigade leader and adviser
who was one of those welcoming Castro at the Bratsk meeting--Ed.), and we
admired deeply from our hearts the image of a true hero of labor, his will
of steel, his unbreakable spirit in the face of difficulties and
adversities, that gives him the will to live, to recover, and that keeps
him a leader of his communist working brigade.

In Volgograd we saw a statute, a symbol of the Soviet soldier who defied
death, who faced death, and who thus won. In the same way, Boris is like
the image of the man that tempted death and won. These things that we have
seen in Bratsk have been unforgettable.

Dear builders of Bratsk, on behalf of our country we are grateful for the
warmth with which you received us; on behalf of our country we are grateful
for the works you have achieved, for as the Hero of Communist Labor said
here, the work achieved by the Soviet people strengthens not only the USSR,
but all the socialist camp and all the countries which are fighting for
peace and for a better life. This is why all the countries must be grateful
to you for your efforts. You deserve gratitude from all countries,
including the gratitude of our people. (Applause)

I wish you further successes, further victories such as this one, that you
may continue building hydroelectric stations such as this one. (Applause)
The activity that I see in the crowds of the people of Bratsk is not
strange, because they are strong people. What amazes me is that so much
order can reign, for who could fight against this strength that mastered
the Angara River? (Applause and cheers)

Long live the successes of the communist labor! Long live the work achieved
here by the Soviet people! Long live the workers of Bratsk, the glorious
builders of communism, the courageous members of the party and of the
Kimsomol, who answered the call of the party and of the homeland! Long live
eternally the friendship between the Soviet and Cuban people, and between
the vanguard workers of the Soviet Union and the Cuban workers! Thank you.