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[Speech by Cuban Premier Maj Fidel Castro Ruz on 20 September 1971 at
inauguration of the Commandante Pinares Basic Secondary School in Guane,
Pinar del Rio Province; Havana Radio/TV (Videotape), Spanish, 0030 GMT, 23
September 1971]

Comrade teachers, students, workers who built this school! These
buildings comprise the sixth school of this kind and the seventh secondary
school in the countryside that have been created. Let us say that they are
secondary schools in the countryside in terms of the new concept. The first
one was the 8 de Octobre, that is in Havana. Then cam e the Maritires de
Kent, and in short, the basic construction pace for such schools began when
the DESA [Development of Social and Livestock Agricultural Construction]
technicians developed the system of prefabricated schools, the school
prototype, and the plans. This is the sixth school of this kind.

A large number of you have been in the school in the countryside
program for a year. It is a school that was improvised by the comrades of
the region using farm buildings and bunkhouses, material conditions that
differ greatly from these. At any rate, we think that this was a good idea,
that in a certain sense it prepared you to become a veteran student body
able to form the first school of this kind in the Guane area.

By decision of the student body, the school is named Comandante
Pinares. [applause]

The pupils of this first school have a very big responsibility
precisely because it is the first and because it bears the name of Pinares.
The functioning of subsequent schools will depend greatly on the way this
first school will operate. There are notable changes in the type of
facilities in the type of installations, in the type of laboratories, in
the facilities set aside for sports and cultural activities, and for the
science clubs, in comparison to the school in which you used to study.

If you have achieved a high rate of promotions then you are under
an even higher obligation to achieve an even greater promotion rate. But we
should warn you that a promotion rate of approximately 85 percent has been
graced by an advantage, which is that it does not have a 10th grade. In
other schools with a 10th grade a hard test is confronted with the
evaluation or examination of the achievement-levels of the pupils. Hence,
you must not rest on your laurels. You must make preparations and you must
make a bigger effort. The 10th-grade pupils must make a special effort
because you face a decisive test and it may reduce the promotion index of
the school.

We might say some other things about this school. It is not only
the first in the Guane regional district but also the first one in Pinar
del Rio. We might also say that it is Cuba's westernmost school. We might
add that it is located within one of the [agricultural] projects which has.
had the greatest difficulties making any progress.

The Guane area was an utterly poor region. It had practically no
means of communication. Great expanses of land in this region were covered
with brush and wild palms. They were completely unproductive lands. The
revolution has made a great effort in this area. From the first years,
citrus and other fruit orchards were planted here. Later, taking into
account the natural conditions of this area, which lent themselves to
citrus cultivation, which had vast expanses of land, it was decided to make
a fresh effort at development in the area. Canals have been built. Dams
have been constructed. Reserviors of various kinds have been created. Water
for hundreds of caballerias of citrus fruit has been impounded in this
area. Roads have been built. Construction of various types has taken place.
Even so, we still have scarcely 200 caballerias of citrus in Guane.

What does this mean? We are in a region that one day may become
one of the most developed, one of the most productive in the province and
in the nation. We are in a region where it is calculated that there are
possibilities to plant thousands of caballerias to citrus. I do not recall
the figures exactly but if the Herradura and other Pinar del Rio regions
are combined, there is a potential total of nearly 5,000 caballerias of
citrus that can be planted.

Despite the efforts of the revolution, this area is still lagging
behind. In spite of the efforts made by the revolution, this area still
does not make an important contribution to the nation's economy. It could
be said for certain that up to now this area has cost a lot and produced

We would like to see in the inauguration of this school the
beginning of a new phase in the struggle to develop the Guane region. We
would like to see in this school a kind of symbol of the years to come, a
new beginning, the start of a new battle for the development of this area.

Let us say that, among other things, this is the school that has
taken the longest to build of all the secondary schools that have been
built, of the six schools that have been built.

We even believe that this school will set a record in construction
delays. Construction began in April 1970 and it was completed this summer.
We know that construction was well ahead in August but it took at least 14
months to build this school. Other construction brigades have taken 8
months to build a school. We hope that they can someday be built in 6

It is quite true that in the first one, the brigade had a small
number of workers, that it did not have all the personnel needed nor the
qualified workers needed, neither did it have all the necessary manpower
nor adequate working conditions. But for whatever reason, that is, be they
the responsibility of the region or of the province, this school has been
delayed 14 months in its construction. The first conclusion that we must
draw from all this, and this has been the promise of Comrade Esteban who is
the brigade chief and the commitment of Comrade Camacho, provincial party
secretary, is the need for making up the time lost in this regard -- to
construct, if at all possible and with the same brigade, two more schools
for next year's term. Of course, the brigade now has better trained
personnel and it will also have the required amount of workers.

