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Castro Speech at Child Care Centers Inauguration

FL0402162789 Havana Television Cubana Network in Spanish 2200 GMT 28 Jan 89

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at the ceremony to inaugurate over 50
child care centers in Havana--live]

[Text] Comrades:  As it has been already said here, we are inaugurating
54--to say it with absolute accuracy--no [corrects himself].  52 child care
centers are being inaugurated today.  Are they 52?  Let's get the figure
right.  Fifty-two are being inaugurated.  Three were inaugurated earlier.
So, the total is 55.  Two more will be completed in a few hours.  The
outside areas and a stairway need to be completed but they will be finished
in the next few days.  We are inaugurating today even those two that will
be completed in a few hours because we are not going to have a special
ceremony for them.  [chuckles; applause]

You can be absolutely certain that minibrigade workers are going to
complete them within the next few days because the only things left are the
finishing touches.  With the exception of eight, all of them have been
inaugurated with the children in place.  I understand that only eight child
care centers are not operating yet because construction has just been
completed.  All of them will be operating at the beginning of February.

It was also said here that--counting this one--111 child care centers have
been built.  The original plan included 100 child care centers.  One
hundred child care centers were planned because there was an unmet and
growing need for children to attend child care centers.  The demand had
been building up.  At that time, when the question was raised about how
many child care center slots were needed.  It was determined that 19,500
were needed.  So, we decided to build 100 child care centers.  The problem
should be solved with these.  One hundred child care centers were planned
with room for 210 children each.  This would result in 21,000 slots.

The movement became stronger.  There is some uncertainly about these
figures because this is a variable need that could grow.  Four more child
care centers were built last year.  It was agreed to build 54 more.  The
program was overfulfilled in 1988.  Actually, the 1988 program took a few
more days to complete.  Not all of the centers were completed by 31
December and it took several days in January to complete:  nevertheless,
the program was also overfulfilled.  Fifty-seven child care centers were
built:  56 of them were of the regular kind, of normal ones with an
enrollment of 210 children.  The 57th one is a small child care
center--yes, the 57th one--which is located in an area of the genetic
engineering and biotechnology center.  This one has an enrollment of
between 40 and 50.  They tell me that this child care center turned out
very well.  I have not seen it but, out of the 57, this one is the

Out of the 111, 110 are of the regular kind with room for 210 children.
Places for some additional 24,000 children were created.  This was a high
figure.  There were existing facilities for about 40,000.  I think the
figure did not reach 40,000.  It was 39,000.  There were 300-odd child care
centers of all types built throughout the revolution.  A few of the child
care centers were planned for those purposes.  Many others were adapted
houses and installations.  This is why if each of the 300 child care
centers or so had had room for 210 children, enrollment would have been
between 60,000 and 70,000.  There are all types and sizes of child care
centers among the old ones.

This time the revolution is able to come up with a program with blueprints
specially designed for child care centers, taking into account all the
experience accumulated in this area throughout the years of the revolution.
This is how the blueprints for the first 54 child care centers were
drafted.  Nevertheless, since any project is always subject to improvement,
some improvements were introduced in these 1989 blueprints using the
experience of the child care centers built in 1987; in fact, the ones that
were built in 1988 already had some improvements.  They are standard
institutions.  In this way, one knows the number each needs, the number of
workers it should have, the role each one plays [words indistinct] the type
of installations, the way they should operate, and the room they should

A big step in quality has been taken by being able to create the almost
24,000 slots in standard installations.  The comrade [not further
identified] said earlier that the other centers used to have an average
staff based on the old payroll.  They had 57 workers for each child care
center.  Now each child care center has 48 workers.  This doesn't mean that
more cuts couldn't be made.  Child care centers could operate with even
less staff.  We have not focused much on this because it involves an
important area such as the care of children.

We have preferred to have a higher payroll then we should, for the sake of
optimizing the care of children, for the sake of quality.  We are not
talking about offices or other kinds of facilities where we could easily
make cuts.  We are doing that in many factories and other places.  We are
discovering real miracles in cutbacks, extraordinary...[siren heard in

What's that sound?  [crowd response indistinct] There are three or four of
them, they are making a lot of noise.  Well...[crowd murmur] Are those
firemen?  If they are firemen, we can't criticize them.  If it is someone
sick, we can't criticize them either for making noise.  [unidentified
speaker makes indistinct comment] When does the game begin?  [laughter] I
promise to finish before the game, don't worry.  I will finish in enough
time for you to go home, sit and (?watch it).  If the firemen need help, we
could go help them put out the fire.  [speaker confirms they are firemen]
There aren't any child care centers there in [word indistinct] right?
[speaker answers:  "No"; second speaker adds indistinct comment] The noise
started when I began talking about the payroll.  [laughter] some day, I
should go pay a visit to those firemen and see how their payroll is.
[laughter] It seems everything is well there, and they don't need more
personnel.  [laughter] I think we must be surrounded by fire.  [laughter] I
don't think there was so much noise even in Angola.

We were saying that we did not want to be too strict with this matter.  A
child care center has to be open approximately 12 hours.  It must be ready
to be open up to 12 hours.  The care of approximately 200 children is a job
which requires a lot of dedication and special effort.  It is not an
ordinary job.  The quality of its services cannot slacken at any moment.
Despite everything, some deductions have been made.  The mere fact that we
have standard child care centers helps a lot in their organization and
management.  The problems that arise in one center are the same as in

Maybe, some day, we will start eliminating some mini and small child care
centers.  Some day, but not now.  Right now, we cannot do away with a
single one.  But we can continue building standard centers.  Anyway, the
ones that are built in the future will also be done in this fashion.  That
is how we will standardize the centers.  I think these institutions are
truly excellent.  They have been well built.  I think this year's centers
will be better.  The construction forces had more experience than in the
first year when they had such an ambitious program to fulfill.

I think these institutions have every requirement to render the necessary
services to the population.  The personnel is really well trained.  I think
that the education sector in Havana Province deserves recognition for the
efforts they have made in the selection and training of personnel.  We have
been training child care center teachers for several years.  At the
beginning, we had schools specializing in this area.  Afterward, the
responsibility for training them went to the teach training schools.
Today, we train them at teacher training schools.  When you speak to each
one of the workers in these centers, you will find very well trained
personnel.  It is truly a pleasure to speak with the personnel.  They are
educators who have studied, or assistants who have taken courses, or even
people who teach music, for example.  I have seen many of them.  I have
seen how they get children to learn several music pieces in a short time.
This is really impressive.

