Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speaks at Japanese Garden Dedication
Havana Television Cubana Network
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000021641
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     FL3110211789
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-89-210          Report Date:    01 Nov 89
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     1
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       4
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       28 Oct 89
Report Volume:       Wednesday Vol VI No 210


City/Source of Document:   Havana Television Cubana Network

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Speaks at Japanese Garden Dedication

Author(s):   Fidel Castro, president of the Councils of State and Ministers,
during a ceremony dedicating a Japanese garden at Havana's
National Botanical Garden on 26 October--recorded]

Source Line:   FL3110211789 Havana Television Cubana Network in Spanish 0226
GMT 28 Oct 89

Subslug:   [Speech by Fidel Castro, president of the Councils of State and
Ministers, during a ceremony dedicating a Japanese garden at
Havana's National Botanical Garden on 26 October--recorded]

1.  [Speech by Fidel Castro, president of the Councils of State and Ministers,
during a ceremony dedicating a Japanese garden at Havana's National Botanical
Garden on 26 October--recorded]

2.  [Text] Esteemed friend Ryo Kawade, ambassador of Japan; Mr (Araki), admired
master architect; distinguished guests: I was told there would be a small
ceremony this afternoon after the dedication of this garden.  Therefore, I
think my speech should also be short.

3.  More than 20 years ago, over 600 hectares located in this zone--in the
southern part of the city--were earmarked for a new national botanical garden.
This is part of a package of projects designed to change our capital, that is,
of old projects--because there are old projects and new projects. These were
fortunately among our old projects, when we had very few experts, meager
resources and very little experience in all this.

4.  At almost that same time, we conceived the idea of developing the Lenin
Park, for which we earmarked nearly 400 hectares. A little later, we earmarked
another piece of land located between the cities of Havana and Boyeros for a
new zoological park, that is, for the new National Zoological Park.

5.  At present, there is intensive work under way for the preparation of
projects designed to build a new aquarium or, should we say, to enlarge the
old, small aquarium, which will thus become a large and, hopefully, very
beautiful aquarium.

6.  Incidentally, we were looking at these projects on a map yesterday and
discussed the aquarium project. You can see they will go in a south-north
direction, surrounding the city--partly touching it and partly encroaching on
areas that will be populated. The Botanical Garden, Lenin Park, the zoo and the
aquarium, and the National Exposition Center are five important institutions.
We should mention another planned institution which is beginning to be
implemented, that is, Havana's Metropolitan Park.  Thus, including EXPOCUBA, we
are talking about six institutions. At least three or four of them are similar
projects: The Botanical Garden, Lenin Park, the Metropolitan Park, and the zoo
will provide many trees for a city that had practically no trees.

7.  From the very beginning, we conceived the idea of humanizing the city
through this type of institution.  There was a little zoo of only a few
hectares. The new zoo has more than 300 hectares. Many people used to visit and
still visit that small zoo. It is said that millions of people visit it each
year. There was also a small botanical garden that was being taken over by the
city. It was located in a rather humid area, which is now being drained because
the Metropolitan Park will be located in that area.

8.  We can look at the significance of these institutions from various
standpoints: From the educational viewpoint, from the scientific-cultural
viewpoint and [words indistinct], and also from the social and humanitarian
standpoint. The people had nowhere to go; the city did not even have beaches,
because the main eastern beaches were exclusively reserved for small sectors.

9.  Later, these beaches were opened to the people. Thus, we have always shown
a special interest in this project of the revolution that was gradually
implemented. We would have liked to build the Botanical Garden more
expeditiously, but experts told us that this type of garden cannot be finished
in 2 or 3 years.

10.  The question arose as to whether we should use seeds or we should just
transplant young or large plants. A GDR professor, [Castro addresses someone
nearby] what was his name? (Bissel), an extraordinary man. We all knew him. We
toured some areas of the interior together. He helped us develop a design of
what the botanical garden should be like. He proposed dividing it into several
zones corresponding to regions of the world: a Latin American zone, African
zone, Asian zone, Southeast Asia zone-- which I believe is where we are
now--and, in sum, what are others? [Unidentified speaker: Australia] Australia
and what else? [Unidentified speaker: Oceania] Oceania and Cuba, we should not
forget this. An area was to be set aside for Cuba.

11.  I put a lot of thought into designing that botanical garden. We also had
to have great patience because (Bissel) told us that this would take a long
time. Because of hurricanes, we could not transplant big trees. Trees should be
deeply rooted in the ground.

