Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Praises Swedish Achievements

Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1604 GMT 29 Jun 75 FL

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro at friendship rally in honor
of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme at 26 July School in Santiago de

[Text] Dear friend Olof Palme, prime minister of the Kingdom of Sweden,
dear members of the friendly Swedish delegation, people of Santiago, people
of Oriente, Cubans.

We know this is not the best time for a rally. But this also serves to show
the courage, discipline and revolutionary spirit of the Santiago people.
[applause] And, although this is Sunday, a day of rest for the workers,
students and the family, the friendly Swedish delegation, with its prime
minister leading it, was received today in the most affectionate and
warmest way by practically all the people of Santiago. [applause] It is
just that we feel really very gratified and very honored with the presence
of the Swedish prime minister in our country. [applause] And the people or
Oriente feel doubly grateful because he has come to visit this province,
this city and this place. [applause]

You have read many times in our press about Sweden, I want to remind you
that it is a country with small population, slightly less than the
population in the island of Cuba. It is relatively extensive territory
covering 450,000 square km, in other words, four times the size of Cuba.
Sweden is located in the Scandinavian Peninsula, in northern Europe. Part
of the country is located in the Artic polar circle, geographically at the
same latitude as Alaska. However, Sweden has a more temperate climate [than
Alaska], and in parts--according to scientists, geologists,
geographers--Sweden enjoys a favorable climatic position as a result of the
Gulf Stream which you know emanates from this area in the Caribbean and
extends to Sweden.

Sweden has 18 inhabitants per square kilometer. Do you know how many we
have already? Approximately 85 inhabitants per square kilometer. The
Swedish population, with a long historical tradition, established itself in
a region of great natural resources. They have 225,000 square kilometers of
forests, or twice the size of the island of Cuba in forests. They have
thousands of lakes and numerous rivers with great volumes of waters which
gives them great quantities of hydraulic energy. And they have important
iron deposits of high quality.

This has permitted an intelligent, hard-working people to develop a modern
nation with a very advance science and technology. Suffice to point out
that Sweden is second in the world in production per capita. It is a
country with an advanced social system, where the government, in past
decades, has made an extraordinary effort in the social field. And Prime
Minister Olof Palme has special attention and concern for these social
matters. [paragraph continues]

They, as we have done, have given children enormous attention. They are
giving priority development to the construction of child care centers. They
have magnificent schools and a very high cultural level. Education is
mandatory for all youths up to secondary school level. Moreover, 90
percent--I think that is the figure--of students who graduate from
secondary schools go on to higher education.

Matters concerned with social security, protection of the elderly, accident
safety, and housing problems have received special attention from the
Swedish Government. Public health is another field where they are at the
top. It can be pointed that Sweden has the lowest rate of infant mortality.
You know that our country has now reached a rate of less than 30 child
deaths per 1,000 live births in that field [public health]. However, in
Sweden the mortality rate is 12--around that figure--per 1,000 live births,
that gives an idea of the status of public health in that country, of the
hospitals and qualified personnel they have and the technology they have
for it.

Sweden stands out also among Western countries in the struggle for full
employment. Sweden also stands out, and especially its prime minister, in
the struggle for women's equality. [applause] The Swedish prime minister
has just attended and participated in the World Women's Conference in
Mexico. [applause] He has also struggled to apply in his country the
greatest salary standards and for the protection of and equipment for the
workers and immigrants who work in that country.

The policy of the prime minister in that country is characterized by its
human content and his preoccupation for these fundamental matters of
course. We have many of these same problems and these represent our banners
of struggle. Naturally Sweden's development is comparatively more advanced
than Cuba's and they have other types of different problems.

As you know from news received throughout recent years, the prestige of
Sweden grew in our country as we learned of its clear, vigorous and strong
position in the face of the U.S. aggression in Vietnam. [applause] We can
assert that among the Western countries Sweden was in the vanguard in
repudiating and condemning the policy followed by the United States in
Vietnam. But all of us also recognize and recall Sweden's firm position in
connection with the Chilean case. [applause] Without hesitation they broke
relations with that country. I made a mistake--they broke economic
cooperation with the Chilean fascist government. [applause]

Furthermore there is an important event we remember, and it is that the
Swedish ambassador [in Chile], under very difficult moments for our embassy
and when the lives of scores of comrades where in danger, agreed to take
care of Cuban affairs in that country. [applause] And he really played a
brilliant role [applause] in that work and he rendered our fatherland
important services.

Sweden likewise has had a clear policy and in solidarity with the
liberation movements of the former Portuguese colonies. They supported and
helped the liberation movement in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.
[applause] They strongly oppose racial discrimination in Rhodesia and South
Africa--more than discrimination, it is true racial oppression that exists
in those countries. [applause]

As you can see, many points of full agreement exist between the Swedish and
Cuban foreign policies. And in these facts I have pointed out, our visitor,
Prime Minister Olof Palme, has been a standard-bearer of those positions.

Sweden is the only country--let us say is the Western European and Western
world country-- which devotes the highest percentage of its gross national
product to economic cooperation with underdeveloped countries. [applause]
And what they currently contribute as aid to the developed [as heard] world
each year exceeds $500 million. They have been employing this aid in those
countries which are struggling for their development and the people's
welfare. For example they are helping countries such as Tanzania. They are
helping North Vietnam. They are cooperated with the Revolutionary
Government of South Vietnam. They are helping Laos, and a list of similar
countries. [applause]

But while referring with satisfaction to those aspects which we admire so
much in Sweden's policy, we must note its friendly attitude toward our
people. [applause] This is something we greatly appreciate, because we have
lived all these years under the U.S. blockade, subversion, aggression and
all types of crimes. We know how strongly the United States pressured most
of the Western countries to join the blockade and break relations with Cuba
and to prevent the development of friendly relations between other
countries and Cuba.

