Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speaks to Academy of Sciences
Havana Radio Rebelde Network
Report Type:         Daily report             AFS Number:     FL2402200092
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-92-041          Report Date:    02 Mar 92
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     2
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       9
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       21 Feb 92
Report Volume:       Monday Vol VI No 041


City/Source of Document:   Havana Radio Rebelde Network

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Speaks to Academy of Sciences

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro at ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of
the Cuban Academy of Sciences at the Havana Convention Center on
20 February- recorded]

Source Line:   FL2402200092 Havana Radio Rebelde Network in Spanish 2100 GMT 21
Feb 92

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro at ceremony marking the 30th
anniversary of the Cuban Academy of Sciences at the Havana
Convention Center on 20 February- recorded]

1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro at ceremony marking the 30th anniversary
of the Cuban Academy of Sciences at the Havana Convention Center on 20
February- recorded]

2.  [Text] Distinguished guests, comrades:

3.  Really, I have nothing to say or to add to the brilliant and clear report
Comrade Rosa Elena [Simeon, president of the Academy of Sciences] has given.
She wanted me to speak. She was insistent, but I said: You have to speak.  Now,
she has said in her speech that some time after lunch they had told her that I
was not going to speak- that I was on strike. [laughter] Really, she has done
very well. I have been trying to see if she has forgotten anything, but she has

4.  At the beginning, I saw that she was talking about the Academy of Sciences
a lot. I thought Rosa Elena was going to forget the effort that all the other
scientific research centers have made. Had she forgotten that the Academy of
Sciences is related to all the scientific research centers? But, of course, we
are commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Academy of Sciences, and she had
to speak, above all, on everything that had been done in those 30 years and on
the work done by the scientific research centers of the Academy of Sciences.

5.  Of course, I am not saying that, at a given time, the Academy of Sciences
transferred a number of centers, which passed to different state organizations.
It was thought appropriate to distribute some agricultural centers to the
Agriculture Ministry, or those of the sugar industry to the Sugar Ministry.
Also, other organizations, like public health, already had their own research
centers. She gave the figure of 179 centers, or 100 what?  It does not matter;
next month there will be a few more.  [laughter] There are 173. Those centers
have (?been set up) and are working. We do not want the Academy of Sciences to
neglect these centers for one minute. The Academy of Sciences is the guiding
organization. It does not have to administer them all. It administers a number
of research centers and service centers also. But it has to direct all the
centers in general. I think the Academy of Sciences is an integrating factor
for the sciences.

6.  We have three integrating factors, or two besides the Academy of Sciences.
There is the Spare Parts, Equipment, and Advanced Technology Movement. We had
to add those things to the name, because it began by being a spare parts
movement, a forum. It has solved many problems, gathering together many
workers, many technicians. This Spare Parts Movement also had two parts.  One
was for young people, because we had the Youth Technical Brigades. There are
many young technicians who are employed in different factories or industries. A
few hundred thousand were organized for discoveries, research, and innovations.
Another part is what we call the Association of Inventors, Efficiency Experts,
and Innovators. These are technicians who are older than 30.

7.  These two parts worked within this movement, but the Spare Parts Movement
and forum did not include the scientific research centers. This forum or
movement has an annual event now. At the beginning, it was held every two
years. Now it is annual. At the end of the year, we have a meeting of the whole
movement, but it now includes the scientific research centers. The scientific
research centers participated in the last forum-because I can say that in Cuba
it is not only the scientists who do research. We would be in a bad way if only
scientists did research. It is true that we have now, in the scientific
research centers themselves, tens of thousands of science workers. I have
already said that we have about 10,000 researchers, but we also have all the
middle-level technicians, the workers who cooperate in one way or another.

8.  You saw here that some of those who received medals were from the
Department of Workshops of the Academy of Sciences, workers who cooperate with
the scientists, and without whom the scientists would not have the materials
needed to carry out their research. But the point is that, in Cuba, we have not
only almost 10,000 scientists. We have the university professors. We can say
that all the universities are doing research, all of them. We can say, for
example, that all the medical schools are working on a program to develop
monoclonal antibodies, led by a Center for Monoclonal Antibodies that is now
building a new facility for research and production of monoclonal antibodies.
It should be finished this year. It is difficult to build a center of this type
because it has many technical requirements.