12.  The Lenin Park, however, consists largely of transplanted trees.  Later,
we had to get seeds from several places. We could not transplant a tree from
Southeastern Asia. We had to bring seeds. We started to exchange seeds.
Finally, 20 years later, we dedicated this botanical garden. Visitors, however,
started coming here in 1984, either in organized groups or individually.

13.  Although little was said about the botanical garden on the 30th
anniversary of the revolution, on the day we celebrated the 30th anniversary,
we dedicated the botanical garden.  You cannot imagine our anxiety when
hurricane Kate passed through Havana because we had time and again heard that
hurricanes could affect our garden. Yet, the truth is that the garden survived
the hurricane. It has at least past the test of a hurricane.

14.  I believe the garden is today a reality, but we must continue to work on
it, to continue to develop it. This garden will become, of course, increasingly
beautiful. As each tree grows, and we take better care of it, the garden will
improve in every respect.

15.  I said earlier that this garden is important in many respects--namely for
social and humanitarian reasons-- but we should not overlook its scientific
significance.  This is why this garden was assigned to the Havana University. I
believe it was the Biology School, but actually it was the entire Havana
University that worked on this garden.

16.  I myself have time and again asked the Botanical Garden: Do you happen to
know this plant? Do you have it? Are there such and such seeds available? Are
there such and such varieties?

17.  Thus, the Botanical Garden has become a source for consultation with the
party and government leadership to make decisions on certain problems.

18.  This is why when the Japanese ambassador proposed building a Japanese
garden in the Botanical Garden, we welcomed his idea, we expressed great
interest in it. In a brief five-line outline prepared by the Botanical Garden,
it was stated that the ambassador talked to the Botanical Garden personnel in
July, I mean August, last year....  [unidentified speaker, interrupting: July
1987] July 1987, what do you mean; no, it was in 1988; 1987 was too long ago
[laughter]. You are going to distort historical facts [laughter].

19.  I remember quite well that I was consulted in September 1988. Of course I
immediately said yes, that I was 100 percent in agreement with the idea. I
asked how it was, what we should do, how long it would take, and so forth.  At
that time, it was an idea, it was just an idea which was conceived by the great
good will of the Japanese ambassador. Then, he took the care of organizing
everything.  We had to find an architect, but it seems that [words indistinct]
who was going to be the architect, as he said here, whom he met a long time ago
when he was serving as consul in Europe, in the FRG. The ambassador knew Mr
(Araki), one of the most talented, prestigious Japanese specialists in this
field. I believe the ambassador made an excellent choice because he not only
picked a good architect, but a great person.

20.  The ambassador was reminding me today that I had the honor of meeting Mr
(Araki) in April on the occasion of the visit to Cuba by Comrade Gorbachev. He
was introduced to me during a reception. I know everyone has worked
enthusiastically to build this garden as quickly as possible: the builders, the
Ministry of Construction of this capital; well, the Botanical Garden and its
workers; the university; students of the Camilo Cienfuegos Military Vocational
Schools; and many other institutions that were mentioned earlier--several of
which will receive awards--have actively participated in building this garden.

21.  I wanted to come to see it, but I was told not to come, that they wanted
me to come only when the garden was finished. Some information was released
here; explanations were given. Well, trees were received. In the first place,
it is located--as I said earlier--the garden is located in the area set aside
for Southeast Asia. The trees surrounding the garden grow in Southeast Asia.
The garden consists particularly of Japanese plants, and some Cuban plants.
This is an exception to the rule: There are some Cuban plants here. Because of
our climate, some plants and flowers had to be Cuban. Here we have assorted
plants which originated in Japan, Cuba, and Asia.

22.  The stones came from several places: from Soroa; I believe some came from
Cienfuegos; and it was mentioned that some came from Santa Cruz del Norte. 
Stones of various sizes meeting the specifications laid down by the architect
came from five or six places. The architect supervised the laying of these
stones as well as the work carried out around them because this is an important
part of the garden and it was necessary to do it with great skill.

23.  As you can see, the stones were arranged to form a cascade. These stones
came from various Cuban provinces. Lumber from various countries was used in
the buildings, some came from Cuba, some from Africa. The garden reflects many
Japanese traditions, especially, the Japanese principle of promoting recreation
and rest, and, undoubtedly, meditation is conceivable in a garden through which
a person can stroll and see different views and landscapes. I believe this is
the secret or one of their secrets.

24.  The road is a little more than 1,000 meters long; it is 1,700 meters long.
Meditation is a truly interesting way of relaxing, of mental recreation. People
may come here to meditate on many problems. We all can use a great deal of
meditation because we have many problems [laughter].