Under such circumstances what we can say is that before the revolution
there was no [Swedish] Embassy [in Cuba] but after a few years of the
revolutionary period the Swedish Government raised its representation in
Cuba to embassy level. [applause] It never joined the economic blockade.
One the contrary, commercial relations developed and current trade between
Cuba and Sweden exceeds 100 million pesos annually. [applause] Furthermore,
they took a further step and they did it with out country: The included us
among the countries receiving Swedish economic cooperation. And that
cooperation has been growing year by year since 1960.

I am going to express it here in concrete terms, which is the best way to
understand all this: In 1962, they donated--through economic cooperation--5
million pesos. In 1963, they donated 7 million, in 1964 it was 9 million
and in 1965, 12 million. [applause] These have been donations. What is the
meaning of this? Swedish contribution to the education sector has meant
equipping 141 rural basic secondary schools, [applause] the laboratories
for these, the equipment for 121 [as heard] schools, 51 semiboarding
primary schools, [applause] 8 teachers schools, [applause] 9 primary
teacher training schools-- including this beautiful school in Santiago de
Cuba--[applause] 7 educational improvement institutes, and 6 pedagogic

They also donated all the equipment for two magnificent technological
institutes--the Eduardo Garcia Delgado Electronics Institute in Rancho
Boyeros and the Lazaro Cardenas Refrigeration Institute in Santa Clara.

Swedish cooperation in the public health sector has meant the re-equipping
nd modernization of 52 hospitals in the specialties of x-ray, laboratories,
pathological anatomy, anesthesia and cardiovascular surgery. [applause] One
must add to this the numerous intensive care wards which many of our
hospitals have today.

The projects planned with Swedish cooperation in the foodstuff industry
constitutes the technical-material base for all research activity.
Moreover, the future program includes two important and fundamental
projects for the development of education in our country. These are the
book printing plant--a large printshop capable of publishing 30 million
books annually which will be built in Palma Soriano [applause]--and the
school supplies plant that will be built near the vocational school in
Holguin. [applause]

Tens of thousands of our students currently are acquiring knowledge and
techniques with equipment donated by Sweden. And many lives have been
preserved and saved in our hospitals with equipment they have donated. This
is equipment of the highest quality manufactured in the country. [applause]
But above the amount of the cooperation, what we most appreciate and what
we are most grateful for is the gesture which that cooperation implies.
[applause] Of course the Swedish prime minister was not going to speak
about these matters here because of his character and simplicity; under no
circumstances he would he have reminded us of their cooperation. But it is
our duty here to recall it and express it and report on it based on
concrete data to all of you. [applause]

That is why we say that Sweden, and particularly its prime minister and its
government, have had a very friendly position toward our country in these
hard and difficult times, and we know how to appreciate the value of
friendship. [applause]

We have received enormous aid from the Soviet Union during these years. We
have received cooperation from socialist countries. But among the Western
countries, the one which has had the most friendly attitude and the best
cooperation with Cuba has been Sweden. [applause] That country represents a
unique situation in Europe because it has had 160 years of peace.
[applause] They practice a policy of neutrality. They consistently struggle
for international cooperation and for world peace. And the policy they
follow toward our country is a good example. And that is how friendship is
formed and consolidated. And this can really be called cooperation and
friendship between two countries. [applause]

That is why for many years we wanted to have the privilege of a visit by
Prime Minister Olof Palme to express to them these words of our people's
gratitude and recognition. [applause] and this is not done for a material
interest. It is simply in consideration of the gestures and policy they
have followed toward use. [applause] That is why yesterday in the capital
and today in Santiago de Cuba and tomorrow anywhere they visit, they were
received, are received and will be received with extraordinary
consideration. [applause]

My dear friend Olof Palme, in this place where we are now our revolutionary
struggle began almost 22 years ago. [applause] And what was then the ideas
of a handful of men and a part of our people, today are the ideas and
banners of the entire people, [applause] a united people, disciplined,
hard-working, unselfish, militant, revolutionary and internationalist.

Internationalism if one of our most sacred banners and we develop our
internationalist awareness by practicing internationalism, [applause] and
also by joining, to the extent of our capability, the task of cooperating
with and struggling for other peoples. This internationalist spirit is the
essence of our revolutionary ideals [applause] and we believe that this
event today has been inspired by those feelings and that internationalist
spirit, [applause] headed by the friendship between our two peoples.

We reaffirm to you our gratitude and the honor of your visit, and the
satisfaction for us and all Santiago people for having had the pleasure or
welcoming you to this city and receiving you at this historic place,
[applause] as it should be for a friend we respect and of whom we are very
fond. [applause]

With me, the people of Santiago and Cubans say: Long live the friendship
between the peoples of Sweden and Cuba! [shouts of "viva"] [applause] Long
live Prime Minister Olof Palme [shouts of "viva"] [applause] who has been a
firm standard-bearer of that friendship. Fatherland of death, we will win.
[shouts of "venceremos"] [applause]