Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services in Spanish 2305 GMT 5 Dec 74

Fidel Castro speech on occasion of national builders day and dedication of
President Salvador Allende teachers training school, Alta Habana, Havana
Province--at the school-- live]

[Text] Dear lady comrades Hortensia Bussi de Allende and Beatriz Allende,
[applause] distinguished guests, dear comrades of the party and government,
dear construction workers, dear students and teachers, [applause] it is
really splendid and pleasing to be able to commemorate this builders day by
dedicating such a marvelous school as this, [applause] which has come from
the laborious and creative lands of the builders.

At the same time, this event to honor the builders practically serves to
inaugurate the 1974-75 school year. The truth is that there are so many
works, dates, and events that we must combine them one way or another. This
school, which is no tiny school--and as Pepe Ramirez [Jose Ramirez,
president of the National Association of Small Farmers] has said, "it is
much easier to build this school at present than it was to build a tiny
school in the countryside in the past." [applause]

And we say "his is no small school for obvious reasons. Construction began
in the first half of 1972. It is located in the Boyeros District. It has a
water tank built through a system of sliding molds, and the theater and
gymnasium were designed with industrial elements--through these are not yet

The school conveys an area of 71,396 square meters of building--71,396
square meters of building. The teaching installations are: 71 theory
classrooms, each of 40-student capacity; 7 teaching classrooms of a
120-student capacity each; 6 physics labs; 5 chemistry labs; 5 tilogy labs,
2 language labs; 2 manual work shops; 2 metals-and-wood shops; 2 drawing
shops; 2 model-making shops; 2 music shops; 1 library and documentation
circulating libraries; workshops for professors of different courses;
recreational installations; 1 theater of a 450-seating capacity, yet
unfinished; 12 baskethall courts; 1 yet to be finished; 11 volleyball
courts, 3 yet to be finished; 2 baseball fields; one for children; a
1-400-meter track, yet to be finished; a 1-100-meter track, yet to be
finished; a track-and-field complex-high jump, broad jump, and hop skip and
jump; open-air athletic area, yet to be finished; an indoor gym with
hardwood flooring for volleyball, gymnastics and calisthenics, parallel
bars, stationary rings, ropes, and exercise bars, yet to be finished, other
installations; and centralized kitchen that can serve 7,000
meals--including meals for the two elementary schools annexed to the
school; 4 dining halls; 1 barbershop; 1 beauty shop, 1 boiler room; an
employees dining hall for 150 persons; 11 offices for course chiefs;
administrative and directive offices; a 50-bed polyclinic, yet to be built;
meeting rooms, offices for mass and student organizations; and an elevated
water tank.

The cost of the school is estimated at 10,600,000 pesos. There participated
in the construction--first the ones who began the work--the Ministry of
Interior school- construction brigades, and later brigade No. 3, brigade No
5, brigade No 11; the contingent of cane-cutting builders; the Elpidio
Benovidez brigade and the local microbrigades. All these forces
participated in building this project. One brigade will remain here to
finish the sports-type installations that are lacking. This will be done
after the dedication of the classrooms, dining halls, dormitories and
kitchens--all the basic installations for the functioning of the school.

For the most part, the only installations that remain to be finished are
the sports and cultural ones.

From a certain viewpoint, to build a project such as this in these times is
a construction achievement. It is proper to commemorate this Builders Day
in a school because much of the construction workers effort is presently
being devoted to school installations. In the school year just ended, 108
schools have been completed since the last dedication. Some of these were
built under several construction standards, not including this one which
has a capacity for 4,500 students.

