Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Gives Speech on Nation's Medical Progress
Havana International Service
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000018263
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA1509130489
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-89-178          Report Date:    15 Sep 89
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     2
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       8
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       13 Sep 89
Report Volume:       Friday Vol VI No 178


City/Source of Document:   Havana International Service

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Gives Speech on Nation's Medical Progress

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro inaugurating intensive and intermediate
care units at Havana's Salvador Allende Hospital on 11

Source Line:   PA1509130489 Havana International Service in Spanish 0030 GMT 13
Sep 89

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro inaugurating intensive and
intermediate care units at Havana's Salvador Allende Hospital on 11

1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro inaugurating intensive and intermediate
care units at Havana's Salvador Allende Hospital on 11 September--recorded]

2.  [Text] [Applause] [Castro clears his throat] Comrades: I believe this is
the fourth ceremony I have participated in at this hospital during the past 4
years, right? It hasn't quite been 4 years yet. I think it was in December 1985
that I visited this hospital for a meeting with all the leaders of Havana's
hospitals to analyze subjective and objective problems. The purpose of the
meeting was to analyze subjective problems, but we also found many objective
problems. We found that some things were forgotten or delayed in hospital
construction or in the development of the capital's hospitals. It was the
opposite of what was occurring in the center of the country.

3.  We were meeting in the Palace of the Revolution, and the director of this
hospital, Comrade Caballero [not further identified], who is no longer here....
[interrupted by unidentified speaker who says: ``He was a secretary of the
party.''] Yes sir, he was secretary of the party. We them made him director. As
secretary of the party, Caballero explained the problems of the Salvador
Allende Hospital, how, aside from all this and because of the workers efforts,
the hospital was one of the nation's vanguard hospitals. But there were many

4.  The basements were being used by warehouses and other institutions. The
Salvador Allende Medical School was under construction. The fence was broken.
This was the [words indistinct]. [laughter] It's true. It was a dramatic scene.
There was a mango tree in what is now called Salvador Allende Park. People
would come and go. It was disorganized, involuntary disorganization.

5.  The hospital suffered very much with all these problems.  The cafeteria
belonged to the peoples' government.  Miraculously, I met Caballero himself and
I believe that the secretary of the committee [as heard] of the party did not
lose a truck. There were so many warehouse proprietors here that no one really
knew where the items came from. He stood in front of a truck. He did not want
it to enter because of all the noise. He painted such a disastrous situation
that I said: I will visit it. I want to see it.  I want to see that phenomenon
you're telling me about.

6.  Many lessons can be learned from this. A certain amount of indolence was
created, a certain amount of indifference. People became accustomed to things
that were truly done poorly.

7.  This wasn't the only case. The hospital was losing space.  Pavilions were
no longer used because they were not repaired, and none of the hospitals in the
capital had maintenance materials. This was linked to problems with the famous
management system. There were phantom enterprises that were supposed to repair
the hospitals. They sold the materials and billed them as if they had been used
in construction. The illegal street vendors bought what they wanted. They would
come with trucks from Santa Clara or Pinar del Rio to buy sand, rocks, cement,
reinforcement rods, everything that was freely sold, and the hospitals had no
material for maintenance.

8.  Those meetings helped us very much because the directors, the secretaries
of the party, the Union of Young Communists, the trade union, and the nurses
gave us a panorama of the hospital situation in the capital. Five sectors were

9.  We met for 2 full days analyzing all these problems. We had a quiet
program. It was done quietly. This was the hospital that had the most problems,
though. It had objective problems.

10.  I already stated that the meeting was for subjective problems. The other
day, I had a meeting in the afternoon and I visited this hospital during the
day. I remember that now.  It was impossible not to remember this, especially
when one retells the story or when Tanya [not further identified] tells of all
the work that has been done on the hospital. To this we can add all the work
that has been done in less than 4 years throughout the entire capital. We have
increased the number since then. Proof of this is that we have added more than
5,000 beds to the approximately 50,000 beds that already existed, but this does
not say it all. I think it would be expressed better if we spoke of the quality
of the work done in these more than 3 years. It continues, right?  There have
been some results.

