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Havana GRANMA WEEKLY REVIEW in English 14 Jul 74 pp 6-7

[Speech by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, first secretary of the
Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and prime minister of the
Revolutionary Government, at the Pioneers' Camp in Lenin Park, on the
occasion of Children's Day, Havana, 6 July 1974, year of the 15th

[Text] As you know, this event was scheduled for 1700 hours, and we got
here at 1655. However, just as the event was about to get under way, the
rain made its appearance--and right on the dot, too. Anyway, we were able
to begin, and Aldo managed to make his short speech and present the various
detachments; but then it began to rain harder. And I can tell you one
thing: I had not seen such fat drops of rain in a long, long time. They
were this big (gesturing with his hands) and we all got a little wet.

I was talking with Tania just a moment ago. You know who she is, don't you?
(shouts of: "No!") You really don't know? (shouts of: "No!") Tania is the
Pioneer nurse, the one in charge of your infirmary. (shouts of: "Oh!")
There was somebody there who was complaining of a sore throat, and, since
the rain was coming closer and closer, I said to Tania "Tomorrow you're
going to be swamped with cases like this one." (laughter) Tania's got a
remedy which I believe is good for everything. what do you call it, Tania?
(Tania answers: "Swab your throat.") You see? That cures everything.

Where was I.... Oh yes, it began to rain and the event got under way. Then
Aldo gave orders to take cover, and we waited for the rain to let up.

Could we possibly call off the event? (shouts of: "No!") Could we possibly
give up this opportunity to meet with our Pioneers? (shouts of: "No!") Do
you think that we were going to let a couple of raindrops--even though they
were really big ones--spoil our meeting? (shouts of: "No!") Of course not!
Man will never be defeated by rain! Man will never be defeated by nature!
Man will never be defeated by difficulties!

Moreover, you had organized everything so well that we had what is known a
second chance. And that was that if we got a real downpour and the as whole
place got muddy and the whole act was spoiled, all we had to do was to get
in our buses, come over here to this beautiful place and hold our meeting
here. Therefore, nothing could stop us from holding this meeting--and
nothing did.

It would have been really a pity if we had not been able to get together,
Sure, it rained and our plans were somewhat upset, but there was something
that nothing could change, and that was the air of festivity and of
happiness that prevailed, and our happiness on meeting with you this
afternoon. (applause) And the program was fulfilled, as scheduled.

First of all, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the great
honor you have paid me this afternoon by presenting me with this beautiful
star, the 4 April Award. (applause) In the presentation Susana said some
very beautiful words on your behalf, and I was wondering if I really
deserved this award. (shouts of: "Yes!")

She spoke of the revolution, of the new society, of the opportunities that
are opened to the children, of what the revolution has meant for the
children. However, since I believe that the revolution is the product of
the work of everyone, of a whole people, that it is the fruit of the
sacrifice of many men and women, I was thinking that our people fought a
great deal and went through a great deal of sacrifice for more than 100
years. You know this very well, because you have studied the history of
Cuba. (shouts of: "Yes!") Our people went through a great deal of struggle
and sacrifice. Millions of people have sacrificed themselves since the days
of the wars for our independence. Millions of Cubans have suffered and died
ever since Carlos Manuel de Cespedes launched into the struggle for our
country's independence. Some died like heroes on the battlefield; others
were executed in the prisons. Still others, like those students in 1871,
were criminally tried and sentenced to death. And still others were
murdered in the streets. There were those who died as a result of sickness
and hunger. There were hundreds of thousands who died in concentration
camps toward the end of our struggle for independence. And many, many
Cubans all during the heroic history of our country, went through
tremendous sacrifice and gave their lives for the independence of Cuba and
for justice. I was thinking of them and of the fact that the efforts and
the sacrifice they all went through--those who died in the first wars and
those who died defending the revolution--made possible the Cuba of today,
made possible the freedom of today and the happiness of today; and that you
were presenting me with this award as a gesture of recognition of all those
Cubans, and I was accepting it in their name.