25.  Thus, that is a concept that combines with nature what.... [Castro changes
thought] Ahead you can see the two Managua Hills, which are called the Managua
Tits.  This is a popular name we should not change. We hope no quarry will be
set up there one day and do away with it. We will try to preserve those hills,
or tits, if you wish, [laughter], as the people call them. Incidentally, I
passed by there not long ago. We do not want a quarry there.

26.  There is another hill farther over there, where we will soon dedicate a
factory that will manufacture 30 million bricks. I visited that hill, which has
a large reserve of clay that reaches the Managua Tits. Let us hope there is no
clay there; and even if there is, we will preserve those hills because they are
already part of the scenery, they are part of the Botanical Garden, the are
part of the city's attractions.

27.  Looking from there I saw something that spoiled the scenery, something
that looked like a building. I asked what it was; I was told it had something
to do with television. I asked myself if there were no other hills that would
be even higher than those to construct the building on. We could also move the
building at any time. For the time being, let no one excavate.... [Castro
changes thought] It is a house. No, that is not a house that is on top of the
hill; it is like the little nipple of the Managua Tits. [laughter]

28.  We, indeed, have a very beautiful view from here. I believe it is a work
of art because it combines these natural beauties. We have learned a lot. I
have always said that a botanical garden cannot be limited to being a
scientific center or a collection of plants, but it should be something
essentially beautiful.

29.  I remember that before the advent of the revolution we had a small
botanical garden. It is located in Cienfuegos.  I visited it more than once and
I have always admired its beauty. It is a truly recreational place. This is why
we asked (Bissel) to combine science with beauty. I believe this desire is now
becoming a reality.

30.  Not far from here, we gave a small area of the original 600-hectare lot to
the Pioneers, because we thought it was an appropriate place to set up their
camp. Not far from here is the Lenin School, an extraordinary school, which is
also very beautiful and important.

31.  Adjoining the Botanical Garden, we also have EXPOCUBA.

32.  The existence of EXPOCUBA has caused the number of visitors to the
Botanical Garden to double. The Botanical Garden is not quite asmwell known.

33.  As the ambassador and our Comrade Angelita, director of the Botanical
Garden, said earlier, the Botanical Garden has become a nice place that is
worth visiting.  Yet, it will be much more beautiful in months and years to
come because many of its plants are still small. Part of the landscaping grass
is just being planted. Today we walked through there. We do not know how much
damage we could have caused because we walked on a narrow trail, that is,
reporters, other guests and ourselves had to walk outside the trail. Thus, in
time this garden will achieve its full beauty and splendor.

34.  Some very colorful carp, which also came from Japan, are being raised.
They are still very small; they will have to grow and to reproduce. I believe
some could become a source of food for the southern area. Besides, we will have
to think about creating habits. Thus, this garden is like a newborn baby. It
was properly said that the garden was made in 9 months. Well, it was just born
and it did not require any type of surgery, right? It was not a caesarean or
anything like that. This baby, that is, the Japanese Garden was born after 9
months with good weight and looking very healthy. It was born after 9 months. I
believe it will really become something very beautiful.

35.  I am certain that thousands of people will come to this Japanese Garden
every week. Yet, we should draw a lesson from this garden about the meaning of
art and culture; how significant it is to build something beautiful like this;
how much a millenial culture is worth; and how much we have yet to learn in
every respect. We learn every day; this is clear. In any activity, one learns
something every day. One learns many things. A few days ago, I was talking to
the Cohiba Hotel construction workers, who are members of the Blas Roca
Contingent. Early in the morning they were already there working. I saw the
metal scaffolding, the metal structures to support the cement. Jokingly, I
asked them: Are you learning a lot? Yes, we are learning a lot. We are learning
fast. In fact, our people learn fast, but we still have a lot to learn. Our
country has had no experience in building a five-star hotel with such speed and
efficiency.  This is something we have to learn. We should build our own metal
scaffoldings, and patterns, and apply techniques that will increase our
productivity and will stimulate our development.

36.  From this garden, we should learn the principles and the concepts, the art
of combining natural resources as was done here. In this way, we can make our
land increasingly beautiful and can make our city increasingly people-oriented.
A large number of intelligent, capable architects are working on the design of
the Metropolitan Park. I was able to see some of their designs not long ago.

37.  As I said earlier, yesterday we were looking at the design for the
aquarium, that is, the enlargement of the new aquarium, which will possibly
start next year. These projects are designed to humanize life in the city.
There is nothing more inhuman than a city full of concrete buildings, without
gardens or trees.

38.  Regarding gardening, we still have so much to learn. I believe this garden
could become a school; it could become a cell for a Japanese school of
gardening. We can learn many things from other countries.