There has been a notable effort in school construction. But despite this
great effort, school construction is insufficient because there is a true
student explosion, and explosion of 6-grade graduates who pass to the
intermediate level, and there are not enough schools for them. That is why,
in addition to normal school construction, it was necessary to build more
than 20 temporary schools in Oriente Province in order to have space for
these students. Thus, we need to continue expanding the school construction

I have many statistics here but I do not want to tire you with them, I will
simply give you some. For example, 564 out of each 1,000 elementary age
children attended school before the revolution. This does not mean they
were promoted or graduated, only that 465 out of each 1,000 children
attended or were registered in school. Today we have 995 children out of
each 1,000 registered and attending school--almost 100 percent. This small
margin [not attending] are those children who cannot attend school for one
reason or another and for reasons over which the parents and children
themselves have no control. In other words, 99.9 percent of elementary age
children are attending school. No Latin American country can cite such a
statistic. I do not know the percentage in the United States, but it
possibly does not have that percentage. [laughter] Despite being an
imperialist and capitalist country, rich and developed, it probably does
not have that percentage.

I am speaking of the students ages 6 to 12. Now, concerning 13-year old
students the figures begin to decrease for students over age 12. The figure
for 13-year-old students is 9.3 percent registered, or 933 out of each
1,000, and we have 77.3 percent for 14- year-old students. For 15-year olds
it is 63.1 percent and 47.6 for 16-year old children. Therefore, in the
older ages the percentage is high among 13-year olds, but low at 16. The
truth is that a 16-year old boy must be studying. The age for working and
other activities begins after age 16, but we have more than 50 percent of
16-year old youths not attending school and we must improve this percentage
in coming years.

The question of education is evaluated through registration figures which
are the ones we have mentioned. Then comes retention in school, in other
words, how many who registered at the start of the year remain in school to
the end. And we have a retention rate in elementary schools of 98.4
percent. It is very high. The rate is 93.5 percent in basic secondary
schools. We have improved in all this. For example, the percentage was 96.8
in elementary schools in the 1968-69 school year. Retention was 72 percent
in the secondary schools in the 1968-69 year, whereas it is now 93.5
percent. The rate in the 1968-69 year in pre-university schools was 80.5
percent; it is now 96.3 percent. Training of primary school teachers was
76.5 percent in 1968, [presumably retention rates]--it is now 91.3. In
technical and professional training it was 53.4 percent; it is now 93.3. In
the language institute where it was 61.4; it is now 93.5. Therefore, the
retention rate has increased notably.

Regarding promotions--which is the other index used to measure education,
on other words, how many are promoted to the higher grade--we had a
promotion rate of 71.7 percent in elementary schools in 1962-63, the
previous decade. Now the rate is 88.7. In basic secondary schools the rate
was 73.6 percent in the previous decade; it is now 91.2. The rate in rural
basic secondary schools is of course greater. The rate was 79 percent in
pre-university schools in the past decade; it is now 89.9 percent. It was
71.8 in technical and professional schools, it is now 99.4. The rate was
80.6 percent in schools for training primary school teachers and it is now
90.7. The rate was 53.8 for adults and it is now 62.6.

As you can see, the indexes that reflect quality of education have been
improving. There are other very interesting figures. Before the revolution
there were several tens of thousands of students at the intermediate level;
now we have 463,972 students in intermediate schools. And this figure is
increasing so much that by 1980 it will be approximately 1,100,000
according to projections. Based on these figures, you will understand our
construction needs. If we want to give attention to this great number of
youths who pass from elementary to intermediate schools as a result of the
effort in previous years, we will have or can have in 1980 more than a
million youths in intermediate schools.

By that time we will have a greater proportion of 14, 15 and 16 year olds
studying. We currently have 332,000.9 boarding students--that is to say
332,900 and we have 318,400 semiboarding students. Therefore, the country
has 651,000 boarding and semiboarding students. You know that in the past
boarding school students came from high-income families capable of having
children in boarding or semiboarding schools.

This is a great help to working families. Bear in mind that each year this
figure increases--the number of children in child care centers, students in
semiboarding schools who eat in school and children in boarding schools.
These figures continue improving year by year. We already have 651,000
students consisting of boarders and semiboarders.

Great progress has also been made in teacher training. We have to build a
total of 18 new teacher training schools. We have two already
completed--the one in Cienfuegos and this one. Five others, which already
have students, are being completed. Five more are under construction, plus
six more that we must build in order to have a capacity of some 36,000
students, including those getting practical teaching experience and those
in schools. That figure of 36,000 youths studying to be teachers should
satisfy our education requirements. Therefore, our quality of education
will increasingly improve year by year.