It Was Indeed a Deeply Moving Moment for Me

It was indeed a deeply moving moment for me, which inspires me with the
desire, the will and the determination to keep working and struggling,
shoulder to shoulder with our people, to make our country move ahead, to
develop our youth, to help our children grow and get an education, to
insure for the coming generations an ever more beautiful and ever happier
homeland. (applause)

All of us, the comrade leaders of the party and of the mass organizations,
had an opportunity to view the wonderful show you organized. We had the
privilege of hearing beautiful voices as we listened to the choirs and the
singers, and we enjoyed the poems and the music interpreted by the
children. For example, we had the opportunity to hear, once again, the
choir from Santiago de Cuba, and we heard those beautiful voices which
reminded us of the many occasions on which foreign visitors, the leaders
from other counties, visited Cuba and visited Santiago de Cuba. And,
always, at the spot along the highway where the Pioneers had organized
their welcome for the visitors, we found the Santiago children's choir,
which never failed to make a deep impression on our guests.

We have noticed that, in Santiago, a very important part of the welcoming
ceremony is taken care of by the Pioneers and the children. And I can
assure you that our guests were simply amazed by the reception given by our

We also had the opportunity to see that the 10 de Octubre Region here has
its own children's choir too. And Comrade Dominguez, leader of the Young
Communist League, told me that there are plans for organizing a Pioneers'
National Choir. I think that is a great ideal I can just imagine the
National Choir--with all those beautiful, really fantastic voices you have
--and the kind of performance it will give, which will not only bring
happiness to our people but also enhance our cultural events. We urge you
to stick to this idea and carry it through. And we promise that we will
give you all the help you need.

We heard the Artemisa duet, we enjoyed the dance performed by the students,
the songs by the girls and the poems by Vivian. And, believe me when I say
that if you were happy today, we were just as happy as you--and maybe even
happier. Really, nothing could be more pleasant, more moving than meeting,
with our Pioneers and seeing how much progress you have made in
organization, discipline, education, enthusiasm and patriotic
consciousness. And patriotic consciousness is the foundation for
revolutionary consciousness and internationalist consciousness. (applause)

We must think of the future. And you are the future; you are the future of
our country. This is why we must continue giving our greatest attention to
the Pioneers' organization; we must continue developing and improving it.
We must move ahead, and this is a very important organization.

And the Union of Pioneers of Cuba Is Like a Great School in Which You Are
Preparing Yourselves for the Future

As you know, we are all organized. First of all, there is our party; then
there is the youth organization; and then, the other mass organizations.
Our workers are organized in their trade unions; Cuban women are organized
in the Federation of Cuban Women; neighbors are organized in Committees for
the Defense of the Revolution; farmers are organized in the National
Association of Small Farmers; students are organized in the FEEM
(Federation of Students of Intermediate Education) and the FEU (Federation
of University Students); and children are organized in the Pioneers, the
UPC. (applause) And the Union of Pioneers of Cuba is like a great school in
which you are preparing yourselves for the future.

In the future, when you grow up, you will join FEEM, the CTC (Central
Organization of Cuban Trade Unions), the Federation of Women, the CDR's
(Committees for the Defense of the Revolution), the communist youth
organization and someday our glorious Communist Party. (applause)

Your revolutionary life begins in the UPC, and I am sure there is not a
single one of you who does not want to be revolutionary (shouts of: "No!"),
and I am sure there is not a single one of you who does not want to be a
communist in the future (shouts of: "No!"), and I am sure that all of you
have hopes of one day belonging to our Communist Party. (applause and

The revolution is not over. The revolution is on the march. And tomorrow it
will be you who will have to carry our revolution forward. (applause) And I
know that you love the revolution. (shouts of: "Yes!") And the revolution
is the work of past generations, present generations and future
generations. (applause)

Some day it will be you who will work in our factories (applause), teach in
our schools (applause), protect our health in our hospitals (applause), put
up our future buildings (applause), and build new factories and work
centers; (applause) in the future you will be the athletes who will defend
the triumphs of Cuba; (applause) you will be the ones who will guide our
country; (applause) you will be the ones who will carry our society
forward; (applause) you will be the ones who will carry out people toward
communism. (applause)

And, for this, you must prepare yourselves; you have to study, apply
yourselves in your studies, make great efforts and be disciplined.

