Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


FL191630 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1458 GMI 19 Jul 81

[Text of speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at the main commemoration
of Children's Day, held in the Serrano suburb in Santo Domingo, Granma
Province, on 19 July--live]

[Text] Dear pioneers, dear comrade peasants and workers of the Sierra
[Maestra], dear comrades in Granma's party and people's government
leadership: When I was walking about a few minutes ago checking on the
temperature 1 asked you if you felt the heat and you told me that you did
not. Fortunately, although it is close to noon and the sun is directly
above us, the temperature is relatively cool this morning. It seems that
there is some sort of air conditioning in the Sierra.

No one can fail to notice that this place is full of memories for us and
that we are filled with satisfaction on commemorating here Children's Day,
which is the same as saying Pioneers' Day. We could not fail to think and
remember how from very early times and throughout our struggle in these
mountains--even then--the question of educating the new generation was
fundamental for us. Our combatants in these mountains were already dreaming
of schools and teachers. Indeed, the echoes of the shooting had hardly died
down, when very early in 1959, teachers started to arrive in the mountains.
These were volunteer teachers because in those times we did not have
available that wealth of young teachers ready to go anywhere that we do

The revolution has certainly concerned itself a great deal with the new
generation. The revolution has tried to do much for the new generation. In
the course of these years, thousands and thousands of schools of all kinds
have been built for this new generation: elementary schools, secondary
schools, technological schools, polytechnics, schools for nurses,
teachers--schools of all kinds. Hundreds and hundreds of new children's
care centers were built for this new generation. Many universities were
built in the country for this new generation. Our glorious Union of Young
Communists was created for the revolutionary and political organization and
education of this new generation. Our mighty pioneers organization was
created for this new generation.

Educational installations were not only built but also recreational
installations called "learning-recreational" centers, for this new
generation. Tens and tens of hospitals, dispensaries, polyclinics,
pediatric centers were created for this new generation, for the health of
this new generation. Many of our most skilled doctors work for this new
generation. Campaigns against diseases were created and organized for this
new generation. Many diseases affecting children were eradicated from this
country as a result of these campaigns.

In short, the revolution spared no efforts in any area. And owing to these
efforts, we are able to say that infant mortality in our country is lower
than in any other Latin American country, and undoubtedly lower than in any
other country in the Third World.

As I was telling you, in addition to this enormous effort, various
installations were set up for the recreation, for the welfare of the
pioneers. Pioneer camps were built in several places in our country. They
are used not only during holidays but also in the course of the school
terms in the learning-recreational plans. At present we have 19 pioneer
camps of various sizes where more than 400,000 pioneers participate each
year. The palaces and centers were also built for them. Tens of thousands
participate in them. But despite all the efforts, we are aware that there
is still a lot we must do, that we could do more. Of course, we are not a
rich country and each thing we do for the children costs a lot. The costs
are in economic and material resources. And that is why we cannot build all
the pioneer palaces that we would like to. I think that we only have 32
palaces and centers. Our fervent desire is to one day see a pioneers palace
in each municipality of the country.

Our fervent desire is to see pioneers camps in all the country's provinces.
But that will only be possible through our work in the course of time.

In this 5-year period when the country has to use many of its resources in
solving important problems; when it still has to build more schools,
centers, hospitals; when it has to push housing programs, and when; above
all, it has to foment economic development programs, there is not a lot
available for camps and palaces.

There are plans, however, to build a pioneers palace in Pinar del Rio,
another in Holguin, another on the Isle of Youth, one in Jovellanos as a
reward for its outstanding role in the pioneers organization. There are
also plans to build a pioneers camp in the area of Santiago de Cuba. This
is not a lot. It shows that we will have to wait some more time to be able
to have all the palaces, centers and camps that we would like and need so
that practically all pioneers may participate in these activities.

