Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Speech to CUTCh Board

Santiago Chile in Spanish to Havana 1945 GMT 25 Nov 71 C--FOR OFFICIAL USE

[Speech by Fidel Castro to CUTCh Executive Board in Santiago, Chile, on 23
November, followed by Question and answer session with audience--recorded;
transmitted on special communications channel.]

[Text] To begin with I would like to thank you for the invitation, the
title and the medal. I am very happy to have this opportunity to talk with
you. Luis [communist Congressman Louis Figueroa] said he wanted us to
give him a frank opinion on what he had observed.

Of course, you must understand that the frankness with which we will speak
here has its limits--not subjective limits but rather objective limits. I
mean by this that any opinion that might be expressed here will deal with
general aspects, with our general experience, without touching on specific
issues. This must be so because we are not talking only to you.

Were we talking only to you, the degree of liberty to voice any opinion
would be much greater. We must take into consideration that for all
practical purposes this conversation is not between us and you. The
national and the international press is here. Family matters are not going
to be discussed in a world forum. [applause] Let me say that I am not
protesting the presence of the journalists. We should well understand the
usefulness of the dissemination of ideas and opinions. As in everything
else, however, according to the dialects of life, such dissemination has
positive and negative aspects, since along with the advantages accruing to
the wide dissemination of ideas and opinions that should be disseminated
there are also impediments, so that not everything can be discussed so

Consequently, we must operate within this framework and also take into
consideration that we are visitors. Although when we meet with workers we
hardly feel like visitors but rather like members of a large family. This
is not an empty statement, for the principle on which our policy is based,
and the tenets of our idology are no secret. True, we are Cuban
revolutionaries, but an increasingly high internationalist awareness has
developed, is developing and will continue to develop in our minds and in
the minds of our people.

Because if its characteristics the working class is internationalist by
necessity. A working class which is not internationalist will simply be
considered as having an underdeveloped awareness. We know the history of
the workers movement, about its first conferences in the middle of the last
century, and above all we know about the international solidarity of the
workers. The Cuban case is living and irrefutable proof. We have expressed
great solidarity: not a solidarity of the monopolies, of the bourgeoisie,
the landowners, the exploiters, but a solidarity of the workers, the
workers of Latin America--even in the midst of disrupted relations, of
lies, the lies of the enemy, and of a situation in which the imperialists
have tried to keep our peoples divided--the working class that assumed
power in the USSR and the other countries of the socialist bloc, which has
been a decisive and clear-cut in extending solidarity to us. [applause]

Our country is very small in size and has a relatively small population. We
have waged a hard struggle against a big power, the biggest imperialist
power--in short, the imperialist power par excellence. Without this
imperialist power in the world would no longer speak of imperialism. The
old imperialist powers have succumbed.

The British, French and other imperialist powers--which represented the
imperialism talked about at the end of last century and the beginning of
this, talked about by the British theoreticians, and talked about by
Lenin--have virtually ceased to exist as imperialist powers. In fact, these
are lesser imperialist powers.

The imperialism that does exist and that acts as the world gendarme,
supports reactionary movements and repression, and supports all methods of
crime and exploitation, taking as allies every reactionary in the world is
basically, exclusively and only U.S. imperialism, and we are neighbors of
this imperialism. Physically we were close to this imperialism at a time
when its power was much greater than today. This had a great bearing on the
characteristics of our revolution.

How could we have passed the test without solidarity? For this reason,
solidarity has great meaning to us.

The history of the Latin American nations is also well known, and so is the
betrayal of the Cuban people by the oligarchs and bourgeoisie of this
continent. It is well known that they broke off relations, supported every
crime and evil deed against Cuba giving them a pretext to talk. Not a
single defender of imperialism could withstand 5 minutes of analysis,
dialog, polemics in support of the arguments employed to attack us and the
moral principles on which they could base their arguments. They betrayed
the Cuban people and prevented the fraternal nations of America from
expressing and practicing their solidarity. They did not prevent the
expression of solidarity when relations were broken off, because they had
been doing this for so many years before that all the policies of
exploitation, degradation, technological and cultural backwardness and
illiteracy had already created conditions conducive to confusion when the
Cuban revolution and emerged victorious.

The systems of bloody repression which they maintained against the workers
and the peasants and the virtual monopoly of mass communications media were
then weapons employed to justify the criminal blockade against our people,
the cowardly aggressions against our people--actions that cost us so much
sacrifice and blood during those years and that determined the
characteristics of our revolution.

This introduction has simply served to say that we know the meaning of
solidarity of workers and the decisive role they have played in the current
history of our country. Cuba, the solitary fighter of the last century, had
the support of several countries and several persons. Officially it fought
its war with Spain for almost 30 years. Not a single ship carrying weapons
arrived from any Latin American country. For this reason our country is
still profoundly grateful for the gestures of men who expressed sympathy
for our cause and for the fighters who shed their blood on the battlefield
for the independence of Cuba.

Officially in this phase of struggle against imperialism Cuba was also
alone. It was not only alone but also the victim of complicity, of the
cowardly agreements supporting the greatest crime ever committed--the
attempt to starve a nation to death, to suffocate it, to leave it without
economic resources, without food, machinery, technicians and medicine and
even without doctors.

This is factual and recent history. From an official viewpoint this is the
meaning of the solidarity of the oligarchs and bourgeoisie. It was a harsh
and sad experience. We knew, however, that this would not be eternal, nor
could it ever be eternal. We knew that we would not have been able to
survive--I repeat--without the solidarity of the workers which in this case
reached us from other continents, from Europe and Asia, from far away, but
the workers holding power in these countries were able to express and
demonstrate their solidarity with us. [applause]

Hence the events that led to the recognition and reestablishment of
official relations between Chile and Cuba had such high, sentimental value
for our country. If you consider this as a reaffirmation of sovereignty and
an absolutely free act that honored the country and the Chilean flag, for
us it held the profound value of a nation that had lived the experiences
which we described before--the experience of loneliness in its struggles,
in its wars for the independence from Spanish colonialism, and in its
struggles for independence from the Yankee empire. For this reason our
people regard this gesture as extremely valuable. For this reason we
workers must consider ourselves members of a family and must deal with each
other intimately.

