CHINA, THE FUTURE GREAT ECONOMIC POWER

These days, many news cables are talking about China’s economic potential.
Yesterday, March 28th, it was the main U.S. news agency which was acknowledging that “China is the only major economy still growing at a fast clip…
“In his second rebuke of U.S. leadership this past week – the cable continues, not very kindly at the end of the paragraph- the central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan,  said China’s rapid response to the downturn — including a stimulus package equivalent to $586 billion— proved the superiority of its authoritarian, one-party political system. ”
The AP agency immediately releases the verbatim version of the governor of the central bank of China:
“Facts speak volumes, and demonstrate that compared with other major economies, the Chinese government has taken prompt, decisive and effective policy measures, demonstrating its system advantage…” a statement that, according to the press agency, were  taken from Zhou’s  remarks posted on the People’s Bank of China’s Web site.
“Two weeks away from the summit of 20 leading economies (G20) to be held on April 2 in London, Zhou called on foreign governments to give their finance ministers and central bankers broad authority so that they can “act boldly and expeditiously without having to go through a lengthy or even painful approval process.”
“China has made its agenda clear: It wants a stable U.S. dollar, and has even advocated the creation of another global currency altogether. Beijing is leery of protectionism. And it is demanding a larger say in how financial systems are regulated and rescued, while holding back on any promises for new rescue or stimulus measures of its own.
At the end of the cable, it states:
“…Wen Jiabao, the Chinese Prime Minister, has urged the United States to remain “a credible nation.” In other words, Beijing wants Washington to avoid spurring inflation with excessive government spending on bailouts and stimulus packages.”
As one can see, the influence of the Peoples’ Republic of China at the London meeting will be enormous from the economic point of view vis-à-vis the world crisis.  That would have never happened earlier when the power of the United States used to prevail totally in this field.
On the other hand, it is amusing to see the unrest at the entrails of the empire, full of insurmountable problems and contradictions with the peoples of Latin America which it intends to dominate forever and ever.
Those reading the statements made by the pious Catholic Joe Biden in Viña del Mar, ruling out the lifting of the economic blockade against Cuba and longing for an internal transition which in our country would be frankly counter-revolutionary, will be amazed.  It is so sad to hear his plaintive laments, especially when there is not a single Latin American and Caribbean government that doesn’t perceive a millstone from the past in that antediluvian measure.  What kind of ethic subsists in United States policy?  How much of Christianity remains in the political thinking of Vice President Biden?

Fidel Castro Ruz
March 29, 2009
3:43 p.m.