But it also shows that we have to use our imagination, that initiatives
must be developed, because if for the time being we cannot build a pioneers
palace in each municipality with all the required facilities, with all the
required resources, it is always possible, with the effort of the party,
the people's government and mass organizations, to find a house, provide it
with a number of facilities and create a small, provisional pioneers palace
until we can have a big one. [applause] And it should be called a palace,
whether big or small; because even if it is only a small house, it will
always be a palace as long as it is a place for children. [applause]

Imagination must be used and initiatives developed. And that is why we were
so enthusiastic and happy and eager to help in this new idea that the
pioneers had been experimenting with for some time: the brilliant idea of
centers for pioneer scouts. [applause] And we were telling ourselves, we do
not have the resources right now to fill the country with big, costly
buildings like pioneers palaces or camps in the style of the pioneers
palace in the capital or the Ismaelillo camp. But if we learn to take
advantage of the areas, the natural resources of our splendid country and
we learn to use local resources and we learn to win over the cooperation of
state organs and mass organizations, we can develop many centers of
pioneers scouts. That is why we were very pleased and enthusiastic when we
heard of the place and type of installation where we would celebrate
Children's Day this year.

On the occasion of this date, something has always been inaugurated, such
as a new stage of Jose Marti School City, or the Ismaelillo camp in the
center of the country, or the Ernesto Guevara Pioneers' Palace, or the 26
de Julio International Camp at Varadero. And when we were thinking over
where and how we would celebrate this date, we decided that no place could
be better than the Sierra Maestra. [applause] And at no better
establishment than a scouting pioneers center. [applause] So this is
exactly what we are doing today.

With very scarce resources and very little expenditure of materials, using
local resources, occasionally palm trees--because the palm tree can also be
used, as has been shown, in beautiful building structures--these one or
two-storied cottages and the natural museum have been built, also using
unsawn lumber and the help of the people's government, the voluntary work
of the Granma youth, the effort of the workers and the peasants and the
enthusiastic cooperation from this splendid brigade of road builders
[applause] who are also so rapidly building that difficult and important
road that leads from Provindencia to Alto del (Garango) and which will
probably then continue to the southern coast, thus becoming one of the most
beautiful and historically most important highways of the country.

Thanks to this, we are now able to celebrate this event with over 2,000
people present at this site of Santo Domingo. I know the effort made by the
construction workers to finish in time, knowing that this ceremony would
take place at the middle of July--and it should be mentioned that on this
date those workers have already fulfilled the plan of the year. [applause]
However, they will not stop as long as there is a road to be built in the
Sierra Maestra.

With the help of all, farm workers, cultural and historical institutions, I
repeat it, with the cooperation of everyone and with a minimum of
expenditure this splendid center has been created and today we are
inaugurating its first stage, with its history house, its Jose Marti Plaza,
museum of natural sciences, guest houses, kitchen and dining room and other
various installations. The idea is to continue the work to finish it at the
end of this year.

A scouting center is not the same as a pioneers' palace. There they
organize their circles, carry out activities according to their interests
and vocations and the needs of the country. The camps are used during
vacations or during the school year as centers of recreation. But I believe
that there are few things we can create of such importance as these
scouting centers. We have even been told that the pioneers themselves who
go to Jose Marti School City often prefer the scouting centers that are in
the vicinity of the camps. And in fact, if we want to be ready for life, if
we wish to become ready for everything in order to face any tight or
difficult situation or meet all difficulties and successfully solve any
situation, there is nothing that can help us better or teach us as much as
the centers of scouting pioneers. [applause]

I remember that one of the things I liked best was scouting. I could hardly
see a hill without feeling the temptation to climb it, and I not only felt
the temptation but decided to climb the hill. When I was a boy, one of the
things I liked best was to cross rivers, climb mountains and be in contact
with nature. But this was something we had to do as amateurs through our
own initiative. We had no hammocks or nylon or country cottages or any of
the implements which the scouts now have, or even instructors to teach us.
We got wet, slept on the ground and had to face great difficulties in our
scouting activities. I was remembering that when you honored me by giving
me this scouts' booklet. [applause] I can tell you that one of the first
sports to which I dedicated myself was scouting.

