Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PL191800 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2225 GMT 17 Jul 83

[Speech by President Fidel Castro to commemorate Children's Day at a
Pioneers and Explorers Center in Havana on 17 July--live]

[Text] Dear friend Amadou Mahtar M'Bow, director of UNESCO, distinguished
guests, comrade leaders of the party, state and youth, dear pioneers: It
was not long ago that we gathered together near this site to commemorate
Children's Day. Today we get together again with some new things.

But besides this beautiful Pioneer Explorer Center we are inaugurating
today, we have the honor of having our esteemed friend M'Bow, director of
UNESCO, who is visiting us to declare Old Havana a monument, [Castro
changes thought] or rather as the heritage of mankind. [applause] He is
conducting a tour, not only of Cuba but of other countries, but it is very
significant that he wanted to be here with the Cuban children today. This
is a great honor for us if we consider the outstanding role that UNESCO has
been playing in promoting education and culture throughout the world.

We have received many signs of support from UNESCO and its director. Today
we can add the great honor of receiving this commemorative medal of the
200th anniversary of the birth of Simon Bolivar, both because of what Simon
Bolivar has meant and means to all Latin American people as well as what
UNESCO and its director mean to us. This commemorative medal constitutes a
great honor which we accept on behalf of our people and--we should say
especially--on behalf of our children. [applause] This honor belongs to our
people, the young generation, and the pioneers because they have been
called on to carry forward the work of the revolution, of Marti, and of
Bolivar. [applause]

I also appreciate very much these titles you comrade pioneers have bestowed
on me. This is of the Pioneer Troops, no? The TEREPI [expansion unknown].
And this one? [Castro speaking to the side] This is the explorers? The
truth is that I didn't remember. This is the second time I have received a
responsibility of this nature. Because when I was a student, a little older
than you, more or less in my third year of secondary education, a pioneer
movement was organized in the school. Well, it was not a pioneer but an
explorer movement. Today we would call it pioneer explorers.

One day, following a series of activities--I believe it was at the end of
the year--they appointed me chief of the school's explorers. [applause] I
used to love to climb mountains, cross rivers, explore nature, run through
the countryside, organize the camp site wherever night would overtake us,
eat what we could, and spend several days in the forest. This contact with
nature, the mountains, and these experiences cane in very handy later
because it helped me to think during the guerrilla struggle by making use
of the environment as our Mambises had done in the struggle against
tyranny. Therefore, the experience I gained as an explorer helped me
considerably. I believe the experiences had quite a bit of influence in
conceptualizing the tactics of our last national liberation struggle.

As I have told you on other occasions, perhaps you do not realize the
importance of being prepared for any contingency in life, no matter how
difficult it may seem. You have just given a very beautiful demonstration
of that, regarding the history of our country. From the beginning of the
wars for independence, through the Baragua protest, and up to the taking of
Moncada Barracks, you pioneers from the armed forces circles of interest
gave a magnificent demonstration this afternoon. And this should show you
that our wars for liberations, from the very first through the last, were
waged in the countryside.

Our people lived in the mountains and the plains, completely at one with
nature. During our first war for liberation, they had to live for 10 years
doing the same thing that the pioneer explorers do today, sleeping in
hammocks; cooking food under very primitive conditions; enduring rain,
heat, problems, the war, diseases, and hardships of all kinds.

And as you have expressed a desire to be good patriots, good revolutionary
soldiers, to be worthy successors of the current generation, this knowledge
you are acquiring will help you to prepare for this. Moreover, it will help
you to have greater self confidence to overcome difficulties and problems.

For 25 months our rebel army did the sane things you are doing now and
lived under the same conditions you are living now at explorer centers. We
did however have a disadvantage: although some of us were explorers and
peasants, initially we did not have the knowledge you are acquiring at
these explorer centers.

To tell you the truth, at the beginning we did not use hammocks. At that
time we had not yet managed to satisfy our needs to get some rest. We
thought we could sleep on the ground. Well, we were ready to sleep on the
ground. During the first weeks, the first months, we did sleep on the
ground. As we were on the mountains, we sometimes lay down at foothills and
woke up 2 or 3 meters downhill. Without realizing it, we had slid down in
our sleep.