Of course, in reference to the training program for the country's teaching
personnel, it is a matter of increasing improvement.  Before, people would
enroll to become primary school teachers with a sixth grade education.
That was during the early years of the revolution.  Enrollment has
increased enormously.  Sixty, percent of the primary school teachers did
not have a degree a that time.  A great push was later made in all schools
for primary school teachers in the provinces until there was a high
availability of primary school teachers.  There was also a big drive to
train basic secondary school and preuniversity teachers.  Despite this
advanced group of people, we had to train more and more teachers.

The situation in primary school education is relatively comfortable now.
We have a reserve, a reserve [repeats himself], of 18,000 teachers.  This
allows our teachers to attend school.  We thus have new waves of students.
This will allow us to develop advanced programs for primary school teachers
in the future.  This is what has allowed us to enroll tens of thousands of
them in the universities to get their degrees in primary education.

As I was telling you earlier, they enrolled after sixth grade.  After a
while, when we had students at the secondary school level, people would
enroll for teacher training after ninth grade.  Before that, they would
enroll after 6 years of schooling, ninth grade [corrects himself] sixth
grade.  They had 5 years of studies and finished six grades.  They enrolled
after finishing six grades.

Later, they enrolled after finishing 9 grades and 4 years of teacher
training courses.  Now we have increased that to 5 years.  We have added
another year so that primary school teachers can be trained in the arts
education of children.  This is also another quality step.  Each of these
teachers devotes an entire year so that they can assume the children's arts
education.  We are not able to train specialists in this field alone.  It
would require an enormous number of personnel.  From our point of view, it
has to be these same teachers.  They are the most suitable people for that
task but they have to receive special training.  Once again, those who
finish 9th grade, those who enroll after finishing 9 grades, study 5 years
to become primary school teachers.

A course of studies has been created for this in the universities and, as I
was saying, tens of thousands are studying for a degree in this area.

Nevertheless, an additional step has been taken.  We have begun to enroll
preuniversity students in schools for primary school teachers.  They have
finished 12th grade.  In 3 to 4 years, 100 percent of those who enroll in
schools for primary school teachers will be preuniversity students and they
will study 5 years.  They will graduate with a degree in primary school
education.  I'm explaining this to you to give you an idea of the constant
concern for better teacher training.

Now we're talking about the child care centers.  Education begins with the
child care centers.  They exert a tremendous influence in the development
of the human personality, in the development of children, the education of
children.  I said last year that I feel the child care center is as
important as a university.  By the time a person reaches the university,
his intelligence is developed.  He is trained.  He has developed.  However,
during these years in the child care center, a child's training,
intelligence is being developed.

In a university, one receives information, training.  In the child care
center, one helps develop the children's intelligence.  That is a very
important, decisive age and this has been proven scientifically.
Professionals are trained in the universities and in the child care
centers; intelligence is developed.  That is why I say that the day those
generations become university professionals, there is no doubt that, for
many reasons, they will have a very superior training in comparison to
those who are graduating from the universities now.  However, we have to
begin with the child care center.

Nevertheless, primary, secondary, preuniversity, preuniversity [repeats
himself] education, and technological education is very important.  As we
train more capable teachers and professors, education in our country will
become better.  This is very important, above all in the child care center.
Fortunately, we have collectives in the child care centers with personnel
that is very well trained and we have to continue on this road.

What's more, our country can truly become a laboratory, a true research
center for children's lives, for techniques and methods to improve the
children's intelligence.  I believe that few countries have the conditions
to do what we are doing with all these institutions.

All right now, in the capital we have satisfied the demand for child care
centers.  However, I'm not going to say that these demands have been met
100 percent.  I asked the comrade of the PCC in Plaza Municipality how many
centers had been built here within the last 2 years.  She told me that nine
centers had been built.  Keep in mind, that Plaza is not one of the poorer
municipalities.  I said:  What is the situation now?  She said:  From the
third level on, the demand has been met, but it has not been met in the
first and second levels.  There is still a deficit in these areas.  This
means that there is a new crop of children being born or that there is a
new wave of pregnant mothers going into the workforce.  The comrade said:
Perhaps since the situation with the centers has been solved, the
availability of places might have increased.  I said:  No, those children
were already on the way and were expected.  [laughter] This situation has
to do with other demographic factors.  In general, the number of births has
gone up.  The specialists would have to explain these factors.  However, as
a result we have had increased demand in these two levels.

The demand is never met 100 percent; there will always be new demands.  We
will try to make sure that the needs and demands never accumulate as they
did during the past years.  These were years in which practically no
centers were built.  When we said that there were a series of negative
tendencies that needed to be corrected, one of the tendencies we were
referring to was this one.  Child care centers were not given importance.
People considered them a place of entertainment or a luxury.  It was not
well understood that the centers were a chance to incorporate thousands and
tens of thousands of women--active and well-prepared women--into production
and services.  A center like this means that 210 mothers can hold jobs as
doctors, nurses, technicians, teachers, engineers, or highly skilled
workers.  They could not go to work if it weren't for these centers.

From an economic point of view, a child care center is not a luxury; it is
useful and helps in the social development and the economic development of
a country.  We all know many people who could not work if weren't for child
care centers.  Child care centers are a solution to this important need.

As I said, we have built 19,500 child care centers.  We have advanced so
much in the past 2 years that now we can have the luxury of decreasing the
rate at which the centers are being built.  This year, 1989, we are going
to build five of them.  However, we will continue to keep an eye on the
situation.  If in 1990 we need to build 8, 10, 12, or 15 additional
centers--I don't think we will, because we have had a colossal program--we
will build whatever is necessary.  But, the fact that we worked so hard on
this program gives us the luxury of slowing down now.

Also, there is the fact that this year we will finish all 20 of the planned
polyclinics--there is a slight delay in the construction of the
polyclinics:  of the 20, there are about 8 finished.  We will finish them
all this year.  There was a slight delay in the polyclinic construction
plan, but not a 10-year, 5-year, 3-year, or 2-year delay; they were behind
schedule by only a few months, and this is only part of them.  The
polyclinics are being built correctly with the required quality.  Several
of these polyclincs will be inaugurated in a few weeks.  Also, the
polyclinic projects in the capital will be finished this year.  All of the
demands in this area will have been met.  All of the polyclinics in the
capital will have the appropriate facilities.

This year we will also finish the special school projects.  The 24 special
schools the capital needed to completely satisfy the demand will be
finished this year.  There have also been delays in this program, but not a
delay of years, only months.

We have three very important programs that have made considerable progress
these past years; these are the child care centers, the polyclinics, and
the special schools.  The demand will be met this year.

Of course, the demand, the need for child care centers is more flexible.
That is why we will always have to...[changes thought] We will not need to
build more polyclinics, unless a completely new residential zone is built.
Then, we would build a polyclinic for it.  However, the current need for
polyclinics in the capital will be completely satisfied with the ones we
are finishing this year.  We are building approximately 60 polyclinics, 20
new ones.

