Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


FL201407 Havana Television Cubana Network in Spanish 0103 GMT 8 Apr 87

[Part 2 of the "highlights" of the proceedings of the Fifth Union of Young
Communists, UJC, Congress held at the Palace of Conventions in Havana, 1-5
April -- all delegates identified by caption -- recorded]

[Excerpts] [Passage omitted] [Dulce Maria Hernandez from the Higher
Institute of Art [ISA]] There is no doubt that all that has been brought up
at this meeting, what Caridad [Caridad Diez] and Comrade Balmaceda [Ramon
Balmaceda] said is true. There are many things that contribute to this.
Caridad mentioned the money problem. This is a real problem. For example:
The ISA's School of Plastic Arts and I know this because I was an art
instructor at the UJC's Art School in Cubanacan before I became the
secretary general of the ISA -- are facing many problems because of the
lack of money. This problem has resulted in the dropping of programs from
our curriculum. [passage omitted]

Commander, we keep hearing that Cuba is going to become a Latin American
power and a cultural power. I do not think that we should be saying this.
It is not true. We must not be dreamers. I know that a revolutionary must
be a dreamer, but there are things that we still cannot dream of. The field
of the arts is one of the most expensive fields there is. [passage omitted]

I wish to add that the party and UJC members can do much to improve this
situation. The UJC and the party have not played their role properly in the
formation of young artists. There is much to be done in this area. The
community of artists must have training. They must also be determined to
resolve all those petit bourgeois problems that are remnants of capitalist
art. Something must be done. [applause]

[Castro] How many students does the ISA have?

[Hernandez] Commander, 404 students attend our day classes.

[Castro] I understand that there are 58 schools.

[Hernandez] Yes.

[Castro] This means that the situation at some of these schools is really
bad. I ordered that these schools be visited; however, we have found no
solution to the problem. I asked for information regarding the number of
students, what they are studying, what they are doing. I heard that they
are having some problems with the food; that they are not receiving their
basic materials; and all sorts of other problems. The art schools are being
neglected. Some of the buildings have not been finished. The Santiago de
Cuba building has not been completed.

I recall when the plans were drafted for the vocational schools, the
Camilitos [Camilo Cienfuegos Military Vocational Schools] schools, and the
teachers schools. Plans were also drafted for the physical education
schools. These plans included the arts schools. However, when the actual
construction began, the most affected were the CEIDI [expansion unknown]
and the art schools. Before that many schools had been built; the rural
secondary schools and pre-universities. These schools were all built in the
provinces. But several restrictive measures were implemented in those days
and after the restrictions were lifted, we began to experience a delay in
the completion of the works. Perhaps we could ask the part and the
mini-brigades to help in the completion of the school.

[Ivette Regueiro] I am the secretary general of the National school of

[Hernandez] National vanguard. They do not have a school but they are
national vanguard. [laughter]

[Regueiro] The problem we have is the following: We do not have a school.
We work there [not further explained] every morning from 0700 to 1330. They
lend us their classrooms. However, the building belongs to the Cuban
National Ballet and to the Lyric Arts Institute, under the direction of
Prima Ballerina Alicia Alonso. Every 3 months we must pay 30,000 pesos for
the use of the classrooms yet we all do the same thing; we dance.

[Castro] Where do you practice?

[Regueiro] Ballet.

[Castro] Where?

[Regueiro] The lyceum.

[Castro] Where is the lyceum located?

[Regueiro] In Old Havana, just above the Garcia Lorca Theater.

[Castro] Oh yes, the famous theater.

[Regueiro] Yes, but there are plans to close it and we will be out on the

[Castro] No. It is going to be repaired.

[Regueiro] Well then.

[Castro] It is not going to be closed; it is going to be repaired,

[Regueiro] The lyceum, where we pay 30,000 pesos [interrupted by Castro]

[Castro] Yes, every 3 months.

[Regueiro] Every 3 months.

[Castro] How many students attend these classes?

[Regueiro] Forty-three.

[Castro] This means that each student pays almost 1,000 pesos every 3
months; almost 4,000 pesos a year. What is that? A profit-making company?
You probably pay them because they own the place.

[Regueiro] Yes. But the best part is that they have a theater.

[Castro] What theater?

[Regueiro] They have a small theater they call the Alejo Carpentier Hall.

[Castro] Where you study?

[Regueiro] Yes. They built a theater but, despite paying the 30,000 pesos,
we cannot dance in that theater.

