Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Addresses Science Workers Congress
Havana Cubavision Television
Report Type:         Daily report             AFS Number:     PA0104161892
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-92-065          Report Date:    03 Apr 92
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     2
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       11
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       30 Mar 92
Report Volume:       Friday Vol VI No 065


City/Source of Document:   Havana Cubavision Television

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Addresses Science Workers Congress

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro Ruz at the closing of the Constituent
Congress of the Science Workers Union at the Convention Center in
Havana on 28 March- recorded]

Source Line:   PA0104161892 Havana Cubavision Television in Spanish 2230 GMT 30
Mar 92

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro Ruz at the closing of the
Constituent Congress of the Science Workers Union at the Convention
Center in Havana on 28 March- recorded]

1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro Ruz at the closing of the Constituent
Congress of the Science Workers Union at the Convention Center in Havana on 28
March- recorded]

2.  [Text] Comrade ladies and gentlemen: I have the impression that the family
has gotten larger tonight. It has been growing as the congress has progressed.

3.  We have worked for two days with the spirit of a contingent. I greatly
admire the men and women who work for 10, 12, and sometimes longer hours; at
times they even do heavy physical labor. However, I believe the work we have
done in the past two days has been very intensive, perhaps even more difficult
than doing 12 hours of physical labor, because we have made a great mental
effort. There has been a large number of speeches. Many topics have been
broached, all interesting, and attention has not wavered for a single minute.

4.  When I participate in events of this kind, I usually am in attendance for
the whole time, without leaving. That is now a tradition. I am, like Rosa Elena
[not further identified], a slave to my commitments. She made a commitment to
smoking [el cigarro], and I have made one to the National Assembly, where I
have not been absent for a single minute, since it began meeting. I have not
missed a single minute of any of the congresses I have attended. I bring this
up to support the fact that I can tell when a great effort has been made. I
have participated in many congresses and events of this kind, and I believe
this is one of those that required the most mental effort.

5.  That is explained by the importance of the topics we were discussing and
the interest we have in each of those topics. We have an interest in everything
related to science because of our awareness of the enormous link between
science and the solution of our country's problems. It is also explained, of
course, by the intellectual level of those present here. We have had many
national and international congresses. Sometimes they have been congresses of
teachers, professors, or doctors, but we have really never had a congress of

6.  Such an opportunity has been provided on this occasion by the creation of
the labor union. That does not mean it is not possible to hold an essentially
scientific congress or that the union cannot call a congress. I do not believe
that three, four, or five years will go by before we are all together again.
During the year, we meet with many of you, but not all together like this. This
is truly the first time that we have had such a meeting, with delegates and
guests who are all scientists. Naturally, an assembly of this kind has a high
intellectual level. It is not because of the manner of address, because we had
reached the conclusion that being a distinguished scientist does not make one a
distinguished director, and that a distinguished scientist did not have to be
appointed as director in consideration of the work or services he rendered. 
Being a scientist does not necessarily mean one is a skilled speaker or is
especially eloquent, although some comrades here have been eloquent and some
have demonstrated psychological insight and intelligence.

7.  Others were nervous; we could say that most got nervous. Dr. Lorenzo also
told us he felt very nervous; he is a brave and daring man, a surgeon who has
made very important breakthroughs. However, it seems he does not like to speak
in public and we do not force him to do so.  We have treated him with every
consideration, so we have not even asked him to say a few words. I did ask him
whether he would mind saying a few words, but he replied that he preferred to
do surgery. [chuckles] I personally asked him whether he preferred surgery and
he replied: I prefer things that have to do with surgery.

8.  I believe the intellectual level we have here has more to do with the
topics discussed and the many references made to the work you all do. We could
say we have never seen so many people with stage fright and so many nervous
people when it came time for them to speak.  That could also be interpreted as
our investigators' great sense of modesty and they way they have silently and
unselfishly dedicated themselves to their work without publicity.

9.  I can also say I have never seen so many people who wanted to speak,
participate, and share their work with others. Never have I seen so many
requests to speak. It is obvious there is a contradiction between the available
time and the number of people who had requested to speak. There were just too
many people who requested to speak. Any of you can understand with simple
arithmetic that 327 delegates could not speak. [chuckles] Despite that, all 327
delegates unanimously decided they wanted to speak. Despite all this, a defense
mechanism against the speakers was invented, especially if they went over the
assigned time by a few minutes. [chuckles] I could not help but laugh when the
pedagogic comrade, who by the way is very cute, said she had promised to speak
briefly. To add to this, the topic was not the best; but then she said: I only
wait for your applause to finish.  There was instant applause. Thus, a defense
mechanism was created to counter a phenomenon you yourselves had created. That
phenomenon had two aspects: the universal desire to speak and the universal
desire to speak too long. There were some, however, who heroically only spoke
for a few minutes. They received the most applause, which caught my attention.

10.  I meditated precisely on this lack of time. The meeting was necessary and
essential. Everyone wanted to speak and participate; I had never seen that. It
demonstrates several things, among which is the need for us to meet,
communicate with one another, and exchange ideas. It shows your willingness,
your devotion to your work, and the love you feel toward your work. It shows an
awareness of your work's importance. It also shows the great interest you have
in helping the country. You know that each of the topics you spoke about here
has much to do with the Revolution and the country's survival.

11.  All that is obvious. I believe our country has never before had the
privilege of having such a great number of scientists. There is not only such a
great number, but these scientists are of such a high caliber because of their
revolutionary, patriotic, moral, and human values. We were all very moved when
our companero from Santiago said this was the fruit the Revolution bore and
those present were an expression of the new man.

