Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services in Spanish 0125 GMT 16 Mar 68

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro at the dedication of the Juan
Manuel Marquez primary school in Boca de Jaruco, Havana Province--live]

[Text] [Castro devotes the first 21 minutes of his speech to a dialog with
the children in the audience regarding their school schedule, mealtimes,
scholastic plans, and attendance. He then reads a brochure describing the
new school and its plans. This portion of his remarks is omitted.]

These are the characteristics of the school, the program has already been
explained here and classes begin. The children come to the school in the
morning, eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then return to their homes.
Truly we must congratulate the workers who built this school in a record
time of only 105 days. We must also congratulate the technicians who
designed this school. It appears to us that it is truly a model school. The
day when we came here to make a visit, when the school was about to be
finished, it appeared to us very unlikely that a better school than this
one could be built. It has all the modern installations, all the facilities
for study. An extraordinary level of learning can be achieved here. It has
complete sports facilities. Balanced meals are going to be available. Truly
the only painful thing is that we still only have a very few schools like
this one throughout the country.

We calculated that we would need 4,000 schools of this type, that is, 4,000
schools for the primary school children we are going to have in 1975. The
effort made to build this school demonstrates to us how many needs the
country still has. It would be necessary not only to count the primary
schools but also some thousands of other schools of a secondary type,
preuniversity schools, and technical institutes. This gives us an idea of
the enormous effort that our country has to make in future years. Really,
the day that we have 4,000 primary schools like this one, so perfectly
equipped, we could without any doubt declare that our country would be
first in the world in the field of education.

It can truly be said that here, where the first hectare of communism of
Havana Province was created ... (Castro does not finished--ed). Some may
ask: "What is a hectare of communism?" It is simply a hectare of rocks
which has been turned into agricultural soil. Do you know that? Let us see.
Any others? (Castro addresses the questions to the children--ed). They
called it the hectare of communism because it demonstrates how many can
transform everything, including nature. Therefore, where absolutely nothing
could be produced there are now two hectares already planted. That hectare
is going to produce for you. Some crops are already in and a herd of sheep
is going to be brought here. The products will be for this school. The fact
is that the hectare is practically in production already. The rocks were
broken up, soil was brought in by trucks. This demonstrates that with the
help of machinery and technology nature can be completely transformed.

You may have seen how nature around the capital is being changed and how
the mountains are being quickly changed by hard work, human work helped by
machine. With the help of machinery, human work is multiplied many times
and everything is possible. For us to be able to build thousands of schools
like this one, we need thousands of highly skilled workers. We need
thousand of workers who know how to handle machines, who know technology.
Schools of that nature, thousands of schools of that type, however, not
only require cement in large quantities and lumber in large quantities,
electrical equipment and electrical installations in large quantities,
electrical consumption in large quantities. They also require a large
number of cadres. They require large numbers of books. The educational
development of a country requires a material base. The number of children
studying in Cuba and the number of books for them requires an enormous
consumption of paper.

Each of these problems analyzed shows the need to study, to work, the need
for this generation to dedicate itself entirely to work. (?Of) course, the
children are present here. Also present are the teachers, the residents of
the town, and the workers. We must say that when we see a project like this
one, we understand what a worker is and we understand why society must hold
the worker in such high esteem. Those workers have built this marvelous
school in only 105 days, working interminable hours. They have built this
school for whom? For themselves? No, they have not built it for themselves.
Have they perhaps made it for their children? The majority of the workers
have built this school, who have been working on it, are from somewhere
else and have their children somewhere else. They are from the city or
elsewhere. Many of them -- most of them--do not live here.