The Education Ministry is now involved in what it calls perfecting the
system, by virtue of which the time will come when there will be 12 years
of study instead of 13--6 in elementary school, 3 in intermediate and 3 in
pre-university on an average. This will be done by improving the quality in
the entire education system. It [Education Ministry] has a plan covering
now to 1980 to improve the system. Of course, by 1980 we will have a
material base much superior to that we now have, a corps of professors and
organizations superior to that we now have. As you know, we still have many
teachers without certificates, these are people's teachers who are studying
to improve themselves. The time will come when all--people's teachers and
those coming from these schools--will be certified teachers.

At the same time, there is the teachers training detachment with three
contingents and a fourth being organized because we need to give attention
to and teach 1,100,000 students. It is easy to cite this figure, but all
these students require teachers--in chemistry, physics, biology, history,
literature, and languages.

When we say 1,100,000 [the questions are] how many teachers are required
for 1,100,000 students, and where are we going to get these teachers. Well
then, this explosion requires a special effort which is the one being
carried out with the teachers training detachment so that by 1980 they can
teach. We do not want any student or school without teachers. Moreover,
well-trained teachers are required to be mentally fit, spiritually,
morally, ideologically and technically fit.

Those teachers who go to such and such polytechnical schools to teach are
the ones who go to a secondary school, be it in the Isle of Pines, Guane,
Jaguey, Veguitas, Baracoa, the Sierra Maestra mountains, Sola, or anywhere
in the country. [applause] Teachers capable of responding to the needs are
required. It is not the same as holding classes in the center of a city. It
always involves a special desire on the part of the teacher who many times
is separated from his or her family. Naturally, we aspire to create the
communities, housing and all the facilities in all areas where schools are
located so that teachers can live near the schools.

But the teachers training detachment, which was organized following the
congress of our youths, is the principal force that must respond to these
needs for teachers in future years. There is also a plan to train teachers
for polytechnic schools and technological institutes to satisfy the need
for teachers in these schools. In the same way, schools such as this one,
the one under construction in Cojimar and the teacher training schools
under construction throughout the island must satisfy our needs for
elementary school teachers. Likewise, the schools for training child care
center teachers under construction in all provinces must satisfy the needs
for cadres in child care centers because the children need specially
trained cadres, capable cadres. Nothing here can be left to luck.

In the same way, the schools for training physical education teachers will
satisfy the needs for teachers in that specialty and some such schools are
under construction. Some have even been completed such as the one in
Camaguey, and others are under construction--the necessary physical
education teacher training schools to attend to our youth. Youths are
highly important. They not only require a general education, they need a
culture, ideological formation and physical education. Furthermore, we plan
to continue playing good and increasingly better roles in international
sports competitions.

The new generation will not be left behind in these. There will be more and
better trained teachers. We are building schools for physical education

There are also schools for training teachers in special education for
children who have certain problems and difficulties. Centers for training
such teachers will be required in all provinces. There is a construction
plan for special schools in order to raise the capacity by 40,000 students.

There really is an extraordinary educational program in full swing. And if
today Cuba is first among Latin American countries in education, with this
program Cuba will occupy the very highest place in coming years, which
unfortunately will be hard to beat later because, when one has an advantage
in this matter, it is not easy to overcome it.

Therefore, the revolution is carrying out a truly extraordinary program and
a fully promising one for our fatherland and youths in everything regarding
education and formation of man.

In the same way you know there are construction plans for hospitals,
poly-clinics, dental clinics and homes for the elderly and the handicapped.
All such installations are required if we really want to solve family
problems. Sometimes the only solutions for certain persons is a home for
the elderly, and we must build good homes for the elderly. There are other
persons who cannot move in the least and require special medical
attention--in the home for the handicapped. There is a plan for such
construction in coming years.

