Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speech to Students

Moscow in Spanish to Cuba 2300 GMT 21 May 1963--L

(Recorded speech by Fidel Castro on 21 May at Moscow State University)

(Text) Comrade Minister of Higher Education; comrade professors, workers,
and students of Lomonosov University; comrade students of Patrice Lumumba
University: (Applause) I like to meet students. (Applause) It seems that
someone does not hear well here, but hoping they will hear it this time, I
shall repeat it: Yes, I like meeting students. Do you hear me? Very often I
meet them in our country, but of course not on such a solemn occasion as
this. Today this is a meeting with students and professors. What was the
excuse that you though of? To present us with the diploma of Honorary
Doctor of Jurisprudence. (Applause) Certainly I think that this is a great
honor for us, but is this honor justified? We were recalling our life as a
university student; we were not a very good student. Of course this bad
example must not be followed as a pretext to be a bad student. We studied
in a social atmosphere completely different from yours. We studied in a
capitalist university. Again this is no excuse to be a bad student. But we
lacked the inducements that our students have today, and that you have.

My first mistake was to study law. What kind of law did I study in the
capitalist society? The law that interests this society: property law,
mercantile law, real estate law, and so on--many of these institutions
which are the laws of a society doomed to disappear. But in our country
almost all young people wanted to study law, although it was an
agricultural country. But for every thousand students entering law school,
less than a hundred entered the school of agriculture. Our university made
lawyers by the thousand, but (words indistinct). And law studies at that
time was not like the present studies and the concept of law was different
from the present. (Words indistinct)

When I was a small child grownups used to say about me: He is going to be a
lawyer. It seems that they said that I was going to be a lawyer because I
was very fond of arguments. But I have found out that, for instance, I like
agriculture very much. This does not mean that I do not like law, but I am
not absolutely certain of the reasons that made me chose to study law, (but
I blame society and the lack of vocational orientation?).

Today things have changed in our country. Today less students go to the
faculty of law and more to other faculties. And (when?) the law students
hear me say these things they ask if law is unimportant. I say no, it is
very important. But we are not going to call them students of law or
student of jurisprudence (abogacia) as they used to be called, but
technicians in jurisprudence. (Applause) In our university thousands of
students used to graduate, but could not find jobs. Lawyers, doctors, and
engineers flocked to the capital and many of them were unemployed. Today,
as a consequence of the changes which took place in our country, instead of
having a surplus of technicians, there is a lack of them. I am certain that
never again will there be a surplus of technicians however large the (word
indistinct) of education may be.

Speaking about law, I wish to tell you what a great satisfaction it has
been for us when we think about the law which we studied, beginning with
Roman law, some of whose institutions are still in force in the capitalist
society. It is a great satisfaction to know that Roman law has been
abolished in our country. (Applause) If the diploma of honorary doctor is
given to us for all the wrong laws that the revolution has destroyed
(several words indistinct). Because in fact a revolution consists first of
all in the destruction of the unjust laws of the old society. There is no
doubt about the fact that our revolution has destroyed unjust laws. More
just laws--a new legal organization of a new society is what we are trying
to create now. We have to a great extent fulfilled the first task of
destroying the unjust laws and we are fulfilling and have ahead of us the
second task of creating just laws that will regulate the new society. From
this point of view our revolution still have to deserve this merit. We
stress to the law students the importance of their studies and explain to
them that there are still many problems of procedure to be solved in a
revolutionary manner. We advise them to go to the villages and to the rural
areas and study the life of the people so that in our country's new
conditions they may suggest suitable legal processes to solve all the
conflicts whose number is infinitely lesser than that inherent in
capitalist society. Our country also has to solve many institutional and
constitutional questions, to impose our own shape on the socialist regime
which, inspired by Marxism-Leninism, we are creating. (Applause)

We do not wish to do it in an idealistic manner, we prefer not to hasten,
for it is not a good policy to think up laws and institutions and then try
to adapt reality to these imaginary forms. (Applause) Reality must not be
curbed by ideal forms, but on the contrary the institutions must fit
realities. (Applause) This is why our students of jurisprudence have a
great task ahead of them which we exhort them to fulfill. (Phrase

Our country also pays much attention to the faculties of sciences and
medicine, to the shaping of teachers and educators. In our country today to
become a teacher one has to begin in the mountains, getting used to a hard
life. Thus we hope to form generations of teachers that will be prepared to
go anywhere the country may need them. In fact, our revolution that has
achieved much has great tasks to perform in every field, has made much
progress in this sphere. Beginning with the eradication of illiteracy, the
number of pupils in elementary schools has doubled. It has increased from
600,000 to 1.2 million. The students in secondary schools have increased
from 120,000 to (250,000?). The flow of students to advanced studies is
enormous. Thousands of young Cubans study in the countries of the socialist
camp. Previously, only the bourgeois children could attend foreign
universities--rich people's children. The revolution was able to send
thousands and thousands of workers' children to the socialist countries to
study. Today science and culture are no longer in the hands of a privileged
minority; they will no loner be instruments for exploitation, but will be
instruments for justice, people's welfare, and liberation thanks to the
technical aid given us by the Soviet Union and the other countries of the
socialist camp.

This is why we are making progress with great speed and are able to have a
large number of technicians, and thus develop education in our country,
thinking of the future, with the certainty that this is the needed basis:
communism equals an objective material basis plus education. Abundance
alone cannot make a better human being. Abundance shared among all
(applause), without exploitation, plus education is what makes a superior
human being.

Present here are students from various parts of the world, some from
socialist countries, others from countries still living under capitalism.
Each one has his own task. Present here are students from the Soviet Union
where communism is being built. You also have a great ask ahead of you.
Everything has not been done in your country. Fortunately for you, much is
still to be done, fortunately for you there are still many glories to win.
(Applause) The generation which preceded you made the revolution, built
communism and socialism, and has created the necessary conditions to begin
the building of communism.

This is really a very beautiful task. We shall never forget a sentence
which we heard pronounced at the Palace of the Congresses, which said: If
living under communism is great happiness, then building it is even
greater. (Applause)

The greater write Polevoy once asked us to address a few words to youth. He
asked us: What must youth do, youth which is and and will always be full of
unrest, which will always feel the need to do and create, what will they do
when there are no more revolutions? I told him that I sometimes ponder this
problem. What would have been our fate, the restless youth, in a classless
and just society, had we come to a world full of revolutionary yearning and
vocation? But then there will remain the great, immense, and infinite
revolution, the revolution against the forces of nature. This revolution
will never come to an end. This will be the task of science, the task of
the young people. In it they have a field in which they can stay
revolutionary forever. (Applause) This revolution will be as
extraordinarily beautiful as the social revolutions. The revolutions that
gave power to the workers, to the peasants, and paved the way, the great
and glorious way. This is why they will be immortal. This is why youth must
always revere and love Marx, Engels, and Lenin, the founders of the theory
and the leaders of the first socialist state, for the beautiful opportunity
which they thus opened to mankind.

Young Soviet people, in many parts of the world millions of young people
like you, attend university in a capitalist society, not knowing what their
future will be, what their lives will be, what their role will be in the
middle of a society of injustice. You have the fortune to live in a period
in which from the time when you are in the university classroom you know
what your life will be like, you know what will be your destiny, your
future. You must not accept it like prodigal sons, you must know how to
appreciate it in all its value. We, who have just emerged from such a
society, can no less than rejoice today finding such a throng as this, who
have all reasons to be proud, optimistic, and happy. Science shall win!

Long live youth! Long live the students! Long live science! (Applause) May
the friendship that so deeply and fraternally bind Soviet and Cuban youth
today grow forever!