Good, we were thinking of our country's experiences. Our country has had
fundamental experiences in this struggle and in this defense, because for
10 years our basic problem consisted of surviving, to survive, how to
defend ourselves against the colossal power that was going all out to smash

That was the field in which we gained the utmost experience, for during the
past 10 years many tasks were relegated to a second or third place. It was
not even a question of development, nor could it have been, for to develop
we had to survive first. This is what engaged the bulk of our energy, the
best energies of our people, our best cadres, the country's attention.

Thus, it is only very recently that we have undertaken other tasks: tasks
we properly call development tasks. We indeed took on structural changes
from the outset, and it was precisely these changes that elicited the
martred, the attacks and the efforts to destroy the Cuban example.

You may recall the agrarian reform. Whoever talked of agrarian reform 15
years ago was considered an incorrigible red, a devil on earth, one
deserving to be sent to hell most expeditiously. That was how such a person
was viewed, above all by our masters, our employers, the Yankee
imperialists. They had the last word. They set the examples. They wrote in
our newspapers, in our publications, and in our printshops, and for our
radio and television.

And we say "ours" referring to Cuba's own experience. All the programs were
inspired by their idology: radio, television and the press; the books
published, the films shown. All were filled with discrimination, racism,
scorn for the poor, scorn for the Latin Americans, filled with their rule
and their super race. Of course, the super race, but not of the U.S.
negroes, the Chicanos, the Puerto Ricans, or the Latins, but of the great
monopolies, their directors, their lawyers, their ideologists, their

Thus, they indoctrinated us, educated us, and taught us the sociopolitical
catechism, and above all they brought home to us that a communist was a
devil, a demon. They taught the country the doctrine of hatred of social
progress, hatred of the revolutionaries and naturally, they had taught us
that to talk of agrarian reform was bad, and we could say that the struggle
in Cuba began with the agrarian reform.

After that--you know the story--the Yankees began to talk of agrarian
reform. Logically cane was the main crop in Cuba, the main business. The
best lands and the sugar centrals were Yankee. Once all this vanished from
the books of the United Fruit monopoly and other monopolies, then they
began talking of agrarian reform. Sure, some interests remained in the
banana republics, but that was of little importance. All that was needed
was some tiny puppet set up there and that settled the problem.

The facade the new publicity, and the new pseudoprogressive plan looked
above all to the south--to those countries they had not been able to
control so easily--and talk of the agrarian reform began. People stopped
being accused of being communist or sent to jail. No one was sent to hell
for talking of agrarian reform. On the contrary, this had become good
taste, something erudite, something decent, something progressive--to talk
of agrarian reform. [applause]

Naturally, times had changed, and some who are more than 25 years
old--there may be some among us here--[chuckling] not some of the beautiful
ladies present here-- in any case they will remember that it was actually
like this. Look at a magazine, a newspaper, a pamphlet, a speech, a meeting
of the OAS, or a banquet of foreign ministers, and see if that bad word had
been spoken before to the Cuban revolution.

To conclude--for this not to be an exposition of everything one wants to
say, though when one meets with workers one would like to say a million
things--but for this dialog to center basically on the issues that may come
to your mind. It would be better if we pursue the best method, the ideal
method: to talk, listen, reply to questions, and questions you may ask, so,
I give you the floor.

[A faint voice is heard] [Castro] If anyone wants to talk, let someone take
him a microphone, if one is available, or anyone who wants to can come up

[Unidentified questioner] I would like to ask, comrade, how you see the
Chilean revolution process compared to the Cuban revolutionary process,
which is undoubtedly deeper than the Chilean process? This is because some
persons [words indistinct] think that the Chilean process should be the
Cuban process. But all the Chileans did not think this way when we noted in
the elections. That is my question.

[Castro] Look, in real life no one can be what he is not. Moreover, I do
not believe there are two historical social events that are exactly alike.
We, for instance, who have been implementing our revolutionary process,
could in no way say our process is similar to the Soviet process, the way
that revolution was engendered, originated, and developed was entirely

We could not say that our revolutionary process was like the Chinese
process. The was each process--the Chinese and the Cuban--generated and
developed has differed. Our process was incapable to be like any other.

Well and good. The difference between the Cuban and the Chilean process is
even greater. The war the revolutionaries reached power was entirely
different. If we are going to talk of common things, we must say what there
is in common--and, firstly, it would be the same goal, the same social,
economic, and human goal.

If we go a little further, we could say that there is the same
philosophical concept, the same ideological concept--let us say the same
political doctrine. The basic forces of the Chilean process are
unquestionably the working forces inspired by the doctrine of the working
class Marxism. The role of the workers has been fundamental and decisive in
both processes. It is the way in which the struggle unfolds, the paths--the
so-called paths--that are actually different.

We should point out furthermore, that in the numerous declarations Cuba has
made concerning the overall Latin American scene, we have always viewed the
Chilean situation in a different light.

Even in the first and second Havana Declarations we said--more or less
texturally-- that wherever all the constitutional and legal doors are
closed to the masses, the working movement and the masses; wherever, the
doors are closed, the only path left is that of armed revolution.

Under no condition could we have referred or thought thus about the case of
Chile or Uruguay, to cite examples which are really exceptional and in the

So there was never any contradition between the concepts of the Cuban
revolution, and the paths which the movement of the left and the workers in
Chile should pursue. We honestly could have been more or less confident; we
could have more or less had faith in possibilities, but we clearly
discerned the actual conditions in this country-- with the legal paths open
for the struggle, even amidst circumstances in which the oligarchs,
imperialists, and bourgeoisie held many of the resources, the monetary
resources, the mass communications means, and were capable of unleashing in
all-out political campaign--the so-called "terror drives" they set off.

In this connection we had a personal, a very personal experience. Permit me
to recall it, and we hope no one imputes to us an intrusion into domestic
matters. In point of fact the intrusion was into our feelings and those of
our families. They committed the rascality of finding an ignorant young
girl who had never been a revolutionary-- a girl who was virtually won over
to the most reactionary ideas--and they received her as a heroine in the
United States. They brought her to this country as the sister of the
Castros--of the Cuban revolutionaries, as a sister of Fidel and Raul
Castro--to intervene in Chilean internal political affairs, to talk against
the workers' movement, to talk against the Popular Unity, and to influence
the process. They did just that.

