Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Speech at Nitra School

Prague PRELA in Spanish to PRELA Havana 2256 GMT 25 Jun 72 C--FOR OFFICIAL

[Text] [no dateline] Speech by Maj Fidel Castro, first secretary of the
Cuban Communist Party and prime minister of the Cuban Revolutionary
Government at the Nitra School on 23 June 1972. (Transcript by the
Stenographic Department of the Cuban Revolutionary Government)

We have just concluded a visit through the school. We saw the Aula Magna,
the chemistry laboratory, we saw other classrooms and we saw the workshop.
Shortly after we passed by the radio technical school. While I was waiting
they took me into the dormitory. (laughter) Do not misunderstand me,
(laughter): What I wanted to do was to ask the dean permission to sleep for
an hour.

That is why I am going to give you some advice: If anyone suggests you
should run as party secretary, refuse. Because they will believe you are
made of iron. (laughter)

We have no right to protest, for example a simple reason: because we know
that the entire program, the itinerary, all of the visits stem from the
hospitality, the friendship, from your courtesy. (applause)

Our visit to the school was very short. This is a school where one should
take a whole day visiting it and talking to you, learning something about
you. I have seen the Aula Magna, I have seen the equipment, I have seen the
laboratories, but I do not know what time you get up. (laughter) If the
students answer that they get up at 0500, but at 0500, it has already been
light for 3 hours. (laughter)

I do not know what you think what you do during the day, what kind of
sports you practice. I do not know what you think of life, though I do know
that you do not think of death at all.

You are young and studying now. Your job is to study and your obstacles now
are physics, chemistry, geometry, engineering, agronomy, microbiology and
all the rest of it. That is your problem today.

We have learned how this school was created. It was started in 1946 with
250 students, and 7,000 engineers have graduated from here. We have seen
some Latin American students here. We have also seen several students from
other countries whom we have also greeted during this meeting here.

There is no doubt that this is a magnificent school, a high quality one,
magnificent buildings, magnificent laboratories. I believe your teachers
are good and I believe that you are also good students. If you are not that
is a problem for your conscience. (applause) But I have no reason to
believe that you are not.

I believe that if you think about world problems, not only the Slovak and
Czechoslovak problems, if you think of the problems of the entire world, of
humanity's situation, of the thousands and thousands of human beings who
are still ill-fed and who have to apply science and technology, who in the
following decades will have to make a tremendous effort to feed and dress
humanity, if we think that you already have a pretty well developed
agriculture, but that the African, Asian and Latin American continents,
which are outside Europe, are continents which still do not have those
conditions, countries which are backward and poor as a result of
imperialist and colonialist exploitation--we see that today's youth, you,
have a tremendous challenge to face and a big job ahead.

You can do with your lives what you want. Revolution, socialism, communism
allows you to choose your own life. It depends on you that you do something
worthy with your life, something that a human being can feel proud and
satisfied with.

You have received us with great warmth, with great courtesy. We were
telling you to be good students, good technicians and above all that
tomorrow you all will be socialist technicians, internationalist
technicians. We hope you will fully realize what your country is today.

Your fatherland has a long history of struggles, of sacrifice and of
heroism. The generations which preceded you had to suffer a lot because of
wars, because of oppression.

For over 1500 years the peoples of these countries have been struggling.
Today for the first time in a very long time, you have had the chance to
work, to develop the economy, to study and live in peace. You live in a
community without exploiters or exploited. There are no wealthy sons here,
there are neither rich nor poor here, there are no beggars here. You belong
to a society which has not known the exploitation of man by man, has not
felt the humiliation of a capitalist society, the humiliations of an
imperialist society.

You do not know what fascism is. You have not lived under the fascist
oppression, you did not have to undergo what the clandestine fighters did.
You did not have to undergo what Julios Fucik did.

Your report is not one made at the foot of the gallows, it is a report made
at the threshold of life, secure in the knowledge that before you you have
the chance to work and create.

That is the fruit of the revolution. That is the fruit of the worker and
farmer revolution, the fruit of history.

You have not only received an education, you have not only received
magnificent buildings, works of art, historic works, you have received a
new world. You have received the legacy of a socialist revolution. You have
received a just society. That is the greatest legacy a people has ever been

For the first time in history--a history thousands of years old--man has
been able to learn what socialism is and man has been able to work for

Aside from the jokes, from the good humor, these serious things, these
sincere things, these fraternal things are what we can tell you. Thank you
very much. (applause)