How much have those workers been earning? They have been earning what our
country can pay a worker, and that is limited by the development of the
country. When we spoke at the university some days ago, we referred to the
cases of persons who made up to 200 and 300 pesos daily selling alcoholic
beverages, bribing people, corrupting people; and now here before all of
you we have an example of the difference between the workers and the ones
who made 300 or 200 pesos every day. Doing what? Exploiting vices, teaching
people to drink rum, promoting idleness. And so in these 100 days it is
possible that they have made 2,000 or 3,000, 10,0000 or up to 20,000 pesos
while 300 workers here were building a school. [applause]

That man who made 300 or 200 pesos daily did nothing for society. In turn,
he drank the milk that a worker milked from a cow at 5 o'clock in the
morning. He traveled on a bus, if he traveled by bus, driven by a worker
who got up at 6 o'clock. Everything from the bread that he ate, the sugar,
electricity, everything that he enjoyed daily, was produced by human work.
In addition to this, that man who did not produce anything --how much more
than the worker did he make? He made 20, 30, 40, times more. That is the
picture of injustice, the picture of inequality. It was truly painful that
these conditions still prevailed in our country. An end had been put to the
great exploiters, but many intermediate level exploiters and many small
exploiters still remain. Whatever it may be, large, intermediate, or small,
exploitation must disappear. Exploitation must not survive in any concept
of this society. [applause]

Here we have a town primarily of fishermen, who very early in the morning
or at night, challenging the sea in small boats, go out to fish. Other
workers work in the henequen fields, a hard task. Others dig bat guano, or
work in construction, in a dairy, or at any other of the tasks that are
done in this area. Truly, this is a little town of workers. I do not know
if there were many owners in this town--I believe there were very few of
them because of the wages earned here. The families of this town earned
modest wages. Now when the children go to the school and all their expenses
are paid, those expenses come from the work of the people. This means that
just as the fish you catch are being eaten by children elsewhere, others
are working at producing shoes and clothing, other workers at building
sports fields, and everybody is working for everybody. That is the ideal to
which we aspire. That is the only path along which a country can go far: by
working and distributing wealth, the products of work, in a fair
manner--distributing things among those who need them.

As long as there is a child who does not have a school such as this one in
our country, we cannot rest. While there is a family without a decent home
in which to live, we cannot rest. That is why there is a need during these
years for work above everything. This also means putting an end to whatever
manifestations remain of exploitation in our country. That is why we are
proceeding to the nationalization or intervention, whichever you like, of
all types of private businesses left in the country. [applause] There will
be nobody left who makes 300 or 200 pesos daily, nobody. No one will be
left selling alcoholic beverages or running businesses of any kind. We must
say that the bars and grocery stores have been intervened. In addition
there were many types of shops and garages where there was traffic in spare
parts. We struggle here, our police services struggle against theft; and
anyone who stole anything here, whether a tire from somebody on the
highway, or anyone who stole anything, always had as a base of
operations--all those places where he could sell it and turn a profit. All
that was a base of immorality, corruption, crime. Since money was
plentiful, anybody who did not want to work could steal anything and sell
it at any of those places for 50 pesos. That place could sell it again for
100 pesos.

It was time that the revolution put an end to all that. We have said that
the revolution is founded on the alliance of the workers and the peasants.
This means that only the peasant class can be considered a truly ally of
the worker. It is true that the peasant is an owner, but he is an owner who
was always very exploited. He is a person who works with effort, who
drenches his shirt with sweat, contributes to the development of the
country, and is an ally of the workers. That is why the revolution has
always said that above all it will respect its ally, the peasantry, and
that the rights of the peasants will always be respected. Some asked if
perhaps, for example, the trucks used by those who work for themselves with
trucks were also going to be intervened. There is absolutely not the
slightest intention of intervening or seizing that type of truck.

What most concerned us with respect to business was not that there were a
few businessmen from before. We thought that perhaps they could gradually
be reduced in number because they sold out, for whatever reason, or
retired. Private business would progressively disappear. But really, what
happened? They did not disappear, they grew in number, and half of the
private business establishments began after the revolution. This because a
serious problem. It was not an evil which progressively would disappear as
we would have perhaps wished.

