Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PA091903 Havana International Service in Spanish 0120 GMT 9 Dec 84

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at the closing ceremony of the 6th
Congress of the Federation of Intermediate Level Students [FEEM] at the
President Allende Pedagogic School in Havana on 8 December -- recorded]

[Text] Dear guests, dear companeros and companeras from the FEEM and the
prestigious Salvador Allende school: [applause]

We have not had the privilege of participating in all the discussions of
the FEEM congress, but we have received all the material, copies of the
main report, daily reports on the various subjects that have been
discussed, the speech delivered by Companero Education Minister Fernandez,
as well as some other reports on the subjects discussed here. The
enthusiasm of the people participating in this congress is evident to all,
but it becomes more evident when one arrives here. Then one can sense the
patriotic, revolutionary, and combative spirit of our students.

To tell you the truth, regardless of how high the concept that we, that our
party, has had of our youth, of our students, of the FEEM, you exceed our
trust and hopes. Your disposition to defend the revolution and the country
is exemplary, especially, your disposition to defend the revolution and the
fatherland. This has been discussed often in the congress, especially
matters related to defense preparations and the participation of
territorial troops in the militia.

I have carefully listened to your slogans. We have more than 400,000
intermediate and higher level students and you, having this spirit,
represent a tremendous force. This is something that the enemy must take
into consideration. He must, or else he is absolutely crazy. [laughter and

The revolutionary spirit of our youth, workers, peasants, women, and people
in general has really been the support of our people's traditions.

We would not like to test this force, nor to have to prove that the enemy
is crazy. The revolution's policy has never been irresponsible. It will not
be an adventuristic policy. We are not warmongers and will do everything
within our power, and that of the state and party, to keep the blood of
your youth from being spilled. By this I mean that we will do whatever we
can do to contribute to international detente and to a climate of peace. We
will do everything within our power to contribute to detente in our area,
in Cuba and in Central America. We will also do everything within our power
to contribute to detente in other areas. We will do so as part of our
principled policy and our awareness of the need to struggle for peace. We
will do just that. By doing it, it, we interpret the best aspirations of
mankind and our own people. Peace, however, is not achieved through
weakness. Peace is achieved through firmness, through courage, and through
the will of nations. These have been characteristics of our revolution for
the past 25 years and we maintain the line. Without the determination to
struggle, to resist, and to pay whatever price is necessary to defend our
revolution and our independence, our revolution would not have survived
under the difficult conditions in which it emerged and developed only a few
miles away from the most powerful imperialist country. This spirit of our
people has been a decisive factor in the survival, at first, of the
revolution and then of its development.

Someday our adversaries will understand this. We are not interested in the
North American and Cuban people having to spill their blood because of an
imperialist adventure in our fatherland. For this reason we will always be
on the alert to every sign or indication that the leaders of the United
States give toward implementing a policy of respect or a policy of
aggression toward our country.

In fact, we have been holding some contacts in recent months with a section
in charge of the normalization of immigration relations between the two
countries. Only these issues are being considered. These are issues that
interest both parties. They have specific interests, and so do we. To
obtain results we will both have to give a little. If these contacts yield
some results, they will be no doubt pointing out the possibility that
problems can be solved through dialogue, but no problem can be solved with
us by using force. [applause]

I would say that a large part of the world and statesmen are waiting to see
what will be the fundamental inclination of the U.S. Government, that is,
of the current administration in its second term. This is the question, the
enigma, in all corners of the world, on all continents.

We do not believe the U.S. people want war. It is evident that the
overwhelming majority of the U.S. people reject that idea of war, of any
war, of universal war in the first place. Scientists, thousands of
scientists of all disciplines have made studies with computers, using
mathematical models to determine what will happen if a nuclear war occurs,
and all have reached the same conclusion: Nuclear war will be the end of at
least human life, and probably of the other species as well, although it is
said that cockroaches may survive a nuclear war.

They know, with certainty, mathematically, about all phenomeia -- the
pollution, the ecological changes, the dust clouds, the drop [as heard] in
radiation, and the fabulous drops in temperature besides the pollution of
lands, and of water. Survival would be practically impossible. The men who
have in their hands the possibility of carrying out this type of war have a
tremendous responsibility on their shoulders.

We know that socialism does not make war, is not interested in war. It
cannot do business with war or weapons. These have always been the business
of capitalists, of imperialists -- the wars and the arms races -- but not
of socialism, which has no need to invest these resources in destructive
weapons when it has so many needs to meet and so many aspirations regarding
the socioeconomic development for the good of man.

Therefore, wars, arms races, and the weapons business are basis of the
capitalist society and absolutely contrary to the nature, conception,
philosophy, and needs of the socialist society. To the socialist countries
having to arm themselves is a bitter need, a costly need which they meet
without hesitation because they have no option. For this reason, our
conclusion is that the main danger of war in the world, and the danger of a
nuclear war, fundamentally stems from the United States. Some even dream of
domination in the military field, of space weapons capable of laying an
invulnerable protective shield, fantasies that would bring an increase in
the arms race and an increase in the dangers of war.

However, we know that the U.S. people do not want war. They may be deceived
about certain things. Certain prejudices, certain false ideas, certain lies
may be instilled in them through the mass media and, on certain occasions,
through the use of the mass media they have led even a substantial part of
public opinion to support actions which are absolutely criminal and
indefensible, such as, for example, the invasion of Grenada a year ago. And
so, the students who were supposedly in danger, and who were supposedly
going to be made hostages arrived home and kissed the land. All of this was
broadcast on television, in an absolutely artificial and fictitious
melodrama carefully planned to influence the public by saying that these
students had not had to go through the same experience as the U.S. Embassy
officials in Iran who were held captive for months. They tried to associate
the two situations, in order to give the impression that they had carried
out a rescue operation to save those students who never were in any danger.

We are absolutely sure about this, because no one, not even the extremist
group that in a way created the necessary conditions for the attack with
its attrocious actions had entertained such thoughts.