A camp for scouts or a scouting center is not a place to remain; it is a
base for moving, for organizing excursions. If there is a river such as
this beautiful Yara River here, it can be used; if there is another river
at some other place, it can be used. All around this place are mountains.
Not far away there is the Turquino, so this is an excellent center from
which excursions can be made to learn how to live in direct contact with
nature, how to set up a hammock and take it down again, how to build a
nylon roof or a roof of palm logs, how to fit together and take down a
camping cottage. During a demonstration for us before the ceremony began we
could see how a boy, lying blindfolded in a hammock, got up in a few
seconds, put on his shoes, gathered his towel and blanket and put them in
his knapsack, untied the hammock, folded it, put it in the knapsack, put on
his canteen and his knapsack and was ready, all in a few seconds. It was
impressive. [applause] We saw how a boy can develop this skill. We saw
others who set up and took down a camping cottage in a few seconds and
others who thoroughly knew the rules of how to organize a camp and solve
all difficulties with natural resources, how cooking is organized, how the
materials available in the countryside are used to solve all these

This is a highly useful training for our life which we had to learn all by
ourselves when we lived in the mountains, because during the first few
months we had no hammocks, not a single hammock or anything else. Sometimes
we lay down on the mountain slope and woke up 3 or 4 meters lower, all wet
from humidity and dew. We had to endure all the showers that poured down,
and there are usually plenty of them in these mountains. I would say that
the three great inventions which made it possible for us to adapt ourselves
to these mountains and to live as though we were part of them were the
hammock, nylon and cooking in the field. At first, when we were already
more than 20 people, we had to wait until we reached a house in order to
eat, because there might be a pot there and something to cook in it. At
that time most houses were empty because of the terror, particularly at the
beginning; but after we learned to put some butter, a little salt and rice,
a few bananas or anything else in our knapsacks and take that along with
us, we only had to build a fire, fetch water and then cook wherever we
stopped for the night. From that time we became very mobile; we could
remain for 10 days without being seen by anyone, make long reconnaissances
and use the tactically best places for our struggle. Thus, this ability to
sleep in the forest; cook in the forest, adapt ourselves to the forest was
a decisive thing without which we would not have been able to wage the war.

At counting centers the pioneers learn how to handle emergency situations,
including emergency treatment of injuries. In reality one would like to see
all boys and girls enjoy that joy, that pleasure and at the same time
acquire such useful knowledge. If we would find ourselves forced to fight
again, then how valuable it would be to have learned first how to live in
the woods and on the mountains, to be able to find directions, to find any
place, to know how to read a map.

There are very few joys greater than those which nature can offer a man.
Precisely because of this notion and, above all, inspired by the experience
of the scouting pioneers' centers, the idea was born to promote this a
little more among youth and adults. How are the vacation problems to be
solved? We have to abandon the old concepts; we must abandon the idea that
vacations can be spent only at the beaches, that vacations can be spent
only at Varadero. This cannot be achieved even in the year 2050 or even in
3000. We would have to build hundreds of thousands of homes at the beaches
if we were to follow the old concepts. In fact, we have to build hundreds
of thousands of homes, but not at the beaches: in the cities, in the
countryside and near the factories in order to solve the current problems.
We must not think of building much at the beaches for vacations, while
knowing, for instance, that on this very mountain there are hundreds of
teachers who do not have even a cottage in which to live, while knowing
that there are hundreds of thousands of workers and peasant families who
have serious housing problems.

Apart from this, there would not be enough beaches for 10 million citizens
to visit during the months of July and August, which are vacation months.
Anyone will understand that this is not the solution of this mass problem.
We can find a solution, if we develop camping and excursions; because then
we take care of it with a hammock, a knapsack, a piece of nylon, a
countryside cottage. According to these ideas and without any publicity
whatever, we have been working with the Communist Youth comrades on the
organization in the Pinar del Rio mountains and forests of the first youth
and workers' camps. Funds have been set aside for countryside cottages,
hammocks, nylon and transport. Successful experiments are being made over
weekends and we are preparing to do it on a larger scale during the months
of July and August.

