Speech delivered by Fidel
Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba, on the occasion of the 47th
anniversary of his entry into the province of Pinar del Río at the ceremony
held in celebration of the successful installation of electric power generators
in this province. Pinar del Río,
(Stenographic version – Council of State)
Dear fellow Cubans:
I will not intend to explain to you how life in Pinar
del Río was once like. Peasants forced to pay a rent equivalent to more than 30
percent the value of their produce, large and privately owned estates,
precarious social conditions, unemployment, the merciless exploitation of the
people, illiteracy, high infant mortality rates, the almost complete absence of
medical and educational services, the absence of drinking water and basic
public services. Until the triumph of the Revolution, it was known as
Whenever I visit this, our country’s westernmost province on a January 17th, I cannot but recall the passionate words I spoke that day in Artemisa and Pinar del Río 47 years ago today. No sooner had I arrived than I was making my first speech there, saying verbatim:
“I know there are many people in need”, I said then, ”I know there are many who are ill who have no hospital to go to, that there are many children who have no schools to attend, that there are many families who go hungry, but we will not help one or two people, we will help everyone”.
“I will not promise you anything, I will only say that we will do everything in our power, that we will do more than what we will promise to do. And changes won’t happen overnight, they won’t arrive immediately”.
“That is why I ask you to have faith in us, that is why I say to all of you who are in need that we won’t be helping one, two, three or four people, that the aim of the revolution is to help everyone, because there are hundreds of thousands of Cubans who are in need and to help but ten or twenty people is really to do nothing at all, what we must do is help hundreds of thousands of Cubans”. I should have said millions of Cubans.
“I have faith in the Cuban people, I know the Revolution will continue to make progress, I know that our country’s sovereignty will be respected and I know that Cuba will one day be one of the world’s most prosperous, just and happy nations”.
Back then, Artemisa, whence came most of the
revolutionaries who participated in the attack on Moncada and who accepted the
highest of sacrifices and gave their lives, was part of the
I cannot but marvel at what Pinar del Río means to the world today when I go over its history in my mind, after 47 years of a criminal, imperialist blockade, perfidious acts of aggression, the Bay of Pigs invasion, the October Missile Crisis, thousands of terrorist actions against our people, the disintegration of our former socialist allies, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the advent of Cuba’s Special Period.
Let us look at some figures, to begin with the most evident achievements:
Pinar del Río’s current unemployment rate is only 1.1 percent, what, around the world, is considered full employment.
There are 31 dams and 65 mini-dams in the province which hold over a billion cubic meters of water, all of them constructed by the Revolution.
Pipelines carry this vital substance to nearly all towns in the province, whether they face many or few difficulties.
Rare are the homes —save in isolated places that are difficult to reach—that have no electricity.
In 2005, infant mortality was of 5.4 per 1 000 live births, one of the lowest ever reported in the province’s revolutionary history, a far more encouraging figure than that reported by the capital of the United States.
The population’s average level of schooling is upwards ninth grade. There are now 44,591 university graduates in a province that, before 1959, had only 541, of whom only 33 were women; that is to say, there are now 80 times the number of people who have completed higher level education than there were then.
The province has a rich cultural life, especially in the visual arts and in literature. More and more people are involved in sporting activities, and a significant number of athletes who are in national teams and participate in international events come from the province.
Pinar del Río’s natural beauty, especially its mountains and its westernmost region, makes it an attractive tourist destination indeed.
Two of the world’s biosphere reserves are found in
the province: the
On 21 August, President Hugo Chávez attended the
inauguration of “Villa Bolívar”, a facility constructed in cooperation with
On the historical Aló Presidente broadcast from Villa Bolívar, the people of Pinar del Río expressed the Cuban people’s profound love towards that sister nation and their determination to make the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas victorious.
As part of an investment program and the victorious Battle of Ideas that our people are involved in, important programs in educational, health, cultural, sport and other spheres have been undertaken in Pinar del Río.
Four thousand nine hundred and eighty five students have completed the Comprehensive Continuing Education Program for Young People which began in 2001, all of whom have entered university. Today, 7 158 students are enrolled and pursuing the course in 37 different locations.
