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Further Castro Remarks at Young Artists Meeting

FL012125 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 0100 GMT 26 Mar 88

["Excerpts" of the Saiz Brothers Association National Council meeting with
the participation of President Fidel Castro; date and place not
given--recorded; some speakers identified by caption, others not

[Excerpts] [Passage omitted] [Castro] If I understood correctly, the first
comrade who spoke proposed that professional or specialized teachers with
enough training teach art classes in elementary schools, up to fourth
grade, instead of having a regular teacher doing this.  She suggested that
a professional--not a professional artist but a teacher specialized in
art--be used.  That is, it is suggested that a specialized teacher be used
beginning in the first grade, that a specially trained person teach art
beginning in first grade.  The other comrade mentioned previous experiences
and said she agreed.  She asserted that it had already been suggested that
for the other level, secondary school, second cycle--I do not know what it
is called--this should be done, but instead of two teachers, there should
be one.  I am not that worried about whether there are one or two teachers.
I believe we have enough people to train.

To tell you the truth, at this time we hardly have people to get started.
I believe that if the Education Ministry is going to do something with the
teachers we have now, we should not [rephrases] we should ask them to do
what they believe they can do with the teachers they have now and get a
guide for instructors, for children who complete elementary school in this
program--which we could call remedial--and try to reconcile today's ideas
with those of the future.  This could happen, as you say, in the year 2000,
but the year 2000 is not as far away.  It is there, around the corner.
Many of us hope to get there.  I say many of the... [rephrases] Armando
[Hart] and I.  [laughter] [passage omitted]

[Victor Rodriguez, president of the Saiz Brothers Association] I believe
that the problem, the essence of what we are saying, is that at this time
art instructors and those graduated from art schools who did not go to
midlevel schools are separated because they do not have education training.

[Castro] They are excluded.

[Rodriguez] Excluded.  They are separated.  We are asking for them to be
accepted, after passing an aptitude test if they meet the requirements, if
they have the skills, the ability, to teach art.  They should be accepted
in the same way we accept primary education school teachers after they pass
an aptitude test.  That is what I wanted to say. [applause]

[Castro] That is defined as the principle of the various sources.  The
principle of the various sources you mentioned is to look for solutions in
different places.  Life has taught us that some of these problems may seem
simple, but in reality they are not.  I have been thinking about the matter
regarding the poor teacher who doesn't have a good ear for music.  If you
give him a music test he may end up with a very low score even though he
may be very good at a science center or at a work teaching center.  It
would be wonderful if all teachers had good art training.  [applause] All
of them, all of them.

I ask myself whether we are really going to be successful in that first
stage.  I am trying to find out the truth; it is not that I have a
preconceived notion.  Sometimes I go by the practical sense of things.  I
had even suggested television be used, among other resources, to get
started.  I believe these ideas, these analyses, help us clear up a little
the differences between what the Education Ministry thinks and what they
[not further identified] think, and be able to reconcile them.  [passage

[Delegate] We want to note the situation of approximately 37 young actors
in the capital who have not had a stable job for about a year.  How have
they gotten into this situation?  There are two main reasons:  because of
decisions taken by the heads of theater groups and decisions made by the
actors themselves.  What are the needs of these youths today?  The more
generalized ones are as follows:  a stable job and salary, labor
identification in line with the legal requirements of the country, social
security, retirement guarantees, maternity leave, professional improvement,
and possibility of joining a union and becoming members of a
community-based committee.  They have all the problems an individual faces
when he loses his status as worker and, thus, is separated from our social

[Delegate] The current contract laws are not fair to us.  Those who got
into the field after 1981 have predetermined contracts and the ones who
started before have indefinite contracts.  This results in big differences.
What the youths ask is not that we are guaranteed a job or a salary.  We
feel comfortable with this insecurity, in the struggle to have to improve
ourselves.  We would like a more effective way that would be available to
all, without distinctions.  All should share the same insecurity because
this serves the purpose of regulating the number of youths in the sector,
forces them to show what they are capable of doing.  This matter of the
indefinite and predetermined contracts is not fair.  We do not ask for
security. [passage omitted]

[Castro] What are the causes that bring that about?  It seems to be such an
abnormal thing.  How does that come about?

