Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Arrival in Antofagasta

Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1800 GMT 12 Nov 71 F

[Text of speech by Cuban Premier Maj Fidel Castro Ruz on arrival this
morning at Antofagasta, Chile--recorded]

[Text] Civilian and military authorities, Chileans of Antofagasta [cheers]:
Once again we have been overcome with emotion too see our two flags flying
so near, so close to each other. (?In every sense I am filled) with emotion
over the affectionate reception [words indistinct] with which you want to
express your solidarity toward our country. I want to thank you most

I want to thank the mayor of Antofagasta. I want to say that it is [words
indistinct] a great honor for me to receive this title [of honorary citizen
of Antofagasta], [cheers], and these keys. I have also been deeply moved by
the words expressed by the representative of the people of Antofagasta.
Later today we will meet further with you at the university and a mass
meeting has also been scheduled. This is why I want to conclude by saying
that I will try to be a worthy son of Antofagasta. Thank you very much.
[applause, cheers]

Meets University Students

Santiago Chile Domestic Service in Spanish 1925 GMT 12 GMT 12 Nov 71 P

[Fidel Castro talks with University of Chile students in Antofagasta--live]

[Summary] Comrade students: In our country we hope to make learning
universal. At the moment we have begun with grade school education. In our
country practically all children attend school and they will have teachers.
Many of our schools, however, are still miserable buildings.

"Many of our teachers are still improvised educators. When the revolution
was victorious there were 10,000 teachers in the country without a school,
that is, 10,000 teachers without a classroom. Of course, the revolution
opened the doors to employment for all teachers because there were
approximately 700,000 or 800,000 children who did not have a teacher."

The difficult part was to bring the teachers to the mountains because our
mountains are like these copper mountains. These are deserted mountains.
Our mountains are tropical and settled.

"The peasants live in isolated areas throughout the mountains. To get
teachers to go there is very difficult. For this reason we have the
so-called revolutionary teachers. Many times there were students who were
willing to register as teachers and go to those places. Despite the fact
that there were 10,000 jobless teachers, very few of them were willing to
go to the mountains." This showed a lack of seriousness, a lack of good
work habits, and a lack of a spirit of sacrifice. We had many intellectuals
who were unwilling to leave the cities to go teach in the mountains.

This was one of our first problems. Then we organized a teachers school in
the mountains. We took extreme steps. In what sense? We suspended all the
teachers schools in the cities [applause] but we really did not do it quite
right. We were idealistic and thought we could have sufficient candidates
for our teachers school. Time showed us two things: The number of teachers
needed was much larger than we had initially imagined; and, in our country
there were really no statistics on the total number of children.

"Perhaps I should explain that one of our first efforts was to teach
reading and writing because we had an illiteracy rate of about 30 percent,
or even 35 percent. A literacy campaign was undertaken, which I feel was a
great effort on the part of the nation, particularly of the youth, to teach
the 35 percent of illiterates to read and write in 1 year."

Naturally, our language is not Chinese. If it had been a difficult language
we could not have dreamed of teaching it in a year. "The effort was made,
and 100,000 youths were mobilized throughout the country. All kinds of
things were seen, such as education camps for old people, 80 or 90 years
old. That was a great campaign and the stated objective, to teach everyone
to read and write, was attained. I say the stated objective, because when
we thought we had taught everybody, we began finding large numbers of
illiterates. What kind of illiterates? Were we (?lying)? No, there were
some we had forgotten. [laughter] Adult education courses were
organized,and hundreds of thousands of persons came because the idea then
was to set the sixth grade as the objective. But something happened. When
military service came later on, together with other types of organizations,
such as youth columns to work in the underpopulated regions, we were to see
an impressive number of illiterates. In our country there must be a total
of about 5 percent illiteracy."

It was precisely in the year of the literacy campaign that the Giron
invasion took place and one of the things that pained us all was that the
campaign was going to be interrupted. I said then that it would be a
victory for the enemy if we were forced to suspend the literacy campaign.
Despite the war situation, all the youths remained at their posts teaching.
One must also say that there was heroism, much heroism on the part of our
youth, because when they were in the mountains teaching, particularly in
the mountains in the center of the country, there were hundreds of
counterrevolutionary outlaws there who were murdering peasants and workers.