Cuba's collaboration with that country was associated with gloomy
subversive plans for the continent. The tourist airport [scoffs ironically]
that was being built in cooperation with several countries, including the
UK, Western European countries, and Canada, was described as an extremely
dangerous military airport, although it was near completion, and did not
have a single military brick. This was another big lie. The works
continued, and the airport is now ready. Some of Bishop's followers, who
have remained faithful to Bishop and his ideas sent us a telegram recently,
in which they mentioned the airport, and said that they want the airport to
be named after Maurice Bishop, and thanked the Cuban people for the
airport. In fact, I think that the airport will be named after Maurice
Bishop, because I believe that our people will always refer to this airport
as the Maurice Bishop Airport, the Grenadian revolutionaries will call it
Maurice Bishop, and the revolutionary progressive, and democratic people
everywhere will also call it Maurice Bishop, even if it is given another
name [applause]. It will have two names, the official name, and the popular

The incidents in Grenada were associated with other events, such as the
Vietnam issue, the Vietnam war, etc. The attack on a small country, one of
the smallest in the world, only 400 square kilometers and a population of
120,000 was viewed as a great feat, a great victory, a great demonstration
of U.S. might, power, and glory. All of this was manipulated by the media,
to influence U.S. public opinion. The strategy had partial results, and
disconcerted a great number of people. This is true, and only history and
time will clarify an incident of this nature.

However, despite all this manipulation, it has not been possible to create
a warmongering, pro-war spirit among the U.S. people. This is true. The
U.S. people do not want a world war, and even the dozens of million people
who reelected the incumbent U.S. President, who perhaps were influenced by
circumstantial factors in the economic field, for example, such as a slight
economic growth after a profound crisis, which was the result of the system
itself. The previous government cannot be specifically blamed for the
crisis, [laughs] since it began many years ago, as a result of policies,
including the Vietnam War, and contradictions in the system. As a result of
the crisis, unemployment had risen considerably, and so had inflation, and
these factors had a great influence on public opinion. Circumstantially, in
the past 2 years, and we say circumstantially because many experts believe
that a new crisis is ahead which will occur relatively soon, if the high
interest rates, approximately $200 billion budget deficits, and the $100
billion trade balance deficit continue. [sentence as heard] If this
continues, an even worse crisis will affect the U.S. economy.

As I mentioned on 26 July in Cienfuegos, the economy of the other
capitalist countries, and particularly the economy of Third World countries
has had to pay the price for this improvement in the U.S. economy in the
past 2 years. However, this circumstantial improvement was possible because
the United States was able to get all the money it wanted from Europe,
Japan, from everywhere, particularly from the Third World, by implementing
high interest rates. In this manner, the United States was able to
partially confront its problems. However, nothing solid has been built for
the future. A large part of these resources have been invested in weapons,
with a military budget that already surpasses $300 billion. These military
expenses in no way help in developing the country's economy.

One of the advantages that the Japanese economy enjoyed after World War II
was that, because of the treaties that resulted from the war, Japan could
not invest in arms.

Several limitations had been imposed and almost all the nation's resources
were invested in industry, new technology, and industrial systems that
proved to much more productive. Meanwhile, many sectors of the U.S.
industry, such as steel, lagged behind. U.S. steel products are not
competitive with those of Japan and European countries. The United States
has been forced to establish restrictions and quotas in its free trade and
enterprise system for its steel plants to be able to continue operating.
Its huge investment in arms would not be a steady base for its economy and,
quite the contrary, its economy would be jeopardized.

The truth is that unemployment has been reduced and the economy has grown
over the past few years in the United States. It is our opinion that these
factors were extremely important, decisive, and fundamental. We did not
entertain any doubts regarding the result of the elections. None at all.
Everything appeared clear when all factors were analyzed. This circumstance
brought some benefits. But the U.S. people do not want war. To some extent,
the U.S. people can be flattered by telling them that their country is
powerful and strong, that it continues to be a big power and that its power
gets greater and greater. Certain nationalistic feelings can be appealed to
and certain chauvinistic feelings developed. The U.S.people,however, have
not experienced war for the past 120 years, since the Civil War, which took
place about the middle of the last century. These people did not experience
the destruction of World War I and World War II that the Soviet people
experienced. The Soviet people know what war is because they lived with it
in 1941 and then in 1917 when the revolution took place. Later, the Soviet
people suffered an invasion that destroyed a considerable portion of the
country when the fascists' attacked. Twenty million lives were lost and
thousands of cities were destroyed. The Soviet people are much more
experienced in war.

Despite this, the U.S. people do not want war. The U.S. people are
intelligent under standing, and knowledgeable enough to know what war is.
The U.S. people not only do not want a world war -- nobody wants it -- but
reject local wars. We can say the U.S. people do not want an invasion of
Nicaragua and have expressed, through Congress and the House of
Representatives, their opposition to the allotment of funds for the
mercenary bands. The U.S. public opposes a military venture in Central
America. The U.S. Administration has not succeeded in making the people
change their minds. The U.S. public does not want a war in Cuba and the
U.S. Government has not been able to convince the people that a war in Cuba
is good.

There are extremists and reactionary people everywhere that advocate the
use of force, but the majority of the U.S. public does not want local wars,
although such wars do not necessarily mean the danger of a world nuclear

The U.S. Government has not been able to convince the U.S. people of this.
The U.S. people understand that a venture in Central America is not as easy
as the action in Grenada, which looked like a Sunday stroll. The U.S.
people understand and know this because they are intelligent and
thoughtful. They understand that such an action would cost many lives and,
in addition, would mar the country's prestige through an action that could
not be justified. This would also be a virtual genocide, that world opinion
would not be willing to accept. The political and human cost would be

Of course, the U.S. people know that, in the case of Cuba, this
intervention would be far worse and its consequences would be
unpredictable. The U.S. people's opinion is very important because, if the
U.S. leaders can sometimes forget all about what the world thinks, it is
not as easy to forget about what the U.S. people think. Although the
intervention in Vietnam, which cost so many lives, initially did not get
too much attention from the world, this attention became greater and
greater as the years passed.

