Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19870407
-YEAR-
1987
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
MEETING
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
5TH UJC CONGRESS
-PLACE-
HAVANA'S PALACE OF CONVENTIONS
-SOURCE-
HAVANA TV CUBANA NETWORK
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19870413
-TEXT-
HAVANA TV PRESENTS 'HIGHLIGHTS' OF UJC CONGRESS

FL092201 Havana Television Cubana Network in Spanish 0100 GMT 7 Apr 87

[Part one of "highlights" of proceedings at "final sessions" of the Fifth
UJC Congress held at Havana's Palace of Conventions 1-5 April -- recorded]

[Excerpts] [Delegate Orlando Jiminez from the Manuel Fajardo Physical
Education Institute] Comrades, we are truly concerned about the tone used
to discuss sports at our assemblies and meetings. I believe some of this is
influenced by the fact that we are a world power in sports thanks to our
achievements. However, we feel these sports achievements and positions do
not correspond to what we actually have in our society. I am talking about
the systematic and massive practice of sports. Considering how little we
have I don't deny the importance of the availability of sports equipment in
each place the physical education teacher's role is much more important. We
would especially like to talk about the role of the physical education
teacher because we think if anyone has been lightly dismissed and perhaps
looked down upon by our society it is the physical education teacher. He
has been seen as someone who does not take things seriously. This is
evident in the young people who pursue a career in physical education not
because they really feel a love for sports but because they see it as an
easy course of study and an easy job. [passage omitted] I believe we are
lacking sports culture. [passage omitted) The INDER [National Institute for
Sports, Physical Education and Recreation] cannot do it alone; we need the
support of other agencies that can truly help us. The textbook situation in
our institute is terrible. Each year, approximately 30 or 35 percent of the
[words indistinct] enroll in our institute. However, we see from this that
students who come from sports initiation schools and higher schools for
athletic training have two basic problems: problems in normal education,
and serious learning problems. We have a very specific example. This has
been one of the worst freshmen classes the institute has had. This is
basically because of the students who come from sports schools. That is why
we believe special attention must be paid to these students. They should
not be seen just as pieces of machinery, loading them up physically to get
sports results. I believe the trainer and the teacher, as well as the
administrative organs, the UJC, the party, and everyone at each one of
these centers, must give special attention to each one of these young
people.

Lastly, I would like to bring something up and I hope my fellow delegates
will understand the reasoning behind what I am going to say. For some time
now we know and have concrete examples of cases in which people say: We
need the commander in chief. The commander in chief should come here. We
want the commander in chief to come here so that they'll solve our
problems. We know of specific cases, including some that occurred at party
meetings in our center -- Comrade Balaguer is here and he can vouch for
that, and so can comrade (Alexis), the first UJC secretary in our
municipality. There are comrades who in the presence of Central Committee
members have said the commander in chief has to go there so problems can be
solved: I believe the commander in chief does not always have to be there
for problems to be solved.

Comrades, we must understand this in reasonable terms, and I want you to
understand what I am going to say -- the commander in chief is not going to
be physically and mentally here forever, just as you see him now. We must
also have confidence in other other comrades in the Central Committee. We
must also have confidence in all our leaders. We should not say and believe
only the commander in chief can solve the problems wherever they are. Now,
the other comrades must also win over our confidence because the comrades
who are up there and down here are the replacements of the comrades leading
the revolution in our country. But we have to win that confidence by going
where the problems are and solving those problems, as the commander in
chief solves problems when he goes where the problems are. [applause]

[Cuban President Fidel Castro] I have to say something about these matters.
Many of these problems are solved. I find it easier to solve them than do
other comrades because I have a position, a responsibility, more
connections, and I can get things moving. If someone else were in my place,
he would do the same. I do not believe that when the comrades ask me to go
to one of these places they do so thinking I am superior to others, or I
have more skills than the other comrades. What I have are more resources. I
know more people. I can go talk to the board, the Politburo, the
Secretariat, the Executive Committee; I can talk to the ministers and do
more things. That is why, realistically speaking, people ask me to go.

I just remembered something. Something I had promised and have not followed
through with. I was going to visit... [Castro pauses and asks: "Eh?"] No,
no I have not gone there. [Someone nearby says something indistinct] Isn't
it the same one? Of course. I am going to write it down so I won't forget.
[audience laughs, applauds]

I'm taking the time to make note of things. The visits you have, more or
less, forced me to make or have asked me to make: Fajardo, Venegas -- it is
Venegas, isn't it? promised to drop by. I believe I promised to stop by the
stone mill. I thought it was nearer. It's in Consolacion. I thought it was
near San Cristobal. The petroleum center asked me to visit. The Matanzas
thermoelectric plant also wants me there.