9.  The medical schools, of which there are 21, have promoted the production of
monoclonal antibodies. This shows what can be done with the universities,
professors, and doctors. We have many medical research centers.  We are doing
research in practically all the hospitals.  There is no reason for limiting
scientific research to the Angiology or Cardiology or Oncology Institutes. We
have 12 or 13 institutes of this kind, but we have many good hospitals and
excellent groups of doctors, with their laboratories and equipment. We are
promoting research in all the hospitals. Research can be done even at the

10.  I am speaking, in this case, primarily for the guests from other
countries. Our fellow countrymen know these things in general. But we think
that even a polyclinic can do research, in its own work, its own services. You
do not know the research.... [rephrases] Even family doctors do research. If
they are at a factory, they can study what illnesses occur most, what the
health problems are, how many people have hypertension, for example, or how
many have respiratory or circulatory problems. Sometimes we discover high
cholesterol levels in groups of relatively young workers. We discover high
blood pressure also.

11.  Naturally, this has to concern us. This had existed before, but we did not
know it. Family doctors did this research and made these discoveries. The
family doctors also study any kind of historical or genetic factors in a
community that are having an effect on the number or type of illnesses, because
illnesses do not occur at the same rates. Even the cases of mental retardation
or retardation in psychological development have been studied by the
educational research institutions. They have conducted a number of studies on
all of these issues that are very interesting.

12.  I think there is an immense scope for research, for using intelligence and
creative work. I have mentioned the polyclinics. There are so many areas; for
example, the need for physiotherapy. The family doctors and polyclinics have
discovered this. We had not even imagined the tremendous need there was in this
field and the number of people who have orthopedic, muscular, or other types of
problems. They need physiotherapy. So in each of the polyclinics in Havana, for
example, we are developing physiotherapy services because one day we discovered
that hundreds of thousands of people needed these services. One day they need
heat treatment, another day electricity, another day massage, another day
exercises that they had to be taught to do. Well, I would say that almost half
the population needed these services. They did not exist at the polyclinics.

13.  These facts and their solutions were discovered by the polyclinics
themselves. So medical research can be done at the level of the polyclinics
and, I repeat, at the level of the family doctors. The family doctors can be
researchers by observing everything that is happening around them, under, of
course, the guidance of the polyclinic management, the guidance of the overall
organizations. We do not know what may be there to be discovered.

14.  But research can be done not only at the hospitals but also at the
factories. No one knows what can be done in the nickel industry in the field of
research. The industry has its research institutes, but there are no institutes
in the factories. Experiments can be conducted, innovations and
rationalizations can be made, things can be discovered because there are dozens
of high-level technicians and dozens of university professionals in every
factory. In agriculture, each agricultural enterprise should do research,
starting with the agronomists who are there. We are always advising them to do
research at each enterprise.

15.  Of course, many of the agricultural researchers were at the research
centers before. Now they are in the field. In recent times, a movement to send
researchers to the agricultural production enterprises has begun. There are
different kinds of soil. Even the same variety of crop does not grow the same
in different soils. In each region of the country, the same variety grows
differently, because there is a different microclimate in each region of the
country. For example, rice production, which is apparently so simple, but our
geographic position....  [rephrases] We are between two parallels-I do not
remember now what they are-the 24th. What are they?  Parallel 24 and what?
Havana is 23, and the Turquino Peak is what? It must be less. It is not 19. We
go down so far; we are between 4 degrees. Anyone would say that our climate
conditions are the same. But if you plant rice in Pinar del Rio, the western
region of the country, in July, you will harvest one third of the rice you
could have harvested if you had planted it in January, February, or March.

16.  But in Granma Province, in the eastern region of the country, you will get
a good rice yield if you plant in August. So on our own little island, the
growth of that crop is different in the eastern region than in the western
region. One is amazed by these phenomena. But in addition, within a region,
growth is different in different soils. If the soil is sandy, much more water
is needed, and different types of problems exist. If the soil is black clay,
there is one type of growth. If the soil is red clay, growth is different.

17.  This is for rice. But it is the same for sugarcane. We are working with
sugarcane using dozens of varieties. Rosa Elena said that we produced 26
percent because, of course, we have varieties that are not Cuban only. We have
varieties from many continents, many countries in the world. We have brought
them here; we have tested them. We use them as genetic material to develop new
cane varieties. That is why we have dozens of varieties, and we are looking for
more. Now, through tissue culture and based on the possibility of producing a
plant from one cell of cane, we can accelerate the process of looking for new
varieties, and not only the process of looking for new varieties, but also the
process of accelerating the introduction of these varieties.

