FBIS-LAT-93-216 Daily Report 10 November 1993 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Comments on Career Shifts, Defections FL0911154693 Havana Tele Rebelde Network in Spanish 2150 GMT 7 Nov 93 FL0911154693 Havana Tele Rebelde Network Spanish BFN [Comments by President Fidel Castro; Abel Prieto, president of the National Cuban Writers and Artists Union; Manuel de Jesus Limonta Real, director of the Center for Biological Research; and an unidentified delegate at the Havana Communist Party of Cuba Assessment Meeting in the Havana Convention Center on 7 November -- recorded] [Text] [Unidentified delegate] Today, the U.S. biotechnological industry is a wasteful industry. It grows through the help of the multinational pharmaceuticals corporations, something we do not have. In other words, the extrapolation of business schemes is dangerous. So we are obliged to be very creative in this sense. I believe the response is, or begins -- since I am far from having the solution to the problem -- with the concept that we need to achieve self-financing of the biotechological system as a system; not as units, but as a system. The fact of having a level of national integration and self-financing should release no one from the responsibility of answering for what he or she does and for the results of what he or she does. We should not lose the opportunity to launch joint operations, because integration is not only a problem of awareness; we need an awareness of integration but we need to implement it [passage indistinct] and for the party organizations in the science and technology centers. It refers to the competition and pressure that the research centers are starting to feel from the emigration of cadres to other sectors: specifically, tourism, joint enterprises, and certain corporations. This competition was not felt in the past, was almost nonexistent. Nevertheless, because of the special period, it has become a problem: the favorable working conditions, in the economic sense, that some researchers see in these sectors. It is not an alarming problem or one of great magnitude, but it is a problem the party must take care of. I am sure that our most brilliant and dedicated scientists do not feel this temptation. However, a research center does not operate with brilliant scientists alone. It needs plumbers, electricians, glass workers; it even needs scientists who might not be top-ranking scientists, yet whose work helps complete products. This is something that has been felt and it is a challenge for our research centers and, I believe, for the party organizations as well. Here we need to follow a proper policy of attention to the workers and an adequate policy of stimulation and ideological work united with labor unions and management to prevent this from becoming a problem. [Castro] Give us some examples of workers who escaped to tourism. [Unidentified delegate] One particular case: There is a strong demand on cybernetics engineers. [Castro] Where do they want to take them? [Unidentified delegate] Some have already gone to work in hotels. [Castro] It is good that we discuss this here. Because I believe we should not leave it to chance that these individuals go to work in that sector. I believe we need to combat the pirating of scientists. We must say to the tourism organizations present here today, to National Institute of Tourism [Intur], Cubanacan, Gaviota, or to whomever, that to participate in an act of pirating [passage indistinct]. [Unidentified delegate] [Passage indistinct] training time in the sciences is very valuable. Sometimes, replacing a person who knows how to do two or three things is a difficult task. But we must also work with the workers, because there are cases in which, when we talked to the corporations to which they want to move and they have responded positively, there is then a conflict when the worker says that if he does not go to that company, he will go to a different one. The work has to be done, as you said, with the cooperation of the tourism organizations and the corporations; but there should also be adequate work on our part; otherwise, the worker becomes disgruntled. This is a problem that could become a danger and I am glad that you, Commander, see it that way because these are our main wealth. Equipment can break, buildings can fall apart; but as long as we have brains and trained people there is a future, a possibility that science and technology will play a decisive role in Cuba. [Castro] What did they go to do at the hotel? [Unidentified delegate] To program computer systems -- a job I think will cause professional frustration because that is a task that takes months. These types of things could be resolved by our specialized organizations as a generalized service, without the need of resorting to that. Deep down, the problem is an incorrect attitude on the part of those who want to find a place where the work is easier. In other words, the research centers feel pressured. [Castro] That is the fad: Many people want to go to the corporations. Many good people, scientists, slackers, scoundrels, and also every relative. Limonta? Is Limonta [Manuel de Jesus Limonta Real] around here? How many people from genetic engineering have gone to hotels? [Limonta] Esteemed Commander, comrades, luckily none. Nor have they stayed abroad. [applause] Last year.... [Castro, interrupting] Not everyone has the same care about the people they send abroad. Not everyone has the same spirit. Not everyone has the same sense of responsibility. Here we have universities and other entities sending and moving people around -- and some stay abroad. What you have said does not cease to be a true record in this time and period. One could not praise more highly the quality of the people that you have working there. [Limonta] Excuse me, Commander. I can say that in 1992, 166 