11.  For example since then, part of the program included the expansion of the
Miguel Henriquez Hospital. That is the one that had the most objective
problems. At least it had as many objective problems as this hospital had, in
addition to the subjective problems that the Salvador Allende Hospital did not
have. In more than these 3 years, we have constructed the Albarran Hospital,
Marianao Pediatric Hospital, the Julito Diaz Hospital expansion, the Julio
Trigo Clinical-Surgical Hospital, the large maternity area in the Lebredo
Hospital, medical schools, and the almost 2,000 family doctor homes/offices and
general family doctor consultative offices, and I have not even mentioned all
the other work that has been done. Hundreds of renovations have been done on
the hospitals.

12.  Materials were assigned to the hospitals and they themselves began to do a
lot of things that they previously could not do because they did not have the
materials that the illegal street vendors came to buy freely here in the
capital. Illegal street vendors, you know them as Rio Frio bandits, would sell
things and become millionaires by speculating on the needs of the people. They
bought material. Our hospitals, however, didn't even have sand, rock, cement,
cement blocks, or lumber; nothing to work with. They have had it ever since,
however. The results of that effort are encouraging. This hospital had its own
plans. As I said, it was working very hard.

13.  It looked like the medical school would never be finished.  I said: We
have to finish this school. We have to recover all these installations. All of
them were recovered. We have to provide resources for maintenance. We have to
recover the areas that have been lost. We must repair the fence and we must do
a number of other things.

14.  Among other things, we had to remove the mango tree.  No one here wants to
cut down a tree. However, I think that the most inadequate tree for a hospital
is a mango tree. It was planted at some time and the fact that it produced
mangoes was evident by the number of boys that came here to take the mangoes. I
think that even the patients would occasionally go down and get a mango. 

15.  A park was built there, which is what a hospital needs. It won't have a
problem with sanitation, flies, boys, and everything else. There are many
places to plant mango trees. The problem of the mango tree was resolved. The
hospital was supported. It began to recover its installations. It began to use
all the basements that had been turned into warehouses. Everyone cooperated. I
think that there were about 14 or 15 institutions involved and only 1 remained:
the hospital.

16.  While the comrades of this hospital fought against objective problems,
they were being strengthened internally.  They developed their will to fight.
As I said, amid all these problems, they were able to become national
vanguards. We have visited this center over the past 3 and one-half years,
almost 4 years, and not only when a ceremony such as this took place. Many
other times I came to speak with the leaders of the hospital about their
problems. We took Caballero from here and sent him to the Miguel Henriquez
Hospital, which is a phenomenal medical institution.

17.  At this time, we also developed the plan to expand hospitals, including
the Miguel Henriquez. Today we have the satisfaction of saying that in the most
populated areas of the capital, in Cerro, Diez de Octubre, Lawton, that zone,
we have two of the best hospitals in the capital. This is in addition to the
Albarran Hospital, the pediatric hospital that we will soon inaugurate, the
Finlay Hospital expansion and the Diaz Soto Hospital expansion. These have
become excellent hospitals.

18.  I didn't mention the Calixto Garcia Hospital but we have an expansion and
modernization program there, too, just as we have a similar plan for other
hospitals. I am only mentioning the majority of the work that began after that
meeting and was completed in just a few years.  Today we can say that the two
regions, the most-populated areas in the capital, have two of the best
hospitals in the country.

19.  I haven't mentioned Centro Habana, which the contingent chief mentioned.
It is a large pediatric hospital. I haven't mentioned the one in the Calzada.
What's it called? [unidentified people simultaneously answer: ``Cerro
Pediatric.''] It's called the Cerro Pediatric Hospital. It was expanded. A
school was built. It's an excellent institution.

20.  I'm only referring to these two hospitals: the Salvador Allende and Miguel
Henriquez hospitals. They render services, not just to this
extensively-populated area, but also to Havana Province.

21.  The hospital began to recover beds. The medical school was finished. The
streets and the green areas were repaired. The park was built. A number of new
services were created. All the installations were improved.  Finally, this gem
was built--the building housing the intensive and intermediate care units and
other operating rooms.

22.  I visited the building many times when it was being constructed to speak
with Marco [not further identified] and with the construction workers. I was
impressed to see the doctors working on the project. I saw the nurses, everyone
working. If that doctor was an orthopedic doctor or a surgeon, I would ask,
what are you making that man do? Won't we ruin that man?