12.  I also know that no Latin American sister country has what we have in the
field of science. I would go as far as to say that few countries in the world
have what we have.  These countries may have a greater number of scientists,
especially those countries with many more inhabitants than we have. These
countries may have the resources we lack, but in many fields we have much more
experience.  I am sure none of these countries has personnel who have such
human and ethical qualities, who show such solidarity, and who are as selfless
as our scientists. In this aspect I am sure we are very much in first place.
You all know I am not exaggerating; you all know I am not being chauvinistic.
All I am doing is expressing an objective reality. I believe our country is
also aware of that.

13.  We did not start from a solid base in the field of discovery. Of course,
years have gone by. How many scientist did we have when the Revolution
triumphed?  How many scientific institutions did our country have?  How many
discoverers? We had nothing. We can say we started from zero. Our country has
inherited, as we mentioned in the beginning, the tradition of some very
outstanding scientists, but when the Revolution triumphed there was no base for
scientific development.  We must say that scientific development was attained
with the Revolution, and that of course did not happen the first day. There
were many trials and much effort. I have already explained how the academy
worked for many years and how the institutions mushroomed. I believe science
began to develop especially over the past 10 to 12 years.

14.  Many efforts have been made in that direction. There was a time when there
was not even a choice. Those universities that today boast-forgive me for the
word boast-of training scientists were, for many years, producers of professors
for the universities themselves. The best students remained there, and those
organizations themselves claimed the students. Very often, that left only the
other students to go into research centers. Of course, it does not apply to
everyone. There were some people who were interested in research even while
they were students; they had a vocation for research, but for many years, we
had graduates who were not the best students from the universities. Of course,
some of those who went into applied science were top students; they had a great
deal of vocation and ability. In general, however, they were not the best
students. I believe the best students, the ones with the most ability and
vocation, should go to the research centers. That should be a ground rule so as
to maintain the growth of science.

15.  Of course, I already told you that for a long time, a great effort was
made to develop research in universities. They were given resources of various
kinds and great support, because, since we knew that many of the best graduates
had remained in the universities, we wanted those graduates to participate in
(?research). In addition, for some time, we were very concerned because those
who became professors had not participated in production. Many engineering
graduates from various schools went directly into professorships without having
participated in production. It was a reason for concern, but it turned out to
be an inevitable need. In a few words, it was necessary to provide the
universities with enough personnel.

16.  Later, new ideas emerged: to rotate personnel, have professors participate
in productive or service activities, or have professionals with experience in
production and services become teachers. Of course, it was not exactly the same
with all careers. There are some careers in which-by tradition or because of
the way their personnel training was conceived-there was a close relationship
between teaching and services. One example is medicine.

17.  We continued to develop this idea, until at last, all hospitals became
teaching hospitals. Polyclinics, with the institution of the family doctor,
also became teaching institutions. Municipal and rural hospitals became
teaching hospitals. At first, there was only one teaching hospital. Today, all
hospitals in our country are teaching hospitals, and today there are programs
for the training of students in our country. The student practically spends his
entire time in a hospital. This is more feasible in the area of services,
especially medical services. It is feasible in the area of education, in the
educational services in which students can participate actively in the
provision of services and acquire great experience.

18.  It is more difficult to do so in certain careers, such as physics,
chemistry, and mathematics. Even so, we have created-what do you call
them-production teaching units. That was an important achievement that enabled
us to overcome the difficulty many university professors and students had in
finding opportunities to practice.

19.  I remember something else. When capitalism began to gain strength here and
when certain mechanisms were created through the system, it was difficult for
the country and its teaching institutions to find a place to train students,
whether mid-level technicians, skilled workers, or university students.

20.  They did not want them because they were either an annoyance or they could
affect certain economic indexes. So we saw how, in a socialist state where the
people owned industry, our students virtually could not enter factories. A true
contradiction emerged between capitalist-style mechanisms and the country's
vital need to train its people, and to do so at institutions that did not
belong to any capitalist or private owner, but to all the people.

21.  All of these difficulties were gradually overcome, and I can say
considerable progress has been made in many fields. I have mentioned teachers.
The professors of today and all future professors must study at the university
level.  All elementary school teachers must attend a university; they must
study at a university. Hundreds of thousands of teachers who had already
graduated under the former system later studied at universities.

22.  You must remember-it is not that long ago-that elementary school teachers
had a sixth grade education.  Today they must have a preuniversity education
and study five years at the university. That is progress.  Progress has been
made, and the same has happened with our nursing personnel.

23.  Nursing students, mostly girls, are studying at medical schools. The
number of persons entering medical school has decreased, but the numbers
entering bachelors degree nursing programs have increased at the excellent
facilities we have in most of the provinces for medical sciences. I have seen
them at the camps. A few days ago there were 5,300 medical students at 24
camps, and almost 1,000 pharmaceutical students at three others.

24.  Of the students mobilized over the past 15 days, almost all were
university students, and how well they worked.  They had the most difficult
harvesting period: the 15 days between mid-March and the end of the month. 
They will conclude work tomorrow, but they harvested hundreds of thousands of
quintals of potatoes that were put in cold storage. We must do what the bees
do: save now for later. They have done an excellent job. I have not stopped
admiring the spirit I saw in those students.

25.  It is true, as I said, that some of them do not even know what a good diet
is. If they are not taught, I doubt they will be able to recommend an adequate
diet for a patient.  However, they are truly excellent workers.

26.  They also seemed very interested in sports. They held sports contests. I
believe that on 31 March the comrades from the FEUC [Federation of Cuban
University Students] will bid farewell to that group of students with a
symbolic event. All of them cannot attend because they are spread out all over
the province, but they will hold a meeting with them and I believe they are
going to give what they collected to the Youth Congress. I can assure you,
because I have spoken with admiration about this meeting, that one feels pride
and admiration toward the students. I can tell you they were not only medical
students, but also students of pharmacy, technology, and other disciplines,
including law.

