Affirms President Fidel Castro at the event for the 4th anniversary of the Battle of Ideas and Elián González’ 10th birthday
PRESIDENT Fidel Castro sustained that Cuba has made a utopian dream reality and has moreover demonstrated that humans have capacity and that justice is possible.
The Cuban leader made that affirmation at the Marcelo Salado elementary school in Cárdenas, Matanzas province, 150 kilometers east of Havana, where he was attending the collective birthday celebration held on the occasion of the 10th birthday of Elián Gonzáles, a pupil at the school.
Elián was at the center of a legal dispute between Cuba and the United States four years ago, when he survived a shipwreck in which his mother and another 10 persons died in an illegal human trafficking operation to the latter country, and was was rescued on November 25, 1999 by two fishermen.
The U.S. authorities handed over the child to distant relatives resident in Miami who attempted to gain permanent custody of the little boy with the backing off far-right and anti-Cuban groups, and held onto him for seven months.
From that moment, huge marches and rallies demanding the child’s return took place throughout the island, and despite many maneuvers and actions on the part of his relatives, Elián finally returned home on June 28 of that year to live with his father and other family members.
That mass movement generated what is known on the island as the Battle of Ideas, a combination of programs aimed at raising the overall and integral level of culture among the population.
Among other achievements in the last few years, the leader of the Caribbean nation noted a drop in unemployment to less than 4%, the exhaustive use of video, television and computation in the educational sector, the entry of more than 100,000 students into higher education and the inauguration of an educational TV channel.
“Our country,” he noted, “is advancing in many directions, including some ahead of the industrialized countries, even though it has been subjected for over 40 years to constant aggression on the part of killers recruited by and trained in the service of the United States.” He gave examples of various acts of terrorism committed, such as the placing of explosive devices in tourism facilities in an attempt to ruin the country’s economy and the sabotage of a Cubana Aviation passenger plane with more than 70 persons on board.
The president commented that for attempting to prevent a terrorist mafia acting against Cuba, five Cubans, “genuine heroes with exemplary conduct, are incarcerated in U.S. jails.”
Fidel criticized a recent meeting in the White House of the so-called Aid Committee for a Free Cuba, a mechanism created by the Bush administration with the pretension of subverting internal order on the island.
He warned that in the struggle for the defense of Cuba and the Revolution they would not only have to confront this country but also the U.S. people themselves, “for whom we feel a growing affection.”
The work of the Revolution, based on so much sacrifice, makes it eminently clear that even if they were to make the island and its people disappear, they will not be able to make Cuba yield even one inch in response to their stupid threats, he stated.
The pupils at the Marcelo Salado school enjoyed a children’s cultural show attended by Juan Miguel González, Elián’s father; his wife Nelsy Carmenate and his other two sons Hianny and Lianny, aged four and two; and the mothers and wives of the five Cubans unjustly incarcerated in U.S. jails.
Maribel Reyes, director of the school, explained to Granma daily that Elián rapidly overcame the academic backwardness provoked by his seven-month kidnapping.