And plans not only cover education and public health. There are many plans.
We have talked about intermediate schools, but we must also talk about
universities. We must give a big push to universities. Before the triumph
of the revolution there were 15,000 university students, and now there are
more than 60,000 and by 1980 we will have 140,000. This requires
construction of universities and laboratories in practically all provinces.

Elementary schools must be built. It is true that primary emphasis now is
not on elementary schools, but on intermediate schools and universities,
but the population is growing and new communities are being built. Wherever
new communities are built with microbrigades--here in this area, in Alamar,
or in San Agustin, or anywhere-- elementary schools must be built; and also
a supermarket, a theater and child care centers.

If we want to incorporate women into work there is a strong plan for child
care centers and a plan for elementary schools to satisfy our needs. The
number of elementary school age children is going to drop, but where there
is a new community a new school must be built. There is no question of
this. Furthermore, many of our elementary schools are very old and
inadequate. Nevertheless, even in the next 5 years we will still be unable
to devote great efforts to elementary schools, because of the need for more
elemental aspects of primary schools.

And as I was saying, besides building universities, elementary schools and
child care centers, we must build supermarkets, movie houses, and some
theaters. Unfortunately we still cannot give more push to these activities
which are lacking--needs for movie houses in the next 5 years--because we
have given priority to school and medical installations. This does not mean
we do not need movie houses. We need them, the people need then and they
are indispensable for the people's recreation and cultural development.

Naturally, industrial construction has priority. Industrial construction
has first priority over all others. In other words, construction of
factories, agricultural and livestock construction and economic
construction in general have five priority in our construction plan. Let us
say that second priority is given to schools, third to public health and so

But the conclusion is that much must be done in the next few years. What
must be done in the next few years? Many and big construction undertakings.
This is the enormous importance the construction sector has for the
country. It is a very basic sector. If the construction sector is not
developed the other sectors cannot be developed. Listen well; if the
construction sector is not developed the other sectors cannot be developed.
If, for example, basic industry and electricity production are to be
developed, they would depend on all the electric plants you can build. We
are now building thermoelectric plants, and in the next 5-year period we
will have to start building the first nuclear plant. [applause] The first
nuclear plant will be started in 1977 or 1978 with a capacity of 440,000
kilowatts. That will be the first one. A second one is scheduled for the
following 5-year period, 1980 to 1985.

But construction must be started in a few years because these are very
complex constructions. All the required mechanical and chemical plants must
be built. The construction sector itself requires cement factories, rock
quarries and construction materials of all types. These must be built.
Construction workers must provide the work in the sectors of education,
public health, agriculture, basic industry and consumer services, as well
as the needs for water in agriculture and for the people, sewer and
aqueducts, and housing.

Therefore, the construction sector must be developed so that all others can
be developed. This sector is being developed. In 1970 the construction
sector reached a production valued at 339 million pesos indirect and
industrial construction. In 1971 it was 497.1 million pesos. In 1972 it was
827 million, 1,127,000.7 in 1973 and 1,251,000,000.7 in 1974. The latter is
the plan for this year. You can see how much it has grown from 339 million
pesos of production in 1970 to 1,251,000,000.7 in 1974. This does not
include personal construction, only that of the construction sector--direct
construction of that sector and in industry, that is to say, that sector's

Now, how much will the value of construction be in 1980 in order to satisfy
the most pressing needs of the country? And as I have said, this does not
include all the needs. Working hard, hard, hard we do not satisfy all our
construction needs. Many things will remain to be done that will have to be
done in future 5-year periods. But in 1980 the production value should
reach 3,023,000,000.23 pesos. This means that if it grew threefold from
1970 to 1974, it will have grown more than eight times from 1970 to 1980.
Construction, in the country in 1980 will have a production value eight
times greater than in 1970. It is now three times greater, but what we are
building in 1974 must be multiplied by more than two, in other words, the
increase will be approximately 150 percent--more than double what we now
have must be [built] in 1980 in order to take case of a portion of our
construction needs.