27.  The news I have about all the students who have been mobilized for 15 days
is very good. We had already heard that students in certain camps stayed up
late partying. They are young, of course, so they spend the night partying and
go to work the next day. We talked with the FEUC about what should be the limit
and when the music should end. It was agreed that the limit would be 2300, so
one has time for....[pauses] I said: No matter how young you are, when you have
slept two or three hours you do not work as well as when you have slept six or
seven hours.

28.  We have all experienced what it is to spend a bad night, and we
experienced that often in the mountains. Sometimes we walked all night to reach
a target and surprise the enemy. The next day we had to walk back and we would
feel the results of the efforts we had exerted the previous night. We were not
as physically fit even though we were well trained. I tell this to the
students. They really go to do work. They do not go there to party, but they
are young after all, so they are enthusiastic. They have even organized that
and have done so well. They have regulated their partying and their behavior
has been excellent.

29.  Yesterday I explained the worries I had during certain moments of the
Revolution. I realized from the very beginning that, with the universal
character of education, we could become a society of intellectuals. I have seen
university students-who are the maximum expression of the citizen who will
carry out work...[pauses] with preparation for intellectual work-whose conduct
is excellent.

30.  We were compelled to carry out these mobilizations of citizens from the
capital, create contingents in the countryside, and send students. But I
believe that if it were not really necessary, it would have been advisable to
do so. Few things have taught the people as much as this work and these
mobilizations have.

31.  Many times the people had no idea what kind of work was carried out in the
countryside-the work that was abandoned by almost all the youths when they had
the opportunity to do something else. It is hard work. Do you know who does
that work in Canada? The immigrants. In the United States? The immigrants. Who
do you think picks the olives, tomatoes, and all those things in Spain? The
immigrants. There are many jobs that citizens of the so-called super developed
countries do not carry out. Immigrants of Africa and Asia do this kind of work.

32.  The sugarcane harvest was done by slaves in the past.  The slaves did it.
Haitian and Jamaican immigrants did it for a long time, until demographic
growth and the lack of jobs compelled Cubans to stand in lines at the sugarcane
fields; but those lines ended as soon as the Revolution triumphed. The people
had hundreds of opportunities and they went there. How many people came with us
from the Sierra Maestra to the capital?

33.  And how many came on their own, following us? One may have given the land
and everything, and credit and everything, but the men who went to live there
because of the terrible pressure of capitalism-after having children who went
away to study and after those children made friends everywhere-came en masse to
the city, particularly to the capital. I can tell you that almost half of the
people who live in the capital today came from the other provinces, many of
them from Oriente. I know them from their physiognomy. I have specialized in
guessing even from what province a citizen comes. I do not know whether it is
the sun, or what; but everyone has a certain air. Without hearing them speak,
just by looking at them, I can spot people from Oriente, or their children.
Once in a while, in some camp, I make a mistake, but not very often anymore. An
Ecuadoran man or woman, a Peruvian woman, may have the look of a person from
Oriente, but one learns to single them out as being scholarship students from
some Latin American country.

34.  Actually, that work was abandoned by the youths. Now we have to go
further. We are now in the critical phase of the special period that has
greatly reduced our supply of materials, but we have to persist in the idea of
making whatever effort is necessary to create housing in the areas where the
camps are established today. Nevertheless, they have become a great educational

35.  If one analyzes all these things as I have been doing- matters related to
these problems of the sciences, the universities, and all that-one can truly
see we have made considerable gigantic strides; today those strides are more
solid than ever. Some of the results are beginning to be seen. I wish to say
that this month 1.7 million quintals of tubers, other vegetables, and fruits
are coming to Havana City. That includes citrus fruits. Large quantities of
citrus fruits are coming from Jaguey, because we have a large plantation there
tended by students. Some citrus fruits have come from the Isle of Youth, and
there are tomatoes from Pinar del Rio, where crops were planted with the idea
of sending supplies to the capital. Havana Province's contribution to the
provisions for the capital is growing.

36.  Of course, these provisions are in cold storage. There is a four-month
supply of potatoes in cold storage now, today. By 31 March, there will be a
five-month supply in cold storage. I refer to the end of this month, because
yesterday there were over 800,000 quintals in cold storage. These cold-storage
units have been built, expanded, or repaired over the past months and years,
over the past two years. That is equivalent to the provision of eight pounds of
potatoes per capita for May, June, July, and August. On 31 March, the supply
for September will be ready, and before 15 April, the supplies for October and
November will be ready. We will try to store more when we have a good harvest.

37.  One can see the people's work. One can see an important change in
organization and in many things that are being done with agriculture, in this
province more than any other. I already told you that in 1991, which we know
was a bad year as far as the weather was concerned, the state enterprises of
Havana Province contributed an additional 74 percent of tubers and vegetables.
That is good news, not just for Havana, but for the entire country, because the
provinces used to be tributaries of supplies for the capital.

38.  Of course the Matanzas fruit plantation is right next to the capital; it
is such a big plantation that when difficulties recently emerged with the
exportation of some of its fruit, a large part of it was sent here. I do not
know how long we will have the plantations in Pinar del Rio, although we have
increased food and vegetable production in Havana Province by more than 700
caballerias.  However, you must take into consideration that we also have oxen;
we have gradually introduced oxen, and they need grazing areas and food.
Therefore, we are not dealing with 700 full caballerias, but approximately 605. 
It is possible that the Pinar del Rio plantations, where rice crops are
rotated, will hold out longer. But the plantain plantations that use the small
plants produced at factories, biofactories, and-what do you call them- (?vitro
plant) factories, are growing. These plantain plantations are growing at a
tremendous rate; their growth is spiraling. It can be said that plaintain
growth is almost vertical. Even though plantain has the disadvantage of being
sensitive to cyclones, it is the plant that does the best during the hot months
and during times of excessive rain. In reality, Havana Province was not
producing enough supplies for the city, except traditional crops like potatoes.
Almost all other products came from the provinces. However, what I am saying
about the Province of Havana is that agriculture has had to make its greatest
effort here because this province has to feed almost three million inhabitants
from the two provinces, for which it has 42,000 hectares, but it has been a
success. Agriculture in Havana Province has been a success for the entire
country, in addition to the fact that the entire country is working.

