Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Take 9 of 11--Cuba: Castro Speech at Child Care Center


[Text] At the moment, however, we are employed many retirees in
activities to help internal order, administration, commercial services, and
in many other things.  And all those construction retirees are working once
again with the social mini-brigades.  All those who want can work anywhere,
or in a school teaching the young people to build.  I tell you, that is
another world that the revolution is discovering, and to which each time
more attention will be paid.  Maybe no one ever thought about what was the
psychology of some of these grandparents.  No one thought about what
problems preoccupied and made them suffer.  There were many who had
problems and anxieties because society did not pay enough attention and
give consideration to them.  A lot would be said about the pioneers, young
people, and workers, and overall not much attention was being paid to the

That is why I say that in this whole process we are discovering two
fabulous and interesting worlds.  Just today at 1700, when we were
inaugurating a prostheses shop to manufacture artificial devices, an
important work, I had the opportunity there of giving a diploma to a
grandparent whom everyone applauded very much.  It was not a matter of him
being there as a volunteer.  He was a construction worker who started
working at age 10 as an assistant.  He has been working in construction for
79 years.  He looks as strong as an oak.  He is 79 years old.  He is a
construction foreman.  I had seen him once, he had spoken with me.  He
said: I'll always be here, my whole life, I am never going to retire.  He
told be again today: I do not ever plan to retire.  I will retire the day I
die.  What kind of work are you doing?  At what time do you begin?  He
said: I start at 0400.  I ask him: Why so early?  I come to see if the CBP
[expansion unknown] guards are awake and going their job.  I tour
everything, I see everything, he tells me. [applause] Afterwards, I see how
the work is going to be organized for the day and check to make sure we
have everything we need.  At 0700 I am already there when work begins.  I
leave work at 1900, 2000, 2100, 2200 or at whatever time is necessary.  I
could see that the man was really satisfied, happy.  He is an impressive

When we were inaugurating a center in Marianao in front of the tobacco
factory, just the other day, I gave a diploma to a man.  I also applauded
him for what he had done.  He told me:  Well, I have worked.  How many
hours, I asked him.  He said: 1,785 voluntary work hours.  Of course, for
him all of this was voluntary work because he is retired.   This man is
incredible.  I asked him why this wasn't said there?  He said:  No, I don't
want it to be said, it's not necessary.  I don't want it to be said.  He
said this with such modesty.  I told him:  You don't want it to be said,
but we need for it to be said.  You are a model and an example; you could
be an inspiration for many workers.  He had retired last year, and he is 68
years old.  He also looks strong.

In the majority of the centers where we have been, we have seen
wonderful things which show the popular character, and the character of the
masses.  This movement is instructive, it is not merely composed of the
31,000 mini-brigade workers.  Next year we will be more, and it will be
composed of those hundreds of thousands who have earned the 40-hour bonus.
They have contributed with 20 million hours.  It is composed of
neighborhood residents, grandparents, students, children.  We have seen
amazing things.  We have seen the admirable citizens that this country has.
These citizens who are more or less a symbol, and a symbol of the spirit
with which our people have become imbued.

There are very old grandmothers with hundreds of voluntary hours and
women party members who in some centers have accumulated up to 1,500 hours.
It is amazing.  These are extra hours because after having worked their
10-hour daily schedule, they become mini-brigade workers.  These are the
hours worked on free Saturdays and Sundays; we have seem them at all hours.