18.  So, if normally we need 10 years, we can do it in two because we can begin
to produce many plants of one variety in the laboratory. With the traditional
method, we had to plant it and wait one year or 10 months before we could take
some little pieces of cane. Now we can get thousands of plants from one cane.
If we have a very promising variety, we can multiply it quickly. I am giving

19.  Another example is the cultivation of micro-plants with bananas. When
there is an exceptional plant that, under conditions equal to those for the
other plants, produces a bunch weighing 80 or 85 kg, we select it immediately
and multiply from it. By natural methods, we could get five plants, five
offshoots from that plant. With tissue culture methods, we can get 30,000. So
you can plant 13 hectares with the aerial or surface microjet system, we could
say that from one plant we can plant 13 to 14 hectares. This is so you will see
how many possibilities are arising.

20.  But the idea I was talking about is that each variety, soil, region, and
microclimate determine different growth in agriculture. There is our own,
famous tobacco, from which those cigars have been made for a long time, and
[name indistinct] always appeared in his photos with one of those big cigars.
People have tried to produce those famous cigars in many places, in Central
America, Santo Domingo, other places. After the embargo against Cuba began,
they tried to produce that good tobacco in other places. They did not succeed,
because it is a problem of the microclimate.

21.  Do not think that Cuban tobacco is planted anywhere in Cuba. It is like
wine. You have probably heard about quality wines that come from a certain
valley, a certain vineyard, a certain variety. They say that even wines are
different each year. No two harvests are the same because no two years have the
same number of sunny days, the same amount of rain, or the same level of
relative humidity in the air. All these factors influence the harvest. Our
high-quality tobacco depends on small plots of land in certain valleys.

22.  I am saying all this simply to demonstrate that if you have an
agricultural enterprise with 5,000 or 10,000 hectares, and you have 20
agronomists there, those 20 agronomists have to be doing research based on the
scientific and research center literature. We have some very good agricultural
research centers. The research must be done, not only by our institute for-what
is it called [words indistinct] INIFAT. But what does that mean? Institute for
Basic Research in Tropical Agriculture. But it is not there. What have they
done? They have gone to the enterprises, and at each enterprise they have
demonstration areas. They are introducing their new varieties and their new
techniques. We must take science to the fields, not only what they and their
researchers generate, but also the practical tests that all the agronomists at
the enterprises can be doing in cooperation with them.

23.  I can tell you that the possibilities are enormous. They are now planting
cress hydroponically. Cress has traditionally been planted here in water tanks
near the ocean.  They use an incredible amount of water. They also use fuel, as
you can imagine. You have to have a river running through each tank. They are
promoting hydroponic planting, or the planting of cress with microjet
irrigation. No one knows the amount of water this could save. They are
producing enormous amounts. They cut the cress every 25 days. They can get 10
to 12 cuttings per year. They can get 25 to 30 tons from one cut. They can get
tremendous amounts of cress with microjet irrigation. This is a new technique.

24.  We have to find a specific soil. Perhaps it will not be sufficient to
provide cress for the entire city. We have to find other areas, other
techniques, where we can produce it.

25.  What I have said about agriculture can be applied to industry. What I said
about the hospitals can be applied to industry. There is no reason it could not
apply to industries, since we have tens of thousands of university
professionals, and if the universities can do research, why not the factories?
This is what we are doing, and not only with the university-graduate
technicians. There are many middle-level technicians who can contribute
innovations and discoveries in research. There are many outstanding workers or
middle-level technicians who are not university graduates. We know many of them
who have made important contributions to research.

26.  In fact, what we are doing now is to extend research to the entire
country, set everyone to doing research, experimenting, rationalizing,
innovating. It is a real revolution in the concepts of scientific research.
There are hundreds of thousands of people participating in this, hundreds of
thousands. A small factory often appears at that forum with a large discovery,
much larger than the factory, to conserve fuel or to solve problems. Now that
we are in a fuel crisis, a serious crisis, everything that has to do with fuel
conservation has enormous importance. The fuel emulsifiers are very important.
Certain mechanical changes to the equipment and the use of alternative sources
of energy are also important.