This was interference into family morals, the family itself. This was a
despicable, petty use of ignorance, a despicable petty use of persons
brought out by the imperialists.

The oligarchs, imperialists, and the reactionaries had all possible means
for publicizing, for distorting things on one side, and for creating
monstrous lies on the other.

With all these means in their hands, the imperialist, oligarchs, and the
reactionaries unquestionably could wage a battle in the field of freedom
and public opinion. More often than not the working movement lacked those

To repeat;, we could have been more or less confident, more or less sure,
but we never challenged things. Nevertheless, when months before the
elections in Chile we observed the merging of a respectable group of
political forces despite all the lies, despite all the mass publicity media
largely being held by the reaction, despite all the wores--as we say in our
country--and despite the actual objective contradictions, we saw that the
widespread development of awareness offered possibilities of an electoral

We say it, we understand it, and we proclaim it publicly and openly,
because we are revolutionaries. To be revolutionaries is not to be
dogmatic. To be revolutionaries is to be realistic. To be revolutionaries
is to take advantage of each and every opportunity which presents itself to
advance and approach the goals for which our people struggle and should
struggle [applause]. We continue to have an enormous interest in the
elections. This even produced other events.

During those times--26 July--we made a clear explanation of our
difficulties and our problems, and very harsh criticisms of our own errors.
All this revolutionary judging served again to cause an unusual campaign to
be unleashed, to the degree that we became concerned about the situation we
had caused. Acting in complete honesty, we had made a study of our
problems--if these things were going to serve to throw wood on the fire of
the reaction and if possibly, due to an act completely foreign to the
problems of Chile, we were going to help the possibilities of an electoral
victory for the Chilean movement.

Again Cuba was used for domestic Chilean problems; again an unusual
campaign was unleashed to try to influence events. It was necessary for us
to explain ourselves, to clarify and reclarify, and in a way we tried to
clarify our statements of 26 July before international public opinion, and
tried to prevent the statements from being used against the popular

We followed election day with great interest. Just as you, we followed the
returns and predictions hour by hour. I should say, however, that after
only 2 hours had passed I had begun to make some calculations of my own and
was sure that we had won the victory. [applause] Our country received the
news with a great deal of happiness. They accepted it as a great popular
victory. This single act constitutes a singular revolutionary triumph. How
could we view the election? With sadness, mortified because the victory had
taken place through an election and without weapons? You would have to take
us for complete idiots, without ability, stupid, low, and miserable to
believe in revolutionaries with such an attitude. [applause]

On the contrary, not only were we beset by contradictions, but we had seen
in the concrete, real conditions at the moment of the elections, a
possibility. We were ready to look upon ;any new event with jubilation. Let
all the new variations come, because one can get to Rome by many roads. How
I hope there are many roads to arrive at the revolutionary Rome. [applause]

We must be alert, and work while the objective conditions--[Castro shifts
thought] one road or another depends on men, and be sure that no one has
prohibited anyone anywhere from having a revolution [laughter], and that we
have no intention of opposing anything you do or the means you deem
necessary. [applause] Your victories will be greeted with joy.

Now, of course, in the moment of victory and of the Popular Unity, there
are so many dangers, so many obstacles. It was a small door which opened,
but a door, a crack, an opening, a little hole if you wish. I do not know
if you can say this word here. I do not know if the word is good or bad.

How many dangers there were before you at the moment of victory. Desperate,
the reactionaries began immediately to plot, to plan macabre plots. They
did all they could, and if they could have exterminated the revolutionaries
they would have done so. If they could have killed the president-elect,
they would have done so. If in some manner, they could have stopped the
taking of office they would have done so.

Did they not commit the monstrous crime of killing the chief of the Chilean
Army? Did they not plan that action--still not very clear--of kidnapping
him in order to make demands?

Consider the level of irresponsibility, the consequences that all this
could have had, the blood that all of this could have cost.

Is it perhaps that the reactionaries will stop at nothing to achieve their
objectives? Have they considered the amount of sacrifice and blood their
actions could cost the people?

They kidnapped and murdered a man who was virtually unarmed, who was
driving with his chauffeur through one of the streets of the capital. Can
anyone imagine such a grotesque action? It would seem logical that many
dangerous situations would have arisen had they won the elections, on the
day the elections were won, the following day and every day until the
government assumed power. It is also logical that once the government
assumed power there would have been much danger.

It would be absurd to imagine that the path will be easy; it would be
absurd to imagine that the interested parties adversely affected are going
to remain idle. This would be absurd.

There is absolutely no doubt, however, that several significant steps have
been taken since the door has been opened. I feel dutybound to speak and to
express my opinions. I have no intention of doing anything else and I beg
you not to consider my opinions infallable. I shall begin by saying that as
any human being I might be wrong once and a thousand times. I will,
however, always speak frankly, clearly, without prejudice, dogmas, symbols,
and without preconceived opinions. I say that important steps have been
taken and their effects are being observed along the revolutionary path.

It is our opinion that the revolution is a path, a process, and that there
are no readymade revolutions. Revolutions are not carried out in a day and
there are no preplanned revolutions. This is so because revolutions--the
daughters of realities, the daughters of historic laws--cannot be
preplanned. Naturally, although revolutions are the daughters of historic
laws, they are not carried out by themselves; they are carried out by men,
and men play an important role in the interpretation and application of
these laws.