Anyway, that's it. I just wanted to give my opinion. Don't think I am the
great problem solver, or that I am more capable of solving problems than
others. I just have more resources. In fact, there are some, many problems
that I have been unable to solve despite all my influence, my connections,
my position, my responsibilities. Don't think otherwise. There are many
that have gone unsolved. They were a matter of concepts that prevailed,
vices that were introduced, underestimation, all that. You have to consider
that we are a collective, we are an institution, a state with collective
leadership that discusses problems collectively. We outline a policy, and
we each do our best to implement that policy and fulfill that policy. Many
comrades do their best to put the policy into practice. But if a structure
goes down like this and collapses at a given time, if, let's say, absurd
concepts arise in the planning of a structure in general and they start
giving a bit of money, as they did with the (IDI) school, for example...
[changes thought] that was the shape everything was in. It was not just a
school, it was the great majority of the projects. Other vices crept in. I
have talked about this many times. They would do a small job here, four
holes, three columns. The construction enterprises, the famous construction
enterprises found it more convenient to dig ground than finish a building.
They earned more money digging the ground. And they dug and dug again, but
they never finished anything.

In view of these phenomena, well, someone must be blamed for not finishing
the Santiago art school or the (IDI). Nothing was finished. We have tried
to rectify all those concepts. I said, well, what happened with the art
schools, the sports schools, they were the last...[changes thought] a more
serious problem was that they stopped building housing in the capital. The
microbrigades declined. They forgot. They were against the microbrigades.
They seemed to contradict the economic management system. That was false.
They were not conceived thus. The truth was that there was no extra work
because there was a surplus of people in many places.

Right now in bringing back the microbrigades we have proposed the state
reimburse the factories for the microbrigades' wages. That way they won't
be a burden on their budget, their costs. They might even be encouraged to
send their surplus workers to the microbrigades because that would help the
factories be more efficient. But if any of these concepts prevailed, if the
forces were lost, then they would lose the construction force here in the
capital, just to cite an example.

There are so many things we have tried to solve. For instance, when to
begin the construction of that theater that burned down. We cannot blame
Armando [Culture Minister Armando Hart]. We had to make an extra effort at
the end because we did not have the labor force to build it. And when they
said we had to build it, it was in competition with others that were more
urgent and were behind schedule. With the microbrigades we are going to
work, to solve, as I explained yesterday. That theater, the other one
that's going to be rebuilt, the Garcia Lorca. That is, it has not been easy
to find solutions to some of these problems that accumulated over time,
projects that were falling behind. In fact the comrade ministers were
powerless. All of us were powerless to solve some problems. We had to knock
down walls, erroneous concepts. That is why I said yesterday, well, we have
to make the effort now, we have to develop an awareness. That's the first
thing I propose: let's become aware of a problem. When we become aware of a
problem then let's all, all [repeats himself] try to solve the problem. I
can help solve some problems, but I am basically trying to instill an
awareness. There is this problem, that problem, we have to make an effort,
we have to make a decision and in that way we start solving problems. I
agree with one thing the comrade spoke about, the need to educate cadres
and to get each cadre to do his best to resolve things. Even in the face of
adversity, you can always do more or you can do less. Let's each try to
solve problems in accordance with each one's authority, each one's
resources regardless of difficulties. Of course, we are not going to be
eternal. Luckily, we are not going to live forever. It would be a terrible
thing to live forever. Have you ever though of that?

Actually, I would say something: whoever has participated in this congress
need not worry. I think this congress confirms the hope that the new
generations will be better, better citizens, revolutionaries, cadres.
[applause] If the future lies in the hands of men and women like you, all
of us, the members of the other generation of revolutionaries, can rest
easy. [applause]

[Havana City delegate Oscar Gonzalez] We have become aware of the
importance of recreation in our free time. This led us to take a few steps
to counteract deliquency and some problems of inadequate behavior we were
facing with the young people of the capital. We have taken very specific
steps to meet these needs.

As the comrades have been able to read in the press, some video halls have
opened as a way to socialize. [passage omitted] We are beginning to turn
some nightclubs into discotheques, changing these nightclubs in such a way
that young people can meet, as they spontaneously do. This way they will be
able to participate in these types of activities in accordance with their
purchasing power. [passage omitted] We also want to say that with the
support and assistance of some agencies, some comrades whom we would like
to thank at this congress, student centers have begun to open. We hope to
have one in every municipality. [passage omitted]

[Castro] A question. How is the Havana student center coming along?

[Gonzalez] Well, Old Havana's has begun pretty well, commander. [passage
omitted]

[Castro] Do many people go?

[Gonzalez] Yes, quite a number. When activities are organized...

[Castro, interrupting] Is there enough room for them?

[Gonzalez] Well, so far there is. As you mentioned when you were there to
inaugurate the center, you suggested taking the dance hall...

[Castro, interrupting] Take the dancing [preceding words in English]
outdoors.

[Gonzalez] Take it outdoors.