We are sure that if they are determined to do so, they will do it.
We believe that perhaps that second school should have been at a more
advanced stage of construction if a faster rate of work had been
accomplished. Immediately after completing the earth moving here, they
should have moved on to the other. Immediately after the cranes completed
their work here, they should have had the cables ready to begin working in
the other. Immediately after completing construction of the parts for the
construction of this school, the other parts should have been constructed
and moved to the location of the other schools. At this rate of work maybe
you will be able to finish the school you are now constructing by 1972,
begin work on the third, and also finish it.

Thus, it is necessary to step up the pace in the construction of
the school. We have determined that a second brigade must be organized to
handle the actual construction, and in this manner we will have one brigade
moving earth, driving bulldozers, trucks, and road graders, and two
brigades doing the actual construction of two secondary schools at the same
time. This will allow us to have a rate, an annual rate, at the beginning,
of approximately 1,500 students registered in secondary schools. They would
be the first two secondary school brigades in Pinar de Rio Province.

We feel that we should not be satisfied by only working in the
construction of this type of school in this region. We must begin pondering
the need for organizing another program of construction of secondary
schools in the central region of the province, The province had no less
than four construction brigades building secondary schools. It is true that
now they do not have in Pinar del Rio Province many students at the
secondary school level. They have approximately 8,000. But, on the other
hand, they have more than 100,000 students at the primary school level.

According to what has been reported by the comrades, it is
anticipated that about 100,000 students will register this year in primary
schools. What does this mean? It means that in the next 2 years the
registration of students in secondary schools will double. It is possible
that in the next 2 years there will be about 20,000 students registered in
secondary schools. If we build six schools every year, it will still take
us a very long time to have the necessary installations similar to this one
just for Pinar del Rio Province. In order to accommodate 20,000 students,
we need 40 schools similar to this one.

If we want to make rapid advances on the road of this educational
revolution, which is what these secondary schools in the countryside will
afford us, at a rate of six per year we would need about 10 years. It would
take us 10 years in order to have all the secondary schools that are
needed. That is, if you reach the amount of 30,000 [students] sometime in
the future. But I am of the opinion that someday, for example, if we look
forward to the year 1980, Pinar del Rio Province by then should have more
than 30,000 students at the secondary school level. A conservative guess
would be about 50,000 students. So based on this, we must say that if Pinar
del Rio Province would like to see all the secondary school level students
attending this type of school they would need 100 schools at least.

Together with this we must work in the construction of schools for
teachers. We are planning on beginning by the end of the year, as soon as
the blueprints are completed by the end of this year and beginning of the
next, the construction of the Pinar del Rio Province school for teachers.
But we must also think about the technological schools. The technological
Institute of Forestry is currently under construction in the province. It
is possible that the brigade working on the construction of the
Technological Institute of Forestry in Cajalbana could come over here and
help us construct secondary schools also.

Together with all this we must carry out programs for the
construction of primary schools. Of course, at the same rate that we vacate
buildings housing secondary schools in the cities, we will have
installations for the primary schools. But, besides, in every sugar mill,
in every agricultural town, we must organize the workers so that they can
construct primary schools in their spare time.

A few days ago a primary school was inaugurated in Meneses. This
was a school of the new design. The school of the new design has sport
facilities also just as this one has, but it also has an area, an orchard,
of about 26 hectares, that is, two caballerias, where the students who will
attend this type of school will work to begin with for a period of 2 hours
per day. They will develop productive activities in the orchard that will
serve the school, the hospital, workers' dining halls, and the area
residents. We will have this system in all the rural schools. We feel that
we have to build about 500 primary schools of this type between 1972 and

This might sound like a lot, but in 500 schools of this type we
could accommodate 250,000 primary school level students if the average is
based on 500 students per school. Do you know how many primary school level
students registered this year? One million seven hundred thousand. You know
how to count, don't you? Although it is a history class, I imagine that you
have made some progress in arithmetic too. There are 1.7 million pupils in
primary schools. Of course, certain primary schools have good facilities in
the cities. Some of them have good plants in the countryside. Yet the great
majority of our schools are lacking in an adequate plant, are lacking in
laboratories, sports facilities, and have the minimum of conditions for the
type of education that we wish to impart to our children and youth, for the
quality of education that we wish to bring to our populace.

We are thinking about secondary schools in terms of exceeding our
plans and of building nearly 300 schools of this kind in the next 4 years.
Therefore, by December 1975 we will have sufficient classrooms for 150,000
pupils in schools like this one.

