Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19900122
-YEAR-
1990
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
-AUTHOR-
-HEADLINE-
Castro's Science Day Ceremony Speech
-PLACE-
CARIBBEAN / Cuba
-SOURCE-
Havana Cubavision Television
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS-LAT-90-016
-REPORT_DATE-
19900124
-HEADER-
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000001577
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA2201220890
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-90-016          Report Date:    24 Jan 90
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     4
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       13
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       22 Jan 90
Report Volume:       Wednesday Vol VI No 016

Dissemination:  

City/Source of Document:   Havana Cubavision Television

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro's Science Day Ceremony Speech

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro Ruz at keynote Science Day ceremony held at
Havana's Palace of Conventions on 15 January--recorded]

Source Line:   PA2201220890 Havana Cubavision Television in Spanish 0128 GMT 22
Jan 90

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro Ruz at keynote Science Day
ceremony held at Havana's Palace of Conventions on 15
January--recorded]

-TEXT-
FULL TEXT OF ARTICLE:
1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro Ruz at keynote Science Day ceremony held
at Havana's Palace of Conventions on 15 January--recorded]

2.  [Text] [Castor] Comrades: I am only going to speak for a few minutes
because I was not really supposed to speak here at this ceremony. I discussed
this well with Rosa Elena [Simeon, president of the Cuban Academy of Sciences].
When I arrived here I asked her: Do you have your speech ready? Then, she asked
me: Why don't you say a few words? I said to her: Look, I really do not want to
make an impromptu speech about sciences in the presence of such a distinguished
group here today. I came under protest so you would not think I am on strike.
[laughter]

3.  Well, if I am to say something, I should start by saying that when this
date--the 15th--was proposed, we considered it, and we asked our comrades of
the Academy of Sciences if they could find another date that would be most
fitting to sciences. Yet, as they began to look for dates, they found that
nearly all of the dates were already devoted to something else. They began by
thinking about Finlay, I believe that date was designated for something, for
doctors, right? Thus, they found that all dates were taken. Finally, I told
them: Go ahead and decide what should be done.

4.  Thus, they chose this date. A date is just a pretext to celebrate the day
of the doctor, the engineer, the teacher, or the scientist. It is often
possible to find a historical occasion that would give a solid foundation to
celebrate a given date. I believe they were already becoming anxious to
celebrate the day of the scientist early in January...[corrects himself] or by
mid-January. They did not have time to look for a better date to designate the
day of the scientist.

5.  They based their decision on those words that were said 30 years ago. I
believe another factor was the fact that those words were said 30 years ago. I
believe those were simple words anyone could have uttered; that anyone could
have envisaged. We primarily wanted to change the country, and this idea was
very clear; some ideas were very clear to us. The idea of associating study
with work, as an ideal method of education, was very clear.  The idea was very
clear also that science is the basis of progress in human society; it is the
basis of development.  Neither I nor anyone else could have imagined that after
30 years these words would come to light, that I myself would have to give an
account of them. Well, this is what I am trying to explain. Because now the
situation is very clear, and it is clearer and clearer that the country's
future is a future of men of science.

6.  We could even add that the country's future is dependent on sciences; that
the country's development is dependent on sciences; that the country's economy
is dependent on sciences; that the people's health is dependent on sciences;
that the people's well-being is dependent on sciences. This is today clearer
than ever. I cannot draw the conclusion that I was a clairvoyant but that it
was by coincidence that those words I said almost 30 years ago, almost prompted
by inspiration and intuition, are today a true reality.

7.  I believe Comrade Rosa Elena made a brilliant speech, an excellent outline
of the history of sciences in our country, of what there was before the
revolution and what we have after the revolution. I recall that she mentioned
153 research centers; and she spoke of more than 30,000 scientific workers. She
spoke about the technical youth brigades. I was very happy she mentioned them
because on another level, in other spheres, they also innovate, research,
invent, and discover. She spoke about the rationalizers and the innovators who
have also made very important contributions in research, and above all, they
discover techniques that are very useful to the country's life. If one
adds....[changes thought] She spoke about 20,000 university professors; she
spoke about 300,000 students in the different systems of higher education. One
could add the hundreds of thousands of professionals in the country, which make
a colossal sum of intelligence in use, a colossal sum of talent. And these are
the results, really, of the revolution's work in this field.

8.  She described quite well--I was impressed by this--what the situation was
like in the beginning, with inadequate schools, with a shortage of teachers,
with a large number of illiterates and semi-illiterates. Today, the concept of
illiterate in any developed country is not applied exclusively to those who do
not know how to read or write.  Many people who can relatively read or write
are, however, regarded as functional illiterates. I believe this is what they
call them. The world is full of them. The important thing is not to find out
how many illiterates there were, but what the educational level in our country
was; how many semi-illiterates there were; how many youths have not had
secondary schooling; how many of them did not go beyond second grade, third
grade or fourth grade; how many of them reached the average level; how many of
them could take on vocational technical training; how many of them could get to
the university.

9.  Once we went as far as proposing that anyone willing to take higher studies
should be guaranteed the right to do so, although not as a profession because
this would be absolutely impossible. It is possible to guarantee this as a
possibility available to a human being to improve his knowledge, to take on a
career. Thus, many of the career courses have been made available. Of course
many of our....[rephrases] we speak about hundreds of thousands of university
students and this is true, but many of our university students are, for
instance, teachers who are already working. Life has forced us to impose
certain limits to certain faculties. These guidelines are, however, of a very
relative nature.

