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Castro Addresses Student Federation Meeting
Havana Cuba Vision Television
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000004720
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     CM2703152491
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-91-059          Report Date:    27 Mar 91
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     2
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       6
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       26 Mar 91
Report Volume:       Wednesday Vol VI No 059


City/Source of Document:   Havana Cuba Vision Television

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Addresses Student Federation Meeting

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro during a meeting held to announce the
Eighth Congress of the Federation of Secondary School Students at
the Libertad School in Havana on 23 March--recorded]

Source Line:   CM2703152491 Havana Cuba Vision Television in Spanish 0140 GMT
26 Mar 91

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro during a meeting held to announce
the Eighth Congress of the Federation of Secondary School Students
at the Libertad School in Havana on 23 March--recorded]

1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro during a meeting held to announce the
Eighth Congress of the Federation of Secondary School Students at the Libertad
School in Havana on 23 March--recorded]

2.  [Text] [Castro] Dear FEEM [Federation of Secondary School Students]

3.  Today has been a day of celebration for you. I know that you have been here
since 1700. [audience response indistinct] No?

4.  [FEEM President Barbara Cumplido] Many have been here since 1600.

5.  [Castro] Since 1600, but has the party been going on since 1600?

6.  [Cumplido] The party began at 1700.

7.  [Castro] You are going to go on. Is that not right?

8.  [Cumplido] Yes.

9.  [Castro] You are going to continue partying as soon as the ceremony is
over. This is a day of celebration in every sense. You are also announcing the
eighth FEEM congress which will be held in December. This is why today I beg
you to excuse me for not delivering a speech here and allow me to only make
brief remarks to express our gratitude for the gifts, because you have named me
delegate to the congress, for the bicycle you gave me-- you have placed me in a
bind if I also have to ride it because, as far as I can remember, I was always
a poor bicycle rider [laughter].

10.  I am a peasant from Biran. Imagine me arriving in Havana. I was more or
less like you. I would have been in the FEEM if a FEEM existed during that
time. I attended a school not far from here. It was a Jesuit school which was
pretty far away from Havana. During that time, during that time [repeats] one
had to catch a streetcar close to where the Tropicana is located because that
school is close to the Tropicana. It was the I-4 route.  It said
Marianao-Central Park. This is all I knew about Havana. I [chuckles] had never
been in Havana before.  You can imagine how surprised I was or felt when I
arrived at that terminal and started to cross the streets of Havana for the
first time. I thought that the four story buildings were huge. This is how I
got to the school. I believe that the next day I was feeling adventurous and
rode the I-4. It said Marianao-Central Park, Marianao-Central Park [repeats]
and I ended up at the Central Park. I do not know how I returned to Marianao
because I rode the streetcar again and returned to the same spot.  That was my
first adventure.

11.  The worst one was when it occurred to me to rent a bicycle one day. I
rented a bicycle and went from there to Central Park. The worst thing was that
I did not know how to ride a bicycle. There were no bicycles in Biran and
[chuckles] I did not know how to ride one. I got into the traffic. How many
violations must I have committed.  It was a miracle that I arrived there where
the streetcar went and I returned riding the bicycle. I believe I went back to
the place where they rented the bicycles. I do not even remember well. I
believe it was not too far away from the school. I even had an accident with
the bicycle.  I was riding around the school. There was a narrow doorway and I
had a big crash. It was in the middle of a basketball championship. I was very
exited because I had already been admitted as a regular team member. I ruined
that season because of the bicycle accident. I had to be taken out of the
championship because of it. The little accident was pretty bad.

12.  Medical services were not as good then, but fate is fate.  It could have
been worse. I was going down a little hill and crashed against one of the
entrance's columns. That is called an accident waiting to happen. What do the
police call that? An accident waiting to happen because if you had to go
through a narrow door coming from a little winding road, it was logical that
anyone wound end up crashing. This is why I recommend the UJC [Union of Young
Communists] and FEEM comrades--from the time we distributed the first bicycles
we recommended-- that you learn how to ride them. This is the key.

13.  We have instructed the work centers not to hand over bicycles until you
learn to handle them well. I myself had an experience in that sense. We have to
do everything possible to prevent accidents. We are entering the age of
bicycles. This means that habits, measures, and controls will have to be put in
place to achieve traffic safety. Of course, we will have to adapt it to this
new culture we are going to have. It is something the country needs at this
time. I believe it will be a created habit that will remain permanently. There
are highly developed countries that have the habit of using bicycles. For those
who worry about the environment, who want to prevent the poisoning of the
atmosphere, the bicycle has turned into a great instrument, not only for
transportation but for exercise and to maintain health.

