Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speaks at Education Workers Congress
Havana Radio Havana Cuba
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA2912153491
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-91-251          Report Date:    31 Dec 91
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     1
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       19
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       24 Dec 91
Report Volume:       Tuesday Vol VI No 251


City/Source of Document:   Havana Radio Havana Cuba

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Speaks at Education Workers Congress

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro at the closing session of the Seventh
Congress of Education, Science, and Sports Workers at the Palace
of Conventions in Havana on 22 December-recorded]

Source Line:   PA2912153491 Havana Radio Havana Cuba in Spanish 0200 GMT 24 Dec

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro at the closing session of the
Seventh Congress of Education, Science, and Sports Workers at the
Palace of Conventions in Havana on 22 December-recorded]

1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro at the closing session of the Seventh
Congress of Education, Science, and Sports Workers at the Palace of Conventions
in Havana on 22 December-recorded]

2.  [Text] Guests, dear comrades:

3.  Yesterday I listened with great interest during the afternoon session to
the words of the Chilean teacher Obrete.  He told us interesting things, in
spite of the fact that at that time his turn was limited to a few minutes. I
did not attend this morning's session, during which the resolutions were going
to be approved, but they have told me that a Dominican also said some very
interesting things.  Pedro Ross [Leal, secretary general of the Cuban Workers
Federation] told me about them, and I asked: Why don't we invite them to
explain all this to the people? They did not have time to prepare any speech,
because a few minutes before they arrived here we asked them to tell us some of
the things they had said during the congress and which are very illuminating
about the situation in the world, particularly in Latin America. I told them: I
will gladly give you some of my time [laughter] so that you can speak. That is
why we have had the privilege of listening to them here.

4.  But I am sure that similar words could have been said by thousands and
thousands of the representatives of Latin American teachers, because on more
than one occasion we have had the opportunity of holding Latin American
pedagogy conferences. You have to hear the things they tell, and what they
suffer, seeing the children who are begging in the streets, cleaning
windshields, homeless children, children without schools or education, and
schools without materials, without desks, without budgets, and constant cuts in
the funds the state has for education as a result of the demands of that World
Bank that was mentioned here, and as a result of the demands of the IMF, and
the U.S. demands, and the demands of the capitalist countries.

5.  They tell them all: Do what I say and not what I do.  Because if some Latin
American country exceeds its budget, immediately these international financial
institutions demand that it clean up, liquidate, any surplus...  [corrects
himself] any budget deficit. The first thing they ask is that they close
schools, hospitals, and sacrifice social plans, throw people into unemployment,
hunger, [words indistinct]. Not only education, but public health and sports.
Well, we know about sports, because we have just had some competition here, the
Pan-American Games. They take away all their funds. The athletes often do not
have the money to travel to the events. They have to take up collections,
raffle off a car, things like that.

6.  Science is in the same situation. Culture is in the same situation, and it
is subject to a tremendous process of foreign cultural influence, especially
from the United States. Who knows how much canned ideology is brought in
through its movies and mass media, because they are the ones who control the
most important mass media in the world. Of course, the Latin American
governments are forced to meet all these financial demands, in accordance with
the policies they follow.  Because the system has no alternative. There is no
other solution. The capitalist system even forces them to follow this kind of
heartless, unjust policy. A minority of 10 or 15 percent live the way people
live over there in France or Belgium, and the rest of the populace lives in
really terrible conditions.

7.  Nevertheless, the country that has the largest budget deficits in the world
is the United States. It is expected that this year it may reach $300 billion.
Comrade Cabrales [not further identified] mentioned the debt here and said that
it was $322 billion, and we all realized right away that it was... [corrects
himself] No, he said $422,000, $422,000. [repeats] It is billions of dollars;
we must multiply that by 1 million. This figure is almost the U.S. budget
deficit. That is the most indebted country in the world. The U.S. debt,
including private and public, totals $10 trillion. Not 1 billion. I think here
they call it a billion and in the United States they call it a trillion.  They
call 1,000 million a billion. At least, in the metric system I was taught, a
billion was 1 million millions. The U.S. debt is $10 trillion.

8.  They forbid the Latin American countries from having a trade deficit. They
say: No, you must have a surplus, to collect money to pay the debt. But the
country that has the highest trade deficit in the world is the United States. 
They demand these policies of the Latin Americans, and it is the exact opposite
of what they do. That is why they have had problems. Now they are in a
recession, and they turn to coupons, they turn to consumption, they turn to
investing in luxury goods, residences, not in technology or factories, not in
the right proportion. Their savings rate is one of the lowest in the world.
They do not save. Their profit rate is also very low; there is no comparison
with that of other countries.

9.  All this is causing them serious economic difficulties, because 10 years,
more than 10 years, have passed with them doing this. Some fine day their
capitalist economy, which has to be laughing about those principles they are
demanding of others, is going to make them pay for everything they have been
doing in recent years. It is already starting to make them pay. But we, in our
contacts with the Latin Americans, have seen what they suffer. Not only the
teachers but also the doctors and almost all the social sectors could give
exactly the same speech, more or less, as the one that was given here today.

10.  To all this is added the [words indistinct] what they are doing over there
in Miami and New York. Of course, his attention was caught by seeing that the
technological schools here, the preuniversity schools for exact sciences,
everyone, has caballerias and hectares and land for self-sufficiency, to
produce their food. He said that there they are going around dividing up the
caballerias of land, and that there they are dividing up the sugar mills. I
would like to see them get a screw or whatever from a sugar mill. [applause]
[Words indistinct] everyone is armed to the teeth, defending the sugar mills.
If the Yankee troops come to take them over, they will have to fight very hard
to take over the sugar mills and the caballerias of land. Because what they
will find is a large number, millions of men and women, defending those
caballerias of land. [applause]

11.  There are millions of workers, farmers, and students defending the
caballerias of land. I would like to see them take the land away from the
polytechnical schools [laughter] because, well, they may lack other things, but
they do not lack guns there. The inventories of guns and weapons are
considerable. They cannot defeat us with those smart things. They will have to
manufacture millions of smart bombs, so smart they will follow one by one each
man and woman here who has a gun or a grenade or a mine. There is no smart
thing that will defeat us. The smart thing would be to forget about that. 

12.  Besides, they would have to... [rephrases] there would be enormous
irrigation, which has not been mentioned. It would be irrigation by our blood
and theirs, which is really not at all necessary for our agriculture.
[laughter] It would be too contaminated and full of AIDS. [laughter] It could
be [chuckles] that they would transmit AIDS even to the tomatoes. [laughter,
applause] We do not need Yankee blood on our fields. It is better for us to
work with the azotobacter and the rhizobium and the (?microrhizas) and all
those microorganisms our scientists are developing to ensure soil fertility. We
will fertilize our soil by other means.

13.  Comrade Cabrales talked about what they were saying about the sugar mills.
What would they say about the schools? Have they been dividing them up too.
What would they say about the rural schools and the polytechnical schools and
all the institutions we have created?  What would they say about the schools
for exact sciences? What would they say about our urban preuniversity schools
and the secondary schools?  What would they say about our innumerable schools
for professors and teachers, our pedagogical schools, about our building them?
Even though we have not been able to complete them all, unfortunately, we have
built quite a few. What would they say about the sports schools, the schools
for physical education teachers, and the schools for teachers, all the
institutions created by the revolution? All the primary schools we have built?
The two semi-boarding schools we have built?

14.  What would they say about the childcare centers? I imagine they must be
thinking that those would be very good places to put in a store or something
like that. Some of those schools would be excellent for being turned into
brothels and setting up gambling casinos and selling drugs there. What would
they say about our 300,000 professors and teachers? What would they say? What
would they say about our budget of 1.8 billion pesos? All those crazy things
and all that folly and all that villainy- what would they do with everything
the revolution has created?

15.  Do they imagine perhaps that the country could live again with an
education budget of 25 million or 50 million pesos, and in addition they could
steal it? What would they do with all the talent the revolution has created?
What would they do with our scientific research centers? They must have it in
their minds, making calculations, but the incredible thing is that they are not
counting us in. Or they think people here are going to support them. That is
the Bay of Pigs story again, thinking that they will be met with applause and
drums.  There may be a few idiots around, of course. There are always idiots,
and there are always a few turncoats, weak people, but that they should think
that this nation is capable of welcoming the masters, the enslavers, the
exploiters with celebrations!

16.  Those who believe that are really crazy. I do not think the only crazy
ones are those Cabrales saw in the streets of the Bronx. I think the ones at
the Sancti Spiritus cooperative are also crazy. [laughter] To take over a sugar
mill, which Ross told me must be the Uruguay, a tremendous sugar mill, as if
there were no people here with the awareness our people have. We were very
pleased by what the comrades, both Obrete and Cabrales, said about their
conviction that we will know how to defend our revolution, their hope that we
will be able to defend it, their certainty that we will know how to do so.

17.  At any time, now and later, Cabrales, not only while we leaders of today
are here; the leaders of the future will know how to also. Because this is a
lengthy struggle. This struggle will last longer than one man's life. It is
lengthy.  The empire is powerful, very powerful, and more arrogant than ever,
more domineering than ever now. There will not only be people here. There will
be leaders, with all these qualities and all these convictions. Because
individuals are not really the important thing. The important thing is really

18.  Just as in war it is very important to have weapons...  [changes thought]
and of course if in the Sierra Maestra we had had the weapons that a battalion
of the Territorial Troops Militia has today, [chuckles] a militia battalion,
not even a battalion of our regular troops...  [changes thought] That war did
not last long. It lasted 25 months, and we started almost from zero, because
they scattered our expedition and we lost a lot of our weapons. But just as
weapons are essential in war, in revolution-in defending the nation, the
revolution, and socialism-ideas are much more important than weapons. Ideas are
more important.

19.  Everything you have seen here and that we have heard with so much pleasure
from your lips, when you talked admiringly about the congress and the people's
conduct, is the result of ideas, ideas, [repeats] deep feelings, a political
culture, a clear awareness of what our people are today, what they were
yesterday and what they are today, and what they will never be willing to go
back to being, and the hopes they have of the future, of continuing with
everything we have done. This may seem like a lot, but to us it is little. It
was to some purpose that Marti said that trenches of ideas are worth more than
trenches of stones.  We have both kinds of trenches, those of ideas and those
of stones. [applause]

20.  Here he [not further identified] said very frankly what we have said other
times. There was never a real revolution in the East European countries. We
have to exclude the USSR from that. In the USSR there was a revolution. That is
the truth. It is very sad to see how after such gigantic achievements they have
let it collapse, or crumble [desmerengar]. I think they lacked trenches of
ideas, and not because Marxism-Leninism is not very rich in ideas. It is the
doctrine that is richest in ideas, of justice, freedom, equality, freedom,
[repeats] fraternity among men. What the founders of Marxism wanted was
precisely that men would stop being wolves of men, would stop being beasts and
become men. Capitalism produces beasts; socialism produces men.