We now have almost 260,000 construction workers. It is estimated that by
1980 almost 400,000 will be required for construction work; in other words,
for construction work we will need no less than double the number of
workers we now have in order to more than double current construction work
because [the current work force] would not be enough. With approximately
140,000 more workers we must produce two and half times more than we are
now producing. This means that work productivity must grow. It must grow
about 75 percent in order in 1980 to do the 3 billion in construction work
with 140,000 more workers. Let us not forget that the other sectors require
work forces and the work force is not unlimited. Therefore, growth must
depend in part on increasing the work force and, to a great extent, on
increased productivity by improving all conditions of organization, supply
and mechanization of construction.

In any case, the construction sector by 1980 will have more workers than
the sugar sector; including harvest workers and sugar mill workers in
general. We will have more construction sector workers than in the sugar
sector in 1980. That is one of the sectors which must grow more in future
years. Where are we going to get the work force? Undoubtedly there is no
recourse but to also incorporate women into the construction sector.

For all practical purposes it is being demonstrated that in many
activities, especially in finishing work and other construction tasks,
there are jobs which women can carry out perfectly well and, in some cases,
they can even do them with more neatness and care than men, and in some of
the work with more productivity than men.

This means that we must study very carefully all construction work
positions that can be performed by women. And if this is necessary in this
5-year period, it will be more so in the next because construction
requirements grow so much. We will have more rocks, sand, cement and
everything, but the work force is a fundamental factor--the work force, the
number of workers, their organization and qualifications.

Therefore, a special effort is needed to incorporate women into
construction activities. A developed country requires it, that is to say, a
country that is developing, that wants to develop itself needs to
incorporate women into construction activities. Furthermore, the problem of
women's liberation, full equality of women and integration of women into
society is to a great extent determined by the incorporation of women into
work. Because as women are incorporated into work helping society and their
families, the need arises for solving all these problems that were recently
discussed in the women's congress. [FMC Congress] Many problems then arise.
The inequality that women still have in our society becomes more obvious,
as well as the discrimination to which women are still being subjected in
our society.

As women are incorporated into work their path to liberation will be much
more obvious and easier. Society will have to solve all these problems
which help women to participate in work--in semiboarding schools, boarding
schools, child care centers and institutions of all sorts; as well as in
social development, which permit women to be incorporated into work and not
simply be a housewife. Women represent half of society. They must
participate in the productive activities and services. A society will
always be poor if it does not incorporate women into work, because it would
then be depending on only part of the work force.

Furthermore, if one deducts from the work force those men who cannot work
because of age, all youths who cannot work because of age, and if women are
not incorporated into work, only a small portion of society would then be
used in productive activities and services. A good proof of the great
social and moral value of women in society is provided by the education and
public health sectors. These are the two sectors where the revolution has
advanced the most in recent years; and in these two sectors women represent
the majority of the work force--in these two sectors is our fatherland at
the vanguard in relation to Latin America. [applause] These two sectors are
kept there by women.

The majority of workers in education and in public health are women. What
would happen to our people without education al services? What would happen
to our people without those medical services? And in those two sectors so
fundamental and highly appreciated by the people, women are present as a
decisive factor.

And if we want to continue improving our educational and medical services
and the economy in general, it is indispensable to incorporate women into
work; and this is clear it the construction sector where we now have
258,000 workers and will need 393,000 in 1980, almost 140,000 workers more.
Part of this work force must be women.

You can see that the capitalist world is currently undergoing a crisis and
the sector most affected is construction. In the United States, 12 percent
of the construction workers are unemployed now because of economic
problems. That sector and the automobile industry have suffered the most,
and they have very serious problems because of the growing unemployment of
construction workers.

How different our situation is: Our construction has grown almost fourfold
from 1970 to now, and we plan to continue growing so that by 1980 it will
be eight times greater than in 1970. How different our situation is and
that of our construction workers from that of the capitalist world where
they have growing unemployment and we have a growing demand for work force.
What security the socialists system gives workers: Exploitation of man by
man has disappeared. Work is no longer done for the benefit of capitalists
but for the benefit of society in general. Work is performed for the
benefit of the people and not the exploiters. The economy is organized and
planned. The problems of unemployment, social injustice and
exploitation--with all their sequels which range from men without
retirement benefits, total unconcern for workers' job security and total
abandonment of the worker and his family at any moment--cease forever [in a
socialist system].

