Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Speech by Fidel Casto during the plenary session to set up Cuban parliament

Dear compañeros, I deeply appreciate the noble gesture of the people electing me as a deputy to Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power. The time I take for my comments today will not be long, nor will the period in which I occupy this honorable seat as a deputy be long, and not because of a lack of will, but rather as an imperative of nature. I never thought my existence would be so prolonged, or that the enemy would be so inept in its hateful task of eliminating adversaries committed to the struggle. In this unequal struggle, our people have demonstrated their amazing capacity to persevere and win. Yes, because every year of resistance between 1959 and 2013 has been a victory which our small country has the right to proclaim! We do not struggle for glory or honors; we struggle for ideas we consider just, those to which millions of Cubans have dedicated their youth and their lives, as heirs to a long list of exemplary individuals. One figure expresses everything: the number of Cubans who have completed self-sacrificing internationalist missions is close to 800,000. Considering that at the time of the triumph of the Revolution in 1959 we didn’t have seven million inhabitants, one can appreciate the significance of such efforts. However, this does not express it all. In October of 1962, the nation was at the point of becoming a nuclear battlefield. A year and a half before, a mercenary expedition trained and escorted by the United States Navy, came ashore at the Bay of Pigs and was at the point of provoking a bloody war which would have cost the U.S. invaders hundreds of thousands of lives – I say so without exaggeration – and our country, truly incalculable destruction and human losses. We had, at the time, around 400,000 weapons and we knew how to use them. In less than 72 hours, the powerful revolutionary counterattack prevented that tragedy, both for Cuba and for the people of the United States. We were victims of a "dirty war" for a long time, and 25 years after the October Crisis, internationalist troops defended Angola from the racist South African invaders, equipped in this period with several nuclear weapons based on technology and parts supplied by Israel with U.S. approval. On that occasion, the victory at Cuito Cuanavale and the subsequent resolute and audacious advance of the Cuban-Angolan forces, equipped with aircraft, antiaircraft weapons and adequate organization to liberate territory still occupied by the invaders, convinced South Africa that it had no choice but to abandon its nuclear ambitions and sit down at the negotiating table. The existence of the hateful racist system was ended. With the efforts of all, we have undertaken the work of a profound Revolution, which, starting from zero, our people were able to carry out. Others joined the first revolutionary cells. We were united by the desire to struggle and the pain caused by the country’s tragic situation following the brutal coup. While some had hope in a future they saw as still far removed, others of us were already thinking of the need to make a historical leap. Between the March 10, 1952 coup and January 1, 1959, only six years and 296 days transpired; for the first time in our homeland, power was totally in the hands of the people. The battle then began against political ignorance and the anti-socialist ideas which the empire and bourgeoisie had sown in our country. The class struggle unleashed just a few miles from the empire was the most efficient political school any country has ever had. I’m talking about a school which opened its doors more than 50 years ago. Men and women, from pioneros to much older persons, we have been students within this school. Nevertheless, according to what Raúl was telling me a few days ago, the great battle which is imposing itself is the need for an energetic and relentless struggle against the bad habits and errors which many citizens, and even Party members, commit in the most diverse sectors, on a daily basis. Humanity has entered a unique stage in its history. The last decades have no relation to the thousands of centuries which preceded them. In 2011, the world’s population reached seven billion inhabitants, an alarming figure. In only two centuries, the world’s population has grown seven times over, requiring a basic level of food supplies which science, technology and the planet’s natural resources are far from being able to provide. You can do dozens of estimates, talk about Malthus or Noah’s Ark, but it is enough to know what a gram is, and what amount of any food can be produced on one hectare of land, to draw your own conclusions. Perhaps the British Prime Minister or President Obama know the answer that could prolong human life a few days more, the multiplication of a few fish and loaves, the magic words to persuade Africans, the inhabitants of India, Latin America and all countries of the Third World, not to have children. Two days ago, an international agency recalled that one U.S. multi-millionaire, Dennis Tito, had spent 20 million dollars on his a trip to the International Space Station, where he stayed several days in 2001. Now Tito, who appears to be a veritable fanatic about space exploration, was discussing the details of an expedition to Mars. The journey would take 501 days. This, yes, is enjoying surplus value! Meanwhile, the polar caps are rapidly melting, sea levels are rising as a result of global warming, flooding large areas in only a few decades – all that assuming that there are no wars and that the sophisticated weapons being produced at an accelerating rate are never used. Who can understand them? I will conclude to fulfill my promise of being brief in my words greeting our National Assembly. On the 118th anniversary of the Grito de Baire and the 160th of the birth of our national hero, it pleases me honor the revolutionary, the anti-imperialist, the Bolivarian who planted the first seeds of duty in our youth. Thank you very much!