The total need for special schools in the capital will also be met this
year.  We may find out in 1990 or 1991 that we need another one, or two
more.  That could happen, but it wouldn't be a problem.  These are three
important programs which have made extraordinary progress, and which will
free a work force and resources for other programs.

We have a bakery construction program.  There will be approximately 100 of
them.  We will soon inaugurate 14 or 15 of these bakeries.  We must
continue the bakeries program.  It is not a highly ambitious plan for this
year.  The proposal is to build 20 bakeries for 1989.  The city must build
small markets, produce shops, supermarkets.  The distribution (?network)
must carry out a series of programs.

The city must carry out programs for primary and secondary schools.  It is
not that there is a shortage of schools.  There isn't a child without a
school in the city.  However, there are a lot of facilities that have been
modified and made into schools.  Our dream is that, some day, all primary
schools will be like this center.  We do not want modified facilities, but
instead a new facility with all the conditions, all the requirements for
the school to function optimally.  We want all primary schools to have
half-boarding.  This will also be an important program.  Today, there are a
few primary schools.  Sometimes people live in faraway places and the
children have to travel long distances to go the half-board school.  All
the standard schools we build in the future, which will replace old
schools, will be schools that will have half-board for the primary level.
However, I think the problem is more serious at the secondary schools than
in the primary.  There is a relatively high number of primary schools with
half-board for those children who need it, not just for everyone.  This is
what happens:  A mother puts here child in a center.  Then he goes to
primary school, where he needs the half-board.  Fine, there are now a many
half-board schools, although they are not always in adequate facilities
with all the right conditions.  When the child finishes primary school, he
is still a child.  He may be 11 or 12 years old.  He still needs the
half-board school, but there are too few secondary schools with half-board.
That is what I was referring to.  That is why we have been making studies
to calculate how many new primary schools to replace old facilities, we
will need.  That is to say, to calculate the number of schools we will need
aside from the ones to be built in the new residential zones.  Taking into
consideration everything we now have, we have made studies to find out how
many primary and secondary schools the revolution should build.  We want
all of them to have cafeterias for the number of children who need them.
We want to someday satisfy this need.  Just as we are doing with the child
care centers, we want to meet needs in an optimum manner.  We intend to
carry out this program.  We were even going to being it with a lot of
momentum in 1989.  However, in 1989, we will take a break.  We will take a
break not because we don't want to work as hard, but rather because we feel
a break is necessary to work more productively and safely

It became evident in 1988 that the construction movement got ahead of the
construction materials industry.  Nevertheless, the efforts made [word
indistinct] with all kinds of resources to buy bricks, cement blocks,
tiles, materials for roofs--everything, all things needed to work with wood
and aluminum.  A program was set up to begin maintenance on the cement
factory.  In previous years, the country had the capacity to produce over 5
million tons of cement.  For years, however, there was a lot of
carelessness in the maintenance of these factories.  What they produced was
enough because we were not building everything we needed.  When this
construction program was put into effect, radical innovations were
introduced in the way we build, the minibrigades were born again, the
contingents came about, the Micons [Ministry of Construction] changed its
work style, series of mechanisms were set aside because they were hell to
work with and they did a lot of damage to construction.

A construction boom occurred.  The production of materials has lagged
behind this construction boom.  The year 1988 was a difficult one.  There
was constant tension People said:  We need this material:  we need that
material and the other, and so on.  By the end of the year, we needed
cement.  There were problems in the middle of the year with the heavy
flooding in the central part of the country.  It affected an undetermined
amount of production at the Karl Marx cement factory.  There were
electrical accidents and problems that almost put the two factories here in
the western part of the country out of service.

Something failed in an area that we thought was the most secure:  cement.
We also have some ambitious plans for cement but they require more time.
We are working on the construction of a new cement factory in the eastern
part of the country.  We need a new line in the Merceon factory in Santiago
de Cuba.  We need a new line and we are trying to obtain new lines, new
furnaces from the GDR.  We have to perform important maintenance work in
the Merceron factory in Santiago and we have to invest millions of dollars
in the recovery and increase of the Mariel factory's cement production.  It
was designed and conceived to produce 1.4 million tons of cement and it has
never produced more than a million tons due to problems, maintenance
problems and other difficulties.  We are required to make an important
investment in this factory in Mariel so that we don't have to transport
large quantities of cement from other regions in the country.

New rock and sand quarries are being prepared in the western part of the
country.  We have used so much rock in this part of the country that the
quarries keep getting farther away all the time.  We have to look for rock
in Pinar del Rio or in Matanzas because the quarries are being exhausted.
The distance keeps getting farther.  We have to use the railroad system.  A
contingent is finishing the Purio factory in Villa Clara in record time.
It will produce more than 1 million tons of rock and sand.  Of course part
of this will be used in the region, but this project is being finished as
soon as possible to be able to give specially help to the capital.  In the
western part of the country, several sand and rock mills are being built to
deal with this situation in the construction area.  We are creating more
facilities that can produce anywhere from 12 million cement blocks to just
over 50,000 cement blocks.  The same is being done with the tile factory.
There is a factory and for years the tiles have been sitting there in

The same thing is happening with the Purio factory.  It is being built as
fast as possible.  The amount of electrical cables has been increased for
its construction.  We are trying to increase the quantities of cast iron,
pipes of all kinds for construction.  We are also trying to increase the
amount of plastic material for construction.  All these efforts are similar
in scope.

A great effort is being made to increase the production of steel
reinforcement rods.  The expansion of the Antillana de Acero steelworks
plant has received all the attention and the necessary workforce.  The old
Antillana de Acero workshop is being expanded this year.  It has just been
expanded.  It will manufacture 100,000 more tons of steel.

In Las Tunas, a contingent created [corrects himself] a contingent built a
rolling mill in record time:  it will produce an additional 100,000 tons of
steel.  A second rolling mill is under construction and it will be finished
this year.  It will produce another 100,000 tons of steel.

On the one hand, production of small levers [palanquillas]
increases--important investments are being made--and on the other hand, we
are increasing the ability to laminate those small levers to produce steel
for use in construction.

New factories to manufacture bathroom fixtures are under construction.  The
Guanabacoa ironworks factory is being given great impetus.  It has become a
model of efficient industry and is getting more efficient.  Its products
are of the highest quality.