Somebody once said that children are born to be happy. And that is so:
everybody should be born to be happy. But you are also born to struggle, to
work, to study, to build the future, to carry society forward, to cooperate
with your teachers and to help your parents. You are born to advance toward
the future, to continue man's progress, to keep on developing science and
technology, to continue controlling nature, to make discoveries and come up
with inventions that will help man and to delve into whatever is still

At the dawn of time, man was surrounded by mysteries; he did not even know
what world he was living in, and he knew very little about the world around
him. He did not know what the stars, sun, moon, planets and space were; he
did not know what things were made of; he did not know anything about
biology or plants. He did not know anything. But, even so, man started
unravelling the mysteries, making discoveries, learning--through work,
studies and investigation.

And this is why everybody who is born has the right and the duty to
continue this work.

Unfortunately, We Can't Say Today That All the Children of the World Have
This Opportunity

Unfortunately, we cannot say today that all the children of the world have
this opportunity, these rights, this opportunity to carry out these duties.
The children in those countries in which the revolution has triumphed, the
children of our sister socialist countries, have these opportunities, but
many children--tens of millions of children--do not yet have the chance to
go to school, cannot study, cannot continue struggling for the future of

You know a lot of things about the world. At least, you know it is round,
(shouts of: "Yes!") that it turns on its axis, (shouts of: "Yes!") that it
goes around the sun. (shouts of: "Yes!") I do not know if you know that
there are over 100 organized states, over 100 countries, in the world;
(shouts of: "Yes!".') you do know that some of those countries are
capitalist, (shouts of: "Yes!") and you know that others of those countries
are socialist; (shouts of: "Yes!") you know that many peoples have had to
fight hard for their independence, such as, for example.... (shouts of:
"Chile, Vietnam") Chile and the people of Vietnam, that have had to make so
many sacrifices for their independence.

And justice has not arrived yet in many countries of this world, but,
sooner or later, justice will come to all the countries.

This is another reason why we should make great efforts and study and why
our children should apply themselves, not only to help ourselves, but also
to help the children of other countries, to help other peoples.

For example, when the earthquake hit Peru, it was necessary to send blood
to the Peruvians, to send them medicines and to send workers to build
hospitals. While Yankee bombs were falling on Vietnam, Cuban doctors were
there, helping to save lives. And our doctors, engineers, workers and
teachers are helping out in other countries, too. There are around 500
Cuban workers in Vietnam now helping the Vietnamese to rebuild their
country, to build hospitals, roads and dairies and to repair the damage the
imperialists did there with their bombs and cannon and their planes. But,
to do this, you must have knowledge, you must be prepared. And we hope
that, in the future, our people will have a very high culture, very great
scientific and technical knowledge, and not only all the teachers we need
but also enough teachers to send to help other peoples; and all the doctors
and engineers and other professionals we need plus enough to meet the needs
of other peoples, too. (applause)

This Is a Privilege That Means, for Example, That All Children Can Go To

Our country enjoys the privilege of being a free nation, a sovereign
nation, a nation that is developing closer relations with other peoples
and, above all, with the peoples of countries such as the Soviet Union and
other countries that are free and are our friends and brothers.

This is a privilege that means, for example, that all children can go to

It was not that way before. Unfortunately, more than half of our children
did not attend school before; they did not have any teacher or any school,
The vast majority of the children who began in first grade never reached
sixth grade; they dropped out in second or third grade. Many children could
not attend junior or senior high school before. Only a small number of
young people could attend the university, and only if their parents had

Before, life in our country was very painful. Few children had toys; the
vast majority had no toys. Few children had shoes; the vast majority had no
shoes and went barefoot. Few children had clothes; the vast majority had no
clothes and had to wear any old thing. Few children had enough to eat; the
vast majority were ill-fed or went hungry. Few children could get treatment
at a hospital, and the vast majority, when they became ill, had access to
neither a doctor nor hospital facilities. Few children had any money, and
the vast majority were poor.

The revolution was made to do away with just such injustices. So that all
children could go to school, have teachers and books; so that all children
could have shoes and clothing; so that all children could have access to
doctors and medicine when they got ill; so that all children could grow up
healthy; so that all children could have toys. So that all children could
have the same opportunities. So that there would be no more bosses and
slaves, no more rich and poor, exploiters and exploited. So that all
children would have the opportunity to go to junior and senior high school,
and on to the university; so that all parents might have work. So that each
human being might live in dignity.

