Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services in Spanish 0243 GMT 21
November 1964--F/E

(Live speech at ceremony to report on the results of the campaign to enroll
workers in the "battle of the sixth grade")

(Text) Comrade teachers, comrade worker-students: this concept of
worker-student is a new concept in our country. It is a truly revolutionary
concept. The presence of such an extraordinary number of workers enrolled
in the worker-peasant education courses at this event, in this stadium,
would not be believed if it were not really happening, if we had not had
the opportunity of being part of it. When we arrived here tonight, we
recalled other occasions when this stadium has been filled. We recalled
that this stadium was not easily filled. As the sports field or arena that
it is, all the seats of this stadium used to be filled when there was a
very important game. When an event took place here that had awakened the
interest of all the people, it could be said the sports spirit of all the
people was apparent. When we arrived here tonight, we told some comrades
who asked our opinion of the event: "I see that there are more people here
than at the ball games." In truth, it would have seemed impossible that
something like this should have happened. It would have seemed impossible
that a meeting of the workers of the capital, who are participating in
these courses, could attract such a large number of citizens. If persons
still exist in our country who do not understand, do not comprehend, or
cannot know what the word "revolution" means, what a revolution is, it
would be enough for them to witness what is taking place here tonight and
at least meditate for a second so that they could know, so that they could
finally understand what a revolution is (applause).

Because this, this which we are seeing, teaches much more than any book. It
shows much better than any word what a revolution is and how the
revolutionary peoples are changed, how the people make a revolution at the
same time as the revolution makes the people (applause). For the people who
started to make the revolution are the same people of today, but there are
significant differences: these people whom the revolution is forming--the
same revolution the people are making--are a people whose apogee, whose
progress, whose education, whose awareness is growing day by day. What is
happening with millions of persons this very day is what few families
aspired to for their children in the past.

What is happening today with millions of persons was the hope or dream that
millions harbored and could not realize. In general, the parents wanted
their children to study. Why? Because they foresaw--they thought that the
standard of living, the prosperity and happiness of their son, would be
related to his knowledge, to his training. The parents hoped that their
children would study so that they would be successful in life. that thought
is logical--or it was logical, although it was not always correct. They
aware not always successful when they studied. Those who studied did not
always attain success. Many times, those without scruples were successful.
Many times, those who obtained a series of privileges lived better, or
those who were characterized by lack of morals, lack of principles.

However, even in those circumstances, even in those circumstances, even in
the midst of that society in which each man was practically an enemy of the
rest, and in which each man tried to rise even though he may have done it
by stepping on the rest--even in those circumstances the men who had the
opportunity to attain technical training, the men who had the opportunity
to obtain a university degree, had greater possibilities than those who did
not learn to read or write and those who did not pass through the first

Today it can be said with much more justice that a country that is
completely dedicated to study is a country that necessarily has a
magnificent future. It is a country which inevitably will have a great
future. In this case one is not talking about a project, an idea--one is
talking about a reality. If the statistical data are analyzed, it can be
proved that possibly we are today the first country in the world in matters
of education--mass education--mass education and study (applause).

When we say that we have achieved a place of honor in something, we do not
say it with a false sense of national pride, we do not say it as a
vainglorious boast. We say it, if you like, by way of comparison--a word
that gives an idea of how the educational movement has advanced in our
country. Above all, we do it to give an idea of what the people can do when
they are the masters of their fate, or what the people can attain through

Our country is like other countries, but the revolution has enabled our
people to achieve these successes, has made this goal possible, this
incredible goal of being able to say, after 5.5 years of revolution--that
is to say, a few short years since the triumph of the Revolution--that
almost one out of every three persons in our country is studying--one
person studying systematically out of every three persons. I am almost
certain that never before has such an extraordinary achievement been
achieved anywhere else or at any other time. It is possible--and would to
God that other peoples will be able to do the same; would to God that they
will be able to do even more. The important thing is not that we can call
ourselves champions; what does matter is that our example serves to
encourage the others (applause).

The comrade minister of education cited some figures. He spoke of the
800,155 persons who matriculated in these courses. He spoke of the 1.3
million students who expected to or had already registered in primary
schools. He added the middle-level students and the university students to
reach the conservative estimate that the total matriculated was 2.2
million. Doubtless that figure is conservative, because the figure does
not, for example, include tens of thousands of youths who are studying in
the Revolutionary Armed Forces (applause). Those figures did not include
the persons who attended the former night schools. Those figures did not
include some figures from the mountain regions. Those figures did not
include the 10,000 peasant women of the Cuban mountains who are also
studying in the capital (applause). Those figures did not include comrades
studying in our party's schools of revolutionary instruction (applause).

Those figures did not include the thousands of youths who are studying in
other friendly countries (applause). And finally, those figures did not
include the comrades of the party and the mass organizations who, in ever
increasing numbers, are participating in the study circles being organized
along the length and breadth of the island (applause).

This means that the figures amply surpass those 2.2 million persons cited
by Comrade Hart. However, in addition, let us not only consider primary
instruction, or technical instruction, or university instruction, or
political instruction as education. We must also consider as education
physical education, for example, which is also an essential part of the
education of a country. If the number of persons who actively practice
sports in our country, and the tremendous growth of physical education and
sports is analyzed, it can be seen that education has other dimensions.

If we consider cultural activities, for example--the hundreds of art
instructors who organize groups of art amateurs throughout the island; if
we analyze the increase of cultural activities in general; if we analyze
the part now played in our country by television, radio, and the press,
which formerly were commercial propaganda instruments; if there was a
radio, a considerable part of its time was taken up with commercial
announcements; but not only in commercial announcements: it also was used
for advocating veritable vices. For example, many of those commercial
announcements had to do with raffles, lotteries, with a number of games of
chance which instilled that vice in many citizens, a vice that kills the
will, a vice that kills effort, a vice that kills the spirit of
self-improvement--gambling. It is a vice that leads people to expect things
not through effort, not through work, not through training, but from
chance, from luck. And in that manner, those instruments of
information--arise from the fact that they were at the service of the ideas
of the exploiters, the ones who caused and maintained all those vices--were
used, not to educate the people, but to corrupt them.