There are also laws of physics and chemistry, but without man there is no
chemistry, no physics, no mechanical industry. Man interprets and applies
these laws and they are not devised by themselves. No one should expect a
revolution to be carried out by itself. Revolutions must be carried out by

A revolution is, however, a process, a path, and a revolution cannot be
purchased at the supermarket. There are no ready-made revolutions, they
must be carried out. A revolution is a long process and we should be sent
to an insane asylum if we said that our revolution was ready-made. We the
Cubans are trying to carry out a revolution and the more progress that is
made, the more we become aware of the magnitude of the task, of the
complexity of the tasks. We also become aware that these tasks are very

We are still carrying out a revolution. I believe that we shall continue
carrying out the revolution for 50 or 100 years. I further believe that a
revolution is eternal, the only eternal thing because human societies will
always have to fight to improve and progress. When human societies have
reached a certain stage, they will have to fight to prolong life, against
death, diseases, for control of space, land space, and the outer space and
who knows, perhaps some day to revolutionize human society--and when human
society has been revolutionized to perfect it, and when human society has
been perfected we shall continue improving it and also revolutionize

So that you do not harbor illusions, regardless of what is done, how much
is done and how well it is done, in the future we will be considered
prehistoric animals. [applause]

[Castro addressing someone in the audience] Go ahead.

[Question] Comrade Fidel, I would like to ask you the following question.
In Cuba what are the workers and the peasants doing to really obtain access
to the university? Furthermore what has been the significance of the
so-called university automony and have you had problems in this connection?

[Castro] Together? the same subject? Do you prefer that I answer these
questions or wait for three questions? Do I have something to do with these
questions? I will answer the other question. Do not be impatient. I will
even try to be brief, but let me answer the previous question.

Well, we really never had problems with students in the process. I do not
think that you have problems either. I have visited several universities
and have generally observed the students' readiness to support the

In the Cuban process the students played a role, were very active, although
the student body was in the main composed of the middle class and petit
bourgeoisie. There were no workers' sons in our university. The process of
struggle in Cuba, however, had a great effect on the students and the
students always supported the process. Furthermore, the revolutionary
leaders and the students always maintained great relations and the students
always participated in affairs.

In your case here, when the Popular Unity won its victory, a university
reform already existed. A strong movement existed. This did not exist in
Cuba. One of the first things the revolution did was implement a university
reform. We must tell the truth: we implemented a bourgeois, liberal reform.
In other words, we implemented reforms needed by a university under a
liberal system, which were the fair aspirations of a university at that
time. Today this university reform has become obsolete. Today we are trying
to implement a university revolution. The objectives pursued by the
university, under the old Cuban regime, were to provide assistance and
protection, to improve studies, provide for its participation in research,
and facilities and salaries for the professors which would allow them to
devote themselves to teaching. These were the basic issues. We defended the
university autonomy against the efforts of the reactionaries to take over,
to repress the students because of their participation in the struggle.

I do not remember too well if autonomy exists legally at the University of
Cuba. [audience laughs] I know this is a problem about which I have heard
no one speak for 10 years. [audience laughs] The people is that on occasion
we have said: Perhaps some day the autonomy of the Cuban state over the
university will be brought up. [audience laughs] In fact the students are
involved in everything, in everything, so much so that they are almost
masters of the Cuban state. They are consulted on everything, they
participate in every plan, in research, in the defense of the country. They
are everywhere. There is such a close identification between the youth and
the revolutionary process and the revolutionary state that these that these
matters are never brought up there. In any event, we are already
considering a new phase--the university revolution. This is our situation.

In Cuba, the schools, the workers' faculty, were established immediately to
make the access of the students to the university easier. I will say
frankly, however, that we have not been models when it comes to promoting
the workers' participation in the university. We have not been models along
this line. We have not won great victories in this area. We have had
goodwill, but we have not learned how to apply this good will.

Our education push did not begin at a high level, but at the lowest levels,
the first grade. We could not send to the university workers or peasants
who in many cases did not know how to sign their name. Many had to make a
thumbprint to obtain their voting card. That is the truth, and that is why
in the first phase the goal was to teach reading and writing, and proceed
from there.

We staged a big drive for this purpose. We did not look down on the effort
of the workers to build the labor school and to enter, but they could not
do so at the level we would have liked. We can say that a contradiction
emerged; a contradiction that was the outgrowth of the process which at one
time or another we encountered in all the state organizations.

We must pay attention to the state organizations, because, most import of
all, there are now no monopolies--the errors are no longer the work of
monopolies, the errors are made by the revolutionaries themselves in their
organizations. One mistake was the shortage of technicians. Almost all the
men in the economic organizations were going to the university, and when
only in the second year the students were already being used--they were
assigned a job in this or that organization or factory for a specific

Also there was a time when there was not full employment, so when a young
man with problems wanted a job he would apply to an organization and it
would hire him. This situation increased costs, increased the frantic
search for jobs, and above all developed what we could call a sectional

In our opinion, in a country which is striving to develop its economy
harmoniously, and where certain activities are given priority, the
technicians should serve the country and not be contracted or controlled as
soon as they enter the university. So we established the policy that no
organization could contract students, and this bad led to another: that all
students who want to study but whose family is needy, for any reason, must
be aided and must continue studying full time at the university.

This is what motivated our scholarship programs in the universities. This
was one phase, a phase that called for full-time study. Later new problems
came up whenever more technicians were needed. Here is what happened: We
found we were molding a technician who, since he was not participating in
productive activities, was becoming 100-percent intellectual--an
intellectual worker totally separated from realities and concrete problems.

That was bad. We could not overlook the fact that our technological levels
were low. We could not forget that the world had such a great and highly
advanced technology, and that for the most part the books, magazines, and
libraries for learning this technology were saturated with the texts and
books of this or that university of the United States, Europe, England, and
Germany, and that these dealt with this or that specific place, machine,
laboratory, speciality, and such and such perfect things.

The students therefore lived in an imaginary, unreal world, and when they
graduated from the universities and faced realities, they found them very
harsh. When they wanted something, they wanted equipment they had seen in a
scientific magazine, what they had seen in the most perfect laboratory, the
latest equipment of a Harvard, Massachusetts, or California research

We have seen this all-too-real mental attitude of a man who devotes himself
only to study, to reading magazines, books, whole bookshelfs, and all kinds
of textbooks. This is the way it was--a way with many great hindrances.

And there was another concomitant factor--certain ideas evident to us,
certain truths which we could say stood out. We yearned for universal
education, the universalization of knowledge at the primary, secondary,
technical, and if possible university level.

Why? Obviously and elementally: The world of tomorrow is the world of
science, the world of technology, and those who do not master science and
technology will occupy the lowest place in the world of tomorrow.