Conditions have certainly been created through the efforts of the party and
youth in Pinar del Rio, who have enthusiastically been cooperating with the
Communist Youth in this activity. Nothing has been said about this and we
did not want to talk about it, because we like to do as the pioneers did
when they made their first experiments with these scouting centers.

Anyway, something is being done in this direction and experience is being
gathered in the western part of the country and the intention is the
transfer of this experience to the other provinces. Of course, some funds
are needed, but very few. A camp can be set up in a grove of firs of
(lapifolia), on a mountain, beside a dam, along a river and a weekend can
be spent there and during the vacation period, even a week or 10 days or
even 2 weeks.

I would say that they have attractions you cannot find at the beach itself
and are very economical to operate. They do not require additional large
amounts of products from the country, because the visitors can take their
own food and prepare it there. That is the idea we were trying to develop.
It has finally come up as a result of experience. It has emerged from these
pioneer scouting centers. We are planning to continue developing them

Lamentably this year, during the past few months, we were forced to suspend
the activity. We will explain why later. I believe we cannot do anything
better than prepare the children, educate them in these types of activities
which are the only ones our fatherland, our people, can come up with to
solve the problem of vacations for millions of people. That is why this
center is important. It is not the only one. We already have one in
Matanzas, another in Havana, another in Guantanamo. Various provinces are
working on this and it is expected that during this year and next several
of these centers will be in operation. At least there will be one in each

Undoubtedly, this center here in Santo Domingo is excellent. Nature is
impressive in these mountains because of the greenery, beauty, might. The
road being built to this place undoubtedly makes it possible for the
traveler to enjoy one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. But
this pioneer scouting center has been privileged in being located not only
close to the Sierra Maestra Mountain Range, the highest mountains in the
country, but in one of the most important and historic areas of our
revolutionary war.

It was soon after the start of the war when we reached this area of Santo
Domingo in 1957. The first victorious battle of the rebel army took place
not far from here at the mouth of La Plata River. The second victorious
battle took place in a place which also is near the Calma Mocha River. We
can say that this was a center of operations. We crossed here many times.
In many instances we set up death traps for the enemy in this area. Many
times there were battles. But this area had very special prominence during
the months of June and July 1958 during the last military offensive of the
tyranny, which launched an attack of some 10,000 troops against the Sierra

At the time our forces did not even number 200 armed men. At the time
Almeida's, Guillermo Ramiro's and Camilo's forces had not yet joined. Some
of the enemy's best troops entered precisely through here. They were also
very brutal, the most repressive. This can be demonstrated by the plaques
bearing the names of peasants cruelly murdered by them. They reached this
area. This was the last place they were able to reach in their offensive,
the closest to Radio Rebelde and the general headquarters which was located
about 2 kms from here in a straight line. The mortar fire could reach Radio
Rebelde from where the enemy was located.

With very few men, practically squads, it was necessary to defend all
entrances to the general headquarters and Radio Rebelde at a time when we
were being attacked from many directions on the Sierra Maestra, at the
Jibacoa Plains, at Merino on the northern side, on the western side, on the
south, in every direction. It was precisely here where an annihilating blow
was dealt to the tyranny at the end of the month of July, destroying an
entire company of one of their battalions with only 18 of our men who were
reinforced during the evening hours by 15 more. The company was surrounded
by a 12-man platoon in the front and 6 men who attacked it at the rear. A
large number of casualties were reported, as well as a large number of
prisoners taken. More than 50 weapons were seized in 24 hours of fighting.
Those weapons were extraordinarily valuable for us because we had many
recruits, but no weapons. This made it possible for us to create a shock
force with which we dealt fierce blows to the enemy in following weeks
until we defeated it and forced it to abandon the Sierra Maestra in a wild
retreat. In July there was another battle here. It was a fierce battle here
and all along the Yara River. Various comrades who had great merits fought
and gave their lives here. One that comes to mind was a worker, a miner and
an excellent soldier. He was Ramon Paz. He was disciplined, very
courageous. He carried out [applause] many feats in the offensive battles.
He lost his life during the last battles of Santo Domingo at the end of