It is possible, and at the same time logical, that our information media
may not have reached their maximum technical level as yet. It is possible
and logical that they have not reached a maximum of efficiency, a maximum
of perfection. In that field, as in all the others, we have much work yet
to do. However, without a doubt there is a great difference today. Without
a doubt there are today an infinite number of programs which raise the
cultural level of the people, their general knowledge--programs for
children, programs which at the same time as entertaining, also teach. It
is true--and we must acknowledge it--that there are still weaknesses, there
are still shortcomings, and that we are still not making full use of all
those means; but we must also admit that all those media, which used to be
in the service of deceitful lies, exploitation, and corruption, today are
also part of the instruments and means which increase the knowledge and
culture of all the people.

The educational movement is very great and is supported by all the
resources of the Revolution, by all the resources of the people. In
general, this movement has acquired an extraordinary magnitude. However,
its growth in magnitude cannot continue in the same manner it has up to
now. It cannot be at the same rate it has been up to now because, as we
approach truly maximum figures for the number of persons who are studying,
we should advance in another sense, in the sense of quality. The great
effort of the future must be made not in the magnitude, but rather in the
quality of this educational movement. Naturally, the first effort of
everyone in this direction was the literacy campaign.

At first there was not even the faintest dream of beginning from where we
are today; not even the faintest dream of worker universities, worker
schools; not even the faintest idea of secondary education; not even the
faintest idea of follow-up courses. It was necessary to begin at the
beginning. It was necessary to begin with literacy, while at the same time,
before beginning with the education of adults, it was necessary to complete
education of the children.

In chronological order, the first thing that had to be resolved was the
number of classrooms and teachers needed for all the children of Cuba. That
was the first step. Logically, if there were hundreds of thousands of
children without teachers and classrooms, the most urgent thing was to
resolve that primary need. When this need was resolved, the second one
presented itself: what to do with the million-plus adults who had not been
able to learn to read and write? Then that historical literacy campaign was
organized. In one year it practically eradicated the evil that had existed,
that evil that had existed for centuries.

But the necessity of not stopping there was accepted. The need for
follow-up courses was presented. The literacy campaign was followed by the
follow-up courses. But though the literacy campaign could be handled as a
one-year task, follow-up education could not be considered a one-year task.
It could not be considered a problem of time. Follow-up education is a
problem that has no time limit; it is something that never ends. Follow-up
education, in a broader sense, is practically the duty or the task of every
citizen during his entire life. It is not merely a question of having the
newly literate person continue studying; it is also a matter of the
situation that the recent university graduate cannot be satisfied with the
degree he has obtained and the education he has received at the university.
The university graduate finds himself in need of continuing to study after
graduation--he finds himself in need of continuing to study throughout his
life. Why? There are a series of reasons.

In the first place human knowledge and experience accumulates throughout
life. Moreover, knowledge, objectively considered--the knowledge attained
by mankind in every branch of science--increases daily, changes daily. It
is possible that a medical graduate of the 20's who had contented himself
with what he learned up to the time of his graduation would be completely
unqualified to treat a patient today. In the last 30 years, for example,
medical techniques have changed greatly. There have been great advances in
surgery. Also preventive and therapeutic medicine--almost all the medicines
used today differ greatly from the medications used at that time. But what
can be said of the physician can also be said of an engineer, a chemist, a
physical education teacher, a pedagogue, a teacher, because sciences are
constantly making progress, knowledge is constantly being renewed and
modified; certain theories are replaced by new theories; certain techniques
are replaced by new techniques. So the human being--human society finds
itself faced with the vital necessity of advancing at the same speed as
technical and scientific knowledge. Mankind feels there is progress toward
unforeseeable goals; but if you do not advance in step with science and
technology and knowledge in general, the price is stagnation, poverty,
scarcity, and misery.

What is the fundamental problem of our country? When in the past someone
wanted to explain what the fundamental problem of our country was, he said:
"Well, we do not have factories; we do not have industrial development; we
do not have capital; we do not have instruments for work. We are a
semicolonialized country; we are a country which is exploited by

However, those reasons can be more or less taken for granted. Today
something can be said which better than anything else explains the
reasons--not the explanations, not the indirect reasons, not the ultimate
reasons, but rather the immediate reasons. Above all, something can be said
which allows us to understand better than anything else that our poverty,
our economic stagnation, our increasing unemployment, our increasing
poverty was logical, and it is very simple. In our country, for example, of
each 10 workers of the rural areas today, still today, nine out of 10
workers from the countryside have less than a third-grade education--they
have a third-grade education and less. I do not know exactly what the
situation is in the city, but it is not very different. It is necessary to
see what this means, that nine out of 10 workers in the countryside and
possibly six or seven out of 10 workers in the city do not have more than a
third-grade education. When not even a third-grade education is obtained
what do they know, what have they learned? Do they know what technology
they can apply?l What means is there to solve the problems of the material
needs of a country with these educational levels? What can a man do with a
third-grade education?

In a certain sense, with a first-grade, second-grade, or with a third-grade
education, or even with less than a first-grade education, they can do
much, in a certain sense. Many men, for example, who hardly know how to
read and write had an instinct to know the causes of the evils of their
country. They had a sense of dignity. They had a sense of rebellion. They
felt the force of duty to such an extent that many of them gave their lives
on the battlefield and died for the Revolution (applause). As fighters, as
revolutionaries they can do many things. A man without this preparation can
become a hero. He can become many things.