One thousand seven hundred and forty eight students
are enrolled in the Ministry of Sugar’s Continuing Education Course for Workers,
which began in 2002 and is offered at eight locations:
One thousand and eighty seven young people, 794 of whom are women and 936 members of the Young Communists League, have graduated as social workers. The seventh academic year has seen an enrollment of 454 students, who pursue studies in 138 different study groups based in residential houses.
One thousand seven hundred and seventy one students have graduated from the General Comprehensive Secondary School Teacher Course. The current enrollment is of 761.
Six hundred and eighty seven outstanding students from all of Pinar del Río’s boroughs are enrolled in the National University of Information Sciences, an institution which is enjoying growing international prestige.
Five hundred and thirty four members of the José
Martí Brigade have graduated as art instructors: 143 have specialized in music,
One thousand five hundred and twenty four students are enrolled in the specialties of Optometry and Optics of the Health Technology Course which began in 2004.
Thirty three Video Clubs have been created. On an average day, 5 282 children and 4 325 adults (a total of 9 607 people) attend these clubs.
Thirty six Computer and Electronics Youth Clubs, a
Six thousand three hundred and sixty four television sets and 2 526 VCRs, distributed across 942 schools (163 of which are fitted with solar panels), are used in the Audiovisual Program.
The Introductory Computer Sciences Course is offered in the province’s 689 primary schools, to a total of 66 719 students who have access to a total of 1 540 computers. The student to computer ratio in primary schools is 43.3:1; at the junior secondary level, it is of 36.7:1, at the senior secondary level 23.1:1 and at the technical-polytechnic level 25.3:1.
One thousand one hundred and seventy two students have graduated from the National Institute for Sports and Recreation Qualification Course which began in 2004; currently, 640 students are enrolled in this course.
The universalization of higher education has reached all of the province’s boroughs and sees an enrollment of 21 502 students. Five thousand five hundred and thirty six students are enrolled in regular daytime courses offered in the province’s four universities, for a total enrollment in higher education of 27 038 students, more than twice the number of students who were enrolled in higher education, in the entire country, before the triumph of the Revolution.
The Libertad Publishing House Program has made 122 253
copies of 15 different books used as course material and 22 418 copies of books
Three hundred and thirty nine students from 44 different countries are enrolled in the specialties of General Practice, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation offered by the Latin American School of Medicine.
The programs undertaken as part of the Revolution in the Battle of Ideas have created 42 429 new jobs in recent years.
Three hundred and fifteen computers have been installed in libraries, genetic centers and blood banks as part of the Public Health Computerization Program.
Eight thousand seven hundred and ninety six patients have been treated in Municipal Intensive Care Units, for a general survival rate of 97.9 percent. Six thousand and twenty three patients with low survival probabilities (97.1 percent) are saved.
Twelve dentistry units operate in the province’s polyclinics and 38 new dentistry clinics have been set up.
Fourteen opticians’, 8 of which have been repaired as part of this program and 4 of which are new, offer services to the public.
Of the province’s 132 community pharmacies, 106 have been repaired and 26 have been newly constructed. The fourteen main municipal pharmacies are equipped computers which are interconnected.
Thirty five radiology units are in operation.
Whereas before there were just 4 ultrasound units working only in provincial hospitals, today there are as many as 31, plus 43 such equipment offering full coverage in polyclinics and hospitals. Eighty two students have completed ultrasonography training programs (56 graduating as specialists and 26 as technicians) and now attend to a total of 33 523 patients, successfully treating these in primary care centers.
Endoscopy services have been expanded and now are offered in five polyclinics. These services will eventually be offered at all polyclinics, without exception. Three thousand one hundred and twenty one patients benefit from these new polyclinic services, which before were offered only in provincial hospitals. Thirty six general comprehensive medicine specialists and 24 nurses have completed diploma programs in this specialty.
Allergy laboratories have gone from 5 to
There are now 14 minor surgery rooms in the province:
Twelve comprehensive services, in which 167 000 patients have been treated to date, are offered in the 25 new rehabilitation rooms distributed across the province’s municipalities.