It is not my intention to talk much about those events. I simply want to
say that this place played a very important role and has an enormous
historic value because it was the focal point at a very critical, most
difficult and most decisive moment of our revolutionary war. [applause]

Granma Province has many historic places in connection with the yacht,
which is why it is named Granma, and in connection with our revolutionary
struggle. Granma Province has within its jurisdiction the exact place where
Radio Rebelde was located and where the general headquarters was located
during the final days of the war. The general headquarters was created
after the offensive began while the rebel army counter offensive was being
prepared along the length and breadth of the country. But Radio Rebelde was
always there. That was during the last 10 months of the war. Radio Rebelde
played a fundamental role and it was one of the enemy's objectives. The
enemy wanted to capture Radio Rebelde and destroy it, capture our
factories, capture our hospital and capture the general headquarters camp.

The enemy was not able to do this despite the enormous efforts it made.
This could be a subject of discussion because, according to the
jurisdiction established in the political-administrative division, I
believe that Radio Rebelde was located on the dividing line between
Santiago and Granma. Apparently, due to the lack of communications in this
area, Santiago's jurisdiction was extended along the southern coast. But
something else could be said. In topographic and geographic terms, if the
dividing line is the Sierra Maestra's highest point, the general
headquarters camp was located a few meters more to the south, thus it could
provoke an annoying disagreement in jurisdiction over that area between
Granma and Santiago de Cuba Provinces.

But this would be senseless because that place is very far from Santiago
and has its own means of communications and access to Manzanillo, Bayamo.
With this road, it will be that much more so. That is why it is logical for
Granma Province to be responsible for that area. Granma has been doing it
historically. [applause] On the other side there are other important places
also, such as the battle of Jigue, which is south from this place; the
battles that took place between Jigue, and La Plata; the battles of La
Plata, among them the first victorious battle fought by the rebel army.

The great historic wealth of this area is unquestionable. Even though our
interest in this area is not that great, undoubtedly as time goes by the
new generations will show great interest in these episodes which they did
not experience. Possibly those who show less interest in history are
precisely those who lived it. Those who come later are the ones who show an
extraordinary interest in learning about those things which they did not
personally witness. If at the time we were on the Sierra, we would have
thought about history, perhaps not a single document would have been lost.
We would have saved mementos of all types, photos, everything. But no one
thought about that. That is why we are impressed when we visit a museum and
observe a photograph, or a memento of those days, or a rifle, a weapon,
something. Nobody thought about that in those days. The fundamental task
was to fight and defeat the enemy.

A very enthusiastic, responsible and hard-working group of comrade
historians has investigated everything that took place on the Sierra
Maestra. They have interviewed thousands of peasants, participants in the
battles, both rebel army soldiers and enemy soldiers, and have accumulated
an enormous amount of historic data. Actually, some times I ask them: Do
you remember where a certain battle, an action, something took place?
Because sometimes they know more than we do about battles in which we
participated, because we know what happened on our side, but they know
about both sides.

They know what happened to the enemy through the statements they have
accumulated. In that manner they have prepared data which is reliable and
very valuable on the history of our revolutionary war. This is a great help
when organizing a museum. They know all the actors and all the main events.

