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Gives Closing Speech

Havana GRANMA WEEKLY REVIEW in English 22 Sep 74 p 2

[Article by Juan Carlos Santos and Reynold Rassi]

[Text] Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, prime minister of the Revolutionary
Government and first secretary of the Central Committee of the party, gave
the closing speech at the Third National Conference of the Youth
Technological Brigades (BTJ), held in the Lazaro Pena Theater of the
Central Organization of Cuban Trade Unions (CTC) on 13 September.

On the platform with Fidel were Sergio del Valle, member of the Political
Bureau; Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, Blas Roca, Isidoro Malmierca, Raul Garcia
Pelaez and Jorge Risquet, all members of the Secretariat of the party;
Belarmino Castilla, deputy prime minister in charge of education, science
and culture; Jesus Montane, Osmany Cienfuegos, Jose R. Machado Ventura,
Jose A. Naranjo y Secundino Guerra, all members of the Central Committee of
the party; Jose R. Fernandez, minister of education; Luis Orlando
Dominguez, first secretary of the National Committee of the Young Communist
League (UJC); Dr Zoilo Marinello, president of the Academy of Sciences; and
other ministers, heads of state agencies and leaders of the UJC and mass

Fidel's words: "The social revolution was made to open the way for another
revolution: the technological revolution," and the insignia of the UJC and
the conference of the BTJ were on prominent display behind the speakers'

The names of those comprising the Organizing Committee of the National
Council of Youth Technological Brigades were made known to the conference.
Head of the committee is Julio Cesar Castro Palomino, graduate in chemistry
and member of the Secretariat of the UJC. The other members are: Aurelio
Tulio Hernandez, graduate in physical sciences; Clara Toledo, graduate in
cattle farming; Agustin Lage and Eduardo Bencomo, both doctors in medicine;
Melchor Gil, electrical engineer; Mercedes Labrada, dental technician; and
Sergio Garela, graduate in physical sciences.

Julio Cesar Castro Palomino, as heard of the organizing committee, read the
final declaration of the third conference. This expressed that the main
task of the young generation of technicians and professional
workers-trained during the time of the revolution--is to fight, in a truly
communist way, against economic underdevelopment and backward technology
and to lay the foundations for carrying forward the scientific and
technological revolution in every sector of the national economy.

At the close of the ceremony, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro personally
presented the young delegates with a copy of the book "Education in
Revolution." The delegates were greatly moved to receive such a gift from
the hands of Fidel.

Text of Speech

Havana GRANMA WEEKLY REVIEW in English 22 Sep 74 pp 2,3

[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 closing of the Third National Conference
of Youth Technological Brigades, held in the Lazaro Pena Theater of the
Central Organization of Cuban Trade Unions on 13 September 1974, year of
the 15th anniversary]

(Translation of the transcript made by the Department of Stenographic
Transcripts of the Revolutionary Government)

[Text] Comrades of the leadership of the party and of the government;
comrades of the leadership of the Young Communist League; comrades of the
Organizing Commission of the Councils of the Youth Technological Brigades;
comrade representatives of the Youth Technological Brigades; comrade
members of the Youth Technological Brigades present at this event:

Today marks the closing of a very important event of our youth movement
which is working toward the future development of our country. It is easy
to understand, therefore, the importance of the conference and the movement
for our country.

When we look over the past, we find that great changes have taken place in
the production of our material wealth and in the services that the people
require. There is not a single branch of the economy or services in which
important technological changes have not taken place.

If we make a comparative analysis of, say, our agriculture, if we compare
the conditions under which agricultural activities were carried out in the
past and the conditions that exist today, we can see a vast difference. And
this includes every branch of agriculture.

For example, in the past, no fertilizers or herbicides were used in the
cultivation of sugarcane. There was not the slightest concern either over
experimenting with new strains of sugarcane or doing anything about the
problems caused by drought. Neither was there any concern--nor could there
be--for mechanizing the cultivation and harvesting of sugarcane. There were
practically no markets for our sugar and the methods of cultivation were
the same that had been used for over a century. The few strains that
existed at the time of the triumph of the revolution--the famous POJ 2878,
for example--are now hardly used at all and no new planting is undertaken
with the old-type cane.