Then we rediscovered the use of hammocks, which represented a remarkable
improvement. Just imagine that on a rainy day, under a heavy rain, we
virtually had to sleep on the mud.

Our next great discovery was plastic material [nylon]. Thus, we found the
way to carry a "roof" in our knapsacks. When we already had hammocks and
plastic material, we were able to hang our hammocks, cover ourselves with
the plastic material an spend as long as 3 days in the rain.

Of course, sometimes the water ran through the rope and we got wet. Then we
applied a device to solve this problem: we tied knots on each side of the
rope to divert the water. Perhaps you already know this but in case you
still don't know I am telling you.

If you are camping in the forest on a rainy day, water will slip into your
hammock through the rope even if you have plastic material. You will then
have to solve this problem.

We also had to work hard to obtain food. We were able to eat when we were
close to a house where we could find pots and food. At first we did not
carry our food. If we did not find a house, then we could not eat. Then we
made another discovery: to carry a pot, some food ingredients, salt, a
little grease--if we could find it--rice and beans.

Sometimes we researched all day and at nightfall we set up our camp and
prepared our food. We no longer needed any house to cook. We started to
carry our own food and prepared it ourselves. This gave us great freedom of
movement; it allowed us to travel long distances without having to stop in
any house, without being spotted.

Basic things such as hammocks, plastic material, food in our knapsacks,
some cooking implements--either a pot or a bucket--and our cooking by
squads signified major improvements for us in our war of liberation.

You already know how to do all these and many other things. None of us knew
then what you know now. We, of course, did not have camping tents. But what
you can do now, blindfolded, jumping out of your hammocks, putting on your
shoes, rolling up your hammocks and tieing them up in a few minutes, this
we could not do then because no one had ever taught us how and because we
had never had the chance to learn. I am astonished at what you can do
during your camping exercises: how you cook, prepare the ground and even
build a little kitchen with a chimney.

Our main problem was precisely the fact that we could not cook during the
day because we had planes overflying the area all the time which could spot
us due to the smoke.

Watching you boil potatoes and other things in a makeshift kitchen causing
virtually no smoke, I said to myself: what great guerrilla fighters these
young pioneers could make given all their knowledge and experience. This is
really extraordinary.

I was also very satisfied to hear that more than 600,000 pioneers have
joined the movement of explorers. [applause]

A few years ago we did not have these activities. We could say that in the
early years of the revolution all our attention was focused on the
construction of schools, first in the literacy campaign which was carried
out with the participation of our students. Then came the construction of
schools, the training of teachers, the overall educational training of our
pioneers but we still did not have explorers centers for pioneers. We did
not have a single pioneers palace, camping or explorers centers.

A few years ago when we met, if I am not mistaken at the Lenin park or near
it, many of these things aid not exist. There was perhaps a pioneers
palace. It is remarkable to see how much progress we have made in recent

Our comrades of the party, mass organizations and the people's government
have responded to our call to bolster the construction of explorers camps,
centers and pioneers palaces. As a result of these efforts, today we have a
large number of facilities for pioneers.

Do you know how many explorers centers we have? Don't you know? Where is
little Maceo? The one involved in the Baragua protest. You...don't you know
now many explorers centers we have? Doesn't anyone know? Ah...there you
are, you are the one who impersonated Maceo. Yet you don't know how many
explorers centers we have, right? Let's see, how many? How many did you
say?, 98? Ah...61 including this one? Well, we already have 60
explorers centers. What do you think? I believe we did not have any 3 years
ago; now we have 60.

Do you know how many children can go to these facilities at the same time,
including their adult chaperons? Do you know how many explorers can go in
one single day? Nearly 14,000 pioneers can go these facilities on the same
day nationwide. Do you know how many explorers can go to these camps every
year? More than 500,000 explorers. Do you think this is a lot? Do you know
how many people have been to our explorers centers from September to this
date? You don't know...239,355 pioneers and adults. This is quite a large
number, isn't it? The construction of nine other centers is now under war.

Thus we will have 15,000, I mean 69 explorers centers which can accommodate
more than 15,000 pioneers-explorers.