There still is a certain percentage of young illiterates in our country,
but we are now in another stage. "Our universities have not grown enough.
They have improved in quality, but our student population in the university
remains small despite all the facilities. The reason is the revolution
itself. Juvenile cadres are carrying out duties in mass organizations and
work organizations. It has been necessary to defend the country because we
have the misfortune of having a powerful neighbor 90 miles off our coast,
one who is constantly threatening. This obliges us to develop our forces to
the maximum, to develop the nation's defensive mechanism to a maximum. This
puts a brake on many thousands of our youths. With the emergence of a more
modern technology with much complicated equipment we have found it
necessary to deal with a different kind of arms--electronic arms,
anti-aircraft weapons, aviation, radar, ground to air rockets, a whole
range of arms that require special knowledge. The best of our university
students have had to go join units which we had organized."

Still another series of revolutionary activities emerged to occupy a great
number of our youths. Education itself took its toll because many high
school students became improvised teachers. "Our country also suffered from
a large labor shortage despite the fact that at the time of the victory of
the revolution there was a [words indistinct] of thousands of unemployed
because, fundamentally, our economy, our foreign exchange is based upon
agriculture, a historic circumstance inherited by the revolution. Our
dependence upon sugarcane forced us to work, to employ half a million
workers, half a million workers to obtain 60 percent of the foreign
exchange you get with 30,000 to 40,000 copper workers." [applause]

Naturally, the reserve army of the unemployed disappeared. "The cane was
cut by those who, if they did not cut cane, would die of hunger. There were
hundreds of thousands of men who were jobless half the year, and then
harvest time came they went there desperately to stand in line in the
canefields. The small farmer had to work 12, 15, 16, and 17 hours during
harvest time. When the harvest began, there was no need to organize anyone
to cut cane."

Moreover, our population was growing. We had bout 700,000 children in grade
school, and 10 to 15 percent had not even reached the sixth grade. Hundreds
of thousands of completely illiterate people went to join the ranks of
those who had to perform hard manual labor to earn their living. The
imperialist companies that owned sugar refineries and cane plantations
created these conditions. The job of cutting cane in the tropics is not an
easy one. Our climate is hot and damp. Cutting cane is very hard.

"Sugarcane was the original cause of the resurgence of slavery on this
continent. The [words indistinct] Europeans, who considered themselves
strong and hardworking, sought labor for sugarcane plantations through
raids in Africa, filling ships with Africans, bringing them in chains to
cut cane. When the revolution was victorious, or rather, the war of
independence, and a semi-republic was installed, or a compromised republic
was installed, the problem was solved by immigration. Since the population
grew when the revolution was victorious, the cane was then cut by Cubans
and [words indistinct] the living conditions of our people and the factors
or social and economic pressure, inhuman pressures to find men to cut the

"Now with the victory of the revolution, the traditional cutter has ceased
to exist. At no time did the revolution have to depend again on this work
force. Many took all kinds of jobs. They became soldiers, machinery
operators, drivers, but it was regular work. As a result our country
suffered the phenomenon of a large labor shortage. This affected the entire
economy and brought as a consequence a large demand for youths in almost
all industries. We subsequently had to take action because the factories,
the state factories, started recruiting students. We had to forbid the
recruiting of students. When a case of social need came up, we gave the
student [words indistinct], but it was expressly forbidden for state
enterprises to hire students. This was the kind of measure we had to take.

"Now we can take other steps. This was the story, however, and for this
reason our universities even today do not have large student bodies, and
that is one of our problems. The enormous (?mass) is coming now, is now
entering middle level education. For example, this year we have 40,000 more
high school students than we did the year before. Next year we will have
30,000 more. So an enormous, gigantic (?mass) is coming from primary school
to secondary school, and to middle levels, and at a given time our
universities will grow like yours.

"Now, how do we face this problem of increasing the number of students" We
are a poor country--we cannot forget that. Can a poor country apply
universal education? The economy of our countries was so backward, so
unproductive, so distorted, that to speak of universal education, universal
public health, universal medical assistance, was practically utopian. How
can those two be reconciled? To make all youths study and to do so in a way
that the nation's economy can permit it.