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EVENTS HAVE PROVEN ME RIGHT

On Tuesday March 17th I wrote: “The Classic was organized by those who administer the exploitation of sports in the United States…”  I immediately added: “The three best teams in the Classic and the Olympics, Japan, Korea and Cuba, were placed in the same group so that they might eliminate each other.  Last time, they placed us in the Latin American group; this time in the Asian group.
Therefore between today and tomorrow in San Diego, one of the three will be irremissibly eliminated…”
On the subject of players on the Republic of Korea’s national team, I stated in that very same article: “They are the main adversary because they are also methodical and their batting is stronger than that of the Japanese.”
Two days later on March 19th, I explained: “In the game between the teams from Japan and Cuba that finished today at almost 3 in the morning, we were unquestionably defeated.
“However, I doubt that any team from the west can defeat Japan and Korea in the group of competitors who will be playing in Los Angeles in the next three days.  With its quality, only one of the two Asian countries shall decide who will take the first and second spots in the Classic”.
Regarding the Japanese, I provided details:
“Training sessions are incredibly tough and methodical.  They have devised technical methods to develop the reflexes each player needs to have.  Every day, batters practice with hundreds of balls thrown by left and right-handers. As for the pitchers, they are made to throw four hundred balls every day.  It they make any mistake in the game, they must then throw one hundred more.   They do it with pleasure, as if it were a form of self-punishment.  Thus they acquire notable muscle control which obeys the orders sent by their brains.  That’s why their pitchers amaze everyone with their ability to land their throws at the exact spots they choose.  Similar methods are applied to each of the activities each of the athletes must carry out at the positions they are defending and in their batting activities”.
“Athletes in the other Asian country, the Republic of Korea, are developed with similar characteristics, thus turning it into a powerhouse in professional world baseball”.
Events have been happening exactly like that:
Yesterday, after 12:30 at night Cuban time, the Korean team defeated the Venezuelan team by 10 to 2, in spite of the magnificent professional qualities of that country’s national team.  They didn’t have a chance of winning in the face of the Koreans’ sophisticated preparation methodology and their rigor.
Carlos Silva, the opening pitcher for Venezuela, could have been spared an unnecessary humiliation when, after walking the first batter and two consecutive errors in the defense, there were three hits one after the other, thus making it one to zero with bases loaded and no outs in the first inning. The Koreans were deciphering Silva’s pitching and he had to be replaced with no hesitation.  Korea hit a grand slam giving them a 5 to 0 advantage all within the first inning.  With a team like this Asian one, the game had already been decided in the first inning even though it is fair to point out that the Venezuelan national team fought hard and didn’t lose heart throughout the game.  At the end their aim was to avoid a knockout score.
The game tonight between Japan and the United States is a mere formality.
On Monday spectators both inside and outside that country will be able to watch the encounter between the two Asian powerhouses of professional baseball.
It will be a rough road to reestablish Cuba’s supremacy once more in that sport where patriotism, national pride and our struggle for healthy and educational sport has attained the highest of levels.
Many are the lessons we must learn from the last Classic.

Fidel Castro Ruz
March 22, 2009
1:54 p.m.

New vaccine plant at the Finlay Institute ‘We want to serve more’

Havana.  December 4, 2008
A letter addressed to the Finlay Institute from the World Health Organization in July 2006, asking for help in producing millions of doses of the anti-meningitis vaccine, was the motive for the inauguration at that renowned center of Cuban biotechnology, of a plant with a production capacity of up to 100 million doses annually of active components for that purpose.
New vaccine plant at the Finlay Institute
The operation of the modern plant holds greater significance, given that the WHO
request outlined “an emergency,” because the transnational pharmaceutical companies that supply the vaccine against meningitis serogroup A for using in the so-called “meningitis belt” in Africa “were no longer going to produce it, because sales were not profitable for them.”

Meningococcal meningitis is a serious infectious disease produced by a bacterium called meningococcus.
The serogroup A strain is the one that principally affects the so-called “meningitis belt” that comprises 21 African countries, where about 400 million people are at risk, with an annual incidence of up to 1,000 affected per every 100,000 inhabitants during epidemic years. Most of the victims are under 15 years old.
The problem is aggravated by the lack of healthcare infrastructure, and international agencies believe that up to 50% of meningitis patients die in that impoverished continent; a similar percentage of those who survive suffer from severe after-effects, such as metal retardation, deafness and blindness.
The Finlay Institute is a vaccine and serum research and production center in the western Havana scientific complex, where a highly effective vaccine against meningitis B was discovered and developed. That vaccine has saved many lives in Cuba and in the region.
The new plant features cutting-edge installations and equipment, with a standard of quality that meets rigorous international demand. It will be operating 24 hours around the clock with 81 specialists, and is capable of responding to the production volume needed by the WHO.
Key to this is the level of development attained by Cuba’s biotechnology sector over more than 20 years, and an Engineering and Projects Center that guaranteed the plant’s design and construction.
This production enables the Finlay to complement its potential, in association with the Bio-Manguinhos Immunobiological Technology Institute, attached to the Osvaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro which, in a demonstration of true South-South cooperation, will guarantee the immediate delivery of vaccine to Africa.
LOOKING BACK
Officially created on January 15, 1991 via a resolution signed by Fidel, the Finlay Institute, the initiator of large-scale biotechnological production in Cuba, has produced millions of doses for fighting meningitis B in many countries all over the world, and its contribution and development — hence its international prestige — have increased over the years in response to the growing demand for vaccines to prevent infectious diseases.
With highly-trained scientific personnel, the Institute produces vaccines against meningitis B and C; leptospirosis; typhoid fever; tetanus; diphtheria and whooping cough, the latter three being components of combined vaccines produced by other biotechnological centers in the western Havana scientific complex. The Institute also provides these centers with other elements for anti-cancer vaccines now undergoing clinical trials, and carries out joint research with them on, for example, an anti-cholera vaccine, in an endless scientific search for new ways to benefit the health of many.
It is no coincidence, therefore, that the ideas of José Martí are so dear to Cuban scientist Concepción Campa Huerga, director of the Finlay Institute. Paraphrasing him, she says, “If we have served for anything up until now, we that is forgotten already; what we want to do is to serve more.”