The harvesting of cane alone has called for great efforts in the field of
technology. Mechanical loaders were the first machines to be introduced;
next came the cane-conditioning centers; and then, after much hard work,
the combine-harvesters. The first primitive combine-harvesters were built
by us; then some were imported, from Australia, for instance--but, finally,
it is the harvesters designed in the Soviet Union which are the ones to be
used en masse in the future. A plant is now being built in our country that
will be able to turn out 600 of these harvesters each year. This forms part
of the effort that is being made to mechanize 80 percent of sugarcane
harvesting by 1980. This, in turn, means that the number of canecutters
traditionally used in the sugar harvest--a total of 370,000--can be cut to
less than 50,000. Mechanization called for conditioning the fields, for
establishing fields ideal for the use of harvesters; special measures, such
as the removal of rocks and stumps and the coordination of work on drainage
and irrigation of these fields. And this enormous step of introducing
modern technology in the cultivation of sugarcane also requires the
building of special repair shops for the harvesters throughout the country,
with all the necessary skilled personnel, as well as harvester operators.

In the past one could not even dream of mechanizing sugarcane harvesting,
stripping and loading. This would have clashed with the basic interests of
our workers for the simple reason that they would have been deprived of
their only means of making a living for many months of the year.

If we look at cattle raising in the past, we will recall that it was
strictly extensive farming. There was no such thing as rotation pasturing
or the use of fertilizers in pasture lands or tick prevention. There were
no veterinary requirements--so essential to our present-day cattle
raising--since cattle farming was very primitive and had little capacity
for beef and milk production. Over the last few years, cattle farming has
been transformed, is much more productive and, needless to say, calls for
much greater care and attention. In the past, cattle-breeding projects such
as the ones the revolution has been developing over these years were
practically nonexistent. There was no such thing as mechanization in any of
the cattle-raising activities and milking was done by hand. Electrification
of the dairies, which makes for a high-quality, healthy product, did not
exist. None of the technological advances that our cattle breeding calls
for existed in the past.

In the field of rice production we also have to tackle the great
technological problems involved in extensive rice cultivation if we are to
produce all the rice we need for a population that is coming close to the
10-million mark. In the past, the rice harvesting was done by hand. Today,
we cannot imagine the harvesting of rice without machines. Today, we cannot
imagine the cultivation of rice without the use of herbicides and
pesticides, without irrigation, without large-scale waterworks and drainage
systems. And all these things call for a great effort on the part of

Traditional Methods Are Being Left Behind

In the past, there was no such thing as reforestation or research in
relation to forestry. Neither was there such a thing as diversified
agriculture projects, such as the citrus plan, which will cover a land area
of some 700,000 acres. And this calls for a study of the best varieties,
the best techniques, the most suitable irrigation systems and the best
methods of protection against disease and climatic conditions.

Today, we cannot imagine agriculture without technology, without modern
methods of cultivation, without chemistry and measures for animal and plant
protection. That is, our agriculture demands a considerable effort in the
field of technology.

The same thing can be said about construction. Traditional methods are
being left behind. In the past, even the highways were built by hand. Plans
for the construction of irrigation systems and dams were nonexistent and
all construction work was carried out according to traditional methods.
Today, practically no construction is carried out according to traditional
methods. All construction work is either totally or very near totally
mechanized and this calls for thousands of machines, new projects, new
plans and designs and for the solution of innumerable technological

If we analyze another branch of our economy--fishing, for example--we will
see that in the past, it consisted solely of fishing on the island shelf
carried out in small boats. There is no comparison between that and our
great fishing fleets--the ones we leave now and the ones under
construction--which go out fishing thousands of miles away from our country
and whose boats have the most up-to-date equipment, which, in turn, must be
operated by high-level technicians.

Our merchant marine--which did not even exist in the past--has dozens upon
dozens of big vessels, whose machinery and equipment must be operated by

Our public health service, so vastly developed, could not be carried out
without the aid of countless modern equipment that help the doctors in
their work, that let them know, down to the last detail, the patient's
pulse, heartheat, blood pressure, and the many physical and chemical
reactions of the human body. Without such equipment the doctors would be
unable to make a diagnosis, would be unable to adopt the necessary measures
to fight an illness. The eradication of many illnesses, the low infant
mortality rate, the present life-expectancy--much higher than that before
the revolution--all these things would have been undreamed-of without
modern technology.

As was pointed out on the opening day of the conference, our own
modern-weapons system could not even be contemplated without the skilled
personnel for the handling and care of such equipment.

Our sugar industry--which, at the time of the triumph of the revolution,
was years behind in technology--is being gradually modernized, and this
process of modernization will continue. All processes will be mechanized
and eventually even automated.

Our electric power industry now calls for much bigger installations. In the
past, all our generators had an output of 25,000 kw, but every generator
that is built here now has an output of at least 100,000 kw. Our electric
power systems are being interlinked. And the time is drawing near when we
will be using nuclear power to generate electricity.

The machine industry, which did not exist before the revolution, began to
develop with the revolution and calls for countless technicians and a great
deal of technological know-how.