However, what can this man do in the field of production? Well, a man with
a low level of education can acquire certain empirical knowledge of
production, but he cannot operate a lathe, he cannot operate a machine that
is only halfway complicated. He cannot develop a technical agriculture. A
man with a first-grade education can of course learn to operate let us say,
a truck, but let us bring up the case we had of many men who were
illiterate. If that illiterate man is taught to drive a truck and he goes
out on a highway for the first time and there is a sign that says "This way
to Santiago" and "This way to Holguin," he will not know what to do on the
first highway he comes to because he is not even able to read a sign that
points out directions.

An illiterate man, a man with a first, second, or third-grade level, who
barely knows how to add or multiply or divide, who barely knows how to
write--when he does write, writes poorly, expresses himself poorly, is
difficult to understand--what can such a man do in an era such as this, in
which all production--above all, large-scale production--is ruled by
science, by technology, mathematics, physics--by chemistry, by geology?
What can such a man do? Even if he had had--let's take a hypothetical
case--thousands of factories, thousands of electrical machines, thousands
of very modern pieces of equipment, hundreds of laboratories, what would he
have been able to do with all that?

If this very day we suddenly, overnight, could acquire 100
factories--chemical factories, mechanical factories--what could we do with
them? If we were to be given thousands of automatic lathes, what could we
do with them? If we had available all the fertilizers, for example, in the
amounts we desired, what could we do with those fertilizers? What could we
do with our soil even if we had all the machines, all the means, if we do
not know agricultural techniques? Then the problem, an essential problem,
is not only the problem of the work instruments, but the problem of the
technical ability.

For example, we need nitrogenous fertilizers. We have--we found after the
victory of the Revolution--a nitrogenous fertilizers plant under
construction. Well, only after much work and only after several years will
that chemical fertilizer factory begin to operate. We have inaugurated a
mechanical plant in Santa Clara, a magnificent plant with magnificent
equipment. Well, I do not remember the figures exactly, but the number of
qualified workers and technicians needed by that plant is approximately
three times greater than the number of qualified workers and technicians we
have in that plant.

The need for technicians in production, the need for technicians in
agriculture is truly fabulous, and we have already had the experience of
underutilization of factories, factories which are used at less than 50
percent of capacity because of a shortage of qualified workers, because of
a lack of technical abilities. Our factories, industries, production in
general need a larger percentage of qualified personnel every day. many
times when we have asked in some offices why they have so many employees,
they have answered, partly as an excuse and partly with good reason, that
since they do not know how, three have to do the work of one. That is some
solution! Such a solution that where 100 can do some administrative job, we
have to hire 300! What a future for a country when it has to triple the
amount in salaries to achieve the production one many with more training
could produce!

Anyone can understand that the standard of living of a country is not
raised that way. Anyone can understand that in that way we cannot have the
goods we need in the quantity that we need them, because if one gets paid
triple salary or if we must pay three times--pay three salaries in order to
produce as much as one--we will never be free of the ration booklet, we
will never free ourselves of the booklet. The quantity of goods, the
quantity of products will be below the quantity of money in circulation,
the quantity of salaries. If a country does not overcome that shortcoming,
if it is always to pay three salaries, that means that what one person
produces must be distributed among three. That means that, if that were not
the case if one person produced as much as three persons or if one produced
as much as 10 persons, what would fall to each worker would be incomparably
more than would be his share if we had three working and producing as
little as one.

This cannot be achieved without training, without studying. Man as brute
force can do much, doubtless, but he has his limits. That is to say, a man,
through his strength--through his personal energy, character, spirit,
enthusiasm, and love of work--may come to produce triple what a normal man
produces. Take the case of Comrade Reinaldo Castro (applause), who, cutting
sugarcane, cuts as much as three good sugarcane cutters. He is
extraordinary, he cuts more than 1,000 arrobas of cane in one day. that is
almost incredible. Well, but that is where the strength of man ends.

In order to surpass that limit, the machine is necessary, technology is
necessary. If one wants to cut as much as 5,000, 6,000, or 8,000 arrobas a
day, machines are needed. It is necessary to know how to operate a machine
so that the machine will operate well, so that it will have good
maintenance. In order for it to be repaired immediately if it breaks down,
a mechanic is needed. This is apart from the fact that a machine should be
designed by mechanical engineers. The repair shops should be organized by
mechanical engineers. That is to say, one machine requires a series of
qualified technicians, from the one who operates it, who is possibly the
one requiring the least training to the one who repairs it, the one who
organizes the shops.

A machine should work with a brigade, that is, with a group of workers. A
man to lead that brigade is necessary. Can a first or second-grade graduate
who barely knows how to add or divide or multiply lead that brigade? A man
with more ability, more training is needed. Good organization is needed. To
have good organization, one must know how to calculate well, how to foresee
and estimate a series of factors. One must know how to find the proper

Thus, many times we have received machines, but they have operated at
50-percent capacity because the machines need maintenance, repairs,
organization, and we are constantly reaching the limits of our
possibilities in all those factors.

But it is not enough for us to have a good machine, a good machine
operator, a good brigade leader. It is not enough for us to have a good
shop, good mechanics, good engineers. No! If that sugarcane is poorly
cultivated, the machine does not operate. If that sugarcane is planted at a
rate of 30,000 arrobas per caballeria, that machine yields less, that
effort yields less. If that field is not properly planted, that machine
will jam up. That is to say, it is not enough for technology to progress on
the one hand; technology must also progress there where that sugarcane is

But is not enough that there are good machines, good operators, good
sugarcane: there is the central, the industry. Moreover, before and after
the central there is the transportation. A good system of transportation is
needed, a good organization. All those aspects of the process or producing
a ton of sugar are constantly being faced. The need for technicians and
training are constantly being faced. If we resign ourselves to go as far as
our own powers can lead us, we would have to resign ourselves to one man
always producing 300 arrobas of sugarcane a day. If we achieved this
miracle--and I do not see how this miracle can be achieved, in which
everyone would be like Reynaldo Castro--then the sugarcane cutters would
produce three times more; they would not pass on from there. Only
technology can allow us to pass this limit.