As I said earlier, more than 600,000 pioneers have joined the movement of
explorers. We now have this center which is the 61st. You have seen it,
right? Have you visited this center, have you seen it? What do you think
about it? Is it nice? [Children shout: Yes]

It is beautiful, you say, but you seem to think that it is not too
beautiful [Children shout: Yes]. I believe the builders and the project
designer overdid it. Yes. This looks like a tourist center. It is extremely
nice. I believe this explorers center is extremely comfortable. It has a
tile roof, terrific kitchens. What? It looks like a hotel. [laughter] Then
if it looks like a hotel or a motel, it does not look like an explorers

I want to tell you what happened. As this explorers center is located near
the Lenin school, in the vicinity of the Lenin park, in the outskirts of
the botanical garden. This is a well developed area with many new
buildings, thus the project designers decided to build something which
would match the other buildings of this area of the city. Thus, instead of
putting a thatched roof they put a tile roof on this building.

It is no doubt very nice. But it seems to me that buildings at explorers
camping centers should have thatched roofs. Granted, granted that this has
turned out so sophisticated, as it is said, so nice, so beautiful but let
it be the only one with this type of architecture. No, no. Look we are not
building hotels for tourists, but let it be the only one as a special
concession to the type of architecture prevailing in this zone. Yet
thatched, not tile, roofs are the ones which truly reflect the lives of our
mambises, our rebels, our country life. We will leave this one the way it
is because it is already built. There is nothing we can do about it. Yet I
want to recommend the movement of explorers and our youth comrades that
explorers centers should have thatched roof buildings. We can have this as
a beautiful building but still use it.

The area chosen for this building is also no doubt wonderful. There are
many trees on the creek which surrounds the area at which this explorers
center was built. Its proximity to the botanical garden gives special
significance to this explorers center. We will not use it immediately. We
will start using it in approximately 2 months because we are studying how
well can those beams resist the added weight put on them.

A high-level committee of experts has already given assurances that the
center is safe. Yet to make it even safer, the committee recommended a
number of measures to strengthen the structures. It is also necessary to
work on the lawn since, through a great effort, this explorers center was
completed in a few weeks. Thus, we can still see traces of the construction
work, car tracks, and removed soil. This center will not be fully completed
until its lawn is also completed and until the reinforcement recommended by
the high level committee is completed. Had we put a thatched roof on it, we
wouldn't have these problems. But now it is our responsibility to make
these facilities 100 percent safe, by making whatever reinforcements might
be necessary to make it absolutely, fully safe.

Yet, there is no doubt that this camp is a marvel now that it is completed
and, despite my protests, it is very pretty, very sophisticated for a
pioneers-explorers center. Let it be recorded that we do not want other
cities to build a camp like this. This one is going to be the most
beautiful in Cuba, as far as buildings are concerned. It also has a
beautiful vegetation, almost unsurpassable. But, in my judgment, this is
not the type of ideal center for pioneers-explorers.

I hope you understand what I am saying. [Audience shouts: Yes.] Do you
understand? [Audience shouts: Yes.] Besides it is more expensive. With what
it costs to build an explorers center of this type, we could probably build
five centers. Is it not better that way? [Audience shouts: Yes.] Alright.

With reference to the pioneers camps, do you know how many camps we have?
Do you not know? You do not know anything. [laughter] Do you know there is
one; which one? What did you say is the name of the camp? [Audience shouts
something unintelligible] Tarara. Jose Marti. That is good. Sometimes the
same thing happens to me, I say Tarara, then I correct myself and say Jose
Marti. If it happens to me, that can be explained, but to you? You were
almost born in that pioneer's camp. That is the Jose Marti camp.

You know that it is the biggest in the country. Who has not been at the
Jose Marti camp? Let those who have been at the Jose Marti camp raise their
hands. All of you have been there. Let those who have been there more than
once raise their hand. I am not going to continue asking because everybody
will be raising their hands continuously.

That camp is used during school vacations, and also during school terms.
During school vacations, it is used for 1-week periods. During school
terms, it is used for 15-day periods. This summer, according to statistics
provided by the daily JUVENTUD REBELDE--and I read it a lot, sometime they
make me make mistakes... [leaves thought unfinished] I read in the report
on this explorers center that it had 3 square kilometers. I was surprised
and immediately called Comrade (Landi); later on, JUVENTUD REBELDE was
contacted to find out the size of this center.