27.  I think you know, for example, that we produce the equivalent of 4 million
tons of fuel in cane bagasse. A large part is used by the sugar mills
themselves, because that is an energy source for the mills. A mill can operate
with 70 percent, or even less, of the bagasse it has. The rest can be used as
raw material or fuel for different industries. Tremendous efforts are being
made with the use of magnetizers, for example, in fuel conservation, or to
prevent obstructions in the microjet valves or boiler pipes, conserving fuel
and gas with materials, and many things. The use of magnetizers is becoming
very important, the use of magnetizers in agriculture, what effect water that
has been magnetized has on the growth of certain plants. Many of these things
have been done empirically. The tests are being done, not only at the research
centers but at the base level-at the research centers.

28.  Of course, now, as it says there, the preservation of this country's
independence today depends primarily on science and technology. That is a great
truth. Perhaps the most important resource this country has is not the great
deposits of nickel. We have nickel and cobalt, mixed with iron, chromium, and
aluminum. Well, there are the resources of our climate, the natural resources
for recreation and relaxation along hundreds of kilometers of our coasts, with
wonderful beaches. But the most important resource this country has is the
investment it has made in the minds of the people. That is the most important
resource our country has.

29.  That is why we do not say in vain that today the solutions to the
country's problems basically rest, at this very difficult time, on the people's
minds, on the investment that the revolution has made in the people's minds. 
We are really giving this a great boost. In recent times, the sciences have
been gaining great momentum in our country. This is work for hundreds of
thousands of people.

30.  I think that this is.... [rephrases] If I stress anything on a day like
today, it is this. We recently had a meeting with the Food and Agriculture
Organization representatives in our country. I think they were dedicating a new
office.  I had the opportunity to speak there at length about what we are doing
in agriculture, applying science to agriculture in the food program, since we
now have to see how we will produce more food-more meat, milk, protein, food in
general-with much less fuel, which at times affects our irrigation systems, and
without fertilizers or animal feed. This is a difficult task. It is a great

31.  That is why for us, the bacteria that was mentioned here-the
azotobacter-is extremely important. As you know, leguminous plants have their
own bacteria, which also has to respond to the soil to fix nitrogen from the
air through the rhizobium. But the graminaceous plants do not usually have
bacteria associated with their roots to fix nitrogen from the air. However,
there are bacteria in the soil that fix nitrogen from the air. Our scientists
in the field of agriculture are on a real search for azotobacters, because each
crop needs its own specific type and each soil may need its own specific type.
We already have the facilities, because these are fermenting processes, and we
have many facilities with large equipment for fermentation, primarily the
torula factory.

32.  Almost all these biological processes require fermentation, and we have a
tremendous fermentation capacity to produce all the azotobacter of each of the
varieties needed for each of the crops needed. Do not think that this is
something old. It was only a few months ago that we talked about azotobacter
for the first time, during a visit I made to INIFAT, the Institute for Basic
Research in Tropical Agriculture. A scientist there told me: Well, we are
working on that bacteria, and we propose to produce 100,000 liters this year. I
said: What do you mean, 100,000 liters? How many do we need? In less than 72
hours, we had made the necessary arrangements to produce 1 million liters of

33.  So all the vegetables here in Havana Province and other places have been
grown with azotobacter. Of course, it is better if you can give them a little
nitrogen because the azotobacter is not going to produce all the nitrogen, but
the azotobacter saves at least 30 percent of the nitrogen.  Not only does it
save nitrogen, it also acts to stimulate the plant. In a research project, it
has been possible to see the difference in growth of each plant. This may be
with a tuberous plant like malanga, or a tomato plant, or any other vegetable.
You can see the enormous difference in growth between those to which
azotobacter was applied and those to which it was not applied. The growth is
different depending on different applications of azotobacter, up to the point
where it makes no difference if you add more azotobacter. This is something

34.  Now they are studying (azoestirilo), another bacteria, a different
kind-not a variety of bacteria but a different bacteria. We are going to see if
by adding bacteria and varieties of bacteria-we must discover them in the soil
and multiply them, and as I have said, we are able to do this-we can reduce the
amount of synthetic nitrogen that must be applied. But if you use a leguminous
plant, the rhizobium can produce almost all the nitrogen the plant needs, and
not only that, but it leaves the soil enriched with nitrogen.

35.  We must find natural ways of enriching the soil. We can rotate sugarcane
with soybeans, certain amounts of cane, for example, the cane we would plant in
May and June.  Those are not good months for planting cane. There is a lot of
rain. But the soybeans can be planted in April and May, when you grind the
cane, with the appropriate applications of rhizobium, because we do not have to
depend only on what is in the soil. If you apply the rhizobium, apply the
rhizobium cultures to the seeds, those seeds fix much more nitrogen. You
harvest the soybeans and immediately plant the sugarcane, almost without having
to turn the soil again, possibly just plowing the furrows.