comrades from the center traveled abroad and none of them stayed. In 1991, 130 traveled abroad and none of them stayed. This year, 112 comrades have traveled abroad and none of them has stayed. [Castro] And we are in the special period. And surrounded by a hostility, propaganda, and a formidable stimulation for defection. We must do a good job. Sometimes we send some simpleton, or friends, for some subjective reason. Others go abroad to spend the special period -- a three-year grant. There are some around. In all areas, not only in the scientific field. I would say [passage indistinct] that there are more people spending the special period abroad. Is that right, Abel [Prieto]? [crowd laughs] [Prieto] In the artistic sector, 5,000 people travel annually, some with their families. In statistical terms, there have been defections, as there have been in other sectors. I do not think statistical terms explain this sort of thing. Sometimes a less important person, or ten less important people, stay; when people of greater importance stay, this carries greater weight. In cultural terms, we cannot apply statistics. I continue to believe, and I have said this on several occasions, that the defections in the cultural sector and the people who are living abroad during the special period are a minority that does not represent the revolutionary force or the unity around the Revolution, which are the roots of the Cuban intellectual movement. This is something I perceived in assemblies in all provinces of the country and in Havana City, assemblies where people attended massively. People travel by personal invitation, where the fare and lodging are paid for, and their families are invited on many occasions. We have had an open policy in coordination with the party and other institutions. They are offered all types of things. I am sure scientists receive all types of offers. I believe this phenomenon -- of course, I believe this is not the place or time to include a detailed analysis of this problem and its effects -- but I did not want the assembly to believe, and I know you brought it up with that intent, that there is a massive exodus or migration or that the people are escaping through all possible means. There has been a trend, which has grown in the last few years. There is an old trend that is part of the culture, from Alejo Carpentier to Nicolas Guillen and Wilfredo Lamb; it is an old trend in culture that forms part of the internationalization of the cultural field. It is an old tendency in Cuban culture that has surely grown with the special period. I believe that, in statistical as well as qualitative terms, this cannot result in a generalization of the artistic and literary sector. I believe that the image presented a while ago when Alicia, Ruben, and I spoke about this, including Eusebio, is not a demagogic image nor is it an effort to avoid an in-depth discussion of a problem. I would like someday to discuss this issue in depth, to discuss thoroughly the reasons some people leave, and who. For example, many people with no source of employment leave. A scientist travels, but he has a high moral incentive. He is a savior of the land, a man involved in important moral work. His labor has great moral support. At times we lose certain actors who today are in Venezuela, other artists somewhere else, a sculptor who left with his family -- somebody who had not had a commission in two years. At times, there are people who leave because we have not given them enough attention; we have not provided sources of employment. There are people who feel useless. There are people who have not had a commission in two years. This is the reason I mentioned the soap opera production house, not because I like soaps so much but because I believe it is a source of income for Cuba, a source of employment, and a way to tell people about this fatherland and nation. Our commitment cannot be seen in abstract terms. Our commitment has to be seen in connection with everyday people and their work. The other day I was telling a reporter that if you send someone to Marianao.... [pause] You can lose someone either by his leaving to Venezuela to wait out the special period or by sending him home to Marianao without work to face the daily struggle of the special period. His job becomes meaningless; this makes him feel useless and he feels that society does not value his creation. I would like to discuss this in depth on another occasion. I believe this is not the time; but since you have alluded to this with the most constructive of intentions, I would also like to explain. [Castro] I believe your explanation is quite apropos and I wanted to remind you that I have supported, along with you, the idea of this opening to give every possibility and facility for those who want to work abroad because I believe it is the most correct and intelligent policy we can conduct, for precisely the reasons you mentioned. We do not have materials, facilities, or work for many of these people. This is true. It is also true that there is great pressure upon intellectuals to make them stay abroad. Many times, in order to get a job, a political declaration is demanded of them. They are not welcome unless they renounce the Revolution. Otherwise, they are not given jobs. There is pressure on them and also on scientists. We are experiencing very difficult moments where less hardy people are capable of incurring some of these indignities, such as renouncing the fatherland and the Revolution, in order to get a job. [applause] I think your explanation was good. You are right about my intentions. I only wanted to tease you. [Prieto] But you do not know the weight your joke can carry and its consequences for my work. [laughter, applause] [Castro] I am very glad if it serves to stimulate the self-respect and sense of honor of Cuban intellectuals. [applause]