10.  I spoke about this recently at CUJAE [Jose Antonio Echeverria University
City], where we presented banners to a brigade of construction workers. How
many engineers do we need? This will depend on the criteria followed. I was
saying that an automatic machine that is producing the equivalent of 50 or 60
men merits to be attended by an engineer. Engineers could be manning much of
our equipment. If our combines were operated by engineers, I am sure our
combines would perform much better. Thus, all this is very relative.

11.  Similar situations arose concerning doctors and engineers. First,
engineers were required to work in superstructures, up there in offices. This
applied to agronomic engineers, mechanical engineers, industrial engineers,
civil construction engineers, and architects. Then, as you know, an enourmous
quantity of specialties was developed. I believe this was some sort of
deviation, a certain distortion, when we fell into a very narrow profile, which
was becoming increasingly narrow but which is now being rectified. Yet, the
first engineers were sent up there to offices.

12.  Today we have engineers leading brigades. Today we have many engineers
working with machines. If we expand the concept of where an engineer can be, a
productive activity, the number of engineers can be increased.

13.  I also remember when it was said that there would be too many doctors.
Where were there going to be too many doctors? It turns out that our medicine
was still underdeveloped, not underdeveloped concerning knowledge, but
concerning organization. There had been a lot....[changes thought] A whole
system and the system had given many results--we cannot say it did not--but it
was not the best system. A good example of this was that, for example, no one
wanted to go to the polyclinics. Or at least a high percentage of the
population had no confidence in the polyclinics, but they did go to the
hospitals.  There they overloaded the staff on duty; they did not let the
doctors work. Then, well, in any case I do not know if it was 60 or 70 percent,
or 30 percent, [as heard] that went.

14.  I know, of course, of some cases of polyclinics where many family doctors
were located, and where 500 people a day went. Now about 100 go--one-fifth as
many-- because the main problem was finding out whether they would have
confidence in the family doctors; they did have confidence in the family
doctors. In fact, then, no one went to the polyclinic or the hospital without
seeing a family doctor first. And in general, it was the doctors who took
patients to the hospital or sent them to the hospital directly.

15.  Well, this was a great help for the hospitals in the country, for the
staff on duty. It solved a problem that did not have, that no one could see a
solution for anywhere. Today patients, citizens, have more confidence in the
family doctors. We said, will they go to the family doctors--we wondered--or
will they go to the specialists at the polyclinics, or the specialists at the
hospitals, right? Experience showed they were going to see their doctors first,
who were recent graduates. They were not yet specialists, as they have now
begun to be.  They went to see them first; even when the others gave them
prescriptions, advised them, diagnosed them, established a treatment plan, they
went to see the family doctor to ask him his opinion about the treatment the
specialist had given them. That was what was happening.

16.  Well, I was saying this, which also is a matter of concept.  As we were
saying, the concept here is 25,000 or 30,000 doctors. They probably had
resolved maybe even that system, which was not the best. However, the inclusion
of the concept of the family doctor, not only in the community--because that is
where the name comes from--but in the factories, the schools, the day-care
centers, we are gathering information. I asked them in some meetings of leaders
of industry, where there were workers, the party, unions, management, and they
really admired the work of the family doctors in the, for example, in the
factories.

17.  It is incredible! They are really becoming the guardians of the workers'
health, of hygienic measures for the workers, of protection for the workers,
and they are discovering things we did not know about--for example, some
indexes concerning the number of hypertensives.  There is a relatively high
number of hypertensives; this [was found out] from a conversation with the
workers themselves and through the efforts of the family doctors.  Because they
keep a record of each worker, they began to discover then....[changes thought]
They decided to ask the Ministry of Health to plan some research, because of
the relatively high number of hypertensives at young ages. Well, we had to see
about those problems. Or, something else that has been discovered, for example:
In some municipalities there is a higher rate of birth defects. This gave rise
to an investigation to find out what the factors are that determine these
higher rates. Or another example: There are regions of the country where the
number of retarded children is much higher than in other regions--that is, in
some provinces it is much higher than in others. This gave rise to an
investigation to find out what the factors are that are determining this fact,
that those provinces have a rate that is almost double that in others. Life
constantly demands of us that we inquire into, explore, investigate the causes
of phenomena. Many of these that I have mentioned have been discovered
precisely by the family doctors.

18.  But in turn the family doctors, that were created as an institution, have
discovered a great number of truly fabulous possibilities, in all senses. Even
in the social sense, they even help in the programs so children will attend
school, in the struggle against obesity, against sedentary ways, even the
struggle against some forms of crime. I know there are children, in the street,
who do not study or work, and then they are a breeding ground for crime. Even
in social problems, the family doctors have participated. I do not have any
doubt at all. I know that some have debated in some places the issues
concerning the family doctors and other things about the revolution. But I, one
of the things that I have the least doubt about, or could never doubt, is the
benefits society obtains with the family doctors, and I have always supported
this with an example.

19.  Instead of having the offices packed with personnel, instead of creating
an enormous bureaucracy of people who do not produce goods or services, it is
better to have these people become doctors or nurses, or that they should be in
any other profession. I mean any other profession, including teaching, and thus
allow us to do what we are doing, because tens of thousands of teachers are
studying, because there are tens of thousands of graduated teachers who are
occupying their positions.