Twenty nine thousand five hundred and two patients
needing ophthalmologic services and
Two new hemodialysis units have been set up in the
The unit in the
One thousand six hundred and sixty five patients have been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit for Heart Conditions; of these, 672 suffered acute myocardial infarctions and reported a mortality rate of 9.6 percent. Between 1995 and 2000, the mortality rate associated to acute myocardial infarctions was of 17.8 percent. For patients who underwent thrombolysis and were administered streptokinase —a Cuban product, developed in our research institutions— the mortality rate was of 6.6 percent, that is, one third the number of people who died as a result of this condition at the end of the 1990s.
There are 43 electrocardiographs in operation across the province.
Three hundred and ninety patients have undergone mammography, for which a recently installed unit was used. For the past seven years, the province had no such unit.
A Nuclear Magnetic Resonance unit was assigned to the Abel Santamaria hospital. The projecting stage has been completed, and the construction brigade is now ready to begin work.
The construction of the facility which is to house the Excimer laser, a unit used in eye operations, has been completed and its climatization system is now being set up.
Studies in five important health specialties are
pursued: medicine, dentistry, BSc’s in Nursing, health technology and
psychology. These programs are offered in five different sub-centers in the municipalities
of Sandino, Consolación,
Nine university polyclinics operate in 7 different municipalities; 165 medical students —participating in a new program—and 116 teaching assistants are trained in these.
Two thousand eight hundred and forty four training courses, in which
46 098 workers in this sector have improved their skills, have been offered in Pinar del Rio as part of a program aimed at the development of human resources.
Eleven schools in the countryside that had been
closed (in the
Since 2000, the Risso digital press has published 170 books by 198 different authors (a total of 106 959 copies) for the territorial publications program. In any municipality, any talented young people will have the opportunity to write. They won’t need to wait for 40 years or death for their works to be published.
All municipal cultural divisions have computers, which have allowed them to implement this program.
These are the most important tasks that social
workers have undertaken in the province as part of
Checking of electrical appliances used in Cuban homes. The whole people cooperate, of course, because they know how beneficial is this energy Revolution for the whole people. Nine hundred and eighty five social workers visited 208 127 homes.
Checking of electrical appliances used in the province’s 8 120 workplaces, a task which involved 756 social workers.
Replacement of incandescent bulbs with 18-watt lamps, in which 785 social workers participated; they replaced 610 000 incandescent bulbs with energy-saving bulbs, a service which was free of charge.
Seminars on the use of the multi-purpose pressure cooker and the use of electricity as a domestic energy source. Six hundred and twenty five social workers participated in these seminars.
A study on the movement and use of fuel by the tobacco factory in Consolación del Sur, in which 16 social workers participated. These social workers visited 46 production units, met with 22 managers and 846 peasants, and measured the energy-consumption of 92 irrigation pumps, 39 tractors and 36 freight vehicles.
Distribution of electrical appliances to family households (rice cookers to families who used LPG or kerosene to cook with; multipurpose pressure cookers, electric hot plates, water heaters). Old television sets were also replaced with new ones in the Sandino municipality, and fans were distributed in all parts of the province. Two thousand four hundred and twenty six social workers and 2 342 university students participated in these efforts.
Socially important tasks, such as services for people with disabilities, undernourished children, and other tasks assigned as part of this program.
The extension, into Pinar del Río, of an extraordinary nationwide campaign, headed by social workers, against the squandering, diversion and illicit sale of fuel.
Completion of the “Talking to Tractors and Trucks” campaign and keep track of the itinerary of tankers that distribute fuel.
As part of a campaign that university students have now joined, social workers have replaced or distributed the following appliances to Cuban households. The conditions in which this is being done are well known by the whole people. In some cases these appliances are being sold at half their price in hard currency, and according to the present exchange rate. In other cases, the price of those home appliances will be equivalent to their cost in hard currency, depending on each and every case, the credit conditions, etc., of which I will not speak right now, for I don’t have any of these in writing.
Other articles which do not consume electricity and contribute to energy-saving measures were also distributed:
The following numbers of makeshift appliances, previously used in the households visited, have been collected:
A series of measures aimed at consolidating this work are now underway; these include the repair and improvement of electrical lines; at the present time, 520 line-men are at work on this task in 6 municipalities (290 of them come from other provinces).