We did not want to say to somebody who had dedicated his whole life to his
grocery store, to his business, to his store, and had become accustomed to
all this, to tell him: well, that activity will come to an end. But,
really, that activity could not be liquidated without uprooting it

What happened was that many people were not planning to study. Instead of
planning to work, instead of thinking about really productive work which
would benefit the whole nation, they would figure out what they could do to
earn 10 times more than everybody else, to evade work, and make 10 times,
20 times more than any other worker. This realist existed and this is why
it was impossible to temporize with this situation.

It is true that if a man is a self-employed trucker using his own truck,
working on a Construction Ministry (MICONS) project, or on any of the state
plans hauling materials, hauling sod, and he earns two or three times more
than someone else who does not own his truck, then there is no question
that this implies a privilege. But he is doing something, even though he is
earning more than the other one. At least his work is productive and his
labor is helping a construction job, the development of agriculture, and
other activities of the same type. And of course, although it is really a
privilege it is a privilege which cannot increase. Why? Because none of the
new trucks which comes into the country is sold or delivered to anybody.
Every new truck which comes into the nation is to be operated by a worker
and the truck simply belongs to all the people. The privately-owned trucks
will progressively wear out and some day will disappear. It is not the same
thing to manufacture a truck as it is to build a makeshift hole-in-the-wall
business wherever 100 workers gather and begin to sell [applause] codfish
fritters to them, or fritters without codfish [crowd laughter], or to buy
eggs at one price and sell omelets at fives times more than they cost, to
engage in black market smuggling, or to visit a peasant to corrupt him.
Many of those people would call on a peasant and fill his head with castles
in Spain, offering him money and corrupting him.

If there was a black market in Cuba, it was due to this type of activity.
Really, it was appalling that a black market existed in this country. There
was even a case of a family of 10 that would buy part of its lard ration
for resale or speculation. There have even been people here who occupied
themselves by getting in line. [crowd noise] They would earn a living
getting in queues, and while women were working on the Havana farm belt,
while workers were on construction jobs, the parasites who were not going
anything whatsoever had it completely made for themselves. They often had
sinecures or benefitted from favoritism. [applause, crowd noise]

The stores would lay away things for these people who had a lot of money.
The best cuts of meat, the best fish, the best articles were often set
aside for them. And when the other fellow who was working would come to the
store they would greet him with: "No more!" [crowd laughter] There was no
more because the other one had already bought it. There were types who made
a living--look at this new job--at the job of being a queue stand-in
[general laughter] and there were those who earned their living as queue
stand-ins. But we are really going to find them out, those who earned their
living standing in line, so that they will earn their living working
[cheers, applause] and producing.

It is the intention of the revolutionary government to raise an iron hand
against all types of speculation, against all kinds of corruption, [crowd
cheers], against all types of parasitism! [applause] So let it be known
that nobody, absolutely nobody, will be able to make a living here as a
scoundrel. The scoundrels can be supported by the imperialists over there,
with the income from exploitation of other peoples, the scoundrels, the
vagrants, and similar parasites can be supported by the imperialists over
there because they are their people. [crowd laughter] Our working people,
however, are not here to support parasites of any kind! [applause] In whose
name do we do this? In the name of the people. In the name of the most
sacred of rights which is the right of the people, the working people, the
man who sweats, the man who labors, the man who is creating this nation,
the wealth of the future.

It just is not fair that only part of the people are doing all this and
that others able to work are not working. The one who is sick gets
everything, the one who is well and cannot work gets everything. Not a
single person--man, woman, child, or oldster--shall go unprotected in this
nation. This is a matter of principle, and if a job cannot be given to
somebody then he will be given what he needs. In other words, the one who
cannot work, who is sick, or who is old, gets everything he needs. More
will be given to the one who needs it more than anybody else, if it is
necessary. This has to be a principle.

What is unjust and we cannot under any circumstances permit--if we did not
understand this we would not be revolutionaries--is the continuation of
this type of privilege or this type of parasitism.

I was explaining to you--no, I was not explaining it either--why? For the
same reason, many of the taxicab drivers are already organized into
hackstands; they do their jobs, they fix their junk taxis, and only they
understand them. [laughter] This is more or less controlled, and this is
also an activity which is due for disappearance because the cars get old
and disappear. The number of cars does not increase. And in the future,
buses will arrive in this country, above all in this country, and when
taxicabs can be brought they will be bought in state enterprises; in other
words, there is not the least intention of expropriating the taxicabs or
the trucks used by their owners who use them to work.