20.  And it can also be the same in the future--I have said it for doctors,
engineers--with many careers; the famous sabbatical year. It is better to
invest that strength and those human resources in improving society and in
improving our professionals than to have inflated staffs, in productive centers
as well as in administrative centers. Because I want to tell you that the
staffs have been, and still are, inflated in many productive centers, and in
many administrative centers. They still are in many enterprises. The battle to
deflate the staffs has not been won, but also cannot be won nor should be won
from one year to the next, because we would create another type of
problem--people who feel they are useless or who feel offended.

21.  That is the reason behind what we have done in the hospitals. If there are
too many people, we will not kick anyone out. If someone leaves, no one will be
hired to fill the vacancy. If, for example, a new hospital is constructed, some
of the people leave from here, and so we will gradually rationalize this.

22.  Of course, in some areas it is more urgent. Recently we had a discussion
about agriculture, and I brought up the inflated staffs we have in the
superstructure of agriculture when they should be out in the field, in a more
productive activity, in a productive activity but not in a superstructure.
Naturally, I say it is better to have people doing that rather than have people
in a superstructure.

23.  Well, let's rationalize in the field of science itself. I can give an
example--the National Center for Scientific Research, CENIC. CENIC had 1,400
positions, 1,200 filled, and they began their effort to rationalize, and now
the latest figure I heard was 599, and they had a higher scientific production.
They are producing more than ever, with less than half the personnel they had
on the staff. They were doing much better work.

24.  Well, I have always had the view that there should not be too many people
in unproductive activities and we should train them for productive activities,
for services, medicine. Medical care is a very important service, and there is
no doubt that we will reach the....[changes thought] They can no longer take
first place away from us. We are moving in that direction, and the indexes show
it.

25.  Rosa Elena mentioned, for instance, that life expectancy stands at 76 for
women--lucky women--and 73 for men. I wondered how life expectancy is
calculated.  Because we have already introduced a great number of things into
the field of medicine that they do not have in other countries. We have not
only lowered the infant mortality rate to 11.1; we have to continue to lower it
and we must bring it under 10. It has already been shown that the rate can be
brought under 10. There are some provinces that are already under 10. Well,
that is the infant mortality rate.

26.  Now, what effects will the family doctors have when the number of doctors
totals 20,000? We already have more than 8,000, we have approximately 8,000, we
already have more than 8,000. We already have....[changes thought] There are
places like Havana City where 75 percent of the population is treated by family
doctors.  What impact will this have on life expectancy? Is this being taken
into account or not? What will be the effects of the ultramicroanalytic system
[SUMA] and of the early diagnosis of birth defects? What incidence will the
allergy tests have, tests that show that 12 percent of our people suffer
allergies, that newborns who, to a larger or lesser degree, suffer from
allergies that could be avoided if diagnosed and treated on time. This program,
which is already widespread in Cuba, does not exist in other countries.

27.  We have now introduced the antimeningococcical vaccine. A number of
vaccines are already being used. Yet, the problem does not rest
with....[changes thought] One extremely important aspect dealing with life
expectancy is not the number of those dying during their first year but those
dying in the second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth year; and not only that,
but those who survive but have birth defects because the problem of
malnutrition was widespread in our country but not any more. Yet, it is still
widespread in other countries. What is the average health rate in those
countries, and what is the rate in our country where our people appear to be
healthy, vigorous.  The number of undernourished people are an exception to the
rule in our country, and the causes for this can be blamed on factors that are
foreign to family economic resources. If there is no undernourishment, then
what effects will the fact that all our children drink milk have on the life
expectancy of our people. I am not speaking just about the family doctor or
these programs I have mentioned earlier.

28.  What effects will the grandparents activities centers have on life
expectancy? Family doctors have said that grandparents in general are taking
less medicine. They are consuming less medicine, they are making fewer visits
to hospitals. They have been exercising. If we undertook massive programs, if
we won the battle--I am looking at Professor Marinello [Zoilo, president of the
Scientific and Technical Advisory Council]--the battle against the smoking
habit, if we prevent alcoholism from becoming a problem in our country some
day, if we train our people to have healthy eating habits, if in the factories,
the factory doctor--whom we could also call the family doctor, because we refer
to all of them by the same title, whether they work in factories or schools--is
protecting workers against accidents.

29.  When a country succeeds in having all the institutions we have now, all
these programs, are these taken into account in determining the famous life
expectancy estimate? I have addressed this question to our comrades at the
Public Health Ministry. We should talk to international organizations because
we have been doing new things, new things--better, better hospitals, better
techniques, we are doing everything. And we are still there rather....[changes
thought] None of our achievements are taken into account. We have many new
things that are nonexistent in other countries. This is why I have asked that
we investigate the yardstick by which they measure the famous life expectancy
rate and what should be done to have the new things we are doing taken into
account in determining the life expectancy rate. Well, there you have another
subject for your researchers, Rosa Elena.

30.  Well, we were talking precisely about the difference, when I started to
make this long review of medicine in other fields. We were talking about what
these 30 years meant in terms of training scientific, technical, and
professional personnel. I had to explain, however, that we had to establish
restrictions regarding some careers, but these restrictions were in fact of a
relative nature.