Translated by Granma International


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GLORY TO THE GOOD!

Our delegation was received early this morning with the recognition and the honors it deserves. Esteban Lazo and Frederich Cepeda spoke.  There was Raúl, who had made them standard-bearers during the ceremony at the Palace of the Revolution.
They were given a copy of my reflection which had been printed today in Granma and inserted in CubaDebate.
I spoke about the technology and discipline introduced to baseball by Japan, about the efforts a nation with no less than 10.4 times Cuba’s population, where one also had to discount “the weak of conscience that let them be bribed by our enemies”.
Of the 73 who flew to Mexico and San Diego, two poor devils did not return home.
One was editing video material on baseball for Cuban National Television.  It was pitiful to hear his lament published in the cables.  He sighed that the only thing sad about it was that his dear mother and beloved girlfriend hadn’t traveled with him.  He had left the very first day that the delegation arrived in San Diego.
The other one was writing in Juventud Rebelde on the same subject.  This one had traveled several times but he was waiting for the Classic to carry out his felony.  He was constantly glued to the team.  He was positively ridiculous.  Two hours before they left for the airport to return home, he disappeared.
What a couple of repulsive fakes they are, incubated by capitalist ideology!
Those cases are useful to put the spotlight on the merit of the athletes making up our honorable national team, prepared to give their lives for the Homeland.
Of course, guys like those cannot sow a single grain of conscience.  What a load of silliness they must have published about baseball; instead of guidance, they only confuse!
All of them are not like Bobby Salamanca or Eddy Martin, who offered such noble testimony about our great sports victories.
Glory to those who devote their lives to building the honor and love of the Homeland!
Glory to the good!

Fidel Castro Ruz
March 20, 2009
4:23 p.m.

Alarcón denounces cloak of silence around support for the Cuban Five

Juan Diego Nusa Peñalver

MIAMI 5 RICARDO Alarcón, president of Cuba’s Parliament, speaking in Havana, denounced the U.S. and international corporate media for their silence regarding the massive international support for the petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of the Cuban Five.

During a tribute by Cuba’s National Assembly members on National Press Day, Alarcón spoke about anti-terrorist fighters Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero and René González, who have been serving unjust, disproportionate sentences in U.S. prisons for the last 10 years.

On March 6, the defense team for the Five submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court a total of 12 amicus curiae briefs backing the petition submitted January 30 asking the court to hear their case, Alarcón noted.

The submission of so many “friends of the court” briefs is unprecedented in U.S. legal history, being the largest number ever submitted to the Supreme Court, Alarcón affirmed.

He emphasized that the 12 briefs included 10 signed by Nobel laureates José Ramos Horta, president of Timor Leste; Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; Rigoberta Menchú; José Saramago; Wole Soyinka; Zhores Alferov; Nadine Gordimer; Günter Grass; Darío Fo and Mairead Maguire.