36.  We have begun a certain amount of this study this year, but to study the
situation, next year we will plant tens of thousands of hectares, rotating
sugarcane with soybeans, and then plant cane in the second half of the year.
That is a much better time to plant, with much higher yields per hectare than
for cane planted in May and June. The quality of the crop is not good and
cannot be good during the heavy rains.

37.  That is what this means.... [changes thought] And here I have given a
medal to the center that worked on the azotobacter, and I gave another to those
who worked on the (microrriza). This is a fungus, but what are its virtues? It
multiplies the plant's roots. It multiplies them to the point where, if you
have a cubic meter of land and you apply this microorganism, you can extract 10
to 15 times more nutrients from the soil than if you did not apply it, because
this microorganism grows on the roots of some plants. We are studying it for
sugarcane and many other things. It multiplies the roots to create a tangle of
roots that take up the entire volume of the soil where the plant is. If there
is a trace of phosphorus, it can get it. So in a difficult situation, the use
of microorganisms like this is a very great help to retrieve the nutrients that
are in the soil. Sometimes the level of certain nutrients is low, but it is
sufficient if the roots can retrieve them. This revolutionizes all the
agricultural concepts.

38.  Rosa Elena also mentioned the use of bacteria to reduce the density of oil
and to get much higher extraction of oil from the same well. Biotechnology has
fabulous potential, and this is also recent. It was only a few years ago that
we opened the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. We had opened a
smaller center previously to produce interferon. It was less than five months
between the time the news reached this country that interferon existed and
could be beneficial to treat cancer or certain types of cancer and the time
when we were producing it in Cuba. When we want to work quickly, we can
accelerate the processes for producing medicines because they are very

39.  This interest in finding medicines in the fight against cancer has boosted
science in our country. Because many lives could depend on those results, we
established the principle of the dedication of the scientific worker. A life
could be saved, depending on a research project, so there is no right to rest.
You must work night and day, all the hours it is possible to work. You must
work every day of the week. Today we can say that it is not one life-today it
is the country, it is the country's life-that depends on the research efforts.
That is why I would say that dedication is a very important principle that I
should mention today as an essential thing, an essential principle, for
researchers, revolutionary researchers, patriotic researchers.

40.  It is very important because of the urgency we have attached to solving a
great number of problems. In the health field, there is a world of problems.
New medicines are being found; some of them have been mentioned here. There are
others that have not been mentioned, but they may be relatively spectacular. A
new field has opened up, a tremendous field for the country's development. Some
high-technology medical equipment has been mentioned. We are working on that.
They also gave a medal today to the Central Institute for Digital Research
[ICID], for its contributions in this field.

41.  We could have given a lot of medals here today [words indistinct].
However, there was not enough space. But there are many people and many centers
in this country that deserve medals. Twelve were awarded. I think that,
symbolically, the comrades who received them deserved them. They are
representative. There are many centers and many researchers that could have
received these medals here today. As you saw, they even gave a certificate to
me.  That was a surprise. No one had told me anything because, of course, if
they had told me, they know I would have been opposed. They deceived me, or at
least they withheld information from me. They did not tell me they were going
to give me a certificate, and they surprised me here with the certificate. You
know, I value it a lot. But I received it under protest.

42.  I was saying that the ICID people received a medal. They have developed
very important equipment. We have an entire research center to produce
equipment to support science. Of course, they produce some very valuable
medical equipment, but their basic function is to support science with this
research and production center. They have developed the programs and automatic
equipment for the CENPALAB [Center for Production of Laboratory Animals]. Of
course, to make the programs and automatic equipment means that with $10,000 we
can do something that would cost $100,000 if we imported it. With one-tenth the
expense, we can solve the problem ourselves, because that center for laboratory
animals is a very complex thing, very complex. It needs to monitor a large
number of variables: temperature, humidity. This must be done automatically. We
make this equipment at the research center here. All the research centers have
very complicated equipment, more and more complicated equipment. The ICID is at
the service of the other research centers, especially in the field of
biotechnology.  So they are making a colossal effort in this area.

43.  I said before that the issue of scientific research had become a matter of
mass participation. I should say something very important now, which is almost
a privilege for us. In a capitalist country, all the research centers compete
with each other. All the hospitals compete with each other. All the doctors,
for example, compete with each other. A country that has social or socialized
medicine can get all the doctors to cooperate with each other, all the medical
institutions to cooperate with each other. But more important, it can get all
the research centers to cooperate with each other.