21.  But, well, it is not even the first time in history that certain
revolutionary processes have been defeated, and even that restorations have
occurred. The revolution before the Bolshevik Revolution was the French
Revolution in 1789.  Was it '89, 1789? Yes, 1789. I had a little doubt, for a
second. It was a long time ago, professor.  [laughter] That was the most
tremendous revolution.  Well, Marx drew many of his conclusions and many of his
theories from that, from the French Revolution and the civil wars in France
itself, and the Paris Commune.  He drew many lessons and many deductions and
conclusions that had great scientific value, great political value, great
historical value.

22.  The French Revolution, which had enormous power, also suffered
deformations, and those ideas of the French Revolution suffered very serious
setbacks, and the restoration began. The world lived through decades of
restoration. That was the revolution of bourgeois, liberal ideas, those
bourgeois, liberal ideas, those stale bourgeois ideas to which they now want to
raise the [word indistinct] and consecrate it as the definitive ideology of
humanity. That revolution expressed the ideology of capitalism as an advanced
social system, in those times, in comparison with feudalism and absolute
monarchy.  That tremendous revolutionary current was defeated and crushed. At a
certain time, the Holy Alliance and the restoration came, and they lasted for
many years.

23.  More than 200 years later, they are trying to present it with
neoliberalism-as someone who spoke before me has mentioned here-or neoliberal
policies, as the model for the world, and especially for the Third World. What
can the Third World find in those ideas? What more can the Third World find,
since it has already had to suffer colonialism for centuries as a result of
capitalism? Colonialism developed in Africa. Up to that time the tribes there
were free, and they lived better than they live now.

24.  The tribes of Indians here in this hemisphere were also free. Here they
were discovered, conquered, enslaved, and almost exterminated. In the United
States they were exterminated. The Saxons exterminated the Indians in the
United States. But in Latin America, the Spanish really mixed with them. It did
not occur... [rephrases] It occurred; the Indians working as slaves died by the
tens of millions. Then they turned to catching Africans to make them slaves.

25.  All this is associated with the history of socialism...  [corrects
himself] capitalism. That is why Marx said that it had been born with blood
pouring from all its pores.  Then it left us underdevelopment. Then it left us
the current system of world exploitation. It is a system of world exploitation
in which a large part of the world works to produce raw materials and cheap
goods to inflate the wealth and abundance of the developed capitalist
countries, with unjust social systems, right? Of course; and with enormous
inequality, because in that [words indistinct] there is the beggar, thrown out
on the street and sleeping in the street, and a multimillionaire passes by him.
One person may have a billion dollars.

26.  There is terrible inequality, even in the most developed capitalist
countries. They have problems of unemployment. They cannot solve them, because
they need a labor army in reserve for the system to work. Now they have created
an economic system for the world in which the developed capitalist countries
have hegemony and command, and they make it impossible for the Third World to
develop. Because on the contrary, they try to plunder it more and more, take
out more of its raw materials, more of its natural resources, sell its things
at higher and higher prices, buy its products at lower and lower prices.  Now
they want those that were socialist states to begin to do the same with the
Third World, with the market economy.

27.  Because the socialist bloc was an ally of the Third World up until now. It
helped in the people's fight for liberation. It helped in the independence of
all the Africa colonies. With their heroism, the Soviet people contributed to
this in an extraordinary way. They were somewhat of a shield against the
imperialist aggressions. They supplied funds and weapons for defense against
the imperialist aggressions. Well, we know about the Vietnam war, for example,
and the importance of the weaponry from the socialist bloc and the USSR, the
importance it had for Cuba, the importance it had for so many countries. They
were our allies.

28.  Now imperialism is trying to get those countries to develop under the
capitalist system and to participate as well in the plundering of the Third
World. That is what they are offering the peoples of Latin America with these
neoliberal theories and doctrines. They are offering them more
underdevelopment, more poverty, and more problems. They do not have any
solutions for that. The social problems will get worse and worse. The
population in Latin America and the Caribbean will double in the next 30 years,
and there will be almost 800 million inhabitants.

29.  Socialism in a country like China, with 100 million hectares, has
succeeded in feeding 1.14 billion people. It feeds them, clothes them, and
provides them with shoes.  Not with machines, of course; 80 percent of the
population are peasants, and they sow plants one by one. They have a higher
productivity per hectare, and minimal productivity per person, of course.
Planting rice with a plane or a machine is not the same thing as planting it by
hand. They have to do it like that in order to get two harvests from the same
hectare. They have to sow the plants when they are almost one month old, keep
them a minimum of time in the field, and then plant more one-month-old plants,
in spring, summer, and fall, in order to get two harvests before winter comes.

30.  Socialism in China has achieved the extraordinary miracle of feeding 1.14
billion inhabitants with 100 million hectares. That was a country that suffered
terrible famines. That is a country that is progressing. They are very
hard-working, industrious, united people. In Latin America, with much more
land... [changes thought] The land in Latin America could really feed, if it
had the same level of production as the hectares in China...  [rephrases] With
the land in Latin America you could feed 4 or 5 billion inhabitants, with the
same level of utilization and production as in China.

31.  Today, with 400 million, almost half the population is undernourished,
undernourished, [repeats] with 400 million inhabitants. If they are really
going to put an end to poverty in Latin America with this neoliberalism,
imagining that is [words indistinct]. Those are ideas that are two or three or
more centuries out of date, because when the capitalist world that colonized a
large part of the earth and exploited it began its process of development and
industrialization, there was no competition.  There was no developed world to
crush it. When they began to develop-a few of them, England in the first place,
and Germany, France, and the United States-no one overshadowed them. This whole
system of worldwide exploitation did not exist, nor all these financial
institutions that establish what has to be done.

32.  Of course, now what is happening is the exaltation of capitalism's ideas
as a remedy for problems. That revolution occurred in 1789. That is why,
really, history has shown us that these processes can take place. I do not
think we will see a total restoration of capitalism. I do not know. The
problems today's world has are too serious and too critical to have a total
restoration of capitalism. The contradictions between the major capitalist
groups themselves are great and will become greater. They have very serious
problems because of the competition among themselves, between Europe on the one
hand, the United States on the other, Southeast Asia on the other, with Japan
in the center.

33.  They will begin a fierce struggle and competition. They are already in
competition. This will make the situation of the Third World countries more
serious, because all these protectionist tariff measures affect the Third World
countries. They make the conditions for development even more difficult.
Therefore, even the most powerful centers of imperialism cannot deceive
themselves. They cannot cherish the hope that everything is going to go
smoothly. While there are 4 billion people living in poverty and
underdevelopment, the path that lies ahead of the imperialists is not at all
easy. They are going to have a truly ungovernable world.

34.  But, well, a process of restoring capitalism is taking place, even where
there have been revolutions. Because the process that is taking place today in
what used to be the Soviet Union.... [rephrases] A process of restoring
capitalism is taking place in the Soviet Union. That is the pure truth. But it
has been said very well that there has been a revolution here. Well, it would
be unpleasant to have to present ourselves as thinking we are better than

35.  I said the other day that we were not seeking a place in history, but
rather history was insisting on giving us a place. I said we were not seeking
glory, but rather glory was seeking us out. Because no one wanted anything of
what is happening to happen, nor could anyone. We would have preferred to
continue the way we were going, rectifying our mistakes, having all the time
necessary for that, for carrying out our rectification process, and promoting
the development of our society and the improvement of our society. No one could
have wanted a tragedy like the one that has happened.

36.  But we are a revolutionary people. We have consistently applied
revolutionary ideas, the ideas of Marxism-Leninism. Because how would we have
done everything we have done without socialism and revolutionary ideas? It
would not have been possible. Capitalism would not have been able to achieve
this, by no means.  Our revolution was inspired by Marti's ideas and
Marxist-Leninist ideas, in a synthesis of them. It continues to be a synthesis,
and it must become more perfect, more complete, fuller. Above all, we must put
a lot of emphasis now on our own ideas, Cuban ideas, Marti's ideas, without
forgetting Marxism and Leninism for a minute.

37.  It is clear that today we are involved in a battle for survival. Well, we
did not do things as others did, because there may even be peoples who live
through a revolutionary process and then may make so many mistakes that they
bring a revolution down. A revolution is not guaranteed by the mere fact that
it is genuine.  Rather, under the conditions in which a revolution as advanced
as the socialist revolution has to develop in today's world, it really has to
act with great wisdom to be able to move forward.

38.  Now, we have been forced to have even greater wisdom, and make a much
greater effort, since the moment the European socialist bloc disappeared. Now
we are...  [rephrases] Before that happened, our revolution was moving forward,
defended by ourselves and nobody but ourselves, close to the United States. We
cannot forget that in those East European socialist countries, they had Soviet
tanks there more than once to save the revolution for them. Perhaps many of
those revolutionaries- because I think there were sincere revolutionaries and
sincere socialists in all those countries-expected that someone would always
come to save the revolution for them.

39.  But we could not count on anything similar. The only tanks that would land
here were Yankee tanks. If the revolution became weak, if the revolution
committed serious mistakes, if the revolution lost the ideological battle, if
the revolution broke with its principles, no one would come to save the Cuban
revolution, and we were well aware of that from the beginning.

40.  So perhaps the very fact that we are close to the United States and have
had more than 100 years of history in our relations with this giant, which is
so expansionist, so greedy, and so aggressive, perhaps this has helped this
contradiction, this phenomenon: Knowing that the defense of the revolution
depended on us and no one else, that we could not make enormous mistakes here. 
This may be one of the factors which explains why our revolution is stronger,
why our revolution is more authentic, because it was made under more difficult
conditions, confronted with a very powerful enemy which has been constantly on
the lookout in order to take advantage of any weaknesses, any mistakes, to take
advantage and destroy the revolution.