I estimate that 3 square kilometers is bigger than 20 caballerias. The
explorers center has swallowed the botanical garden, how can that be
possible? The botanical garden gave up part of its land for the center, one
of the more beautiful sections, at least where there is more vegetation.
The botanical garden is very big, it has more than 50 caballerias.

But I said: 20 [caballerias], they must be crazy. I had not yet visited the
explorers center. Later on, they said the size was 6 hectares. Finally, I
learn the true figure. It was not like JUVENTUD REBELDE said. The size is 2
caballerias. The value of 2 caballerias here is very high. Two caballerias
is a good size. The botanical garden still has 42 caballerias.

I hope you will not take any more land away from the botanical garden. As I
said, according to the statistics provided by JUVENTUD REBELDE, 100,000
pioneers will visit the Jose Marti camp during the summer vacation. We
already have 22 pioneer camps. In the term that just concluded, almost
300,000 pioneers visited these camps. A new camp is under construction in
Holguin Province, and the one in Santiago de Cuba is being expanded. For
the next school term, we will have 23 camps, which will make it possible
for more than 465,000 pioneers to visit the camps annually.

We now have two things. I hope you will not forget the statistics I am
mentioning here, so that when someone asks you how many camps the pioneers
have and how many explorers centers, you will be able to answer correctly.
Now palaces of pioneers... you were wrong. There are 60 explorers centers
and 61 pioneers' palaces. There are 61 pioneers' palaces with a weekly
registration of 124,917 pioneers. There are 19 more palaces under
construction. Thus, for the next school term we will have some 80 pioneers'
palaces with a weekly registration of nearly 150,000 pioneers.

Some 68 municipalities in the country already have a pioneers' palace. In
recent years we have grown considerably in pioneers' palaces explorers
centers, pioneers camps, and in addition to that, what else do we have?
What other pioneer institution do we have? You do not know. What is that?
That is correct, it is the pioneer small camps. We have 52 pioneer small
camps in cooperatives, and 24 more are under construction.

A pioneer small camp will be inaugurated today in Matanzas Province at an
agricultural enterprise, that is the Lenin enterprise in Jovellanos. We
have in total 248 pioneer installations of all types with a capacity for
1.2 million pioneers.

This way we can guarantee that 80 percent of the pioneers from third grade
on will be able to visit these installations annually. That is, the
revolution has already built pioneer installations for the benefit of 80
percent of the country's pioneers. We will continue to work. We will
continue to build pioneer camps, explorers centers, pioneers' palaces,
pioneer small camps, and so forth until 100 percent of the pioneers are
able to participate in these activities.

This, of course, is not the only thing that the revolution has done for the
children, for the pioneers. As our small comrade Edith explained, many
schools and hospitals have been built for the children. That was the first
thing that was done. We also feel satisfied that on the 30th Moncada
anniversary commemoration and the upcoming commemoration of the 25th
anniversary of the revolution's triumph, we are able to say that all the
children in our country have schools, 100 percent of all the children in
the country. Not only do they have primary schools, but also have
secondary, preuniversity, polytechnic, and technological schools.

In addition, our educational system guarantees to outstanding students the
possibility of attending centers of higher education in any of the

In other words we have established an educational system which guarantees
unlimited possibilities for all children and adolescents, for all our
youth. We have to continue to work on that educational system. We still do
not have a good system. It is not good.