31.  When we study each case separately, and to the extent that we advance
technologically, and to the extent that we apply sciences more intensively, and
to the extent that we obtain higher productivity, we assume we will have
adequate human resources to meet the needs of production as well as the needs
for services. All this will determine the number of students in each career,
which is of course a subject that concerns us all. We regret to have to impose
limitations in some university careers. At present we are already limiting the
number in the area of medicine. Some 6,000 students were joining the medical
schools a few years ago. Now, there will be around 4,000 students in medical
schools.

32.  We say that we are going to replace massive admissions with quantitative
admissions [cambiaremos un poco de masa por cantidad], we will replace mass
with quantity.  Our medical students are generally good students and are
adequately selected. But, already now, despite our program for training more
than 60,000 doctors by the year 2000, we have to limit the admission of
students in medical schools. We are of course not losing students' positions
because the number of nursing students is increasing. I have seen faculties--we
recently dedicated one--in which medical and nursing students were studying
their university careers together. This signifies a tremendous quality leap in
training auxiliary personnel.  Well, the nurses will now undergo training that
will be almost comparable to that of doctors, of course in other subjects. One
of those nurses who is already studying in those faculties....[changes thought]
The facilities we have created will not be wasted. In the future, they can be
used for something else, including post-graduate courses.

33.  In reality, you can see the example of what happened in the area of
medicine. Despite the family doctor program and the doctors working in schools,
we have to start reducing the number. We have calculated the number of those
who will be graduating between now and the year 2000. This is, of course,
painful. Sometimes, we feel we may be leaving some talented students outside
the medical school because a slot has been taken by a doctor who is not as
talented as the student. There is also another problem that should be
considered here: It is very difficult to find a retired doctor. I do not know
if you have ever seen one. Doctors never retire. When we start to calculate the
span of time a doctor will be working, well, it is very difficult to calculate
this, how many years should we say--25 years, 30, or 40 years? The older the
doctors, the more they think they know. This is true. In general, they know
more because of the experience they have acquired over the years. Who is going
to retire a doctor? I believe this is also true about other scientists, right;
or to the other professionals in general?

34.  For example, I see that a teacher retires once in a while.  Once in a
while a professor retires, but rarely have I seen a doctor retire. This means
that after 30 years, the country has made considerable progress. We must see
this in its overall context, we must see it the way Rosa Elena has explained it
to get a clear idea of the progress that has been made in the field of science.

35.  She also said that despite all the good things that have been done, and
despite the deficiencies, errors, and all that, it would be honest to say that
we could have done more. It is honest. It is honest to say we have wasted time.
It is honest to say that at a certain moment, there was not a good selection of
people to work in the field of research. There were even times in which,
because of residual effects, some of the people who were not...[rephrases] who
did not have full ability to do the work were enrolled in the research centers.
This forced us to take some measures, establish some guidelines, and become
much more demanding in this matter. It forced us to establish the belief that
the best people, the most capable, should be used for scientific research. It
forces us to see that we should use the capable people instead of using those
who could not find a job they preferred elsewhere, and that for the sake of
finding them a job, we placed them in a scientific research center. This
actually happened, this happened to us.

36.  This forced us to become more demanding even with the moral integrity of a
scientist. A scientist is not an ordinary professional. The scientist has a lot
in his hands and his loyalty to the fatherland, the revolution, has great and
extraordinary value. I think Miche spoke about this. His name is Miche, not
Michel. I know him well, but everytime I have to say his name I have my doubts
as to whether it is Miche or Michel. [addressing someone in crowd] What is his
name? Is it Miche or Michel? Fine; he discussed in a masterful way what he
believes a scientist is, and what kind of integrity, moral quality, he should
have as well as the revolutionary quality of a scientist.  Frankly, we have
nothing to do with training scientists who do not have a revolutionary spirit,
a high humanitarian sense, and a high sense of loyalty toward their country and
people. We are not going to create a distinguished person so he can later move
to another country looking for a better salary, or living conditions, or to
receive an incomparably higher salary than what we can offer in our society. I
know many comrades who have done things that cannot be paid for, even with
millions.  We also have many doctors who would be millionaires, but who stayed
here. We know how much any of our scientific talents would have to be paid.

37.  There is a market and that is what imperialism and developed capitalism
have done. They have plundered the Third World of its talents, its intelligent
and most capable people. They have taken them--I will not say by the hundreds
of thousands--by the millions. They have taken highly qualified personnel,
especially scientific personnel, to enjoy the monopoly they enjoy today in many
areas of science and technology. And in our country, I have spoken with many
Latin Americans on visits here who are eminent personalities in other
countries. In other countries, they did not have the slightest possibility to
do even research. There was no concern, nor were the conditions available;
these people would have to leave to be able to do research. In many cases, even
if they had the possibility to do it, they were taken away because of the
generally better living and working conditions. Imperialism has plundered the
brains of the world--a country like ours that has had to make so many efforts
to come out of the darkness in which it was, to come out of the conditions that
Rosa Elena spoke about and which I repeated.

38.  We cannot create scientists so they sell themselves to the highest bidder.
These scientists must have a lot of integrity, patriotism, and great loyalty to
their people and revolution. This is something that must also be taken into
account in the selection of scientific personnel.

39.  The country has done as much as possible to create conditions for
scientific research. However, it would not be totally honest to say that the
country has done as much as possible. I think the country could do more. I am
convinced that it could do more. All of us could do more in this case, in spite
of the fact that the record of successes obtained has been long. But I think
the most important thing is that we have created the current conditions.