23.  The party organized the participation of the technical personnel and the
workers. The doctors asked for 2 weeks. They worked for 2 weeks, a full 2
weeks, but they did not come here to work 4 or 5 hours. They worked 10 or more

24.  I said: What are you doing with that surgeon? Be careful he doesn't get
hurt here. They told me: No, the surgeons are the assistants. I asked what they
assisted in. They said the surgeons assisted in bricklaying, carpentry.  What a
wonderful thing, I said, that our construction workers can see a specialist in
the modest role of a carpentry assistant, a bricklaying assistant. Neither
their hands nor their skills were put at risk. What a political lesson, what a
moral lesson this was.

25.  I have always stated that doctors should be put into minibrigades, and
that they should be there for 1 or 2 years. It seemed like a very good idea to
have the specialists work there for 2 weeks. It was a lesson in modesty for the
specialist, a change, an incursion into the work and spirit of the laborer.

26.  Even though the specialist may work with his hands, it is a different kind
of work that has a more intellectual connotation. How educational this is for
the specialist, the specialist [repeats himself] and how educational it is for
the worker in socialism. This is the socialism that Tanya called the true
socialism. The workers saw the specialist in the role of a humble assistant.
They saw that this action not only had a social value or a scientific-economic
value, but it also had an extraordinary political and moral value. It was a
place worth seeing.

27.  Professors and students later came. Everyone added a grain of sand to that
large project, the most important project, although it is not the only one.

28.  Today, precisely, we inaugurate this project. How was this project
conceived? It was created as something the hospital needed. It was conceived as
the most perfect institution in the field of intermediate intensive care or in
surgical rooms. Whoever tours the building, as we have done today, can see that
it is a very modern building of very good quality. The equipment is the best in
the world. The quality of the construction is the best that can be found
anywhere in the country, even though the construction was started by

29.  The minibrigade members told me this was their school.  I asked Marco, if
we had to do it again, how long would it take? He conservatively said it would
take 2 years. The hospital was their school. It took them 2 and  years to
build it. It took a little longer than we expected, but it turned out much
better than anyone thought it would. In the end, it took 2 and  years to
build. I'm sure that if they had to do it again--with the experience they now
have--they would build it in 1 year and 9 months or 1 year and 8 months.
Perhaps, perhaps [repeats himself] with the work force they have now and with
the experience they have now, they might even build it in 1 year and 6 months.

30.  When the program for hospitals was created, it naturally had to be
supported by the masses because there was no work force. It had to be supported
by the minibrigades that were just starting out. The party undertook the task
of organizing this contingent, the Salvador Allende. This was not it's name at
the start, but then, justifiably, it was later named Salvador Allende. This
contingent worked on all hospitals in the area. The chief of the contingent
described better than anyone else did, all the projects that were constructed
here and in other hospitals, such as the Diez de Octubre and the pediatric
hospitals, and others. They worked on many health projects and they worked on
other projects within the same hospital.

31.  Of course, after 3, almost 4 years, it is possible to review, to have an
idea of how we have progressed. This hospital was losing beds. It was a
hospital that.... [changes thought] Well, we were here when it marked its 100th
anniversary. This hospital was built by the Spaniards in the last century. This
hospital shows how an old hospital can be renovated, how it can be modernized
and converted into one of the best in the country. This can be done with any
old hospital. We have done this in other places. We did this at the Miguel
Henriquez Hospital. At the Miguel Henriquez I said the following: Using the old
hospital as a pretext, we built a new hospital. What actually happened at the
Miguel Henriquez is that we created a colossal building next to the old
hospital. Even an old hospital can be used as an excuse to build a new one next
to it.

32.  It's not the same here because we've added things here.  Fortunately, all
these hospitals had the space. The system of 1-story pavilions for years had
new things added to them. Sometimes it was plaster work. We took the
architecture into consideration. It is not like this one.

33.  Look at those windows. Look at these and look at those.  You'll see that
they are the same large windows. It is the same aesthetic style, the same style
of building as the old hospital, or that of an area of the old hospital.
Perhaps this is a little more modern than the pavilions that are further away.
This one blends into the area. It is also an old style. The architecture blends

34.  An excellent installation now exists here. I'm not sure that there is any
other hospital in the country with an intermediate intensive care unit like the
one this hospital now has. We just toured the area and we are witnesses to the
value, the quality--which we could call extraordinary--of this building. This
will help a lot. The purpose of this intermediate intensive care unit is to
save lives, lives that could not be saved without the specialized attention of
the men and women that work in this center.  Without the equipment that exists
there, without the medication the hospital has, many people in critical
condition would not survive. They can only be saved, they can only survive when
they get specialized and careful attention, such as the care they can receive
in that building.