As the years passed, the number of casualties began to be announced and the
mass media divulged the atrocities committed in that war.

Some think that television is to be held responsible for the defeat in
Vietnam because the people should have never been told about what was
happening there. When the majority of the U.S. public adopted a firm stance
against the war, this was a decisive factor. We have to take this factor
into consideration. I think that the nation's leaders will also have to
take this into consideration.

The leader's of that country know that that $200 billion budget deficit is
not tolerable. They will either have to establish higher taxes that would
be very unpopular and unjustifiable or limit the fabulous amounts invested
in the military area. They are already speaking of adopting measures, more
measures, more social restrictions. They are looking for a way to reduce
this deficit. However, these measures would also be unpopular.

The U.S. economy in itself would not benefit from a worsening of the
international situation, but on the contrary, a certain degree of detente
[would be beneficial]. There is no forseeable solution to these problems
with the approach they are now taking.

As I was saying, the whole world is mindful of this; whether the apocalypse
is near. A fatalistic feeling surrounds this administration; whether the
end of the world has come or whether the time to think about these truths
has come. Some believe that the concern could be about something else:
going down in history as an administration that struggled for peace and not
as an administration that led to war. Of course, these results would be
relative. If the path chosen is that of peace, then history could speak of
it, but if the path chosen is that of war, there would probably be no
history, history would come to an end. These are things and factors that
are being weighed, and this is why the international world is paying
attention to the facts, to the signs, that could evolve.

Some positive signs have been seen. For example, we could say that one of
these signs is the fact that after the elections they demonstrated interest
in continuing the talks regarding immigration matters. Although the talks
are limited only to this, we feel that it is a positive sign. The meeting
between U.S. Secretary of State Shultz and USSR Foreign Affairs Minister
Companero Gromyko to be held next month is undoubtedly a positive sign.
However, this gives no one the right to build up any kind of hope. This
must be observed and analyzed.

I believe that our country's education in the area of international
politics is currently the best it has ever been. I recall that several
years ago, when international agreements were reached between the United
States and the USSR regarding arms control and so forth, an agreement that
began a period of detente, our party issued a series of editorials to
explain to the people what detente was. Our militant, attacked, harassed,
and irritated people were not at their psychological best to understand the
meaning of detente. A few years have passed, and now, their level of
culture, above all their awareness of specific international economic and
political problems, and a much more solid and clear awareness, allows them
to better appreciate these problems and follow them closely. Therefore, the
next few months will be decisive.

Next year, 1985, will be very important. We have to see how the confusion
of all these factors develops; the results that may come from this; whether
the world can hope for peace. This is very important. It is very important
to know whether our region can have hope for peace, what the general
tendency of the international situation will be in the next few years. The
peoples, desperate because of underdevelopment and hunger -- you have heard
the news that has moved the world regarding the hunger being experienced in
Africa because of some ecological problems added to the problems of
underdevelopment and technical backwardness -- all these peoples know that
amid an environment of international tension and arms build up there is no
hope for finding solutions to the Latin American $350 billion debt and the
even greater world debt that totals approximately $800 billion.

Up to now the debts and military spending grew at an equal rate, but today
military spending is growing much faster and is far ahead of the debt.
According to recent estimates, military spending is in the area of $1
trillion -- in school I learned to call this figure $1 billion, however in
the United States a billion is the same as our 1,000 million. Speaking in
figures used by other countries this would be 1,000 billion, but in Spanish
it is 1 billion -- that 1 million of millions of dollars is what the world
is spending in the military area today. [sentence as heard]

These countries are facing a desperate situation, regardless of ideology.
We have noticed this within the Nonaligned Movement, regardless of whether
their governments are leftist, centrist, or rightist. They have common
problems such as trade imbalances, debts, and underdevelopment, which are
of concern to all of them. They know that if there is no detente, if the
arms race is not stopped, there will not be even the faintest hope of
finding funds to solve their problems, if solutions can be found at all to
situations in entire continents, as in Africa where the desert is growing
from north to south and the population is growing everywhere, even in the
desert. This tragedy had to happen in order for the public to become aware
of the problem. However, who knows how much will have to be invested to
take the necessary steps to curb the desert, to push back the desert, in
addition to developing agriculture and the water resources required by that
continent to solve its problems.

For this reason, the world is watching, It is watching closely everywhere
to see what happens in the next few months. This is important to us,
because we are prepared for anything. We are prepared for war or peace.
[applause] I think that our country's effort, firmness, calm, bravery,
organizational capacity, and revolutionary and patriotic fervor have
enhanced our chances of achieving peace, whatever line is followed in the
United States, because every day, every week, and every month that has pass
made us much stronger. During these last 4 years the threats against our
country have had the virtue of multiplying our forces many times over. They
have multiplied not only through the number of armed men and women; ideas
have multiplied and conceptions have been deepened. We have arrived at a
very advanced stage of defense which reflects the best experience of the
last few decades and which has really allowed us to develop a defense
capability based on the participation of the entire people. This has made
us much stronger and more invincible than at any time in the past.

Of course, we prefer peace to war. This is an elementary duty of every
revolutionary, of every Marxist-Leninist, and, above all, of every party in
power, of every government. It is very important that every citizen, every
mother, every father, every sibling, every son, everybody, know what our
stand is in this connection. The revolutionary government does not act on
impulse or out of pride. It must always be characterized by reflection,
calm, and self-control, because our party and our government are
responsible for the life and destiny of an entire nation. This forces us to
have foresight, to adopt every measure and make every effort to be strong,
while at the same time being calm.

However, even if a situation of detente should arise, we cannot neglect our
defenses. They cannot be neglected. This is indeed important. The progress
we have made cannot be neglected. This reality is imposed on us by our
geographical location. The difference between our system and that of our
more powerful neighbors requires that we pay maximum attention to defense.
Even if the United States were to adopt a socialist system we would not be
able to neglect our defense. Vietnam has a border with China. These two
countries are socialist, but Vietnam cannot neglect its defenses.

