REFLECTIONS BY THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF
(PART FOUR AND LAST)
I would not like to abuse of the readers patience or the exceptional opportunity Lula offered me to exchange ideas when we met. That is why I said that this will be the fourth and last reflection on his visit.
When I talked to him about
I told him I was very happy to know what his stand was regarding that country, because we were very thankful to that sister nation for the agreements signed that ensured to us a steady supply of fuel.
I cannot forget that, after
the coup on April 2002, the slogan upheld by those who ousted the government
was: “not a single drop of oil to
When the price of oil
abruptly increased and it became real difficult to buy it, Chávez
maintained and even increased our oil supplies.
After the signing of the ALBA agreements in
I explained to him that
Lula expressed again his respect
and deep love for
This time I reminded him of what Martí taught us about all glories in this world, when he said that all of them fit into a kernel of corn. Lula added: “I tell everybody that in the conversations I had with you, you never gave any advice that would go against what was legal. You always advised me not to make too many enemies at the same time. And that is what’s making things move forward.”
Almost immediately he added
“I have just visited
Then I asked him: “Do you
remember, Lula, what I told you at that informal and familiar dinner you
offered to our delegation the day after your inauguration, on January 2003?
None of the children of the poor people who voted for you will ever be an
executive of the big state enterprises of
In this regard, Lula explains the following: “We are building 214 technical and professional schools; we are also building 13 new federal universities and 48 campuses.”
I then asked him: “Those will be free of charge, won’t they?”
He was quick to respond: “We have created a program and we have already included 460,000 youths from the periphery, poor people who used to attend public schools, so that they could study at the university. The right-wing accused me of trying to lower the level of education; two years after, 14 courses went under scrutiny: the best students were those from the periphery. We are creating another program that includes 18 students as an average, with which the number of university students will be increased to 250,000.”
He said to me that
We talked about other important issues, the issues on which we agreed and those on which we don’t, as tactfully as possible.
I talked to him about several
other regions, the
Lula told me that
I talked to him, of course, about the climate change, and the little attention paid by a great number of leaders of the industrialized world to this issue.
When I spoke with him on
“The crisis is extremely
serious and urgent and requires from all nations an
effort to mobilize just as was done during World War II (1939-1945)” –wrote
Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, a
“Climate change is happening much faster than scientists expected, and the planet will inevitably suffer a temperature increase of at least two degrees”, Brown said to IPS, “which would definitely place us in the danger zone.”
“None of the presidential
candidates in the
gas emissions, which are in part responsible for global warming, should be
reduced by 80 per cent by the year
This is a far more ambitious
goal as the one suggested by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC), which in 2007 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with former
Brown considers that the data used by the IPCC are outdated, since they were published two years ago. More recent studies indicate that climate change is speeding up, he said.
While he is confident that the IPCC will modify that recommendation in its next report, he pointed out that it would not be released before five or six years. “Too late, we have to act now”, Brown reaffirmed.
Brown’ Plan B 3.0 recommends some measures to reach an 80 per cent reduction in the emissions, which are strongly based on the efficient use of energy, the use of renewable sources of energy, and the expansion of the planet trees “shield”.
“Eolic energy can cover 40 per cent of the world’s demand with the installation of 1.5 million new 2 megawatt wind turbines. Although the figure may seem too high, the world manufactures 65 million motorcars every year.
A more efficient lighting system could reduce the world’s electricity consumption by 12 per cent.
The use of bio-fuels from grains such as corn and soy, are pushing for an increase in the prices of these foodstuffs that may lead to a food scarcity that could be disastrous for the poor peoples of the world.
“The annual addition of 70 million persons to the world’s population is concentrated in countries whose water reserves are depleting, wells are going dry, forest areas are reducing, soils are degrading, and grazing lands are turning into deserts.
“Year after year, the number of ‘failing states’ increases, which constitutes an ‘early warning of the fall of a civilization’, Brown stated.