The chemical industry--also nonexistent before the revolution--is being
developed. We already have a number of modern fertilizer plants, whose
operation requires a high level of technological knowledge. The many young
technicians in the Cienfuegos fertilizer plant are making a tremendous
effort to get the plant working at top capacity. And the fertilizer plant
in Nuevitas will be going into operation next year.

Every bit of experience gained in the operation of the first nitrogen plant
will contribute to the successful operation of the new plant under
construction and to the operation of plants which we will have to build
over the next 5 years.

New plants are being built for our food industry and our light industry is
also being developed.

In the textile industry, any machine with 15 years of service can be
considered as a relic.

Not only in the field of production but also in such public services as
education, there have been vast changes in concepts and methods. Education
is one of the activities of our society that is always undergoing
revolutionary changes and one which especially requires the aid of

Sports should also be included in the list, for the successes scored by the
revolution in the field of sports would have been impossible without the
aid of technology.

As you all know well, the First World Amateur Boxing Championship was held
in Cuba recently. Every visitor had words of praise for the organization of
the event, for the behavior and spirit of sportsmanship of the Cuban
people, and for the Cuban boxers' courage and enthusiasm. But, most of all,
they praised the technique of our boxers--without which they could not have
won five first places out of 11 of the World Championship, in competition
with dozens of other countries. Therefore, technique and technology are
always present, as they should be, in every victory scored by the

The Great Efforts Made in the Field of Education Are Beginning to Bear

In the beginning, however, it was not easy to develop an awareness of the
importance of science and technology for our country.

We mentioned what had been done in most recent years. But how can we even
conceive of the future unless all matters related to science and technology
are given special attention? Moreover, the efforts made in the field of
education are beginning to bear fruit. This year alone, a total of 168,000
students will graduate from the 6th grade--that is more than twice the
total for 1970 and 1971 and four times the total number that graduated over
4 years in the early days of the revolution.

Junior high schools, polytechnical schools and technological institutes are
being built throughout the country. And, as a result of the development of
study programs and, above all, as a result of the increase in the number of
workers and middle-level technicians who are now attending advanced
courses, there is no longer room in our universities to hold the vast
number of students that now are going on to higher education.

The training of technicians has turned out to be a mass movement for our
society. That is the only way to meet the needs of the future, and this
shows that our society will be more and more a society of technicians and
men of science. Our people will never cease in their efforts until every
young person born in this country is given at least a high-school education
or becomes a middle-level technician. And if the revolution in education
continues its course, the day will come when every young person in Cuba
will have some specialized knowledge.

We must prepare the conditions in order to cope with that great mass of
students and to continue their education to the highest levels. Hence, the
importance of the youth technological brigades. They were important before,
they are important now and they will be even more important in the future.

This beautiful youth movement has had its ups and downs. It was founded in
1964. And, as the comrades of the Young Communist League explained, the
movement ran into difficulty at certain times. But the main thing is that
the movement was founded and its magazine YOUTH AND TECHNOLOGY was
published. And, as they explained at their sixth meeting and the Second
Congress of the UJC, they adopted the necessary measures to give the
movement added momentum and greater vigor.

As a result, even though no new member has joined the youth brigades in
more than a year, the movement has 42,500 members, including technicians
and collaborators, and the magazine, which consisted of only 32 pages and
had a circulation of 5,000 in 1965, now has 98 pages and a circulation of

The existence of more than 3,000 youth technological brigades
constitutes--regardless of their initial setbacks--an important step
forward. But we believe that, right after this, its Third National
Conference, the movement will gain great impetus.

We were informed of the development of the conference, of the themes
discussed and of the work of the commissions and of the resolutions
adopted. Tonight, we heard the final resolution, and our impression is that
this was an event that was very well organized all the way from the
grass-roots level to the top, was carried out very efficiently and came to
excellent conclusions.

As a result of the efforts put into this conference and the works of
Commission No 1, you now have a set of regulations that are simple, clear
and to the point and that will be of crucial importance in the future
development of the movement of youth technological brigades.

It was also resolved that the technological brigade councils be
established, and the members of the Organizing Committee of the National
Council were introduced here this evening.

Commission No 2 made a study of everything in relation to the further
education--general as well as technological and professional--of the
brigades' members, both individually and collectively. It also adopted a
series of important guidelines and proposed, in the final resolution put
before the assembly, the holding of youth competitions in the field of
science and technology.