Sweden is neutral country. It does not belong to any military bloc. It is
there in northern Europe and yet, although it did not take part in World
War I and World War II, which is one of the factors that contributed to its
economic and social development, it does not neglect its defenses, its
weapons, training, and fortifications. Yet it is a neutral country.

That is why it is necessary to realize the importance of the effort we have
made thus far and of always remaining on the alert, always strong, even in
a situation of detente at an international or regional level. There may
even be a certain degree of international detente without regional detente.
Even these variants exist although, without a doubt, international detente
greatly benefits everyone and lends itself to a way of thinking that is
different from an aggressive and warmongering way of thought.

I considered this a good opportunity to explain this, particularly
encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the students regarding the defense of
our country. I have also taken this opportunity to present these ideas,
which I consider very important, to the rest of our country, to the rest of
our people. I really didn't plan to talk very long. I even got together
with the companeros to decide on the time to begin this ceremony. I think
that there were going to be other sports events after this, a baseball game
... We do not like to interfere, and I really mean it, with the
population's usual programs, whether it is baseball, boxing, or "The
Slave". [laughter and applause] Therefore, I will try to be brief in order
not to take too much time away, if I may do so, from the fans. At least I
want to ask them to be patient, because I will try to be even more brief.

All the points mentioned in the central report are very important, and it
was a good thing to mention them all, from the ones with the highest
priority to the less urgent, because they are all important. [Word
indistinct] related to sports, culture, activities related to the work
brigades, or to work-study activities, and problems that may still arise,
as well as those cases, if any, which are not encouraging. Although the
percentage of students participating in the rural schools and in
agricultural activities is high, there are always a few cases, those with a
medical certificate here and there, or commissions that did not do a good
job. [sentence as heard] I really think that, as a small point, we should
for example, urge our doctors, who have won great esteem among our
population, whose merit has been recognized in the national and
international field, who have elevated our medicine to very high levels,
and who are part of a force that is rapidly developing with the new
injection of talented and dedicated youths through the contingents to
cooperate with you, with the party. They should be asked to be firm,
strict, and rigorous in handling this problem, which I am sure is not in
the spirit of the vast majority of our doctors. I am sure that we can count
on our doctors, because it is harmful for any person or any youth to be
given a certificate because of friendship, tolerance, or overindulgence.
This will only encourage falsehood and dishonesty in a young person, who
must prepare himself for his profession, his work, as a citizen. This young
person would get used to fraud, deceit, and finding pretexts; his
personality would be warped. This is what is worrisome here. Whether it is
five, two, or one out of each hundred, we must care. [applause]

I have mentioned this example as one of the many topics discussed, which
also included the problem of the books for the nursing students, the
shortage of books, lack of discipline, and other problems at the health
polytechnical schools, other problems related to hospital work such as
double shifts or when one student is on duty alone, to refer to some of the
details and concerns you have. A good selection of personnel is necessary,
and this is one of the aspects we are most concerned about. While analyzing
11 these problems some time ago, we concluded that in some cases the
students were admitted to these schools when too young, after completing
ninth grade.

Since this was considered much too early an age, some were admitted as
pre-university students. The goal is to admit them all as pre-university
students. If we were to implement this measure all of a sudden in the
future, th number of new students would drop considerably. Therefore, we
must continue analyzing this problem and decide what to do if we finally
begin to admit the students after the 10th grade, after their education is
more complete and they are ready for the university level. This is a
problem that requires our attention, and we are certainly working on it.

There are other problems regarding art students and the problems they have
with supplies, living conditions, and studies. Well, right now we really
cannot offer them anything, although we would like to. This would
contradict our current efforts as expressed last Tuesday at the energy
forum. We explained why our main efforts must be geared toward the economic
problem. Nevertheless, we promise to review the problems of the school
material for the art schools shortly, because we are very interested in
them. Of course when we gave priority to the secondary schools,
pre-university, technological, and vocational schools, the art schools were
left behind. As soon as the country can make use of more resources, after
all the matters of unquestionable priority have been attended to, we will
have to decide what to do in relation to the art schools. The efforts in
the educational field will have to be geared in this direction. The Schools
for Sport Beginners [EIDE] were created in many provinces, and they
received more installations than the art schools, although they have not
been used in the most efficient way and we have not taken care of them as
we should. This is true also. However, in recent weeks we sent some
campaneros to visit all the art schools, the 53 art schools, to analyze
their various problems in order to decide what can be done to help them.
This work began some 3 months ago. All the schools were visited, and we
have a file of the various problems faced by the art schools. We are
interested in their problems, and since we cannot immediately make new
installations for them, we will have to see what we can do in all the other
aspects within our power.

Some companeros have visited sports schools, all of those schools. I am
referring to companeros who are working with us, specifically Companero
Juantorena, who was not only a great athlete, [applause] but also a great
revolutionary. He is really an exemplary young man, a man with will,
discipline, and talent. I think he can work in this field and accomplish
much as an inspiration for our students in sports schools. He has been
visiting all of these schools. He has probably already visited all these

We are interested in knowing about their conditions, their programs, and
whether or not there is an adequate balance among sports disciplines. We
also want to know what the percentage of athletes in each school is. We are
gathering this information. We want to know how many people are
participating in each sports discipline. We are of the opinion that
although we have made many achievements in sports, we can do much better in
the future. Today we have resources that we could not even dream about at
the beginning of the revolution.

We have 11 EIDE's with 13,000 students. If I am not mistaken, we have 140
pre-EIDE's that have 22,000 students. This includes provincial centers.
This includes (Esta), Cerro Pelado, [words indistinct]. There are 17,900
physical education teachers for intermediate-level schools.

What did we have at the beginning of the revolution? There were 2,390,
something like that, professors of higher education. We wonder where all
these professors are now and what they are doing.

