Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PM140925 Moscow PRAVDA in Russia 11 Dec 84 First Edition  p 4

[TASS report: "F. Castro's Speech"]

[Text] Havana, 10 Dec -- Fidel Castro, secretary general of the Communist
Party of Cuba [PCC] Central Committee and chairman of the Republic's
Councils of State and Ministers, speaking at the closing of the sixth
congress of the Federation of Secondary School Students, dwelt in detail on
the international and domestic situation and the problems of the struggle
for peace. He noted the readiness of the country's young people to defend
the ideals of the revolution. Our revolution, the Cuban leader said, has
never pursued an irresponsible, adventurist policy. We are not militarists.
Our party and government have done and will do everything in their power to
ensure that the young people of Cuba do not have to shed their blood. We
will do everything to defend peace and the policy of detente in our region
and in the world as a whole, since the most important avenue of our policy
is the struggle for peace, which is the main aspiration of our people and
of all mankind.

However, F. Castro stressed, peace is won not by weakness, but by firmness,
boldness, and determination on the part of the peoples. This has been
characteristic of our revolution throughout its 25 years, in the course of
which it has been able to stand firm in the most difficult situations,
developing in the shadow of the biggest imperialist power. We do not want
the blood of the Cuban and American peoples to flow as a result of an
imperialist adventure on our soil. Therefore, we keep a careful eye on what
the leaders of that power are doing, what steps they take, and whether they
seek to pursue a policy of respect for our country or intend to follow an
aggressive course.

In recent months, the speaker pointed out, there have been certain contacts
to normalize emigration relations between the two countries, in the course
of which each side defends its own interests. If these contacts yield
results, this will undoubtedly indicate that the problems existing between
us can be resolved through talks. However, when dealing with us, nothing
can be resolved through force.

I believe that the majority of the world's peoples and state leaders are
now waiting to see what course the present U.S. Administration will take,
after the President's reelection. We do not believe the American people
want war. It is quite obvious that the vast majority of them reject the
idea of any war, above all a world war. Scientists from various countries
are trying to predict what nuclear war would mean for the world. They all
reach the same conclusion: Nuclear war is the end of life.

Biological, ecological, genetic, and other changes will make mankind's
continued existence simply impossible. That is why a colossal
responsibility to mankind and civilization rests on the shoulders of the
people who have the potential to start a thermonuclear war.

Socialism does not want war, F. Castro stressed. The arms race is developed
by imperialism, not socialism. The idea of the arms trade is absolutely
unacceptable to the very nature, concepts, philosophy, and requirements of
the socialist society. For our fraternal countries, arming is a lamentable
necessity, to which, however, they resort without hesitation, having no

The main danger of nuclear war, F. Castro stated, emanates first and
foremost from the United States. Its desire for military superiority, the
creation of space weapons as a supposedly invulnerable protective shield;
all this is science fiction, aimed at stepping up the arms race and leading
to the intensification of the danger of war. But the U.S. people, and we
know this, do not want war. In some instances they can be deceived by means
of the mass media and certain prejudices, fabrications, and lies. The
United States tried to represent the American troops' invasion of Grenada,
one of the world's smallest countries, with a population of only 120,000,
as a feat, a great victory, evidence of its own greatness. All these things
were manipulations by the organs of mass information, which partially
achieved their goal in relation to U.S. public opinion. Nonetheless, the
Cuban leader pointed out, they did not succeed in imposing a militarist
spirit on the American people. Despite all these manipulations, the
Americans, including tens of millions who voted for Reagan in the recent
election, do not want world war. Short-term economic factors influenced
these people. The U.S. people have never known war, except for a civil war
120 years ago. They did not experience the devastation of World Wars I and
II, which is very well known to the Soviet people. The Soviet people know
what war is. They have lived through a world series of wars and
interventions, which left much destruction and many human victims,
especially the fascist invasion, which cost the Soviet people 20 million
lives and thousands of ruined cities. The Soviet people know very well what
war is.

All the same, in spite of everything, the American people do not want war,
they are clever enough to understand what war means. They are not only
against world war, nobody wants that, they are also against local wars. The
U.S. people do not want an invasion of Nicaragua, and they come out against
it in Congress, and so the lower chamber of Congress comes out against
giving aid to gangs of mercenaries. American public opinion condemns
military adventures in Central America, and the U.S. Administration was
unable to achieve its aims in that respect. American public opinion comes
out against war with Cuba.

Attempts to change these attitudes have had no results, F. Castro went on,
and people in the United States realize that an adventure in Central
America will be no picnic. It will cost tremendous human sacrifices and
have a negative effect on the country's prestige. The U.S. public realize
that this would be an act of genocide that could not be justified. With
respect to our country, it would be a still more serious matter, and would
have unforeseen consequences. It is very important to remember this, since
in some cases [Unreadable text] leaders can forget what the world thinks
and what the American people themselves think.

When the war in Vietnam that cost so many lives began, not much
significance was attached to it at first. But world public opinion drew
attention to it. Years were to pass before the Western mass media started
talking about the horrors and cruelties of that war. Then the American
public developed a firm antiwar stance, supported by the majority, and that
played a decisive role in determining its outcome.

We must bear all these factors in mind. I believe that country's leaders
should also bear them in mind. The American economy itself needs detente,
rather than an exacerbation of the international situation.

All the international public are very attentively following events and the
symptoms that could predict their subsequent development. Positive symptoms
are assessed favorably.