14.  We have begun this era with the students. The first ones to receive
bicycles were the university students. The secondary-level students were given
bicycles, that is pre-university and technological school students. At
least.... [changes thought] I believe that no less than 40,000 bicycles have
been distributed among students.  Some 40,000 bicycles have been distributed.

15.  We have had to go slowly. Second-year students were given bicycles. These
comrades are completing the course. I hope that we will be able to give
bicycles to freshmen students a little later. Many of you will have bicycles
when you enter the universities and higher studies institutions. They will
continue being distributed. We are going to be thinking basically in the
distribution of bicycles in the rest of the country during the next school
year. We still do not have enough. We have given priority to Havana because it
is where we have the most serious transportation problems, where students and
workers live further away from their work and study centers. It is where we
have greater problems and if the situation worsens during the special period it
is necessary to have the greatest number of bicycles in the capital to
guarantee the operation of work and study centers.

16.  Of course comrades, bicycles are not given to lumpen.  There are always
some around there. Bicycles are given to students and workers. As you can see,
65,000 Chinese bicycles have already been assembled. The first phase, the first
phase [repeats] calls for 200,000. Aside from that, over 20,000 Soviet bicycles
were distributed. Those were the ones we already had. So, some 85,000 citizens,
student or workers, should have their bicycles.

17.  I said the first stage called for 200,000 and the second stage calls for
500,000 which are on their way. Therefore....  [changes thought] Our factories
are beginning to produce bicycles. I hope they are as elegant and good as
these. If you are going to make bicycles they have to be of good quality. We
cannot build bicycles without the necessary quality level. Our industry is
going to produce 100,000 bicycles this year. Therefore, we will have
distributed some 800,000 in 1991. Part of those 800,000 will go to the rest of
the country.

18.  We talked with the education minister and the comrades of Oriente Province
to have two technological schools assemble bicycles. I believe we should start
thinking about other provinces. Of course, we will not only have the 570,000,
the 100,000 we are building. We could start thinking on a technological school
in eight or 10 provinces. I believe that Havana could supply Matanzas. Is that
not so? It is close by. [indistinct voice in crowd] So you have two. Why do we
not take the steps? What happens during vacations? If technological schools
stop, do they stop assembling bicycles? [indistinct voice in crowd]

19.  The students at technological schools who have learned to assemble
bicycles are going to work on vacations. Is that not so? They are the ones who
already know how to assemble bicycles. Because the ones who have not had the
experience.... [changes thought] They now learn in 40 days.

20.  Let us coordinate. I suggest that you coordinate with the various parties
involved in this so that we place at least.... [changes thought] Are you saying
that each province has two, two technological schools? Well, Havana Province
would not need them. Twelve provinces are left, 12 provinces. Well, some are
smaller and others are larger. This would involve redistribution among the
nearby provinces. Well, let us .... [changes thought]

21.  Do you think we can open them this year? How long does it take to open a

22.  [Unidentified speaker] It depends on the materials but the conditions can
be created in approximately one month

23.  [Castro] The conditions can be created. Well, in that case, let us create
the conditions to assemble.... [changes thought] Of course, the bicycles will
later be built in the provinces but a certain number have to be assembled in
one year anyway. Let us open some 12 shops.

24.  Three shifts do not have to be put in place initially. We may be able to
have two shifts in each one of the 12 provinces. A few more can open in
Santiago because we already talked with them. Santiago has a larger population;
a greater need. We can begin with at least two shifts in each one of those
shops. We will supply them with the bicycles so that they can assemble them.

25.  Let me tell you that there is a savings. We buy an extra bicycle with
every four we assemble. For each bicycle we assemble.... [changes thought] Yes,
more or less with every bicycle [corrects himself] with every four. Let us say,
with a little over three. We buy one or more bicycles with what we save with
every three or four bicycles we assemble. In addition, it is better to
transport bicycles unassembled, in boxes. If not, a huge ship would have to be
filled with bicycles to bring a few thousand. Bicycles are brought much more
easily in boxes, in parts. They take much less space and transportation costs
much less.  I repeat, we can buy one more bicycle in China with what we save by
assembling them here, for every four bicycles we assemble.

26.  So, if we have 700,000, figure out that we have bought some 150,000
bicycles with what we have saved by assembling them here. Students have had an
important role on this. This will also allow us to begin distributing bicycles
in the provinces. We can begin--we should do the same thing we did here in the
capital, we should begin with university and mid-level students, university and
mid-level students [repeats]. This would more or less be the idea so that they
do not see that many bicycles are distributed here and not there. This is why I
have explained there is a vital need for the economy and studies here. In some
smaller cities.... [changes thought] A city of 2 million inhabitants is not the
same thing as a city of 100,000 inhabitants. Everything is much more closer.
Everyone lives much closer to work and students live closer to school.