The Education Ministry has reported that at that time only 15,000 students
received physical education. Now 1.5 million students receive physical
education. We could not even dream then about what we have now; one has
only to see the number of physical education and sports professors, their
techniques, the schools. Is there a scientific program for the development
of sports? We are getting all this information.

This is one of the things being done now with the cooperation of the
National Institute for Sports, Physical Education, and Recreation [INDER]
and with the visits to each school.

How do we secure a gradual development of sports so that sports may play
the role it should in our society and so that our country may continue
playing an important role in international and world sports, that is in
hemispheric and world sports? We must continue advancing. We cannot be
content. Yes, I know that we have won 622 medals in the Pan-American games
since the triumph of the revolution. I know that 240 of these medals were
gold. I don't remember how many silver we won. I also know that we have won
some 955 medals in the Central American games. Can we just feel like
peacocks with these medals we have won? No.

The merit of this is that they did not have 18,000 professors, higher-level
professors, or the installations we have. We can make greater achievements
with what we have if we make good use of it.

Some disciplines are weak. What if no one wants to run 3,000 or 10,000
[meters]? Why is that? Why could our young people not provide athletes for
the 10,000? Some sports disciplines are more popular than others. We cannot
let ourselves be dominated by the popularity of a given discipline. We want
to know how may young men are dedicated to baseball, baskethall, track and
field, etc., in every school and every province so there is a well-balanced
development of the various sports disciplines. It could happen that in one
given province there is a push in a single direction and a school dominated
by a favorite sport, disregarding all other disciplines.

I believe that with the means we have at our disposal we can do much in
sports, a lot. We have the school Olympics that take place every year. We
cannot say that there will be more material resources, because for the time
being we will not be able to build more sports schools. We know we have a
terrible shortage of swimming pools. There are very few. The development of
swimming demands swimming pools. We have to see how we use the ones we
have. There is a plan, like the one put into effect at the Lenin School, to
help the students who like swimming. If they don't swim we will always be
at the level of cats as far as swimming goes. We are not going to get
anywhere that way. We have to make an effort, and do it without more
swimming pools. We have to be smart and see how we can best utilize the
ones we have.

We are putting a heating system in one of these pools in spite of the fact
that ours is a tropical country. These kids have to spend hours in the
pools, and when the water temperature drops to 24 degrees no one can stand
that. When I tell this to some Europeans they are filled with awe because
sometimes their warmest summer day reaches only 18 degrees.

This means that in order to develop sports, as well as other activities, we
have got to make do with what we have and make our best efforts. You have
been discussing the problems in sports, infirmaries, and culture. And we
like that very much because we know that the material situation we have at
this school level is different. The material situation at the
pre-university schools is excellent, generally speaking. At least
investments were made. We have to maintain them to keep them in good shape.
There were many investments in vocational schools everywhere. The programs
were carried out based on the old political and administrative division.
Some have [words indistinct] in three provinces, and this was for the idea
of establishing a preparatory school in Cienfuegos, Ciego de Avila, even in
cities that do not have a vocational school.

We have had the excellent idea of turning vocational schools into
vocational preuniversity schools in order to double the number of
pre-university schools because of the importance that solid preparation
gives students wanting to move forward to a higher education. This is a
problem to which we have paid attention, the ministry has. What to do? At
the Conventions Palace we saw things during the meeting of professors of
the medical schools. The causes of the difficulties faced by the students
when they are in their freshman year were analyzed. It was decided that the
jump was too big for them. The participants analyzed problems of the
Preuniversity schools, problems that you have discussed: texthooks not
used, evaluations not strict enough, etc. Special attention has to be given
to pre-university students.

There was the national seminar of school directors. All these problems were
studied. Measures have been adopted, and undoubtedly this has to be done to
promote quality.

A decision was made regarding vocational schools. As a result, we will have
more than 24,000 students in vocational schools. There will be about
26,000, including those attending schools to be built and opened in other
provinces. Special attention will be given these students. It will be
possible for students to enter these schools on their own means and, of
course, based on grades and examinations. Thus, enrollments in these
vocational schools will be changed, not only the grading system. As
Companero Fernandez explained, the decision made to broaden the preliminary
schools on exact sciences has been an excellent initiative. We plan to
establish one of these schools in the center of the country and in the
east, or rather, three exact sciences schools. In addition, we plan to turn
the preuniversity vocational schools into almost exact sciences schools.

We have planned all this to increase tremendously the quality of the
pre-university graduates. We know that preuniversity schools have much more
resources, much more, more than what art and nursing schools have, as well
as sports schools. The preparatory schools and basic secondary schools have
many installations. Also, much has been done in the technological schools,
such as shops. These schools even produce to some extent. Some progress has
been made.

It might happen, however, that the preuniversity and technological schools
get all the attention from the FEEM for their importance, since all of them
belong to the same organizations. Those pertaining to art belongs to
another organization, although some of them belong to the Education

Let's not forget about sectors such as health technicians, arts, and
sports. I don't fear that teachers will be forgotten because Companero
Fernandez struggles hard for the teachers, and they will not allow us to
forget about them. Nevertheless, mention was made here of a greater effort
to promote the Manuel Azcunce Domenech Detachment. Mention was made of a
series of careers that can be competitive among themselves, such as
medicine and education. Still, I think this effort can be made. Professors
are very important, as is the manner of their selection. According to the
minister's explanation, another idea was presented, and ideas, when they
are good, are worth more than gold.

The idea presented was to call on primary school teachers to study physics,
chemistry, and mathematics to acquire professional status in these
subjects. There are already 2,400 teachers attending school this tern. We
can do this because we have a sufficient number of teachers. We have been
enhancing teachers' potential. This allows us to have a certain number of
teachers furthering their studies. In this particular case we could not do
this if we did not have 2,400 teachers to replace them. Progress has also
been made in improving the education of professors.

There is a complete program for secondary school professors who don't hold
a degree so they can study and attain a degree. This program is being
attended by about 21,000 teachers. This is really significant progress.