Of course, there are some people around--the jeep drivers, in many places.
The jeep drivers must be rendered hors de combat, hors de combat. They are
not controlled by anybody. The workers come and build a new highway with
all the machines that cost hundreds of pesos, and in a few months we have a
new highway. Then comes the jeep driver to make 50, 100, 150 pesos. Of
course, all that equipment must be controlled. They must be controlled. You
know that when there is a shortage of transportation, the very same thing
happens here. Many times, because one has a need he has to pay whatever he
is charged. The people are exploited many times by that type of activity.
These activities will be controlled. They must be subject to controlled
rates. However, for the reasons which we have explained and because it is
an activity which will disappear with time, there is no intention of
expropriating that type of property, that type of mobile property, either
trucks, taxicabs, teams of mules, or horses, [laughter] or dogs. [more

I believe that the people understand these measures perfectly. According to
the reports we have, the people are basically satisfied with them. Now what
we have to do is to be watchful, vigilant, and cut them off. I am going to
say something: not everyone who has carried out these activities has been a
counterrevolutionary. We must say--it is only fair--that there have been
many people, revolutionary people, who have reported and said: "Look, I am
coming to give this up. I have not been told anything. I have this." They
have had an attitude of cooperation, a good attitude. Of course, all
persons who have useful knowledge, who can cooperate in something, who have
the intention of cooperating, must be employed, their capabilities must be
used. There were people with initiative. It would be a shame if that
initiative were not channeled into some other activity of use to all

There have been people--we are not going to say the majority or anything
like that, but there is a minority among those--I am not going to say among
the bar owners who made 300 pesos daily, because it is very unlikely, or
even the one who made 200 -- but there has been a minority, a number of
persons who have participated in those activities who have reacted in a
positive manner. We must not deceive ourselves, however; it is a minority.
The majority reacted badly. They were the ones who indulged the most in
wrongdoing, the ones who waged the most campaigns, they and their sidekicks
and their clerks and the people they paid to stand in lines, and all those
were the people who preached defeatism, discontent. Those people, of
course, are going to try to resist, to do harm.

Of course, we have had to arrest no one. We have no intention of treating
anyone badly. We have no intention of leaving anyone destitute. The
revolution would not be human, the revolution would not be just if it left
any person destitute. There is no intention of that kind. However, the
revolution will be firm, and if it has to be harsh it will be harsh. One
thing is the intent, the purpose of the revolution, and another is what
they will force the revolution to do. Any time they force the revolution to
be harsh, the revolution will be harsh. We believe that there should be no
doubts of any type on this subject. But we are clearing the air. We are
cleaning up. We are truly creating a country of workers.

We must note that much time has been lost. We must note that this country
was colonized for centuries. This year we are commemorating the centennial
of the beginning of the independence struggle.

For more than 60 years, or for almost 60 years of this century, we were
subjected to imperialism. What did all that bring us? Economic
backwardness, technical backwardness, a general lack of culture. Is it not
painful to see a town where only 62 persons out of more than 200 have a
sixth-grade education? And we are sure that many of them achieved the sixth
grade after the victory of the revolution. Among those are many who are now
in secondary schools, many who studied afterward. Is it not painful that 10
percent of the people are still illiterate in this town? Can one live in
today's world without any training whatsoever? Can the wealth, the means of
production which this country needs to build 4,000 schools like this one,
be developed without it? Can every person and every family be given
everything they need without technical training? (?It is impossible.)