We are increasing dozens of items to produce more construction material.
Often, wood is scarce.  You know that we are promoting lumber cooperation
in Siberia with the USSR.  We will have thousands [unit of measure not
given] but that takes time.  We have to save a lot in lumber and, above
all, we have to introduce steel in the formworks [encofrados] because steel
can be used hundreds of thousands of times while lumber can only be used
once or twice.  It is not too easy to increase lumber production.  To
increase the availability of lumber, what we have to do is substitute
wooden formworks with steel ones.  Prefabricated items also save lumber.
We have to increase the availability of lumber.  Above all, in the case of
lumber, we have to be thrifty because it is not easy for the country to
obtain substantial increases of woods without a great effort, as we are
doing with the plan in the USSR.

The year 1988 was a tense one because of all these reasons.  Child care
centers were not built earlier for (?several) reasons.  There was no
workforce to build them.  If the party decided that there should be a child
care center in the capital because there was a pressing need for it, if the
government decided that a child care center had to be built in the capital,
it was not possible to build it.  That was how impossible construction had
become in the capital.  We couldn't even build a child care center.

There was no workforce.  Since the minibrigades had disappeared, the
capital was filing up with people from the east and from other provinces.
I wouldn't dare say anything bad about the people from the east knowing how
many people and descendants from the east there are here in the capital.

There was no workforce for construction projects.  Now we have thousands
and thousands of people.  It is thousands and thousands of people because
the explosion was so large.  Despite the 35,000 members of the
minibrigades, we still need that workforce for several important projects.

The thing that has made possible the miracle of the child care centers,
what has made these programs possible, what has made possible the more than
100 child care centers in 2 years, is the rebirth of the minibrigades.  Now
we have a bigger workforce.  [applause]

With 35,000 workers, we can now say that we have more workers than
material.  They have more experience, more training.  It is because of this
that I add [words indistinct].

What we have now is not the same situation we had in 1987.  When the
minibrigade movement began, the minibrigades were not yet very productive.
In 1988, they became more productive.  The social minibrigades then
emerged.  They will be more productive in 1989 and we want to increase the
production of material to match the constructive ability we have created.
We'll see what we can do.  We went from a situation where we had five, five
[repeats himself] child care centers planned in a 5-year period and they
were not built.  In the 5-year period from 1986-1990, five child care
centers were included in the program and they were not built because the
workforce did not exist.  The lack of materials was not observed then
because there was enough material for what was being built.  The problem
was discovered when the construction boom occurred.  Now we have a
workforce to build 100 child care centers in 2 years.

A tremendous construction force has been created and we have to
consolidate it in 1989.  We have established very clear priorities this
year, very clear.  Economic projects have priority.  Economic projects that
generate convertible currency are our number one priority.  This applies to
the entire country and with very few exceptions.   Economic projects have
priority and those economic projects that help the country solve its
convertible currency problems have the greatest priority.

The social program continues.  Social projects are of secondary priority.
Among those social projects, housing is the most important.  We want to
give more momentum to housing in the year 1989.  [applause] (?It is) time.
Our goal was to build 20,000 rooms, to build 20,000 homes in 1990.  It is
possible that we may not reach this goal by 1990.  It may take us another
year to do so.

Instead of reaching that goal by 1990, we will reach it by 1991.  However,
there will be much more certainty in the construction area.  There will be
a lot of materials, there is no doubt about that.  There will be sand,
rock, reinforcement rods, many of those materials, cement blocks--we will
even have enough to make cement block candy.  [as heard] Many new
production lines are being installed.

For now, we are concerned about cement.  Our current tasks can be finished
before 1990 with the cement we have.  Without a doubt, we will not [words
indistinct], but that will take a little more time.  First of all, we must
save cement.  Many people use more cement than they actually need.  By
saving 10 percent in cement, we could have over 350,000 tons available,
almost enough for a new factory.  As long as we continue to increase our
cement production capacity, we must be able to save.  That could be what
will determine whether or not we reach the goal by 1990.  If we did not,
the reason would not be a lack of construction capacity.  That is why the
minibrigade movement is going at a rate that, if all materials were
available, they can build 20,000 homes by 1990.  It could also build a
large number of primary and secondary schools, bakeries, and all other
necessary social facilities.  That is what I am talking about when I say
that in 1989 we must take a break.  In the capital and the rest of the
country, we built a lot more in 1988 (?than) in 1987.  In 1989, we will
build much more than in 1988.  There will be more construction.

However, as I was saying about social projects, in addition to economic
ones, priority will be given to housing.  We will see how much we can build
in 1990.  There will be no limits in the construction force.  The limits
will be set by the availability of construction force.  The limits will be
set by the availability of construction materials:  some materials only,
because we will have solved the shortage of many other materials.  That is
why we think our goal of building 20,000 homes each year by 1990 will fall
behind by a year.  The goal for 1990 may be between 15,000 and 16,000.
This figure is already four times more than what was built in 1986.  Maybe
by 1991, we will reach the 20,000 goal.  We will have a small delay.  We
shouldn't lose sleep over that.  However, we will have much more certainty
and productivity in construction.  That is why school programs in 1989 will
not have much impetus yet, and the bakeries, and other institutions will
[words indistinct].

We have a project that is not of an economic nature.  We could say it is
more of a social nature.  However, it constitutes an important commitment
made by our country:  the projects for the Pan-American Games.

This is the only thing that is not included in the established list of
priorities.  It is not an economic project, it is a social one.  We waged a
big battle with other countries for many years just to host the
Pan-American Games.  This went on for many years.  It gave rise to
international battles and hard times, until our country was made the host.
The nation has a commitment and must fulfill its commitment.  I'm going
to tell you something else:  We who worry about certain criteria and
priorities, those of us who know the importance of economic and social
projects, say that the Pan-American Games are only going to use up a small
part, a small part [repeats himself] of the resources and manpower in the

One of the projects for the Pan-American Games, one of the most important,
are the 2,000 houses we're building--the famous Pan-American villa.  The
famous Pan-American Villa is included in the 1990-1991 housing plans.  This
is housing that's going to be used for a few days only during the
Pan-American Games.  Afterward, the workers will get them.  In other words,
one of the most expensive things...[interrupted by applause] One of the
most expensive things for the Pan-American Games, the Olympic villa, will
be turned into a magnificent residential area for the workers.  As soon as
the Pan-American Games are over, the housing will be distributed.  This is
why the minibrigades are going to build the villa.  They form part of the
capital's housing plan.  [applause]

So this does not clash in the least with our priorities.  I'm not worried
about the other works.  For the first time, the nation will have a complex
Olympic-size swimming pools.  A complex that we have not had in the 30
years of revolution.  As for the plans for the development of the capital,
in the meetings with the people who work in the city's comprehensive
development plan, we have told them to clear the way for athletic
installations, as a future project.  Among the capital's development plans
there is the proposal to build some 40 swimming facilities.  We have to see
what impact the multitudes will have on the beaches east of Havana.  There
isn't much transportation, there isn't much anything, but if we want to
develop sports, we must build sports facilities.  In previous years, the
nation has not been able to build many swimming facilities.  There is a
reason to build them because of the importance they mean for the
population's well-being and health.