39.  A great effort is also being made in Santiago de Cuba despite its limited
lands. There is an agricultural colony in Ciego de Avila now. Lands have been
set aside in Ciego de Avila and people from Santiago were sent there.  I
believe we are already receiving potatoes and other products grown by the
people of Santiago and Ciego de Avila. There is not enough land but they are
making a big effort.

40.  All the provinces are making a great effort; but to the extent that the
effort in the capital is successful, the provinces will benefit because they
will be free of the shipments they had to make to the capital of the Republic.
Of course, there could be special circumstances. Should there be a cyclone, no
one can prevent it.  If the plantations are damaged, the help of other
provinces is justified and necessary. If another province has problems, aid
from the other provinces is justified.  These are risks we must run, of course,
but risks will not destroy plantain plantations; all of those buried irrigation
systems and tubes would not be affected. We would simply stop producing for a
number of months, almost a year. However, the plantations would be restored. If
posts are felled, they can be restored. Other materials can be swept away; we
have calculated that, hoses [words indistinct].

41.  We have calculated what to do in case of a cyclone. We are developing
large plantations in the central part of the country, in Ciego de Avila, so
that if a phenomenon of that nature takes place, we can calculate the amount of
fuel we will need for the [words indistinct] to come, and to export the surplus
that may be produced if we are not faced with a [word indistinct] if the
situation is not [word indistinct].

42.  Unquestionably, the plantain plantations, with those irrigation systems
and techniques, are highly profitable from the viewpoint of exporting. They are
not like tomatoes. Their yield is a lot higher, they are a good quality food
product, the demand for them is good, and their prices are high. We must try to
produce a surplus; and if we do not need that surplus, we can export it.

43.  I was also very pleased to meet with the group from the psychological and
physiological institute, from the academy of sciences [words indistinct]. I saw
them working there [words indistinct]. Therefore, far from demoralizing the
people who truly have patriotic awareness and determination, these needs and
problems- which we did not create-have raised their morale and spirit. I have
seen many people protesting because they were not sent [to the harvests].
People who do certain types of work, who are employed at offices, or who could
not go for one reason or another because they were needed, protested. Everyone
is sending personnel now.  For example, people are being sent from the
Executive Committee, Council of Ministers, and Council of State.  They spend
time at their camps.

44.  The truth is that the effort is not evenly distributed because we must
also supply the scum. We cannot do otherwise; we are not going to starve the
scum even though they contribute nothing. They go about looking to see what
they can steal or what damage they can do, but the others [52-second break in
reception]. We must share eight pounds equally between scientific workers and
the scum.

45.  Of course, in distributing these material goods, we are inevitably very
fair; but that will not be forever. The day will come when distribution will be
in accordance with work performance. That is the true and fair socialist
formula. We are still a long way from communism, even though we have not
renounced it. I mean, our country has not renounced communism. I do not mean
just us here. Who knows how much time will elapse, but we do not renounce our
ideals, our goals. That is what we see as human beings. The scum have children.
Sometimes I learn through social workers the family problems of the scum. There
are people who sell part of their ration book [libreta]. These people live off
of it. Sometimes they even take it away from the children. They take part of
the food from their family [words indistinct].

46.  The state helps out as much as it can because this is the most
paternalistic state that ever existed. Never has there been such a kind and
humanitarian state. This state leaves no one abandoned in the street, does not
abandon any sick persons, does not leave a single human being to his own luck.
Many of these children belong to people who do not work and these children have
to be given milk and medicine. It is not their fault. Such an obligation is
unavoidable with the type of distribution we now have.

47.  We do not only see disagreeable and negative things; we see many of the
positive things that are taking place. The effort our people make today is
admirable. It is a proven fact that steel does not collapse. Steel is not made
of egg whites and steel does not collapse. The people are made out of steel.

48.  Despite all forecasts, the nation is resisting, and the nation is [word
indistinct]. Some day a written account will have to be made of how we resisted
with such scarce resources, of how we are being strengthened by such scarce
resources, of the agony we go through each day, keeping track of every penny,
of every product that is exported, of each ton of sugar that is produced here,
of the market prices. What counts today is the price on the world market
garbage dump. That is the price we are paid for sugar. At one time it [the
USSR] consumed up to 4 million [unit not specified] and it paid truly just
prices.  Now, often we cannot even get petroleum in exchange for sugar from the
former USSR because it does not have petroleum. What we say about the double
blockade is so true. Even in this the Yankees attempt to make things difficult.
They even offered the USSR 2 million tons of sugar, 2 million, to take away our
market and make it even more difficult for us to sell our sugar. No one can
imagine the difficulties we are having, how our comrades, how many of our
comrades are working with such determination, such serenity, with such scarce
resources, to keep the lights on; to keep the transportation that we have left
going so the trucks transporting tomatoes, potatoes, plantains, and food to the
cities keep rolling; to keep the freezers running; to keep the schools and the
hospitals operating.

49.  As I told the Latin American parliamentarians who came to our country, any
other people-other than the Cubans- would have exploded into a million pieces.
No Latin American people could have resisted. Some Latin American nations are
among the richest in the world, have some of the highest incomes in the world,
and they are having serious social explosions and destabilization.  They are
having very, very serious problems. That is why we say the imperialists cannot
claim victory yet, because this world is simply ungovernable. Even if the
United States remains alone in the field, it cannot govern this world. This is
a world that is still stunned by what has happened. [words indistinct] once
they start defying the power and the laws of the empire, because the laws of
the empire are simply intolerable.