[Castro] Come again, come again. [laughter] You pay but you cannot dance in
that theater?

[Regueiro] We cannot dance in that theater.

[Castro] Do you pay for the use of the theater?

[Regueiro] It is part of the facilities.

[Castro] But you cannot use this theater?

[Regueiro] No, and we cannot dance at the Garcia Lorca Theater. We are
forced to look for other places to dance. We have to be asking for favors
from the directors. [passage omitted]

[Castro] The truth is that the building that houses the National School of
Arts was never really finished. There is a long story behind all this; I
doubt if you were born when it all started.

[Unreadable text]ly in the revolution, we drafted some pretty rather exotic
plans for this. However, some differences among the architects, builders,
and others developed, and one day they just said that this could not be
built. They were totally opposed to this plan. I recall that the area where
the building is located was a country club for the bourgeoisie. We gave the
land to the school. We wanted the school to be built. However, the problem
developed and the plan was never completed. When the same plan was
presented at the ministry (not further identified] it was flatly rejected.
Later, the building used today to house students was built. Now they are
building the School of Music.

I think that to get the School of Arts built we need to appoint a group of
architects that will work with the ministry and draft a plan to complete
the School of Arts. A group of architects that will study the plan and make
their recommendations. It will probably have to be a new type of building.
We cannot go back to those days when the buildings were very complicated
and difficult to build, as was the case early in the revolution. Then we
will have a School of Arts, and this school will have all the facilities it
needs, just like the Camilitos have; or like the Lenin schools -- the
former vocational schools -- the Che Guevara, and Jose Marti schools had.
These were schools big enough for 4,500 students and they were equipped
with all they needed. Well, this is part of a long chain of problems.

You have also said that you had to buy from areas that demanded payment in
dollars when the same equipment could be bought from Socialist countries. I
can see that we have many problems in this area. What we have heard here is
only part of the problem. What Balmaceda said -- he complained that the
artists do not visit the mountain areas -- is true. I have no doubt of the
willingness of the young artists to go where they are needed. I know that
much effort has been put into organizing brigades to visit the canal areas,
travel on internationalist missions, and visit the Nicaraguan border areas,
but we also know that many artists are crazy about going abroad but not too
crazy about going to Baracoa, Pinar del Rio, and tour Cuba. [applause]
[passage omitted]

[Culture Minister Armando Hart] A big problem we face is precisely
strengthening the work of the ISA and the teaching of art. The comrade [not
further identified] put it very nicely. She said that this meeting also
involved education. I think that the problems in the field of culture
demand a search for rapprochement among the Ministry of Higher Education,
Ministry of Education, and Culture Ministry. This is necessary because
culture cannot be viewed as a distant phenomenon. Culture is part of the
phenomenon of education.

I once told Fernandez [not further identified]: Fernandez, the first goal
of education is culture. I am a firm believer that the proper use of our
free time is an essential factor in the spiritual development of society.
Some of you have mentioned proper use of our free time, but free time used
in a cultured manner. We may have made some mistakes, we may have done too
much for certain institutions, but what encouraged us? We were encouraged
by the fact that we would rather see a young person going to a museum, a
library, or a dance instead of going to a beer joint. Mind you, I have
nothing against having a beer.

I do think that our free time must be used properly and I think that one of
the main roles of culture is to play a part in the use of free time. I
think that culture is the backbone of the cardinal problems Fidel mentions
when he speaks of moral and ideological incentives. When Comrade Fidel
speaks of the moral and ideological incentives, I hear him speak of the
problems of culture.

Comrades, I feel, and I think that it has been the same for many of you,
that this congress has been very important. I have felt the future -- and
you, the youth, are the future -- calling me and demanding of me. At other
meetings I have felt that the past was calling me, not this time. This time
it is the future calling; calling me to listen to all your problems.
[applause] [passage omitted]

[Castro] Many other problems have been brought up here today and no one has
commented on them. Perhaps Aldana [Carlos Aldana, secretary of the
Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee] has something to say?

[Aldana] I would like to say that the new and old party members must admit
that our party cannot overlook its quota of responsibility for the
mistakes, deficiencies, deviations, and inconsistency we find in all that
has clearly and frankly been expressed by you. I also feel that the
delegates at this congress must realize that the problems expressed are a
result of the implementation of mechanisms, distortions, and hairbrained
schemes alien to the essence of the cultural efforts. I also feel that in
this field there are problems that cannot be blamed on the mechanisms.
These are administrative problems.