We are monitoring the hourly demand and the total consumption at the end of each day. This allows us to have data on the province as a whole and to obtain precise information on the municipalities of Pinar del Río, Consolación del Sur and Candelaria. This allows political leaders to better guide discussions in those areas that show the greatest energy consumption.
This task demands that mass organizations work systematically on a household to household level that the primary student organization (Pioneers) and the media work on educating the public to read their meters as well as to make a maximum effort to free up peak hours of electrical use.
The Energy Revolution in Pinar
The serious difficulties faced by the National Electrical System in 2004, analyzed in detail during the Round Table Discussions held in September of that year and in successive meetings, resulted in the implementation of new concepts aimed at the development of a safer and more efficient national electrical energy system, after the situation was closely studied and after the experiences we had in dealing with a series of strong hurricanes.
The main measures that were adopted to transform our system were:
· Acquisition and installation of safer and more efficient generating equipment with power generators and motors conveniently placed in different locations in the country.
· Accelerated intensification of a program to increase the use of the national oil accompanying gas in order to generate electricity using a combined cycle.
· Complete repair of the out-dated and inefficient distribution networks that were affecting the cost and quality of the flow of electrical power.
· Prioritizing minimum necessary resources for an improved availability and conservation of electric power generators.
intensive research and development program in the use of wind and solar energy
As of January 15, we have installed 205 power generators with a capacity to generate 253 500 Kw/hour.
This new concept of energy generation has the following advantages:
· minimum amounts of fuel per Kw/hour generated consumed: 210 gr./Kw/hour, on average, for Diesel or Fuel Oil, depending on the motor type and its purpose.
· Unit power values whose capacity, in the case of breakdown, has no significant impact on the functioning of the system.
· Adequate geographic distribution, which helps protect the electrical service for the population and economically and socially important facilities against hurricanes and breakdown.
· Availability greater than 90% and much greater than 60% of the thermo-electrical plants functioning in our system at the present time.
When oil is extracted, large quantities of gas are released. In recent years, approximately 1 million tons of oil equivalent in gas have been consumed.
To carry out these plans, it has been necessary to increase the production of cables and posts in the country and to triple the production of distribution transformers, so that we can reach the number of 15 000 per year.
In order to carry out this work, regiments of
line-men have been mobilized throughout the country, especially in the
provinces of Pinar del
In our country, thermoelectric plants, many of which have been in use for more than 25 years, account for 2 940 000 Kw of installed power, have an average availability, as we have already mentioned, of 60% and consume large amounts of fuel per Kw/hour generated.
This thermoelectric plants system which I mentioned will be gradually replaced by the new generation of motors, including the combined cycle motors, and for this the minimum necessary resources are apportioned in order to maintain the most efficient units functioning. Other units will be kept and will be ready to work when the system requires them, while the first phase of the transformation of the present system is under way.
As a strategic development in this field –-the development of wind energy-- different technologies, including those designed to withstand the frequent hurricanes which lash our country.
Areas with wind power potential have been identified in the country and include:
Pinar del Río is among the places under study. We already know how wind power is like at the Cabo San Antonio. Tests are being made there and elsewhere.
Measurements of wind speeds are being taken at altitudes of 50 meters at selected sites within these macro locations. This will allow us to determine the precise location of the most ideal sites and steps will be taken to discover the potential for wind energy in the entire country.
In addition to this, the nation has purchased a total of 4 158 emergency power generators, representing a total potential of 711 811 Kw.
To date, the country has received 3 003 of these emergency power generators, representing 72.2 per cent of the total number purchased.
The emergency power generators can be switched on after an order. They can release the energy they are consuming without starting up. If there is a deficit of 100 000 and the installed capacity is of 100 000, they will start up with the 100 000 at that peak consumption time. So these are there as part of the reserve, but they have a role to play in hospitals, at cold stores, areas were foodstuff must be preserved, areas where there are key industries which can not dispense with electricity not even for a single moment. All of these equipment are brand new.
As part of Cuban medical assistance to
The installed potential to date guarantees the protection of the following basic centers and institutions, among others:
40 000 dollars, and the so-called compensator costs around 1 300 dollars. With that compensator the capacity of the motor that supplies the Manuel Lazo neighborhood would be more than enough to operate a 35 Kw equipment, and then we could reassign the far more powerful generator which has been installed there to another location as an emergency generator.