50.  The measures imposed by the IMF on those countries simply annihilate them.
The IMF lends them thousands and charges them thousands. Their money simply
evaporates. None of those nations is under a blockade; but we who are under a
double blockade, we are able to resist.

51.  I told the parliamentarians not one child has missed school because a
school has had to be closed. Not one patient has been turned away from a
hospital because a hospital, a clinic, or a rural health center has had to be
shut down; none of those has been shut down. There are no homeless, no one
without an income. Not only that, every [words indistinct] are incorporated,
thousands of doctors, teachers, and professors. We incorporate them so that at
least others can study [word indistinct]. If we cannot continue building family
clinics at the same rate as before, we simply send the doctors to factories, to
camps, to work centers, or to other places [words indistinct]. We must try to
maintain this small number to continue our family doctor programs in the
community.  That is certainly something very important.

52.  I was explaining how nothing....[pauses] We even guarantee some income to
mid-level technical workers. We guarantee the greater part of their salary to
those who are left without raw material at the factory. And imagine: What is
recommended by the IMF and all those international credit organizations under
the imperialist's dominion is simply compassionless, inhuman, the most brutal
violation of human rights possible.

53.  It is incredible and this is happening before the eyes of the whole world.
Will that world react? Yes? Are you sure? You can see it in the situations of
countries with twice the resources we have now. The test we must endure is a
truly genuine test. But of course, when those societies explode, they will stay
exploded. If a society in the conditions that ours is in were to explode, it
would be blown into a thousand pieces and there is no one who could put the
pieces back together again.

54.  Our destiny would be like that of Puerto Rico or Miami: the whole country
sold off; the ideals, the goals and the independence for which so many Cubans
have fought since the first half of last century, surrendered. The fight to
preserve the country's independence began before 1868. It was started by those
who opposed the annexation movement in our country, when the slave states in
the south sought our submission to yet another slave state, and Cuba was to
disappear. It would even cease to exist as a nation. There were Cubans fighting
for the country even before there was a nation. I mean, they were fighting for
the opportunity to become a nation some day. That is what happened in 1868 when
Cuban nationality began to take shape in a large portion of the population,
that nationalist feeling.

55.  A society that would explode into pieces like a jigsaw puzzle that no one
else [20 second break in reception] important of our battle, given the
importance of science.  We knew that for a long time, but we viewed it as
something logical and elementary. Since it was said, some 30 years ago, that
Cuba's future had to be a future of scientists, that idea has been mentioned
many times.  And, as I was saying, [name indistinct] has worked very hard
during the past 10 or 12 years. At that time we were far from imagining this
special period. The things that have happened seemed inconceivable at that
time. We clearly saw the importance of science, as we clearly saw the
importance of the Revolution, and of health and of many other things. We looked
on the technological delays in the socialist countries with anxiety. We were
worried about the fact that they did their research and were successful, but
sold their ideas. They did not implement them.

56.  Science is not the same in a capitalist country as it is in a socialist
country. In today's world it should be a basic task of the government and the
state. It is elementary to give science all the attention it requires but in
some capitalist countries it receives more attention than in others. Some just
copied what other countries invented.  It was a cheaper type of technological
advancement.  What they left unattended would lag behind.

57.  The one thing to which a socialist country has to pay the most attention
is science. One cannot imagine in today's world, regardless of the social
system, progress without science or a step forward without science, and even
more so if a country is blocked and every effort is made to prevent its access
to technological advances. The entire Third World is blocked in that respect.
The developed capitalist countries do not transfer technology to the Third
World. They make investments, purchase factories, modernize them, and use their
technology in them in the fields of production and services. They do not
transfer technology and the Third World often lacks the capacity to assimilate
the technology transfer. Considering the collapse of the socialist camp, it
stands to reason that the role of science becomes even more important under
those conditions in a Third World- and blocked- country like Cuba. I want to
maintain that for our party and revolutionary government the issue of science
was a very big concern and a fundamental interest, simply as a matter of
concept, long before the special period started. One day I was stunned to learn
the infant mortality rate in the Soviet Union was three times higher than
Cuba's, and that countries like Hungary, which has a developed pharmaceutical
enterprise, produces large quantities of food and exports it, and has so much
land, had an infant morality rate 60 percent higher than Cuba's. I said: Nobody
cared about public health in those countries? Not all of these countries,
though. The conditions in some countries were better, but a large number of
them was below us in public health.

58.  We strove for public health and strove in the face of a U.S. medical
blockade and attempts to take our doctors away. The United States took away
half of them at the triumph of the Revolution, as they took away most of the
medicine faculty professors at the triumph of the Revolution. We began to build
the health program, which our country can be proud of, with the few professors
and doctors who remained here. [applause] It was not easy. It is the result of
a tooth and nail struggle against the enemy that tried to sabotage all our
programs and all our plans.

59.  We have done it despite that. We have not done it with imported technology
but with our own technology. We have developed our own health programs without
copying them from anyone. Even our doctors were trained here. It was a field in
which it was possible; in other fields it was not. There are numerous fields
where it was necessary to graduate and train technicians and workers outside
the country, in many socialist countries most of all. We are happy about that
and grateful for it.  No matter what happens, we can never be ungrateful for
that which life gave us, history gave us, socialism gave us, the October
Revolution gave us. [applause]

60.  We will not stop admiring Lenin and will admire him more each day. How we
miss him! We will not stop admiring the work of Lenin, whose remains are still
respected, and that is practically the only thing. We are aware of what we
received in those areas where we needed training and education. We must now
digest all of that well and, most of all, use it well. Although we have been
aware of the importance of science for a long time and even more aware with
each passing year, it can well be said that almost all the programs were
promoted as in the special period.