40.  I assure you that we could not have discovered the meningitis vaccine
before, and that none of the things we are doing now could have been discovered
before. I think we have created a great capacity and that the time lost does
not mean much if we are able to make good use of this great capacity that has
been created, that we already have available, and that is greater than what
Rosa Elena said here--that of research--and greater than I can say, because we
ourselves discover new things and new possibilities every day, and new groups
interested in research. They work; by asking desperately for some resources,
they have found them. Now I wish we knew where they all are. Some of them are
university professors, and even groups of recent university graduates.  Some
are in university departments. And some of them have developed important
things, and they are doing so.

41.  Of course, there is always the government, the party.  They discover a
group that is doing interesting and valuable things with good prospects. We
feel the desire to help them, and we do everything possible to help them.  The
thing is that we do not yet know all the potential, and I think one of the
tasks of the Academy of Sciences is to discover all this potential, wherever it
is. It may be in Ciego de Avila, in a group of researchers, professors, or
experts there. It may be in Pinar del Rio; it may be in any university
department. Of course, if it is in medicine it should be the Ministry of Health
that discovers it. But there are all the other university departments--
chemistry, biology, engineering--and there are a lot of people working that we
do not know about. We have simply created the conditions for research in these
centers of education, and there are a lot of people who have a calling for
research. We have to discover all these groups to see how we can help them.

42.  Because to help a group, we have to know that this group exists. I think
the university knows it, but the university does not have enough resources. I
think the Ministry of Higher Education should also work on this. Some of the
concepts that have been developed recently, such as the concept of research and
production, well, one has to know when to apply these concepts. A good example
is the immunoassay center, which was conceived as a research and production
center. Now, production is increasing at the immunoassay center.

43.  They are applying these concepts at the National Center for Scientific
Research [CENIC]. We are applying these concepts to genetic engineering. It is
enough to say that at the genetic engineering pilot plant they are now
producing considerable amounts--not as large as what Rosa Elena said, not yet
that large, but they are moving in the direction of large-scale production. But
now the same growth factor has a high level of production that almost meets all
the country's needs, and soon they will have the capacity to export. And if we
want to, we already know what is lacking to flood the world with skin growth
factor.

44.  We will see what the large multinationals do; they are already beginning
to run up against some of our capabilities. It is precisely because of this
that we have been creating this scientific potential with these
characteristics. And I no longer have the least doubt that some of these
multinationals are behind us in many fields, in many fields, I am not going to
say in all of them, but we already....[changes thought] Now, for example, in
the pharmaceuticals industry and biotechnology, biotechnological products for
human use--and sometimes it is also extended to animal use--they
are....[changes thought] They receive absolute priority attention, because we
have recently discovered our great capabilities. More than discovered them; as
extraordinary achievements have appeared, we have seen that the country has an
enormous interest in these extraordinary achievements that have been appearing,
an interest not only with respect to the country's health, but also with
respect to its economy.

45.  Because really the pharmaceutical industry, for instance, producing
medicines, one of the most powerful industries in the world, is in the hands of
multinationals. The medicines are sold at extremely high prices. The prices of
many medicines are usually monopoly prices. Now we are discovering that in some
of our fields there is no one who can compete with us. Rosa Elena talked about
sugarcane derivatives and mentioned waxes and oils, and the things that can be
gotten out of wax and oil are truly fantastic. I do not want to go into too
much detail to explain, but it is enough to say that the famous steroids--AB,
ABD, I think they are called, you must know better than I--that are the basis
of the production of 100 important medicines, are also a derivative of
sugarcane.

46.  Another product I do not want to mention here because I can see some of
the creators are half-afraid that I am going to say everything here that I know
about this.  There are other products under development that have not been
mentioned, which have great prospects. And they come from sugarcane. They come
from wax, from wax, and I do not know, but we can produce wax in amounts that
no other country can produce. Because we already know how much was produced,
can be produced with a sugar harvest of 8 million, with a sugar harvest of 10
million. And those are tens of thousands of tons. It would be unlikely that
anyone could compete with us in these fields.

47.  I have asked the comrades who work on the meningitis vaccine, who said
that our potential competitors have still not begun to produce this meningitis
vaccine. They will produce it, within a not very long time, but not as quickly.
The lines they chose for the research are wrong.  We got it right, our people
got it right, but not only did they get it right, they took a risk. This is why
the research went forward so quickly; they were ahead of the others because
they worked with live bacteria. They took the risk, since there was no vaccine
yet. I do not know if I am committing an indiscretion in saying this, but I do
not think so. Then they innoculated themselves, since they then had the
vaccine. And we have a monopoly on that vaccine. Now they are already working
on another, so...  [changes thought] They seem to be making good progress. They
are improving the one they have.

48.  So, well, the multinationals are going to have serious competitors. We
will put our products on the market, and we have already put them on it. Does
this means that we have a strictly mercantilist attitude? No. I have already
talked with the comrades, and alongside our exports to those that can, that
have the economic ability to pay for this vaccine, we have offered some
programs to the UN in countries that do not have the least possibility of
finding the funds for it. Because we already know where this illness occurs,
and it is in a few developed countries. The U.S. has it--not the vaccine but
the bacteria, the meningococci--and a few European countries have it. And Asian
countries have it. Some socialist countries have it, this illness. And we know
that in Africa there is a group of countries. In addition our vaccine combines
against B and C and A; that is, it can be done against A and B in different
combinations. They have now perfectly mastered the formula. There are countries
in Africa where they have never been vaccinated.

