REFLEXIONS BY THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF
The National Directorate of the UJC (Communist Youth League) agreed to communicate the following measure as it was concluding its strategy: “Last Saturday, July 7, the National Bureau of the Communist Youth decided to tighten up the plan for the mobilization of forces of the Student Work Brigades (BET), guided by the principle of using students for tasks of a social and recreational nature, in numbers adjusted to a necessary minimum and within municipalities where they reside, in order to avoid relying on transportation.
“That decision was discussed on the same day with the National General Staff of the BET, made up of student organizations and bodies belonging to the Central State Administration, and also with the directorates of the Communist Youth in all the provinces.
“The idea of making a more rational use of the mobilized forces was emphasized; also, saving material resources, especially fuel, and the fact that the students should be using their time consolidating their knowledge, incorporating reading habits and discussing subjects of great importance.
“As a result of the decisions adopted, only 200,000 of the originally planned 600,000 students will be mobilized in July and August. Mobilizations to the agricultural fields or schools in the countryside will not take place, since their locations imply the use of transportation and other logistical services.
“This year the call will be made for only 7 days of work related to the tasks included in the Energy Revolution, together with the social workers, such as training the community to improve their energy saving habits, delivering the domestic appliances that have not been distributed, and visiting a number of families who, having received and taken on the pertinent obligations, have yet to complete their payments.
“They will also be participating in the Anti-Mosquito Campaign in order to prevent a return of dengue fever, and in primary and secondary health care, supporting polyclinics and hospitals.
“Promoting cultural, recreational and sports activities in the communities will be another of the tasks occupying the members of the Student Work Brigades.
“The UJC will promote study and discussion among the mobilized young people and among the rest of the youth.”
I can certainly congratulate the National Directorate of the Communist Youth League, and also the people in charge of the Organization and Ideology Departments of the Party who were consulted about this and who wholeheartedly supported this measure.
Physical labor on its own does not generate conscience. Every worker is different. Their temperament, their physique, their spirit, the kind of work they do, the toughness of their work, the conditions under which they labor –under a scorching sun or in an air-conditioned room-, whether it is piecework or is salaried, whether the worker is disciplined or not, whether they have command of all their mental capacities or suffer from some disability, the schools they attended, teachers they had, whether the activity is a professional one or not, whether the worker is from the country or from the city. Something else very important: whether the worker handles or distributes goods or services of some kind, who the bosses are, what image they project, how they speak, the way they look at things. I could fill pages talking about the individual differences of every worker. Therefore, what the people in our country need most is knowledge, if what we want to do is create conscience.
Martí’s precept about the importance of linking education and work in the formation of man, led us in the past to promote the participation of university students and even students from the middle level education in physical labor. At first, this was an inescapable necessity. We had to fill the vacuum left by those who abandoned the sugar cane fields en masse as soon as other work opportunities appeared. The average level of knowledge was very low, even after the literacy campaign, the massive surge in primary education and later at the junior high school level. Our youth understood this and contributed their efforts with discipline and enthusiasm.
Nowadays we have taken higher education to the masses, beginning with the physicians and educators and continuing with the social workers, those in the field of computer science, the art instructors, in the universalization of university courses for a wide variety of degree courses. We have to make the brain cells work if we want to build consciences, so necessary in today’s complex world.
The purpose of studying for one or two weeks, and this year it will only be for 7 days, with proper materials that will be supplied, will generate a feeling of satisfaction in time well spent and the conscience that our society urgently needs.
Throughout the entire year we must keep
ourselves informed about essential matters and about the details of what is
On specific economic matters, I think that in every country, most people are unaware of everything. It is inescapable to know why the cost of oil is climbing; last Monday the price reached 77 dollars a barrel. Why the prices of foods are increasing, such as wheat and others which must be imported because of climate related problems; if the cause of their increase is permanent or short-lived.
Not all workers receive the incentive of
convertible pesos, a practice that became generalized in a large number of
companies during the Special Period, without always fulfilling the minimum
committed requirements. Not everybody receives convertible currency from
abroad, something which is not illegal but which at times creates irritating
inequalities and privileges in a country that does its utmost to supply vital
services free of charge to the entire population. I do not mention the juicy profits being made
by those who transport people clandestinely, nor the way they would fool us by
The real and visible lack of equality and the lack of pertinent information gives way to critical opinions, especially in the neediest sectors.
In Cuba, without a doubt, those who some way or another receive convertible pesos –even though in these cases the sums are limited –or those receiving currency from abroad, also acquire free essential social services, food, medicines and other goods at extremely low subsidized prices. However we are strictly fulfilling our financial obligations precisely because we are not a consumer society. We need serious, brave and conscientious managers.
Those using up gasoline all over the place with our current fleet of vehicles of all kinds; those who forget that the prices of food increase sharply and that raw materials for agriculture and industry, many of whose products are distributed to all at subsidized prices, must be acquired at market prices; those that forget that the country has the sacred duty to struggle until our last drop of blood and must spend money for raw materials and defensive measures faced with an enemy who is permanently on guard, they can compromise the independence and life of Cuba. We cannot fool around with that!
I was horrified when a few days ago I heard a distinguished bureaucrat exclaim on TV that now that the Special Period was over, we would be sending more and more delegations each year to such and such activities.
Where did this genius come from? I wondered. Perhaps it is a donation sent us by Sancho Panza from his Isle of Barataria.
In the world economy, metals, just like oil, rise above their historical parameters, but they also plummet abruptly.
Of course, no one can remedy, in a short time, the need for oil in personal and public transportation and for agricultural or construction equipment. In developed countries everything is mechanized. Travelers describe how they see building after building, of all kinds, rising up, and that the pace does not stop, day or night. Cities are becoming gigantic. There are constantly more millions of people who need drinking water, vegetables, fruits and protein foods that have had to be produced and supplied by others often after traversing great distances. Furthermore, they need highways with three or four lanes in both directions, bridges, expensive works of engineering. The least of accidents, a simple sideways brush between two vehicles, will paralyze everything. Public expenditures are greater every day and development assistance has decreased.
Worst of all, for every thousand people
there are more than 500 private automobiles.
After spending a mountain of gold to
The dollar went along progressively losing its value until it reached less than 6 percent of what its value had been in the 70’s. Experts are puzzled about the new phenomena. Nobody is sure about what is going to happen.
Do we have reasons to delve more deeply into these subjects, or not?
Fidel Castro Ruz
July 10, 2007