35.  What is the significance of those 66 beds? What is the significance of
those new operating rooms? It means that we will save many more lives than we
could before. This has to be good news for our people and for the residents of
this area, to know that no where in the world is there any installation that is
better than this one. We are willing to admit that there may be some
institutions that are similar to this one, even the same as this one, for some
super rich people in the United States or in Europe.  However, they could not
say they have a better hospital than the Cuban workers of these proletariat
areas in our capital have today. [applause]

36.  All this medical development is very important. The scientific research
and development that we are conducting is very important, very important
[repeats himself]. Perhaps we can state how we are doing this. We can hear
about this but we may not always be aware of the importance of this area.

37.  If, however, you experience what we have recently experienced--the
airplane accident that occurred a week ago when the plane unfortunately crashed
about 200 or 300 meters off the end of the runway into a residential area after
trying to take off during a storm.... [changes thought] The plane became a
projectile carrying almost 80 tons of gasoline which it needed to cross the
Atlantic.  Several houses were destroyed and leveled. It was a fuel bomb that
fell on those houses. In addition, the plane carried 113 foreign tourists, 2
Cuban passengers, and 11 crew members. The impact was truly terrible.

38.  We were there moments after the crash. We were able to observe it and
apprise the situation. We saw some magnificent things, like the mobilization of
the population, their organization, how quickly [clears his throat] the injured
were evacuated. Neighbors were organized into defense zones and they received
immediate support from health workers, an ambulance station that was close by,
from firemen, Interior Ministry personnel, and the Armed Forces.

39.  However, the injuries were terrible, terrible. There are no words to
describe it. Some people received relatively minor burns when burning material
fell on them or when they crossed the flames. Those who were directly under the
accident, however, received terrible burns. Their skin was 80, 90, 95, 100
percent burned.

40.  Wherever possible, we used the new medication that we are manufacturing.
It is very efficient. These medications can save the lives of people who have
received burns over 50 percent of their body. This medicine can save the lives
of people who have received burns on 60 to 70 percent, or even a little more,
of their bodies. However, it can' t help when burns are from 85 to 90 or 100
percent of a person's body or when the burns are deep.  The percentage of
burned skin is not the only factor; the depth of the burns is also a
consideration. In some cases, deep burns don't even leave a trace of skin. The
skin and the muscle are both burned.

41.  In this case, major traumas from the accident were combined with burns.
Three of the passengers survived for a matter of minutes [corrects himself] two
of them survived for a matter of minutes. They were taken to the Calixto Garcia
Hospital. Some of them were dead on arrival while others died shortly after
they were taken to the hospital. Some people have survived with terrible
traumas and terrible burns. They are still alive and our doctors are truly
making an extraordinary effort to keep them alive.

42.  This accident was very sad but there were some especially very sad events.
People who weren't traveling, who were at home, became accident victims. Their
homes were leveled. Their homes were torn apart and scattered around. A few
dozen neighbors died. Those people from this neighborhood who were severely
burned on more than 90 or 80 percent of their bodies have died despite the
efforts of the medicine or the doctors.

43.  For example, I know of a married couple who were family doctors. They
graduated a few days ago in the Karl Marx Theater. They were selected to work
in Santiago de Cuba Province. The best students are always selected for this
task. They were visiting their parents' house. I think they were the husband's
parents. The plane crashed and killed the mother and father. The wife, who was
a doctor, received very serious burns on more than 90 percent of her body. She
died from the burns after 2 or 3 days. However, the husband survived. He was at
the Miguel Henriquez Hospital.

44.  Only 3 days ago, I visited Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital to check on the
progress of the only survivor of the foreign passengers. We were briefed on his
case at the Ameijeiras. We visited those hospitals where accident victims,
principally neighbors, were being treated.

45.  At the Ameijeiras Hospital, I was told that the man was making an effort
to win the battle. They were talking about the survivor, who was a doctor. He
had a high percentage of burns over his body. He was aware of the accident. The
Ameijeiras doctors told me that the comrade had a will to live. He decided to
live. They were....  [changes thought] I think this was on Friday. We visited
there on Friday or Saturday. We were informed of everything that was being done
for the Italian tourist, and everything that was being done in cooperation with
the Ameijeiras Hospital to try and save this doctor.  However, on Sunday, in
the JUVENTUD REBELDE, newspaper, a report was carried that Dr Orlando Jimenez
Chavian had died.