27.  Santiago de Cuba is a little larger city. It is not as easy to ride
bicycles there because it has quite a few hills. This is why we are going to
have two technological schools assembling bicycles. Santiago de Cuba is going
to have a certain priority. We have had to give Havana priority but all
students are going to have bicycles. They are going to have the same
opportunities you have had.

28.  We are planning to produce half a million bicycles in Cuba next year. We
are going to fight to obtain that because the factories are going to be new
ones. But we are planning to produce half a million bicycles next year and
purchase another half a million. So, we are planning to have 1 million bicycles
in 1992. We will get close to 2 million. So, those who ride buses, trucks, and
cars better get ready to get used to deal with bicycles and to respect

29.  There is something else. These Chinese bicycles need the front lights. We
have ordered the Dynamos the Soviet ones have. They are lights to place in
front of the bicycles. They could be of the other type, those that are
reflected. We are also going to buy ones that are placed on the tires, some
that are placed on the tires. [repeats]

30.  We are purchasing all the accessories so that bicycles can be seen at
night. Front lights are missing in the Chinese bicycles that are being
distributed now. This is why I ask students and workers who have them to be
careful and avoid riding the Chinese bicycles at night. They need to ride them
very carefully because they do not have that little front light.

31.  Sufficient number of front lights and lights for tires are on their way.
We want bicycles to be seen clearly and to reduce the danger of accidents. This
is why I warn you.  Since we have the names of all of those who have received
bicycles, we will provide them with those accessories as soon as they arrive.

32.  Some people do not like the Dynamo that goes in front because it goes
attached to the front wheel and wears out the wheel. It also causes more
resistance to the movement. This is why some people prefer not to have the
Dynamo. Anyhow, we bought the Dynamos for Chinese bicycles and we will see that
they can be available for those who want to buy them. We are also making
investments in the tire industry to produce millions of tires. The same
factories that are going to produce bicycles are going to produce enough
bicycle parts. I believe we will solve those and many more problems such as
those of the opening of assembly and maintenance shops.

33.  Oh, I believe that the Chinese bicycles do not have padlocks. We have
ordered the padlocks and also the little pumps which did not come with the
bicycles because the width had to be changed to adapt them to the same ones our
gas stations have. This is why these elements did not come. Nevertheless,
thousands of Chinese bicycles are being distributed. This is the situation
regarding the bicycles.

34.  I warn you that each citizen of this country who is capable of riding a
bicycle will end up having a bicycle.  This is why I tell those who have not
received one to be patient. These bicycles have been sold to students at a
special price and they have been sold at a very low price to adults. They have
been sold to adults at practically wholesale prices. As I said, they have been
sold to students at a special price. There have been times when someone has
received a bicycle and an illegal street vendor immediately shows up offering
700 or 800 pesos for a bicycle. I hope that students do not sell their
bicycles. Students without a bicycle will be like peasants without a horse. So,
I hope you keep them and take care of them. A bicycle lasts years.

35.  The other day I came across a peasant student, a young man, a child, who
had a bicycle that was about 25 years old. I see some journalists around there.
I believe that journalists also had a quota of bicycles. Journalists and
workers of the journalist sector where asking for bicycles.  This is why I say,
there will be plenty of bicycles for all.  The necessary measures have to be
taken to reduce accidents.

36.  Dear comrades: I know what you have done this year regarding the food
program. I know about the efforts made. I know about how the FEEM students have
behaved in Pinar del Rio. They won a lot of prestige. I know that you worked
better than ever this year, with more efficiency than ever. This is the
response we expect from you under the circumstances the country is in. We are
happy for our students' behavior, their revolutionary spirit, their patriotic
spirit makes us happy. I believe that you have lived a special time in the
history of our revolution and our fatherland. We are pleased and are proud of
the fact that you have known to be at the level of this time our country is
experiencing. [applause]

37.  You were born listening to stories about the revolution but you, at an
early age, know what the revolution is about, not only because of what you see
and what you read, not only because of what your teachers and parents have told
you, but because you are taking part in it.

38.  The destiny of the fatherland and the revolution will greatly depend on
your work, on your participation.  What you learn about the history of our
fatherland will tell you how many centuries we lived as a colony, how much our
people fought for their independence, how much they suffered with the Yankee
interventions, and how much they suffered with neocolonialism and capitalism. 
Imperialists dream about taking away our revolution. Imperialists are hoping
that our people will not be able to resist the difficulties the special period
could bring us. Imperialists are dreaming that the day will come when not a
trace of the revolution is left.