41.  This geographic phenomenon, this historical phenomenon, can help to
explain why our revolution has been different. Marxist-Leninist interpretation
cannot be taught by anyone, but rather those very same Cuban revolutionaries
made their own interpretations of Marxism-Leninism.  It is not free from
errors, certainly not. Of course, if our revolution has grown even more, in a
political sense and in an authentic way, it is because, logically, it was
logical and inevitable that the USSR and the socialist bloc would exert an
enormous influence on us. We were obligated to be grateful, and we are still
obligated to be grateful because they helped us. We cannot be ungrateful. We
cannot deny the importance of the solidarity and collaboration from those
countries, mainly the USSR. We can never forget it. It was very important. Of
course, it had a great influence on us.

42.  I already explained this phenomenon of deification, or however you say it,
which we did to the USSR. I am not going to repeat myself about the negative
influence of all that; I talked about that a few days ago. To a certain extent,
this created expectations, this created the habit of thinking that everything
that came from the USSR was perfect and good. Some things were copied. There
was some imitation. Even our education sector was not completely free of this.
They did what we did. I believe that we did things much better in our education
sector.  They had some influence on some of the things which we did not do
really well. But the idea of work-study programs, to cite an example, was Cuban
in its application, 100 percent Cuban.

43.  Marx and Marti, both of them, had already postulated it.  Remember what
Marti said about the pencil in the morning and the plow in the afternoon, or
something like that? The idea of work with studies is very clear in Marti's
thinking. It was in Marx's and Engel's thinking but it had not been applied
anywhere. Cuba was the first country to apply these work-study principles in a
consistent way, and thanks to that, any citizen can do anything.  They are not
frightened if they are assigned to a minibrigade for construction, or if they
are sent to the fields, to the furrows, to the sugar harvest, or to do manual
work.  As I explained the other day, it was precisely so that we would not
become an exclusively intellectual society without manual producers that the
principle of work-study was established in a consistent way. We created the
schools in the countryside. No one else has this kind of educational system

44.  Recently I was speaking with Nyerere, the former president of Tanzania. We
built three schools like that there.  We Cubans built those schools. We are
proud of those schools. It was an idea, and for the Third World countries it is
an idea of primarily educational significance, but it also has an economic
significance. If a Third World country wants to educate all its youth, the
adolescents, the children, it is fitting to apply this principle because it
helps to produce food. Have we applied it in a completely consistent way? No.
Have we done it perfectly? No. We are aware of the many faults there have been
in these work-study programs: weakness, laziness, wasted time in agriculture,
bad management. Well, it has not been done in the best way, but it has been
done very well.

45.  It is logical that the special period is teaching us, and now everyone is
asking for land. Now, the principle of the work-study program is going to be
strengthened.  Now, it is better understood. Before, we were in a relatively
comfortable situation. Ship after ship arrived with cargoes of wheat, corn, and
fuel, and everything went very well. No one worried about planting the vacant
lot next door. The schools were not greatly worried about the issue of self-
sufficiency, despite that the fact that it was discussed. I remember that many
years ago, more than 10 years ago, about 15 years ago, we struggled to develop
gardens at the secondary schools.

46.  This was here in Havana Province and everywhere, and we lectured a lot
that school gardens must be created.  Where we found it to be the most
difficult to link work with study was in the cities. But we wanted to teach it
beginning in elementary school. We talked about the need for all the schools in
the countryside, the elementary schools, and all the schools in the country
that might have a piece of land to cultivate it to make a garden. We were 500
leagues from the special period, and we struggled. We greatly stressed this
question that the elementary school students also should participate in the
work-study programs.

47.  Where it was most difficult was in the city, because the city does not
have fields, but even in Santiago de Cuba we looked for large areas, relatively
large areas, and buses so that the elementary school children there in the
region that is in the San Juan area, around there, between the new Versailles
neighborhood and El Caney... [rephrases] we looked for areas so that the
elementary school children could work. So an effort was made many years ago. Of
course, there was fuel then, the children could be taken by bus, but we wanted
to apply this principle at the elementary school level. It is very difficult in
the city to find tasks for the children, especially in the city of Havana. I
remember that in Alamar, when we built the part-time boarding school, we looked
for various industries, some industrial products for the students of Alamar.

48.  Cuba has carried out this principle like no other country has. When there
were not enough schools in the countryside, we took the schools to the
countryside. That is an example not applied by... [changes thought] The
development of our mass organizations does not have any precedent in any other
socialist country. No other country has organized the masses as they are
organized in Cuba, from the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution to the
Pioneers, including the women's organizations and the labor unions.

49.  We will never forget the labor unions and their importance, and the role
of the labor unions in our society. We did not forget to organize the farmers,
organize the women, the neighborhoods-everyone has to be organized-and the
university students, and the Federation of Secondary School Students, and the
Pioneers. Yes, the Pioneer organization existed in the socialist countries. 
Well, I would say that this was a good experience that we used. But outside the
Pioneers, these mass organizations we have did not exist in the socialist
countries, with the entire people organized.

50.  If we turn to the party, no party followed the path we followed of
selecting party members from among the exemplary workers, the vanguard workers,
the outstanding workers. I remember that when we had to rectify our first
mistake in the early years of the revolution, which was the mistake of
sectarianism, we established the principle of the assemblies to select the
party members. This is a party by selection, and it has been growing, by
carrying out procedures, really, and the party has taken on... [rephrases] the
party members have always taken on the hardest tasks, the fundamental
obligations. Because everything is expected of a party member, to the extreme
that people who have merits are asked to join the party and they say: I do not
want all that trouble from joining the party, all the meetings and all the
headaches from joining the party.

51.  The party has never meant privileges, and we had to fight a lot with the
administration, because they took away our people. The education sector also
had to fight a lot because its people were being taken away since they had a
level... [changes thought] Of course, they were taking away the most
prestigious and outstanding workers, who were party members. Every so often the
administration came along and wanted to take them away for such-and-such a post
or such-and-such an office. We had to go so far as to forbid, at a certain
time, party members from being taken away for administrative posts. Since they
were the best, they were wanted.

52.  Then the party also grew because of the source created by developing the
Union of Young Communists [UJC]. But at a given time, those rigorous methods
for selection, the need to be exemplary, and the need for approval by the
masses, were neglected. We strengthened this at the congress we just held, but
no other party has been organized like ours, with these characteristics. We did
the same thing with the UJC. We did not make the UJC a mass organization, but
rather a selection of the most outstanding young people. That was a different
characteristic of our revolutionary process, which shows not only the
authenticity of our revolution, but also the special style of how our
revolution has developed. We also had to confront that tremendous danger, which
was the closeness to the United States.

53.  In spite of that, we all know, comrades, that we have fallen far short of
doing things perfectly. We have fallen far short, but we have done things in a
different way, because of this set of factors, some objective and some
subjective. So I think that in our country the ideas of Marxism-Leninism have
been interpreted in a creative way. We added them to the immense treasure which
is Marti's thinking. I think this explains the ideological strength of our
revolution and the spirit of our people.

54.  In the field of education-this is the closing session of the seventh
congress-we also did, as I said, many new things. I gave the example before as
a general thing, not as a specific thing about education. I gave the example of
work-study, talking about general policy things. But in education, we also did
things differently, many different things. I can tell you, really, that if
there is something we Cubans can feel proud about, it is about what we have
done in education. I have said before that we have fallen far short of having
done things perfectly, and I have also said that we cannot feel satisfied with
what we have done. This did not seem enough to us.

55.  But in the first place, we understood the importance of education, and
since the Moncada attack, not since 1 January; this had been set forth since
Moncada. At the time of Moncada, I think there were about 10,000 teachers...
[changes thought] Well, 10,000 unemployed when the revolution triumphed. But
there were only a few thousand teachers working, and everyone knew about the
humiliations, the work, the recommendations a teacher needed to get a job,
because everything was politics, seeking votes, and electoral pledges. The
teachers had to undergo terrible humiliations. They had to find a politician,
often, a godfather, to back them so that they could get a job as a teacher.

56.  The budget was miserly. I think ours is 22 or 23 times greater than the
budget then. They reached 80 million, but they stole half of it, because of
Paragraph K and all those things. I do not know if some of your parents will
have told you about that. There was Paragraph K and the sinecures they had in
the Ministry of Education. Millions and millions of dollars.... [corrects
himself] or pesos came out of the Ministry of Education, but they were changed
into dollars, of course. A bunch of millionaires came out of the Ministry of
Education. When they said 80 million, that was in theory. What was really
invested in education was probably 30 or 40 million.

57.  But the revolution understood the importance of education as something
that was very clear, fundamental, prioritized, and health care as well. No one
in the world denies the revolution's successes. They say we have had great
successes in education and health, but we have had successes in many other
things, in many other things.  [repeats] We have had success in sports. We have
had success in culture in general, in the country. We have had colossal success
in science, or we are having it, or we are beginning to have it, and in an
infinite number of fields.

58.  Well, we have had social successes, from the point view that we have
ensured retirement and pensions to everyone, and protection for each citizen of
this country.  Here all the pension funds had been embezzled; there was not a
cent left. An agricultural laborer who retired after working for 40 years was
paid 7 pesos, 7 pesos.  [repeats] When the revolution triumphed, they did not
have a cent. Social security.... [rephrases] Well, in addition to the many
blots the revolution eradicated, which range from prostitution to drugs,
problems with begging, and homeless children, the social problems resolved by
the revolution form a lengthy list in which (?you can see) we have had

59.  But we have also had successes in humanizing work; the revolution has
mechanized almost all productive processes. A man no longer has to carry a
225-lb bag, or a 250-lb bag. That ruins one's back, one's spine, and
everything. Now the ships are loaded in bulk. Transportation has been
mechanized. Soil preparation and agriculture has been mechanized.  Construction
has been mechanized. The ports have been mechanized. Rice harvests have been
mechanized. Sugar harvests have been mechanized. The very fact that our country
has reduced the number of cane cutters from 350,000 to 50,000 is a colossal
economic success, because it has raised productivity by an enormous amount.

60.  I will say once again that we have fallen far short of having done things
perfectly. But people have been freed from the most terrible, hardest work.
Really, what the revolution has done in the field of agriculture must be
recognized. It went from 50,000 tons of citrus to 1 million. It has transformed
livestock raising. It has created the structures for poultry and egg
production, pork production. It has filled the country with dams and mini dams,
and canals. It has ensured agriculture. It has used machinery and chemistry.