Today we call anybody who cannot read or write an illiterate, but in the
future society--even now, every time we have to begin a new undertaking, a
new factory, we find that no one can work in that factory if he does not
have the proper technical training. The results of the past can be seen
constantly. We see how we lack teachers, professors, cadres,
technicians--everything. In the society of the future, we will call an
illiterate anyone who only has a sixth-grade education, because anyone who
does not have much more than a sixth-grade education will have to face the
reality that he cannot be put in charge of anything. He will be a useless
person. In the future, there can no longer be 62 people in a town of 200
who have only a sixth-grade education. In the future, 100 percent of the
people will have to have a sixth-grade education, and more than that.

In this respect, we want to say that up to now education is mandatory up to
the sixth grade. However, the Revolutionary Government intends to pass a
law also making secondary education mandatory for all children in that age
group. And not only secondary education: it is the intention of the
Revolutionary Government to establish mandatory education up to the
university level. This means that secondary and preuniversity education
will be mandatory by law in our country--that is, for all persons in the
proper age group; we are not going to say that a person who is not of
school age is going to be forced to study.

With the help of the parents, we will adopt measures so that there will be
no absenteeism, so that there will be not a single child absent from
school, so that all can take their courses after primary school and their
higher course in a preuniversity school or a technical institute after
secondary school.

Something more: Military service is being changed. Institutions of a
military type will be established progressively in the preuniversity and
technical institutes so that the men and women can perform their military
service while going to school. It is the duty of all revolutionaries to
know how to handle weapons. [applause] It is the duty of all citizens to
know how to defend the fatherland [applause] so that when the times comes
to defend the nation, it is not just a few who are trained to do this, it
is not just a few who are ready to make the sacrifices, to give their lives
and to shed their blood for the fatherland, because the fatherland belongs
to everybody. [applause]

When the fatherland belonged to a few of the privileged ones, the word
fatherland had no meaning. When the land belonged to the speculators, the
latifundists, the soil on which we lived had no meaning. Even the air we
breathed, was scarcely ours, and this was because they could not include
air in a property registry or lock it up in a warehouse. But today the
concept of fatherland is different. The soil is everybody's, the
opportunity is everybody's, the fatherland is really everybody's.

Only the privileged formerly had the least notion of fatherland, only the
people who aspired to be privileged, the ones who leave their fatherland.
We lost absolutely nothing when these people leave. This is why we do
nothing to block them from leaving to enjoy the alms of the imperialist
master. We shall develop our fatherland, we shall make it great with our
efforts, by the efforts of those who really have a fatherland today, who
really have a sense of fatherland today. [applause]

You, the workers, all the workers of the capital above all, must sustain
your awareness. You must ponder now, despite the date which we were
explaining, nearly 50 percent of the nation's resources were consumed in
the capital. All the privileged, all the wealthy ones, had gone to live in
the capital. In other words, Havana was not just composed of the workers.
Most, more than 50 percent of those who asked to leave, that is, 62.22
percent, are residents of the capital of the republic and of Havana

Hence, it is necessary for workers, revolutionaries, and the Committees For
the Defense of the Revolution to be aware that there are tens of thousands
of these people who cannot be anxious to help out in any way, to cooperate
in anything. Quite the contrary, in order to justify themselves morally,
they will try to do everything they can to sow mistrust, defeatism,
pessimism among revolutionaries. It is necessary for the Havana population
to know this, for the militants, the workers, the women, and the Committees
For the Defense of the Revolution to know that there are tens of thousands
of these people who very quietly, without carrying a sign spelling it out,
have requested an exit permit and are anxiously awaiting their ship. And we
are not preventing the ship or the plane from arriving and leaving. But we
are not at all compelled to allow those who are leaving to harm those who
are staying, to allow them to try to harm the work of those who stay
behind. [applause]

Do not expect any appreciation from these people, although many of them
have been living without doing anything, making a living with little
businesses of that type and activities of that kind. Their business now is:
hate the people more, for a better welcome over there. The greater works
they are, the better they will be welcomed over there. The more lazy, the
greater the parasite, the greater the lumpen, the more counterrevolutionary
they are, the better they will be welcomed over there. And that is their
business. [applause]