The initial plan for 1972 was 75 schools. We are making a special
effort to achieve a construction capacity of 40 schools to be ready by
September 1972 -- 40 new schools. In this effort, we ask the corresponding
assistance of the Province of Pinar del Rio.

Forty schools would be sufficient to register 20,000 pupils. But
do you know how many secondary school pupils we have this year in the
country? It is estimated that we will reach a figure of 35,000 more pupils
than last year. Do you have an idea what it takes to board, find lodgings,
classrooms, teachers, for 35,000 new students? Besides, it is expected that
next year 40,000 more pupils will register. Therefore, if we achieve our
aim of building 40 schools of this kind, we will create sufficient capacity
for half the new students of next year.

Even so, the nation will still have the problem of placing 20,000
more pupils, [Castro chuckles] Now then, by September 1973 we hope to have
60 more schools for a total of 100 schools. we hope to have 200 by
September 1970 [1974?] And by September 1975, at least 300 schools of this
kind. And of course, to go on, right? This is the rate that we hope to

The long-range school construction plan has 100 for 1975. From
here on in we should propose to exceed this figure and build no less than
120 schools in 1975. If we keep this pace up, it is possible that we will
have 1,000 schools of this kind in 1980.

Of course, even though our school figures are scarcely enough to
cover new needs at the present rate of construction of this kind of school,
we are sure that our country occupies first place, without question, in all
Latin America. [applause]

When they talked about building a school before it took 4 years to
build a school like this one. What is more, the revolution never saw a
school like this one when it triumphed. Aside from some schools for wealthy
families, there was nothing that resembled a school of this kind, Once
there were schools for orphans, for abandoned children, and if you had a
lot of friends, a great deal of influence, then you might get a scholarship
for someone in your family. But such schools as there were were principally
for orphans. The revolution did not find any schools of this kind.

Now we see the certainty of building 40 schools in one year, next
year. And that in 4 more years, our construction rate will be 100 a year of
schools as complete as this one. It is something that would have boggled
anybody's imagination. And we might say further, it is something that would
have been undreamed of by any revolutionary in our country.

Our people's efforts, the experience gained, the increase in means
and resources, the greater culture, the greater awareness, the greater
strength of our people today permit us to aspire to efforts and objectives
like this one.

Even so, we are convinced that we still are not doing enough. We
are convinced that our country could make much more rapid progress than it
is making. Hence our appeal to the workers of this brigade to increase
their efforts, their productivity, their experience, so that they can build
at a higher rate of speed. This is why we urge the Province of Pinar del
Rio to make an allout effort in this sense.

But all these schools are dependent on the economic development of
the nation. As I have said on other occasions, our country could not
undertake the construction of schools of this kind without economic
development. Our country could not undertake a construction program of this
kind unless our educational and vocational programs were linked to the
development of the nation.

Schools of this kind do not drop from heaven. The resources and
the investments required for such schools do not drop from heaven. They
must come from the nation's economy. And if we do not reconcile or combine
our educational with our economic development plan, we would not undertake
these plans for the construction of 100, 300, 1,000 schools of this kind.

This is why schools are built in areas where the pupils can
participate in the economic development of the nation. But there is
something else. If we do not link education with work in these schools,
they would not be communist schools. [applause] It would not be a
revolutionary education. [more applause] It would not be a communist
education. [more applause] This school which materially excels any of the
best schools that the capitalists have, if it was a school similar to
those, if it was a school for "dandies" that have to be pampered in every
manner, whether it be making their beds, serving them their breakfast, and
have an army of servants at their beck and call so that they could waste
their time talking, studying a little, having fun, then none of these
schools would be any different than those schools attended by the children
of capitalists and bourgeois. [applause]

That is why in order to make possible the existence of this type
of school, not for orphans, not for destitute children, but just for any
child, any youth, in order to make possible the existence of this type of
school, I repeat, at the service of the children of our workers, of the
children of our laborers and peasants [applause], it was necessary to have
a revolution, But, even so, in the midst of a revolution that has to
struggle very hard in order to make the future of the country a reality, in
order to make up the lost years, in order to create the wealth of the
material and spiritual well-being that our people demand, in order that we
may have schools not just for a few but for all, not for 1,000 or 2,000,
but for 700,000 or 800,000, in order to be able to make good schools not
only for secondary level school students but for hundreds of thousands of
intermediate level students also, in order to be able to construct good
schools for the 1.7 million students and the future hundreds of thousands
of students that our country will have as it grows, it was not necessary
just to have a revolution, it was also necessary to have the revolution and
the determined and decisive effort of all the people, the work of all, the
participation of all, both men and women, young and old. [applause]

