Reflections by comrade Fidel
A SUBJECT TO REFLECT ON
Under normal circumstances, Cuba is a country where electricity is provided to 98 percent of the population. There is a single energy production and supply system. The use of power generators ensures supply to crucial centers under any circumstances. And this will again be the case as soon as the power grids are restored.
It is worthwhile giving some thought every day to the cost of electricity; civilized life in today’s world would be impossible without it. The situation is still more challenging at the upcoming time of the year as nights grow longer and all lights and equipment are turned on at the same time, especially since most homes have several electrical appliances.
A reflection on the subject would enable us to understand the predicament of many countries in the world that need to make fuel imports. In Cuba water energy never abounded; it never could since we don’t have large rivers. Solar energy, a renewable and non-contaminant form of energy, though costly, is already being used at various places to meet social needs. Finally, there is the wind energy that started to be tested under the destructive danger of hurricanes. The efforts will continue to find a response to the growing energy needs.
Our electricity production basically depends on the thermoelectric plants built throughout the country under the Revolution –they barely existed before—together with the extensive power grid required in a long and narrow island to compensate for regional deficits and for the indispensable repairs.
Nevertheless, it is up to us to save fuel daily used not only to produce electricity but also in other national activities such as industry, transportation, construction, land cultivation, etc. I will not list them all because there are scores of activities where fuel is consumed, often more than necessary, both in Cuba and elsewhere. However, it is worse in our case because we have grown used to receiving from the revolution many things that we have not worked for. We even tend to forget that hurricanes exist aggravated by climate changes and other phenomena brought about by the so-called civilization.
One data would help us illustrate such situation: the cost of Cuba’s annual energy consumption, at this year’s prices, exceeds 8 billion dollars.
On the other hand, if we add up the value of nickel, sugar and the production of the Scientific Cluster, which are the three main export items, at the present prices it would hardly amount to 2 billion dollars; and from these we must deduct the expenses and necessary inputs to produce them.
Of course, these are not our only sources of hard currency income. Our homeland is receiving today higher incomes from the export of services than it does from material exports. Perhaps, in a rather short period of time, we become oil exporters. We are already partly so, but of heavy crude oil that cannot be refined in Cuba due to our presently limited capacity.
A conclusion that can be drawn from what has been said is that to the excessive fuel demand of some state institutions the response has been categorical: reduce the activities that you have dreamed of or thought about.
Some of our comrades really dream of meeting all the “unbridled” demands of our people. What we need in our State is a strict discipline and an absolutely rational order of priorities. We should not recoil from establishing what should or should not be done based on the principle that nothing will come easy and that the material goods can only be honestly created through intensive and thorough work.
The means that we cannot fail to have under any circumstances are those used in the transportation of material, foodstuff and resources for the most crucial productions and services.
I insist on the indispensable and crucial necessity of physical work and not of useless and ineffective bureaucratic work. We should not be only intellectual workers but manual workers as well.
Fidel Castro Ruz
October 2, 2008