To what point? It is now known. Automated plants now use a dozen men, fewer
men than in other times when they employed hundreds and sometimes
thousands. What happens in capitalism? In capitalism the workers have to
work against the machines. The workers have to work against technology.
Why? Because technology leaves them without work, technology displaces
then, technology creates unemployment. Automation is seen by the workers of
the capitalist nations as a terrible enemy because they say: "How is this?
Five hundred men work here. If 12 workers can do what we do, how are we
going to live?" They will have to live from a dole, a charity, an
insurance, which is what the capitalists invent for the unemployed so that
they can automate, so that they can introduce technology.

Well, you know that in our country, for example, it was said that if sugar
were shipped in bulk, we would have a lot of money for sacks and in
addition, we would save much manpower and costs in shipping the sugar.
However, this was impossible because there were hundreds of thousands
unemployed. The port workers would have never agreed to making bulk
shipments of sugar. In the same manner, they would have been against
mechanization of the ports.

In the same manner, the cigar workers were against the introduction of
cigar-making machines, because all cigars were made by hand. A machine
could do the work of scores, perhaps hundreds of workers. Any cigarmaker
knows better than I how many it would replace, but I understand that a
cigar-making machine would do the work of many cigar-makers. The
cigarmakers opposed the introduction of such a machine. When they spoke of
saving or decreasing the number of employees in transportation, they spoke
of doing away with the conductor and justified resistance was encountered
from the transportation workers. Moreover, if someone had spoken of
introducing a cane-cutting machine, he would have been lynched--he would
have been lynched in this country because the workers would have seen that
machine as an enemy, a true enemy. They would have seen that the machine
meant hunger for them and their families.

What is our situation? Do we perhaps see the machine as an enemy? No. How
do we under the conditions of socialism view technology and the machine? We
see technology and the machine as the great resource, the great instrument
for the progress of the country, for raising the standard of living. We see
in the canecutting machine the possibility of arriving at a production of
10 million tons of sugar. We see in a cotton-picking machine the
possibility of increasing our production of textiles. We see in any machine
a solution, a remedy.

Why? Because under socialism there is no social contradiction between the
owners of the machines, the owners of the factories, and the workers. Under
socialism, the worker and the owner are one and the same. Under socialism,
worker and owner are one and the same (applause). Karl Marx said to the
capitalists: "You try to accuse us of wanting to abolish private property,
but private property is abolished for nine-tenths of the population and can
only exist for the other one-tenth if it does not exist for the other
workers." In truth, in a certain sense, socialism liquidates, socialism
suppresses possession of the means of production, possession of the sugar
centrals, transportation lines, and factories. Socialism does not suppress
personal property nor the property of the small farmer, but in general,
large holdings are abolished under socialism.

In a certain way we abolish property, but in another sense we establish and
create property. Private possession of the means of production, of
factories, is abolished, but it is a fact that all the people are the
owners. All the people are owners of the means of production and fruit of
their labor.

What problems does the citizen face today? The citizen wants there to be
more shoes. The citizen wants there to be more mil, more meat, more fish,
more food, more clothing, more houses. The citizen today knows that if more
mil is produced, that milk goes to the people. He knows that if more
clothing, more shoes, more goods in general, are produced, those goods go
to the people. This means that the preoccupation of each citizen today is
that there be more. The preoccupation of each citizen today is not that a
machine not be introduced, but that all the machines and techniques
possible be introduced so that there will be more, because if there is
more, he knows that he will get more. He knows that he will receive more

For example, for example--just one example, very usual: if we ask how many
need a house, or how many need a better one than the one they have--if I
ask, I am sure everybody will say "I need a house." Is there somebody here
who does not need one? Because the person who lives in a room wants a house
with two or three rooms; the person who has a house with two or three
rooms, but rather old, wants a newer house. In sum, there is practically
not a single citizen who does not need, who does not have need of something
in the way of living. When he does not need it for himself, he wants it for
the daughter who is going to be married, or he wants it for the son who is
going to be married and the mother does not want to bride to go live in the
mother-in-law's house. In a word, anybody who does not need it for himself
needs or wants it for somebody else.

To be sure, if we go back a bit, we see that this is not just a problem of
(word indistinct). In another sense--when for example the fifth anniversary
of the urban reform decree comes in a few months, in approximately a
year--many families will be freed from paying rent. And being rid of paying
rent was perhaps one of the things any family wanted most, because no money
hurt as much as the money which had to be paid out every monthly in rent.

Of course, such things do not matter now; today other things matter, but I
gave you that example. Housing needs are tremendous--not just current
needs, but future needs. The builders congress considered housing needs not
for now alone, but also for 1970, 1980, 1990, and I believe the year 2000.
To be sure, people are not so concerned over the needs of the year 2000;
they are concerned over present needs, and in some cases next year's. I
have encountered some persons who have told me: "I have asked for a house,
but do you know when my turn comes up? In five years, because on the list I
have, I do not know my number."

If, for example, we develop the industry of basic construction materials
and mechanize construction, the same number of workers that today build a
determined number of houses could build 10, 15, and 20 times as many. Now
we ask: How are we to solve the problem of housing to meet all needs in
this country unless we mechanize construction, unless we introduce
technical methods in construction, unless we succeed in having 20, 30, or
40 house factories? There is not other way, there is no other way.

