Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

On Hopes for Year 2000

FL1308174088 Havana Radio Rebelde Network in Spanish 1700 GMT 13 Aug 88

[Text] When this newscast was set to go on the air, Commander in Chief
Fidel Castro's news conference in Quito was still going on.  The news
conference was for a group of Ecuadoran and foreign journalists.  Here is
an excerpt of Fidel's answers to questions from the journalists:

[Begin recording] [Unidentified reporter] What are the plans, the goals for
the year 2000?

[Castro chuckling] Well, everyone thinks about the year 2000.  There is
hardly any political leader today who does not talk about the year 2000.  I
believe President Borja in his speech said that the country should get
ready for the year 2000, (?look) for solutions to the problems of the year
2000.  It is a habit for the human mind to set goals, to fix on dates.  But
I believe that we should now not only think about the year 2000 but a bit
beyond.  We have development plans prepared 20 years in advance; they are
general development lines or perhaps for 15 years.  We have also set the
year 2000 [words indistinct].  I can talk to you about some things.  For
example, medicine.  We have prepared and put into practice the development
plans for 35 clinical surgical specialties up to the year 2000.  I can tell
you the number of doctors we will have in the year 2000.  We are going to
have 65,000  doctors.  We are graduating 3,000 per year.  I feel that it is
a goal that might be exceeded if we do not take some measures, such as
reducing enrollment in some way in the schools of medicine.

In general, we prepare social development programs on the basis of the
country's needs.  I can tell you that in the year 2000, we have [words
indistinct] housing.  We have programs for 1990 so that we can build 20,000
units per year in the capital.  We hope to reach 250,000 by the year 2000.
This program began earlier, since 1988 [as heard].  We have plans to build
schools for the year 2000.  We have development plans for the year 2000.  I
believe that the [words indistinct] are a modification for the way we are
going to welcome the beginning of the third millennium.

We are not waiting for the year 2000 to solve big problems in our country.
[Words indistinct]  We believe that by the year 2,000 we will have a much
greater level of technological, scientific development, a much greater
level of economic development.  We think we will have solved many problems
by then.  I do not think that there is any government in the world, whether
socialist or capitalist, progressive or conservative, that in some way is
not thinking of the year 2000.  They usually use it as a point of
reference.  I hope that the year 2000 will find Latin America more
integrated, more [word indistinct].

I hope that the problem of the foreign debt will be settled by the year
2000 and that the new international economic order will be in place.  I
hope that we will be much less dependent than we are today on economic
powers.  I hope that we will be much more free in the year 2000.  I am
convinced that our peoples, the Latin American peoples, will reach those
(?objectives).  The year 2000 should not be important for just one country
[words indistinct] socialism, but something important for all countries,
especially those of the Third World.  I don't know what the problems of the
developed capitalist countries may be.  I don't know how alienated or
chaotic those consumer societies might be or how high the level of AIDS,
and drugs in those consumer societies might be.  I hope they can also solve
their problems. [end recording]