46.  Up to that very day--I don't know if it was Saturday night--we still hoped
that he would be saved. Above all, that desire was based on the fact that the
man was conscious, on the fact that the doctor who lost his wife, father, and
mother had the will to live and he confronted his pain, everything, to save his
life. Nevertheless, science lost this battle. The doctors were fighting an
almost impossible battle but they fought because one cannot give up the battle
for a single moment.

47.  What does this demonstrate? It shows that science is still not
sufficiently efficient to resolve certain problems. I am talking about truly
serious problems. Specialists in this area know what an 85 or 90 percent burn
is and what organs it can affect.

48.  The doctors tried everything they had. We have now been analyzing other
things that exist throughout the world, besides what we are doing, in the area
of burn treatment. This is in addition to the medication that is being
manufactured with the epidemic growth factor, which we are using. We sent a
certain amount of this to the Soviet Union after the accident, and the Soviets
have been very impressed with the effect of this medication. It helps the skin
to grow and it creates conditions for the skin to grow. It protects against
infection. Infection is one of the most dangerous factors in burn cases.

49.  Our doctors and researchers have developed ozone equipment. Ozone is a
tremendous bactericide. The Calixto Garcia Hospital itself has an ozone chamber
for burn patients. They have now requested a very modern bed that recently came
out. It does not use ozone, but the patient lays on an air mattress. It has a
mechanism that reduces contact to a minimum. For example, a patient with burns
on his back has to be kept on a bed.

50.  We are analyzing all this. The doctors have had access to the most
efficient antibiotics. When they use their reserves, they ask for more from
abroad, from anywhere, at any price. That is how they have struggled.

51.  When we learn about some of these things, we can appreciate the value of a
unit such as this intermediate intensive care unit. I'm talking about burns.
They are treated in all cases. What is valuable is a burn unit, such as the one
we built in the Miguel Henriquez Hospital.  We can appreciate the value of
specialized and dedicated personnel to treat those patients. We see the value
of research.

52.  Perhaps one day, our knowledge, our science will allow us to win a battle
such as the battle that was lost for the doctor who wanted to live. That is why
research is so important. There is nothing that hurts as much as impotence when
facing death. These hospitals are battlegrounds against death. These doctors,
health workers, nurses, and technicians are soldiers of the army that fights
against death. In circumstances such as this, one better understands the value
of the efforts made by the revolution for man.

53.  In this very hospital, we will soon have a very important service which is
a center, a complete unit, dedicated to the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa.
To many people, this term may be new. At one point, it was new to me, too. I
didn't know for a long time that this disease existed. This illness affects
sight. A certain amount of necrosis, capitulation [as heard] of the blood
vessels occurs in the eyes because the eye nerves are affected. A person begins
to lose some sight. It's as if someone were covering his vision like this or
like this. He only sees portions. At a certain time he might only have center
vision. It would be like looking down the barrel of a rifle. He would only see
a little bit, until he completely lost his sight.

54.  This disease affects tens of thousands of people throughout the world to a
certain degree. The causes of this disease are being studied. There are tens of
thousands of people in our country affected by this disease in various stages.
It's the kind of disease that is very important to diagnose at an early stage.

55.  Fortunately, for our country, as Tanya said, such treatment is available.
Above all, we must say that thanks to the dedication for almost 30 years of one
of our professors who works here in this hospital, we have been able to develop
certain techniques to fight this disease, arrest it, and, in many cases, cure
it. We have been able to recover a considerable amount of a person's sight. We
could say that the results of this research occurred in a 2-year period. We
might have lost a little time, not a lot, but a little bit of time was lost. We
could have promoted this work earlier and thus we could have gotten results
earlier. At this moment, we can say that we are the only country in the world
that possesses this technique. Some doctors have mastered this technique but
there are very few.

56.  Now we must try and extend these services to other areas in the country.
We're thinking about doing this in Sancti Spiritus, Las Tunas, perhaps in
Santiago de Cuba. We have to train personnel for this. However, it's not just a
matter of applying the results that have been attained.  The research must
continue. We must have the cooperation of different research centers so that
they can cooperate in research to determine its causes, all the factors that
lead to the disease, the medication that can be developed. This should be joint
work to advance in this area.

57.  This hospital will be the reference center for this disease.  It will be
the center of information for several years. We might be able to have an
institution that is exclusively dedicated to this.