44.  Those 173 centers have to work in a coordinated way and support each
other. If one has some very sophisticated equipment, it should use it not only
for its work but also to provide service to several other centers. If another
center needs research in that area, that center can support it and cooperate
with it. This is why we have created the scientific hubs. In biotechnology.... 
[rephrases] For example, the western region should have three, in
biotechnology, industry-because this is not in the field of biotechnology-and
humanities, the humanities hub. The scientific hub for biotechnology has dozens
of institutions. The agricultural centers are included, all of them, because
that is a biological field.  This includes genetic engineering, immunoassay,
tropical medicine, even the food industry institute, CENIC [National Center for
Scientific Research], the Finlay Institute, even a new pharmacy school that we
have put under this area. The ICID is included. There are many centers that are
part of this hub.

45.  Those doing research on sugarcane are included. They meet every month.
There is a vice minister of public health who presides over that hub. Close
cooperation has been established between all of them. I say that this is a
privilege of socialism. If each research center has a different owner, they are
in competition with each other.  They do not cooperate with anyone. They keep
what they are doing secret. Of course, this does not happen by spontaneous
generation. If you let them, scientists under socialism begin to emulate each
other, and they begin to establish a kind of competition between each other.

46.  Do not imagine, you visitors, that our scientific effort has been free
from mistakes, blunders, and faults. I should say that when we started, we did
not know anything about science. We wanted to work in science because all we
had was a clear awareness that science was going to play a fundamental role,
would have to play a fundamental role, in our country and the entire Third
World. It is one of the factors that determine the great difference between the
developed world and the underdeveloped world.

47.  You cannot call them anything else. Some people euphemistically say the
developing world, when they should say the opposite: the underdeveloping world.
Every day they get further apart, and there is a greater gap between the
developed world and the underdeveloped world, the Third World. A determining
factor of this enormous difference-which came about for historical reasons that
this is not the time to analyze-has to do with science.  They are the only ones
who do research. In addition, they take away the best minds of the Third World.
This is not because many intelligent people from the Third World lack
patriotism, but rather that they like science, they have a scientific vocation,
but they have nowhere to do research. They do not have equipment, laboratories,
or anything. So they go. They leave their countries. They come back to visit
from time to time.

48.  The brain drain is one of the most dismal and harmful things the Third
World has to endure. Anything that shines a little is taken away. Nothing is
left. If there are no research centers, if some intelligent minds stand out,
they are taken away. What is left for the Third World countries? It was very
clear to us that science had to be promoted. But what was science? We did not
really know. What was an academy of sciences? We did not really know.

49.  Well, Rosa Elena has said that the first Academy of Sciences was founded
in 1861. Of course, there was somewhat of a scientific tradition in Cuba,
because there were some outstanding scientists, but they were only individuals,
over the course of more than 100 years or so.  I would say that for every
scientist in Cuba during the last century, or even at the beginning of this
century or before the revolution, today there are, there must be, at least
1,000 scientists. I am not counting university professors, university
graduates, or all those who may do research.

50.  But we did not know what an academy of sciences was.  We made some initial
efforts. We made some blunders.  We did not have experience. Among other
things, we did not have enough personnel. There were problems at certain times
when industry and other sectors wanted to take the most skilled students. The
universities wanted to keep them; the ministries wanted to keep them.  Really,
what needs to be done is to give priority to the scientific research centers.
Those who have the most aptitude and ability must be channeled into science.
Not so that they will be the only researchers, but so that they will be the
vanguard of the researchers. Because there must be hundreds of thousands of
researchers. Everyone must be a researcher. But we must train that vanguard.

51.  Of course, we did not do everything well, but we have been learning. We
were aware from the very first of the importance of science. I think today we
know something, something but not enough, but we know something, about what we
must do in this field. We have been discovering this. We have also given
enormous importance to the application of scientific achievements. We would not
accomplish anything if we did research and more research and put off applying
those scientific achievements. Of course, we have been forming a truly
scientific mentality in our country. We could say that this is now a policy.
For a policy to work, there must be a basis, a culture. There must be education
and awareness. We must form that awareness.