How can we resolve this contradiction? This was one of the problems
confronting us over the years until solutions were found which in our
opinion would resolve this problem."

We have found some solutions which in our opinion will be an innovation, a
sort of revolution in the field of education. We are simply moving toward a
combination of study and work at all levels--in high schools, superior
middle education, and the university. We are already establishing grade
schools where from the fourth grade on productive tasks are carried out.
Now we are even thinking of developing the habit of work. We will begin to
create it at the middle education level. We really believe we will see
results from this establishment of joint work-study as the center of the
entire educational system.

We run risks. It is a socialist revolution, the first socialist revolution
of Latin America, which is what you so much admire and which led you to
express your sympathy for the Cuban revolution. The Cuban revolution,
however, has its risks, because if we do not discover all these phenomena
in time, we may well educate a bourgeois youth, and we will simply have
substituted the son of the rich man--I do not know who of you are rich, and
I do not think I am going to see many rich people here--for the student who
is subsidized by the state. The state becomes a substitute for the rich
father. Before it was the father, now it is the state which pays for all
the student's expenses.

"To educate is to prepare man from the time he can reason so he can live up
to his obligations in society, to produce the material and spiritual goods
that society needs, and to produce them equally, everything with the same
obligation. Do you think a university can be more important than a factory
as a center of education? A university may be a magnificent center of
theoretical learning it may even be more. [laughter] I hope I am not
contradicting the rector when I say this. [laughter] It may have
laboratories and research centers, but a university will never be able to
educate a man more than a factory. Education should be the combination of
the center of work and the center of studies, combining factories with
universities, and universities with factories, making all workers students
and all students workers. [applause]

"These are the basic outlines of our concepts, not the universalization of
education, which is one of the first steps, but what we might call the
revolution of teaching. Of course we have not been able to establish this
yet. Today we are certain we will achieve our goal and make rapid progress
in this direction. Thus, it is not a concept of reorganization but a
concept of educational revolution in the society that we want to develop.
You will forgive me for being to extensive, I fear this is a monolog rather
than a dialog." [applause]

[Question:] Comrade Fidel, when will Cuba overcome the economic and
technological blockade imposed by imperialism"

[Answer:] "Well, the economic blockade has been overcome, or we are in the
process of overcoming it. The technological blockade has, or course, been a
serious problem. We are trying to overcome it. Actually, we can say that a
country such as ours, small, of less territorial extension than the
province of Antofagasta--I think you have somewhat over 120,000 square
miles and Cuba has 111,111 square kilometers; this figure is not exact, but
it occurred to a geography professor to [words indistinct] a country that
has no electric energy, that is, that does not have large rivers, a country
that does not have coal, a country that does not have steel, a country that
did not have timber, a country that did not have mechanical industry, a
country that depended fundamentally on a single product whose only market
was the United States.

"The country really faced very difficult problems which we might have been
unable to solve except for one circumstance--simply, the existence of the
socialist concept. You might ask us if we planned to make use of the
socialist forces for aid, and we would answer we had not, that we had not
planned on any aid from the socialist forces. You might ask us: When you
experienced your first clashes with imperialism, were you thinking of
receiving aid from abroad? We would answer you: No, we were not thinking
that at all. You might say: Then what were you thinking of? Well, when that
situation arose, when those problems came us, we thought the imperialists
were going to invade us and we were thinking of arms, of accumulating arms
in the mountains, of getting ready for the war, and of getting ready to
die, if necessary."

"Definitely, in that phase, there were no such plans. There was a
passionate, violent confrontation between a revolutionary movement and
imperialism, of which we had heard the gringos speak, but about which we
know very little. We had an abstract knowledge of imperialism, until one
day we really began to discover imperialism. [laughter] We might say that
on that occasion we concretely discovered socialist support. I give you
this example, the situation with the Cuban revolution [words indistinct]. I
think if it had been victorious 1 day, 1 month, 1 hour, 1 minute, or 1
second earlier, it could have been overthrown, overthrown [words
indistinct] those of us who were in that struggle would have ended up like
the dust of the Antofagasta desert. Actually, we would have preferred to
end up as dust rather than [words indistinct], it was a question of
preference. [applause]

"The Cuban revolution was victorious, the correlation of the forces of
imperialism and socialism was not [words indistinct], the correlation of
forces was superior. We might say that in truth, from an objective point of
view, the correlation of forces favored imperialism. The force of
socialism, however, was asserting itself. Now, how do we [words indistinct]
an unfavorable correlation of forces when we are so close to the United
States? The United States was not able to smash the Cuban revolution
because two factors came into play: The audacity of the Cuban
revolutionaries, and we might also say that audacity of the Soviet Union.
Why? I am going to give you an example.