That is why the revolution was made, and that is why we must continue the
work of the revolution. So that our country will increasingly prosper. So
that there will be more schools, more hospitals, more books, more housing,
more factories, more roads, more transportation, better health, better
education, a higher cultural level.

When the revolution triumphed, more than a million people in our country
did not know how to read or write. And one who can neither read nor write
knows practically nothing. Now, the future is very different. In the future
there will be no talk of illiteracy, because everyone not only knows how to
read and write, but receives a careful education.

When you are grown you will live in a much more cultured, better educated
society than that of today. (applause) You will have fewer difficulties
than today's society. And you must prepare yourselves for that; we must all
struggle for that future. That is the most important thing, and that is
one of the most important objectives of the Pioneers. We are all going to
continue working for the Pioneers, and continue struggling for the

As you know, many schools are going up throughout our country; many
vocational schools; junior high schools in the countryside; senior high
schools. Few countries in the world devote so much of their resources to
the children and young people as does Cuba, and few countries build so many
schools. And we know that even these are not enough.

Many secondary and middle-level schools are now being built. But in the
future we are going to have to build many more primary schools, many more
day-care centers, because we still do not have enough primary schools--or
in many places the schools are not large enough, or are old. And the day
must come when we have all the schools we need and when our students have
all the facilities needed for their studies. The day must come when we have
all the day-care centers we need for working mothers who have small

We Must Also Build Pioneers' Palaces

And we need other things as well. We need, for example, Pioneers' Palaces.
We must build Pioneers' Palaces. Today, in Santiago, we are opening a
beautiful Pioneers' Palace, and in Camaguey they are working on one. But
there are other cities in which there is no Pioneers' Palace. And right
here in Lenin Park we are going to begin work on the Pioneers' Palace of
Havana, next year. (applause) And next year we will begin work on the
Pioneers' Palace of Matanzas. (applause) We have to study the situation in
the cities of Santa Clara, Camaguey, Holguin and Pinar del Rio, in every
province, (applause) and select the sites where Pioneers' Palaces will go
up, and start on these projects. And we must ask the engineers and
architects to draw up plans for these Pioneers' Palaces and have them ready
by the time we are ready to begin work on them wherever we do not have any
Pioneers' Palace.

Do any of you know how to draw up the plans for a Pioneers' Palace? (shouts
of: "No!") Can any of you promise to make a Pioneers' Palace? (shouts of:
"No!" and "Yes!") A plan, not the project. None of you know how to make a
plan for a Pioneers' Palace? But why don't you know? (shouts of: "Because
we're not trained for that.") You have not studied it. And what do you need
to draw up a plan for a Pioneers' Palace? (shouts of: "To study!") What do
you have to be? (shouts of: "An architect!")

You have to be an architect, right? And you have to be an engineer. And if
there are no architects or engineers, there will be no one to draw up the
plans for a Pioneers' Palace. And that's it. In order to do things one must
study. And I hope that in the future many of you will become architects,
engineers, doctors, teachers and skilled workers for our factories. Because
skilled workers for our factories are very important. If we do not have
skilled workers there will be no one to handle the cranes used in building
a Pioneers' Palace. If there are no skilled workers, there will be no steel
to build the Pioneers' Palace. If there are no skilled workers, there will
be no cement with which to build the Pioneers' Palace. Because, how do we
build a palace? (shouts of: "With cement!") And what else? (shouts of:
"With reinforcing rods!") And what else? (shouts of: "Cinder blocks!") And
what do we light up the Pioneers' Palace with? With electricity, right?
(shouts of: "Yes!") And who produces the cement? (shouts of: "The
workers!") And who produces the electricity? (shouts of: "The workers!")
The workers. And who makes the steel for the Pioneers' Palace? (shouts of:
"The workers!") And who makes the paint? (shouts of: "The workers!") And
who makes the furniture? (shouts of: "The workers!") And who makes the
laboratories? (shouts of: "The workers!") And who produces the food for
your snacks at the Pioneers' Palace? (shouts of: "The workers!") And.who
makes the buses that take you to the Pioneers' Palaces? (shouts of: "The
workers!") And who drive the buses? (shouts of: "The workers!") Of course.
The worker is essential, indispensable, because lie produces the wealth.