Commission No 3 discussed all that concerning the creative spirit of
technoligical brigades; ways for giving added impetus to research,
innovations and inventions and presented a final resolution proposing the
periodic holding of exhibitions on the brigades' accomplishments in those

Commission No 4 studied all matters related to information. It dealt at
length with the various activities to be carried out in this field
including information programs; pointed out the need for improving the
quality and content of the magazine; and proposed the development of
emulation among the various brigades and the creation of a pin that will
serve as a source of individual and collective encouragement: the "Builders
of the Future" pin.

But, in addition to the regulations, the final reports and the special
resolutions, attention was also given to such other matters as improved
administrative efficiency in work centers; better use of technicians and
technological assistance given to our country, by making it the movement's
task to see that a Cuban technician works side by side with every foreign

The advisability of aiding and sponsoring science and technology clubs in
primary schools and junior high schools was also discussed.

We must say that the discussions, the analyses and the conclusions were
very thorough, carried out extremely efficiently and, in our opinion, are
an excellent foundation on which to give the movement added momentum.

We firmly believe that all the work of the conference--which includes the
works of the various commissions, the final reports, the resolutions and
the final declaration--should be given the widest publicity, because they
contain the guidelines and orientations for all our young technicians and

The Magazine YOUTH AND TECHNOLOGY Can Be Useful to a Wider Range of People

Because, just as important as the already useful role which this movement
can play is the question of publicity and the boost which it can give to
the general awareness of science and technology in our society, especially
among our workers.

We are sure the magazine will continue to develop and improve.

We have looked through some issues of the magazine and we came to the
conclusion that it would be useful for the members of the brigade as well
as for the political cadres of the Young Communist League and the party,
because the work they do is very much concerned with the economy and

When we arrived at this building tonight and started talking to Comrade
Landy and Comrade Castro Palomino, the latter was complaining that he had
graduated from the university, and I think it was to Comrade Landy that he
said that he was forgetting his chemistry. I said: this can be solved with
the YOUTH AND TECHNOLOGY magazine. And I added: don't feel bad, because all
of us who in the past got some degree or acquired knowledge of some kind
and now compare the texts, the study material and the content of the
courses of young people today with what we studied feel ashamed and very
envious. Because any textbook in elementary, intermediate or higher
education today is far superior to the texts we had and, unfortunately, we
don't have much time to become well acquainted with the interesting
problems of science and technology.

But, since all of this will continue to undergo a revolution and science
and technology will continue to make constant and continuous progress,
everybody will go through what we are going through now: at a given moment
they will feel the need to refresh and bring their knowledge up to date.

Modern man in the world today--and especially in a society that has been
liberated from exploitation and the internal contradictions between
exploiters and exploited, a society which places science and technology and
the economy at the service of the people--will be faced with the pressing
need for constant study. Some may like to study more than others, but
modern man in our society will have to study, from the nursery to the

This will be an obligation for all of us, with no exceptions.

Your magazine can be useful for even more people than just the members of
the technological youth brigades: it can be useful to all our young people
and to the party. I want to announce my decision to open a subscription.

It would be a good idea to study the possibility of including members of
the technological youth brigades among teaching staffs because education is
constantly expanding. Thousands of young people are being trained to be
technicians in education. Why not carry the technological youth brigades
into this field? Why not include them as teachers and pedagogues? Why not
publish articles concerning these matters in the magazine, such that it is
wider in scope, more worthwhile?

We should also study the possibility of including sports technicians in the
movement of the technological youth brigades. If we are building
technological institutes for physical education and sports in every
province, and this is considered a very important activity, and if our
country is asked to provide technological aid in the field of sports--one
of our trainers came to Cuba with the Peruvian boxing team, and other Cuban
trainers are going to other countries--why not include them in the movement
of the technological youth brigades? Why not include all the young people
who work in the field of science and technology in any activity of the
revolution and make the movement much broader?

The country is already at work on the preparation of the 1976-1980
Five-Year Plan. It will lead to dynamic growth in industry, agriculture,
construction and in the general services of the nation.

The scientific-technological movement must help solve the tremendous
problems which we face in the field of economic and social development and
we must promote this movement. For 1980 our goal should be to double the
ranks of the technological youth brigades, with no loss of quality or
efficiency; by 1980, there should be at least 80,000 members in the
movement, counting both brigade members and helpers.

The time will come when it can be much more far-reaching, but this movement
must grow hand in hand with the economic and social development of the
country as a whole. The time will come when tens of thousands of students
graduate from our schools every year at the intermediate level; the time
will come when we have hundreds of thousands of students in our
institutions of higher learning such that this movement will be
increasingly important.

It Is Impossible To Conceive of the Future of the Country Without Science
and Technology

It is impossible to conceive of the future of the country without science
and technology; the country cannot develop without science and technology.
Communist society is absolutely impossible without science and technology.

