Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC



Castro Visits Hospitals To Check on Optic Neuritis Patients
Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks

Report Type:         Daily report             AFS Number:     FL1005021993
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-93-089          Report Date:    11 May 93
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     3
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       4
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       10 May 93
Report Volume:       Tuesday Vol VI No 089


City/Source of Document:   Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks 

Report Name:   Latin America 

Headline:   Castro Visits Hospitals To Check on Optic Neuritis Patients 

Subheadline:   Remarks on Controls 

Author(s):   unidentified reporters in Santiago de Cuba on 9 May-recorded] 

Source Line:   FL1005021993 Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks in
Spanish 0000 GMT 10 May 93 

Subslug:   [Interview with President Fidel Castro by unidentified reporters in
Santiago de Cuba on 9 May-recorded] 

FULL TEXT OF ARTICLE: 1.  [Interview with President Fidel Castro by
unidentified reporters in Santiago de Cuba on 9 May-recorded] 

2.  [Text] [Reporter] Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz this afternoon
visited the Ambrosio Grillo Hospital in El Cobre, 20 km from Santiago de Cuba.
Thus, he continued his tour of several Santiago de Cuba Province hospitals he
began on 8 May. The goal was to learn about the progress of the patients
affected by the epidemic neuropathy. In each place, Fidel urged the people to
have faith and the response was positive. 

3.  Esteban Lazo, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba in Santiago de
Cuba Province, and Public Health Minister Julio Tejas also participated in the
tour. Fidel, besides wishing the quick recovery of the patients, recalled that
today is a special day and wished the Cuban women happiness. 

4.  [Castro] A lot of happiness for all Cuban women.  [applause] 

5.  [Reporter] Later, while speaking with the press, Fidel was emphatic in his

6.  [Reporter] Commander, can we talk about some control of the epidemic in the

7.  [Castro] Well, that depends on what you mean by control. The situation is
under control. The epidemic is in full bloom. It is developing and there are
certain symptoms, like the occurrence of optic neuritis, or an increase of
peripheral cases and other indications. 

8.  [Reporter] We can say that the battle against the epidemic is in full

9.  [Castro] The battle is in full force with all the force and energy [words

10.  [Reporter] Which province in the country was the most affected? 

11.  [Castro] Well, it began in Pinar del Rio Province. The western provinces
were the ones most affected. All this began there. I have already said that it
took many months to reach the eastern provinces. But it affected some provinces
less than others. There are some provinces less affected but they have the same
rate more or less. Of course, those that were affected first are the ones that
have more cases. 

12.  [Reporter] The patients have a lot of optimism that they can overcome this
situation, especially those who are suffering the epidemic. 

13.  [Castro] One can see a good attitude, optimism, contentment, satisfaction
with the treatment and attention they are receiving, which I have been able to
see. I visited three hospitals and in the three hospitals that had in-patients,
I must have spoken with 200 or more than 200 patients. 

14.  [Reporter] Castro also responded to other topics of interest: 

15.  [Reporter] Commander, I am interested in something that is perhaps a
little off the subject, but as a result of the national disturbance that
occurred, I think it would be interesting to hear your opinion about the
following.  Does the recent accident of an important cargo of tires at Havana
Port affect in some way the conclusion of the sugar harvest in these very
decisive times? 

16.  [Castro] It affects the agricultural and sugar harvest activities since a
number of tires were destroyed. It was important and painful. Because it was a
significant blow at a time when we are making the efforts we are making in
agriculture and the sugar harvest. But the sugar harvest is being affected more
right now by this rainy season. It is an exceptionally rainy period. No one
remembers a period like this. When you fly over the eastern part of the
country, it is usually very dry at this time of he year. Everything is green
and the reservoirs here, around Santiago de Cuba, are full. When for how many
weeks, we could say months, Santiago de Cuba had a big headache with water. We
are building canals and we will continue building them, searching for solutions
and we will continue searching for solutions for when another drought occurs. 

17.  But the rains have brought a great deal of water. If they only could have
come a little later, like in June, July, or August. It has been raining
throughout the dry period.  This not only hinders all the cutting and
transportation work of the cane but it also considerably reduces the sugarcane
yields. It affects the preparation of land. It affects all the activities.
Yesterday was a very rainy day.  Today is also rainy. The weather in Santiago
de Cuba has changed but the incessant rains have damaged the sugarcane the

18.  Of course, the loss of all these tires was painful, very painful. They
were cart and tractor tires. This affects things in some ways but mainly they
were the reserves that you also need for other activities, planting and
cultivating the sugarcane. In his sense, the loss is significant. 

19.  [Reporter] Despite the difficult situation of the country, we get a
feeling of enthusiasm from you. 

20.  [Castro] I have always had a good disposition to deal with problems and
difficulties, rather than enthusiasm. I have a good disposition, serenity,
calmness, which we should all have in the face of difficult circumstances. 

21.  [Reporter] This is contagious. 

22.  [Castro] I hope so, but I also get it from the people, whom I see working,
struggling. I do not just project it but I also receive it from everyone, even
the patients. It encourages me when I see them content and happy, joking
around. I also joke and alk with them. 

23.  [Reporter] I have heard you say have confidence several times today. 

24.  [Castro] Yes, I told them to have confidence because the great majority
gets better but to some, who are taking longer, I told to have confidence. They
are going to get better. But in general, what one hears, when you talk to each
one is that they are getting better. I have also asked about symptoms. They
began with some symptoms, such as cramps in their feet and basically all that.
Of course there are different symptoms. I have seen different types during the
visits to the Saturnino Lora Hospital and the new General Hospital. 

25.  We are lucky to have finished such a hospital with a great capacity. I say
this at this hospital and I have seen different symptoms and overall there is a
favorable evolution. 

26.  [Reporter] Therefore, with this contagious enthusiasm, we will see you on
26 July for the 40th anniversary of the assault on the Moncada Barracks here in
Santiago de Cuba. 

27.  [Castro] It is not enthusiasm, rather a good disposition.  I am not
enthused about the epidemic, but I am enthused with the people's fighting
spirit against the epidemic. 

28.  [Reporter] We will wait for you here in Santiago de Cuba for the 40th
anniversary with your enthusiasm, which is contagious. 

29.  [Castro] This historical date corresponds to Santiago de Cuba by right,
but besides the right, for tradition, for tradition. [repeats] The celebration
is held every five years here in Santiago de Cuba but they have earned it in
every way.