And who makes the toys? (shouts of: "The workers!") And who teaches the
Pioneers? (shouts of: "The teachers!") And who looks after the health of
the Pioneers? (shouts of: "The doctors!") The doctor-workers, the
teacher-workers, the physical education-workers. And who teaches the
Pioneers to sing? (shouts of: "The teacher!") The cultural workers, the
workers of culture, like the woman who leads the choir of Oriente--her life
is devoted to working with this choir. (applause) Or like the comrade who
leads the 10th of October Regional Choir, (applause) or the comrades who
teach other artistic groups. (applause) I mean that everything comes from
work, from both manual and intellectual work. And that is why the Pioneers
must learn to work with their hands and their heads. (applause)

There Is an Interesting Activity Taking Place All Over the Country

There is an interesting activity taking place all over the country: the
school vegetable gardens which are cared for by the children, so the
children are also workers who produce food; (applause) or, like the
children of Alamar, who produce medicines, toys and other things; or the
young people of the junior high schools that work on the agricultural
development projects. (applause)

Those are the things that we want you to understand, we want you to be well
aware of all these things: how you love the revolution, realizing the need
to prepare yourselves to carry it forward; how you love the homeland,
realizing the need to prepare yourselves to carry it forward; and how you
love the future, realizing the need to work and struggle for that future.

A comrade who was the master of ceremonies here said that we could trust
the Pioneers, that the Pioneers would hold high the banners of the
revolution, (applause) that the Pioneers would be able to continue building
the future of the country. (applause) I want to tell you that we trust our
Pioneers and we are sure you will be able to build the future of the
country (applause) and that you will be exemplary in everything! (applause)

There is only one thing left before I conclude, a problem I want to discuss
with you. Let us see if we can come up with a solution. I think it is a
problem that can be solved. It is true that classes are over and this is
not an examination period, but do you think you can help us solve it?
(shouts of: "Yes!")

Let me tell you what it is all about: previously, Children's Day was on 6
January, do you remember? (Pretty soon we will have forgotten all about
those old traditions.) But that was not vacation period, and children were
still in school. It was not the best period of the year for Children's Day,
for toys and fun.

Then the revolution decided: "Let's change the date, let's make it in July.
But what day in July?" We decided: "Well, since it was on the 6th, let's
make it the 6th of July." But do you know what we have discovered? That we
had decided on the wrong date. What do you think of that? Of course, you
will want to know why we say this. I will tell you why. I am going to
explain so that you will understand. We decided on the 6th because of a
tradition; it could have been the 15th, the 16th or the 20th, but since it
was similar to the other date.... But what happens? We did not take a
number of things into account: school begins the first Monday of September
and ends the first days of July; it depends, sometimes the 5th, the 4th or
the 6th, it depends on the day of the week. And the distribution of toys
begins many days previously, as you all know. And, as you all know, many
children immediately seize upon their toys while classes and examinations
are still going on. Just imagine: when they must study hardest, when they
must pay the most attention and concentrate on their exams--because all of
you know what happens if you do not concentrate on exams...! (shouts) You
will flunk! Do you know what a terrible thing it is to flunk? What a
terrible thing it is not to pass? Of course, you know how things are: you
have to be thinking about the exams during those days, but if a toy is
placed by your side you forget all about the exam...! (laughter) Your poor
teachers spend the whole year teaching and working, and they are very
hopeful when they go to look at the grades of their students on the final
day, and then it turns out that many did not study. Also, there are many
parents who do not do the right thing; they give the child the toy as soon
as he asks for it. Besides, the child knows that the toys are being sold
and that the day for getting toys is drawing near-- all those things. We
must find a solution for all this.

