60 years since Fidel entered university
The same rebel
BY MARÍA JULIA MAYORAL AND ALBERTO NUNEZ BETANCOURT —Granma daily staff writers—
FIDEL went to the University of Havana yesterday, November 17, to tell the people, and above all the youth, that he is confident of their disposition and ability to strengthen and maintain the invincibility of the Revolution; that neither will it collapse from within nor will it be destroyed by Yankee imperialism.
He also went to talk about the complexities of today’s world and that of the future; about internal errors; the living conditions of our people, which will continue to advance; the need to think about the evils that must be overcome, including crime and particularly, unlawful enrichment.
His words at the Aula Magna confirmed for the audience and the thousands of young people gathered outside the venue who were following his speech via large-screen televisions, that before them was the same rebel who 60 years earlier had enrolled in that place of higher learning, with just one difference: today he has the experience of six decades of struggle and the healthy satisfaction of having been loyal to his homeland at every moment.
The Revolution needs the support of the people to take forward all of the measures underway at this time, not just to eliminate social inequalities, provide better living conditions and save resources like electric energy, but also to unleash a battle against crime and the breeding grounds for an infinite number of violations, Fidel affirmed.
It was at the University of Havana, he noted, that he acquired all of the ideas that made him into a revolutionary, into a socialist, and he affirmed that he felt "10, 20, 100 times more revolutionary" than he did at the time, and a thousand times more willing to commit his life.
"Only consciousness can lead humanity to the greatest acts of heroism, and it does not matter how different we are, because in spite of the differences, we can be one at a given moment; it is ideas that unite us and make us a fighting people, that transform us, no longer just as individuals, but collectively, into revolutionaries; and today those values have multiplied. We are armed with ideas, knowledge and culture," he affirmed.
THERE WILL BE NO RESPITE IN THE BATTLE AGAINST ILLEGALITIES AND CORRUPTION
We are in a battle against generalized vices, the diversion of resources and theft, which increased during the difficult years of the Special Period.
As the Cuban president explained, the 28,000 active social workers are immersed in this combat: their control over the transfer of fuel and its sale at gas stations is already producing results in several provinces; and there will be new tasks for them in confronting corruption, which the people are happy about, as registered opinion demonstrates.
"There will be no respite for anybody," Fidel emphasized. "We will appeal to honor in every sector, because in every human being there is a high dose of shame; that is why criticism and self-criticism must be used more in our work centers, in the Party units, and then the same must be done in the sphere of the municipalities, the provinces and even on a national scale. The Revolution is going to use all of those weapons, without stopping the establishment and reinforcement of administrative controls. We are in shape to take the bull by the horns," he affirmed.
Among mistakes that have been committed in the country, he criticized the erroneous idea of those who thought that somebody already knew about socialism, about how it is built, as if it were an exact science, pushing into the background a fundamental principle: materialist dialectics.
Fidel included among the problems the lack of economic rationality and the bad management of financial resources by enterprises. He also mentioned the need to create economic awareness among the population. Regarding the latter, he noted that many citizens are still not conscious of waste, as is the case with electricity consumption, which has subsidized prices that do not prompt conservation. He reiterated that those who spend more must be charged higher rates.
Currently, he noted, there are people in our country who do not work for a living, but from illegal business with gasoline; with products from the ports, the country’s agriculture, the convertible currency stores and the hotels for international tourism. Those people must be stopped, because it cannot be that their ill-gotten wealth should be 40-50 times higher than those who carry out selfless work, like the internationalist doctors.
I FEEL BETTER THAN EVER
For more than six hours, Fidel conversed with university students and professors from the biggest institutions of higher education in the country, student leaders, the Party, the government, the State and mass organizations. Among other things, it was another opportunity to show the foolishness of the latest lies spread by the CIA about Fidel’s supposed illness; this time, they had claimed the Cuban president is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. "I feel better than ever," Fidel affirmed, "with more determination than ever."
In recent months, he explained, he has been exercising more and taking better care of himself on a daily basis. He is working hard on his rehabilitation after the fall he suffered some months back.