39.  During this time we are living, Comrade FEEM students, to eliminate the
revolution would not only mean to eliminate all the achievements made by our
people in the social area, with all the dignity achieved by our people, with
all the justice obtained by our people. The elimination of the revolution and
socialism in our fatherland would mean the elimination of the fatherland
forever.  [applause]

40.  The United States dreamed many times of taking over Cuba. In the last
centuries, our people ran many risks of our fatherland falling on the hands of
that expansionist nation which later was turned into the largest empire, the
most powerful empire in the history of humankind. It was our people's struggle
for 30 years, the courage and heroism of our people and their efforts
throughout this century that made it possible for this dream to never become a
reality. If imperialism could eliminate our revolution and our socialism as it
dreams--it never will--hypothetically, if that dream became a reality, they
would come here to devour our natural resources, our wealth, to get a hold of
everything, to subjugate our nation, and subjugate Latin America as it also
dreams about. They are not hidden dreams but openly stated dreams. The
philosophy and ideas of empire and the leaders of the empire, is that of U.S.
dominance for 1,000 years. They have stated this. They have talked about the
American era. For us, it would be the Yankee era of 1,000 years.

41.  Others already talked about 1,000 years. They were the Nazis before and
during the World War II. They talked about the domination of the Nazi Germany
for 1,000 years. The same language is being used today in the leadership
circles. It is the language used now by the chiefs of the empire. Those dreams
were not lasting dreams. Undoubtedly, the Yankee empire is much more powerful
than the German empire during its time. This, however, will only be good to
measure the importance of our struggle, the magnitude of the challenge we have
before us, the magnitude of the challenge the peoples of the world have. This
world is already being described today with some words we were among the first
ones to use. We said that a bipolar world was advancing toward a unipolar
world, with an enormous power. This is taking place as a result of the disaster
which took place in the socialist camp and as a result of the great
difficulties the Soviet Union is having today, which is involved in a true
effort to survive as a great multinational state.

42.  I am aware of the concerns of many people in this world because of the
opportunity we have to speak with visitors, with leaders. I am aware of the
concerns of our Latin American countries as we had never seen before regarding
the threat the United States poses, the threat the empire poses for Latin
American peoples. I carry deep within me their words and messages when they
tell us that they have confidence in us, when they tell us that they see in
Cuba an example, a true example with which we cannot be without in this era.
They say that they have confidence in our firmness, in our ability to fight and

43.  This means that today Cuba, our people, the Cuban revolutionaries, our
workers, you, have a very big responsibility, not only before the people and
the fatherland but you have an enormous responsibility with the Latin American
peoples. You have an enormous responsibility with all the people of the world.
Never in our history did the young people and our compatriots have such a
responsibility. Never has such a large weight fell on our shoulders.

44.  Therefore, the principles we defend here, the freedoms, independence,
ideas, dignity, and freedom we defend here [as heard] are the ones billions of
human beings in the world see threatened. [applause]

45.  This is why I said what we have to defend is extremely important and very
sacred. I tell you that I have the deepest conviction that our people will know
how to fulfill their duties and that you, young mid-level students who were
born during the revolution and are essential and inseparable parts of the
revolution, will know how to fulfill those duties, one day in the class rooms,
another day in the countryside, another day by lighting the red and burning
flame of the revolution, and if circumstances dictate.  You will also know how
to defend it with weapons on hand and with your courageous blood.  [prolonged

46.  As fighters we have done the most, we have done everything for the welfare
of our youths so that not a single child was left without a school, so that not
a single child, not a single Pioneer, not a single adolescent, not a single
young person, not a single citizen was left without a doctor. We have done
everything humanly possible, everything for your tranquility, for your peace,
for your security. But the world we live in is not a earthly paradise and it is
far from being ideal. It is convenient that we are aware of this reality early

47.  As fighters, we would also like to be like one of you, to be able to have
the privilege of living the time in which you are living, to have the privilege
of having the honors you have, to have the privilege of having the enormous
responsibility you have. Those honors and responsibilities also fall on us. But
we would like to be like one of you today, to have that endless energy, that
ardent blood, and that infinite enthusiasm you have. [applause]

48.  As fighters, [applause] as fighters, for all those who are capable of
appreciating the most noble values of men, for all of those who are capable of
appreciating the meaning of each historical event and each epoch, there will be
no doubt that having been born not in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, or
Eighteenth Century, not even in the Nineteenth Century, not even in the first
half of the Twentieth Century, but it is a privilege to have been born in this
century, in the second half of this century, in the trascendental times in the
history of mankind in which you were born. [applause]

49.  This is why, at the same time that I congratulate you for what you have
done, and I wish you success in the preparation of the congress, I also urge
you to work for that event where we will meet again you and I, to analyze more
thoroughly the problems. I say and reaffirm it, with more justified conviction
than ever, Socialism or death!  Fatherland or death! We will win! [crowd joins
in slogan and applauds]