I gave you that example because we need many things. But it is necessary
always to remember, always bear carefully in mind, that there is only one
way to obtain those things, and that is through technical methods,
technical training, and of course, work. There are some citizens at times
who, when they need a house, become desperate: "The doctor sent me because
I do not get along well in that place, because there are so many of us in
the family, because we are all in one room, we need a house." But like as
not the husband of the woman asking for the house is one off the workers
who build houses. It may be that when she is with her husband, the woman
who is asking for the house does not urge him as pressingly to lay 500 more
bricks every workday. For sure, if the lady who needs a house has a cousin
working in the construction industry and sees him killing time on the job,
she will stop and tell him: "Say, if you go on laying bricks at that rate I
am never going to have a house." (applause)

In general, everybody produces something and everybody wants something
which is seldom what he himself produces. The worker in the textile mill
wants more shoes; the worker in the shoe factory wants more clothes; the
many who mils the cows wants more clothes and shoes; and the man who makes
the clothing and the shoes wants more milk.

The man who is planting vegetables over there wants soap, clothes, shoes,
medicine--everything. The man who is producing clothes, shoes, medicine,
and the rest wants vegetables. And each person wants many things, and he
produces something.

A good formula would be, if every time a man thinks of his work, of what he
produces, the idea would come to his mind that the product he is producing
is wanted by many people and they are asking for more, just as he is asking
for more of many things. And if he wants a plentiful supply of many things
in the future, there is a way: let each one make more of everything he
produces (applause). The man who produces milk, the man who produces meat,
the man who produces fish, the man who produces vegetables, the man who
produces clothing, the man who makes shoes, the man who makes houses, the
man who produces medicine--in a world, all who produce anything should take
thought that this is the only way.

"How can I train myself, how can I produce more milk?" is what the milkman
should say. "How can I produce more vegetables?" is what the farm worker
should say. "How can I produce more shoes, more cloth?" And of course
everything is interrelated. If there are not more cattle, there will not be
more leather for shoes; and if there is not more cotton in the fields,
there will not be more fiber for cloth; and in this way all production is
interrelated. But how fine it would be if each citizen thought to himself
what his duty was, what he should do, and attended to that duty with the
same industry he displayed when asking for something for himself, when
needing something for himself.

Just today, I remember an experience. I was going through a little town
where there is a dairy, some cows. In the little town we had told the
comrades of the dairy (who were milking?) some new cows that had arrived
that they would distribute the milk in the town; there must surely be some
need for it, since that center had been put there to distribute the milk to
that town. We went through the town, and I asked about the the milk, and I
was told: "Well, there is some problem with the milk because there is some
difficulty connected with the temperature."

As we were talking, a lady wanted to say something. And she said something
to me. I stopped. She said: "Listen, why do they not make the packages
smaller?" And I said; "What packages?" "Why, the packages in the stores, I
am a store employee and the packages come here weighing 300 pounds. They
weigh alot." I said, this lady is right, but why tell me? Would it not be
better to tell the MINCIN people when they come, the chief of the regional
section or somebody? And explain to them? She should tell the people who
arrange the packaging, the people who make the packages, and the others:
"Listen, you people who make the packages: do not forget that I am a woman
weighing 110 pounds and cannot lift a 300 pound package." The person who
makes the package weighing 300 pounds, who may be a very strong man, who
may have won a weight-lifting medal, should realize that there is a 110
pound woman who can handle only 50 pounds at the most.

Well, I thought of that example. Often, when somebody presents his housing
problem, I think that way. It is not a lack of understanding. We understand
that when somebody has a need he cannot be met with reasoning and
philosophizing and arguments, because you can argue and reason on many
points, and even if your reasons are the soundest in the world, the
(person?) is still lacking the thing he wants, he is still without the
house. And one says to himself, with common sense: How am I going to argue
with him when, after all, the thing he feels more strongly than anything
else is the need of a house, because he has a tremendous problem?

That is understandable; that must be understood by everybody. It is
necessary, in work, for us to place the same stress, the same earnest
concern for doing things that we display when we ask for things, when we
need things (applause).

Surely when a worker who produces something--milk, meat, or something--has
a relative who is sick and needs a doctor, or when he is involved in an
accident and calls for an ambulance, and wants the ambulance to move at
full speed and the ambulance goes at full speed toward the hospital, and he
wants the doctor to be there to give his relative all necessary care and
save his life--because if a few minutes are lost that relative might
die--everyone thinks that at that time the ambulance driver must run, the
doctor must run too, the nurse and everyone must run, and that if they do
not run, his beloved relative might lose his life. In the same manner that
we ask of others, that we demand from others; in the same manner that when
we go to a cafeteria, to a restaurant, and want quick and good service;
when we go to store and do not want to get into a line; when we render a
service to others and when we are working for others, we should desire to
do things with the same speed, with the same urgency, and to perfection.

Many persons demand to much and give too little. Those who demand so much
should be asked: "Do you give as much as you demand?" because if everyone
here gave as much as he demands, all problems would be solved (applause).
The social and just formula is: each must give as much of himself as he
desires others to give to him. If that basic principle were fulfilled and
each person abided by it in his work, how well we would advance! Not that
we are not going to advance well; we are going to advance well anyway,
because the will of those who are not conscientious, or than the laziness
of those who are not conscientious (applause). The strength and the morale
of those who understand will prevail over the worthlessness of the ignorant
and of those who do not understand.

In other words, we do not have the slightest doubt that with work--as
nothing is achieved without work--and by fighting very hard, we will move
forward at a better and better pace. We will have a mass of trained and
conscientious workers as time marches on.