61.  So the revolution has done not only in the field....  [rephrases] What is
universally recognized is education and health. But in all fields the
revolution has done great things. There are almost no bohios [typical Cuban
huts] left. With one thing and another, today you can go kilometers and
kilometers on the roads and you will not find a straw house with a dirt floor.
But at least no one denies our successes in education. They are universally
recognized: education and health.

62.  Well, really, how could they deny this? But I also think it was a very
correct move for the revolution to put as much emphasis as it did on education.
This was a great strategic good move by the Cuban Revolution. We did very novel
things. The literacy campaign Cuba did had never been done by any country
before. Today we are commemorating the 30th anniversary of just that unusual
event, which was unprecedented in human history. [applause]

63.  There were more than 1 million adult illiterates in this country, out of a
population of 6.5 million inhabitants.  More than half the children had no
school. But in addition, the number of semi-illiterates was almost all the rest
of the people, [chuckles] except for an elite which made up a very small
percentage of the Cuban population. Because one may know how to sign one's name
and read and all that badly, or have passed second or third grade and still be
illiterate, or have passed fourth or fifth grade. Today you cannot find a man
who has only passed fifth grade. The Cuban population was illiterate and
semi-illiterate when the revolution triumphed. That is what capitalism left

64.  The first thing the revolution did was find jobs for the 10,000 teachers
who were unemployed. The revolution offered them jobs. Of course, many of them
had been raised in the city and did not want to go to the rural areas. The
greatest shortage of teachers was in the rural areas. But many did take the
jobs. The fact that it was difficult to find teachers to go to the rural areas
led us to make a mistake, which was to establish mountain living conditions to
train the teachers. That was a mistake which led us to lose some time in
training cadres as teachers. But it upset us a lot, and it concerned us a lot. 
It seemed to me that the lack of people accustomed to that environment was what
was hindering us from finding teachers who were willing to go to the
mountainous areas, willing to work there.

65.  But with those levels of illiteracy, the feat done in one year was
unprecedented. Starting with that, many other countries have asked about Cuba's
experience. Many Third World countries have visited that museum, because they
want to do what we did. Nicaragua tried in part and did in part what we did.
Many other Third World countries have found inspiration in our experience. Of
course, they have not been able to solve the problem, because they have not
been able to solve the problem for other reasons. They have not been able to
solve the problem.

66.  Now, I remember well that the mercenary Bay of Pigs invasion occurred in
the midst of the literacy campaign.  The revolution said: The campaign will not
be suspended. It will continue. One of the great merits of that year was having
continued the literacy campaign in the midst of the Bay of Pigs invasion.
[applause] It has also reached its 30th anniversary. That April, not a single
literacy worker moved.

67.  Some names have been mentioned here, right? That shows the conditions
under which the literacy campaign had to be carried out. We have mentioned the
cases of literacy workers who were murdered, like Ascunce, or teachers like
Benitez, because the counterrevolution wanted to kill the teachers and stop the
revolution's work from reaching the countryside. In the midst of a heavy
embargo and heavy counterrevolutionary activity....  [changes thought] There
were more than 300 counterrevolutionary organizations, and there were
counterrevolutionary bands in all the country's provinces, when there were six
provinces. There were even counterrevolutionary bands in Havana, organized by
the CIA and imperialism. So the road to bringing education to all places has
not been easy.

68.  We established the principle that not a single child should be left
without a teacher, even if it had to be under a tree; that there should not be
a single illiterate left. Then the follow-up programs to the literacy campaign
began.  Then adult education began. What the country has done in adult
education is enormous. There was a time when there were not enough high school
graduates to enter the university. But as a result of the development of
education, we created a tremendous bottleneck. There were not enough teachers
for the intermediate level, the basic secondary schools. An idea arose, and in
my opinion it was truly useful. It was an extraordinary idea, in my opinion.
This was the Manuel Ascunce Pedagogical Detachment. [applause]

69.  Look at Robertico [Robaina]. He was a member of that detachment. Today he
is a UJC leader and a member of the Politburo of our party. [applause] How time
passes!  The detachment was well worth it. We have been able to build the
schools in the countryside, the secondary schools. We had been building them at
a great rate, but we did not have the teachers. That was a new idea, to invite
the young people to join the detachment and apply the work/study program, teach
there under the guidance of some personnel with greater experience, and study
at the teachers training schools at the same time. That was an application of
the work/study principle to education itself. Many of the best youth cadres and
university cadres, many of the best cadres in the preuniversity schools, were
members of the detachment, the Manuel Ascunce Detachment.

70.  The first contingents were not really as large but they were of very high
quality. Then this was expanded a little, and then since the possibility
multiplied, we could not really make selections of the same high quality as we
did with the first contingents. This is unquestionable.  The time came when
there were many people who preferred a different career, but since they did not
have high enough grades, and the detachments needed a lot of new people, they
joined the detachments as a last resort.  That was not the best thing, but this
was an unavoidable situation in a country that offered so many opportunities to
young people.

71.  But the detachment was a great creation of the Cuban Revolution. Then
there was the development of the centers of higher education, which were
brought to the entire country. There was the one university that we had in
Havana, with a distorted enrollment structure, with a very small proportion of
students working in technical fields. The technological institutes were
created. Many universities were created, everywhere.

72.  We can now see that they are a power. I believe that before the revolution
there was one in Villa Clara.  Nowadays, Villa Clara is a superpower, Santiago
de Cuba is a power, so is Camaguey, and Holguin. For example, there was only
one medical school before, but now it has expanded and there are more than 20
medical schools in the 14 provinces in the country. Look at that development.
Polytechnical schools, technological institutes, graduate schools also exist in
many provinces. All careers, all pedagogic careers are available in all
provinces. There is an entire system of teacher training and retraining.
Because all these institutions which were created, IPE [expansion unknown]....
[changes thought] Well, I have really lost count. But there is one really
important thing above all: the possibility to continue with advanced studies,
for teaching personnel. Dozens and dozens of different types of teachers and
pedagogic schools were established. I am not going to dwell on each type.
Polytechnical schools received all the necessary attention. There were only a
few polytechnical schools in Cuba, very few. I do not know the exact number
nowadays but....  [Unidentified speaker, interrupting] Three hundred and
thirty-two polytechnical schools.  [Castro] There are 332 polytechnical schools
in the country. How many were there at the triumph of the revolution? 
[Unidentified speaker] More or less 50 polytechnical schools.  [Castro] Fifty?
You are too generous with capitalism.  No, no. I remember that at the time of
the Moncada attack there were only 10 or 12 technological schools.  There may
have been some trade schools before that, but there was no polytechnical
education, and the education for skilled workers in our country was
insignificant. With the school systems, many things were established. There are
vocational schools, which are an effort to provide more opportunities and
development to students with skills or talent. Only history will tell in the
end if it was correct or not to establish the vocational schools.

73.  But I think it was, especially if we rectify a few things, such as the
fact that they were not.... [rephrases] because of a lack of physical
resources, implementation of the principle of work/study was halted. This is a
very important thing.  We have to implement this in a degree as high or higher
as schools in the countryside. We have to implement the work/study principle to
the highest degree possible at the exact sciences vocational schools. That is
why our comrade from Granma was talking about the visit we paid him almost five
years ago. I said: Find them some land. We were far from having any inkling of
the special period. Find them land so they can work for a few hours. Do not
prepare them only as students. We do not want them to end up becoming an elite,
and take the wrong turn, deviate, and become ideologically weak.

74.  I asked the [Education] Ministry to find lands for all exact sciences
vocational schools and implement the work/study principle at all the exact
sciences vocational schools, even if this cannot be done to a high degree
because the demand of their classes is too intense, too high, because they have
to study a set number of subjects. They have to study computing. I supported
that idea. We have to continue to persist; the special period forces us to. It
really forces us to find the land and work it a certain amount of hours, the
right amount. We do not want more hours than necessary. They are large schools
and can be self-sufficient.

75.  But these schools were not established without the principles of
work/study. They were vocational schools first of all, and later on they were
turned into vocational schools for exact sciences. They were perfected as
vocational schools in the concept of a more rigorous preparation, if possible,
of the young people who had the ability to attend those schools. This was
through rigorous merit, because of their record and the challenge. In the
beginning it was not like that, but later on this was established. In the
beginning, you could not do that. All those who graduated from high school
would enter the university. This happened for many years, because for many
years we did not have enough high school graduates.

76.  See how in each stage, solutions were sought. After the secondary schools
in the rural areas, we had the preuniversity schools in the rural areas.
University scholarships were created since the beginning to give the
opportunity to any young person in the country to study at a university. Tens
of thousands of scholarships were created. The universities were given all the
attention and resources they needed. Remember that in addition to the fact that
our universities were very small they were practically without teachers.

77.  The same thing happened in the medical field. In the medical field there
were 3,000.... [corrects himself] 6,000 doctors and 3,000 left. They were those
who had dreamed.... [changes thought] Before, they did not have permission to
go to the United States. When the revolution triumphed, they obtained
permission to go to the United States. All those who said they wanted to leave
Cuba had wanted to leave before but they could not get visas. They made a
policy to leave us without merits....  [corrects himself] doctors. A great
number of professors from the medical schools left. Compare that situation to
the one we have today, with more than 40,000 doctors. I believe we have 43,000
doctors. What an effort we have had to make in the field of education!

78.  Later on we began to teach about computers, first at the universities and
then at all other levels, including the secondary school level. We have not yet
began at the elementary school level because we are not yet sure whether it is
suitable to do so. We are conducting investigations and studies on the subject,
but if we reach the conclusion that it is suitable to bring computers to the
elementary school level, we will bring them to the elementary school level.

79.  Meanwhile, the Young People's Computer Clubs are helping many children who
have a vocation or special ability or capability in computers, in institutions
that have gradually been created. Scholarships, boarding schools, and
semi-boarding schools were created. So with all these, there are more than 1
million students in this country, more than 1 million, and we are still pushing
for more. I want you to know that when the special period began, we had an
enormous program for building universities and for finishing the schools we
needed for teacher training, for finishing the CUJAE [Jose Antonio Echeverria
University City], the ISCA [Higher Institute for Agricultural and Livestock
Sciences], and others which had been under construction for many years, and for
providing the universities with all the facilities needed. We were doing this
as part of the rectification process.