58.  Where is the professor [Dr Orfilio Pelaez]? Let's call him. Come up here
professor so people can meet you.  [applause] Here we have the professor. Would
you like to say something? [Professor comes up to the podium]

59.  [Professor] We have worked with our hearts inspired by your wise advise,
your wise teachings. We are still gathering strength. We encourage the youth to
help us continue strengthening our work and fighting for our people, for the
people [repeats himself], for the entire world, to prevent the terrible
blindness that comes from this disease, and to carry out the triumphs that the
revolution has provided Cuba so that we can extend these victories to our
fraternal peoples. I pledge before you that despite the time we have apparently
lost, we are certain that we will firmly proceed and advance much more. Thank
you. [applause]

60.  [Castro] Dr Orfilio Pelaez is the vice dean of the Salvador Allende
Medical School. He has conducted that work primarily here in this hospital.
That is why the Salvador Allende now has a new prominence with this work. What
are we going to do? What are we going to do to gain some time?

61.  There is a pavilion called the Jesus Menendez. It has over 60 beds. It is
being repaired for a specific use.  Several readjustments are being done in the
hospital. We will turn the Jesus Menendez unit into a treatment center for
retinitis pigmentosa. It needs a roof. We are reconstructing the building.

62.  What did we do? When the contingent finished this building, we gave the
planners, the engineer, and the contingent the project of roofing as quickly as
possible, quickly remodeling that building. It has individual rooms, individual
baths. It will also have individual showers. We are thinking about remodeling
it well. We have looked for space in the vicinity to construct the laboratories
that are needed. We do not want to sacrifice beds in this unit. Building the
lab outside is one alternative. It might be a 2-story building that will also
house administrative offices, the library, etcetera. This way we will have a
full unit of 50 beds for the treatment of patients.

63.  Why 50 and not 64 beds? Some area must be sacrificed to improve the
quality of each of those rooms. We will have 50 beds and we will have a center
with the equipment it needs and the laboratory it needs so that the Dr Pelaez's
team can work there.

64.  Dr Pelaez works with three doctors. One of them is very advanced in these
techniques. She recently got sick, very sick. She had to receive intensive
care. We have been closely watching the progress of her disease. We do not want
to have the bad luck of not resolving the problem.  According to reports, she
is progressing, she is progressing [repeats himself] well. Her doctors are
certain that they can save her. Of Dr Pelaez's disciples, this doctor is the
most advanced.

65.  Now how long will it take to build that center. Equipment is now being
bought for that center. Its construction depends on the contingent.  They do
not want to say yet how long it will take them to build it. We'll see how long
the planners think it will take them to finish. The contingent is already there
at the building in the mornings. That ward will certainly be finished first and
it can be used while the equipment arrives. We will work day and night on it,
right? Is that right, Marco, or will we only work during the day?

66.  [Marco] We will make the working day longer, Commander.

67.  [Castro] You think it's better to lengthen the working day? You're not
concerned, Marco?

68.  [Marco] Of course not, Commander. [laughter]

69.  [Castro] We'll study this. All the material, everything is available.
We'll see how quickly we finish. This project is of great importance to Cuban
medicine, even for international medicine. We will finish that center as
quickly as possible.

70.  Other doctors will be trained at that center. I have already mentioned
three provinces. The doctors will be trained little by little here and we will
increase the number of workers here, the number of opthalmologists,
opthalmologists who perform surgery, to develop research and results.

71.  The Salvador Allende not only has one of the best intensive pediatric care
units, intensive intermediate care units, and surgical rooms, it will also have
this center that will be of great national and international importance.

72.  They are also preparing a maternity ward. There is a deficit of maternity
beds in this area. I think that is another task that you contingent members can
work on.  There are other things that can still be done here, right?  They say
that progress has been made on the construction of the maternity hall, the
maternity ward of this hospital. Another plan we have is to associate, wherever
possible, the maternity unit with the clinical-surgical center, as we have done
in the Julio Trigo Hospital. This is because of the high quality of the medical
staff in clinical-surgical hospitals. They have a large number of specialists
that would be impossible to find in a hospital that solely dedicates itself to

73.  All these factors have turned the Salvador Allende into one of the best
hospitals in the country. We should add that we were going to install a used
computerized axial tomography [CAT] unit that was coming here from the Cimex
[State Enterprise for Import-Export]. We are also constructing the building,
the factory to build that equipment.  It is very sophisticated, very important

74.  We were asked not to install the used equipment. They [not further
identified] said they were willing to receive the used CAT unit and discount
its value to install a new one. That is what Comrade Teja [Public Health
Minister Julio Teja] was telling me this afternoon. I was glad to hear this.
It's better to have new equipment. If they deduct the price of the used
equipment, then that's excellent, magnificent.