You stressed very important things. I have not mentioned defense. For this
reason I began discussing matters related to examinations, systematic
evaluations, the use of texts, demands on students, discipline, and
quality. The fact that our secondary school students, meeting in a world
congress, have made these proposals is really significant and should make
our people feel proud because this sets an example for the world.

This is the best that can be said of a socialist revolution. Only in a deep
and just revolution such as ours is it possible for the masses to identify
with their country and its interests and confirm them, react, and respond.
I think this is a political lesson for the world. This stance of our
revolution is apparent in the depth and the quality of classes,
examinations, and demands made upon students. This is only natural by
conscious, revolutionary people in a society like ours, whose members we
know are not being trained to enrich transnational enterprises, the
bourgeoisie, oligarchs, or exploiters. Ours is not a society of exploiters
but of workers, where all have an opportunity to further their studies,
without exception.

The fact that we have been able to assert, as we have asserted, that all
primary school graduates of last year had an opportunity to further their
studies enhances the effort made by the revolution for education.

There is still more. There was a place for all ninth grade graduates to
further their studies. There were about 170,000, while in the sixth grade
there were 231,000. The figure is somewhat reduced because we have already
passed the population explosion. Those in primary school are slightly fewer
in number. We will graduate more than 240,000; they are 231,000. [sentence
as heard] There was a place for every one of these to further their
studies. What a great satisfaction for our people to be able to assert
this, that all citizens of this country, all children, all young people of
all the families of this country can further their studies! [applause]

Students understand this, that in their society and among their people
there are equal opportunities for all, that this is their economy and their
future for which they have to struggle. These young men want to be
high-quality students, they demand high-quality training and difficult
tests. If nothing else can be said of this congress, we could say this is a
great historical congress.

I think this material should now be disseminated. I have not mentioned
everything. We have discussed imitation and many other things and topics.
Some of them are essential and fundamental. I think they should be
disseminated among all students. Our families should learn about them. The
main problems discussed in JUVENTUD REBELDE and GRANMA should somehow be
presented so that all students learn about them, not only those here in
this congress but also those in primary and secondary schools. To win this
war we need the support of the family, and we need the support of all the
workers and the people's organizations. Therefore, it is good that they
know in what areas we are struggling.

We know that other conferences will be held, and I am sure that at those conferences
the subject will also come up, and it will again be said that, despite the struggle
to maintain the [drop-out rate] that we lowered to 96 [not further explained], we have
decreased, that is reduced, the drop-out rate from 96 in 1983 to 97 in 1984.  [sentence
as heard] You will say that we have achieved the 97.5, 98 and we must continue to
struggle.  Will it be so?  [applause] You will once again speak of what has been
achieved by the work brigades, of the problems that still exist, of assistance to the
rural areas, and so on.

Let us not build false hopes. This is what life is all about. A constant
feeling of not being satisfied. Progress, advances, and success are the
children of man's constant feeling of dissatisfaction. However, at every
conference we must stress that these are our goals, teach them to the
people, make the people participate in these goals and to struggle; and as
Fernanda [not further identified] said in her speech, all the factors must
participate, and the factors are some 20 organizations. Those are all the
factors. [laughs] [applause]

All the factors help, although we know that some things can be solved and
others cannot. We can say however, that we have done this, this, and this;
we have put forth our best efforts, and we have advanced in such and such.
We will have to continue setting goals until we reach perfection, and when
we reach perfection, if we reach it, then we will have to invent something
else. [laughs] I believe this is very important for us.

I also believe that we must schedule our goals In education through the
year 2000. What will we do? We must schedule the work of our organizations,
our youths, the FEEM, and others related to matters such as energy and
economy. We must struggle together toward this. What we search for today is
quality, not quantity, and this does not involve the spending of foreign
exchange, does not involve economic spending -- it could be that we need
another reagent and some money would have to be invested to purchase the
raw material for us to make the reagent here; or some spending might be
necessary to purchase some little equipment or the material needed to build
it because the equipment was being built at our technological schools or
the ministry was building equipment. We are already printing 23 million
books. As we said the other day, we have so many millions for this, and we
have to work with what we have. We could be a bit short; we can only do so
much; take care of what we have. We have to do what we can with those
books, because if we go ahead and produce more we will have to export
books. This does not make us very happy, but it is the most reasonable and
realistic thing if we wish to keep what we have. We must look into the
subject of nursing books, because we have already solved the problem of
medical books: what books are needed, what we must do to get them, what
complementary books there are. This we have to do with our efforts, with
the resources at hand. What we have most is human resources.

Every year we graduate more professors, more professors with degrees, more
teachers, more lawyers, even a greater reserve of cadres so that others can
study. We currently have 258,000 teachers and professors; 1 for every 13 of
the 3.1 million registered students of all ages in the different stages of
education. This is unbelievable. If we are going to have more teachers, and
each of these teachers does a good job for his students, union, party,
ministry, and people, then we will have better and better teachers.
Remember that the goals for greater progress we have set for ourselves are
not based on quantity but quality of our work. This is what we have to
strive for better education in the primary and secondary schools, at the
intermediate level, and within the intermediate level, all the areas I have
mentioned. This also includes medicine, sports, and culture. I am sure that
we can continue advancing greatly between now and the year 2000. We have
the potential, quality, and factors which we can influence with our work.
Education must be used in the effort toward quality and a long-term plan.
This has already been done in the area of medicine. We already know the
number of doctors we will have, where they will be, what they will be
doing, what they will specialize in. They have their development plan
drafted for the next 15 years. The same must be done in the area of
science. This, of course, is very important. The president of the Academy
of Science is here. He does not administer all the scientific institutions
but directs them as far as methods are concerned. Some institutions he
administers directly. This is very important. The data we have shows that
we have 12,000 [not further specified] at the university level in that area
and that we have some 35,000 workers in the area of science. This places us
in a very good position.