52.  But I see that everyone in our country is being armed with the tool of
science and research to confront our problems. I will not even try to list the
number of fields and opportunities science offers our country. But I can tell
you as friends that it is the fundamental tool the revolution has now, in this
very difficult time. To tell the truth, we are encouraged by the achievements
that have been made. We cannot say we are proud of these achievements, because
we should have achieved even more. If we had had the experience we have today
at the beginning, we would have been able to advance much further in this

53.  But, of course, this special period itself is forcing us to progress more
rapidly. It is not just that we are aware that science is a great tool. We are
not only aware of its importance, but we have an essential need, and this
essential need is to boost the sciences. Do not think that we are free from the
danger of that phenomenon of brain drain. In fact, we have a high awareness and
great patriotism among the vast majority of our scientists. But the enemy tries
to take away our scientists. Every time we become outstanding in one area or
another, they try and try to find out our technologies and discoveries.  That
is a kind of pressure that they exert on us, but it is not the kind of
phenomenon that is seen in the Third World. This is a force directed at taking
away our scientists.

54.  Of course, in the face of this, we can show nothing but patriotism. We can
show nothing but revolutionary awareness, which is what we have in these
difficult times.  No one knows what some of our scientists could be paid in
other countries. It would be a lot [words indistinct] scientists who lead
modest lives here, with the people and the revolution, for which they would
give anything.  Well, this is not only true of scientists. We must say the same
about many of our athletes, who have given great evidence of patriotism. Some
have been offered millions to become professionals, and in general-apart from
some very exceptional exceptions-they have been steadfast. They live very
modestly. They have [words indistinct] graduate from university. They are not
professional athletes, but in general they complete a university degree,
usually associated with physical education and sports.

55.  I think these are things that can be said, and since you have forced me to
speak, I wanted to mention them here, without meaning to run on at length. I
have already mentioned one of the issues that must be inseparably linked with
our country's scientists, today and tomorrow, because when we come out of our
special period, three fourths of the world will be in a special period. The
inseparable factor is dedication. I am saying this now, not for our guests, but
for all our dear comrades in science.

56.  The second factor, the second idea, the second value- not because it is
second in importance; it is as important as or more important than the first-is
modesty. If I was asked what we wanted our scientists to be like, I would
always say that we wanted them to be dedicated and modest. When
self-sufficiency, arrogance, and overconfidence begin to take hold of some
scientists, they stop being model scientists. No one-however much they know; no
one, no matter what their intelligence quotient is-owes it entirely to
themselves. In the first place, one's intelligence quotient is not a merit, but
rather may have been inherited or must have been inherited. It is a genetic
phenomenon, a combination of genes that made a person very intelligent.

57.  Second, they must have had a family that would help that person to become
educated, trained, and to study.  They encouraged their vocation. Third, they
must be in a society where they can study and go to university, without having
to be the child of a millionaire or a rich person, simply with that innate
capacity with which they came into the world. If society is not like that, the
same thing will happen to them as happened to my little friends in Biran. None
of them went to school. How many intelligent, capable children [words
indistinct] first, second, and third grade in school. In Biran, no genius could
get anywhere. No genius could reach sixth grade. There were hundreds of
children. The son of Don Angel, the landowner, reached sixth grade. That was
me.  [laughter] Then he went to high school.

58.  Then he studied at the university, in this case studied letters. I would
have to be very critical of myself because I did not choose a science major.
Really, I discovered later that it would have interested me more and was more
important. To be a lawyer.... [rephrases] The last thing I wanted to do was to
criticize my colleagues, because it would not be good for me to fight with
them.  [laughter] Because they are judges, magistrates, prosecutors, and
everything. They are very powerful. But in the society in which I studied to be
a lawyer-not this society-there were more than enough lawyers. There were so
many that the revolution did not even want to hear about lawyers. The
revolution did not show any concern about that until it discovered one day that
it needed laws, justice, and that it needed many people who knew about law, and
we promoted those studies.

59.  Alright, but if I was born now, I would not study law, for sure. Well, if
I had been born a while ago and was 15 years old now, [chuckles] or 16 or 17,
and I graduated from high school, I would study for a technical, or if possible
a scientific career. But, well, my little friends, the sons of peasants and
workers, were not able (?to do this). So to become a scientist, you must be
born into a society.... [rephrases] Because in the capitalist, developed, rich
world, not all the intelligent people end up in science. In contrast, in our
country, there is no obstacle that will prevent an intelligent person from
going into science. There is no obstacle, whether the person is the son of a
worker, peasant, agricultural worker or industrial worker, or a professional or
whoever, from any background. There may be a child who has no father or mother,
and is brought up in an institution or by a relative. No one needs any wealth
to take up any university studies in our country.