39.  The ambassador said that many people thought that Japan does not have a
great culture. I believe that Japan, and the Asian Continent at large, have a
culture that is much richer than that of the West, or which is at least as rich
as that of the West, or which is richer in some respects, because their culture
started much earlier and has been preserved and developed through the laborious
spirit and traditional patience that characterize the residents of that part of
the world.

40.  The ambassador said that his opinion about the Cubans' ability to work has
improved as progress was made in the construction of this garden. It is true.
They worked enthusiastically. I am happy he reached that conclusion.  We
ourselves are improving our opinion about the Cubans' ability to work as we
watch the contingents, and we watch tens of thousands of people working with an
extraordinary spirit, with an extraordinary dedication.

41.  Whenever I want to draw a comparison of the industriousness of our people,
I always turn to Japan as an example. I cannot say Japan is the only one. I
know the Koreans are also hard workers. I know the DPRK people; I know they are
great workers.

42.  We were able to see here that the Chinese people, their spirit [words
indistinct] throughout history in our country.  I cite these examples because
Japan has made remarkable progress thanks to their industriousness and to their
intelligence [words indistinct]. On certain occasions I also talked to some
Japanese visitors and I told them with great satisfaction that we already have
excellent collectives of workers who can work like them. I wish we could say
one day and, there could be some, that some collectives work harder than the
Japanese. Unfortunately, we are too far from the average industriousness and
working spirit of the Japanese people. Yet, we are struggling and we are also
acquiring a new culture of work.

43.  Therefore, we admire Japan for many things, for its work spirit, its
culture, its talent, even its philosophy and the way its faces life. We admire
its development--although it is a country with little raw material, it has
developed a great deal. Japan's machinery is good. We have many Japanese
machines in Cuba. We appreciate them because of their quality. We have Japanese
industrial machinery and construction equipment. We can vouch for the quality
of those Japanese industrial products.

44.  I need to express our deepest gratitude to the ambassador, to the
architect, the association commemorating the 1970 Japanese World Exposition,
the Japanese flower and garden association, the representatives of businesses
who donated a small tractor appropriate for the type of work necessary for the
maintenance of this new garden, and to all of those who have cooperated with
this. We also have to thank the Japanese people because we see this as an
expression of the sentiments of the Japanese people and the generosity of the
Japanese people. We value this not because of its cost for what it means, for
what it symbolizes.

45.  The Japanese donated the idea, they donated the plans, they donated the
technology, everything that makes the fountain work, the lighting. They helped
us in the work, in the direction, and execution of the project. We truly
appreciate it very much.

46.  We are glad that the ambassador believes it is already the biggest one in
America. We will try to keep it the best one so that we are worthy of the honor
of having the largest Japanese garden in Latin America and the Caribbean. It
enriches our botanical garden which we hope will become one of the best ones in
the world. Therefore, it is one of the largest ones of the world.

47.  This is proof of our confidence in the future, of the faith we have in
man, our defiance toward nature. We did not mind the hurricanes. If a powerful
hurricane comes here one day and destroys half of the garden, we will plant the
garden again. If all the garden's trees are downed, we would plant them again.
I know they are going to withstand the force.  We are used to seeing them as
adult trees.

48.  I recommended once that plants similar to these--plants from other areas
of the world--be planted in other parts of the country so if a hurricane
destroys many of those trees we can go there, take them out, and plant them
again. Who knows what we are capable of doing to those trees so they cannot be
knocked over. It would be somewhat like what we are doing with banana plants
that we irrigate with microjets. Their increased production makes them fall
down in the slightest wind. We put a post next to them. We did not think of it,
but there could be things that could strengthen the roots and make them stand
somehow. This may not be necessary. The first hurricane hit and nothing
happened. If that idea of having trees in different places is carried out, we
can rebuild it and not have to wait 20 years. We will plant and rebuild in
record time.

49.  This is why I say this garden is proof of the optimism of our people, of
the concern of the revolution toward the people and everything that has to do
with the people's welfare, of the revolution's concern with science. We are
making considerable progress in science. We are progressing pretty quickly with
the production of new medicines, new products--some of them very novel ones--
which bring hope to our country.

50.  I am not going to say long live the friendship between the Japanese and
Cuban people because this friendship is alive, and it is also strengthened. I
am going to conclude by expressing the certainty that this garden will be more
and more beautiful, this Botanical Garden will be more and more beautiful,
also, and the capital of our fatherland will be more and more humane and
beautiful. This Japanese Garden we inaugurate today will always be a symbol of
the friendship between two peoples, the people of Japan and the people of Cuba.
Thank you very much.  [applause]