"We received all our petroleum from the United States, however, the Soviet
Union at that time produced more than 100 million--they told me not to say
that--[applause and laughter, Castro does not complete sentence]
Unfortunately, I remembered a little late, did I not? [laughter and
applause] The United States shut off our petroleum supplies." They
completely shut off our oil supplies and completely closed the markets to
us. What were we to do? [words indistinct]

There was a tremendous explosion and the buildings shook. When we looked
there were huge columns of smoke. We immediately realized that the ship
that was bringing those weapons and was being unloaded had exploded. The
ship was full of rifle, antitank, and antipersonnel grenades, thousands of
tons it all exploded. The butchery that took place on the harbor streets
was terrible. There were scenes of heroism that occur at such times.
Stevedores and soldiers tried to put out the fire and remove the injured. A
second explosion occurred at this time.

That was out situation, trying to arm ourselves against the intrigues of
imperialism. We later began to receive socialist weapons, first from
Czechoslovakia, then from the Soviet Union. We began to receive all types
of artillery, antiaircraft weapons, tanks and antitank weapons, rifles of
all kinds, and millions of rounds of ammunition. I believe that since the
explosion of that ship, until today, more than 1,000 ships loaded with arms
must have arrived in our country. Never again has a grenade exploded.

When they attacked the Bay of Pigs the latifundists and all kinds of scum
believed that with Yankee support, planned by the Central Intelligence
Agency, they would be the liberators. Before the Bay of Pigs the
correlation of imperialism versus socialism was in favor of imperialism.
After the defeat at the Bay of Pigs the situation changed. If we had not
had planes, the attack might have succeeded because the eight little planes
practically sank the whole invasion fleet. When they decided to send their
air force over there were no mercenaries left.

"The problem of sectarianism has existed, and will continue to exist in all
revolutionary processes. We believe that it is a great evil, there is no
doubt about that. However, it would be pure idealism to believe such
problems will not exist. It is our duty to fight the manifestation of
sectarianism, but we must not delude ourselves into thinking that
sectarianism will disappear as a result of it. We have had ample experience
in this field. This was one of the factors that contributed to the success
of the Cuban revolution. We can say that if we had not overcome
sectarianism it might liquidated the revolution.

"I do not know what kind of sectarian problems you may have, however, I
believe that you, the Chileans, in spite of everything, have a better habit
of coordination and working together than we had in Cuba. I sincerely
believe you have a higher level of political culture than our country had
at the beginning of the revolution. That is our impression. I believe some
say, perhaps in 20 or 30 years, you will begin to find a uniformity in your
political revolutionary objectives. In our country the strength of the
revolution is in unity. The strength of the revolution is in unity."

Naturally, we do not pretend that all our people will renounce their
thoughts and ideas. We believe, however, one must have a clear awareness of
the importance of unity in revolutionary strength. I do not remember for
sure, but I believe it is the Uruguayans who have a slogan for the 28
November elections which says that "a united people can never be defeated."
It could also be said that if the revolutionary forces are divided they
will be defeated. United, the revolutionary forces cannot be conquered by
anything or anyone.

One of the first manifestations of sectarianism that we had to face was the
sectarianism of the mountains and the lowlands. Since there had been
fighting in the mountains and in the lowlands, we had the sectarianism of
the Sierra Maestra, of those who had been in the mountains, who had certain
desires, who attempted to convert that situation into a special factor of
dominance. That was one of our first sectarianisms. There were very few of
us who were in the mountains. Our rebel army reached a maximum of 3,000
men, and it waged its decisive battle with 300 men. Obviously, we had
established a sort of sect of mountain guerrillas! Where would the rest of
the country have fitted in? The history of our country was not written by a
group of men, it was really written by a whole nation.

