Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1647 GMT 20 Jun 75 FL

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro at friendship rally at 14 June
rural basic secondary school, Isle of Pines, in honor of Trinidad-Tobago
Prime Minister Eric Williams--live]

[Text] My dear friend Dr Eric Williams, prime minister of Trinidad-Tobago,
[applause] dear members of the delegation from the sister Caribbean
country, [applause] students, workers and people of Isle of Pines.

Our isle of youths--as it is already beginning to be called while you are
building it--today has the immense honor of the visit by Dr Eric Williams.
It is the first time in the history of this island that we are visited by a
head of state. [applause] And of course, this constitutes a historic event.
Our people, all the Cuban people and the people of this island--we are two
islands plus the small islands surrounding the big ones--have received Dr
Eric Williams and the Trinidad-Tobago delegation with deep affection and
respect, as it should be from a neighboring people to a friendly people, a
fraternal people, and as it should be to a leader of the stature, feeling,
and responsibility of Dr Eric Williams.

You must not think that he had the opportunity to make his primary,
secondary and university studies with the same facility which we Cubans now
have after the triumph of the revolution. He was born and raised in a
colonized country and came from a very poor family. He had to forge his own
life, struggling very hard under difficult situations, working since he was
young and earning one by one all the possibilities for studying at the
different levels of intermediate and high schools based on his ability,
intelligence and devotion to study.

In this way, he attained great achievements and became prominent as an
eminent professor, a brilliant history researcher, and lucid writer. All
this he placed at the service of his people and fatherland. And he took
into the political arena the struggle for independence and became organizer
of the movement which carried out the independence in his country.

Many of our fraternal Caribbean countries obtained their independence some
decades after Cuba obtained its formal independence early in this century.
And even as our revolution became victorious in 1959, these countries were
not independent. And ever since they became independent, these countries
have always been friendly toward our country. We can say, to their honor,
that none of them joined the campaign of aggression and the campaign of
isolation imposed by the imperialists on our people. And we can say they
were among the first to proclaim and demand--and the voice of Dr Eric
Williams was prominent among them--an end to the isolation and the blockage
of our people. [applause]

Some years ago all those English-speaking Caribbean countries jointly, and
above the pressures of and to the annoyance of Yankee imperialism,
established relations with our country. These relations have been
developing magnificently in recent years.

Dr Eric Williams not only struggled for the independence of his country,
but also for the independence of all these countries in the Caribbean which
still lived under colonialism. And he struggled enthusiastically and
zealously for the unity of these countries and for their economic
integration. It is fair to point out he has been a champion, dynamic
defender, and strong fighter for the integration of Caribbean countries,
and a zealous defender of the culture, spiritual values, and traditions of
these people with whom we have so many things in common.

This is not the first time that he visits our country. It is the first time
since the triumph of the revolution. But, when he was a professor and
historical researcher, as a result of his special interest in all matters
concerning Cuba, he visited its universities, libraries and historical
places in order to carry out his research work. In the books he has
published there are many references to our people, their culture and our

Presently, in the face of all difficulties he is vigorously defending and
working for the economic integration of the Caribbean countries and for the
defense of their interests.

Like us and the rest of the Caribbean countries, Trinidad is an island. It
is not a very large island. If we compare it to Isle of Pines, it is about
two and a half times larger than Isle of Pines. But, it has a population of
1,050,000 inhabitants approximately. Thus, it has many more inhabitants,
than this island has. It is a territory rich in natural resources. They
have very rich oil fields and are currently producing 10 million tons of
oil per year. They also have important gas deposits, which constitute the
fundamental economic foundation of their development, above all, in
connection with the petrochemical industry, oil refineries, production of
fertilizers and other developments that are based on these important energy
resources. On this, they are basing their development and economic

They are not a socialiststate like us. But after Cuba, this is the one
having the greatest state participation in national enterprises among
Caribbean countries. They, of course, are developing agriculture on the
rather small territory that they have. They produce sugar, coffee, cacao,
citrus fruits, and are probably producing very good grapefruits. Because
the country has beautiful natural resorts, among the different economic
programs for development, they also have a tourist program, such as fishing
and other activities.