Naturally, this subject or line of reasoning is somewhat distant from the
worker-peasant education matter we were talking about. However, to a
certain degree, when we think of these matters we are also learning and
obtaining an education. I had forgotten that the podium is a means that can
be used to improve it. In other words, the podium was used in the past for
demagoguery and political trash, and today is used to discuss the country's
problems (applause). All right, let us return to the matter of
worker-peasant education: I was saying that quality is essential from now
on. We have been working for quality. Of course, to fill all the needs for
teachers, even when there were 10,000 teachers without classrooms at the
triumph of the Revolution, those 10,000 teachers were not enough. We had to
organize special courses; to turn many students into teachers; to turn
workers into teachers; that was not enough. When the problem of
worker-peasant education arose, several thousand primary school teachers
participated, but furthermore many amateur teachers were recruited.
However, even that was not enough. The comrades in charge of the
worker-peasant education thought up another type of teacher. I understand
they call that type worker-teacher.

When the number of worker-students increased, they thought of how to solve
this. They solved it quite correctly, and let us hope that we solve many
other problems in such a correct manner.

This is what came to their minds: There were no more teachers, there were
no other sources of personnel. They they thought of utilizing the more
conscientious workers who had a higher educational level to teach workers
at lower levels. Thus they were able to solve the problem. By extracting
the workers from the workers' ranks without abandoning production, they met
the new needs for teachers when the number of worker-students increased.
That was a good, revolutionary solution--a solution of the masses. This
movement to each workers has a very interesting aspect. They practically
solved all problems by improvising classrooms, using waste materials to
solve problems of blackboards and seats.

When we ask how much all this cost, it is almost incredible that hundreds
of thousands of workers have been put to study practically without making
any investment in a single new building, but using halls, using the space
in factories, because practically everything had to be made. They even made
the blackboards, with I don't know what available material. They made the
blackboards, they made the seats, they made everything. Hundreds of
thousands of workers are studying, using practically only the resources
which were there. The spirit of the workers, the initiative of the workers
was enough to do this. The initiative of the masses, the creative,
enterprising spirit of the masses--these are words we hear with each
achievement. The masses, the masses solve things. Yes, this is a
magnificent example.

I am sure that if we were to seek a bureaucratic solution to this problem,
four bureaucrats would have sat down at a desk. They would have begun to
add up numbers because sometimes knowledge appears to be misleading, it is
used very badly. They would have put down numbers and more numbers and they
would have said, "Well, in order to put these 100,000 workers to study, we
need this plus that and I don't know what--30,000 classrooms, so many
millions, 100 million, let's say; so much cement, so many dowels; 200,000
blackboards will have to be imported; so many millions of feet of lumber
will be needed to make benches; so much of this and of that--altogether 500
million pesos and 10 years to do it." Then they would begin to discuss it
with the Ministry of Public Works, with this one and that one, with someone
here and someone there.

So it is incredible. We know that there are hundreds of thousands of
workers studying and that they have solved the problem with what they had.
They solved it in a revolutionary way, they solved it in accordance with
the spirit of the masses. It was a solution of the masses, the masses
solved it. Fortunately, it was not the bureaucrats who solved the problem;
otherwise, we would not have hundreds of thousands, nor would there be
(words indistinct). The bureaucrats add up many figures and they amount to
a great deal of money, and the strange thing is that often they do it
invoking the need for saving and similar reasons.

Things must be understood properly. This does not mean one must always make
things clear, that all problems must be solved in this way or that figures
must be abolished. No, it does not mean this. What we are doing is giving
an example of how the masses solve a problem when they can, of what
resources, what initiative, what possible solutions there are; and this is
how this question was solved. Why was it solved in this way? Ah, because
the comrades in the ministry, the comrades in the trade unions worked with
the spirit of the masses. It means that if the comrades in charge of this
had acted in a bureaucratic spirit nothing would have been solved. Yet
nevertheless they solved it. So a solution was found for the material, for
the teachers. They found, they invented, and they solved the problem.

We could not wait to have 30,000 teachers because if we had to wait for
30,000 teachers we would have wasted 10 years. We are going to have these
30,000 teachers, but we are going to have them, above all, for the children
who are growing up. We are going to have them for this child population
that is increasing. We are going to give an opportunity to primary school
teachers to improve themselves and teach in the secondary schools, and the
teachers of the secondary schools will improve themselves and teach in the
preuniversity class and the technological institutes. We are working
intensively on this.

For instance, some 6,000 to 7,000 young people enter the Minas del Frio
school every year to study to become teachers. Next year, some 1,000 new
teachers will graduate from the Macerenco Pedagogical Institute (slight
applause) after receiving careful training, so that within a few months
there will be 1,000 new teachers. This is the first contingent from the
teacher schools established in accordance with the plans of the Revolution.
The next year there will be another thousand, but a little later the
graduates will come out, not 1,000 at a time, but 2,000 at a time and 3,000
at a time; and a little later yet they will come out 5,000 at a time.

What a magnificent thing! And we are not very far away from it because in
the first course at Tope de Collante at least 4,000 to 5,000 students were

(Fidel presumably hears a voice in the crowd--ed.) How many? He says there
are fewer than that. Some must have been left behind, because 5,000 or so
entered. Well, this means that they are demanding there. It means--of the
first group--how many entered the class? How many? (indistinct words from
audience) Some 6,000 entered. (Words indistinct) and some 3,500 (have made
the grade?). Then we shall have to admit 10,000. Otherwise we will not
arrive at the 5,000. There can be no other remedy. One makes a great effort
and if it is not enough one has to make a greater effort. It will not be
difficult, because the number of sixth grade graduates is steadily

Let us consider that we must graduate no less than 5,000 primary school
teachers every year. And--well--let us say there were 3,500 (who
graduated?). It is already a considerable increase, but we must try to
graduate 5,000 primary school teachers a year. This is a formidable effort
to raise the quality of education. But besides this, year by year we have
established the policy of increasing strictness and imposing greater
demands on sixth grade graduates, on secondary school graduates, on
preuniversity graduates. The demand will increase, greater preparation will
be constantly demanded.