The city's development plan has 40 facilities of this type.  This means
that 200,000 people a day could go swimming without going to Guanabo or
Santa Maria.  This idea came about after our experience with the swimming
pool complex at Lenin Park.  These pools have been in service for 2 to 3
years now.  There are some Sundays when, despite the distance, up to 5,000
people go to the pool.  Up to 5,000 people go!  Of course, you know that,
in a certain way, we are like cats, and in these months, our so-called
winter, nobody dares to go in the water.  However, in the summer,
everybody, even the cat, goes into the water.  It's a matter of culture, of
getting used to it, that water won't hurt anyone.  Cold water is cold water
and many people swim in it.  In Europe, in northern Europe, the water is
15, 16 and 17 degrees in the summer.  For them this is wonderful, it's
marvelous.  Here, the temperature rarely gets any lower than 25 degrees,
and when it reaches 24 degrees no one sticks his hand in the water.

After our experience with the swimming complex at Lenin Park, we saw what
we could do.  We used it mainly in the summer.  Then we got some buses and
connected a series of schools with this swimming complex, and this way
thousands of children learned to swim.  In fact, some of the children
became athletes.  Ever since that experience--which was not a new idea, it
was an old one; this idea has been going around for a long time--the idea
of the pool complexes...[changes thought] You don't know how much money
they save the country when people have a swimming complex five or six
blocks away from their house.  They don't have to take a bus to Lenin Park
or those other places.  We think that every 40,000-50,000 people need a
swimming complex.  Olympic-sized pools of the kind you can do high dives
into.  We have already started building the first ones.  We are building
them in San Miguel del Padron.  The first pool is not an Olympic one.
What?  No, the one in Alamar is a different one.  I mean the ones in these
projects. [Castro is seen addressing unidentified person next to him] There
is a family pool and a pool for children who are only a few months old.
That way they can be put there to swim, because children should learn to
swim while they are of nursery age.  Children should learn to swim when
they are in the first level at the child care center.  They should not
ignore the laws of nature and human evolution.  Life came from water.  Life
came from water!  It was done instinctively!  [applause] Children learn to
swim instinctively.  You have to throw them into the water when they're
very young.  Perhaps one day we'll have a bathtub in every child car center
so that the kids can learn to swim.  Don't think this is a barbarous act.
This has been scientifically tested.  One doesn't know how much it helps
development.  Children should begin to swim at that age.

So, the future plans for the city--the city with which we dream of when we
speak of its comprehensive development, when we speak of sports, and not
only sports but recreation, of sports and recreation--include 40 swimming
pool complexes.  [Words indistinct] people might think a lot of water will
be used.  But no, you don't change the water.  They have filters that clean
the water constantly.  Swimming pools do not waste water if a certain
amount of chlorine is used.  Also among the future dreams there are plans
to recylce water [30-second break in reception] use in agriculture.  We are
planning to recycle water in the future.  So, there are plans regarding
[words indistinct] an Olympic-size swimming pool.

We are going to have the one at San Miguel del Padron and this one for the
Olympiads.  It stays there forever.  It is not an installation that is
going to be used for the Olympiads alone.  It stays forever.  It is going
to be excellent.  It is going to be the best one we have in terms of
sports.  It is going to be used more for sports than for recreation but it
is going to be a great installation that will remain for the use of our
people and our young.

The country has not been able to build a velodrome in 30 years.  This is a
country that likes cycling.  We have had very brilliant, great champions.
This country has not been able to build velodrome in 30 years.  Well, the
country is going to have its first velodrome.  It is a pretty sophisticated
type of construction in terms of quality.  Mistakes cannot be made, not
even a millimiter can be off.  In this sense, it takes a lot of work.  It
is a very valuable installation.

The country is going to have an Olympic stadium.  The country doesn't have
any.  The stadiums we have had already been built.  We extended this one
with the work of the CDR [Committees for the Defense of the Revolution] a
number of years ago.  We made improvements to the Pedro Marrero Stadium.
The revolution is going to build the first Olympic stadium in 30 years.  It
is going to be here forever.  Some other kinds of installations, smaller
ones, such as tennis courts and the multipurpose room will be built close
by.  A big multipurpose room will be built not far away from here.  So
far, we have counted on the place called Palace of Sports, an installation
that has existed since before the revolution.

Many sports installations have been built in the country, all kinds of
installations.  Some kind of sports installations were always included in
the thousands of schools that were built.  Track, soccer, baseball,
volleyball, basketball fields were built.  More baseball fields have been
built.  There is no province; even cities of a certain size ask for and
sometimes build their own baseball stadium because baseball is a very
popular sport.  I just remembered that I have to finish here before the
baseball game starts.  [chuckles; crowd laughs] It is a very popular
sport.  It has become the one sports.  Other very good sports such as
soccer have not taken as much hold.

Swimming has not been as popular.  We have played ridiculous roles in
international competition despite the fact that we are an island.  Of
course, one does not learn to swim competitively in the ocean.  Competition
takes place in fresh water, but it is a shame that a citizen from this
country does not know how to swim.  I don't even want to think about it.
There must be a few of those here who don't know how to swim.  [laughter]
This is an island.  Most of the facilities are baseball installations.  We
have to build other kinds of sports installations.  It is impossible to
build a baseball field in each secondary and primary school.  It is
impossible.  It would be crazy.  We need to learn to play volleyball--we
are pretty good at it.  We need to learn to play basketball--we haven't
been as good--and other sports because there is not enough space to build
installations and use them well in any given city.

I believe the time will come when we will have these installations in all
the cities of the country and not only in the capital.  They are going to
help enormously for the well-being and the standard of living the
population, for the health of the population.

