A Battle Cuba is Sure to Also Win
- From: marcelocrisanto@xxxxxxx
- Date: 25 Nov 2005 11:03:42 -0800
As Cuba seeks to fairly distribute its energy resources to the
population and prevent excessive oil consumption, President Fidel
Castro said his government has several ideas on how to make that a
The president spoke Wednesday evening on "The Round Table", a nightly
TV and radio program hosted by journalist Randy Alonso and which
includes prestigious Cuban analysts on local and world affairs.
The program centered on the salary, pension and social welfare
increases and the new electric rates announced earlier in the day.
Fidel Castro said the moment had come to announce the measures, and
that they were crucial for the future of the country.
Maybe we're the first and only country to have publicly questioned
its energy consumption habits and the risks faced by humanity due to
the uncontrolled waste of oil, a non-renewable resource, said
He expressed the urgency to adopt the conservation and salary
measures before the end of the year, as part of the programs being
developed by the Revolution.
Fidel Castro said that some people might question why the measures
were so long in coming, noting that a comprehensive government study
had to be completed beforehand. He added that the announcement
reflects the work of a team that included participation from the
corresponding government entities.
Regarding wages, the Cuban leader said the new increases were part of
a review of the country's salary structure and that regulation of
hard currency incentives is forthcoming. He noted that the socialist
principal of "from each according to his/her ability, to each
according to his/her needs" is strengthened by the measures.
Fidel Castro recalled that salaries, pensions and social assistance
had been raised months back, saying continuing the process could wait
no longer and involves all sectors of society in terms of wages.
For some the increase in electric rates will have little or no
effect, however those that use the most energy will either have to
cut consumption or come up with the money to pay for the service,
said Fidel Castro.
We had to make the move to raise rates for the biggest consumers
because we are seeking a savings that is part of the country's
present and future development plans, he added.
This is a Socialist Revolution that seeks true equality, something he
said has not occurred with the history of humanity over the last four
or five thousand years.
MENACE TO HUMANKIND
Fidel Castro described the accelerated depletion of oil reserves and
their irrational use as one of the most serious, daunting, and
dangerous problem facing today's world. Wars like the one unleashed
on Iraq have been fought in order to guarantee a steady supply of
oil. The US also worked hard to achieve the disintegration of the
Soviet Union, with the goal of seizing its large oil wells.
We are witnessing the terminal stage of US imperialism: The
globalized empire. It not only unleashes military conflicts to expand
its domination, but it also has 200 or 300 military bases scattered
around the world, including the one it maintains on the illegally
occupied territory of Guantanamo, Cuba, where horrible acts are
committed on a daily basis, which are even worse that the horrendous
acts committed by the dictatorships of Machado and Batista in Cuba,
and in other Latin American nations by rulers like Pinochet and
Since it is in a terminal stage, US imperialism wants to expand its
power worldwide; so we are faced with dangers that affect everybody;
let's face the reality, and see things just how they are, he
There are tragedies and wars for oil, he said, noting that risks have
piled for the survival of the human kind. Right now, he said,
Washington wants to force Iran to burn all its gas and oil, with its
demand that it does not use nuclear energy to generate electricity.
France, he added, obtains almost 80% of its power from nuclear fuel,
and this has been occurring since the oil crisis of the 70s, when the
oil price climbed to nearly 45 dollars a barrel in 1975, a figure
which has amply been surpassed and currently stands above 50 dollars.
FOREING MEDIA FABRICATIONS
Once again, the new decisions announced by the Cuban Government to
improve the standard of living of the Cuban people have been the
target of distortions by international news agencies. They have
pegged the salary and pension hikes with a supposed equivalence to
the US dollar without explaining the major differences in Cuban and
capitalist economic systems.
The Cuba president said it was a big lie to say that a Cuban salary
is the equivalent to 10 US dollars. That statement, he said, is at
best misguiding, because it ignores that citizens in this country
receive healthcare and education totally free of charge, and that the
basic staples, electricity, and medications are heavily subsidized by
the state. An outing to a museum, a theater or a sports competition
is affordable to all, said Fidel Castro.
Cubans, he added, also enjoy TV broadcasts for free, without the
constant interruption of commercial advertisements.
Lots of lies are written about Cuba every day, and it is done with an
all too clear intention: giving the idea that Cuba is a downtrodden
country, where people barely earn 10 dollars a month, said President
Castro. Ours is the fight to rid ourselves of injustice, plundering
and lies. No other country in the world, he stated, has been able to
raise the real income of people as we have done here in just one
He argued that money alone does not reflect the value of living with
dignity, education, security, having an infant mortality rate lower
than six, and a life expectancy which already surpasses 72 years of
PROBLEMS WE MUST FIGHT AGAINST
Fidel Castro acknowledge that there are still people in Cuba who want
to live without working, at the cost of others; "We well know that a
new class exists today that came out of some of the trying times the
Revolution had to go through, especially during the years of the
special period when the US blockade got much worse and economic
relations with the Soviet Union disappeared."