For example Argentina, the country that has the largest number in that area
in Latin American has 31 [not further specified] at the upper level
involved in research activities per every 100,000 residents; Brazil 21, and
Mexico has 15. Cuba has 65 at the upper level. [applause]

We must be very specific regarding work and development plans for all of
our scientific institutions. They are of great importance. We must benefit
from the effort put forth by those thousands of workers at the various
levels. Maybe some day, during some scientific event, we may have to deal
with this problem, but for right now I want to say that we can go a long
way in the social area with what we have, and in 15 years who knows what we
will be able to say regarding health, infant mortality, which is currently
(?20) percent and may drop to 15? I do not know what our public health
companeros who are present would say; maybe it will drop below 15 percent.
We are drafting a program to deal with the phenomenon of, how do you call
it, congenital cardiopathy, a heart problem among children, and I believe
there are 1 percent being born with heart problems, and the possibilities
we have to treat this; what method, system, plan to use. [sentence as

It seems to me that such a well-implemented program -- we are already
working in that direction -- is going to take us some time, but it can
reduce the mortality rate by three points and mean greater security to all
families [word indistinct]. It is more difficult to foresee these types of
problems. In many cases however, and some are critical, 80 or 90 percent
die without the close or adequate attention that could solve the problem.
Another percent does not die [words indistinct] but die later.

Such a well-applied program -- we are already working on the development of
this program on preparing personnel, making the investments, and so forth
-- can reduce, in my opinion and making a high estimate, approximately 3
percent of that 15 percent. If all these programs are implemented, what
goal will not be reached in education, health, sports, culture, science,
and many other areas not mentioned here by the end of this 5-year period?

I am stressing all this because it is precisely the economic sphere,
industry and agriculture, which must have all our efforts. They are our
material bases. I reiterate what I said a few days ago. We have made such
advances and created such possibilities in the social area that we can make
much progress with what we have and focus our effort on the area of
investments, the economic field.

I read in some report that you agreed to study the aspects discussed at
Karl Marx Theater on 4 December, Tuesday, at the energy forum. I am truly
pleased with that decision because I wanted to remind you, the
intermediate-level students and those who will soon arrive at the
intermediate level and the basic secondary school students, that you are
15, 16, and 17 years old. Some of you are younger and are demanding that
you be allowed in the Territorial Militia Troops [MTT].

Before I arrived here I saw a message from Comrade Raul explaining the
efforts to be made in that direction to include you, yes, to include even
those who are 15 and under. [applause]

With regard to the day of student defense, the Ministry of the
Revolutionary Armed Forces comrades opined that since the day of defense
had not been established yet for all MTT units, they, as MTT members,
should establish their own program to commemorate National Defense Day.

Well, some of you are 15 and perhaps 14. Fifteen years from now it will be
the year 2000, and that's not too far away. It may be a bit farther for
some of us who are here, well... [laughter] and who are being stalked by
the grim reaper; [chuckles] those of us who are staring at the grim reaper.

The year 2000 is not too far. Those of you who are 15 will be 30. Those of
you who are 14 will be 29, and those who are 18 will be 33. It will be you,
thousands of youths who are at the intermediate-level, secondary school,
and some from the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade, who will be the
technicians, specialists, workers, and cadres of this country.

I am not going to say that you will be ruling the country in the year 2000,
15 or 17 years from now, because there are people here who are not willing
to be removed. [laughter]

I don't know the age of the comrades of the Union of Young Communists who
are here.

[Unidentified youth answers: 33] How old? [youth repeats: 33] I don't mean
now, I mean 15 years from now. Well, 33 plus 15 is 48. [more laughter] You
will be between 48 and 50 years old. Those of you who are here attending
the FEEM meeting will be the age the members of the party's youth are now.
There are also party cadres who are youths So those who will be youths then
will try to do everything as well as possible to earn your trust. However,
you will have many responsibilities.

The year 2000 belongs to you more than us; the future is yours. Everything
I mentioned a few days ago is your business more than the business of this
generation. You must be the standardbearers of these ideas. You must be the
firm standardbearers of these ideas with the same energy that you are the
standardbearers of defense, energy conservation, economic strategy based on
what was said on 4 December.

Regarding the social area, to think of the future and consolidate what we
have is enough. You must develop a strategy in the economic sphere which is
intelligent and wise, consolidating what we have and guaranteeing many more
possibilities for the future. It must guarantee that future which belongs
to you. It must guarantee the future in all aspects: energy, production,
and relations with the socialist world, which is moving forward despite the
policies and illusions of the imperialist spheres, thinking that socialism
is going to decline. They don't know the potential of the socialist
countries. They don't know the potential of the USSR, which is fabulous. I
have no doubt that they will continue to advance at a sure pace and that
the future belongs to them, entirely. They will continue to advance without
any crises.

Capitalism will grow today and decrease tomorrow. They know what will
happen in 1984, but they don't know what will happen in 1985 or 1986. We
can say what will happen in the year 2000. We, with our resources, our
economic plans, and our production of this and that, know what we will have
in education, public health, everything. We can look at the future. They
can't because they have low beams... [laughter] and problems. Capitalism
does not permit the use of high beams. It is full of factors, laws, and
problems. What can the Third World expect? What can it see when it doesn't
even have beams. [laughter] They have the Third World in darkness and ruin.
Capitalism tells the Third World: Sure there is a remedy, capitalist
enterprises. It tells them: The transnationals will solve your problem. The
transnationals arrive and invest in cheap labor to obtain large profits.
They produce anything cheap. If the salaries are too high in the United
States and Europe and they earn 10 times less, they invest abroad.

I don't know who it was who said recently that the transnationals are like
the chickens that lay golden eggs. [laughter] It was said that they lay
eggs where they invest their money. What they do in these areas is
establish the most contaminating industries, those industries that pay the
lowest wages, and in this manner they economically exploit the fact that
there is an excess of workers, unemployment, and a low cost of living.
There we see incidents such as the one that just occurred in India. You
have read of this dramatic and tragic incident in the newspapers.