The country will finally have these facilities after 30 years.  Actually,
this is the only thing that is not within the priorities we have
established.  However, they will be extremely useful to the country and for
the residents of the capital.  There are practically no sports facilities
in the eastern part of the country.  They are all here around this area,
here and (?there).  Well, there will be an Olympic stadium, a [word
indistinct] and pool, and [words indistinct].  Finally, there will be a
rowing canal; it won't cost us much.  The rowing canal will be at the
(Corone) dam which is to the west of Havana.  This (?is forcing) us to find
a solution, and we will have the appropriate facilities for these sports.
The construction projects for the Pan-American Games are the only ones that
are not on the priority list we have established.  The Pan-American
projects will be built by the minibrigades an by the Sixth Congress
contingent.  Part of the Sixth Congress has left for Varadero to work on
economic projects, and the other part remains here in the capital.  The
Blas Roca contingent is working on the groundbreaking--as know, the
contingent has a very high productivity level.  The construction plan for
the Pan-American Games will not be delayed a single day because of the

These are the basic ideas for the 1989 construction plans.  Within a few
days, we will inaugurate other projects.  We will inaugurate the
polyclinics which were recently completed and have not been inaugurated.
Several special schools that have been completed will be inaugurated.
Approximately 24 production lines for construction materials that have been
completed, or are being completed, will be inaugurated.  Did I mention the
bakeries?  I mentioned polyclinics, special schools,
bakeries...[unidentified speaker interrupts with indistinct remark] There
are many other plans the minibrigades are working on, but I am talking
about important plans.  I (?am including) the construction materials
production line, which totals four plans.  [speaker makes indistinct
remark] What?  Ah!  There is something else.  There are so many things,
that anyone could forget them.

There are 400 family doctor clinics.  do you know...[changes thought] The
plan for the family doctor clinics continues, of course; otherwise, it
would fail.  The clinic [words indistinct] the doctor's house, the nurse's
house.  The clinic is much larger.  That plan continues, it will not be
touched.  Since those facilities are a bit larger, we may build 400 instead
of 600 in 1989, as we have done at other times.

There will be about 400 family doctor clinics.  What are we going to do
with the other doctors?  We have over 500 doctors.  In 1989, we are going
to expand the family doctor plan.  We are going to add 400 more family
doctors to the plan, along with the other doctors.  The ones whose clinics
can't be built yet, we are going to send to factories, schools, and child
care centers.  [applause] The family doctor plan includes not only us, the
community, it also includes schools, child care centers, and factories.
What is happening?  We have given priority to the community.  Don't think
that the family doctors have little to do with achievements.  They are
achieving new successes in health care.  The family doctor has played an
important role in bringing down infant mortality to 11.9 percent.
However, I hope that in the future they play a greater role.

Over 100 doctors will join these institutions:  schools, child care
centers, and factories.  I calculate that at least, at least [repeats
himself]--we still haven't made the distributions--40 to 50 doctors will be
going to the child care centers.  We are going to make sure that they
complete their course in general integral medicine at the corresponding
polyclinic.  I forgot to say that in the future there will be one more
man--or women, because it's probably going to be a women--on the child care
center's staff.  This person will be a family doctor.  This year we're
going to start with no less than 50 doctors in the child care centers.
This will give the centers a higher level of quality.  This will afford the
mother greater ease of mind.  Do you know the problems mothers have with
their children?  They worry if they are sick, they wonder if they have to
pick them up and take them home.  Having a doctor at the center is a
gigantic step forward.  So then, we are going to assign some of the doctors
to child care centers.

We have made so much progress with community doctors that over 60 percent
of the capital's population already has a family doctor; the figure is 63
percent.  Next year we will exceed 70 percent; excuse me, I mean this year
over 70 percent of the capital's population will have this benefit.  This
figure should go up by 550 family doctors; we will go up by 400 [as heard]
doctors.  This is another measure we have decided to take to alleviate the
family doctor situation somewhat.  However, you have to keep in mind that
the family doctor clinics can also be included in the housing project,
because the doctor's housing is, itself, housing, and the nurses housing is
one more house.

This is to say that, among the things that will be inaugurated these next
few days, I am not sure if we will include the 400 (?clinics).  I think we
have to inaugurate a hospital plus the 400, or the polyclinics and the 400.
All in one day?  The polyclincs?  There's 500 of them?  All finished.
[addresses person close to him] Well then, we will inaugurate the
polyclinics that are finished and the family doctor clinics.  These are
things that have to be inaugurated in different programs.  We had thought
about doing it all in a single day, but it would be madness [chuckles] to
inaugurate all of that in a day.  But, they're all important, every single
one of those projects is important.  In the next few weeks, we will
inaugurate the Lebredo Maternity Hospital annex of the Julio Trigo
Hospital.  It's a tremendous hospital, and it will be inaugurated within
the next few weeks.  In the next few weeks we will inaugurate the expansion
of the Albarran hospital, which has been more than double in size; it is
also a tremendous construction.  Within the next few weeks we will
inaugurate the pediatric hospital in Marianao, also a tremendous hospital.
That makes three hospitals and the conclusion [chuckles] of the hospital
expansion plan we came up with barely 3 years ago for the hospital network
in the capital.

It has been a substantial job, and none of these projects, which are so
important for the population, will be sacrificed.  None of the social
works, nor the ones for the Pan-American Games will affect the important
economic projects for the capital.  All of the capital's economic projects
will have absolute priority.  It is with this criteria that we have drawn
up the 1989 plans.  I haven't mentioned the roads that are being built in
the capital.  The Blas Roca contingent built the road that goes from 100th
Street to EXPOCUBA in a few weeks or months.  The Blas Roca Contingent has
already done all of the leveling for the East-West Highway between the
entrance to Pinar del Rio and 100th Street.  The contingent workers have
been expanding Boyeros.  There is an ambitious road construction program in
the capital which will not be sacrificed in the least.  On the contrary!
It's going to grow.

We are also working on a road to connect the capital with Pinar del Rio.
We are already working on a two-track railroad which we are going to extend
in the direction of Artemisa.  When the contingent working on the Pinar del
Rio highway finishes its job, it will go to Artemisa to build the two-track
railroad!  It will run between Pinar del Rio and Havana.  The western end
of the country will be connected to the capital not only with a four-lane
highway, but also with a two-track railroad.

As I told you, transportation of materials and other products is increasing
between Pinar del Rio and Havana, and between Havana and Pinar del Rio;
this is a series of important programs.  I think the minibrigades fulfilled
a big promise when they finished building EXPOCUBA.  EXPOCUBA is proof of
what can be accomplished in quality, cost, rationalization, and
construction efficiency.  This is truly great proof.  I think the
minibrigades have reached adulthood by building EXOPCUBA.  You should see
how the population worked in those last few weeks, and what they
accomplished.  What they did is truly unbelievable.  This teaches us all
that we can do what we set our minds to.  We can do everything we want to
do.  It is simply a matter of time.  Every time we do something like this
we must make sure we do it in a more organized and efficient way.