There are many possibilities in different fields for cooperation between
our two countries, and it is the aim and interest of the governments of
Cuba and Trinidad-Tobago to develop to the fullest these possibilities of
economic cooperation and integration. All this effort for integration of
the Caribbean countries is, of course, based within the concept of future
possibilities of a broader integration of our countries and the Latin
American countries.

For a very long time the English-speaking Caribbean countries remained
relatively apart, without ties with Latin American countries, but these
relations have been satisfactorily developed during recent years. But, in
our desire to fulfill our duty as a Caribbean country, we will, of course,
give the greatest attention to and will show the greatest interest for
these possibilities of cooperation and integration between our countries.

This place where we are gathered, Dr Eric Williams, this isle, we can say,
first of all, that when Cuba became officially independent, the Yankees,
who like to intervene everywhere and keep what does not belong to them,
kept apart this island, which was previously called Isle of Pines. Later
on, after their delayed and nefarious military intervention during our last
war of independence, they evidently attempted to colonize this island and
keep it to themselves. It was not until 23 years later that the Cuban
people was able to exercise full sovereignty over this piece of our
national territory. It was a great effort. What a great effort. We were
finally able to overcome that act of imperialist piracy and thievery.

Currently this piece of our national territory is a true example of
progress and development. At the time of the triumph of the revolution
there were 11,000 inhabitants on this island. Today, counting residents,
people from other parts of Cuba who are working here and students from
different provinces--especially from the city of Havana and a large group
for Oriente Province [applause], who have distinguished themselves in the
studies-- counting all of them, there are 55,000 persons living here, in
other words, the population has grown fivefold since the triumph of the

We can say that this island has one of the most complete and integrated
educational systems of the country. Suffice to say that 100 percent of the
Isle of Pines children of primary school age are in semiboarding schools
attending two sessions. The majority of these children, whose mothers do
productive work, have their lunch at school.

At the time of the triumph of the revolution there were approximately 500
hectares of land planted with citrus fruits on this island, and at the
present time we have some 20,000 hectares. There was not a single cubic
meter of dammed water at the time of the triumph of the revolution. Now we
have more than 200 million cubic meters of damming capacity. Large modern
irrigation systems are being developed. There used to be about 60 km of
roads. Today we have 750 km of roads and highways on this small piece of
our national territory.

Electric energy generation capacity before the revolution was 200
kilowatts, and today we have a capacity of 8,000. In other words, electric
energy capacity on this island has grown eight times.

The first school of this type of basic secondary school was dedicated
precisely here less than 4 years ago. Eight days still remain to celebrate
the fourth year of that dedication [applause] and we already have 20
schools of this type. And by the end of this year we will have 27 with a
capacity of 500 boarding students in each.

We aspire to have about 80 schools on this island by 1980. [applause] There
is no reason to think we will not succeed on this. There is absolutely no
reason to be pessimistic since in a few years we have already built such a
high number of schools. And to cite an example of the importance of this
development suffice to point out to you that in the past harvest, this
school were we are today--the 14 June school in remembrance of the
birthdate of [Antonio] Maceo and Che [Guevara] [applause]--this school has
already produced 1,700 tons of grapefruit. And it is expected that the
current harvest will amount to 2,800 tons. This is equivalent to more than
half a million pesos in grapefruit exports.

In other words, the revolutionary, Marxist and Marti concept of combining
study with productive work is applied here. This not only extraordinarily
contributes to the formation of our youths, a solid revolutionary
formation, but also makes a considerable contribution to development of our

Schools of this type are being built in the entire country under similar
plans. And more than 200 are operating throughout the country. One must add
to these the teachers schools, polytechnic schools, technological
institutes and vocational schools--one of which Dr Eric Williams had the
opportunity to visit yesterday. At a specific time we have on this island
40,000 intermediate school students. [applause] They, the intermediate
school students, basically are the ones who plant, develop, take care of
and maintain the citric fruit fields, and so far we can assert that the
results have been splendid in all respects.

And these students, for example, propose to attain a promotion rate of no
less than 95 percent during this school year. And we know that the basic
secondary school students in the Isle of Pines will make their greatest
effort to fulfill this commitment they have outlined for themselves.

Other economic installations are being developed on this island, such as
packinghouses and industries for processing citric fruits. Also located
here is the most important kaolin quarry. This is the raw material we use
in manufacturing bathroom accessories and for many other industrial goods.
This industry was established after the revolution and will be extensively
developed in the coming 5-year period.