For example, not all our primary schools have all-day sessions [double
session]. We must have all-day sessions in primary schools. Do you agree?
[Children shout yes] Good! How many of you had all-day sessions in primary
school? Raise your hands. Only those who had all-day sessions. Good. How,
raise your hands if you did not have or do not have all-day sessions in
primary school. Of course, there are not many. But you are pioneers from
Havana City [Province] which I believe has 80 percent [in all-day session].
[Shouting from the children] What percentage is it? Ninety percent of the
primary school pupils in Havana City [Province] are already attending
all-day sessions. Urban pre-university students do not have all-day
sessions. Another thing concerns the secondary schools in the countryside
and pre-university schools in the countryside. Now, how many of you are in
secondary schools? Raise your hands. You are from urban secondary schools,
correct? All of you. How many of you have all-day sessions? None of you.
Good. And what do you think of that? What do you do when you have no
afternoon classes? In the city of Havana? What do you do? [Children shout]
You study? All of you study when you do not have all-day sessions?
[Children shout] No, but we are speaking seriously. [laughter] You
participate in sports too? Of course, and what else? And you stroll through
the city too, correct? [Children shout] Quite a bit. What do you think
about all-day sessions? [Children shout] No, we include sports and
organized activities. Would all-day sessions be better in secondary
schools? [Children shout] You would learn more. And wouldn't your parents
be more pleased and be less concerned if they know you are in school?
[Children shout Yes] Of course.

We are talking about the future. We cannot do it at this time because we do
not have enough school buildings. But we are planning for the future. Since
we cannot build schools in the countryside for all middle-level students,
let us have all-day sessions for urban secondary and pre-university
schools. We will not achieve this for years but it is our goal. That is why
I say that our educational system still requires additional efforts to
improve it. Do you know what you want to study: [Children shout Yes]
because I want to ask a question. How many of you are going to become
teachers? Raise your hands. [Children shout] There are some, a sufficient
number of you. You will not? And you, what are you going to study? You. You
are going to be a lawyer? Good. Are you going to be a judge, prosecutor, or
what. Lawyer.

And for example, who is going to take engineering? [Children shout] Oh,
that is very good news, very good news indeed. Now, I hope you know that
you will have to study hard. You have to study hard because you may only
begin university studies based on your record, according to your school
grades. Now, raise your hands if you are going to study medicine. Well, we
have a good number of you. Very good. But I hope you know you will have to
study hard if you are hoping to become part of the medical sciences
detachment because they are also selected on the basis of their grades,
conduct, and so forth.

Are you certain that whatever you want to study you can study? [Children
shout yes] Why? [Children shout] Now, do all children and youth of Latin
America have the same opportunity you have? [Children shout no]
Unfortunately no, unfortunately there is still too much illiteracy, many
children without schools, without hospitals, and so forth. The revolution
has also concerned itself with your health. I believe that you are also
concerned, correct? [Children shout yes] And I hope that you are
cooperating with all the programs to protect your health.

We have built many pediatric hospitals. We are going to build more
hospitals and polyclinics. We have built intensive care rooms in all
pediatric hospitals of the country. We have substantially reduced infant
mortality. We have eradicated many diseases which had affected our
children. The first of these diseases was polio, a disease which had really
been a scourge for our homeland. These conditions do not exist in all of
Latin America. There are many children who lack polyclinics, doctors, or
hospital care.

It is also very satisfying that, as we approach the 30th anniversary, we
can say that the health of our country's children is guaranteed. There are
also other institutions which we have been developing for the enjoyment of
our population, particularly the children.

Lenin Park is nearby. I am sure there are many of you here who have visited
Lenin Park. Raise your hand if you have visited Lenin Park. All of you.
Now, raise your hand if you have visited the zoo. All of you. But which
zoo, the old or the new one? [Children shout] No, you have not seen the new
one. [Children shout] No, which one is that? That is the old one. That is
the old one, rejuvenated if you will, but still the old one. [Children
shout] You have been to the new one? When? [Child answers] Oh yes, you are
from that group that was over there [words indistinct]. I remember now. You
and your little group went, but the rest of you, when I spoke to you
earlier did not know that a new zoo was being built. That zoo has been
under construction for many years, slowly. It has many lions, elephants and
[Castro interrupted]. What? Tigers? It has a bunch of tigers. It has all
the animals. It is missing some giraffes but they are coming.