80.  At that time, the special period had not yet arisen. We had a complete
program for trade schools. We had already chosen almost all the sites for each
of the schools we were going to build. There was a great program for child care
centers underway. Havana built 110 child care centers in only two years. The
demand grew immediately, because there were many people who did not request
them when they did not have the remotest hope of getting them. The demand was
for 19,000, and we created capacity for 24,000. Right away many demands began
to arise. People asked for more child care centers.  We had a complete program
of special schools with the ambitious aim of reaching 80,000 students enrolled.
I do not know if the number is entirely correct, but it was the number that was
given as a need, and we said: Well, we will make the special schools that are
needed. We made quite a few. Havana built about 20.

81.  We must look at the programs that we have developed in the field of
education during all these years. I would say that if you look at the list you
would see that it is impressive. At a given time we said: Well, the teachers
need more training. We cannot be content with the ones we have. Now, as I said
at yesterday's plenary session, there have been problems in all sectors. There
have been mistakes in all sectors. In education, of course, we have made
mistakes. There is no doubt about it. I believe that this is a lesson on how we
must be very alert to society's evolution and the evolution of a given field,
and the need to adapt the institutions and forms to each new period that

82.  But we must take into consideration that in the beginning, teachers would
begin their training after finishing sixth grade. They were just children when
they began their teacher training. Of course, if you went to the rural areas
and asked any girl-or boy, but it was mostly girls-what she wanted to study,
she would say she wanted to be a teacher. Some would say they wanted to be
nurses. There were always some. But the number of children who wanted to be
teachers was very large, but they began after sixth grade. When we stopped
using the mountain training, and in Tarara, we decided to build all the teacher
training schools in all the provinces, based on the most correct principle that
it was not necessary to have been trained in the mountainous areas in order to
go to there. Rather, to go to the mountainous areas, what was needed was an
awareness and a vocation as a teacher, even if one studied in the city.

83.  The conditions were created to train all the teachers that were needed.
But they started after sixth grade. We would not have been able to fill those
schools with high school graduates. With time, we succeeded in raising the
level to basic secondary school graduates. Lately we have raised the level to
preuniversity school graduates. Now we cannot imagine those teachers of the
early days of the revolution, or the days before the revolution. You cannot
find a teacher who began to train after sixth grade, to become a teacher after
finishing sixth grade. It is a cause of satisfaction to us that now the
teachers begin after finishing preuniversity school. They get a university
degree in order to teach elementary school.

84.  But this forced us to make an enormous effort in the teacher improvement
programs and the study plans, and in creating the bachelor's degree for all
those who had been teachers. They were able to study at the university, and
they were given all possible facilities-one year or even two, if necessary, of
free time, with pay-to study at the university. We have passed the ambitious
goal of one day having the vast majority graduate from university, or all those
for whom it was possible, of those teachers who began their career after
finishing the sixth grade.

85.  This has been a continuous process of striving to improve the quality of
the teaching personnel. They have been given all kinds of facilities they have
not received anywhere else in the world. When the time came when there was a
risk of having a surplus of teachers, we said: We are not going to close the
schools. We are going to create a reserve of teachers so that the rest can

86.  This is an interpretation of socialism. I would say it is our own way of
interpreting socialism, a new way, because I think you cannot talk of socialism
if you do not accept the premise of the rational, optimum use of human
resources. Why would we fill the offices or factories or work centers with
people when, many times, there is not enough work? It is better for them to
become teachers, doctors, or engineers, and then if there are too many, they
will be there for others to take a year's sabbatical, which will permit us to
create a system for further training for professionals.

87.  In socialism, no one is supposed to be surplus, but also no one should be
employed in an unproductive or useless way. If there were 100 employees in an
office and 20 could do the work, we could have 80 citizens of this country
qualified as teachers, doctors, or anything, and this would permit us to
provide further training for other workers.

88.  When there is a surplus, you must create a reserve.  Socialism cannot
exist unless you give work to every citizen. If not, a person who was born
under the flag of socialism and has no job becomes a wretch. Socialism cannot
exist unless every citizen has opportunities.  Socialism cannot exist unless
every citizen is given optimum employment, unless every citizen is used in an
optimum, rational way. That is why we speak of reserves.  Some people may have
thought that this was a luxury or a waste. What else could we want? To have
citizens stay at home? It costs almost the same, because they always have an
uncle, a grandparent, a parent, someone who will help pay their expenses, and
they are not producing anything.

89.  A citizen who stays at home is a burden on society. I am talking about
under normal conditions. A citizen who inflates a payroll is a useless burden
on society. A citizen who studies and prepares so that all society will have an
even higher level of knowledge and preparation is not a burden. This is a
useful way of using a citizen, and that is why we have created this reserve,
which gives a a lot of room to maneuver today, this reserve of teachers we have
created for a continuous process of development.  Imagine if one day we
implement the sabbatical year program. This means taking a professor or teacher
and giving them an entire free year for studying and improving.

90.  So we view education as a continuous process, or that is how education
should be under socialism. I believe that we are following the right path in
this field. But if we had to begin with people who had finished sixth grade, or
secondary school, with all the problems we have had, with all the problems we
have.... [rephrases] if we consider the point where we began this effort, it is
natural that it should have resulted in certain inevitable problems. I am
convinced of this.

91.  So we should not feel ashamed about the problems we have had. What we
should do is analyze all our experiences to see how we should improve
everything we are doing, and what we should plan to do in the future. We must
never rest on our laurels. This sector has also suffered from some problems the
rest of the country had with the economic leadership and planning system and
all those things. It suffered from that alienation process, in which voluntary
work lost all its importance and seemed like a children's game, a pastime. The
schools in the countryside were looked down on by some officials who had
studied abroad. They had graduated and had returned very well educated, and
they thought the business of the schools in the countryside was no good because
it was not what was done in other countries. Do you understand?

92.  At a certain time, academics prevailed in higher education. We went from a
situation in which all the university students had to work almost every day,
even if they were not as good on theory, to a time when the university students
did not participate in productive activities and threatened to become an elite.
They hoped to get administrative jobs at enterprises and work in offices and
things like that. We made mistakes, such as the multiplication of specialties,
in both technological and university education.

93.  In making those mistakes, we were copying. That is beyond argument. It was
crazy. Once I had to ask as a joke at a Federation of University Students [FEU]
meeting, when we were going to create a university specialty on mule
transportation, mule transportation engineering. Because there was an
incredible proliferation of specialties. We were not able to avoid this in
medicine, but it was heading towards creating even more specialties. At least
in medicine we prevented that trend from filtering down to the earlier years. I
remember that the sixth-year students were already doing some kind of vertical
specialty or something like that. We said: Not until we have enough students.
And we changed that. We changed that later (?for other reasons.)  We started
from the principle of a basic doctor, with very strong basic knowledge, and
then the specialties.

94.  But in our universities they were already beginning to specialize in the
second year, after the second year.  Architects: previously there were
specialties in architecture. They could be physical planners, they could do
buildings, or they could do many things, but it was already being divided up
into fragments: physical planning, building, this, that, and the other. They
were not architects.

95.  Individuals began to specialize after two years of basic knowledge. Where
did we get that garbage? We copied it, to tell the truth. It was the same thing
in agronomy. The time came when we had to rectify this. We began the process of
implementing other concepts in the basic training of university professionals,
and then a system to train specialists. Academics took on a lot of strength. 
That is, we went from one extreme to another, from a perhaps excessive extreme
of practice to an excessive extreme of academics, or academic or theoretical

96.  I think what we are doing now is much better, or it is closer to the
ideal: true participation by university students in production. I think the
teaching factories have been a good creation, an excellent creation. They allow
us to give greater weight than we had been giving to productive work, and a
proper level of theory is maintained. As for theoretical education, the
students need a good foundation to continue to study throughout their lives,
because an engineer who stops studying when he graduates as an engineer loses
some knowledge of engineering after a few years.

97.  That is true in almost all the technical careers, and also in medical
careers. But in the medical careers we have a whole system for training
specialists. We have the integrated general doctor as a specialty. Medicine has
served as study material to develop many of these ideas. So we have made
mistakes of a subjective nature in all our work, but I was explaining that you
could not be free of the general trends in society, the contempt for some
things-voluntary work, work/study by the students, and all that kind of
thing-along with many other subjective factors that could be mentioned.

98.  But in spite of these mistakes, I think we have done more in this country
than in any other, especially any other socialist country. They were the ones
who did the most.  They did quite a bit in education. That cannot be denied. 
But what we did and how we did it was really novel, really novel and creative.
There are other topics having to do with this. I think you have discussed
improvement and I do not know what other things. The idea of improvement cannot
be renounced, improvement of education.

99.  We have made other mistakes. I have not summarized them all. It is not
possible for everyone to study Russian.  Well, I did not. I really did not try.
[laughter] But, we could say that the study of Russian became widespread.  It
was necessary to study Russian, and it was necessary to abandon English. That
is confusing apples and oranges, as is commonly said. What does that have to do
with it?  That is confusing ideology with language. I find very little
congenial in the main speakers of that language, who are the Yankees. They
often do not even know how to speak it well, a few of them.

100.  We can find little congenial in colonialism, but it is a fact that it
[English] has become a universal language, the same as Spanish became the
universal language of this continent, which had been inhabited, a large part of
it, by thousands of native tribes which had different languages.  They left us
Spanish, one of the few positive things from that terrible stage of history.
They imposed a language on us, but now that we have it we are not going to give
it up.  We must improve it, and know how to use it, as well.

101.  Studying Russian. You do not find any new literary work in Russian. You
have to wait for it to be published in the USSR in 10 or 15 years. Or a
scientific work. Above all, the most important thing, a scientific work. Almost
all the scientific works, if they are published in Japan, Europe, or elsewhere,
they are immediately translated into English. It has become the international
language, and we, being idiots, abandoned English. It was necessary to rectify
that. I remember that the Soviet ambassador was here. He is a very nice person
and a very good friend of ours. He was very sad because I, from a platform like
this one today, said that we must study English, that we must rectify that. I
asked him when I met up with him the other day on a commission: Well, tell me,
what are you doing? What language are you studying, Spanish? He said: No,

102.  All the Soviets were studying English. Now, of course, imperialism loves
that, but it has nothing to do with anything else. I do not think they will
learn how to become capitalists in four days, no matter how much English they
might know. Everyone was studying English, not Spanish, while we idiots were
studying Russian. [laughter] Do you realize the power of influence? And how
negative influences can take a hold?