[Castro] Right, because it looks very pretty and well organized. Everthing
available, chess, video hall, the other thing, the music group, and all of
a sudden a locked room, very mysterious. You open the door. It's dark.
What's this? It's a dancing light [preceding two words in English]. The
lights turned on and off. [audience laughs, applauds] Well, I just don't
know what it's for. But when I saw that darkness, I remembered when I was
in the fifth grade. There was a book on health. It said, abrupt changes
from dark to light are bad for your eyes. [audience laughs] Besides it's a
scientific fact. And I said, well, I'll go along to please the young
people. That was the kind of thing I discussed with them. I told them, when
you can do it, do the other one outdoors, because this one really seems
unnecessary. You can have it in a club or some other place, but not in a
student center, in a closed room with those disturbing lights. Really, that
could put an end to anyone' eyesight. A closed, dark room contrasts with
the rest of the activities there. And they were going to have another place
to dance outdoors. Besides, I don't know about that dancing light or
whatever it's called. [Castro, audience laugh] How do you call it? [someone
answers: "Dancing light"] You had nothing of this kind in your youth,
Machadito [Palitburo member Jose Ramon Machado Ventura]? [audience laughs,
applauds] I said it was a stimulant, I didn't know what it was called,
sometimes nerves...[changes thoughts] how would that be called? [someone
answers: "Enervating"] Enervating? No, unnerving. [audience laughs]
Enervating means calming. [whispers in background] Gentlemen, what does
enervating mean? You were in the detachment. [audience laughs]

Enervating. [someone says: "It's to make someone nervous"] You mean it's
not the opposite? [someone says: "It means something that excites"] So it's
exciting? Why should we get young people of 14 or 15 or 16 any more
excited? Really. [audience laughs]

The idea of video halls has prospered. We decided not to charge students.
We even decided to reduce prices there, including ice cream. We got them an
ice cream machine for snacks. Did you know that next to the "dancing club"
they had an 18th century English tea room? It had small tables for anyone
who wanted to drink tea and soda. Well, you know that everything in Old
Havana has to be from the 17th and 18th century. Well, some measures like
that seem very necessary. But no one thought of it until the UJC started to
discuss these things. They became aware of the problem. That is very
important, to become aware of the problem. With relatively few resources,
they are creating those centers. The UJC had already created the clubs, the
youth centers, for instance. This type of institution did not exist. There
was a center in that section of the city called -- I don't know how it's
called -- where the monkey house was located, the monkey farm. That center
has become a youth center. This was all discussed by the Politburo. We
analyzed this problem and thought of measures to solve the problem.

With the microbrigades now we can build centers, polyclinics, special
schools. They can design at any time. I read in the newspaper that a youth
center had opened in La Lisa on the 4th. The people of that area are very
happy. I feel that all this could be accomplished with very few resources.
I believe that videos are a great idea. I don't know where the idea came
from, apparently it came from one of the comrades in the DOR [Revolutionary
Orientation Department]. They began to push the idea. What was there
before? Just a lot of individuals who owned videos. They had obtained the
videos in various ways. So the videos were copied and they created a market
with all kinds of alienating films all over the place. A clandestine
business selling videotapes. Creating these halls is an idea that is as
simple as it is efficient. Round up a huge number of good films. The
country's own archives, the film institute has a large number of excellent
films, the best f in the world. With films being produced for scores of
years, there are thousands of good, excellent films. There are inexpensive
ways to reproduce all those films for distribution. The halls are having
colossal success. We are thinking of taking these videotypes to the
mountains, everywhere, with an organization and distribution system. It is
very simple. How much do you think it would cost to provide such services?
If we build movie houses, that's a phenomenon you have to take into
account, and that is that less people are going to the movies. It is a
fact. There are some small towns where only 4 to 10 people go to the
movies. The halls are tremendously attractive, possibly because of the
variety, the atmosphere. They have turned out to be very popular and not
expensive. With some hundreds of thousands...[changes thought] it cost
around $700 or $800 to have a good set. I believe a 24-inch one. How many
inches? [some say: "27 or 36"] Twenty-seven or thirty six. If they enlarge
the screen too much, the image loses quality. But it cost around $800. That
is, it is not thousands or tens of thousands. It is a small cost. They are
now planning to install -- did you say 200? [someone says: "96 by 26 July,
200 by year's end] An additional 200. I believe that in a couple of years
the demand can be met. It is economical and it brings in income, but we are
not going to charge in the student centers. [passage omitted]

[Havana Province delegate Mirtha Ramirez] We have a problem in our center
with the use of free time. We often want to spend our free time in sports
but our school has no lights in the sports areas because when our commander
in chief called for economizing, they took out all the lights in all the
sports areas in Havana Province. Students often do not have lights to
practice sports at night. We can't hold municipal meets because of this
problem. We have brought this up at the national level and we have brought
it up many times but the problem has not been solved yet.