Now, we have been building that zoo for many years. It is not finished yet,
I give you fair warning. Did you like it? You like it, correct? In that zoo
the animals run loose. Yes, loose, but don't be afraid. The animals do run
loose. The tigers, lions, and all the animals run loose. Each of the
animals is in his area, but running loose. Of course. Do you want to hear
some information about the zoo? [Children shout yes] Well, I have some
information here because I thought you might be interested to know that the
zoo will open this year. But it is not finished yet. However, the animals
have been there for a long time and we are not going to wait until it is
completely finished,"because it has been a long time. Those lions eat a lot
of horse meat and eat a lot of food, so we have to get some use out of

Well, regarding the zoological park, I can tell you that we have many works
completed. And in the area called the reproduction zone we have over 900
animals. We have acquired most of these animals through trades with other
zoos. Still other animals were born in the park. The zoo has camels,
zebras, rhinoceroses, hippopotanuses, antelopes, tigers, hyenas, and so
forth. We are going to acquire a few more this year, the giraffes among

Now listen to this. As a fundamental principle, the National Zoological
Park exhibits the animals in conditions similar to the one they have in
their natural habitat, without any type of construction, or visible
artificial restraints, and they can be seen roaming freely. That is why the
construction of this type of facility is not easy. Each animal species has
special requirements that must be taken into consideration.

This year the maintenance and service area will be inaugurated. This area
will provide support to everything that is being built. The breeding area,
where all the animals we have are being kept--all well acclimatized--will
be completed this year. The African prairie, where in an area of 6
caballerias some 150 African animals, such as elephants, giraffes, zebras,
rhinoceroses, antelopes, buffalo, ostrick and so forth, will live, will be
inaugurated this year.

All these animals will be seen from buses which will travel around the
park. In each of those buses there will be a guide who will explain what is
being seen. It will not be necessary to walk. There will be buses specially
built for that purpose.

The lion exhibit is an old quarry where from 40 to 50 lions will live free
to roam as they please. This exhibit will have a tunnel through which
special buses will travel around these majestic and ferocious animals. At
the top of the wall, there will be a large mirador looking toward the
exhibit. Those who do not want to take the bus ride, can use the mirador.
This is nothing new. In Africa, we visited a similar zoo in Tanzania. All
the animals are roaming around freely in that zoo.

In our zoo the lions are not going to be together with the antelopes or
zebras, but in that park in Tanzania they are. Over there, a natural
balance exists. Once in a while the lions eat an antelope or a zebra, but
the number of antelopes and zebras being born every year is such that they
are replaced. They live in a state of balance as nature meant it to be.

Now in our zoo, the lions will be roaming freely, but not with the other
animals. If they begin eating zebras and antelopes, we will have no zebras
and no antelopes. They will be free, let us say together but not that
close. The lions will have their area, which is an old quarry. It is very
interesting. I have not been briefed very clearly as to what would happen
if the bus stops among the lions. If the engine stops, what would happen?
Of if the bus has a flat tire? All of that could happen. I imagine all this
has been taken into consideration. They probably have a lion tamer to take
care of the animals. Or, they probably have a crane or a truck, I imagine
they have taken into consideration all safety precautions to visit the
lions in a bus, and without the lions getting into the buses.

But, are you afraid? [Some audience response] You are? How can a pioneer
explorer be afraid of a lion? That cannot be possible. When you are taken
there, you know that all safety precautions have been taken. You will be
safe. Are you going to see the lions in buses? [Audience shouts: Yes] That
is good. [A pioneer is vaguely heard saying something to Fidel] The bus was
reinforced, was it not? Ah, the crane truck piked it up. This is a pioneer
that has already visited the new zoo. He is reporting on his visit. [The
pioneer continues to talk] Then, there is no problem. Your advice is that
they do not have to be afraid to visit the zoo.

Well, I am going to read something else. Two special exhibits for some
zebras and antelopes will be inaugurated. These animals cannot be set free
in the African prairie section to avoid problems. There will be a
children's recreation area, where the children will enjoy special toys and
games which will contribute to their physical and mental development, and a
theater for marionettes, puppets, clowns and so forth.

The children's zoo--an area for domestic animals where the mothers and
their children can pet them and another for tame wild animals which have
been cared for by humans--here the pioneers will be able to come in contact
with the animals in accordance with the technicians' instructions. These
are tame domestic animals. We hope to have an elephant no bigger than 40
inches in this area. This will be a dwarf elephant; do you not believe
that? There will be small zebras, antelopes, llanas, buffalo, lions,
tigers, chimpanzees, all new born and raised by humans in the breeding area
of the zoo itself. I do not know if one can pet one of those tigers, but I
have been told that they will be new born and raised by humans in the
breeding area.

