Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana PRENSA LATINA in Spanish 2245 GMT 19 Oct 71 C--FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

[Text] Havana, 19 Oct--by Jose Hernandez S.--A group of Soviet komsomol
members participating here in a Cuban-Soviet youth friendship meting was
pleasantly surprised today to meet Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro.

The Cuban leader arrived while the Cuban and Soviet delegates were being
briefed on the development of a housing construction program in Alamar,
east of Havana, following a day's [voluntary] work.

The group ran over to him and engaged him in a pleasant chat which lasted
for over an hour during which Castro explained the program to the youths
around him.

Boris Pastukhov, who heads the Soviet delegation, introduced the members of
his group of outstanding youths to the Cuban prime minister. Pastuknov
explained the work that they have been carrying out in the meeting in which
the Cuban and Soviet youth organizations are exchanging experiences.

Castro expressed interest in the Soviet delegates' activities during their
stay in Cuba and posed for a group photograph at their request.

Valentina (Dvoianeva), a Moscow textile worker decorated with the Lenin and
other orders, socialist work hero (Pavel Letskiy), one of the builders of
Brast in the Russian Siberia, and many others, expressed to the Cuban
leader their wishes for good health and success for the Cubans and praised
the constructions in which they worked.

Fidel traded his olive green cap for the one Pastukhov was wearing, and
presented the girls in the group with helmets similar to those used by the
program's construction workers.

While the Soviet and Cuban youths exchanged jokes and questions Castro
proposed that the next youth friendship meeting scheduled for the next year
in the USSR be held in Siberia, and praised the work done there by the
Soviet youth.

Pastukhov explained that the Soviet youth have followed with great interest
the experiences of the Centennial Youth Column in which thousands of Cuban
youths work and study in difficult areas of the country.

In the Cuban group, national work hero Leonardo Mendoza, an outstanding
canecutter, and the three sugar workers with more than 50 years of service
who are participating as guest at the meeting, were especially greeted by

Castro told the visitors some anecdotes about the spirit of work which
moves the masses in Cuba and referred to a mother of 11 children whom he
had met the day before working alongside the members of the Committees for
the Defense of the Revolution.

"These very workers now," he said pointing to the Alamar construction
workers, "are blazing the trail to follow."

He reiterated that only through work is it possible to leave poverty behind
and announced that there will be 12,000 workers in construction [words
indistinct] by the end of the year.

He pointed out that it has not been possible to advance too much in this
program because of limited materials, such as gravel and cement and cranes
that are used in other types of work, but added that the program would
slowly expand.

"This program which we began a short time ago is the solution to the
housing problem here," Castro told the komsomol members and expressed his
certainty that the houses would be the best cared for in the country.

Representatives of the Soviet Pioneers and fishermen who are continuously
working with the Cubans delivered a message from their comrades to Castro,
for which he thanked them.

After cries of "long live Cuba" by the Soviet youths, Pastukhov conveyed
the heartfelt and sincere greetings of the Soviet komsomol to the leader of
the Cuban revolution.

"I hope that you continue to have a good time in our country," Castro
replied and, pointing to a nearby Soviet-made machine, said: "You are
helping us to build here."

A shower which turned into a heavy downpour did not break up the meeting
and not a single one of the youths or the prime minister made a move to

Fidel accompanied the group to the bus while everybody shouted, hailing the
Cuban revolution, Cuban-Soviet friendship, and Marxism-Leninism.