Now there is another thing, another problem--there are quite a few
problems. The 6th comes around--and today we were lucky because it was on a
Saturday-- (shouts) but the 6th could have been a Monday, Tuesday,
Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, and the parents would be in the factories,
schools or hospitals, they would be working. Do you know how difficult, how
bitter a moment it is for the parents when they are unable to be with their
children, unable to be at home on Children's Day? You know that one of the
things which makes parents the happiest is being able to spend the day with
their children, and there will be many parents who will be unable to share
in the joy of their children w,hen the 6th falls on a Wednesday. Why? Ah!
Because we set it for a fixed date. You know about Mother's Day don't you?
(shouts of: "Yes!") Don't ever forget that there is a Mother's Day! (shouts
of: "No!") What do you do on Mother's Day? (shouts) You go home and are
especially affectionate with your mothers, as is the case on Father's Day.
(shouts of: "Yes!") But what day does Mother's Day fall on? (shouts of: On
Sunday!") Ah! On a Sunday. You are not in school! Would you like Mother's
Day to be on a Wednesday? (shouts of: "No!") Because then you could not be
with your mother, because it was Wednesday and she would be working. There
are many mothers who are teachers, nurses, factory workers, etc. and they
would be happy to be with their children if Children's Day falls on a
Sunday. But everyone will be very unhappy if it is not on a Sunday.

Wouldn't It Be Better If We Choose Another Day?

Now then, we have two problems: first, your exams which are scheduled for
the first days of July; and secondly, the fact that Children's Day usually
falls on a weekday and not on a Sunday.

Wouldn't it be better if we choose another day? (shouts of: "Yes!") But
which one? (the children reply in chorus: "The 26th of July!")

Well, I am very pleased that you suggest the 26th of July, but huge
mobilizations and mass rallies take place on that day, and so it is not a
good day. We should choose a day close to the 26th of July, but we have to
find a formula. Let's see.... (shouts of: "On the 25th!") Good, but if the
25th falls on a weekday, we are done for.

Let's find a solution. It must fall on a Sunday, do you think? (shouts of:
"On the second Sunday!")

Ah! Some of you are making a very intelligent suggestion: choosing the
second Sunday of the month. (shouts of: "Yes!") But I think you have to
consider something else, because there is always a problem involved. If the
first Sunday falls on 1 July, the second Sunday falls on 8 July, and if
school is over on the 6th, then we are faced with the same situation we now
have. (shouts of: "On the third!") Which is the best solution? (shouts of:
"On the third!")

What are you saying over there? Sounds very intelligent. (shouts of: "On
the third!")

The third Sunday? (shouts of: "Yes!")

Let's see. If 1 July falls on a Sunday, then 8 July is also a Sunday, and
the third Sunday of the month would be 15 July. Great! Otherwise, let's say
that the first Sunday is 7 July, then the second one falls on 14 July, and
what about the third Sunday? (shouts of: "On the 21st!") Then there is no
problem. That is really a good solution! (applause) Didn't I tell you that
you were all very intelligent?

Your proposition then is to celebrate Children's Day on the third Sunday of
July, right in the middle of your vacation. Children will be with their
parents. (shouts of: "Yes!") Exams will be over by then. (shouts of:
"Yes!") You will be in the middle of your vacation. (shouts of: "Yes!")
That is really a good solution! If we had discussed this problem with you
before, we would have found the best solution. (applause) That's a fact!

Since those of you here represent all Cuban Pioneers, and you all agree, we
will ask the party and the Revolutionary Government to be courageous and
make this change, right? (shouts of: "Yes!") Because we must be courageous
in order to make changes, right? (shouts of: "Yes!") There is no reason why
we must continue doing things wrong when we have to rectify and change
them! (shouts of: "Yes!")

I am sure that all parents are going to be very happy. This is going to be
good news for them. And all the teachers are going to be happy too.
Everybody is going to be happy!

So, as a present to all teachers and parents, the Pioneers propose that
Children's Day--just like Mother's or Father's Day--instead of being
celebrated on a definite date, be celebrated on the third Sunday of the
month of July. (shouts and applause)

Those who agree, raise your hand. (the children raise their hands) Right!
By unanimity, we are going to propose to the party and the Revolutionary
Government to change Children's Day from 6 July to the third Sunday of
July. (shouts and applause) Children's Day will be close to the 26th of
July in this way. Everybody will be happy and ready to celebrate.

I am really most thankful and happy that you have found the best solution
to this problem. (applause)

Well then, we will most likely meet again on the third Sunday of July of
next year. (shouts) Thank you very much.

Patria o Muerte!

Venceremoa! (shouts of: "Venceremos!") (ovation)