This, as Comrade Lazaro pointed out here, is correct. The sixth grade level
must really be a sixth grade level. How many graduate every year is not as
important as that they graduate at an acceptable level. It is necessary for
the comrades directing this work to understand that the quality of those
who graduate is much more important than their number and that we must
tenaciously pursue this objective. So we shall be increasingly demanding in
primary education so that we may be increasingly demanding in secondary
school education and more demanding in preuniversity education and more
demanding in university education every year. For instance, in the
university it is possible that the five-year program may be increased to
six years in the Medical School, and when we can, it may be increased to
seven; seven, and if it should be necessary, to 10. Then, when many of the
current needs are met, then we will have an even better trained doctor, a
doctor with much greater knowledge.

We will not then have, as we do today, such pressing needs. Even so, these
pressing needs have not led us to graduate doctors with less ability than
before. It is very important to point out that despite these pressing
needs, today the medial students are graduating with a much higher level of
learning than those who graduate in the past (applause).

Gentlemen, some things are not known: the fact is that in the past the
teaching was sometimes so theoretical that an outstanding student in
obstetrics had never seen a woman (give birth?). Another might be given a
prize in I don't know what subject--surgery, let's say--and he had never
operated on anyone. He had studied the subject in books.

Today, theory is combined with practice in the hospitals on a proportional
basis and, despite the urgency of our need, the level of training has not
fallen; the level has been raised, but this level will have to be raised
more and more. This must take place even though with the comrades of the
Public Health Service, we have established an emulation. Emulation between
what? Emulation between medicine and agriculture. Someone will say, what
has agriculture to do with medicine? We told the comrades in the Ministry
of Public Health that with 40,000 agricultural technicians we are going to
produce more health than the Public Health and all the doctors in 1964 and
that, above all, we were going to develop preventive medicine, That is, we
are going to see that people did not fall ill so that they will not fall
into the hands of the doctors; we said that this therapeutic medicine is a
cruel medicine, obviously cruel in one sense and very humane in another.

When you visit a hospital, you see there are up to 20 operations a day.
Certainly, today in a hospital you can see that the people who are to be
operated on feel confident, much calmer, much more secure. However, they
have to pass through a disagreeable, difficult period. The family, the
patient, everyone has to. We should try to see that the citizen does not
fall ill. Naturally, the comrades in the Public Health Ministry have always
tried to do this, and they have always looked to preventive medicine as the
real solution. Not only have they looked to it, but they have developed
magnificent programs against epidemics. They have practically eradicated
poliomyelitis and they have greatly reduced the incident of other diseases
through preventive medicine, with vaccination plans.

But there is still another aspect of preventive medicine: nourishment. The
most profound preventive medicine must be practiced not only by
establishing proper hygiene and vaccination campaigns, but also by
controlling the quality of the citizens' food, since within a few years we
will be able to produce not only quantity but also quality. As we are,
after all, at a peasant workers education ceremony, I shall take the
liberty to explain this a little. What does quality in food mean? Let me
say this; perhaps many persons think that a ripe, red, pretty tomato has
the same vitamins as another tomato equally red, ripe, and pretty, yet it
may be that one tomato has three times as many vitamins as the other, the
blood of the children, of the persons who consume this tomato may have more
vitamins that that of those who consume the others.

(words indistinct) under capitalism, were ruled by quantity and external
appearance. Food was sold by the pound. The quality of the food was
disregarded. Yet it is perfectly possible through scientific agriculture to
produce not only quantity but also quality (shouts), but not quality in
color, rather in the value of elements, vitamins, proteins in each of the

Naturally, this occurs only in noncapitalist economy, because capitalist
economy is based on quantity. We can arrive at a scientific agriculture
which will take into account both quantity and quality.

We told our comrades in the Public Health Ministry that we were going to
work toward this. In other words, it was not an emulation in the sense that
they did not agree with this. They are very much in agreement with this.
Rather than an emulation, it was a jest about emulation. Our comrades in
the Health Ministry understand this perfectly.

Among the medial students, we are going to try to arouse interest in
research not only in order to train doctors, but so that we may choose a
group of students every year for medical research, so that they may develop
their knowledge of preventive medicine, which will take into account the
conditions of the environment. There are areas of Cuba, for instance, where
most of the people have magnificent teeth. This is the result of certain
mineral elements in the local soil. This means that dental carries, for
instances, is a problem which can be overcome to a considerable extent by
preventive measures, and preventive medicine can be exercised in many ways.
In the future, rather than magnificent hospitals--although we shall always
have magnificent hospitals, ever better hospitals with an increasingly
experienced personnel--we must work on the other objective: preventive
medicine. Both in primary education for children and in education of
adults, on all levels of education we must work for quality. We must
concentrate our efforts on this.

I am omitting a detail. Two things I wanted to say here have not been
stated. One is--must these courses be conducted at the expense of
production. No. No, education must not be developed at the expense of
production. Why do I say this? Because at the beginning many demands were
made to cut half an hour of work or an hour's work so that it might be
devoted to study. This would be a mistake in many cases--I am not going to
say in all cases.

Why? Because it would in fact reduce the work day to seven hours or seven
and a half. We will really be in a fix if we begin to reduce the work day
before developing technology, because it would be doing things backward.
First we must develop technology, increase productivity, and afterward we
can reduce the work day. We cannot shorten the work day before developing
technology because that would be a mistake. Of course, there are some
places of work where, because of the raw material situation or specific
circumstances, production is not affected by quitting a half hour early. I
understand certain of those cases have been resolved, but in all cases
where cutting a half hour or an hour means cutting the working hours and
cutting production, that formula must not be applied.

Nobody need tell us that he is going to find a solution because in those
seven and a half hours he will work more. Then I would tell him; "Well
then, in those eight hours work as hard as you are going to work in those
seven and a half, and study an hour afterward." For after all, if somebody
admits that he can make a little extra effort, why does he not do it? It is
not his duty to do it? Or does he do it only if they give him a half hour
to study?