Similar documents were signed by a plenum of the Mexican Senate; the Panamanian National Assembly; Mary Robinson, former Irish president (1992-97) and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002), among others.

Alarcón accused the corporate media of trying to silence and sweep under the rug this international support, which in this case, also means that each signatory to an amicus curiae brief must pay the Supreme Court $2,000 for it to be accepted.

Such documents have to be presented by a U.S. lawyer, and in this case, all of the lawyers waived their fees (an average of $30,000), also an unprecedented event, the parliamentary president added.

Alarcón also noted that one of the Five, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, is a member of the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC), a Cuban press colleague, arbitrarily sentenced to two life sentences plus 15 years in prison.

Gerardo merited special recognition on Cuban Press Day, he commented. (AIN)

Translated by Granma International
– MIAMI 5

Havana.  March 19, 2009

WE ARE THE ONES TO BLAME

In the game that finished today at almost 3 in the morning between the teams from Japan and Cuba, we were unquestionably defeated.
The organizers of the Classic decided that the three countries in the first three spots of world baseball shall play it out in San Diego, including Cuba arbitrarily in the Asian group despite the fact that we are definitely in the Caribbean.
However, I doubt that any team from the West can defeat Japan and Korea in the group of competitors who will be playing in Los Angeles in the next three days.  Only one of the two Asian countries with its quality shall decide who will take the first and second spots in the Classic.
What was important for the organizers was to eliminate Cuba, a revolutionary country that has heroically resisted and has not been able to be defeated in the battle of ideas. Nevertheless, one day we shall again be a dominant power in that sport.
The excellent team representing us in the Classic, made up mostly of young athletes, is without a doubt a genuine representation of the best athletes in our country.
They competed with great courage; they didn’t lose heart and they aimed for victory right up to the last inning.
The line-up, suggested from Cuba by the management and their expert advisors, was good and inspired confidence.  It was strong both offensively and defensively. They had a good reserve of pitching talent and strong hitters, in case the changing circumstances of a game would require it.   By applying the same concepts, they won and dominated the powerful Mexican team.
I should point out that the leadership of the team in San Diego was very poor. The old criteria of timeworn methods prevailed, against a capable adversary who constantly innovated.
We must learn the relevant lessons.

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THE MORAL IMPORTANCE OF THE BASEBALL CLASSICS

In the early days of the Revolution, the Olympics were an event for amateurs.

When the concepts of developed capitalism managed to infiltrate the Olympics, sports stopped being a health and education issue, which had been its main goals throughout history.

The only country in the world where that character prevailed was Cuba, which for many years won the highest number of gold medals per inhabitant.

Our best and proudest athletes, those who do not get corrupted, sell out or betray their people and their homeland are the ones who represent us with honor at international competitions.

Countries going through new revolutionary processes such as Venezuela, where the practicing of sports is considered a people’s sacred right, can not participate right now in the most prestigious events with their professional athletes because these require the authorization of the private companies that acquired such rights over those athletes. Athletes are bought and sold as if they were some kind of merchandise. Many of them are serious people who love the country where they were born, but they are not allowed to take their own decisions.

Leonel Fernández, the President of the Dominican Republic, was awfully regretting that situation; his baseball team has already been eliminated from the Classics. Chávez speaks with enthusiasm and sympathy about the members of the Venezuelan team, but at the same time he bitterly resents that his stellar Major Leagues Venezuelan pitchers and batters are not allowed to play under the Venezuelan flag.

Cuba has an excellent national team made up by players from all over the Island. Each province feels proud of its contribution to the Cuban Team. On an individual basis, their rivals could be as good as or even better than many of our players, considering the technical and economic resources of countries like the United States, Canada, Japan, among others. What makes Cuban athletes to be different is the strong motivation they feel over the values they represent.

