Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19861222
-YEAR-
1986
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
MEETING
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
CASTRO PRESIDES OVER LITERACY CAMPAIGN CEREMONY
-PLACE-
HAVANA'S KARL MARX THEATER
-SOURCE-
HAVANA TELE-REBELDE
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19861223
-TEXT-
CASTRO PRESIDES OVER LITERACY CAMPAIGN CEREMONY

FL230235 [Editorial Report] Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish at 2300
GMT on 22 December begins a live relay from Havana's Karl Marx Theater of a
ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of Cuba's literacy campaign. The
curtain goes up to show Cuban President Fidel Castro flanked by Education
Minister Jose Ramon Fernandez and culture Minister Armando Hart standing
behind long tables on the stage, along with other officials. The backdrop
consists of a large circle with the words, "Literacy Campaign, Conrado
Benitez Brigade," next to which is a lantern. On the other side of the
circle a sign in huge letters reads: "We Won. 25th anniversary." After a
pioneer reads a list of "martyr" teachers, staff announcer Manolo Ortega
makes the introductory remarks. At 2304 GMT, Education Minister Fernandez
reads a Council of State decree granting medals to those government
officials involved in the literacy campaign. The decree, dated 2 December,
bears the signature of Fidel Castro, who is the first to receive the medal
from Fernandez. After a standing ovation and chanting, Castro in turn
presents the medal to Hart and Mario Diaz Hernandez, national coordinator
of the campaign. Castro is then seen whispering something to Ortega who
goes back to the podium and announces that Castro wants to give a "brief
explanation." Castro speaks:

I feel the need to give a brief explanation, because Comrade Fernandez read
here a state council decree signed by me. And then I get a decoration.
[laughter] I want to explain that I did not give myself an award.
[laughter] This is a normal process in which the state council reaches a
decision. It makes up a list. If I had seen my name at the top of the list,
they would have had a hard time getting me to sign. Of course, not the
whole list. [as heard] I was truly embarassed when I saw... [interrupted by
applause] all right. Thank you comrades. All I wanted to make clear was
that I had nothing to do with this decoration. Thank you very much." Castro
walks back to his chair amid applause. Ortega then suggests that a vote be
taken, and the crowd shouts "Yes," applauds, and chants "Fidel, Fidel."
-END-


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