The Cuban president said that the country needs to openly talk about
these problems, that there is no culture of economics in Cuba and
that most people don't understand where money comes from. He added
that people must realize that salary increases mean nothing if not
accompanied by a similar rise in available goods and services. He
stressed that Cuba is at a point where it is ready to do this, with a
revalued peso that will maintain its correlation with the convertible
peso, even though he noted that the US dollar continues to have an
unbearably high value.
Fidel Castro also acknowledged that many of Cuba's leaders and
officials also lack a solid economic understanding, adding that, due
to the course that the Revolution has undertaken, what is most
understood by the population is a system of distribution, where every
person has the right to their share.
Fidel went on to say that Cuba has suffered from bureaucratic
mistakes that have lead to waste; as happened in the years when it
was receiving 14 million tons of oil a year from the former USSR. He
said that these bad habits greatly exasperated the situation facing
the government when it was all of a sudden left with nothing when the
socialist camp fell.
He noted that at this time, which marked the beginning of the special
period, 95 percent of all homes where on the power grid and ways had
to be found to keep these powered, along with the transportation
system, hospitals, schools and industry.
The Cuban president said that the current problems affecting Cuban
society can not be fought only by legal means, and that the extent of
the problem must be met with a sizeable force of conscientious
individuals, like social workers, joined by another considerable
corps, that of the university students.
Fidel recalled that no other society in history has advanced as
quickly as Cuba in eliminating social inequalities in order to offer
all its citizens equity, justice and the best possible standard of
Fidel Castro said that Cuba still has a way to go in fully
implementing the principle of social distribution but added that the
new salary increases are another step in this direction, representing
the main material incentive for people's contributions to society.
The Cuban leader said he trusted the values present in Cuban young
people and spoke highly of the human capital developed by the island
over the years, which he described as "our most valuable resource."
This is why I can say with absolute certainty that our success in
this battle against waste, pilfering, and other misconducts, is
guaranteed," Fidel said.
The Cuban President added that the extensive infrastructure of grass
root community organizations, ideas and the support of the people
will all be decisive in this campaign. "We have said that
military-wise the Revolution is invulnerable today and striving to
also be economically invulnerable, and we can assure as well that
politically the Revolution will become invulnerable too, and that the
new generations will be better and more capable than we have been."
The Commander-in-Chief spoke metaphorically comparing the efforts of
the Cuban people to climbing the Himalayan mountain range. He added
that Cubans are now starting to see the fruits of all their struggles
during the special period, and are confident in the direction that
Cuba is taking. He assured that everyone will start to benefit from
the results of these efforts and that nothing, not even a brutal
hurricane season can stop Cuba.
STEPS TOWARDS SAVING
Fidel commented how it was miraculous that the nation didn't collapse
when the USSR and the Eastern European socialist camp disappeared,
leaving Cuba without key supplies of all types including machinery
He informed that as of December 15, Pinar del Rio will have a new
electricity generation system able to supply Cuba's westernmost
province when it can not hook in to the national grid.
It also includes a back up system for vital economic and social
centers and evacuation shelters during natural disasters like
hurricanes or other emergency situations.
By means of the use of more efficient equipment, new technologies and
the nationwide installation of between 14 and 15 million energy
saving fluorescent light bulbs between December of 2005 and December
of 2006, it would be possible to save 70 percent of the electrical
energy used today, he affirmed.
The Cuban leader also made reference to the meritorious work done by
social workers in combating the theft of fuel at gas stations. He
noted that the sales revenues reported have doubled since the young
people took over and have been manning the pumps.
The lack of controls is coming to an end, and Cuba will save between
140 and 150 million dollars a year. Those resources, he added, will
then be assigned to improve the quality of life of the people in
In contrast to Cuba's efforts to save energy, Fidel Castro was very
critical of the irrational oil consumption patterns in the United
Talking about the need to develop an economic awareness among the
population the leader of the Cuban Revolution informed about a recent
research project done by the social workers in the Arroyo Naranjo
municipality in the city of Havana, where 58,000 homes were visited
According to the data collected during that survey project, it was
found that the population had 35,000 domestic refrigerators that use
between 180 and 200 kiloWatt hours per month, 55,000 energy
inefficient homemade electric fans, and about 7,000 old vacuum tube
technology TV sets that use a lot of electricity to operate.
Enrique Gomez Cabezas, a member of the national executive of the
Young Communists, informed that, in the Arroyo Naranjo territory
alone, some 138,000 incandescent light bulbs were replaced, leaving
22,000 still to be replaced too.
The youth leader emphasized that so far the Cuban capital has seen
the replacement of more than 1.7 million incandescent lamps for the
new highly efficient energy saving fluorescent light bulbs.
During the final minutes of The Round Table the members of the Panel
and President Castro reiterated the importance of the measures and
the building of a society where each worker makes a proper living
from his salary.
The Round Table broadcast was attended also by Carlos Lage, Secretary
of the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers, Yadira
Garcia, Minister of Basic Industry, which includes energy generation,
and Alfredo Morales, Minister of Labor and Social Security, as well
as other officials and youth leaders involved in the new social
programs being undertaken by the Cuban Revolution.
MARIA JULIA MAYORAL AND ORFILIO PELAEZ
November 24, 2005
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