In a capitalist country when a worker loses his job, his son is left
without medical attention, medicine, food and schools. In fact, if you read
international news you would learn the great problem of construction
workers in the capitalist world, and you can compare it with our situation.

We can commemorate this Builders Day by saying that we need 140,000 more
construction workers in the next few years. [applause] And here the comrade
who spoke on behalf of the students and the comrade leader of the workers
explained that construction work used to be the spare tire in a car in the
capitalist world. People used to go into such work when they had nothing
else available. It was not appreciated by society. The bourgeois society
could not appreciate a construction worker because he represented one more
exploited worker and how much profit he would bring in. He was paid the
least possible in order to obtain the greatest profit.

What a different situation under socialism: The level of the work of
construction workers is raised. It acquires special appreciation from the
entire society. And their work can be seen in its entire worth and
importance when it is said that development of all the other country's
sectors will depend on the work of construction workers. And then their
work acquires that noble and beautiful aspect it enjoys today in our
fatherland. They are the creators of all these wonders, our schools, our
hospitals and our production centers. They are the creators of our
agricultural and livestock development and our industrial development. The
changes and material base which our society needs come from their hands and
work. You are the creators of the material base for society.

You are building all the projects required in any aspect of the country's
life. Construction workers now enjoy a different status. They are looked
upon with other views. They--the hard-hats of the Cuban socialist
revolution--are looked upon as true creators. [applause]

Those hard-hats have become a symbol of the vanguard workers, the workers
who blaze the way to the country's future. We have talked of our work here,
but we also have other builders than those here--for some have gone to
other countries; for instance, the brigade that went to Peru to build the
polyclinics there were our heroic comrade Benavides lost his life
[applause]. And they built good hospitals very rapidly there, hospitals
which other builders--technicians--had designed here. Yet others had
produced the component parts. The transport workers took them to Peru, and
builders assembled them there in a matter of weeks. That was Cuba's aid to
that sister country after the quake.

Construction workers have similarly been in the Democratic Republic of
Guinea. They have built various projects--airports, several of them. And we
understand they will or are now building a highway. We are likewise proud
that when the time came to reconstruct Vietnam Cuba was also present with a
contingent of more than 500 construction workers. [applause] They are
building dairies, poultry farms and roads; and they are to build a hospital
and also a hotel with the utmost speed. And I say as fast as possible,
because the Vietnamese want their hotel finished for the party congress
this coming year. We should emphasize that most of the material of that
hotel is being sent from here. It is produced in Cuba. [applause] And this
material is transported by our ships, and they are being installed there by
our construction workers. But that building activity is not listed in this
data. When we stated so many millions and so forth annually, that does not
include the construction abroad.

But there is not the slightest doubt about that, and we are proud to devote
a small part of our resources to help our Vietnamese comrades. However,
that does not mean we are building less. No, we are building more than
ever. Building has almost quadrupled in 4 years; moreover, we are still
making a small contribution to the people of Vietnam.

The Yankees, it is said they transported prefabricated fortifications from
the United States in order to kill in Vietnam. Yet we send prefabricated
parts to help the Vietnamese. [applause] This is why news reaching us from
the Ho Chi Minh Contingent is moving--news of the spirit with which our
comrades are working. [News of] the splendid page of internationalism they
are writing. Men are made there. When a country has men up to going to the
other end of the world to build, it is because that country has made great
political, cultural, and revolutionary gains. [applause]

And when a call is made here for builders to go to Vietnam everybody wants
to go. Many want to go. Discussions are held to explain that number, that
only 500 and no more must go. Thousands, tens of thousands of men and women
in this country who are willing to perform their internationalist service
volunteer. And our country gains by that, for while it helps others it also
helps itself. The country kindles a spirit that is essential for people's
progress and success.