This is imposed precisely by the development of science, the development of
humanity and its resources, the efforts to tackle man's material problems.
Higher levels have been reached. All technology demands great cultural

Moreover, we have encountered a very unfavorable fact. It is not that we
lack sufficient factories, that the technology of our factories is old, and
so forth, no, the problem does not lie in disproportionate development, nor
lack of factories to meet the needs of modern living.

The worst of our problems is the backwardness of our technology and
science. That is the worst of all. We believe that in the world of the
future a sixth-grade education will amount to illiteracy, for just as
everything is relative in life, the man who signed with a thumbprint 50
years ago was better educated relatively than a man with a sixth-grade
education will be 20 or 30 years hence.

We also believe that an individual with only a secondary education will be
illiterate. We think that a man who has less than a preuniversity education
will be considered illiterate 30 or 40 years from now.

We have introduced the idea of widespread university education in all
fields. We foresee all factories being universities, and foresee that the
masses of the new generations who have primary, secondary, and
technological education will be taking advanced studies in the places where
they work.

The fact is that we have whole legions of technicians working who have
middle school education level. These persons are taking advanced learning
courses under directed study programs. For instance, in the sugar industry.
I can tell you that we have more than a thousand middle school level
technicians working in the sugar industry. Under this system, as soon as
they have graduated from a technological institute they have gone to the
canefields or to camps in the interior to work as technicians and continue
their higher learning studies. More than 80 percent have pursued these
studies, and the first contingents have graduated.

You witnessed how during the sugarcane congress in Louisiana when an
attempt was made to keep out the Cubans, but they went anyway. They took
the plane and landed in Louisiana. No, they were not allowed to enter the
congress, but they strongly protested and defended their rights. The world
learned that a cane congress was being held only because of the incident
involving Cuban technicians in New Orleans.

Well and good. Some of those technicians were students who had graduated
first from the technological institute and then from the university. And
I'll tell you something else; one of our prominent technicians was a
shoemaker--no a bootblack--13 years ago and today is a sugarcane
geneticist, esteemed and respected as one of the best technicians of our

Those youths went to the canefields, to the poor regions where they had to
cope with various problems--problems of machinery, the labor force,
housing, and all the problems which a country with conditions like ours
must face.

They understood the reality of life and they dealt with the plowing and
technical questions, but they continued studying ardently. They were given
facilities, directed courses, they would attend universities and take short
courses and exams. I am certain they will become the best agricultural
engineers our country has ever had.

By the same token we have middle school level technicians in cattle raising
who are doing the same thing. All these experiences convince us that to
have widespread learning we must have widespread work.

Within 10 years we will have more than half a million basic secondary
school students. How could our country--our poor country--support half a
million students at a high educational level if we had not formulated a
plan under which many young people help produce material goods? These two
things must go hand in hand, otherwise we would have to exclude 80 percent
of the population from technical knowledge because our country is too poor
to provide this to 100 percent of its young people.

It would be a crime unworthy of a revolution which hopes to establish a
more just, a superior human community to condemn 80 percent of its young
people to illiteracy, and what kind of future would be offering them.
Poverty is not a sufficient reason.

We had to find a social formula, and that formula was to combine study with
work. That then is the foundation of the economic and social order, but
there is also a pedagogic foundation: no form of education is better than
that which combines work with study.

These middle school level technicians who are acquiring higher learning
while working are an example. They do not attend the university--they are
still at the middle and secondary school level--yet they are working a
certain number of hours.

Now we have already introduced into our universities a new trend using
these same ideas, and we are marshaling our resources so that next year we
will be able to incorporate students of architecture, engineering and all
university subjects into the work force and to convert the maximum number
of workers into university students.

We have another problem, a contradiction I wanted to discuss earlier, one
which had emerged with the question of full time, when we decided that
students will not be contracted and that if a student needs financial help,
he will get it.

What happens later? When the workers who have taken courses in the worker
schools enter the university the principal is mechanically applied to them:
from the moment they enter they study full time. Result: the factories lose
their workers, and above all,their best and most advanced workers. What
happens when a factory sends a worker to the university? It loses a worker.
Possibly its best, most advanced worker.

What would happen when a factory sent a worker to the university? He was
lost as a worker, and possibly he would not be accepted as a technicians,
given at the country's needs would make it possible for them to claim him
on the other side, and a contradiction develops between the country's
interest in promoting the education of the workers, and the interest of the
factories in keeping their best workers.

This is another thing we have proposed: that the workers do not stop being
workers in order to go to the university, and that they work a shift and
maintain their aptitude in order to go to study in the afternoon or at

It was precisely due to these reasons that we are accelerating the concept:
workers going to the university without ceasing to be workers, working a
shift and at the same time incorporating university students in the
factories without their ceasing to be students, also working a shift.

In addition this is to tell you that our students know what it is to
participate in the country's service in a different manner. Our students in
each moment of crisis form a part of the combative units of the country,
giving energy to battle preparation. Our university students have
participated in the harvest and in any tasks asked of them-- but many times
it was not systematically, but so many months per year, so many weeks.
Thousands of students carry out development work, volunteer work on
Saturday and Sunday. There is a magnificant movement.

By explaining this I do not want to say that our students are allergic to
work or that they have been shirking it, no, I am speaking of the method by
which we want to systematize the students' daily participation in
productive work.

In addition, it is to tell you that our medical students, from the time
they begin their medical career, begin to work in the hospitals. This has
much to do with the magnificent quality of the doctors now graduating in

We are developing what can be conceived as of any educational revolution. I
am telling you, however, that we are not models in having been able to
bring about large increases; a sufficiently large increase as concerns the
study of workers in the universities. As I told you, we suffer this
contradiction due to the time involved and the contradiction which we are
overcoming and, in our opinion, is soon going to help us take great steps
in this area. This is our present situation.

Regarding the university students, there has been a great variation in
their composition, therefore, if the first generation of students after the
revolution have adhered to the revolution because of a patriot and a
revolutionary conscience, in spite of their class origin, the present
majority of students is logically of worker origin.