A U.S. transnational, in a city in India, in a neighborhood where 200,000
people lived, had set up its tanks of chemical products. An accident
occurred and 2,000 people have already died, while 50,000 others have been
affected. No one knows what will happen to those who will survive this
accident, the lung diseases this may cause. It is a deadly product, and
this leak is tantamount to dropping an atomic bomb on the area. This was a
branch of a U.S. transnational. In the United States they immediately began
to adopt measures; in Brazil when the news was learned they also adopted
measures. I believe there was a ship carrying 13 tons of the same product
and they refused to let the ship (?dock). But that was a transnational and
its investment. It left the atomic bomb, and who died? The children and
wives of the workers. What do they care about security measures? All they
care about is profit. Then they say that the solutions are the
transnationals. Gentelemen, the solution to the economic problems of
mankind is socialism. I am far from saying that [socialism] is perfect. We
are very aware of its deficiencies. We are struggling against these
deficiencies because socialism is not governed by laws. Man is governed by
law, and we cannot blame socialism for those subjective factors, for man's
lack of ability to organize in an efficient manner. No. We have experienced
this, and we have learned new and growing possibilities from the cadres and
from group experience. However, we are aware, it would be very bad if we
were not aware of our deficiencies, of the deficiencies that our socialism
has. However, the possibilities are unlimited and infinite, whereas
capitalism has none, the Third World has none, and the industrialized
capitalist countries have none because if you read the news you will see
that their daily concern is the fact that unemployment grows and grows. I
said that in the United States this situation had eased, and I told you the
reasons. However, 2 days ago a WASHINGTON POST editorial on the Latin
American debt stated: The Latin American experience and the problems they
face should be used by the United States as an example, because at this
moment the country most indebted to the world is the United States. It was
very well said; the United States has gotten the money from the world so it
owes the world. The world deposited its money in the United States because
of the high interest rates, but they have a trade deficit of 100 billion
[currency not specified] and a budget deficit of 200 billion. THE
WASHINGTON POST editorial continued: The truth is that the United States is
living beyond its productive capacity and above its production, and that
this level is above what the U.S. economy produces. [sentence as heard] How
is this possible? [chuckles] Others are paying for this; the monies of
others pay for this, the monies of the Third World and other countries.

Debts? They face very big problems. We have to continue to observe what
kind of measures they adopt, what they will come up with to avoid a
relapse, a crisis, and to adjust what is truly a tendency, I would say a
world tendency. For various reasons and pressures the tendency of countries
is to live beyond their productive capacity and the development of their
economy. We must avoid this. Of course a developing country needs resources
and very large investment, and this is why that energy plan we mentioned a
few days ago calls for large investments. But we will have to begin or
continue with electronuclear construction, construction of the nickel and
mineral factories, more power lines, even 500 kw power lines, and the steel

We have to make large investments. Fortunately we have the socialist
credits. When the USSR began it had credit from no one, and by walking
practically barefoot with half-starved people they were able to get the
resources for their development. At times when there was much hunger they
exported wheat in order to purchase machinery to begin some industry. We
have had the luck of having international cooperation. However, we must
know how to use it and use it for development, not consumption. To receive
credits for consumption will solve nothing. If you use your credit for
development then you to resolve problems, because you are investing and
multiplying those resources. If you use them up you will have nothing left.
This is why I have told you that the strategy for the future is a solid

In face of the many problems faced by the world this should be our path,
and this is much more important than using up 10 extra meters of cloth.

During your conference you made some criticisms. You criticized some young
girls who are only thinking about their appearance; silly things, vanity.
You criticized this, and this was correct. We are a country that cannot
ignore its history. For 400 years we were a colony; we had an economy based
on agriculture and had endured almost 60 years of Yankee neocolonialism.
The fact that we achieved our freedom and independence and began our
development does not allow us to fantasize. We cannot let ourselves be
guided by the beliefs of a consumer society. We must have what we need:
food, clothes, books, materials to grow and have a healthy physical
development and, above all, train ourselves for the future. That is the
task that youth should undertake for the future.

You have to be the standardbearers of those ideas, and you have to be very
aware that it is necessary to work for the future and make an investment in
it, rather than allowing ourselves to be swayed by consumer mania or the
consumer habits of the developed capitalist societies, which, among other
things, maintain those luxuries at the expense of the rest of the world, at
the cost of hunger and death for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Our youths have to be informed. You have to be informed. That is very
important. Just as you arm yourselves with rifles in trenches and join the
territorial militias, it is necessary for you to arm yourselves with ideas,
with clear revolutionary concepts regarding the future, in ideological
trenches, in conceptual trenches, without forgeting Marti's axiom that
trenches made of ideas are worth more than trenches made of stone.

I believe we need both kinds of trenches: trenches of stone and trenches of
ideas. I'm sure that if the teacher, the hero of our independence, were
here today he would be saying this, because he himself built both kinds of
trenches: trenches of ideas and trenches of stone. [applause]

I ask this of you as I asked the delegates attending the energy forum. I
ask the delegates of the FEEM, the Federation of University Students, the
basic secondary school students, the pioneers, all of you -- because the
future is yours, and the future is being built for you -- to become the
vanguard, the best standardbearers of these ideas.

Let us, therefore, be strong in all areas. Let us provide a solid defense
of the fatherland. Let us provide a solid material, economic, technical,
and scientific base for our people. Let us multiply our knowledge, do all
possible for it to be multiplied.

There has already been talk of introducing computer technology at the
university level, and we are also thinking of introducing it at the
secondary level. The first steps are being taken, and we will not be left
behind. All the necessary steps and measures will be taken for our people's
knowledge to be multiplied and to advance limitlessly, so that we can say
to the present generation and future generations your slogan, which states:
[audience chants indistinguishable verse] That is correct, [applause] and
the other slogan: Let those who have already been born and those yet to be
born know [audience chants slogan] that we were born to defeat and not to
be defeated! Fatherland or death, we will win.