[Armando Hart, culture minister] It was a union policy decision that
brought us to this.  The idea was for the Culture Ministry to coordinate a
contract for a specific period of time, per performance, considering the
specifications and the characteristics. It is not an absolute thing,
either.  One of the factors carrying the most weight in the quality of the
art movement is precisely the dead weight of that indefinite contract, of
that eternal right of remaining employed.  We were looking for
alternatives.  That is what justified the proposal of speeding up the
[words indistinct] process.  Some progress has been made on that.  We are
looking for a formula to give more flexibility to the process, we are
looking for a policy formula to resolve the problem.

[Castro] The main concern lies in the fact that this blocks, it blocks the
possibilities of having newer people.  It blocks the possibilities of
quality.  There should be a formula to reconcile the policy of not
affecting them in any way that could be too traumatic to many, which
affects their resources, their income, or their status quo acquired through
many years.  See if that could be reconciled with a way in which this
contradiction to this problem is resolved, to give access to new people and
provide access to quality as a principle.

[Hart] That is the bottom line of the problem we have had, and I believe we
are touching on one of the essential problems regarding the policy followed
by the artistic labor sector.  I am glad this analysis is being made
because indeed what has been of most concern is the promotion, not of the
new actors but of the actors [as heard].  The formulas can be studied but
have to be looked into with a policy criteria in mind, with the criteria
of the union, with all criteria.  Also, formulas in the retirement process
have to be considered.  Another of the formulas we are going to carry out
immediately in the area of theater is the evaluation process. [passage

[Delegate] I ask myself, why is it that when someone is appointed to direct
those places--such as the municipal culture director, the one in charge of
the house of culture, and the person in charge of theaters--the
association, the UNEAC [National Cuban Writers and Artists Union], and
artists are not consulted regarding who should be appointed.

[Castro] So many people are appointed.  Each People's Government operates
almost independently.  The People's Government of Santa Cruz del Sur...
[changes thought] I even have doubts about the authority of central
organizations which claim to manage systematically.  There is a double tier
of authority.  I doubt very much their capabilities of making guarantees.
They can fight and should fight and establish rules and regulations.  That
was already discussed quite a bit at the UNEAC and in other places.  It was
discussed that there were people who were not appropriate for the positions
they hold.  Reference of this was made not only regarding the state organs
but regarding the party.  The fact that there are people who are not
adequate to carry out the task was discussed.  Each People's Government has
a world of its own.  It has constitutional authority to make appointments
and dismissals.  I am saying this because this also happened in the area of
education and health until we started finding mechanisms of coordination
and, let's say, even implied authority.

I remember that I once met with all those responsible for health services
of the provincial People's Government.  They made appointments and
dismissals and everything.  I met with them all, with the health minister
[words indistinct].  I told them:  You are going to do what the health
minister tells you to do, you are going to follow the policy directed by
the health minister, and you are going to comply with it.  This also
happened in the education sector because some of those People's Governments
have acted independently.  Good people had been selected in some of them
but not in others.  So the struggle of the central government, the UJC
[Union of Young Communists], you, the party, everyone, is to acknowledge
that those problems do exist and we need to start fighting against them and
overcome those difficulties.

We have heard about this at least twice.  We heard this quite a bit during
the UNEAC congress, regarding the ability and suitability of the
individuals who direct those activities.  I imagine that there may be other
problems, there may have been some huckster-type problems in all this, that
they have something, that they do not provide it, that it costs them, that
they pay the electric power--I do not know. [sentence as heard] They could
have been engaging in some of those activities. I was saying that in the
field of culture, we cannot put everything--I am convinced of this--under
the empire of economic mechanisms.  They could be in flagrant contradiction
with our objectives.

Let's say a policy... [corrects himself] a movie, could be a very good
movie and not be a box-office success.  Imagine that we begin making
box-office success movies:  pornography, sex, car races, violence, a guy
killing 400 people with a machinegun.  Some people like those kinds of
things.  Are we going to make those kinds of films?  We can make films that
are not box-office successes but have a good artistic value.  People have
to be educated, among other things, if they like.  I defend the idea that
in the field of culture we should not let ourselves be guided by financial
mechanisms.  [passage omitted]

[Rodriguez] We have the house of the creative young person.  It was
supposed to be for the association.  The association is composed of the
former Raul Gomez Garcia, the former Saiz Brothers Brigade, and is also
composed of the new song movement of those under 35 years of age.  Someone
else should have said this but I am going to say it.  We have a house that
is broken down.  It is in poor condition even though we have repaired it
several times.  It is on Puerto Avenue.  People don't go there.  It is
small.  The facilities are not suitable for the creative workshops.