[Castro] Are these rural schools?

[Ramirez] Yes. They are pre-university.

[Castro] In the countryside?

[Ramirez] Yes.

[Castro] And they have taken your lights away?

[Ramirez] Lights in the sports areas. The fields are in good condition and
the teachers are very interested in teaching us sports, but we have no
lights.

[Castro] Where's your rural school?

[Ramirez] In Alquizar. And like my school, there are many others in the
province. In the high schools too.

[Castro] You mean it's a similar situation?

[Ramirez] Yes.

[Castro] And they have taken the lights away?

[Ramirez] Yes.

[Castro] For sports?

[Ramirez] Yes.

[Castro] And they waste the electricity on something else?

[Ramirez] That's right.

[Castro] They have the lights on in all the rooms?

[Ramirez] Yes.

[Castro] We should find a way to distribute that electricity, don't you
think? But no one decided that. There is a policy to save fuel which we
must implement, but no one said you had to turn off the lights here and
turn them on over there. We feel that is irrational. We'll study that,
comrade.

[Ramirez] Thank you. [passage omitted]

[Luis J. Munoz from the Agricultural Collection Center] I want to bring up
the poor quality in agricultural produce for the public. For examples
vegetables and tubers. [passage omitted]

[Castro] The economic utilization of the land is vital. We also have to
say, well, let's not plant too much cauliflower. Yes, some, so people can
eat it once a month. I am not saying no cauliflower at all. Spinach is also
a nice, useful vegetable, but hard to plant. It has low per caballerria
yield. That is, taking into account yield and cost, we must not get the
kids in school used to eating cauliflower because we are ruined if we do.
We should allow them to know what a cauliflower is, let them taste it, let
them know that this botanical species exists. But agriculture has forgotten
other botanical species. We had the case of peasants with peso signs in
their heads who said, so, the state does not produce parsley. All right,
let me go plant parsley. If the state doesn't produce hot peppers, I'll
plant hot peppers. If the state doesn't produce mint, I'll plant mint. So,
socialism isn't worth a thing -- I say this with an absolutely straight
face -- if it can't produce parsley, gentlemen! Incredible! If it can't
produce hot peppers and all that. We are already doing it. Many ideas and
initiatives have been developed. That's what's missing a lot of times.
Ideas and initiatives. And when these proposals were made, the
municipalities all over the country introduce private vegetable gardens. So
that they could produce all this green stuff, because the public has a
right to its green stuff. There's no justice otherwise. It would be a
bureaucratic administration that which would take away the right to eat
mint every 5 years. Mint or parsley. Therefore, you get incredible
mediocrity when you have more opportunities than capitalism to do it. Ah,
yes, you can be profitable but you have to meet a production plan. The
public is not interested now profitable agriculture is. People are
interested in finding the products they want on their dinner table.
[applause]

Beginning with Pinar del Rio, vegetable gardens are being established in
all the country's municipalities. But it's not just gardens. They are also
developing important plans. It is going to take us a while. It should have
been done before. Not only that, 500 trucks have been acquired for the
collection enterprises. Last year, 250 trucks were distributed, in addition
to [figure indistinct], for a fleet with 700 new trucks. Eight-ton trucks
with trailers with an 8-ton capacity. Scores of pickups were delivered.
More than 100 jeeps were delivered. Hundreds of motorcycles with sidecars
[preceding word in English] were turned over so that the buyers could go to
the people's homes. They are making a big effort. Demands have been made of
agriculture. The agriculture sector has not been told: please, solve this.
It has been told: You must solve this problem. We are going to demonstrate
if we can produce the items.

How much was garlic sold for when the peasant market began? One peso. Later
it was 6 pesos a pound. It is now 22 pesos. Do you know why it's 2 pesos.
Because state enterprises and Havana Province cooperatives were able to
produce garlic; they began to produce a garlic in greater quantity, You
see, the peasant with peso signs in his head makes a living from scarcity,
from the state's mediocrity.

Of course, it is easy for us well-to-do bureaucrats who want to avoid
headache problems, who want things easy. Yes, easy things can bring
terrible results. Even the destruction of socialism. And we can say, hey,
you little farmers, please take over the production of these things, and
just sit back. We'll create a millionaire class.

All the peasant free market did was to hamper the cooperative movement, to
make a lot of people wealthy. They were buying houses in Havana, old heaps;
they became intermediaries of all kinds. Shady characters began to appear
who looked terrible because they looked exactly like capitalists. They
looked like the typical capitalist gangster, and they began to show up at
the peasant markets. But they live off the mediocrity of the socialist
state. I cannot resign myself to the idea that the socialist state is
incapable because I believe in socialism. I believe that only socialism can
achieve miracles like the ones we have been witnessing here over the past
few days. [applause]
-END-


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