[Questioner] I would like to ask you a question related to the rule of the
unions in the present process. I would like to know, keeping in mind the
differences between the Cuban revolution and Chile's present experience,
what you Comrade Castro--who so well knows our situation and what the role
of the unions in our country should be--feel. In addition, I would like to
ask another question in conjunction with the first. It is related to the
problem of production, keeping in mind that in Chile there is a great
private property sector which would obtain a plus value from increased
production. What does Comrade Fidel Castro think the effort of the worker
should be in the face of this situation?

[Castro] Do you want the two answers together?

[questioner] Together. What is your impression of Chile in view of our

[Castro] Good, it is not the same question, but it is a parallel one as you
said. Listen: The question that our comrade has asked is an interesting and
even difficult one.

[Questioner] You spoke of the role of man. In relation to this, the comrade
asked about the principal task of the workers. Later you spoke of the
unions. I wanted to ask you about the experiences of the union leaders in
the Cuban revolutionary process. Naturally, keeping in mind the differences
between this and the Chilean process. I believe the two are related.
Comrade Fidel in the same--[laughter].

[Castro] Look, let me say something regarding this. [applause] Regarding
our process you will first allow me to say the following: At the time of
the coup d'etat on 10 March and even earlier in 1944, repression against
the workers movement, and persecution of communists was begun. It was a
process of killing of communist leaders, a process of attacks on the
unions, of imposition of owner leaders and government gangsters, even
before Batista.

Of course, all of this had its price, did it not? All those leaders were
kicked out one morning, they were all thrown out. There were no exceptions.
They shouted: Executive power, congress, judicial power.

All was brought down with a kick, with one kick on the morning of 10 March
1952: the Batista coup d'etat, which had maintained practically all of its
influence. The armed forced had been his creation when the 4 September
movement faced a previous crisis.

The history is long: The Machado dictatorship, the American intervention,
which was a form of intervention without the landing of marines, but they
were not needed, because the ambassador with the ships off shore did not
have to land the marines to settle the problems, he simply became a
government through meditation. There had been a great popular happiness
during that crisis situation with demands from other officers and soldiers
of the army, and this caused the movement of 4 September 1933. That
movement is connected with the general revolutionary movement, and arose
just as a revolutionary movement in its first phase.

It soon becomes clear that Batista and his group were immediately virtually
bought by the U.S. ambassador, which seemed a more simple, expeditious, and
economical arrangement for solving problems concerning a nationalist type
of government which had begun to carry out a number of laws which the
country was demanding at that time. In the end Batista threw out that
government and maintained his power through control of the army, police,
and other armed groups.

His policy was a policy of political patronage, of privilege, of complete
corruption. His hegemony was set up as a military dictatorship.

It is necessary to know the history of our country to know the meaning of
the U.S. intervention in Cuba, and the right of intervention placed in our
constitution which robbed the country of all personality and robbed all
civil and military institutions of all personality--because in reality they
had no role but to wait for the American ships to unload at a moment they
considered there had been some breach of the peace. There was no
institutional development in our country. We want you to keep this in mind
in order to know Cuba.

Later, in 1944, Batista was a little tired and much richer--during that
time he had stolen $50 million--he had tens of millions more at the end of
the world war. Batista had for a time helped the antifascist groups of the
world. You remember that phase in which there were broad fronts in the
struggle against fascism. Logically this front, which was characterized by
the alliance of England, France, the United States; the Soviet Union, and
other countries in the antifascist war--all this helped Batista to appear
as a part of this broad front.

Finally in 1944 there was an election. He lost and was out. Then came the
so-called authentic government, which was one of the greatest frustrations
through which our country has passed, not because our country had a broad
left, a conscience like there is in Chile; this was not the situation in
our country. In our country the political development was incomparably
below the Chilean political development of the same decade, for example, or
at the same time.

Then those authentic governments were characterized by fraud, stealing and
complete corruption. All this prepared the path for Batista--who had on 10
March faced the elections in which he was completely defeated--to return.

He showed up one day at Colombia garrison, and with the connivance of old
friends which he had made in the past, assumed command of the military
forces and staged a coup d'etat on 10 March. It was an easy task for him to
overthrow those governments which had displaced the labor movement and
during which the union headquarters had been attacked and seized by bandits
and hoodlums of all sorts. That was the prevailing situation. There was
virtually no resistance. The political parties did not have the force to
resist. The labor movement went over, no, not the labor movement, but the
bandits leading the movement held talks with Batista that very day and
placed themselves at Batista's orders. This occurred on 10 March 1952.

The students did resist, although the leaders of the student body were not
anti- imperialists. So that you may have an idea of the backwardness
existing in our country as a result of McArthyism and the U.S. ideological
influence at the university, of the 15,000 students 30 were
anti-imperialists. I am not saying 30 communist students but 30
anti-imperialist students.

During the entire process--the Batista tyranny--from 1952 to 1 January
1959, the labor movement was controlled. Naturally, there existed an
official labor movement, a clandestine labor movement of the communists and
of the various revolutionary fighters.

The official leadership of the unions was under the control of all the old
bandits who had joined Batista lock stock and barrel plus several new ones
who were no different. Do you understand this? When the revolution emerged
victorious on 1 January, therefore, there was no organized labor movement.
A labor movement cannot be improvised. A labor movement cannot be improved.
Then what happened in Cuba when we had to improvise everything? We had to
do this in the midst of idological struggles and when many organizations
and currents existed within the labor organizations. For this reason,
ideological struggles arise in our labor movement, divisions occurred and
there were various factions and current within the various organizations.
Most of all, an attempt was made to develop reactionary and anticommunist
currents. Such problems were promoted in our country.

When the revolution attained its victory, from a viewpoint of leadership
and cadres, we did not have a veteran, conscientious labor movement. No, we
did not have such a movement. The first years of the revolutionary process
were spent in this manner while the unification of the revolutionary forces
was developing and while the ideological victory of the Cuban revolutionary
process was consolidated.

You did not have such a situation. Your situation was completely different
since you have an organized labor movement, a movement with veteran cadres
and fighters, with political awareness, which is extremely important for
the process. During this phase you have a force which we did not have.

We did have the wide support of the workers and peasants, but not what
could be called a veteran, organized, conscientious labor movement. This
was the real situation. This is an extraordinary advantage that you have
over us at this time. There is an indisputable difference.

