Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Further on Castro Speech to Artists, Writers

FL030255 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 1800 GMT 29 Jan 88

["Excerpts" of President Fidel Castro's 28 January speech at closing
session of the fourth congress of the National Union of Cuban Writers and
Artists held at Havana's Palace of Conventions-recorded]

[Text] Let's not make the mistake-it should not happen--of denying man what
he needs.  We cannot make the mistake of falling into egalitarianism.  We
have made that mistake at times.  We must use mechanisms but the big
mistake here was to believe mechanisms solved everything miraculously as in
capitalism and that development and socialism were created by spontaneous
combustion.  Fortunately, Che, whom we love and admire so much for setting
an example and because of his integrity, was concerned a lot about these
matters and was able to foresee some of the things that happened.  He said:
Don't start playing with those mechanisms because they later acquire a
strength of their own and become uncontrollable.  They really began to
become uncontrollable.  This is why we said we are going to control this.

I was telling the economists when I explained to them the rectification
problem in this same room: We know that there is venom.  We are still
handling the serpent.  We play the flute and put it to sleep, we take care
of it, we grab it, because we know where it has its fangs and venom.  We
have not been promoting extremist formulas.  I believe the revolution is
mature enough and experienced enough to spare extremes.  You know that
happened in other countries.  Surely, many of these things happened.  There
were demagogues who agitated the masses against others, even against
intellectuals, and against officials.  So, they had to be taken out.  You
cannot have a St Bartholomew's massacre of officials or of bureaucrats.  It
would not be hard to create one.  All that would have to be done would be
to agitate a little and say: This one is to blame for everything when it is
true that he is partially at fault.  You can imagine if it was said: You do
not have a house because of this bureaucrat; you do not have water because
of this bureaucrat; you lack this and that because of this bureaucrat; this
book has not been published because of this bureaucrat.  What if they say
later: Death to bureaucrats!  They would be killed. [laughter] They would
kill them.  Some countries had that experience.  We are carrying out our
rectification process without being hasty, without extremes, without
demagoguery.  We are doing it slowly but based on solid foundations.  We
know that we have almost started.  So, this fourth congress has taken place
under these circumstances.

I believe that we have spoken and discussed matters very seriously.  All
problems have been brought forth.  Some of these problems are not easily
resolved but I am certain we will find answers.  You will not be sorry for
the work you have done.  You will not be sorry for the things that have
been suggested here.  I am sure we are finding solutions to many other
problems.  Since we are guided by good intentions and ambitious, strategic
ideas, I believe we will find solutions to our shortcomings, errors, and
limitations in this field.  In the same way we will also find solutions in
other fields.  I am sure of that.

It was said that many things have happened since the meeting with
intellectuals was held.  Today new contingents emerge vigorously despite
all our limitations.  Back then, we were engrossed in the battle against
illiteracy in the midst of the mercenary invasion which took place the same
year.  If back then it was said that many minds were being lost, it would
be difficult to say today that a single mind is wasted in our country in
terms of culture and art.  It would be very difficult to say that.  Despite
the tragedy of the school that was never completed but is going to be
completed, I believe that even the situation in that school will improve.
After the meeting with students in which they presented their
problems--they had problems but they were not as serious--they explained
the problems with physical facilities [base material], especially at the
arts school.  They explained the resources they were lacking, the
difficulties they were experiencing.  We already knew it.  Some 3 years ago
I sent a group of comrades to visit all art schools.  Their situation in
general was pretty bad in the whole country.  They collected all the
information.  I have it in a computer.  I have the data in a computer.  It
includes the number of schools and students we have, what each one of them
is studying, and the problems they have.  Some things were done to help
them a little but they have have poor physical facilities.

I was telling you earlier that when these schools began to be built, these
vocational art schools and professional art schools--that was around I
1975--all these ideas were being considered.  All schools, not only art
schools--other schools were being built; vocational schools, even some
physical education schools--everything that was being built in 1975 had not
been completed in 1985.  Nothing had been completed.  Notice to what extent
it had deteriorated.

Schools used to be built every 4 to 5 months.  Schools, such as the Lenin
School, with room for 4,500 students were built in 2 years.  The Naval
Academy school is still being built.  Art schools had that problem.  They
have poor physical facilities.  We discussed that at the students' meeting
when they explained the school problems.  Art schools were not the only
ones with that problem.  Some agriculture technical schools had those kinds
of problems.  The arts and trade schools explained their problems
forcefully.  Of course, each province wanted to have one of their own.  One
wanted an (?ESPA) because each province wanted to have champions.  Others
mentioned other schools, art schools were among them.  I hope that this
rectification process... [changes thought] With the new construction
capabilities the country is getting... [sentence unfinished] I told [name
indistinct] let's give a little more priority to the trade school because
that school was essential for a few thousand kids.  It is very important to

I believe the time has come to pay close attention to those facilities.
Work is being done.  I hope that at this stage those schools can acquire
better physical facilities and the necessary resources.  I can say--because
I know it and have information on it--that art schools are the cinderellas
of our educational system.  We have a debt with that National School of the
Arts.  I do not know if it will have the best building in the long run but
in the end students will be able to say: Now, we can finally say this is
the best school of the arts in Latin America with a branch in Santiago de
Cuba.  It is fair enough to have an art school branch in Santiago de Cuba.
[applause] It seems that it is a fair request.

I believe it is nothing extraordinary.  These problems will be solved, we
will do more although I cannot guarantee what will be discussed at the next
congress.  We will work hard;we are all very committed to this work and to
find the answers.  We must come up with serious answers, efficient answers
to this problem, well-thought-out answers.

The Hermanos Sainz Association comrades invited me--I will try very hard to
participate in the meeting they will hold [applause].  (?There is much
interest.)  I will do everything possible to keep in touch, to continue
thinking, receiving information, and working.  All my life I have defended
the principle of not waiting.  That is, nobody should think that we will
leave problems for the Greek calends.  We have never left a problem for the
Greek calends, and we have always attempted to solve them as soon as
possible; many times, faster than what is believed.

I believe the problems brought forth here guarantee a greater development
of our art and our culture.  I believe we will find answers.  The day could
also come when perhaps we will have less dissatisfaction.  I have already
said that we will never be totally satisfied.  I believe that even if the
UNEAC comrades do perfect work, we will do more.  There will always be
things left to do.  That optimum level is never reached.  Today's optimum
level does not necessarily have to be tomorrow's optimum level.  With each
problem that is solved, new ones arise, there are new demands of life.

But I know what you want.  You want a more satisfying job.  I know you
truly want our country to become a cultural power.  It can be one.  I will
not go into details, but I believe that the freedom and possibilities to
become that power par excellence are only possible with the revolution and
should only be achieved with socialism. [applause] Something is wrong if it
is not achieved with socialism.

The problem must be recognized and rectified.  Something said to the
intellectuals back then can be repeated today.  That is that no one should
be afraid of the revolution.  We used to say revolution and now we can say
revolution and socialism.  We do not strangle creative freedom because
revolution and socialism were precisely created to guarantee that freedom.
We will never be henchmen.  Socialism will not be that.  On the contrary,
the reason for existing is to raise to the maximum level man's abilities,
its possibilities.  It is to raise to its highest level man's freedom, not
only in form but also in substance.  "Fatherland or death, we will win!"