Parcel Bombs

Similarly, as the privileges are ending, many of them here have been
sending letters to the United States and receiving parcels, and some Cuban
workers were injured because of a bomb inside of one of those parcels. Even
in the United States bombs have exploded which were placed by people
engaging in terrorism, and this may cost the lives of Cuban workers. They
say that they did so because the parcels were helping the revolution. What
the parcels were doing was helping the worm population which received the
parcels. And if they do not want them then they do not have to place bombs
in them, they will not have to place any bombs in them because the
Revolutionary Government also proposes to suspend indefinitely the traffic
in parcels from the United States to Cuba. [cheers, applause] Because, for
reasons [Castro interrupts thought]--in other words, from the United
States, because of agreements on transportation and airlines, we will not
suspend this activity from Mexico and other nations. Very little comes from
these nations. But the shipment of parcels and things from the United
States will be completely suspended. [cheers, applause] Many of the parcel
recipients would go around insolently showing off the presents they
received from the United States [cheers] and showing them to the
revolutionaries, and provoking them and trying to humiliate them. If they
want to go, let them go, but this vileness of showing off these gifts from
the United States shall cease in this country! [cheers, applause]

And on the path of the "revolutionary offensive," we want to say that not
only have the private bars been expropriated, but that all the state bars
have also been closed1 All bars! [applause] This does not mean that it is
forbidden for someone to drink a beer or two, but let him buy it and take
it home to drink, or wherever, for we do not have to foster drunkenness.
What we have to foster is the spirit of work, the spirit of work.
[applause] This means that the state bars have been closed. This type of
hole-in-the-wall enterprises benefits nobody and does not interest our
working people.

We also propose to meet with the Pastorita Company and the comrades who
have worked with the National Institute for Savings and Housing (INAV) in
order to discuss with them a measure that will definitely abolish the
lottery! [crowd noise, applause] For some time, the INAV played its role;
for some time it played its role as a collector of taxes, as a collector of
economic resources, at a time when there were lots of people with lots of
money. But since there are not going to be lots of people with lots of
money, then it has no longer any sense. It is nonsense to collect funds
from working people, from the workers. Besides, this carries with it the
idea of deifying money, the mystique of money, the idea of resolving
matters through luck and not through work. What we want to teach the people
is that their work, their sweat, their effort is the only thing that can
give them the goods they need. It is the only thing that can make the
people rich.

If an individual aspires to be rich, it is selfishness. To try to solve
problems through luck is not a virtue. Many persons in the past became
accustomed to that. There may even be many people who indulge in the
lottery to enjoy the excitement of watching for their number--there are
many such as these in the rural areas and everywhere. Well, we must seek
our excitement elsewhere. We can turn our radio to see who won, whether it
was the Industriales or Habaneros, or Azucareros or Orientales [Cuban
baseball teams]. There is no other remedy than to substitute another form
of excitement. Of course, there are many people who were accustomed to the
lottery for many years, many humble people of the country, but we
understand that this institution no longer plays any role, has ceased to be
of any benefit, and is harmful. Even the worms in Miami play on our
lottery. They know that there was never any trickery in it. They have a
blind trust in it, in the drum that tossed out the numbers. Almost all the
gambling houses in the United States depended on the lottery drawing in
Cuba. In addition there were the little lumpen thereabouts, the parasites,
who also depended on the lottery here in Cuba for illegal gambling and all
those things. Therefore, in the campaign of the revolutionary offensive, we
must eliminate those conditions which in one way or another can contribute
to parasitism.

We are very happy that it is here in the midst of this town of fishermen
and workers, before the workers who built that formidable school, before
the children of the workers, who are the vanguard, before the revolutionary
teachers, before the students of the "school to the countryside" plan who
are here at this small ceremony, that we have had the opportunity to add to
the ideas that were expressed on the steps of the university on 13 March.

We hope that the children and parents, since they were a vanguard school
when they were there is some very poor buildings, now that they have the
best school in the country, the most modern, the best equipped, will
continue to be the vanguard and will study hard so they can participate in
the work which one day will permit each and every one of the children of
this country to have a school such as this one. Fatherland or death, we
will win! [shouting, applause]