We have been organizing the labor movement but during all these years it
has never attained the force of your labor and union movement. There were
even specific phases-- and this was announced publicly--in which the Cuban
revolutionary process made (?mistakes), not consciously, but as the result
of other tasks and other struggles. As we said, during that phase the main
and basic task of the country was to defend itself, and the workers in the
factories and everywhere were playing a very important role in the
country's defense. A great part of the workers' energies were spent in the
organization of combat units for the country's defense.

The basic emphasis was placed not on the economic area, not on the economic
role of the unions in the productive tasks, but during the entire phase the
basic role was diverted toward the country's defense to counter threats
from abroad.

During the later period, for other reasons, there was neglect of the mass
organizations. We have strong mass organizations, but there was a certain
neglect of the party in regard to the labor movement and we had an
opportunity to observe the negative consequences caused by this neglect.
Consequently, as soon as we become aware of this problem, we began an
effort to strengthen the labor movement. Today we are giving maximum
attention to the labor movement and to the development of the labor
movement. After all these years we are organizing in our country a
profound, democratic movement which will have tremendous power and will
play an extremely important role in the future of the revolution.

We never had anything that could compare to the labor movement you have. We
were even overjoyed, jubilant, at the way the labor movement acted in the
places we visited. I should say, naturally, that it is not developed in the
same way everywhere. Nevertheless we have observed your initial efforts to
have the workers physically participate in the direction of enterprises and

We, however, did not have a chance to develop that in our first phase, for
the reasons we explained--the defense of the country, the lack of labor
movement--could tell you to follow that path. We believe that the most
extraordinary thing that can be done is the workers' actual participation
in the productive processes, just as the first efforts are being made in
many places.

This does not mean an absence of the state's administration and
representation. Why? How could we cope with that problem? By insisting that
a representative of all the people had to participate, someone who
represents not the factory workers collective, but all the people, all
interested in the factory--a person who has definite functions and tasks,
one who can be considered an administrator.

The broader the participation of the workers collective in the directive
organization, or the organizations which direct the factory, the better. We
believe this, and that this will benefit you greatly.

Moreover we are pleased that you could advance more than ourselves in this
respect, that you can teach us about this, and we can learn from you. You
can rest assured that we are not going to ask your permission to copy
anything we see you doing better than we are. [applause]

Of necessity, some contraditions will remain, and this does not exclude the
labor organization which has specific functions. We say that within the
workers' collective our party represents the communists, not all the
workers. It is the vanguard nucleus that guides, leads, and supports. What
represents all the workers is the union--it represents the working
community at the working center.

The directive organizations which participate in making decisions are not,
therefore, the same as the unions. This should not be confused, as it would
be bad. Their work is different. We do, however, abide by this principle:
In the same way that the workers' representatives in those organizations
are elected--democratically, as that is the only way--you likewise must
know how to demand, and you know what we mean by know how to demand--to
demand discipline. You must demand discipline from the collective; to
demand that it defend the interests of production.

The process of election should not become the opposite: weakness,
tolerance, lack of exigency. We think that what we are observing is very
good, the efforts being made to elect the production and
direction-participation committees. I do not go so far as to say this is
the optimum. I do not know if there is a better way.

We say it is a splendid road, however. As an essential beginning we are
sure this will strengthen the labor movement in the nationalized
enterprises. It will extraordinarily help the work those centers must

Another problem, one which I said was thorny, has been broached here: The
problem of the great number of workers in private factories. I say it is a
thorny, complex, difficult problem. It requires must analysis in the
context of the overall situation. We believe that in a revolutionary
process everything, nothing can be considered as isolated, every problem
must be viewed as a factor of the overall process.

I can tell you, however, that we underwent a tremendous experience at the
beginning of the revolution. It was tremendous. Our main industry was
sugar. Unemployment was widespread. We were working three shifts, yet in a
sugar industry workers' convention the demand for four shifts was made.

Furthermore, though we were quite ignorant about economic problems, though
we thought we knew something--what the revolutionaries think they know and
what they actually know is two different things. [chuckles, applause]

We had a clear cut idea that the unemployment problem had to be resolved by
raising production and increasing the wealth. We clearly understood that we
could not solve the employment problem by spreading out the work at hand;
spreading out the work and working more. I saw this clearly.

I can tell you that that convention--which was extraordinarily enthusiastic
and imbued with fervor and support for the revolution--was absolutely wrong
in bringing up the proposal for four shifts.

Yet they were representatives of the sugar industry, of 100,000 or so
workers of the key industry of the country. There were about 3,000
delegates, and they invited me. Under what circumstances? All the centrals
were privately owned--all still privately owned, and most of them were of
Yankee businesses.

Just before I was to speak several labor leaders stood up and repeated the
demand, the proposal. It sounded as if the whole theater was coming down
with the unanimous, thundering applause backing the labor leaders.

It was under such conditions, despite the position they had placed me in
with the uproar, that I had the unpleasant task of speaking. I had the firm
conviction that their demand was utter nonsense, utter nonsense, for at
that time, at the very beginning the agrarian law had not yet been enacted.
We were striving them, if we could, to strengthen the revolution a little,
to acquire some weapons, to be ready for anything that came. We were
studying the agrarian law and everything.

Logically, all the people, no one had the slightest idea about the position
of the revolutionary government. No one had the slightest idea.
Furthermore, in the beginning, the harvest was at a standstill.

There were perhaps some $70 million in the national bank and enormous
debts. As you can see, we were a little worse off than you. [chuckles] And
sugar is not copper. At least in the north tons can be mined without a drop
of rain falling, it never rains, but the harvest must be gathered at a
certain period. We were left without foreign exchange, (?not even the part
due us), for it was taken away by the owners of the centrals and [words

Nevertheless, we had to stand there, without being able to declare that we
were going to nationalize the sugar centrals--you must realize that this
could not even be said--for if we committed the mistake of saying do not
get excited, for the [words indistinct] centrals are going to be
nationalized by a revolution, this would have been easy. The problem was
how to convince the mass of people without talking about nationalizing the
centrals. That speech is around somewhere. [chuckling] It is a splendid
model of good intentions, of the ideas (?of that time) and some of them
amaze me, and not because they were (?bad).

