Raúl urges university students to develop debate, analysis and differences

Campaign News | Sunday, 24 December 2006

Granma Internaitonal newspaper


“THIS is a history-making congress, if we are capable of giving continuity and carrying out what we have agreed on,” affirmed General of the Army Raúl Castro Ruz, speaking on December 21 at the 7th Congress of the University Student Federation (FEU), which ended on Wednesday at the International Conference Center.

The first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers likewise noted that the student congress could be described as the best such event to date, given its content, the profound character of its discussions and the historic moment in which it has taken place.

“I say historic because we (the generation that achieved the triumph of the Revolution) are completing the fulfillment of our duty, and we must continue gradually opening up the way for the new generations,” Raúl commented.

It is historic, he emphasized, because the Congress had as a platform for its discussions the speech by President Fidel Castro on November 17, 2005 in the Aula Magna of the University of Havana. In that speech, Fidel sounded a warning bell about the future of the Revolution in the convulsed and complex world of today.

Raúl urged the university students to be fearless about developing the practice of debate, analysis and differences, given that timely discussion, in the appropriate place and in the correct way, would always produce the best decisions.

The FAR minister commented that through his personal experience, he could testify to the importance of promoting that attitude in life. The first principle of building the armed forces, he said, is a unified command; however, that does not mean that discussions cannot happen. “I always say, discuss to your heart’s content and then bring me your differences; that is how we form our decisions, and I am talking about big decisions,” he affirmed.

With his customary joviality, Raúl also shared anecdotes with the students about his childhood, growing up with his brothers Ramón and Fidel, and promised his listeners that he would not make a speech or extensive presentation like the president usually does, “because Fidel cannot be substituted, unless all of us substitute him together, each in his or her place, carrying out his or her concrete task,” he said.

Only the Communist Party of Cuba can substitute Fidel, he affirmed.

At the request of the delegates, Comandante Faure Chomón, who was an outstanding student leader, presented a commemorative stamp for the 50th Anniversary of March 13, 1957 and the 85th Anniversary of the FEU: a recognition instituted by the congress and presented yesterday to Fidel and Raúl.

On the event’s closing day, the FEU’s new National Secretariat was announced after being elected in the morning. Carlos Lage Codorniú, ratified as president, presented the final declaration of the congress.

The students also decided to send a message to their counterparts in the United States, asking them to support the struggle to free the Cuban Five, the antiterrorist fighters imprisoned in that country.

Felipe Pérez Roque, foreign minister and member of the Central Committee, gave the closing remarks. He said that the congress was different and better because, among other things, never before had the FEU had greater social responsibilities that it does now, and never before did it have such a close relationship with the people and the main tasks of the Revolution.

As the political leader explained, the leadership of the Party, the State and the government have very closely followed proposals by the students throughout the nine months of discussion leading up to the congress, and based on proposals made by the FEU and the Young Communist League (UJC), it was decided to immediately respond to the most reiterated concerns.

Thus, he said, stipends would be increased for full-time regular university students as well as those studying for their degrees in special and preschool education in the Higher Pedagogical Institutes. The 50% subsidy for travel on ASTRO buses would be extended, and two tickets per year would be assigned for students who are enrolled in colleges away from home, so that they could travel to and return from their home provinces.

The closing ceremony was attended by members of the Political Bureau, Secretariat of the Central Committee and other leaders.


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