As I was telling you earlier, within all of these social projects, housing
will be considered a priority that no obstacle will hinder.  I hope that
the housing projects get a big push throughout this year.  The country is
also making progress in hotel construction.  This falls within the economic
sphere.  These are hotels for international tourism.  This is economic
priority number one.  We are drawing up some very ambitious plans.  In
Varadero there are already some 4,000 construction workers, and this number
will continue to grow.  We will not only work in Varadero, we will work in
Santiago de Cuba Province.  Holguin Province, Camaguey Province, on the
Isle of Youth, and in the capital.  However, the main part of these
construction projects will not be in the capital.  Some hotels will be
built in the capital and some of the old hotels will be remodeled and
rebuilt.  With respect to this, we have a reconstruction program and a new
hotel program.  These programs are very modest, but the first 21-story
hotel is under construction.  We are building this one in conjunction with
a foreign enterprise.  It is already under construction by the Blas Roca

The main group of hotels, hundreds...[corrects himself] I mean dozens of
hotels--and perhaps even hundreds of hotels--will be built in other areas.
They will be built in beaches such as Varadero, or in virgin zones like the
ones that have been built up north of Ciego de Avila.  They will be built
in places like Cayo Coco, which is 400 square km--or almost 400; it's
actually a little less.  There is a causeway that takes you there.  We will
have a big plan for that, and we will need to mobilize tens of thousands of

Our experience with the minibrigades in the capital shows we have the men
we need.  If we add up the minibrigade contingents, the minibrigades that
build houses and the social minibrigades, we already have a minimum of
35,000 minibrigade members.  For example, in old (Guinera)--I think that is
the name of the place--there is a large social minibrigade a lot of
buildings.  Many of them were former housewives, workers who live in the
area.  They are working on the program to eradicate unsanitary
neighborhoods.  The majority are women.  The minibrigade is managed by
women, and, in my opinion, they are doing a very impressive job.

Including the social minibrigades, we have no less then 35,000 minibrigades
members in the capital.  What is the most we could have?  We could have up
to 50,000, or 60,000, or 70,000; I tell you, we could even have up to
100,000, if we needed them.  Of course, we would not have enough materials
in this country, [word in distinct] to put 100,000 minibrigade members to
work.  So, don't worry.  We will not go up to 100,000 minibrigades workers.

What I am saying is that what has happened in the capital shows what can be
done.  It used to be that we could not build anything because we did not
have the workforce.  We had to bring it in from the eastern part of the
country, from Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, and Pinar del Rio.

I asked the director of this center where she was from.  I have the habit
of asking people that, because we have so many people (?from) the eastern
part of the country.  But I can always guess where they are from, by their
appearance, and even by their look.  [laughter] So, I said to myself:  I
wonder if this director is from the eastern part of the country?  I asked
here:  Where are you from?  she answered:  I'm from Pinar del Rio.
[laughter] Even people like you, from Pinar del Rio, come here?  I can just
imagine it, now, with the new highway.  [laughter] Fortunately, we have
the [word indistinct] railroad.  Just imagine! ]

Anyway, we are working on the large development program for all those
provinces.  Pinar del Rio already has a lower infant mortality rate than
Havana.  Havana's infant mortality rate is 11.9 and Pinar del Rio's is 10.
Cienfuegos' rate is lower than Havana's; it is 8.9.  [unidentified speaker
interrupts with indistinct comment] Who?  Sorry.  Let's see.  The national
rate is 11.9, Havana's is 10.6--that's right.  Sorry, Havana residents.
[laughter] Just a while ago we were talking about your achievements with
the family doctors.  Havana's rate is 10.6 Pinar del Rio's is 10,
Cienfuegos' is 8.9.  The living conditions we are creating in the interior
of the country are better than the capital's.  Among other things, the
people in the interior have more water.  The cities are smaller and have
larger rivers.  So, we shouldn't have too many people.  We don't want the
capital to become filled with Pinar del Rio and Villa Clara residents, as
well as people from the eastern provinces.  [laughter] But, if we don't
give them a little push...[leaves thought unfinished] If we bring them,
recruit them, and make them build things here, and they settle and fall in
love with Havana women, who is going to make them go back?  [laughter]
These are the problems.  As I was saying, we were not able to build

There was no labor force.  So what do I think?  I think and believe the
following:  There are 800,000 workers in the capital.  The capital has
800,000 workers.  If you take one worker out of every eight, not a thing
will happen.  We know this.  For the child care centers we took out one
from every six.  They had a staff of 57 and we took it down to 48.  This is
a good record, and as I said, that wasn't pushing it.  However, much [words
indistinct] from a staff of 1,800, and with half of that, they are
producing 5 or 6 times more than they used to.

The CENIC [National Center for Scientific Research] had a staff of 1,400
people, the Applied Physics Department had a staff of 1,200 people; now
they have a little over 600 and are doing much more research than before.
I'm not saying that we should take away half of every eight.  [chuckles]
I'm saying we should take out one person out of every eight.  [chuckles] If
in the capital we take out 1 person in 8 there will be 100,000 people if in
this country--in which everyone is learning to build and where the new
generations were educated in work-study schools and no one minds laying a
brick.  Look at some of those other societies where people haven't touched
a tree, pulled a weed, or laid a brick.  Yet this country is used to all
that--we take out 1 of every 8 workers, as a rule, and nothing will happen.
the Miguel Henriquez Hospital, which has just been expanded, had 450
workers--no, not workers:  I meant beds--now has 1,250 beds, after the
expansion.  Before, they used to have 2.4 or 2.5 or 2.  I don't know how
many workers per bed.  Now they have 1.7; I think it's 1.7, if not a little
less.  What?  [Unidentified speaker makes indistinct comment]

There are 1.68 workers, so it's less than 1.7, and it's working better than
ever.  It's clear that all the time they were saying we didn't have the
workforce, we had all the workforce we wanted.  We have only mobilized
about 1/3 of those 100,000 workers, and it turns out that we don't have
enough materials.  With all of the materials we produce, it's not enough.
Imagine what that force--which wants more expertise and micromechanization
of many functions and activities--could produce with a little more
equipment.  How many millions is this year's plan?  [Castro addresses
someone near him whose responses are indistinct] No, that was in 1988.  The
minibrigades, how much did they build in 1988?  Does that include the
social minibrigades?  Oh, they're not included.

Experience tells us we could have done whatever we wanted?  Maybe it's a
social minibrigade and...[changes thought] Oh, I didn't count the
housewives.  They give us an added force because many of the women in
(Guineras) are housewives.  They live there close to work, and many of them
improved their economic situation.  I have spoken to many of these women.
Many of them had 2 children and received a small pension of 60 pesos for
the 2 children.  Suddenly, they have raised their income to 200 pesos by
working in the social minibrigades.  So you see, there is an enormous human
potential!  How many hours do those women work?  Who knows?  Perhaps they
work 10, 11, or 12 hours a day.  If you go there at night you'll see them
working, whether it's 2200 or 2300.  Many minibrigade members in the work
center, who have narrow profile [narrow field of study] and all that
nonsense, said they worked 44 hours.  That's nonsense.