The revolutionary leader recommended to the CIA that it shouldn’t waste its time on supposed research on the state of his health. They should concern themselves – he said – with looking into the "emperor" who is leading the White House, and into how notorious terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles arrived in the United States, given that to date, the U.S. administration has not said a word about the affair, just as Mexico has not either, in spite of repeated requests from Cuba to clarify the issue.
THE INVINCIBLE POWER OF MORAL WEAPONS
The President affirmed that we possess nuclear weapons by virtue of the invincible power that our moral weapons give us; we have never planned to produce nuclear or biological weapons, but nevertheless they have unjustly accused us. We do not need them because we have that power in our ideas and in the magnitude of the justice for which we fight.
He added that today the empire is threatening to attack Iran if it produces nuclear energy, which is not a bomb or a nuclear weapon. They have even gone so far as to say that Cuba is transferring dangerous technology to that country, when in reality we are working on the creation of a center to develop anti-cancer products. "They should go to hell with their lies; they are not going to scare anyone here," he emphasized, confirming that we are striving to develop pharmaceuticals to combat AIDS, cancer, and other diseases. It is a battle against death.
This is the world in which the empire is trying to prevail through force, based on lies and monopolies. But every day the news arrives and a new rotten deed is discovered, he said. We have learned of the use of white phosphorous in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, a weapon that is prohibited by international conventions.
Fidel criticized the posture of the European satellite countries, where secret prisons have been discovered. These are the governments that accuse us of violating human rights and vote against Cuba in Geneva.
He noted that to the honor and glory of this Revolution, nobody here has ever experienced a center of torture. In addition, he specified, our people would not allow it because they have a lofty concept of what is human dignity.
He commented that while he frequently meets with young people, some of who go off to fulfill honorable internationalist missions, it would have been impossible to miss this event organized by the FEU (Federation of University Students) to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his enrollment in the University of Havana. "This is a special time, when the human species finds itself in real danger of extinction," he said.
In response to this reality, he commented that man never had more reason to wonder if our species could emigrate to another solar system where life exists.
Fidel pointed out that in this difficult world of plunder and exploitation, every year a billion dollars is spent on advertising, and every year billions of dollars are extracted from the impoverished masses, while phenomena such as the earthquake in Pakistan occur, in which nearly 100,000 people have died, 25,000 or 30,000 of whom were children. Many of these could have been saved if they had had an adequate amount of money for medicines and food.
He added that we live in a world where the empire claims the right to surprise and preventative attacks, according to its own definition, against more than 60 countries; a world where the empire rules through brutality and force, with hundreds of military bases throughout the planet, including one on our own territory, against the will of the Cuban people.
Fidel explained that it was at the university that he became a revolutionary, a rebel with many causes, and embraced the ideas of Marx, Engels, and Lenin. He also compared the higher education of that time with the achievements that the Revolution is demonstrating the Revolution.
ETERNALLY YOUNG UNIVERSITY STUDENT
There is no greater honor for Cuban university students that to belong to the vanguard troop, affirmed Carlos Lage Codorniú, national president of the FEU, addressing the president, whom he described as an eternally young university student.
He praised the transformations that have taken place in higher education; and he stressed that today the University is reaching the municipalities and sugar mill complex communities. It is in the communities to create more opportunities for access, relinquishing the idea of being exclusive and elite, and acting as a
catalyst for the country’s economic and social development.
He highlighted the participation of university students in various tasks of the Battle of Ideas, with the desire to make our society more socialist.
The top leader of the FEU evoked Fidel’s words there at the Aula Magna ten years earlier, when he asked students to continue to be – and increasingly so – unshakeable bulwarks of the Revolution, invincible bulwarks, bulwarks that would never surrender or abandon their posts.
Lage Codorniú reiterated the university student body’s commitment to continue forward together with the people and with Fidel.
As a special recognition in the name of the FEU, outgoing president Juan Cabo Mijares gave Fidel a plaque with the image of the young law student he once was, and the following inscription: "To our Fidel, for allowing us the privilege of fighting at his side during these six decades."
With his speech finished, and the time being after midnight, Fidel continued chatting with a group of students at the Aula Magna, while a crowd outside similar in size to the one that received him right before 6 p.m. cheered him with revolutionary slogans.