There will be a lake for birds and so forth. It will be a great zoo. We
hope that by year's end you will be able to visit it. Here we have the
botanical garden. I am sure you did not know that the botanical garden had
given 2 caballerias of land to the explorers center. Did you know that?
Well, whenever you see the director of the botanical garden, please thank
her. Do you want some information on the botanical garden? Are you
interested in it? [Audience shouts: Yes]

Well, this botanical garden is 600 hectares in size, divided into 19 areas,
which respond to various ecological, systematic, and economic schemes. Its
development began in 1968 and its principal objectives are educational,
recreational, and scientific, which is why it will provide services to
students of all educational systems, including you, specialists, and the
people in general.

The garden has 35 kms of paths which provide access to all its areas. There
are large quantities of trees. There are trees from Cuba, Latin America,
Asia, Africa, and even from Australia. It has a collection of palm trees of
140 varieties, collections of fruit trees, and other productive plants. It
has more than 500 varieties of orchids, 1,037 varieties of cacti, and 600
other species of shade plants.

That garden will not be inaugurated yet, but will be ready for visitors
beginning the end of the year. It is very important, aside from its beauty.
One must be patient to build one of these gardens. The plant has to be
planted and then wait many years. But tens of scientists and hundreds of
workers have been struggling for the past 15 years to create this botanical
garden, located near the explorers center. By year's end, the pioneers will
be able to visit this botanical garden.

This is the news I can give you. Is it good? [Audience shouts: Yes] What do
you like best? Do you like the all-day session in the urban schools?
[Laughter] That is in the future. It will take some time. You like the zoo
best. Why? [Some shouts are heard] What about the botanical garden? Are you
going to visit it? Do you not like the plants? [Audience shouts: Yes] You
will also visit the botanical garden. That is correct. Have you visited the
aquarium? Those who have visited the aquarium raise their hands? That is
good. It is the Miramar aquarium.

In a more distant future we will also have a new aquarium. But since this
will take both time and resources, we will have to build it slowly. Yet the
blueprint for this new aquarium is already being drawn. I know you children
like aquariums very much. We are going to improve the one we have now but
the blueprint for a new aquarium is also being drawn. Thus, we will have a
zoo, the botanical garden, aquariums, Lenin Park, explorers centers, and
pioneer palaces. Although we have a circus, I do not think it is among the
best in the world. I believe our zoo will be among the best in the world;
our botanical garden will also be among the best in the world.

Our future aquarium will also be among the best in the world, the design is
very nice. Our circus is still not among the best in the world. We should
seek to improve our circus so that we may some day say that we have a
circus which may at least look like the Soviet circus. You have seen the
Soviet circus, right? It is very nice. Those who have seen the Soviet
circus, raise your hands. But when do you study? [laughter] I can see you
have not missed anything here in Havana.

Well, all these things have been developed and built since the advent of
the revolution. Our children are also learning to love their fatherland.
The revolution has given us many things. All these are precisely
achievements of the revolution. Yet we must defend the revolution. [Castro
makes a pause] That was a plane but it did not come here to participate in
any exercise.

As you know, the revolution has enemies. Who is the main enemy of the
revolution? [Children shout: the Yankees]. The Yankees, Yankee imperialism.
This is why you pioneers should also go to the training centers of the
armed forces; you should be interested in weapons, in military training;
many pioneers should prepare to join the armed forces in the future, as a
soldier of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, as part of our people. As you
know, not only our soldiers but our entire people must defend our
fatherland and our revolution. Both reservists and hundreds of thousands
members of territorial militia forces are ready to defend our revolution.

In the future, those of you who are today attending explorers centers
should also participate in the militia forces, in defending the fatherland.
Some of you should go to military schools. Boys and girls alike should
prepare for defense. As you know, many women have joined territorial
militia forces because the revolution must be defended by our entire
people, regardless of their age; youths, senior citizens and children

I am certain, I am certain, I am completely certain that if the enemy dare
attack our country it will have to fight even our children [applause].
Sooner or later, those young pioneers who have been attending military
training centers--despite their being only 12, 14 or 15 years old--will
find that they can even drive tanks, that the can handle sophisticated
weapons, and that they can shoot well.