Transportation for the island is improving. Two modern passenger transport
were recently acquired for the movement of personnel, especially students,
between the island of Cuba and the Isle of Youths. There is also an
important plan for social constructions, primarily for housing.

Geologists are continuing their search to see if we can find more things.
We are not yet completely convinced whether or not there is oil. This will
have to be studied carefully. But they do say that there are some
quantities of gold. Not enough, of course, to think we will become rich
with the gold on this island, but in enough quantities to justify
exploitation of the deposits in the future.

The country has made big investments in this region. But we do not have the
least doubt that this region will revert to the fatherland the investments
that have been made in recent years, and it will make an important
contribution to the development of the national economy. The island also
has beautiful natural areas which will be developed in the future.

In the past this island was known primarily because of a so-called model
prison. But you can imagine what sort of model prison it must have been,
when at one time the management in that prison murdered more than 500
prisoners during its period in that prison under the infamous Mr.
(Castell). And the prison in the past was a site of terror. Many of the
people who lived on this island worked in connection with that prison.

If we continue to mention figures, it would be a never-ending proposition
to enumerate how many teachers there were prior to the revolution, how many
we have now, how many physicians there were prior to the revolution, how
many we have now. In all fields there has been a marked changed, such as
the living conditions and perspectives of this place. Very few times it is
possible to see a dream become a reality. But we can say that isle of pines
is a dream come true for the revolution, what Isle of Pines used to be and
what the isle of youth is today, who knows what it will be tomorrow.
Yesterday's Isle of Pines if tomorrow's Isle of Youth.

When I asked what the Isle of Youth would be tomorrow, that is yesterday's
Isle of Pines, I said it because the isle's name is Isle of Pines. But our
aim is to change it to Isle of Youth. In reality our youth is the one
building this island. There is no doubt that they are gaining the right to
have it called so. But we are maintaining this as a goal, an objective to
be achieved by the youngsters with their own effort. They are making this
possible. [applause] That is why in many instances it is referred to as
Isle of Youth, even though it has not been officially baptized.

We are sorry that due to the short visit of the delegation of
Trinidad-Tobago they will not be able to visit many other places of our
country, but at least we would like them to have this contact, this tour
which will make it possible for our brothers of Trinidad-Tobago to have an
idea of what the Cuban people have been doing during recent years despite
the economic blockage and imperialist harassment.

We are sure that new generations are being formed now which have a
technical and political training superior to that of previous generations.
This region is a true example of that change. We do not now have a model
prison of any other kind of prison on this island. Now we have an exemplary
island, an example of economic and social development, an example of the
work of our youth and the spirit of our youth and a brilliant example of
the educational revolution that has taken place in Cuba during recent

In making this brief summary, it is necessary to take into consideration
the extraordinary effort of our mass organizations and the excellent work
of our party in achieving the successes that have been attained. We must
point out the effort of the PCC committee, its politburo and its dynamic
leader Comrade Arturo Lince. [applause] They have tirelessly worked with
true enthusiasm, revolutionary vocation and fervor, day and night. We know
how much love they have given to their work, with how much love they have
shown to us today the fruit of their efforts.

These feelings of friendship, hospitality and solidarity that you Dr Eric
Williams and your delegation have found in this region is the same love
shown you yesterday in Alamar, the Lenin School and the same love that you
will find everywhere. They are the fruit of those fraternal feelings, those
feelings of unity and identity, those feelings of international solidarity
that have grown in the hearts of our people inspired by the revolution.

We can assure you from this place of fruitful and victorious work of the
Cuban people, from this place full of youngsters, of devoted workers, that
your fatherland, Trinidad-Tobago, and all the fraternal Caribbean countries
will always have the solidarity, respect and the most profound friendship
of our people, [applause] that we are very pleased and honored by your
visit and that these ties of friendship and cooperation between our peoples
will develop, and that our people are happy and proud of being able to work
increasingly closer with the fraternal Caribbean peoples and with the
fraternal Latin American peoples. [applause]

Long live the friendship between Cuba and Trinidad-Tobago! Long live the
friendship between Cuba and the Caribbean peoples! Long live the friendship
between the Cuban and Latin American peoples! Fatherland or death, we shall