So, study programs must not be put into effect at the expense of
production. Anybody can understand that this is reasonable and fair. For
with approximately one million persons studying--say 800,000 workers--one
hour lost means 800,000 working hours.

That would be the work of 100,000. One hundred thousand workers can produce
goods worth 500,000 or more, or a little less; but an average might be
taken of 500,000 pesos a day. Five hundred thousand pesos a day means a
yearly production of about 200 million pesos. One hour, half an hour, one
minute taken from production means millions of pesos lost to the country.

Hence virtue lies in developing this program and not sacrificing
production, because the other thing would not be a virtue and our workers
would not deserve any special praise if they were to do things
backward--reduce production, shorten the work day--before raising technical
levels, before developing production, and above all the productivity of
work. We are studying for many reasons, but one is to increase work
productivity. That is one of the basic goals of studies: increasing the
productivity of work. It is therefore well to bear in mind this idea: that
this program must never be effected at the expense of production.

There is another thing: We are engaged in this battle for the sixth grade,
but soon we will be facing another tremendous battle, the battle of the
sugar-making season (applause). In all truth, we will be accomplishing
nothing if we learn a great deal but do not at the same time produce a
great deal of sugar. We will be accomplishing nothing if we learn a great
deal but fail to develop our economy, if we fail to acquire the economic
resources enabling us to apply our technical knowledge. With the same drive
and the same enthusiasm shown by our mass organizations and our labor union
organizations in waging this battle--without separating one thing from the
other, as part of the same thing, as part of the same objective--it is
necessary to fight the battle of the cane harvest.

I repeat what we said a few days ago: To win the battle of the cane harvest
is to win the battle of the economy; and all the more so in the next few
years, when we will not have machinery; all the more so if we consider that
the price of sugar has dropped considerably and that part of the
consequences of the drop in prices can be compensated for by us through
increased production. There is enough cane. We are not going to say how
much there is. AT most, when we finish the season, if nothing else happens
to be more advisable, we will say how many tons of sugar we have produced.
But I can tell you that there is plenty of cane. The problem is to cut it,
transport it, and grind it (applause). Our people must set themselves the
goal of not leaving a stalk of cane standing.

Finally, I want to say this: The comrades of the ministry have been quite
concerned because, as the educational movement grew, they found themselves
needing more millions, and more and more. But millions cannot be made on a
press. We cannot keep going on printing paper money. They are estimating
that worker-peasant education was already costing 12 million pesos and that
economic resources were limited. So I made a suggestion. The idea is not
the most agreeable, to be sure, but since our duty does not consist of
saying agreeable things, but the right things, I will tell you: I suggested
putting up to the workers, all who are in worker-peasant education, the
idea of contributing one peso a month to the worker-peasant education
programs (applause). But this cannot be done by decree.

After all, the country is spending hundreds of millions of pesos on
education. Logically, our resources are limited. If we want to do more, we
cannot merely invent the money. If we want to go on advancing, there must
be a contribution from the people.

As you know, education is free at every level. But it is very worthwhile
for an effort like the one being made, for a movement of such possibilities
as this one, to be accompanied by a little sacrifice and shared directly by
the people in the matter of the expenses incurred through this program. It
would be healthy for these plans and for the national economy at the same
time for the workers to contribute. But since this cannot, should not be
done by decree, what we suggest is that they organize an assembly in each
class and consider this move, that is that everybody taking part in the
worker-peasant education program contribute a peso to meet the cost of the
program (applause). This must actually be a conscious act by the workers,
not because the comrade of the labor union sector gets up and makes the
proposal and the comrades believe it is their duty to support it, not
because the comrades of the cell get up and make the proposal; but simply
if a majority, an ample, conscious majority of the students who are
attending any class believe it is fair and proper, discuss the measure, and
approve it if they think they should approve it. If they do not think they
should approve it because income is very low, because it means great
sacrifice, or because somebody cannot--truly cannot, then they should solve
the problem as they deem fit, whether all should pay, or only those who
can, or whether those who are better able can pay also for the ones who
cannot. Let them seek a solution that has been analyzed and discussed and
is absolutely voluntary. That is to say, if this decision is reached by a
group of workers, it should be reached spontaneously, consciously, because
they understand it to be fair and right.

A peso can mean much to some. To others, it might mean less. We are
certain, however, that in the same measure that the workers who are
attending classes make a small effort--a small personal contribution--they
will better appreciate what they are doing. They will certainly make
greater efforts because they will see more clearly and more directly that
this costs money.

Insofar as the Revolution is following a policy which is not inflationary,
but the contrary, and since the Revolution plans to economize and save;
inasmuch as the Revolution aims to fight squandering and tries to curb
tendencies to waste money, it is necessary that we make this effort. This
sacrifice is necessary to bolster these plans. If currently we invest 12
million and we can collect 5, 6, or 10 million more pesos, this means that
we will be able to invest them in this movement and we will be able to have
more materials, more books, and more resources. We will be able to develop
and amplify in all of its possibilities this formidable revolutionary
movement which we are carrying out.

No one likes to talk about things involving money, but I must assume the
responsibility of mentioning this here in this assembly. If you are in
agreement, the economy of the country will win. This means that the economy
of the workers will win (applause). We are certain that the thrust of this
movement and the enthusiasm that it has generated will not compare with the
enthusiasm in years to come. We are absolutely certain that this interest,
this awareness of a need to study will grow day by day. It will spread more
widely each time. Sincerely speaking, no other thing can give us more
confidence--no other thing can give us as much security. Nothing else can
give our country greater prospectives. Nothing else can give us more the
right to say: "Fatherland or death, we will win!"