A child can do many things. He can be a messenger. We had very young boys
who were messengers, or they would let us know as soon as they sighted the
enemy. They were explorers. They would bring news to the rebel troops.
Lastly, if a child is very small and cannot use a weapon or do any kind of
defense task, he has one more function left to him. He should grow so that
someday he may become a fatherland's soldier. The same thing that the
mother of the Maceos told her smallest child: Stand up straight! Stand up
straight, so that you may fight for your fatherland. [applause]

It is very important that our pioneers be educated in that patriotic
feeling. We do not want the war. We do not wish to see our fatherland
attacked, never. We do not wish to have such tough, difficult circumstances
facing our fatherland. But, before giving up our principles, before giving
up our independence, before giving up the revolution, we would much rather
be dead. That is what our children and pioneers say. [applause]

That is why our pioneers are educated in revolutionary ideas. That is why
they exercise, do sports, and train for the future. But let no one believe
that just because they are 9, 10, 12 years of age, they would not be
capable of doing something for their fatherland. Of course, your first duty
at your age is to study. That is your first duty, to study, also to take
care of your health, practice sports; in addition, to study, discipline,
education. This we call a formal education is very important. You must
respect your teachers. You must respect your parents, your elders.

You should receive a good education in the family circle and in school. You
must have the habit of following good examples, not the bad ones. There are
ways to fight against bad examples. One way is to criticize them, and
another not to imitate them. Unfortunately, there are adults who have no
education. It is true that the main source of education should be the home.
That is truth. But, unfortunately, our previous generation did not receive
the education you have received. In general, the families have good
education, and generally the families care for their children, above all,
the revolutionary families. Since the majority of the families are
revolutionary, we know they care for their children.

But, there are always exceptions to the rule. Unfortunately, there are
broken homes with problems, and those problems affect the children in many
instances. Those problems also affect the youngsters, the youths.
Unfortunately, there are adults who do not have a good education. There are
persons who do not respect their elders, parents. There are youths and
youngsters who do not respect their teachers.

That is why your duty is to study, to be disciplined, to get an education,
to respect your parents, to respect your teachers, to respect your elders.
Those who set bad examples should be criticized. The best ones should be
imitated. In other words, children of your age have to observe those
fundamental obligations, but you also have to prepare yourselves from a
very young age to be good revolutionaries, good patriots, good combatants.

We have no doubt that each generation is better than the previous one, and
that each generation will be better than the previous one. I have no doubt
that the present generation of youths is better than our generation. But I
am sure, and we have great hopes, that the generation of which you are part
will be even better than our present generation of youths. And the
generation that comes after you will still be better than you.

You say, according to the pioneer that spoke here, that you are grateful to
the revolution, that you are grateful to those who gave their lives for the
revolution. Well, I can say the following. The revolution is the people.
The revolution belongs to the people. The revolution is you yourselves.
What the pioneers are doing when they study, when they work, when they
participate in sports, when they are disciplined, when they are well
educated, when they are respectful, that is the revolution. [applause]

The revolution was not carried out by a single generation. The revolution
was started by the generation of Cespedes, Agramonte, Maceo, Gomez, Marti,
Mella, Villena, Guiteras. Our generation continued it at the Moncada,
Sierra Maestra, in the struggle against imperialist aggressions. It is
being moved forward by our present generation of youths, and you will have
to continue it, this generation represented by our pioneers. [applause]

That is why on a day like today, 17 July, on the eve of a few days before
we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the assault on the Moncada, I can
say in the name of the combatants of our generation, that we are sure that
you will be worthy standard bearers of the revolution, and that when you
are in school, when you are studying, when you are working, when you are at
the Explorers centers, when you are at the camps, when you are
participating in recreational or training activities, or any other
activities, you will do your best, and will do it especially in memory of,
in recognition of, and in gratitude of that numerous contingent of youths
who, on 26 July 1953, 30 years ago, gave their lives for you. Fatherland or
death, we shall win! [Prolonged applause]