There is a policy but as a comrade delegate said, a policy is not something
that can be rearranged like numbers or percentages. We are not talking
about 70 percent of something being national and 30 percent being foreign
-- and we must not think of foreign in negative terms. We are talking about
quality. We must guard ourselves against harmful pseudo-cultural practices
that can be copied, and later demanded by our people. If this should
happen, we would be the only ones to blame for poisoning them.

I also wish to state very clearly that even though it is true that the
implementation of economic mechanisms in the art sector has not been the
best and has led to problems, this does not mean that we cannot find ways
to implement economic mechanisns that will respond to the needs of the art
sector and help improve its quality. The socialist principle that ensures
payment according to quality and quantity can also be implemented in the
art sector. Of course, big mistakes can be made, since art is be very broad
field and there are certain jobs and activities that cannot be handled in
the same way we would handle material production.

We have seen solid measures implemented in the field of material production
yet we have also seen these solid measures fail. When these same solid
measures were implemented in the art sector they turned out to be a
disaster. However, this does not mean that we do not need a policy that
will encourage quality and quantity, a policy that will reward those who do

Comrades, this is the only way to prevent mediocrity. This equalization,
this apparent justice, helps hide mediocrity. Talent, revolutionary
conduct, and total devotion for the people must be rewarded. How? In what
manner? To what extent? That is the problem we must solve and I think that
we can do it based on the experience our country has. There is no need to
invent new things. Perhaps a simple idea that at the same time responds to
the principle of rewarding for a job well done, can be implemented in the
art sector.

In conclusion, I wish to say that all of us who participated in last
night's, 4 April, events, were witnesses of what art and culture is all
about. Comrade Fidel and the revolutionary art are the only ones that can
fill the Revolution Square the way we saw it last night. [applause] I feel
that all of us who participated in last night's events are better today
than we were before. [applause] [passage omitted]

[Cienfuegos Delegate Raciel Palmero] About a year ago the organization
responsible for schools decided to establish schools according to
specialties. We understood that if this was done properly it would be good.
They said that the schools would be divided according to specialties; for
example, one school would specialize in command, another in medicine,
biology, and another one would 'be a naval academy. But what is happening?
Well, a Camilito asks himself: I live in Cienfuegos and the Camilo
Cienfuegos School in Cienfuegos is a command school. I do not want to go to
a command School but would like to be an army engineer. But to do this I
would have to go to Santa Clara or some other province. We feel that other
methods are needed. [passage omitted]

I have not mentioned this problem because I feel that our schools are not
good or because they are experiencing serious problems. I think we are all
prone to make mistakes and that we do have questions to ask. Perhaps you
may think this is not the right time to discuss this but I think that since
our commander in chief, Comrade Fidel, and other high-ranking Armed Forces
officials are here, we should bring them up. Perhaps the future teachers of
the fighters of the year 2000 can get some answers.

[Castro] At what age do the students attend the Camilitos school?

[Unidentified speaker] They start their pre-university education in 10th

[Castro] How old would the students be?

[Unidentified speaker] Fourteen going on fifteen.

[Castro] Will that student be mature enough to make such an important
decision? Would the Armed Forces benefit from someone who had no other
alternative but to become an officer? Even though the Camilitos schools
were opened to nurture the Armed Forces and create a vocation among the
youth, I do feel that good officers can be trained from among
pre-university and science schools. There are youths who were not able to
enter a pre-university and had to choose a technical career; there are
others who entered a pre-university but went into the Armed Forces instead
of going to the university. They had not study. Many of the youths who had
no discipline, no training, and not enough maturity went into training and
active service and became more disciplined. They did their best and

Many of the youths fell under Order 18 and they used the right this Order
gives them -- Order 18 was created only a few years ago -- to study. We did
not have the pre-military schools and these were created precisely to give
those youths who did not have the opportunity to go to the pre-university,
technical school, or university, a second chance. This was done as a reward
for those youths and the results have been good.

You know your comrades. Do you feel that they all have a military vocation?
You think they all qualify?

[Palmero] I feel that if a youth is in his 12th grade in a military school
then he has a military vocation. [passage omitted]

[UJC First Secretary Roberto Robaina] I suggest that we conclude this
session by expressing the congress' firm determination to evaluate the
possibility and find way for every Cuban youth to serve in the
Revolutionary Armed Forces. This will be a task for the youths who will be
chosen to head our directorate. We have already expressed our willingness
to our party's directorate. [applause]