103.  We could speak further about influences. I mentioned some in the science
commission. What have we published, and what have we published in the last 30
years?  That is a question we could pose. How many books and titles have we
published? Because in a meeting that I attended some time ago with some
preuniversitary students, I very strongly proposed the idea that we should
publish 200 or 300 classic works that were not being published here, some 200
or 300 works. I am not going to mention the titles here, but they are
well-known works, existing works, including many things on ancient history,
ancient works, containing the origins of philosophy and the origins of
civilization. Many books written in the last 2,000 years are classics and are
missing from the public libraries; or if not from the public libraries, at
least missing from personal libraries.

104.  We do read a lot, because that day we were discussing how much we study,
and how much we read. We were analyzing some factors concerning this issue. I
think it was about communication, limitations in communication that children
sometimes had, or many children had, and what the causes might be. I asked if
this was a universal phenomenon, and they told me it was a universal phenomenon
and the mass media and television had a lot to do with all this and the number
of hours children throughout the world spend in front of the television. There
is a lack of education on the parents' part, a lack of resources, a lack of
suitable education methods for children. Because one of the comrades was
talking about one of the studies they were doing, and a dictionary they were
going to do, with the vocabulary our children need. That is a very good work,
very praiseworthy. I asked a number of questions about that.

105.  The modern world reads very little, and spends all its time watching
television and videos. Not just Cuba; the world. Another question we could ask
is: Do we read a lot? Yes, the books fly off the shelves. But which books? 
Many are fiction books, only fiction. That day we were talking about the urgent
need for a scientific magazine as part of the overall scientific movement we
are developing. It is almost as important as an electron microscope, or a mass
spectrometer, or something like that. It is a need just like work equipment in
the laboratories.

106.  I gave an example. All of us like to read fiction. It gives moments of
distraction, relaxation. But if you read only that and nothing else, you do not
learn anything.  Reading often becomes an escapist, recreational activity.  I
told them that whenever I read a book, I ask myself if I have learned anything
from the book. I gave the example of the literature of a very valued friend of
ours, [Gabriel] Garcia Marquez. If you read Chronicle of a Death Foretold, you
may spend hours entertained, seeing that whole plot and how things happen, but
by the end, you have not learned anything. If you read The General in His
Labyrinth, by the end you have learned a lot about history, Bolivar's thinking,
and the ideas of Latin American integration. You have learned human things. The
book is recreational and also teaches.

107.  Now that we have so many people doing research, especially in the field
of humanities, we could do a study-and I invite you to do a study-of everything
the revolution has published, apart from textbooks, and what proportion were
recreational books and what proportion were books that enriched the culture of
our entire society, in all fields-science, philosophy, sociology, psychology,
politics, economics. How many have we published on history? How many
biographies? It turns out that we do not even know Cuban history. We do not
know enough Cuban history, and we know hardly any Latin American history.

108.  Now, one way of promoting knowledge of Cuban history is by publishing
books. I have had the privilege of seeing some of the little books that were
printed after that meeting with the FEU people. Very valuable books have
appeared. We must be selective and have a publishing policy, because this is
not commercial. The socialist state should not publish books to earn money; it
should publish books to benefit the people. The people benefit not only through
a given kind of literature, but through a great variety of books and a
publishing policy that allows the people to have access to the best works
created by human intelligence, historic as well as literary and political.

109.  We read a lot, but we have to ask ourselves what we read.  We could also
ask ourselves how we have used our television broadcasts. This is something
that always comes up at any congress or meeting of teachers. We could ask
ourselves a lot of these things. Education cannot escape some of these
problems, but we must direct our efforts towards developing a people, a
society, with a high level of education.

110.  We must also have a high scientific level. This will allow us to have a
quality standard of living, in both recreational and creative aspects. This is
why we are not at all discouraged by the difficulties we have had. We must
acknowledge them and analyze them. We should feel legitimately proud of the
work the revolution has done in education. I think this work is having a great
influence right now in the special period. The teachers, even though they are
now going to plant yucca, boniato, and bananas along with the students, and
weed and pull up grass and all those things, [applause] the teachers, even
though they are doing that and asking for caballerias- which they are going to
receive, as many as necessary- produce as their fundamental result the
development of knowledge and preparing people for life, in all senses.  Their
main result is education.

111.  I at least have been a witness in the last few weeks to some of the
results of our education, because I participated in the Pioneers Congress.
Really, I do not think there could have been anything more impressive than that
Pioneers Congress. I do not think that anywhere in the world people have the
privilege of seeing what we saw here. It does not matter if they ignore us as
they ignore us, or slander us as they slander us. But a Pioneers Congress like
ours has not occured in any other society anywhere else in the world. Where did
all this come from? From our education.

112.  We have seen the Federation of Secondary School Students [FEEM] Congress,
and I am sure that a congress of students like that one has not occured
anywhere else in the world. The quality that was expressed there at that
congress, where the children were not chosen from above, has not been expressed
anywhere else. The children were chosen from within the FEEM, just as the
Pioneers chose theirs, in an absolutely free, democratic way. They sent their
representatives. I was so impressed that I said: Well, it is unlikely that in
the future we will have another congress like this one. Because I saw almost a
special period congress, of soldiers who are in the midst of battle. It made a
tremendous impression.

113.  But a few days ago, a week ago, right here, we had the closing ceremony
of the Sixth Spare Parts, Equipment, and Advanced Technologies Forum. What an
impressive thing that forum, that sixth forum, was! What an expression of the
progress of our education! Because hundreds of thousands of workers were
represented there at that forum, skilled workers, all those who had graduated
from the technological schools and universities, our education centers. They
have an impressive level of knowledge and preparation.

114.  Where did that come from? Did it happen by chance, that we have been able
to see three events like those? It has come from the revolution. It has come in
large part from the revolution's educational process, because the vast majority
of those who were there had gone through primary school under the revolution,
and secondary school, preuniversity school, and the university. We can see a
whole work, a whole creation. This cannot be seen in any better way than when
you see hundreds and hundreds of people gathered together who have been
creators or have presented 34,000 papers, with 40,000 solutions to the
country's problems. Where else in the world has this happened? They are also in
the midst of the battlefield of the special period.

115.  This is a genuine result of the revolution's work in education. This
gives us more than enough reason to feel proud, regardless of the awareness we
may have of the mistakes we may have made, or the defects we may have.

116.  I have already spoken about science and technology; I think that we have
to do some things. I participated in the science commission. I was very
interested because of the tremendous weight scientific research has right now,
in this situation we are in. I intended to go to a morning session and then do
other things in the afternoon, but I became so interested in it that I stayed.
I stayed about eight hours in the science commission. I really heard
extraordinary things. It is not that I did not know anything, because I receive
a lot of information and I am in constant contact with the research centers. I
know many of the things they are doing, how they are doing them, and we are
supporting and promoting them. But when you meet with a group of scientists and
researchers like those who met in that commission, you really learn a lot, even
some figures. One did not know very well what some of our scientific
institutions were doing. We have a lot, more than 100. Some had changed names
five years ago. Some were the result of the merging of one with another, of two

117.  But there, in the field of science and technology, as well as sociology
and pedagogy, really very, very, very interesting things were presented in that
commission. Of course, a congress cannot be measured by the plenary sessions.
Specific issues are discussed in much more depth in the commissions. There are
200 or 300 requests to have the floor at the plenary session, and many things
are repeated, and we have to give a limited time to those who participate. Not
everyone can speak. You cannot go into much depth. In the commissions you go
into much more depth. My participation in that commission was an experience for
me, because many things were discussed in depth.

118.  Now, I had a tremendous surprise. It shows how, no matter how alert one
may be, or however well-informed one may think one is ....[rephrases] I thought
that all the science workers were members of this union. Suddenly I said:
Such-and-such an institution, and that one, and that other one, who is
representing them? They said: No, they do not belong to the union. But who the
hell do they belong to? [laughter] They said: No, each one belongs to their
sector's union. The one for sugar belongs to the Sugar Workers Union, the one
for agriculture belongs to the Agricultural Workers Union, the ones for
medicine belong to the Public Health Union. I said: What is this?  It is
fortunate that the comrades who organized this congress had the stroke of
genius of inviting other centers as well. They invited people from all the
other centers. They realized this. These people did not attend as
representatives or delegates, but as guests.

119.  I realized that science workers do not have a union.  What contributed to
my false idea, or my ignorance? The fact that this union, which is so
distinguished, and rightly so, is called the Education, Science, and Sports
Workers Union. I said: The science workers must be in the Education, Science,
and Sports Workers Union, but they are not. You have only the science workers
from the university centers and the Academy of Science centers.  There are
dozens and dozens and dozens of scientific research centers that do not belong
to this union.

120.  What do we do? I understand that the ICIDCA [Cuban Sugarcane Byproducts
Research Institute] and other similar centers are very interested in belonging
to the Sugar Workers Union. That is good. That they have ties with that sector,
the sugar industry, is good. But we have to find a solution to this problem. It
is not possible, especially in this special period, to be without a union for
science workers. It is not possible, when one sees the work a union does or can
do in promoting these activities. I am not proposing that they should stop
belonging to another union or this union. I am proposing that they should have
double membership.

121.  I am proposing that we create a science workers unions.  The Cuban
Workers Federation should organize...[changes thought] Yes, I am saying this in
the special period, when we are conserving, but it has become a necessity of
this period for us to create a science workers union, even though all those who
are members of this union would continue to be members.  They would belong to
two unions. The workers from the Academy of Science and the universities would
belong to this one, but also to the other one. Is there some book by Marx or
Engels or some thinking by Marti that forbids someone ...[rephrases] or
proscribes or definitively establishes the principle that a worker can belong
to only one union?

122.  I do not think we should weaken any of the unions we have. We should not
weaken this one by taking away the science workers, although I think that
science was not even mentioned in yesterday's plenary session.  [chuckles]
Science was not even mentioned in yesterday's plenary session, to tell the
truth. The ICIDCA workers and the workers at the sugar industry centers should
belong to that union and this new one we are talking about, that must be
created. The agricultural workers also should have double membership. They
should not lose the ties they have with their sector and with their union, but
there should be a science workers union.

123.  I tell you that this is a necessity. I will explain it as briefly as
possible. We must integrate science. A union is an integrating factor for
science. How do I see how we should work in this scientific area at this time?
I see that first, we need to take some steps. We have already been taking steps
in the field of science for some time. Lately we have taken more steps. We have
created the scientific/productive hub in the western part of Havana. We have
taken geographic location into account, but we have also had to include some
institutions because of the kind of research they are doing.