We have ordered 500 such compensators to operate the water supply system in the whole country. Each one of them will have its own motor, but we have to check them all. There are more than
100 000 water pumps, most of them very old already, electricity-guzzling equipment. That is why I was telling you that there is still much to be done.
Today we disinfect water and do something else: almost everybody boils water for drinking. All of that has been duly studied, as well as the appropriate solutions to this problem, since the country is consuming 15 to 20 percent of the fuel available to heat water for bathing and boil water for drinking. There is much more to say, but not everything will be said here today.
One thousand nine hundred and thirty four of the program’s power generators remain to be installed. These are motors, because there are other power generators made up of several motors, which means those yet to be installed, 569 274 Kw of power. A special effort is being made, and this will also be so in the next few days. Everybody is getting ready for that.
A gigantic construction and assembly effort has seen the installation of
2 281 power generators in just 6 months –the smallest were the first to arrive- and today our main effort lies in the maximum usage of installed capacity in order to increase efficiency of each Kw. The example I mentioned of a pump that supplies the Manuel Lazo neighborhood explains all this very well. We must install there the appropriate pump, the electrical emergency pump, the adequate pump with its corresponding compensator. It costs almost nothing as compared to cost of other equipment.
A special effort has been seen in the work of the provinces and municipalities, which have contributed much to the progress attained; our comrades in Pinar del Rio are especially worthy of recognition for their efforts. All entities have taken part in this program.
The new system has already been installed in the
Is that clear? It is very important to look at the way this is being done here in Pinar del Río.
Very soon, the provinces of
We can understand the meaning of the energy revolution better in these terms: a significant saving for the nation in convertible hard currency, a noble, safe and healthy fuel –the electrical fuel all those households will have- without flames, gas, odor or bad taste, without any misappropriation of resources, without robbery or fraud, without heavy objects to carry up the stairs, without all the odious attendant miseries to each frequent and inopportune black-out that characterized an old-fashioned concept for the delivery of electrical power.
Once this program, which we are working on at top speed, has concluded, the nation will be saving one billion dollars each year.
I have been very cautious in sharing this information with you. Much thought has gone into this. The technical data I’ve offered you, and each one of the steps which need to be taken, are much more complicated and detailed than I have outlined, since I am constrained by time and other obvious reasons.
This grand energy revolution, and the social impact
it has had on Pinar del Rio in such a
brief period of time, would not have been possible without the important work
of the Party and its provincial and municipal cadres under the direction of
Carmita –as we affectionately call her- the Party’s First Secretary, a woman
who is the representative of the manual and intellectual workers of this
province. I can speak of her activities
because I have been in touch with her almost on a daily basis, especially
during the last decisive phase of this battle, when she was directing the
political and social forces of her province, mainly in the town of
I have asked myself many a time how we managed to do all this. Carmita was not just the administrator; she directed and coordinated, she requested information, she analyzed each detail scrupulously, conveyed information at the national level, reported on the general situation, what progress had been made and what problems had been run into, together with her analyses and points of view; she fulfilled all instructions in a disciplined fashion, she traced the corresponding provincial strategy, confident in victory and radiating her reassurance and optimism to everyone around her. Her style and methods serve as an example to other cadres. We have been able to see the efficiency of the Revolution in action and the experienced political direction of cadres of different generations.
I was reminded of the glorious days spent fighting battles both within and outside of the nation: in days of yore, with our heroic “mambises”; in the more recent past, in the struggle against the Batista tyranny; today, against the cowardly blows of an impotent empire that attacks Cuba, in a world where people are saying “no” to being colonial slaves, “no” to imperial domination and plunder.(APPLAUSE.)
Here today, together with the people of Pinar del Rio, stand the national leaders of political and grassroots organizations, the highest representatives of our national government, the political and government leaders of each of our provinces, wherever the battles of our nation are being waged in this decisive moment of our history. Our glorious Armed Forces will also participate in this titanic effort. There will be a before and an after to this Cuban energy revolution. It will teach lessons that will be useful to our people and the other peoples of the world.
Homeland or death!
We shall overcome!