61.  When the special period came, the importance of science and technology
became more evident to everybody. All those factors will hasten the pace of
development of science in Cuba. This congress proves it; it expresses a
perceptible [chuckles] and clear manner. It expresses the huge interest, as you
wanted to state it, of what you are doing for the country. It expresses that
huge spirit of cooperation that is being developed. Look at the huge advantage,
which no capitalist country can have. If there are 185 scientific and technical
units or centers in a capitalist country, those 185 centers are competing
against each other; they are at war with each other.

62.  We have 185 centers cooperating with each other. They are working with
each other. They exchanging data. That is the great advantage of socialism,
which capitalism does not and can never have. We keep our secrets here.  If we
keep our secrets it is so they will not steal them from us. It is as plain as
that, because they want to steal our secrets, technicians, and scientists. We
must be aware of that. They know the effort we are making. They know we are at
the very top of the Third World countries. We are way above Latin America. If
we pull together what we have, I would say we have almost as much as all the
other countries combined. Most of all, there is the devotion to work. It is not
that there are no scientists. There are plenty of them and they are very good
workers. We know some of them. When a good scientist stands out [words
indistinct], however, they take him away. They immediately take him away to the
metropolis or the former metropolis. Most scientists, the large majority, do
not have laboratories, resources, or the possibility of doing research in their
countries. When these scientists stand out, the capitalists do everything in
their power, offer them conditions for research, living conditions, everything.
In capitalism, these scientists are involved in a struggle between them and the

63.  The same thing happens with the hospitals. All those private hospitals are
competing with each other. They are at war with each other. Doctors are at war
with each other. I know of very serious health problems in some developed
countries. Privileges in some way corrupt health workers, even those who work
for the state. In many countries doctors are entitled to have a number of
private beds in state hospitals. The private patients of those doctors can
quickly undergo any kind of operation, while others have to wait for months. I
am talking of highly developed capitalist countries with highly developed
medicine. All hospitals here cooperate with each other. The Holguin comrades,
as was stated here 27 March, asked the Ameijeiras Hospital for help in carrying
out or implementing the research they had conducted. I take advantage of this
opportunity to say we have here an outstanding doctor, Dr. Lorenzo [not further
identified]. We had the privilege of receiving him. He is here with us.
[applause] He worked alone, alone and without any resources. I asked him how
many sheep he had operated on. He said 80 or 60 operations have been performed
on animals from 1987 to date. He said he has had the technology ready since
1985. The sheep he worked on belonged to him [chuckles]. Imagine, he had an
idea but no resources. He used his resources. It seems he is not very skilled
at getting support for his work. A scientist can always clash with skeptics or
people who may underestimate the importance of providing 10 sheep. The sheep on
which he performed his first experiments belonged to him. It took him a lot of
effort to get the others before he made much progress.

64.  He said the technology....[pauses] Of course, after 1987 they were able to
conduct many tests on animals and reach a level of safety in what they were
doing. One day at last they got support from some comrades at the Ameijeiras
Hospital, Gomez Cabrera and Noel [not further identified]. They organized that
very successful, and I would say sensational, operation with a new technique.
As was stated here, it should revolutionize the method for performing liver
transplants. Now, we know.  We talked to him and the minister [not further
identified]. Tell us what you need at the hospital, what assistance is
necessary to continue their program. He told me this is a very important
technique, chiefly for children. The very successful technique is much more
applicable to children. We must now seek resources wherever they are to support
these researchers so they can continue their program. As a matter of fact, they
told me one of the things they need is for the construction of Holguin Hospital
to be completed. It is almost built.  They said an effort should be made to
finish Holguin Hospital because the Lenin Hospital is overcrowded.  The Lenin
Hospital is a massive block and is not easy to expand. The Holguin Hospital is
almost finished. How many beds does it have? The hospital has 1,000 beds,
right? It is a block. Has it a block annex? It will have, but that area has not
been built yet. [Unidentified speaker says: ``It is under construction. I think
the first phase could be [words indistinct].'']

65.  Right. In the effort toward scientific development, differing mechanisms
have been sought. One must not think we are only going to have the union; the
union is just another integration factor. We call it that: to integrate, to
cooperate, to seek the cooperation that is only possible and so basic in

66.  We have scientific forums, scientific centers [polos] is a better way to
say it. It constitutes an excellent work mechanism. It does not matter that
Pedro Ross is not yet fully up to date on how the centers work. The first
one....[pauses] We have pursued this based on the experience of the first pole.
We were looking for ways to establish close cooperation among all the research
centers in the area. At first, the idea was to do it by geographical area.
There were 10 or 12 centers, so why not have them cooperate with each other?
Cooperation among those centers began two years, maybe more, three years ago.
Then we started looking for other centers in the same field that were not
geographically close. For example, Cenpalab [Center for Production of
Laboratory Animals] is in Santiago de las Vegas; and Biological Compounds, an
installation that is almost finished and that will begin operating
soon-although a big factory is partially working now-is there in Bejucal.

67.  The ICIT [Cuban Institute for Technical Research] is in eastern Havana,
near Guanabacoa; ICA [Institute of Animal Science] is near Madruga; and CENSA
[National Center for Animal Health] is near San Jose. They are all
interrelated. What started [chuckles] as a relationship based on geographical
location has become a relationship based on their fields of work.

68.  The ICIT apparently has nothing to do with biotechnology and medical
sciences, but it happens to be essential [chuckles] and its importance was
demonstrated here. We will develop a great center, a good center. ICIT had a
few joint construction projects with the Soviets for electronic development in
the east, but all that was blown away, as (Joga) would say. A project was
drafted quickly and the work began; in fewer than two years the construction of
ICIT's research and production center will be completed.