“The increase in the price of oil should add to the list of problems. Rich countries will have all they need, while poor countries should reduce consumption.
“Population growth and poverty demand special attention from the developed world.
“Time is our most scarce resource”, the famous scientist concluded.
There can be no clearer way to describe the danger that ligers upon humankind.
But that was not the only news published after my meeting with Lula. Hardly two days ago, an editorial published by The New York Times, anathematizing and pulling to pieces the speech delivered by Bush before Congress, expressed this idea on a single line: “Horrifying dangers awaits the civilized world”.
China, whose territorial area is 87 times our island’s, with 117 times more population than Cuba, has just been hit by an unusual cold wave which affected Shanghai, the most developed area, as well as the southern and central regions of that huge country. Authorities report about the emergency broadcast by western international news agencies –AFP, AP, EFE, DPA, and ANSA, among others: “Heavy snows have forced the shutting down of thermo-power stations and the reduction by a half of coal reserves, the main source of energy of the country, which has created a serious energy crisis”.
“…in the most affected area –a 7 percent total energy loss- power stations have stopped operating, according to the Energy Commission.
“Ninety stations, which produce an additional 10 per cent thermo-power, could be shut down in the next days if conditions do not improve…
“Coal reserves have been reduced by more than a half, authorities reported.
“The main problem is transportation. More than have of the existing trains are devoted to the transportation of coal. The paralysis of the railway network has caused many problems, said Wang Zheming, an expert of the State Security Commission.
“Wang remembered that these days coal transportation is facing the competition of passenger’s transportation, since as a result of New Year’s celebrations there is a railway transportation exodus of almost 180 million people in hardly a month.
We should also take into account that in recent months, the Yang-Tze river basin as well as other central and southern areas suffered the worst drought in half a century, which affected hydro-power generation.
“Heavy snows will continue to fall in the next three days,” according to the Chinese Association of Meteorology.
“The whole country has
mobilized to cope with the emergency. In
the city of
These news refer to “460,000 soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army, deployed in the Chinese provinces, to help millions of people unsheltered who were affected by the lowest temperatures ever recorded in recent times, and to one million law enforcement agents to help re-establish traffic and services.
“The Ministry of Health sent 15,000 doctors to assist the victims.
“In the city of
“An estimated 80 million people have been affected. Damages caused to agriculture and food production are being assessed.”
BBC World reports as follows:
“The Chinese government reported that a severe drought led to the most severe
drop ever recorded in 142 years of the water level in one part of the
“In the port city of
The cold wave was approaching
Such news will give you an idea of the consequences of climate change, which scientists worry so much about. The two examples I have referred to are revolutionary countries, perfectly well organized, with great human and economic strength, where all resources are immediately put to the service of the people. Here we are not talking about hungry crowds abandoned to their own fate.
On the other hand, a news
published by Reuters on January 29 states that “
“In order to achieve its
fuels mixing goals…
“That policy encouraged many companies to invest in this sector and build ethanol and bio-diesel manufacturing plants all over the country”.
All that I have just
explained, whose main concepts were already foreseen, is a sum total of recent
events. Most certainly, under such
circumstances, these events will require
Obviously, there are a number of factors that makes the situation of the planet all the more complex. We could list several of them:
Is there any remedy for these dangers? Yes: knowing them and confronting them. How? These would be purely theoretical answers. Let readers to find those by themselves, specially the youngest boys and girls, as it is usually said now, in order not to appear as discriminating against women. Do not hope to become first a Head of State.
Did or didn’t have I several topics to talk about with Lula? It was impossible to talk to him about everything. This way it is easier to discuss the news that arrived after his visit.
I reminded him that I was
trying to recover from two accidents: the one in Villa Clara and the illness
that came about after my last trip to
Almost at the end of his
visit he told me: “You are invited to go to
Finally he told me: I will
tell your comrades and friends in
We walked together to the exit. The meeting was really worthwhile.
Fidel Castro Ruz