In order for a society to enjoy all these material goods, it is
necessary to have the effort of all. It is necessary that all fulfill their
basic obligation of working, all of those who are able-bodied. Our society
guarantees its full support to any citizen, it guarantees to any worker his
safety, his livelihood. The livelihood of the worker and his family in the
face of illness, in the face of an accident, in the face of death. Our
society guarantees to all workers and their families their livelihood when
they reach an age when they are unable to render any more service to
production. So then, in our society the livelihood of all its citizens is

In order to attain this, it is fundamental to have the effort of
all of us, the supreme effort of all of us. There are countries which have
attained certain degrees of industrialization, of development. There are
countries that are called wealthy just as there are countries that are
called poor. The characteristics of the poor countries of course are the
lack of schools, the lack of hospitals, the lack of social development as a
result of the lack of economic development. Our country is not a wealthy
country. Our country is not an economically developed country. You, the
students, know its history. When its history began with the Spanish
conquest and later there were 400 years of exploitation... The native
population was practically exterminated, They were forced to look for gold
in creeks, in rivers, It was exterminated by slave work. And when the
native population was practically exterminated, then another form of
slavery was introduced, the slavery of other men who were brought in chains
from other continents in order to establish a new form of exploitation,
That form of exploitation lasted more than 300 years. It practically lasted
until the end of the last century and its end began when the freedom of the
slaves was proclaimed at Demajagua during the Grito de Yara uprising.

The secondary level students are well acquainted with the facts of
how our heroic struggles for independence were abruptly halted by Yankee
intervention, how our country ceased to be a Spanish colony to become
subordinate to the United States, and how they took possession of our best
lands, how they took possession of our natural resources, our mines, and
how they established a system of exploitation. There were four centuries of
exploitation which was what this country had until 1 January 1959
[applause] when for the first time in history our people became the masters
of their own destiny, when our people regained the natural resources, when
our people regained ownership of all industries in the country, when our
people had in their hands the possibility of constructing their future, and
the future is this.

This is but a tiny part of the future that we must build
[applause] since four centuries of enslavement and of exploitation could
not leave us a legacy of culture. What it did leave us was an illiteracy
rate of 30 percent and a semi-illiterate rate of 90 percent. This was our
legacy of four centuries of exploitation in the field of education. Such
was also our legacy in the field of health. How many doctors in the rural
areas? How many hospitals? None! And how many thousands of children died of
gastroenteritis, of tetanus. How many thousands of children who died or
became invalids because of the poliomyelitis scourge and of many other
diseases. This was our legacy after four centuries of exploitation. In the
material order, it left us the direst poverty, the worst misery, and in the
technical order, it left us the greatest backwardness.

Often a shiny new factory is built but how hard it is to find a
technician capable of managing it, skilled technicians and workers who are
able to make it operate. But there is something more, before the shiny new
factory is built, plans are needed. And not only do we have to begin by
buying the machinery to set up a factory but also by buying the blueprints
because our country does not have qualified personnel able to blueprint a
factory! It even became necessary for years to pass before we had the
technicians, engineers, and architects who were capable of conceiving this
school with prefabricated components, men who would be able to blueprint
such schools! It was necessary for years to go by before we had
revolutionary technicians, engineers, and architects who could
simultaneously draw up the plans for dozens of schools, dozens of towns,
dozens of dairies, [corrects himself] hundreds of dairies, and many other
works such as are now being undertaken.

Even so, we do not have enough of them [technicians, engineers,
and architects] Note that each one of these schools must be located, the
soil must be analyzed, see what kind of soil it is, draw up the plans,
analyze the topography, and resolve all the pertinent problems. Oh, it is
quite pretty when [a school] is finished but it took work, effort --
physical and mental effort! It took muscle and brains to bring about a
marvel of this kind.

As I was saying, our legacy in the technical field after four
centuries of exploitation was the greatest backwardness in every regard.
This is why we must make up for lost time in the technical and educational
field. Great efforts must be exerted. Yet, we are still too poor to bring
together all the means and resources needed to produce a mass education
method such as this one. Therefore, what is the solution? What might the
solution be? We must couple education to development, as a necessity of the
economy. But also, and this is very important, as a necessity of pedagogy,
if we are really to mold men for the future, if we are to prepare the new
generations for our world of tomorrow, we must prepare the new generations
for the work of the future.