49.  If our production is very large, then we can not only benefit from trading
in the medicine, an action that would be absolutely legitimate, but we can even
help, in some cases, those having absolutely no chance of purchasing it, in
those areas that do not constitute a market.  There are many areas in the world
that do not constitute a market. Everything depends on the cost factor--if we
can reduce it with the innovations we are implementing.

50.  Thus, a field has been opened--I am referring to just one research field,
the biomedical field, if you will. I am saying that there are a few more. I
really do not want to elaborate on this because sometimes if you go too far in
your explanations you could always lead the enemy to put obstacles in our way.

51.  I can mention a bad example dealing with blood, with a healthy blood, the
rates....[changes thought] While it is growing in the world, it is declining in
Cuba. I am talking about AIDS. This is happening because of the measures we
have taken. Experience has shown we were right. The figures concerning growing
AIDS cases are staggering in some countries. Some Latin American, Caribbean
countries have an extremely large number of AIDS cases. It is estimated that
there are 200,000 people contaminated with AIDS, thousands of them already
infected with the disease. Other countries have millions of cases. The United
States, the olympic champion in AIDS cases, has millions of people contaminated
with the disease and an extremely large number was....[changes thought] In this
field, as I was saying earlier, it has been demonstrated that.... [changes
thought] Well, I was just talking about that same thing, but referring
specifically to blood, to blood byproducts. I was saying that our blood is
healthy.  The cost of plasma skyrocketed recently and monopolistic
organizations were selling it at $80 or $90. We sold it at a lower price to a
Latin American country. Our price was higher than the usual price, but lower
than the current price. These people tripled the price of plasma.  Our price
doubled the traditional price. Thus, the monopolies had to immediately reduce
their price and bring it closer to our price. Yet, who is going to have
confidence in American blood? One ought to be crazy to do that because one of
those viruses could be transmitted through it.

52.  Many products can be obtained through the blood. With the
antimeningococcic vaccine, we can produce a medicine against the meningococcic
meningitis, that is, a serum that is obtained from immunized individuals. 
Thousands of people have been recruited to this effect.  Members of the
Interior Ministry and of the Armed Forces have had immunizations to give blood.
Thus, we obtain a serum from their blood that can save the life of someone who
would otherwise inevitably die of meningococcic meningitis. As you can see,
there are growing possibilities in this field. It would be difficult for any
other country to do this. Many possibilities are surfacing in this field, even
some of economic significance, which is extremely important.

53.  If I have left something unsaid about sciences, I could add that science
is what can save our country from having major difficulties. Yes, I have
already said--I am not going to repeat it today--that very serious difficulties
could arise. I have explained the reasons, I have explained them. Naturally,
this forces us to work much harder because some circumstances and conditions
for our development, which appeared to be certain--and which were certain for
many years--can no longer be regarded today as certain circumstances and
conditions.  This forces us to use all our potential not only to do research
but to think about solutions, to think about solutions.

54.  Fortunately this time also coincides with the time in which all this has
begun to bear fruit, as we were saying.  A lot of research has begun to bear
fruit. Now it is a matter of time and speed, a matter of time and speed,
because one of the most important things in this field is the immediate
application of results whenever technically possible.  I can tell you that at
this time there are a few things in which not even 24 hours are lost between
the moment in which the possibility arises and the moment in which we begin to
work for this possibility.  Not even 24 hours are lost in beginning to make a
pilot plant, and while the pilot plant is being done we are already working on
the design of a definitive plant, based on certain elements.

55.  And perhaps someday the story will be written of the speed with which we
have worked in installing capabilities for this development that I am talking
about.  Perhaps someday the story will be written about the effort the same
group of scientists is making on this concept that I was talking about, that I
had mentioned previously but had not developed the idea, on the concept
of--what is it called? --research and production. We are applying it, and it
began as I said with the immunoassay center.

56.  Of course, this does not have universal application. I met a group at a
university laboratory who talked to me about research and production. I can
tell you already the concept of research and production must be applied in
centers that are really formed, that have all the potential to do this. In
another group of scientists at a school of medicine it is more difficult to
apply this concept of investigation. That is why we say, are you in
such-and-such a sector? Contact such-and-such an organization immediately. The
materials industry if it is some type of material, basic industry if it has to
do with basic industry, the pharmaceutical industry or the Ministry of Health
if it has to do with medicine, because we cannot universalize the concept of
research and production. We can do so in centers that have a scope determined
by their funds and their investments, their space, and the number of
scientists.

57.  But we have applied it with quite good results. We have a few research
centers that are into research and production. I gave the example of the
immunoassay center. The immunoassay center began with a research laboratory and
its production laboratory, its sheep and all that, sheep for research and sheep
for production, a plant to produce the equipment, some automatic lathes there
with high productivity. They can now produce about 200 sets per year. They were
able to produce 6 million in reagents. Well, possibilities began to arise.
Immediately next to it another laboratory was put in a house that was adapted
at great speed. The equipment was bought. It can already produce 2 million
more. Right now, they are in the design stage and are working to produce 20
million more, from 20 to 30 million more. Right, now they are working at full
speed day and night. They have already studied the project and are discussing
what needs to be done for a 200 million reagents plant. As possibilities
increase, these activities will also become more dynamic.  We must be
especially prepared when we get commercial opportunities. Suffice it to say
that in Chernobyl right now there are five SUMA units, I think. [asks someone
in crowd] Is is it five or one? [response indistinct] They are in the vicinity
of the area. They are in the laboratory with our reagents to observe the
effects of congenital malformations from the accident. They are observing cases
of thyroidism, or hypothyroidism that could arise, or congenital malformations,
and other things. They have a program for that there.