The team that was put up is no doubt the best that has ever represented our country, judging by the records, the qualities and the merits of each and every one of them. The opinion polls show that, based on the high level of satisfaction expressed in the whole country over the team’s performance, with few exceptions.

Now we have to stick to facts.

The Baseball Classics have been sponsored by the ones who manage the exploitation of sports in the United States. Those are shrewd, intelligent people, who can even be as diplomatic as might be necessary. However, they can not dispense with our country in those Classics.

The three best teams in the Classics and the Olympics, namely Japan, Korea and Cuba, were included in the same group so that they had to eliminate each other. Last time we were included in the Latin American group; this time we were included in the Asian group.

That is why in between today and tomorrow in San Diego one of the three teams will be irremissibly eliminated without having to compete first with the team of the United States, the country of the “Big Leagues”. That means that, next, two of those three will be left out. We are forced to wage our battle and design a strategy in the face of those vicissitudes.

The Japanese team beat us on March 15 because, no doubt, mistakes were made in the way the team was directed there, thousands of kilometers away, where it is almost impossible for Cuba to influence on its team management.

Today, although our population’s opinion is divided, most people believe that the best thing would be for Korea to beat Japan. They understand that the team of that great Asian country is like a clock. Twenty three out of the 28 players play in the Japanese League. Each of them has been programmed and they have analyzed, one by one, the characteristics of our players.

They have, like all Asian players, a high dose of sangfroid. This is how they have beaten us twice: in the last game of the former Classics and in the first game between both teams of the present Classics.

On the other hand, Korea has invested huge resources in facilities and technologies. On the eve of the last Olympics, when we were forced to adapt to the conditions of a totally different time zone, they treated us splendidly and offered to us, at no cost, their facilities, but at the same time they exhaustively studied every one of our athletes, and took pictures and films of them.

They know every pitching from our pitchers and the reaction by every one of our batters to every pitching. They are the main adversary, because they are also methodical and they bat harder than the Japanese.

Neither of them, despite the aforementioned adverse circumstances, is invulnerable to our team. Several Cuban players are new to the team. We have worked more on the weaknesses of our stars. There is a principle, though, that can not be violated: whoever the adversary is tomorrow Wednesday, we can not continue down our traditional well-trodden paths.

We have both a line-up of sluggers –almost any of them could hit a home-run and they have shown they can- as well as a line-up of light, fast and self-confident batters; together combined they can cause great damage to the opposite team, as it was the case yesterday when playing against Mexico.

Almost all pitchers are free to pitch on Wednesday. It is necessary to bear in mind the characteristics of each of them, their ability to control their own pitching at every concrete situation that may come about. One inviolable principle is that there can be no hesitation whatsoever when a pitcher needs to be immediately replaced after showing signs of wild pitching when playing against the Japanese or the Koreans.

Our seasoned experts who advise INDER should indicate beforehand the priority order in which a southpaw or a right-hander should go to the mound. There could be one starting pitcher or several who could work excellently as a starting pitcher, for we have the necessary raw material for that.

There is something each and every player should bear in mind. They should not feel discouraged not even for a single second. They should not try to desperately swing at any type of pitch, as it happened with some of our batters during the last game with Japan.

Unfortunately, in our country the bad habit was entrenched to wait for the first strike, and old habit that was instilled in all Cuban baseball players, a habit known by the rival teams pitchers; that is why they easily pitch the first strike right through the center of the home plate. They must be forced to engage in hard work from the very start.

In our team we have an example to follow: the incredible peace of mind and self-confidence of Cepeda, whom I would like to pay tribute in this reflection for the feats he has accomplished. He has not changed in the least his athletic proficiency since he was first at bat in the Classics. Four of the 5 runs we scored against Mexico yesterday were driven in by him. That game showed that we can win over the adversary.

I convey my greetings to all members of the excellent team that represents us in San Diego.

Homeland or Death, We Shall Overcome!

Fidel Castro Ruz

March 17, 2009

7:21 p.m.