75.  The Miguel Henriquez Hospital will also have this equipment. The Calixto
Garcia Hospital will also have it and we hope that, in general, the most
important hospitals will have it, not just in Havana, but also in Santa Clara,
the eastern provinces, in Camaguey.

76.  This way, little by little, that 100 year old hospital is becoming one of
the best in the country with good organization, reasonable criteria. We began
to apply the policy of 1.7 per bed, the rationalization of personnel.  That has
been applied. This hospital will have 150 workers who were in the hospital.
Some new workers will also be added.

77.  Here among us, besides the neighbors, workers, and students, we have a
large group of Chileans residing in our country. They received exile [corrects
himself]. They exiled themselves to our country after the military coup on 11
September 1973. That was 16 years ago.

78.  They held a ceremony in the House of the Chilean Committee of Solidarity
where the Chilean Embassy in Cuba once was housed. A few hundred of them met
there to unveil a bust of Salvador Allende and a plaque in honor of the 39
Chilean citizens who died in Cuba during the past 16 years. It was a very
solemn, moving ceremony. It reminded us of those men and women who choose Cuba
as their place of residence and who have given their lives to the noble Chilean
cause during these long years. Some have died in combat, others have died as a
result of natural causes. Today, they were remembered in that location with
that plaque.

79.  An important event is drawing near in Chile: the upcoming elections. The
opposition will undoubtedly win over the forces that represent Pinochet's
repressive and bloody regime.

80.  I had the opportunity to speak more intimately with them for a few moments
there. That is why I will not repeat here the ideas I expressed there. I will
allow myself to reiterate that during the years that this large contingent of
Chileans has been in our country, our ties of friendship and fraternity have
expanded even more.

81.  Several generations were there. They have become mixed, if one could talk
about mixing Chilean and Cuban blood. I don't know if we can talk about mixing
because we are of the same blood. Marriages have occurred. Chilean couples have
had children here. There are children who were born of Cuban-Chilean marriages. 
It is possible that a large number of them will return to their fatherland. We
were telling them today that they will have every opportunity to go and come
back [words indistinct]. They will have every opportunity to return to Chile
with their families. If they want to live here, they will have every
opportunity to come and live here with their families.

82.  It was moving to see all that and think all this. It was moving and
contradictory for them as well as for us because of the years we have lived
together. At the same time, among those sad aspects, there is also the hopeful
aspect that they might very soon be able to return to their fatherland to
continue the battle there for a true democratic opening and, in the more
distant future, for a democratic and revolutionary Chile. [applause]

83.  Today marks the 16th anniversary of that heroic event.  Perhaps at this
very hour or perhaps just moments before, Salvador Allende was dying, defending
independence, democracy, the revolution, and socialism in Chile with his
weapons in his hands. He said that perhaps everything would change some day
[words indistinct].  Today we see that they are beginning to open up.

84.  To those of us who see Salvador Allende as one of the greatest heroes of
our America, one of the men who, with great dignity and bravery, defended his
fatherland and his ideas, it pleases us to have here among us hundreds of
Chileans from all the parties and democratic and progressive forces of Chile.
It is truly very pleasing to be able to commemorate that anniversary with this

85.  Salvador Allende was not just a politician, a statesman.  He was also a
doctor. He knew better than anyone what had to be done and what could be done
in the health area for the people.

86.  We are very pleased that this hospital that bears his name is becoming one
of the best in the country. This hospital that bears his name is becoming an
important scientific center for certain diseases. We are pleased that this
hospital has the personnel and the means available to carry out his noble work.

87.  Everything here is Allende because Allende is the symbol. [Castro claps
his hands once] The hospital is named Allende. The park is named Salvador
Allende and the medical school, one of the largest in the capital, is named
Salvador Allende. We can say that we have a health complex that bears the name
of Salvador Allende and we hope that it will be one of the best in the country.

88.  We are convinced that the workers, the students of this complex will know
how to rise to the level of a man as prestigious as Allende. They will know how
to rise to the level of Salvador Allende's dignity and heroism.

89.  Fatherland or death, we will win!