58.  The Soviets are very interested in our SUMA and they are asking that we
also send it quickly to another city. We see prospects for the SUMA in the
Soviet Union, to give you a good example. There are already some capitalist
countries where the SUMA is being produced and making a profit. That is why we
have to take these steps.  [We have to produce] from 6 to 18. Our country needs
12 overall for its program. We need from 6 to 18, from 18 to 40 or 50, and from
40 to 50 to 200. We know how much all this costs to produce. We know what must
be done if we need to produce it at full speed. We know the price of the panels
if we need to import them, or other materials to produce it quickly like we did
with the Varadero Airport, or the new Boyeros terminal. We have studied all the
steps. We have also done the same thing with the meningococcic vaccine and
other products that have great production possibilities at this time. We are
expanding the research-production concept. The research center has the control.

59.  After we have established the basis to produce 100 medicines, we can
produce them in an industry--not the medicines, the raw materials, the AD, DD,
and steroids.  For the production of another type of large industry we have the
pharmaceutical industry. The same thing will be done with epidermic growth
factor; it will be produced by the genetic engineering center. The facilities
are under the control of the center, not only the pilot plants but other
facilities as well. But naturally, the center will not produce the ointment, it
will produce the growth factor. Then, it will turn it over to the
pharmaceutical industry and it will produce it. The process for the vaccine is
much simpler. There is nothing to mix, it comes out of the center already in
the form of an ampule or in bulk.

60.  In other words, we are working with the concept of not wasting a single
minute from the moment a new possibility is discovered, and we apply it right
away. I think that is the criteria we must follow with all our research.  Here
we have the man who discovered sacharina and he knows what we are doing with
that product, which is also a discovery. He turned the sugarcane into corn,
soy, and wheat because he has turned the sugarcane into protein and
carbohydrate. A lot of research and investment is being done in this product.
We are also making a lot of investments in the raw material I spoke about. We
are working hard on that.

61.  We are working very hard in each one of these possibilities that have
arisen without wasting one minute, because they could become a gold mine.
Furthermore, under the current circumstance, it is more important than ever to
apply the principle of not wasting one single minute. I think that if there is
something extremely important that I will say in this speech, it is that not a
single minute must be wasted in attaining a new development and applying it.
This principle must be used with the technical brigades, innovators, but above
all with the scientific centers.

62.  This will have to be one of the primary duties not only of the Academy of
Sciences but also of other organizations.  I believe there is also something
new now--this being the much greater awareness of the significance of sciences. 
There is a much greater awareness of this in all productive organizations.
Awareness is greater than ever. I have never seen so much awareness. Despite
everything, we must remind the ministers and each organization daily of how
important it is to closely follow scientific research, to support it, and to
apply it.

63.  We of course must do this....[rephrases] if we manufacture a medicine, we
should do it keeping in mind human interests, that is, even if we did not have
a good market for it. In investing resources in one of these things, we must
follow economic guidelines, how important they are for the country, what
problems will they resolve in an economic, productive sense. I mentioned the
case of sacharina. We could now disclose the secret regarding sacharina to the
world without charging a cent for it. I do not know if these people are
charging something for it.  Yet, sacharina is important for our country for the
production of food beginning with the sugarcane. It is food for our
consumption. It will solve an important socioeconomic problem. We are not going
to export either sacharina or its byproducts. Sacharina is designed to feed our
people. This is why it is highly important, because it will solve an important
problem.

64.  There are other projects that can solve the country's important economic
problems. Everyone--to a larger or lesser degree--must help. Now, we must not
wait for the ministers to come see us; I mean, the scientists. We must go to
the ministries. We must look for those who can produce something, we must apply
the results of research with a practical view, and of course, with a rational
sense. I cannot say if tomorrow they discover 1,000 things, we will be able to
apply them all. We could then select which of those will have greater
significance for the country in solving the country's major problems. This is
something decisive and we must continue to promote this awareness within
organizations and among scientists. Toady, this is more decisive than ever, now
more than ever.

65.  As far as resources are concerned, rest assured that....  [changes
thought] I know some people complained that others were receiving more
resources than they were. I did not hear this through third parties, but I
heard it personally from a group from a university school, which made important
achievements. They said such-and-such center has equipment and we do not have
anything. It is just around the corner. That is an important center that is
making very important things. The group said: Others are receiving the
resources, we are not getting anything.  It is true; they had almost nothing.
Their claim was not untrue. They had participated in the Health For All
Exposition and had exhibited a product that earned an award. In fact, they
produced 10 or 12 more items, but no one knew about them. They were the only
ones who knew about those things. Perhaps the minister knew about them. This is
why we should improve the mechanism to the effect that any promising project
that is undertaken--independently from research programs....  [changes thought]
Many people get down to work, we must help any group with some promising
prospects. We harbor the desire to help every group, every center. I have made
this known to Rosa Elena.

66.  Of course recently we have been doing some things that were expensive, and
they were essential. You do not know the work we ourselves did, so some things
would be built, with the problems there were in construction.  Today these
problems are being resolved. Things are built more quickly. For example, we
have the center, CENPALAB. It is the Center for the Breeding of Laboratory
Animals.  Some are free of pathogens and others are normal. It is a large,
important center.