That is one wealth of our people, our province which may arouse interest in
what can be called historic tourism. We could also talk about excursions
for historic purposes, about those who come here for that purpose. It has
that advantage of historic nature. I am referring to this area and this
center. In addition, undoubtedly if one wants to enjoy an excursion to
Turquino Mountain--according to our experience--it is not good to climb it
from Ocujal, where one has to walk without the aid of vegetation, with very
warm temperatures a great portion of the way, having to climb nearly 2,000
meters and having to come down on the same day. If one wants to conduct a
real excursion to the Turquino, the most advisable thing to do is do it
through this area. If one wants, it can also be done up the river through a
place called La Jeringa, close to a peak which is second to Turquino or
third to Turquino, the one called El Joaquin. But a useful excursion which
would really allow one to enjoy camping would be to start at the Sierra
Maestra at El Naranjo, walk 3 days and camp twice on the way--if one wants,
camp only once.

In my judgment the best route the one being used by the comrades of the
Society for Patriotic-Military Education [SEPMI]--which is doing excellent
work with our youngsters and youths and which will have a camp for 300 in
an area close to this center, sharing kitchen facilities with the pioneers
scouting center.

The SEPMI comrades are already using that route to climb Turquino. Thus, it
is possible that this will possibly become the most frequently used area
for climbing Turquino. If one wants to visit the Sierra, if one wants to
visit the mountains, undoubtedly this is the best route. I also believe
that this area will have tourist value; historic tourism and tourism for
learning about nature and recreational purposes. Therefore, there are many
values in this place.

Here, facing our mountains one can realize how man and nature itself change
the landscape. It is not the same landscape now. During the years of the
war, that mountain directly facing us was different. It was largely covered
by woods, and that was lucky for us because it helped us to hide and
camouflage our trenches, our positions, our defenses. Subsequently, man has
caused some reduction in the density of the woods in this area. Nature,
through Hurricane Flora has also caused important changes in the river
valley, broadening the river bed, extending the sandy and rocky areas.
Undoubtedly there have been changes caused by man and nature in this

These changes cause sorrow because many trees have been cut down and very
few have been planted. Very few have been planted. Historically,
latifundium and unemployment forced thousands of families to come to these
mountains and the cultivation technology was to cut down the trees. The
lumber was not even used. It was burned. Vegetables were planted for a few
years. Then another area of the woods was cut down. Sometimes coffee was
planted after root vegetable and the coffee plantations remained, but the
woods continued to disappear. Some of the wildest areas were La Plata,
Palmi Mocha, Turquino. But after the revolution, there has been some
reduction in the density of the woods.

We know the mountain problems, the various problems. It is an area where
solutions are not easy to find. An expensive road helps the neighbors close
to it, but if it is in another valley, it does not help them at all because
of the distance and mountains in between. Communications are difficult. The
schools are difficult to reach. In this province we have 465 primary
schools, some with very few students and teachers enduring difficult
conditions. Some 1,200 teachers work on these mountains, that is just in
Granma Province. We know the province, the efforts of the party and
people's government to improve conditions in the schools--even in new
schools, conditions of safety, sanitary conditions, the problems of
furniture, the teachers' living conditions.

We have encouraged them to continue to develop those tasks. We also know
about the efforts being made by Granma Province to develop the cooperative
movement on the mountains. On the mountains we believe the ideal production
system is the cooperative because it is very difficult to use a big
bulldozer, a big tractor, in airplane, a harvester. The work is mostly done
by the hands of peasants. The area does not have the ideal conditions for a
state enterprise. The forms of individual production are not adequate
either, because each person wants to plant in its minimum coffee, cacao,
root vegetables and raise cattle. If they get together, they can designate
in area for milk production, this for self-consumption, that for coffee,
this for cacao, that for forestry purposes. I believe that the mountain
peasantry play a fundamental role and the cooperatives on the mountains
play an essential role in the afforestation of the Sierra Maestra.

We have to come up with methods, systems, ways of encouraging those
cooperatives to plant trees and begin recovering the wealth destroyed by
decides of irrational exploitation of the mountains. these mountains have
to recover all their beauty, all their wealth; and this can only be
accomplished with the work of man. This is one more reason for encouraging
the creation of these scouting centers which develop a love for nature, the
consciousness of preserving the environment, for knowing nature, protecting
it and developing it.