They said they worked 35, 33 or 30 hours.  Now in the minibrigades they
don't work less than 60 hours.  Every one of those men that has been in the
minibrigades--I'm not talking about the contingents now--every one of those
men who has been in the minibrigades is working twice as hard.  This is
despite the problems with the materials shortage.  I'm not talking about
the contingents.  The workers in the contingents are working triple.  The
workers in the Blas Roca are working triple, and anything they are told to
do they do with great discipline, organization, and efficiency.  If it
rains and they can't work, they will work for several days until 0000 or
0100 and you have to hold them back.  You should see the qualities of those
workers.  I say that there are no collective workers in the world like our
present contingents.  There are none that are as productive as our
contingents, that are as efficient as our contingents, that work the hours
our contingents work!  [applause] this is how you really make progress.
This is how the country can truly make progress.  How quickly time passes.
The ball is coming close.  [laughter]

I don't want to carry on about this much longer, I want to make it shorter
to congratulate the minibrigade workers who are here, as well as the PCC
cadres of the People's Government.  [applause] I want to thank the cadres
and workers of the child care centers.  [applause] This must be a day of
great satisfaction for them because of the great effort and attention these
activities have received and because of the formidable things these child
care center have become.

I am in awe of the warmth with which these comrades work, the love they do
it with.  [applause] I ask many of them if they like their work and they
say:  Yes, I like it very much.  That is the answer most of them give me.
[applause] This is a job that has been truly stimulating the attention give
to the children.  No other mission has been more important or more sacred
than the one in their hands.  They hold the trust of the revolution, of the
children's parents, and of the people among whom these children were born.
I also want to thank the brother Latin Americans who worked on this center.

There are many symbolic things about this afternoon, such as this child
care center named "Che's Dreams" which was built by Latin Americans.
[applause:  crowd cheers]

A painter--I think he's from El Salvador--painted a mural.  I asked the
director who pained the mural.  She was explaining what it meant--there was
a line of boys on one side and a line of girls on the other--and the mural
was very pretty.  She said that the painter told her that the children
weren't smiling, they were sad because they didn't have what Cuban children
have.  The children couldn't smile like the Cuban children could.
Unfortunately, this is reality.  We are very privileged to have
institutions such as this in our country.  They are built for our worker's
children.  I hope someday we can have centers for all the children.  In
accordance with our conviction, the child care centers are essential
institutions for children's education.  No matter how well they are treated
at home, no matter how much they learn at home, no matter how close the
family nucleus is, there are some things that exist only at the centers;
they don't exist in the homes.  These are things such as the atmosphere,
resources, special personnel, and others that are important to the
development of their intelligence, and they don't exist in the homes.

I hope the day comes in which we can have children as boarders as early as
primary and secondary school.  That way they don't have to go out into the
streets, taking risks.  Moreover, our future plans are to put the schools
closer to the children.  This, of course, demands economic development.  It
demands an increase in food production, and I assure you that the nation is
making a considerable effort in that area.  The country is making an effort
as never before.  The results of these endeavours will be seen in the
future.  They will come, fundamentally, from the nation's raw materials and
sugarcane.  We have a plan to make the most efficient use of solar energy:
a plant that readily converts solar energy into calories.  All of these
plans require economic development.  Food is needed.  All of these centers
require a considerable quota of milk, poultry, and different types
of nourishing things.  We like these institutions.  Everybody thinks about
these institutions.  However, not everyone thinks of the productive efforts
these institutions require, especially an increase in food production .

Well, now, I was saying that this afternoon represents many symbolic
things.  I was telling you about this center that was built by Latin
Americans, which is being inaugurated along with 53 other centers, all on
the same day, and that this day happens to be Jose Marti's birthday.
[applause] I believe that this is truly a beautiful way to honor Marti, a
man who had such dreams for the children; he thought about them very much.
Another child care center could be named "Marti's Dreams." [applause]
Perhaps one of those we build, one of the five we build in 1989, can bear
his name.

I have wanted to leave the end of the speech to express our emotion,
recognition, and pride in having here in the first row a noted group of
internationalist combatants.  [applause] They have victoriously returned to
the fatherland.  The year 1988 was a very tense one.  It was a year of much
work and many efforts.  It was a hard year, but a year of important
achievements.  It was also the year in which we achieved an honorable peace
in Angola.  In this peace, we guaranteed the right to independence for the
ravaged people of Namibia.  It was the year of victory and peace.

In less than 2 and 1/2 years some 50,000 men will return to the
fatherland.  Some people think that the return of the combatants might mean
a social problem.  They want to know how they will be employed.  We can
assure you that the 50,000 men will have employment!  They will have it in
the armed forces, those who are regulars, in the jobs that held before they
left to fulfill their internationalist duties, or in new jobs.  Top, top,
top [repeats himself] priority will be given to the internationalist
combatants' employment.  [applause] this is a new, tremendous force.  We
feel happy, not only because they will be back here in the bosom of their
families and fatherland running the risks we all run, but also because they
represent a youthful and capable force.  They can do much for the
development of the nation.

I always ask the comrades:  Were the ones from Angola already recruited?
What are you going to do with them?  I urge them to recruit
internationalist combatants to work in the big ambitious plans we have.  I
ask the party, the contingents, and everyone:  Are you hoping to recruit at
least part of the internationalist combatants who are returning?  This is
done in order to win this other long, almost endless battle of Third World
countries at the present time, which is the battle for the country's
development.  We will win this battle in the same way we have won all the
other battles throughout the 30 years of the revolution.  [applause]

I believe it is a privilege to count on these forces.  If construction
feats have been accomplished here, they too have accomplished construction
feats over there in addition to their military feats.  Nobody knows the
trenches they dug, the positions they fortified.  When our Air force had to
advance 250 km in a matter of weeks, in a matter of weeks [repeats] they
built one of the most efficient and functional military airports in Africa.
[applause] When a man wants to do something, he can do it.  When a man has
confidence in himself and, above all, when a man has confidence in other
men and can work together with others in a disciplined way, he is capable
of achieving what he sets out to achieve.  This is why today we are twice,
thrice as satisfied with the return of our internationalist combatants.  We
are very happy that they are here tonight sharing the successes in other
areas of the people of Havana.

All of us should make this 1989 a greater success than 1988.  [applause] We
will meet again to inaugurate other things, the things we build in 1989.  I
hope that if this outcome has been good, next year's outcome will be even
better.  We are all aware that we should work a great deal.  We are all
aware that we should do it with more efficiency but we all also know that
when a project such as this one is built--we have all built it together--we
can live moments of great emotion and great happiness.

Fatherland or death, we shall win!  [crowd replies:  "We shall win!"]