When we speak of builders of the future, it means builders of communism. In
one of your resolutions you aptly noted that communist society was not just
the end result of the development of tile productive forces but also of the
development of man's consciousness. Science, technology and the
consciousness of man are inevitably the pillars of communist society.

It is true that our country has hardly started out along the long road but
these years have not passed in vain. Our party and the Young Communist
League are satisfied to know that a whole new generation of scientists and
technicians has been trained during the revolutionary period; it is of
great satisfaction to us to see that there are already 40,000 members in
this movement and this gives us great hope for the future of our country.

We feel that, regardless of the initial problems, the comrades of the Young
Communist League deserve our congratulations for their awareness of the
need to promote their scientific-technological movement.

If we continue along this path, to work like this, the future will be ours;
if young people like these develop in our country, the future achievements
of our people are guaranteed. These are the possibilities and the realities
which our revolutionaries always dreamed of; this is what the founders of
our country--ranging from Carlos Manual de Cespedes and Jose Marti to Abel
Santamaria--dreamed of.

In order that a youth such as ours be formed in the way it is being formed
the men of our country--from those who rose in arms at La Demajagua to
those who initiated the new phase in our history with the attack on the
Moncada Garrison--have fought. Thoughtful, enthusiastic, patriotic and
internationalist young people with a great sense of responsibility, young
people like these, who, as you indicated in your final declaration, can not
only meet many of the country's needs but also, on a modest basis, send the
first technicians to other parts of the world--such as the doctors or the
agricultural technicians, or the construction workers who are giving their
services in solidarity with the nations of Asia and Africa. Wherever they
work they earn recognition and respect for their modesty, hard work and
communist spirit.

The development of a scientific and technical awareness in our country has
a bearing on our most important natural resource which is--as we have
previously stated--man himself. Our country is not rich in other natural
resources. Our country is poor in energy, for example. It is short of oil,
coal, forests and water power. It is poor in easily exploitable natural
resources which can be developed without trouble and which provide great

Our country's most valuable treasure is its people. Its most important
resources are the intelligence, drive and health of the people.

Our revolution must strive to develop that intelligence to the highest
possible degree. That is why our country spends more money on education
than probably any other country in the world. Cuba has had the privilege of
making the first socialist revolution in this hemisphere, the privilege of
being the first free territory of the Americas. What is the situation
facing the other nations of Latin America as compared to these
possibilities and realities? Some have just started on the road to
liberation and others are still far away.

The revolution has opened up tremendous possibilities for our people, for
our children and young people. In what other Latin American country do the
representatives of many thousands of young technicians meet to discuss the
problems of their further development, self-improvement and their
contribution to the development of the country?

And That Is the Society Which We Must Create: A Society of Workers and

This hemisphere will be needing scientists and technicians. Since nature
did not provide us with other resources we must take advantage of the
revolution to make use of this extraordinary resource--the intelligence of
our people--and develop that intelligence to the highest possible degree.

We must train many thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of
technicians, because our country, Latin America and the rest of the world
need them!

From the moment that our revolution put into practice combined study and
work as a revolutionary method of education, we need have no fear of
studying, because we will not be forming ivory tower intellectuals; we will
be training workers who will be supplied with the weapons of the intellect
and technology. Have no fear of studying, because we will not be turning
out men and women who are useless to production, we will be turning out men
and women who can handle a tool and a book; men and women who work with
their hands and with their minds.

And that is the society which we must create: a society of workers and
technicians; of worker technicians and technician workers!

Mankind faces great challenges in all these fields. It is growing rapidly
and great concern has been expressed over the fact that some of its natural
resources are being exhausted. Mankind must master technology and not just
technology but also the problems that technology may create, such as that
of environment pollution.

And only those societies who are really prepared will be able to confront
this challenge of the future. We must see to it that our people are really
prepared to face up to this challenge!

This is what we are seeking in the educational and scientific-technical

You, comrades of the technological youth brigades, must be the standard
bearers of that movement!

In your final declaration you aptly noted that, faced with the social
revolution which had been started by others, you had to make your
contribution by fulfilling your responsibilities to the technological
revolution in the development and the future of the country. In the past,
the main role was played by war heroes but the heroes of technology will be
the key to the future. I say heroes because there will be heroes and not
just an individual hero, because isolated individuals cannot become
scientific heroes. The difficult and complex nature of the material
involved will increasingly require a collective effort, the effort of all;
the understanding and support of all.

The future will be built by the heroes of science!

We congratulate you on behalf of the party and the government and urge you
to continue in your advances.

Long live the technological youth brigades! Long live the Young Communist
League! Long live our glorious Communist Party! Patria o Muerte!