Yes, they surprise me. Moreover I cannot even explain it to myself how I
found the means of resolving the problem. [chuckling] Of course, I myself
did not see things so clearly. The argument even now is weak, it is weak,
but it was one of the problems which luckily (?I understood).

However, with that bravery which revolutionaries must have in my
opinion--that when they believe in something they must speak out at any
cost, they cannot temporize, they cannot have trepidation. If you are
honest rest assured that [word indistinct] responds. If you are honest, if
you are happy [applause] we argued about the problem of the foreign

We talked of the exchange--that given to us, that we had on hand, that
which we received from the cane. We talked about the consequences of the
shutdowns, as there was a strike on and everything was at standstill. We
pointed out that when this created industry yielded profits through the
national bank, the state was going to handle it--take note, I did not talk
about nationalization.

I said that income would belong to the country, would go for the country's
development. I pointed out that those who believed that the adoption of the
fourth working shift would go against the interests of the central owners
were wrong. It would go against the interests of the country, the country's
potential, and the country's development.

I declared that above all unemployment in Cuba could not be resolved by
spreading out the work that existed before and working less. [words
indistinct] were clear. How easy it would have been to tell them: Please be
calm, you impatient ones, for those centrals will be taken over by the

Under such conditions and circumstances it was necessary to argue at
length, and I want you to know that our workers supported my views
unanimously, and the demand for the four shifts was withdrawn.

That is a very important event in the life of our country. That is why we
had to view that problem of our main industry within the context of the
general situation. If I tell you that tactic, better said, strategy can
never be subordinated, sacrificed to tactic; tactic must be subordinated to
strategy. Furthermore, (?causative) problems must be handled [words
indistinct]. We believe that that is an elementary concept in all political
processes. It was under that highly special condition that we acted.

Now that I have explained that, let me relate the other. It is the battle
we waged at the start against the fourth shift, and how things fared
throughout the process, with all the problems. The workers began growing in
number, one by one, here and there. Let us see. We had 25,000 more workers
in the sugar centrals; thus at the beginning we thought that he [the
worker] did not come in through the door, he came in through the window.

The blame was not the workers, but the administrative organizations, of the
administrators. [words indistinct]

There lies the importance of the presence and the constant participation of
the mass in the direction of the production centers. That is the only
antidote possible against the virus of bureaucracy. I will say, however,
that our administrative apparatus over the years fulfilled that noble
effort so as not to raise sugar production costs. We are rationalizing the
production now.

We are now trying to overcome all the problems that were created for us. We
must still, however, wage a great ideological battle, and we tell the
workers: We are the ones who must wage this battle; we must protect this
revolution, this process, we cannot expect the oligarchs and the landowners
to protect this process. For this reason, this is one of the problems you
will have in the daily [word indistinct] against these existing

I will cite an example. There can be thousands of cases, but I do not
believe that every case in the same, and I imagine that you will have to
seek solutions to many cases in which the basic problem of just is present,
in which the workers cannot be asked to make sacrifices. I imagine there
are many such cases, but as a strategic basic issue I am telling you that
those who have to take care of the creature [the revolution] are the
workers. The working class has to care for the creature. Who is going to
care for it if it must be nourished, cared for, if we are to prevent it
from becoming sick, contaminated or being killed? A revolution is the
daughter of the working class and the working class must take care of its
child. [applause] Good parents are those who sacrifice themselves for their
children. If [words indistinct] it is merely to save the creature, to
defend the creature, to give strength to the creature, [words indistinct]
it is the working class--the vanguard class of society--which possess the
strength to rear the creature and to defend it.

It is the working class which has a reserve of moral power, which has a
reserve of revolutionary power. It is the united working class, the united
working class; the force of the working class stems from unity.

Of course, the force of the (?Chilean) process rests on the unity not only
of the working class--the working class must set the example--but on the
maximum amount of united impact. The working class must fight to gather the
maximum possible force within a political process. This is a policy from
which one cannot (?deviate) [words indistinct]. A process is strengthened
when large numbers support a program, support an objective, support
clear-cut goals. This objective of the working class must be kept well in
sight. To keep the objective well in sight is essential. This objective
governs the strategy to seek the next objective. This controls the rest. To
accomplish its objective, the working class must gather the maximum force
of the other social classes--primarily the peasants, the students, the
intellectuals and the petit bourgeoisie. We believe that the alliance of
classes must be as wide as possible. [words indistinct]

The Vietnamese say so. There is no nation in the world that has fought more
than the Vietnamese. There are no people in the world more heroic than the
Vietnamese. Take a look at the programs of the PRGRSV and you will see a
broad program, because they are well aware of the main objective, they are
well aware of the main enemy: imperialism. There you have it. What a broad
front they have!

To what do we ascribe the phenomenal success of the Vietnam peoples
revolutionary vanguard? To their sound strategy, to their wise ideas, to
their ability to unite the broadest forces against the main enemy. I state
with all responsibility that our concept of the main enemy is imperialism:
in Vietnam and in Cuba, as in any part of Latin America. Both in Vietnam
and Cuba, as well as in any part of Latin America, imperialism is the basic
enemy. You can rest assured that reactionaries, oligarchs, fascists and all
elements of a similar nature have the support of imperialism. [words
indistinct] I can say from the experience of our own country that in
Vietnam, in Cuba and in any part of Latin American the main enemy has been,
is, and will continue to be imperialism. Every revolutionary strategy must
undoubtedly subordiante the tactics to the accomplishment of the basic
objective--the liberation of our Latin American nations from imperialism
domination. [applause]

We consider it very important that the workers of the continent keep these
ideas well in mind--the ideas of the broad front--in their struggle against
the main enemy. They must think of the most outstanding, supreme example of
modern times--the Vietnamese: their strategy, their tactics, their ability
to unite, their ability to subordinate tactics to strategy and to gather
and join all the necessary elements for their main struggle. This is really
what we can say to you in very general terms, since these problems cannot
be discussed in 5 or 10 minutes because they must be thoroughly analyzed
and examined. This is what we can tell you in general terms. [applause]