[Castro] How can you exist if you do not have headquarters?  [applause]

[Rodriguez] We have headquarters, but that is the problem.

[Castro] Here we can apply the phrase:  I think, therefore I am.  I have
headquarters, therefore I am.  This is the first organization I have seen
in my life that exists without headquarters.

Now we can build.  We are constructing many buildings; we have a huge
building force.  What is needed is a location, a piece of land.  A project
is needed.  What needs to be done is to work in the preparation of the
project.  What?

[Speaker] [Passage indistinct]

[Castro] I know.  Look at that.  [Words indistinct] Habana Vieja.

[Speaker] [Passage indistinct]

[Castro] What was that?  No.  It is not going to be in Pabexpo.  It is not
going to be there.  You have to find a place near the city.  It is very
difficult in Habana Vieja unless the facade is left and a building is built
inside.  This is the way child care centers, schools, polyclinics, and
everything else is built in Habana Vieja.  Perhaps there is some land in El
Vedado.  But it has to be found soon. [applause] [passage omitted]

Someone said he had a speech but got all mixed up when he spoke:  another
one said something else about the ideas he did not want to express at this
time.  I want to give some of my impressions of the meeting and some
personal conclusions I have arrived at.  Not only I but I believe all of
you have had a good impression of this meeting.  I think we are going to be
satisfied with the meeting when we leave.  It was pretty fruitful, pretty
productive.  Many comrades have spoken although others did not have a
chance.  At the end some gave up their turn to speak.

Everything did not go smoothly all the time; it was impossible for
everything to go smoothly all the time.  There were some family
disagreements, but they helped give an open, candid, sincere, and
spontaneous nature to the meeting.  Many things were said at this meeting,
many deep, serious--very serious--things were said.

Some comrades such as Comrade Armando [Hart] have referred to that meeting
in... What year was that, Armando? [Hart answers: 1961] In 1961.  A long
time has gone by.  Armando mentioned the changes that have been made, the
differences between that meeting and this one.  It is logical.  Almost 30
years of revolution do not go by for nothing.  If we were to be very strict
we could perhaps ask ourselves, with a spirit of self-criticism, whether or
not we have used these 30 years of revolution well.  Undoubtedly, we would
all agree that we could have used them much better.  But it would also be
fair to say that much progress has been made.

It is a unique experience for us to meet with this new generation of
intellectuals, artists, creative people.  I like the term creative people.
I use it more broadly, not only for writers and artists, but also for
workers.  They are creative.  Scientists are creative also.  We should use
that concept.  We should even use it for those who produce material goods.
This is a society of creative people.

It is very fair to use the term when we speak of our artists,
intellectuals, and writers.  I say it is a unique experience because we are
looking at the fruits of the revolution.  Marti once said:  Our wine is
bitter, but it is our wine.  The fruits of the revolution, with all its
defects, are the fruits of our revolution and, in reality, it is not
bitter.  Those of us who have been sharing here today with you have been
able to see just the opposite--the sweet fruits of the revolution.

A number of characteristics have been noticed.  They do not stop attracting
our attention despite the fact that we are used to seeing positive and
encouraging things.  They are the seriousness with which things were said
here, the confidence, and the sincerity.  I already mentioned the depth.  I
would even mention the high level, of the remarks because of the ideas
expressed and the manner in which they were expressed.  In my opinion, they
show true promise for our country.  I hereby confirm something I have been
noticing in our country.  No matter how dissatisfied we may be, I see many
positive things in our people, many.  I see many positive things in our
youth.  Had we not believed in the people, where would we have ended up?
That is such a clear, eloquent example. It is logical to have that
confidence.  We believed in the values of the people and their ideas even
when we were left with seven rifles.

A few days ago a ceremony was held to mark, I believe, the 30th anniversary
of the day Raul and I joined up.  We only had seven rifles, yet we went on.
How could that have been done if one does not believe in the people and
their moral values?  How many people were willing to give their lives and
how many gave them?  Would they have done this for any amount of money?
Today we also ask ourselves, is if for the money?  Are we going to motivate
on the basis of financial mechanisms?  No, that is impossible. I believe we
are rewarded by the confidence we have in the people when we see all the
things I am telling you.  I see them every day and everywhere.  Nobody
tells me about them; I do not read about them in reports.  I see them.  I
talked to the 27 directors of the 27 child care centers we had to
inaugurate.  I talked to the music people and I asked them how they work.

By the way, comrade, I was told that the child care centers' mus