Comrades: Because of these circumstances, this ceremony has a special
significance. We talked about what we have done, what the revolution has
done for the children. It would be difficult to find another country where
so much has been done for the children and the new generations in so very
few years. They will continue to have the attention of our party and our

Today we are facing the painful fact of the epidemic that appeared in
recent weeks, the so-called dengue, virus No 2 of dengue. It has been bad
and aggressive. The country has been forced to carry out a great effort to
counteract its effects. Our physicians, health workers, nurses, technicians
and service workers became involved in a great effort which we will discuss
on another occasion. But since this epidemic affects mainly--affects adults
and children, but it is more dangerous in children--we have adopted a
number of measures aimed at fighting the risk of infection and at
protecting the children. That is why we were painfully forced to suspend
many pioneer activities this year, with the exception of Jose Marti School
City and the international camp, where we were able to adopt exceptional
measures to reduce to zero the number of mosquitoes in that area. A
satisfactory number of pediatricians and resources were assigned to that
area to take care of any number of cases of children who arrived sick from
home, and thanks to this we were able to save the vacations of those
children--some 70,000 to 90,000 children--who were visiting the Jose Marti
camp; and we have had excellent results so far thanks to the efforts of the
physicians, the pioneer organizations and the Union of Young Communists.

The 26 July International Camp is already in operation. We did not have
enough resources to adopt similar measures in other camps; therefore, it
became necessary to suspend all activities in the rest of the camps. It was
necessary to suspend this year's school games in which thousands and
thousands of children from all provinces would have participated. It was
necessary to suspend the national meeting of study circles of scientific
and technical interest. It was necessary to suspend the plan about which we
were talking, the July and August plan, the vacation plan for youths. For
this reason, our experiment will be delayed 1 more year. The July and
August experience of this year was very important for the goals we were
examining. Certainly, we have had to accept the sacrifice of many
activities of the pioneers. We will not be discouraged by this, though. The
revolution knows how to face difficulties and problems. We are fighting the
epidemic successfully. The daily number of cases luckily continues to
diminish. Yes, it has diminished in recent days. The number of cases has
been reduced in recent days by approximately half. We are fighting it
resolutely and we will defeat it. No one should doubt this. But it would be
good to talk about this on another occasion.

What I want to say is that we will not be discouraged, that we will
continue to work very hard in all activities related to the formation of
our new generations and with children. If this year we have not been able
to have school games, in future years we will have more brilliant and
better ones. If this year we have not been able to have vacations for the
children at the camps, we will have them in future years for more children
and still better. We will have our scientific and technical study circles.
We will have our scouting centers. Life rewards those who work and we have
made great efforts for this country's children, for their well-being, for
their happiness. We have reaped great harvests but they will be better in
the future.

I wish to take this opportunity to convey the most fraternal, the most
loving and, we should say, the most paternal greetings to all children in
our country, [applause] to all pioneers, including those who are sick in
pediatric hospitals under the care of our physicians because of the
epidemic. [applause] Congratulations and success! Congratulations to all
children! Congratulations to their teachers, to their professors, to their
guides, to their instructors, to their mighty organization which has a
membership of 2,111,000 children in our country! [applause] Congratulations
to our youths who have given so much of themselves to the attention, to the
educational, political, patriotic and revolutionary education of our
children! [applause] Congratulations on behalf of our party, our
revolutionary government, the old combatants present here! Congratulations
on behalf of the heroes of the past, of the heroes of the present and of
the heroes of the future! Fatherland or death, we shall win! [Castro
returns to the microphone to add something]

I want to say something more. We have to give a name to the camp I
mentioned here... allow me to make a proposal. I believe it is very just.
It is related with the place, history, battles of the war. I propose that
the camp be given the name of that heroic comrade I mentioned who died on a
date close to today 23 years go, Ramon Paz. [applause]