Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-95-065 Daily Report 5 Apr 1995 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro: I Feel Great Pride and Love for Our Youth

FL0504125495 Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks in Spanish 0030 GMT 5 Apr 95 FL0504125495 Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks Spanish BFN ["Excerpts" of interview with Commander in Chief Fidel Castro by Cuban reporters on the occasion of the 33d anniversary of the Union of Young Communists (UJC) and the 34th anniversary of the Jose Marti Pioneers Organization; place and date not given -- recorded]

[FBIS Translated Text] I believe that our youth are truly marvelous and without them, these years of Revolution, the work of the Revolution, would have been impossible.

As we have said on other occasions, it has been their lot to live through the most difficult period of our history. United here are the survivors of the previous generations and the new ones, and the ones to come in the future. The generation to which we belong played its role, a very important role. We cannot forget the years of the struggle against Batista, and the sacrifices. We cannot forget the struggle of the first years of the Revolution, the first aggressions. That generation was able to resist, fight, and consolidate the Revolution. Then came a period when the Revolution had to be built. First we had to create the conditions, and defend the Revolution, before building it. We continue to defend it today. That is the period that it is impossible to put down on paper or even relate without the youth.

We could not have resisted all these years without the efforts of that youth. How to describe their deeds in every field, in the field of the creative work of the Revolution, the development of the Revolution with its extensive endeavors in the social sphere as well as the economy, which is not mentioned frequently. This work has given our people their dignity. It has defended their independence, and created and preserved values and a new culture that has made extraordinary accomplishments in every field. How could this have been possible without the efforts of that youth we so truly admire?

The youth has also played, we cannot forget this for even a moment, a role in the internationalist missions. This is also the youth of the special period. This is why it is not possible to make comparisons between the youth back then and today's youth. The most likely comparison is that of a virgin field that one must weed out, plow, plant, until harvest time. That is the difference between the youth then and the youth today. This youth has grown in a field sown by the Revolution.

However, since there is still so much to do, this youth has a very important role in the history ahead, and as you can see, the youth are making strides in every field based on merit and quality. We do everything we can to open doors for them. New cadres are emerging everywhere. They have important and complex responsibilities. I see the youth today involved in everything. That is an unknown experience for me. No one lent us an ear when it came to discussing national issues, or university, or student problems. We were treated like kindergarten children. The pioneers nowadays are valued more than university students were back then. I have to feel envious.

I can tell you that I feel great pride and love for our youth, the youth that has continued the work of the Revolution. I am not saying this because of my age, or because I am getting more sentimental, or feel somewhat like a father or grandfather to our youth, but because I have objectively observed history.

The youth today is said to regret not having experienced the Moncada attack or the Granma expedition, and many others things. I regret not being one of the delegates today to the congress of the Federation of University Students. They feel nostalgic about our times, and we feel nostalgic about their times. That would be my dream. Here you have me, deeper in years, having to do things for which one needs all the energy of when I was 22 or 23 years old. That is the great contradiction I face today.

What to say to them? May your entire life be like an eternal spring, always resembling that April. Is April not the very spring? May their future be everything we have dreamt for them. May they always be better, demonstrating that mankind can be better and better. And, if possible, despite the setbacks experienced by Revolutionary ideology, I hope the pioneers may grow in communism, either them, or their children, or their grandchildren, in a world better than today's.