What happened after the victory of our revolution? The revolution had great
support, enthusiastic support, almost universal support. However, a
revolution cannot have universal support. That is impossible in a country
divided into classes, a country with antagonistically irreconcilable
interests of a social order. Nevertheless, when the revolution was
victorious many persons turned against the current of the revolution. It is
not know how many people, at the beginning of our revolutionary process,
conspired against the support and strength of the revolution due to our
mistakes. The ranks of the revolution kept increasing, however, gaining
depth in membership.

This is how history has been written in the last few years, but the entire
history has not been written yet. Some fought in the Sierra Maestra, others
organized and fought against the bandits. There was a moment when there
were bandits even in the Province of Havana, and in every other province of
Cuba. The Bay of Pigs was something spectacular, but hundreds of times the
imperialists dropped arms in our country by parachute. Hundreds of times
they infiltrated individuals. They have tried by all means for years to
encourage the counterrevolutionaries. The fight in our country against the
CIA bandits has lasted for years. Many more Cubans have died fighting
against bandit gangs than in the war, the revolutionary war to overthrow

Others participated in the Bay of Pigs struggle. Others mobilized for the
October incident. The whole nation mobilized. We were confronted by mortal
danger, with who knows how many nuclear weapons aimed at out country, our
workers, our peasants, our youth, our students. The entire nation was firm,
without hesitation. Can anyone deny that this nation was writing a page in
history? This is how the years have gone by. The revolution should have the
objective of winning and strengthening. We believe that these are essential
principles that cannot be violated.

What was the other matter you mentioned, the Anibal Escalante case? This
was a matter of sectarianism that began before the revolution. Anibal
Escalante had introduced sectarianism within the Communist Party. It was a
phenomenon of personal ambition, trying to control the party. We have
defined the sectarian phenomenon. The conditions in our country are
different from those of Chile. In our country the communists were strongly
persecuted. Communists could not obtain work, were not given passports;
they were incessantly persecuted, especially during the of Mcarthyism.

How many students are there in these three universities? How many
anti-imperialists are there in these universities? [students shout: "all of
us"] Do you know how many anti-imperialists there were in Cuba in 1948?
Thirty anti-imperialist students among 15,000 university students. The
reactionary campaign had penetrated to such an extent in Cuba, and to such
an extent that our university then was an expression of, shall we say, an
expression of class privilege. That does not explain everything, however,
because in many places there are universities that are middle class, yet
the majority of students are anti-imperialists. In Cuba we have an
ideological position which contradicts the socialist position itself. In
our country the combination of the two factors brought about this
circumstance: There were 30 anti-imperialist students, and I do not mean 30
communists; perhaps there were 10 communists.

In the thirties there was a strong anti-imperialistic movement. This
movement kept losing strength. There was a communist party. It was a
communist party that had influence among the workers, and had many members,
however, in university circles I believe there were 30 anti-imperialist
students among 15,000. That reflected upon the rest of the country. Out of
every 100 persons approximately 10 were anti-imperialists. From the
viewpoint of the development of political awareness our country was
possibly one of the most backward of America.

The position of the bourgeoise in our country was an intellectual one. No
social revolution could come from this. Who could imagine a social
revolution in Cuba, only 90 miles from the United States? The bourgeoise of
our country were naturally fairly wealthy, good spenders, good squanderers.
They were not very intelligent, and they relied fully on the power of the
United States. Landowners, the monopolists, were completely convinced that
it was impossible to effect a social revolution in Cuba. In our country
ideas were not as developed as they are now in Chile.

Now one has to understand the situation of a Marxist party in an atmosphere
such as this. Sixteen [figure as heard] communists among 15,000. It would
have been impossible for this not to have generated sentiments, tendencies
to distrust those who were not members of the party. Now, can one call this
sectarianism? No! Secretarianism was everywhere, in all organizations. This
is a historical truth. It was the development of the victorious revolution
that overcame these phenomena. If it had not overcome them it is possible
that the revolution could not have progressed. That is what I tell you.
However, I believe it will take you some time to understand this.

I think we have to leave because we have another ceremony now of a popular
nature. I have been asked to invite you to the park. [applause]