60.  Of course, this does not mean that everyone can study.  At the beginning,
we did promote having everyone go to university. We had a lot of needs. Now we
have almost the opposite problem. There are very high numbers. We are forced to
select people for university studies because if we did not, you can imagine,
there would be too many.  But the element that determines this is basically the
young person's merits, the young person's abilities. I say basically, because
sometimes the family also has an influence. We have seen that those who are
born in a family environment at a high social level have certain social
advantages over those who are born into a relatively middle- or lower-level
household, because the family has a lot of influence in one's habits, culture,
and inclination to study. Many of these things have an unquestionable
influence. But, well, these are factors that are not political. They are
social, and only time can bring about that equality among all families.

61.  But in our country, all those who have suitable abilities have an
opportunity. If such a society does not exist, if that genius is born in many
Third World republics, he will never be a genius. His genius will not become a
reality. There are many Third World countries where he would not have any
opportunity. I should say more: Colonialism provided some scientists, but one
every 50 years.

62.  Capitalism here is Cuba.... [changes thought] Because there are two kinds
of capitalism: that of the developed capitalist world, which colonized all the
other countries, and the world of the underdeveloped countries, the Third
World, which also have their capitalism, but it is underdeveloped capitalism.
Whoever is born in a capitalist country of the Third World has very few
opportunities to work as a scientist in his country. There are, naturally ....
[rephrases] Not all countries are in the same situation. But his opportunities
will be minimal. Unfortunately, that is how it is.

63.  Some governments show more concern; others less.  Some have made an
effort; others have not. Some allocate more resources; some less. Of course, we
should carry out a campaign to promote science in the Third World. We must
create an awareness in favor of science in the Third World. Often when I talk
with political leaders, I bring up these subjects, and in Guadalajara also, at
the famous meeting at which a lot was said about integration, and a lot was
said about neoconservatism.  Everyone gave an opening speech there and spoke
three or four times about each of the topics. I should say that I also spoke
about the different topics. We were forced to be brief because there were a lot
of speakers. Here there are only two or three of us, and I can speak a little
longer.  But there, I had eight or 10 minutes.

64.  I used one speech to urge the governments to work for public health in
their countries. I told them that they could do a lot with very little
resources. They do not have to wait for development. They do not have to wait
for development to reduce the average infant mortality rate in Latin America
from more than 60 to 20 per 1,000 live births. If they were going to reduce it
to our level, 10.7, they would need a significant level of medical development.
But to go from 60 to 20 per 1,000 is possible for any Third World country, if
they decide to spend a little money on it, if they devoted to public health
some of the money that leaves through capital flight, that is wasted, even,
many times, the money that is embezzled.

65.  Of course, I did not say to any of my colleagues that I was thinking of
any specific country. That would have shown a lack of respect or consideration,
if you wish, if I were to talk about embezzlement at a meeting of leaders. My
good intention was really to promote.... [changes thought] I did not want to
say that, not at all. I met many outstanding, intelligent, capable, and honest
leaders at that meeting. But I am talking about society. Unfortunately, in
general, our societies in the Third World have very serious problems when it
comes to resource management.

66.  There are very serious problems with capital flight. That is a fact. But I
urged them to work to promote public health. From our own experience, we
understand that you can do a lot with a little in this field. The second
exhortation I made was in favor of science. I urged them to pay attention to
scientific research and to give resources to scientific research. Really, my
conscience is at rest because I urged that. There is not enough awareness of
these problems. There is not enough.

67.  Perhaps more awareness has been acquired about education. There is a
little more development in education, in spite of the illiteracy problems that
persist, and the school drop-out problem, and the fact that more than half of
the people in many countries do not reach sixth grade. But, well, there is no
awareness with respect to health and scientific research in any case. I felt
the need and the duty to make an effort in that regard.

68.  But, well, to conclude, I was defending the thesis that genius is nothing
without the group, without the society, without others. Without the nation, it
is nothing. If a genius is a disinterested and a noble genius, willing to
dedicate the intelligence he received from nature to the service of his people,
then that genius is nothing without the revolution.

69.  Today, as we commemorate the 30th anniversary of those times when, without
knowing absolutely anything, we created an Academy of Sciences, let me uphold
these two values for scientists: dedication and modesty. I am not going to
disavow the bit about socialism or death; it is implicit, and I add: Fatherland
or death, we will win.  [applause]