69.  ICIT has, for some time now, supported scientific research centers in all
aspects of computers and electronics, besides other important things it does.
That electronics center would seem to have no relationship to this matter but
it has a major relationship with the other centers. Today we ascertained that
this center can help other centers of the country. It would be very good for it
to become a center to support the maintenance, repair, and development of other

70.  In Bejucal, which hosts an important center for the production of
laboratory animals, they have produced automated parts. They control humidity
and temperature with automatic equipment. Very important work is involved. I am
hopeful that ICIT will be able to help other centers.

71.  The conversation and debate here on the equipment and electronic
microscopes [chuckles] was very interesting. I believe that for the first time
we will know-because I believe that not even Rosa Elena knew exactly-how many
electronic microscopes are here. The number continues to grow. This afternoon I
was told that one of the best and most modern microscopes is in the Ministry of
Culture. It has to do with reconstruction or I do not know what-something
important. What does it have to do with? [audience shouts indistinct words]
With what?  [audience shouts indistinct words] Restoration and what? [audience
shouts indistinct words] And conservation. We now know that the Ministry of
Culture has an electronic microscope. I tell those who are near it: Find out
where the microscope is, what its status is, and what its used for. The people
of Cuba can even go on bicycle to see it, if need be. They can estimate
[laughs] whether the CENIC [National Scientific Research Center] is closer or
go there should there be a problem with CENIC one day. They say it is the best
microscope in Cuba. The Ministry of Culture received it as a donation. That is
one more; did you know it existed? Is it among the 18? My count does not
square, Rosa Elena, [laughter] because many were obtained here and there.

72.  It has been proven that there is a need for that center's services.
However, we are now creating scientific centers [polos]. It is true, as the
comrade from Villa Clara said, that the situation in Havana is different,
because there are large centers. But in Villa Clara all new construction was
assigned to the university; that is the truth, but we must continue to discuss
this problem. They have...[pauses] the (Nilo) group has about 80 professors,
but they have a group there. There is an interrelationship between the
university and everything else. I paid very close attention to the arguments.
We must not hurry. It is better to do things slowly and do them well rather
than make hasty decisions.

73.  We must build the Villa Clara scientific center. I believe the one in
Villa Clara was completed. The one in Santiago was also completed. We must
build at least three in the west even if they are built in Havana. We are
talking about many centers for the areas of biotechnology, medicine,
agriculture, and everything that has to do with life, biology, and so on. Also,
those having to do with industry. What did you name the ones you built? 
[unidentified person shouts: Industrial] You named them industrial centers. We
cannot forget about them.  The others will be social science centers.

74.  We now have to see how we can organize the centers and see what we will
do, because not all of them will develop at the same rate. Some scientific
centers will be small; they will not be very large. The one in Santiago will be
larger; the one in Ciego de Avila or Sancti Spiritu will be smaller. However,
that does not mean we must forget about it. We must organize them, because the
scientific centers guarantee the best cooperation, support, and exchange among
all centers at the local level. We are going to do that.

75.  We have the Academy of Science. We believe the scientific centers are an
element for integration. Another important element is the forum. That movement
has been going on for years and now is gaining tremendous strength. At one of
these forums, I noticed that institutions such as the Armed Forces were
participating. The Armed Forces has its own research center. Other institutions
are working on new methods. Nonetheless, I discovered that the scientists are
not in the Science Union. Just a few of them belong to it. I wonder: Why the
hell is it called the Union of Science, Education, and Sports, if only a few
scientists belong? Most of them do not belong.

76.  As I said earlier, I was able to observe the importance that union
meetings had with relation to those scientists who were in that union. They
discussed very interesting topics, and there were very interesting debates.
Then I said: Suppose we could hold a meeting of all the scientists? But I said
the forum was a very important element of integration, where the scientists
were not represented.  Scientists are now participating. How can one conceive
that movement without a vanguard or without a force that is the vanguard of
science? That helps the movement very much, and the movement also helps the
research centers very much.

77.  One has to see the amount of contributions made by that impetuous movement
of the forum that met every two years; we decided it should meet every year. It
is noteworthy to point out there were 30,000 proposals and 40,000 solutions. In
what other country of the world does that happen? Everyone participates in
that; it is a very broad movement. One probably finds that all research
scientists are there, as well as rationing experts, members of the Youth
Technical Brigades, and all scientists.  Everyone must be there, participating
with them.  The incorporation of all scientists gives it great strength.

78.  However, there is another element of scientific integration that is very
important. They have started much cooperation. You have no idea. I know of
research centers that have been receiving great support from the forum, such as
solving boiler problems and all sorts of problems. They were receiving support
from that movement. Now the scientists are joining that movement.

79.  Therefore, we have three elements of integration: the forums, the
scientific centers, and now the union. Therefore, we must not despair if
suddenly we are not all there.  Perhaps some are not there because we have
three important elements with which we are working, and not just the union.
That is an integration force, another force.

80.  I believe that with that, we complete things, more or less.  Now, the
union itself we must continue...[pauses] in the first place, we must finish
organizing the scientific centers. I imagine they will be organized within the
next few months. The [words indistinct] and the Science Academy are working on
that. In a certain manner, the Science Academy is also an element of
integration, but above all an element of leadership. In other words, the
Science Academy has a very important role. I believe it has the most important

81.  Never did the Science Academy have the instruments it has today-all the
forums and a trade union. That gives it great power. That activity receives
priority treatment.  That activity receives priority from the very scarce
resources the country has. [words indistinct] Every time we learn of a research
group, we have gone to explore, because not all groups are the same. I believe
we must create conditions so researchers can earn the right also to be in the
forum and the trade union. Of course, if 10 or 15 researchers group together
and nothing is done, there is no reason for them to be part of the forum. They
have no reason to become trade union members. We must encourage researchers to
earn their place in the trade union and the forum. Let them work for it.
[applause] Researchers cannot join unless they make use of their creativity.