124.  We have grouped in this hub the biotechnology and medical research
centers, all the ones that have to do ...[rephrases] the agricultural centers
associated with biotechnology research. Some of these centers are not located
around here. The Biological Products Center, for example, will be over there,
when they complete it-and they are completing it-in Bejucal. For Cenpalab
[Center for Production of Laboratory Animals], an extremely important
institution without which there can be no scientific research, we have an
extraordinary center that we are completing. It will be completed in the first
quarter of next year. It is in Cacahual but belongs to this scientific hub.
ICIDCA and INCA [Agricultural Sciences Institute] belong to it. CENSA [National
Center for Animal Health] belongs to it, and it is in San Jose de las Lajas.
ICA [Animal Science Institute] also belongs to it.

125.  I think one of the ways to integrate science and develop greater
cooperation is through these scientific hubs. But there cannot be only one
scientific hub. I think another scientific hub will be developed in Villa
Clara. Another scientific hub will be created in Santiago de Cuba.  Another
will be created in the western region. I have been considering this issue. This
scientific hub is organized. The centers belong to different institutions.

126.  Even the Council of State has some prestigious scientific research
centers. The universities have them. The Academy of Science has them. The
Agriculture Ministry has them. Various organizations have them. But these are
joined together and meet systematically every month. They study common services
for all of them, problems, cooperation between all of them, information, books,
the literature they need, the essential things they need, their priorities,
personnel training. They discuss it all. The scientific-productive hub in
western Havana is a very important experiment in the field of scientific

127.  This must be transferred to the rest of the country, as the conditions
for the scientific hubs are created. It is not possible to include in this hub
the biotechnology center or the centers that have been created in this field at
Villa Clara University, or those that have been created in Santiago de Cuba. It
is not possible. Therefore, there will have to be a similar system and a
similar style of cooperation, unity, and work among all the centers in the
different parts of the country.

128.  But we must create other hubs in the capital itself, because there are
many important research centers that do not belong to that hub. They belong to
the metalworking, steel, mechanical industry, and chemical industry sector, and
other things, other processes. We would not accomplish anything by mixing those
with the others. Now we must create another scientific hub for that sector for
research, to do work similar to what we are doing with the scientific hub in
western Havana, and to solve many of the problems and meet many of the needs of
those centers. They had been forgotten.

129.  There is something more. I think it will be necessary to create a
scientific hub with the research centers in the humanities, also here in the
western region since we should not put it there with those for biotechnology or
the medical industry or the medical or agricultural sciences.

130.  We cannot lump it together with the steel industry, mechanical industry,
or all those types of industries. But they have a very important role to play
in our society.  We need to unite them, organize them, and see which are the
tasks they are going to carry out during the special period, what they are
going to do in the present, and what they are going to do in the future. Those
in the education field fit in that hub, the educational, sociological, and
other research centers. We need to classify them. But I believe that in the
western region there is only space for three scientific hubs. Already the idea
of scientific hubs as instruments of cooperation and mutual support between the
research centers has been a very helpful and beneficial idea, in my opinion.

131.  These are developments of socialism. Capitalism cannot even dream of such
things. But if we want to be socialists with a clear understanding of
socialism...[changes thought] Socialism is cooperation. While under capitalism
all the research centers are at war with one another, we have the privilege of
getting all the scientific research centers to cooperate and help one another
with equipment, personnel, experience, and knowledge. This multiplies the
potential of the scientific research centers.  Capitalism does not have that
and cannot have it.

132.  Now, there must be an integrating center or various integrational forces
for all the scientific research centers, and this must be the Academy of
Science. The Academy of Science no longer administers too many centers; it
still has some. But the Academy of Science must integrate all these centers,
whether they are in the fields of medicine, or biotechnology, industry, or the
humanities. It should play the role of coordinating, organizing, and
administering the hubs and promoting cooperation among them.  That should be
the role of the Academy of Science. In my opinion, it should have the role of
integrating the scientific institutions of this country.

133.  It would not be the only integrating force. Another integrating force
would be forums like the one that recently took place and will be held every
year. A forum is not an institution; it is a movement, a movement of
integration, thanks to the efforts of some comrades of the party's Department
of Basic Industry, primarily thanks to the efforts of Comrade [Eugenio]
Mainegra and thanks to the efforts of Comrade [Pedro] Miret [Prieto].  They
have put in a lot of work without much publicity, we might add. But what have
they done? They did not create an organization, but they visited all the
production centers of the country. They know all the specialists, the best in
each field and industry, those who have found solutions. This is a
distinguished group of engineers and technicians, and not scientists, because
they know a lot about boilers or magnetizers, or other things. They began to
establish communication among the centers, in the search for solutions, which
at first began with spare parts and later continued with equipment, and that is
how the movement has developed.

134.  I would say that it has been an extremely important movement to integrate
science and technology in our country. They did it without equipment. They
created commissions; they worked in coordination with the Academy of Science.
They created commissions at the municipal level. In any municipality of the
country there are innovations. An innovation is made, a rationalization of
something, a creation, an invention, in any municipality of the country. This
forum has turned hundreds of thousands of people into researchers and
scientists. We even had a housewife present. There were farmers who also
attended, because there can be creative and innovative farmers. This
forum...[rephrases] and I have been able to see this, especially within these
past few days when I met with them at the sixth forum, and I was able to
observe everything they had done. I could see the immense, quiet, but efficient
work these comrades had done in this field.

135.  Therefore, if the research centers are the scientific research centers,
the forum then includes all the technicians, and all the skilled workers, and
all the engineers, and all the professionals of production. Do you know what
the creative force of hundreds of thousands of people represents? This forum
has created just that. We had to change the name. It started with the modest
ambition of solving the difficulties with capitalist spare parts in other
times. Now we have to solve the problems with capitalist, socialist, and
whatever other things there may be. Now they are not only capitalist parts
alone; they are socialist parts that we have to manufacture, invent, and
innovate. Now we have to take a Soviet crane and make it work however we can,
even though there is not even one Soviet part. The task they have is

136.  Now, look at how the turn of events has forced us to be alert to know
what we have to rectify, or what we have to introduce, not always rectify. I
said a while ago that this union of education and science workers does not
include 80 percent of the science workers. They are not included.  But I can
say something more. The comrades from the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed
Forces attended that forum because they have their skilled personnel,
scientific personnel, in various areas because they have to maintain their
weapons and have to do many other things, rationalize and innovate. They
attended that forum. However, the scientific research centers did not attend.

137.  What did we do last year when the previous forum ended? We proposed that
the scientific research centers be included in that movement. Now, in that
movement which was meeting during those days, all the scientific research
centers were there, from all sectors, from the universities. Sometimes there
are university departments that have two or three centers or groups of
important researchers. The forum includes all the country's scientists, in
addition to the technicians, skilled workers, production engineers, everyone.
It is an impressive force.  It is a second integrating element.

138.  First, there is the Academy of Science, then the forums- I am going to
call them forums in order not to say their long name, not to repeat it-and
third, the unions. The third integrating force of all the scientific work has
to be the unions, or the union. That is why I am proposing the need to form a
union of science workers. This is a necessity, since this is not a sport.
Sports are very important, as you know. This is something that has to do with
the country's life, the country's future, the country's survival. Because this
work done by rationalizers, inventors, innovators, and researchers is the major
weapon this country has right now. It is the major instrument for coming out
of, or for overcoming, the special period.

139.  I am asserting this. I am not going to give reasons for it.  It is
obvious: the things they are doing, the things they are solving, the things
they can do and solve, to the direct benefit of our populace at this time, by
creating very important exportable resources, by replacing products we no
longer have. Today we have to fertilize with bacteria. Today we have to use
biological pesticides, wage the biological fight against pests and diseases. 
Today we have to rapidly create new plant varieties based on tissue cultures
and even cells. We have already succeeded in producing the first sugarcane
plants from a single sugarcane cell. Not from a piece of stalk, the way you
plant cane, but we have gotten a plant from a microscopic sugarcane cell.

140.  We are doing many things like this which show a lot of potential. The
reason is to solve problems in our agriculture, just as the Voisin rational
grazing system, applied in a rigorously scientific way, should solve the
problem of the lack of cattle feed. We are carrying out an accelerated program
of 6,000 rational grazing areas with electrified fences. Researchers and
innovators have participated in this, people who have thought up little
machines to grind cane and produce sacharina for the cattle there. This
sacharina came from our research centers. People are working as teams to
produce electricity in the event the electrical system fails, so that they can
have electricity for the fences, produced by wind or by hand. In short, they
have had to find many solutions.

141.  This situation, of course, is going to promote the country's scientific
development tremendously, because without the special period we could not even
dream of the boost many things have received in our country. The same is true
of the use of oxen. They had been forgotten.  Everything was done with
tractors. The tractors were like cars, vehicles for taking a ride out in the
countryside, for everything. Oxen had been forgotten.

142.  Now we have discovered that oxen not only save fuel in many activities.
Oxen also raise human productivity, because there are times when because of the
wetness of the soil or the size of the crops, you cannot send in a tractor. It
would destroy everything. It would compact the soil. But a man or
woman...[changes thought] Because there are some very outstanding women who
have become ox-drivers, demonstrating that we have Mariana Grajales' in
industrial quantities in this country. [applause] Women from Havana have
learned to drive oxen. What do they do? They do the work of 10, 12, or 15 men,
weeding, doing some things that must be done by hand.

143.  Now we have discovered that the day we have enough fuel, we cannot simply
return to the age of the tractor and that is all. Likewise, the day we have
enough fuel, we cannot give up the bicycles. They are daughters of the special
period, but they had been completely forgotten here. [applause]

144.  (?Now it is) the special period. They are not only for health, for
millions of things, but here they had been forgotten. Everything was buses, the
Ikarus buses that were poisoning the city and getting 4 km per gallon. That was
something ruinous. The special period is going to teach us many things, really,
and is going to advance many things. Someday we are going to be grateful for
the special period, because we are going to move forward more than we would
have in 20 years. Because human beings are like that, unfortunately.

145.  Sometimes things are clear, obvious, and reasonable, and you can try to
convince them and convince them and convince them, but only when they see the
urgent need, and have no alternative, do they look at oxen.  Gentlemen, we must
domesticate oxen, domesticate oxen, domesticate oxen, but as long as there is
one drop of fuel, it is a difficult battle to get oxen domesticated.  That is
what human beings are like. They have those characteristics, and they often
need the force, the push from necessity to solve certain problems. That is what
is happening to us with the special period.