In point of fact, when we have men up to working enthusiastically and
heroically in Vietnam, it means we have men up to working the same way
here. We should not forget that when it came to contribute help for the
sister people of Chile, at that very moment we were manifesting a spirit, a
sense of helping another people. However, when the drought came and it
became necessary to optimize the harvest and prices rose, that spirit came
to the fore and motivated the Cubans to help themselves. For we have that
awareness, no? And what we did on a given day to help a brother we are
doing today to help ourselves. A people who are not capable of helping
others are incapable of helping themselves. [applause] The fact that we
have men and women who are willing to go to Vietnam to work there
enthusiastically and heroically, makes us cognizant that we have the men
and women we need to build our country.

It is with that will, that spirit, that we are molding our forces of
builders. And the country can trust them for they are capable of doing and
creating there and here--here and there. Due to that, it is very moving
that we have with us a representation of that contingent here celebrating
Builders Day with you. What workers can they be, who among the more than
500 splendid workers were selected to represent them here with you during
this day--Builders Day.

So I would like to ask those six comrades to step up here on the stand so
we can see them. [amid applause the workers take their places with Castro]
I am going to invite these comrades to tell us about their feelings, their
impressions--tell us about the feelings with which they are working in

[Worker] We are a small group representing the Ho Chi Minh Contingent. It's
not that we are the best men of the contingent, for it has more than 500
men at present. Just six had to be chosen to come here, and we are the
ones. If the best had to be selected, I would say the entire contingent
would have to come. [applause] We, who have had the chance to be in Vietnam
and take part in reconstructing it, realize what the workers who are in
Vietnam and the builders we have in Cuba are capable of. In Vietnam, the
spirit grows more and more daily. And we are completely certain that we
will complete all the projects by the target dates. And we will return home
which our party feels we should.

Thank you. [applause] [workers steps back and Castro continues]

So too, nothing could please our people more, nothing could be more
encouraging than to know that a contingent of 20 Cuban women leaves for
Vietnam today to join the Ho Chi Minh Contingent. [applause] And I am also
going to ask those women comrades to come to the stand. [the women join
Castro amid applause]

One of these volunteer women is going to say something. [women worker]
Well, on behalf of this group that is going to join our people in Vietnam,
we are certain that we will do good by our country in the best way that
sister people deserve. And we exhort all the Cuban women who are not
incorporated into work to join our sector because of Cuba's need for this.
[after applause subsides Castro continues]

You see that women and men we have in this country, how they are capable of
volunteering for any mission, any task, and how they can talk as sincerely
and eloquently as they have here. It is also just to express our most
wholehearted recognition of the workers who received the Armando Mestre
Medal here and everywhere in the country as a reward and tribute for the 30
years they have worked in the construction sector. [applause]

By the same token we must recognize the foreign technicians--more than
foreign, the internationalist technicians working with us. [applause] And
we must recognize not only the ones who are working on public works and
projects but also the construction technicians who have made our
construction victories possible with their practical, intelligent

Moreover, we cannot conclude this event without pointing out how high an
honor it is for Cuba, for the Cuban revolution, and for the builders, and
for our students, for this school with which we are commemorating Builders
Day--this school for training teachers, which hand in hand will mold men
and women for the fatherland--to bear the glorious, heroic name of Salvador
Allende. [prolonged applause]

Thus the name of Salvador Allende is recognized and venerated everywhere,
in all countries of this continent and all continents, and his name rises
more and more, while that of the fascist henchmen and murderers sinks
deeper and deeper in the mud of discredit.

We feel certain that our young people and our students, our splendid
students, our intelligent students, our revolutionary students, and our
patriotic students--those who have been here tonight representing their
colleagues--the same as the small pioneers and the students of this school,
will realize the great effort and sacrifice it takes to build the future.

In the presence of these working heroes, these men who have spent 30 years
building for the people--now, for the people, in the past not even for the
people--in the presence of these heroic working men and women, the only
reply these students can have is to know how to do their duty and know how
to be outstanding students. [applause]

Fatherland or death, we will win! [prolonged applause]