F. Castro then touched on the meeting planned for next month between USSR
Foreign Minister A.A. Gromyko and U.S. Secretary of State G. Shultz. This
is indisputably a positive sign, the speaker said. However, it does not
give anyone the right to entertain illusions. It is necessary to observe
and analyze. I believe our people now have a higher level of knowledge
about questions of international politics than ever before.

The coming months will be decisive, F. Castro noted, and the year 1985 will
be a year of vital importance. We must assess how all these factors fit
together and what results they will lead to in the cause of preserving
peace. Whether our region has a hope of preserving peace and how the
international situation in general will develop in the coming period are
extremely important questions.

All the peoples know, he went on, that in a situation of tension and the
arms race there is not the slightest possibility of resolving the problem
of the foreign debt, which is $350 billion for the Latin American states
and is still higher for the other countries of the world. The foreign debt
has hitherto increased in parallel with military spending, but today
military spending is increasing at a preferential rate. Recent calculations
show that it is on the order of a trillion dollars. This problem is of
concern to all the countries trapped in this situation, regardless of their
ideology. We see this in the Nonaligned Movement, which includes states
with left, center, and right governments, but which face the same problesm:
unequal trade exchange, a huge foreign debt, economic laggardness. They
have not the slightest hope that funds will appear to solve their problems.

We must be ready for anything -- peace or war, F. Castro stated; our
people's efforts, their staunchness, restraint, courage, organization, and
revolutionary and patriotic enthusiasm increase the possibility of
preserving peace, whatever policy the United States may pursue. In the last
4 years Cuba's people have become stronger. Threats against them have only
increased their strength. These threats have reinforced their ideas and
deepened their revolutionary concepts and criteria for defense. In recent
decades we have acquired excellent experience, which has enabled us to
develop our defense potential, based on the participation of all the people
in defense, and has made us stronger than ever before. These efforts must
not be stopped.

Of course we want peace, not war. This is the elementary duty of every
revolutionary, every Marxist-Leninist, and above all of every party in
power and every government. It is very important for every citizen, every
mother, every father, brother, son -- everyone to know what the viewpoints
are, in this respect, of the revolutionary government, with its
characteristic restraint and composure, because the party and government
are responsible for the life and destiny of all the people. This makes it
incumbent on us to be prudent and strong, and so we are.

Even in a period of international detente we must not forget defense, we
must not forget [Unreadable text] lance, the Cuban leader stressed. This
reality that arises from our geographical location and the difference
between our system and that of our stronger neighbor obliges us always to
denote the greatest attention to defense. It is very important for us to be
on the alert, to be strong, even if a time of international or regional
detente comes, because in a time of international detente there might not
be regional detente, although, of course, international detente accords
with the interests of all countries. It would promote the development of
events in no way connected with aggression and war.

F. Castro noted the great significance of the questions of study, sport,
and the activity of production training teams, and other topics which were
discussed at the congress.

In 25 years Cuba has achieved great successes in creating sports training
centers, for instance. The country now has 11 sports schools, where 13,000
people study, as well as 140 preparatory sports schools with 22,000
students. Some 17,900 physical culture teachers have already received
diplomas. F. Castro welcomed the idea of turning all boarding schools into
full secondary schools where the students would receive all the necessary
preparation for entry into higher education institutions. Our task, he
said, is to double the number of people studying in schools of that type.

Touching on certain future tasks for the Federation of Secondary School
Students, F. Castro stated that it is an object of pride for the Cuban
people and an example for all the world that the students from the
country's secondary education institutions who have assembled for their
congress are discussing such important questions. Only with a profound,
just revolution such as ours, he noted, is it possible for the masses
[Unreadable text] the motherland's interests entirely their own.

The Cuban leader noted the country's successes in the sphere of education.
Last year alone more than 230,000 sixth grade graduates and around 170,000
ninth grade graduates had the opportunity to continue their education. He
called on the country's press to propagandize more widely the progress and
results of the congress, so that all the country's students and their
families have the opportunity to study them. F. Castro called on the
congress delegates to step up the struggle against shortcomings and achieve
new successes in improving the quality of education.

The speaker assessed highly the appeal to the members of the federation,
despite their youth, to join the ranks of the territorial formations of
people's militia. He noted that Raul Castro, minister of the Revolutionary
Armed Forces, has announced that the Armed Forces are taking steps to
enable young people aged 15-16 and even younger to join territorial
formations of people's militia.

Contrary to the illusions of imperialist circles, F. Castro went on,
socialism's development will continue successfully. We can say just what we
will have at our disposal in the year 2000, while the capitalist countries
do not even know what will happen to them in 1985. The capitalists, he
noted, try to convince the developing countries that the only solution for
them is to bring in the transnational corporations, but we say that
socialism is the solution. We know that socialism has immeasurably greater
potential than capitalism.

Any developing country needs very substantial resources and investments.
Fortunately Cuba has credits from the socialist community countries. We can
count on that international cooperation, but we should use it for the
purposes of development, not consumption. We cannot allow ourselves to live
by preaching the philosophy of consumption. The task for Cuban young people
is to develop and be physically strong and, most important, prepared for
the future. They must arm themselves not only with rifles, but with ideas,
a clear revolutionary concept of the future.

The future is being built for you, F. Castro said in conclusion, addressing
the congress delegates. Your task is to be worthy of that future, worthy of
the revolutionary ideas. F. Castro called on the young people of the island
of freedom to be ready to defend the motherland, to work selflessly to
strengthen its economic, scientific, and technical base, and to do
everything possible to extend and deepen their knowledge. We were born to
conquer, not be conquered, he stressed.