146.  I do not want to run on much longer, because I have had to give a few
speeches in recent days, and I do not want to repeat myself. But I should point
out that the Soviet Union no longer exists, as a Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics, as a union of socialist republics, and as a union of Soviet
republics. Those three things have disappeared: the union, the socialist part,
and the Soviet part. Starting with the meeting yesterday in Alma Ata, the other
countries have stated their desire to participate in a union of independent and
sovereign states. [words indistinct] sovereign countries, they are still
discussing some things concerning the economic sphere and the issue of defense.
They have still to resolve some issues, but the USSR has already been

147.  This is something that naturally grieves and saddens us, because of the
role the USSR has played, because of the relations it has had with Cuba,
because of the friendship it has had with our country. This also implies
important new tasks for our country, for the policy we will follow in the new
situation, in which 15 independent states have been created. As we have said on
other occasions, we intend to continue to carry out our relations with those
nations. That is reasonable. So we will recognize the new independent states,
all of them, and as far as possible we will carry out our trade, diplomatic,
and political relations with those new independent states as we do with any
independent nation.

148.  Under these circumstances, we base ourselves on the historic ties that
developed with the Soviet Union, with the peoples of the Soviet Union, and with
each of those republics. There have been many contacts, ties, and friendships
that have developed over the course of 30 years, with all the republics that
made up the Soviet Union, in addition to our relations with the Soviet Union.
As you know, thousands and thousands of Cubans have studied in the Soviet
Union. They have studied in practically all the republics of the Soviet Union.
So the number of embassies will have to increase, since we will need to have
representatives in each of those republics. There are economic ties that also
have been created. Many of those republics consumed our products, and they need
our products. We consumed their products, and we need their products. So now we
must carry out a whole reformulation and orchestrate the forms by which to
carry out relations with independent nations.

149.  But besides our sadness because of everything that has happened there,
the least we can hope for is that these independent nations will attain the
greatest economic and political stability possible. The least we can hope for
is that the greatest harmony and peace will prevail among them. The least we
can hope for is that cooperation will develop among them. Since we do not
conceive of how those countries can develop...[rephrases] They made up a union
of republics with an extraordinarily integrated economy in which some produced
a mineral and sent it to another industry, some produced spare parts and sent
them to others, some produced one kind of food, others produced fuel. In short,
over the course of more than 70 years, the USSR created a highly integrated
economy in all those territories included in the Soviet Union. So how can we
really conceive of the development of those countries if they do not attain a
level of cooperation or maintain that integration?

150.  Because the world is moving towards integration. After centuries of war,
Europe is moving towards integration.  It has moved quite a ways towards
economic integration, and it is also moving towards political integration. It
is moving towards the use of a single currency. It is moving towards the
disappearance of all customs barriers on its borders. So it is moving towards
the integration of what we could call a powerful, multinational state.

151.  It is moving in that direction. In Latin America the need for integration
has been posed, and it is essential. It is a matter of life or death for Latin
America to integrate, if it is going to have a place in the world of the
future. If it is going to have a future, it must move towards integration. It
must move towards the materialization of the dreams of Bolivar and other
liberators: union. It will have to move towards economic integration first, and
then political integration. Therefore, one cannot conceive of the Soviet Union
moving in the opposite direction, and that all those republics, from a union of
integrated republics, will desintegrate more and more.

152.  I do not know how they will manage things in the monetary sphere, if they
will succeed in maintaining a single currency or if there will be as many
currencies as independent states. What will happen on the borders with the
customs offices and tariff barriers? How will trade be carried out? How will
that whole transportation system that was created for the union of republics
work?  Those gigantic railroads, that highway system, those electricity
networks, and that system for bringing electricity to the country? Those oil
pipelines, those gas pipelines, those ports? How will all that work?

153.  It is difficult to imagine them working without a high level of
cooperation among them. That is why I said this was one of the things we hoped
for, that we have to hope for. Because with everything that has happened, and
what this has meant for our country and our country's economy, and the fact
that this has forced us into a difficult, very difficult special period, with
everything that has happened, negative and damaging things for our country
could still happen if those independent nations do not become stable, if ethnic
conflicts occur, if national conflicts occur. This could make our difficulties
even worse. Not much worse, but this could make our difficulties even worse.

154.  There are other forms, others situations that could hurt us. If those
nations do not become politically and economically stable, if their food
production drops, one of the consequences is that they may be forced to import
large amounts of food. They are already doing so. Of course, the imperialists
are happy about the events that have occurred in the socialist bloc. They go
around looking for money and food and things to send over there, loans to give
them, although we have not seen many concrete things. But they are talking
about it. They are even frightened, because several of those nations have
nuclear weapons.

155.  Things have gone so far that even the Western countries are worried about
what could happen. They are also afraid of great waves of emigration. Those who
talked so much about the Berlin Wall may even end up building a wall from the
Baltic to the Adriatic, to prevent millions or tens of millions of people from
emigrating to the West as a result of the calamitous economic situation. So
they are worried about this.

156.  So the lack of economic stability, the lack of production, if the food
production situation continues to get worse in these independent states, if
they do not solve their problems, if they do not recover their levels of
agricultural production, they will become food importers, with the risk of
raising international food prices and affecting us in that way. It is enough to
say that the price of powdered milk has already almost doubled as a consequence
of the enormous imports of powdered milk the Soviet Union has ordered. The
prices of other foods that we also have to import may likewise rise.

157.  Another circumstance is that if oil production in the Soviet Union, or
what used to be the Soviet Union, continues to drop, if they do not recover
their oil production, if they do not return to the levels they had, and if on
the contrary, it continues to drop, another of the consequences may be an
increase in oil prices. As I have already said, these are monopoly prices. The
disappearance of Soviet oil from the international market may affect oil
prices, and affect us in that way.

158.  If those new independent nations do not become economically and
politically stable, it could affect us because the food products we have to
import will become more expensive, and the minimum of oil our country needs
under these special period conditions will become more expensive. That is why
we must attentively follow the development of events. All this is underway. 
Some formal aspects may be lacking, but really we can say that the death
certificate for the Soviet Union was signed yesterday in Alma Ata. This
coincided with our congress.

159.  It is fitting that the population think and reflect on all these things,
and understand all the factors that in one way or another may have an
influence. But I believe that you, the teachers, are prepared for the challenge
that is before us. I believe that now the importance of the issue of
participating in productive activites must be emphasized as much as possible,
especially where we can, which is in the fields. The goal of self-sufficiency
must be emphasized as much as possible, where it is possible, as an important
thing, as a very important task during this special period.

160.  Think of it: There are a million students who must be fed. Half of them
must be given breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Others must be given
lunch. This includes the universities, secondary schools, semi-boarding
schools, child care centers, etc. Self-sufficiency is very important. Of
course, the country is making great efforts to produce food for the national
plan, but whoever plants a garden in the tiny plot of land in the courtyard of
their building is helping the country in this special period. They are saving
transportation of something, fuel.  They are doing something. They are helping,
everyone who plants something, everyone who does something.

161.  This movement has gained great strength in the capital.  It must gain all
the needed strength in the education sector, and without abandoning the
obligations which any polytechnical school has. It is not a matter of
abandoning the banana plantations that must supply the cities. It is a matter
of taking care of the banana plantations and also being self-sufficient with
two, three, five, seven, 10 caballerias, or however many they have, at the
agronomy schools, the ISCA, or wherever. I have already told you that here in
Havana, we gave five caballerias from the Martinez Prieto Sugarmill to the Jose
Antonio Echeverria University City [CUJAE], or as I call it, the ISPJAE [Jose
Antonio Echevarria Higher Polytechnical Institute]-that is the name it has
now-to produce food. This helps a lot and contributes to shaping the necessary
awareness and spirit for the special period.

162.  We must propose the goal of not halting education under any circumstances
during this special period, or of not halting any part of education. We must
arrange things so that under any circumstances, all children will continue to
have a teacher, no matter where they are. [applause] If it was a glorious thing
that the literacy camgaign did not stop in the middle of the mercenary
invasion, it must be a much more glorious thing not to halt our education
system, even under the worst circumstances. That is the awareness you must
have, which all comrades must have, and which all the students must have.

163.  You must protect education as if it were something sacred, so it is not
interrupted, so it is not affected, and even so it continues to improve.
Perhaps these special period conditions will reinforce our awareness to do
better work in every way. But I also want to tell you something very important.
We see the professors and teachers as a veteran army of the revolution,
[applause] as a vetern army of the nation, as a huge army, an army of
approximately 300,000 teachers, in addition to the workers, the other workers
who participate with you in the process. An army of 300,000 teachers is a truly
extraordinary, powerful army.

164.  The party needs this force. The nation needs this force in these
difficult times. The nation needs the ideas you should defend with
determination and courage. I said earlier that trenches of ideas are worth more
than trenches of stones. You are trenches of stone, because I know you are the
nation's soldiers in the military sense of the word. But what we basically need
is for you to be soldiers in the revolution's trenches of ideas, soldiers of
ideas, [applause] soldiers of the nation's ideas and values, soldiers of the
revolution's ideas, soldiers of the ideas of socialism, now more than ever.

165.  When others are cowards, we have the double duty of being courageous,
[applause] and to remember what Marti said, that while there are many men
without dignity, there are men who carry the dignity of the entire world within
themselves. [applause] Let us rise up, let us rise up [repeats] with Marti's
ideas, let us rise up with the ideas of Marxism-Leninism and socialism. Let us
rise up with the ideas of justice, equality, and the brotherhood of man. Let us
know how to be the guardians of this hope that others have placed in us, and
let us also tell those who have told us that their people's solidarity will
never fail Cuba: Cuba will not fail the peoples of the world.  [applause]

166.  Cuba will not stop fulfilling its duties. Cuba will know how to preserve
hope. Cuba will know how to rise to the occasion destiny has presented us with.
Cuba will know how to fulfill the role that history has given us. Cuba accepts
this meeting with glory to which we have been invited. I repeat that we did not
look for glory nor a place in history, but since life has given it to us, we
will know how to take our place in history, and we will know how to obtain the
glory we deserve. [applause]

167.  This time, this time, [repeats] I will repeat our slogan.  There are no
foreigners here. We have not renounced our slogans, even though at the forum I
said more or less the same thing, but in a different way. Today I will say it
in the old way: Socialism or death, fatherland or death, we will win.