We must begin to train them early. If you, the young secondary
school pupils who have the privilege of being the first or to be among the
first who have been able to see and go to a school of this kind, live up to
your duties, if you are able to have all the awareness necessary for the
need to study and for the need to work, you will be helping our country to
have 1,000 schools like this one within 10 years! [applause]

The people have worked for you. Hundreds of teachers and
instructors, hundreds of workers strove to make possible what you now have.
In your mind, in your heart, you must constantly bear the thought that if
some day within 10 years half a million youths can go to schools like this
one, you will have to make an all-out effort as students and as workers. To
you, in part, falls the responsibility of creating their future. Hence my
exhortation to teachers and pupils to pay the greatest attention to study
and work, and to the combination of study and work, as a necessity to the
economy of a poor country, and as a postulate of the pedagogy of a
revolutionary country that is building communism! [applause]

But in addition to education, in addition to work, you also have
extraordinary sports facilities here. It is possible that we may have more
of them some day. New types of installations have been built for the
purpose of gaging their cost. You should participate in sports activities
to the utmost in such installations as part of your training, in partial
satisfaction of the cultural needs of men.

But, in addition, you must develop cultural and artistic
activities. If, today, you were able to present a splendid show to us, a
show that was moving in its simplicity, a show that was moving because it
reflected this initial effort, because it portrayed the difficulties on
stage, it shows a barrier being broken. It was moving because it shows all
the people's need to participate in the benefits of culture and art. It was
moving because it shows that all the people -- and this is the way our
people will be tomorrow -- will participate in and create art, an art
proper of our people that implies the development of our people's
personality! An art that is capable of assimilating without permitting
itself to be colonized. That is capable, I repeat, of assimilating without
letting itself be colonized by the artistic expression of other peoples.
That is capable of bringing culture and art to the masses, such as was set
forth in the First National Educational and Cultural Congress. [applause]

These schools are already showing this possibility. And all the
schools of this kind are also showing it. And when, within 10 years we have
500,000 pupils in schools like this one, who could deny this reality? Who
could deny this massive [participation?] that will develop with the new
generation? This massive participation in the creation and interpretation
of cultural and artistic productions?

Similarly, laboratories are available to you here. conditions are
available here for the creation of science clubs. Therefore, the interest
in and the passion for science, for research and for technology will be
broadly developed in our youth, since it will be essential, vital for the
new generation that will live in the world of tomorrow to have full mastery
over technology and science! [applause]

Thus we must establish as basic principles of these revolutionary
schools, of these schools for the training of communist generations, that
all pupils strive to become good students, that all will strive to be good
workers, that all will take part in some sport activity, that all will take
part in some cultural and artistic activity, that all will take part in
some science club! These are five essential points, five pillars, five
foundation stones on which will rest the pedagogy that is to mold the
generations that are to live under communism!

And we expect that this first school in Pinar del Rio will follow
these guidelines, that this first school in Pinar del Rio will not lag
behind, that if Guane has lagged behind more than once, this school will
not lag behind! [applause] That this school will march forward, that this
school will be an example to those to come, that this school will be a
model of the revolutionary spirit of work that is needed to change this
region, to develop this area! And we expect that in the years to come, many
other schools like this one will operate in the Guane area. We expect that
dozens of schools like this one will be in existence in the Guane area in
the future. The same holds true for the Isle of Pines area, the Jaguey
area, the Ciego d' Avila area, and many other regions of the country.

Stop to think for a moment of the day when, instead of one -- the
first one -- we will have 10, 20, 30 schools standing here like this one.
What changes, what strength, what a youthful life, what a struggle, what an
emulation in the spirit of work and of self-improvement, what meets lie in
store for you! You may have some meets with Havana schools now, but they
are just the first. You could have meets with the Trampolini school that
you left behind you and that you must try to help from now on, that you
must try to exert your influence over its pupils, so that when the new
schools are built, they will have experience, they will be prepared as well
as possible to enroll in such schools. But some day you will have dozens of
schools standing here with which to engage in sports meets, cultural and
other types of get-togethers.

Hence, this area, just as many other regions of the country, will
be regions that will be practically invaded by the youthful spirit, by the
youthful enthusiasm, by the revolutionary awareness of our youths. I can
assure you that nowhere else in our continent have youths had such
possibilities! Such prospects! A future such as the one you have before
you. And it is in the name of that future that we urge you and your
teachers to work perseveringly in the name of that future that you will
have for which so many, many Cubans fought, died, and shed their blood in
the span of dozens and dozens of years! [applause] And lastly, [applause
continues] let us recall that this school bears the name of Major Pinares
[applause continues] whose generous blood was shed for the sake of
liberation of Latin America! [applause continues] and you should be worthy
of that name and that example! Fatherland or death! We shall win!