67.  In general, when scientists meet to ask for something, they ask for a lot.
That is the truth. Nothing seems sufficient to them; we already have experience
with this.  In CENPALAB they asked for everything they wanted.  Because only
they knew about that, in the end it was their views that prevailed. The center
is not yet finished and it is already producing many things that are very
important for research. The Center for Biological Products that was being built
was delayed. It was necessary to adapt some facilities for the products that
were to be made there. Now it has sped up a lot. A contingent has been formed.
By the end of this year some areas will have been finished and will be able to
start production.

68.  But these centers are expensive. Yesterday, I was reading an article in
the press about CENPALAB. They said very proudly that this center cost 32
million. Of course, they are already producing a lot of equipment; it is the
total cost: construction, imports, etc. A number of centers have been built;
the one for tropical medicine is now being completed. This is another great
center, but a very expensive one. There is no intention--and I say this
completely honestly--of favoring one center over another, or some centers over
others. And I have often said this to Comrade Rosa Elena, that whenever a
possibility arises she can be assured that we will do everything possible to
help those centers.

69.  I am taking advantage of this opportunity to say this to you so you will
have an idea, not only because of the applause the comrades received, not only
because of the flowers or the medals, of the importance of the work that was
mentioned: growth factor, meningitis vaccine, etc., the medical equipment that
is....[changes thought] The other day we met about 30 [items], and in addition
they are constantly being improved. We must say that at the immunoassay center
they make some changes in the equipment every year. That is, they may copy it
from us, but it is unlikely they will be a match for those that thought up this
equipment and have worked every year to improve it.

70.  We are going to expand our capacity to produce this equipment. But allow
me to say that we have agreements, with the USSR alone, for 250 million rubles'
worth of medicine and medical equipment and medical furniture for 1989. They
have requested 250 million rubles' worth from us. That represents a
considerable number of meningitis vaccines, a considerable amount of growth
factor.

71.  That is, some of these products have begun to become extremely important
export categories. We have large markets, the Soviet market. We are talking
about other countries that need these products and these medicines.  We have
China also, an enormous country. This is why whenever we have a product, we
have to have figured out what would happen if one of these buyers gave us a big
order. The least we can do is have it all worked out, have some surplus
capacity. And we are doing so, creating some surplus capacity so as not to wait
for them to make the request to us and then supply the product.

72.  It will become an extremely important category of exports. I have
mentioned a single country. Ah, we need time, a minimum of time to take
advantage of these possibilities. And there are other things that are being
worked on hard; difficult research is being done, and tests are being run. This
is the advantage our country has over other capitalist countries. We have a
national health system. This greatly facilitates research. Because the first
ones here who were innoculated with the meningitis vaccine were the
researchers--then volunteers. And once it was proven that the medicine did not
do any harm and that it had an effect and produced antibodies, it began to be
applied massively.

73.  This is an example, and so volunteers here....[changes thought] If you
produce something that lowers cholesterol and you want to test it, large
numbers of volunteers will show up. If you also tell them that the product
helps fertility and some of those things, even more people appear. In order not
to reveal many details, which you must know, some of you must know, because
some products become famous here very quickly. What is it called? LPD or L--no,
what is it? PPD, right? PPD. It is said they are innoculating people with PPD.

74.  By mentioning some of these cases, I wanted to show you some of the things
we are doing, the policy we are implementing, and how important this sphere of
research is. You should fully understand that today this is perhaps more
important than it will be 10 years from now, but it will always be important.
Because of new emerging factors and new situations--I am responsibly telling
you this--sciences may have a decisive significance for the country. As you
leave this place tonight, a little tired of speeches, especially after hearing
mine-- not the ones made by Rosa Elena and Michel--despite my promise that I
was going to be brief; well, you will have to forgive me because just as I was
shy to improvise a speech before a group of scientists, one must also consider
that if one has the privilege of doing so, one feels the desire to say many
things. [applause]

75.  I beg you to excuse me for the unexpected, or perhaps not so unexpected
length of my speech. I want to congratulate you very sincerely. Believe me that
it was moving for me to hear the speech of Rosa Elena and the words of Michel.
I believe their speeches should be published by our press because they reflect
the efforts made by the people, the progress made, the prevailing concepts, and
the human quality of our researchers.  Although with reservations, I also
accept--since you decided to choose it--this date. It is the 16th of January,
right? Today is the 15th, right? I made a mistake. I thought today, Monday, was
already Tuesday. That's the way it goes.

76.  This anniversary of the words I said, I believe on a corner of Habana
Vieja during a ceremony organized by the Speleological Society, [words
indistinct] Who remembered that? One day one researcher found that phrase: The
country's future has to be, has to be necessarily....oops [laughter] a future
of men of sciences. But they had it written there, they had it handwritten. How
was that? Speak up, Rosa Elena, don't be shy.

77.  [Rosa Elena] That was on the occasion of the dedication [passage
indistinct].

78.  [Castro] I have seen it in writing.

79.  [Rosa Elena] [words indistinct]

80.  [Castro] That was the only written portion of that speech. Because there
is only a recording of the other portion and I do not know if there is a
transcription of it.

81.  Finally, comrades, I congratulate you all because I believe you deserve it
and because I believe you will continue to deserve it every day. Fatherland or
death.  Socialism or death. We will win. [applause]
-END-


LANIC |