82.  Each time we have learned that there is group of researchers we have
tracked them down, contacted them, and sent companeros to see them, wherever
they may be.  Had we known that in Holguin there was a companero, a group of
companeros, making liver transplants using a revolutionary technology, you can
be sure they would not have lacked any sheep. That is for sure. Nor would they
have gone without minimal resources for their work. The trouble is we knew
nothing about their work.  I found out through the newspapers about the first
operation. That proves how there are groups and individuals working.  Sometimes
results have been due to collective efforts, efforts of individuals, or efforts
of very small groups. Each time we have learned of the possibility of some
research program we have tried to see how we can help, to see what assistance
they may need, or what connections they need to make. It has been proven that
the correct path is found through cooperation. It is impossible for us to
duplicate equipment. Today we must learn to work with what we have; but before
we do that, we need a complete inventory. I believe there is a commission, is
that so? Does that pertain only to Havana? Or does it pertain to the entire
country? We need to have an inventory of the entire country's equipment and
resources. I believe cases, such as the one in Holguin, will receive assistance
more promptly with the mechanisms and institutions we have created. We will
know their needs sooner. As soon as we begin systemizing all this, and all
these activities, we are less likely to have a case like Dr. Lorenzo's, where
he was working there alone, without any support.

83.  We need to complement the ideas of our own union. I believe we need to
start from the basis we used as a reference to organize the congress. We need
to be cautious and carefully study the situation. We may well conclude that
what was said in Villa Clara is true. Well, Villa Clara has no big research
center, but there is no doubt that the university is an important science
center.  There is no doubt about that. The companero listed what they will not
have once the trade union begins to operate.  At least they will have a forum
there. You see, the rector himself presides over the Villa Clara forum. That
shows you how there are cases where in certain places research institutions may
be underdeveloped, while other institutions may be more developed. We shall
continue thinking about all this calmly. There is no reason to hurry.

84.  Future tasks will not depend on whether we rush to expand our fields of
interest or the institutions involved in these fields. It is better to start
slowly in order to arrive safely. There are still many things that need to be
clarified and solved. It is up to the secretariat and national committee to
work it out and harmonize all the ideas we have discussed today, if we are to
accomplish our objectives.

85.  I believe a lot has been discussed, and all the issues have been analyzed.
Once again I insist that if anyone still feels the need to present an idea or
suggestion, that person should feel free to do so. We will study the idea as
long as you do not send us 200 dissertations all at once.  If you send us 200
dissertations-each as long as a telephone book-I honestly cannot guarantee I
will read all of them. However, if you send me 15, 20, 25, even 30 papers, I
will do my best. If not, I will do something similar to what you did with
geography, where you did not finish everything you read. It can easily be
determined with a simple mathematical estimate. The first half obtained five
more votes than the second half. I do not believe the qualities and virtues of
our fellow candidates were used to prepare the list. The names and surnames
were used. Unless all those who are named Fernandez, Castro, or
Valls....[pauses] No, not Valls [Arnaldo Martin] as his name is written with V
and that letter is practically at the end. He got to touch on two issues: the
proposal related to cigars, in addition to [laughs] some other place over
there. Whatever the case, Vall's biography, I really do not know....[pauses]
But anyway, you can clearly notice that a careful selection was made all the
way to end. I think there was a fellow colleague who obtained 311 votes. She is
very well known by several of us. According to my simple mathematical estimate,
when compared with the first half of the list of candidates, the average was
five votes fewer from the second half down to the Z.

86.  As I said before, of the issues discussed in this congress, there are
still things left to be determined and solved. I also mentioned we had already
discussed several problematic issues.  I insisted on the fact that if there are
still proposals you want to make, do not hesitate to present them. You are
scientists accustomed to preparing reports, and you do not tend to extend
yourselves. If possible try to stick to 10 pages, but try not to send more than
15 pages. Just try to imagine for a moment. If ten persons write 15 pages, that
is 150 pages. If 30 persons send 15 pages each, that represents 450 pages.
Nevertheless, regardless of the number of pages you send, I am willing to read
them. I just mentioned these figures as guidelines. If you send your ideas,
rest assured that I will read them. [Applause] Maybe that could be a solution.

87.  I am glad that all the different research centers representing the natural
sciences, mechanics, biology, and social sciences had an opportunity to
participate in this congress. I believe it has been possible clearly to
perceive the importance of the social sciences and the contributions they can
give to our country. It has also been possible to notice the contributions that
are possible if we all work together and have a clear understanding of what we
are looking for and our objectives. I believe this experience has been
integral. I repeat, it is the first time all the centers, the main research
nucleus in the country, and all the fields of investigation have been able to
come together; we should really feel satisfied. It is really good that,
considering the Union of Young Communists congress, we should have had such a
positive scientific congress. We have all felt satisfied. Our efforts have been
rewarded. In that respect, I believe the organizing committee should also feel
satisfied. They were happy. I told them: I think everything will go well if the
afternoon session-when participants will discuss who is there and who is not,
and other concepts-does not become disorganized. The last session has ended. It
was also useful, positive, and constructive.

88.  I think that all there is left is for me to say something before you
applaud too much [laughter heard in the background]. Thank you for your
efforts, your interventions, your work, the satisfaction we have felt
throughout these two day, and the encouragement everything we have seen here
has given all of us. Without triumphalism, we can say that many things are
being done. With an eternal spirit of nonconformity we must say that almost
everything is still pending. Consequently, with more reason than ever, we must
say: Socialism or death, fatherland or death, we will win. [crowd chants]