In Search of the Almiquí

Cuban and Japanese scientists, with backpacks, cameras and other equipment in tow, have begun a tour of sites in the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, Natural and Cultural Heritage of Humanity, to pursue the study of Almiquí populations in this area, in a second phase. In the first stage, which began in 2012, they found seven adults (four males and three females) of Soledon cubanus –the scientific name of this endemic species- something that had not happened for the last hundred years. The discovery took place in the El Toldo plateau, in the same area that showed promising evidence of the presence of other specimens. This animal is a true living fossil whose ancestors bones have been found dating back 30 million years. This is a primitive mammal, and the few who possess venom. The investigations are part of an agreement signed between Cuba and Japan last year, which was restored due to its results, and is in effect for the five years 2012-2017. This time specialists from the Budgeted Unit of the Alejandro de Humboldt Environmental Services, Guantanamo, biologists from the University of Havana, and the Japanese Tsukuba, Hokkaido and Miyage Universities are participating. Using different methods of capture, the scientists will continue to study the behaviour of these nocturnal animals using recordings of the sonic and ultrasonic calls between them, for future use of a monitoring program for the species. Also, thanks to the Japanese support additional research may be made, like the advanced study of population genetics, which previously was almost impossible due to the financial and economic blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba. Saliva analysis will be done for the first time in Guantanamo and our country on this mammal, one of the few in the world whose secretions contains poison. They will assess their toxicity and possible ecological role and determine its possible role a priori in biomedical and other applications still unknown to science. With information from Juventud Rebelde

Monday, February 11, 2013

International scientific event at Holguin university

The "Oscar Lucero Moya" university of Holguin, will hold its 6th International Scientific Conference from April 24 to 26, 2013, at the Hotel Club Amigo: Atlantico-Guardalavaca. "University and Society" is the slogan of this event that offers a wide program of activities including topics for debate such as Computer Science and Mathematics for development, Organizational Management, Higher education Sciences, Engineering and Development, Social Sciences and humanities to the challenges of today's world, Local Development and Gender Studies, Agriculture and aridity: producing, preserving and developing the rural environment. The program also includes the event “TheBIG Mini-WEFLA 2013”, the "7th International Seminar on Canadian Studies" and the workshop "One science-technology-society and axiological integration of knowledge in the Current world". The conference aims to show the results of researches carried out by specialists at the Holguin univesity and professional exchange with researchers from other similar centers in the world, interested in the development and common good.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cuban elections: between the right and the duty

Without large amounts of money at stake, conflicts between political parties of different tendencies or smear campaigns in favor of one candidate or another, this February 3 Cuba will hold the general elections, to elected Members of Parliament and delegates to the Provincial Assemblies of People's Power, the second phase of the Cuban electoral process. This general elections started, in the first stage, with meetings to nominate candidates for delegates and the subsequent election of those who represent the people in the municipal assemblies, as district delegates. The Cuban electoral law stipulates that in the country there are two types of electoral processes. Every five years general elections are held, where people elect deputies to the National Assembly of People's Power, while every two and a half years partial elections are held to select delegates to the municipal assemblies of People's Power. The proposals coming out of the base, along with a nomination process carried out by the mass organizations, make up the core of the delegates to the provincial assemblies and deputies to Parliament. According to data released by the National Electoral Commission (CEN), since 1976, all elections held in Cuba have involved more than 95 percent of those registered, which shows that in our country the elections are characterized by active and massive participation of the people and transparency throughout the process. LAST STEPS For several days, the members of the polling stations and other authorities in charge of the general elections have been working in the preparation of the same. According to Caridad Alvarez, member of the CEN, the next elections are different from those held in late 2012 to elect the 14,537 delegates to the municipal assemblies of People's Power, so it requires a better preparation. "This time we have two ballots instead of one, to exercise a free, equal and secret vote and choose separately the 612 members of Parliament and the 1, 269 delegates to the provincial assemblies," she said. A few days after the general elections to be held on Sunday in Cuba, the electoral commissions and municipal offices of the Identity Card and Voter Registration checked the Register of Electors, in order to verify the correct update regarding the elections. Electoral authorities in the island have been carrying out several actions to allow voters to know the candidates to deputies better, such as the exibition of photos and biographies of them in public places and meetings held in various areas throughout the country. Lieutenant Colonel Julio Torres García, member of the CEN, said that about 26,000 young Cubans will be voting for the first time for their representatives in the Parliament and the 15 Provincial Assemblies of People's Power. In Cuba everyone older than 16 can exercise their right to vote. Current legislation only sets with inability to suffrage those judicially sanctioned and people with mental problems that prevent them from exercising that right. The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, once said: "Democracy means to me that governments, first, are closely linked with the people, emerge from the people, with the support of the people, and devote themselves entirely to work and fight for the people and for the people's interests. " It is then for every Cuban an enormous responsibility to attend to this important moment for our democracy and elect those who they consider that will best represent them. With information from Cubasí.cu