Fidel’s message to the Roundtable

Fidel’s message to the Roundtable

Dear Randy:

I listened to the entire “Roundtable” program on Thursday the 13th without missing a single second of it. The news about the Bali Conference highlighted by Rogelio Polanco, editor-in-chief of Juventud Rebelde, confirms the importance of the international agreements and why they must be taken very seriously.

That island hosted a meeting of numerous heads of government from the so-called Third World who are fighting for their development and demanding equal treatment, financial resources and technology transfer from the representatives of industrialized nations also represented there.

In response to the tenacious obstruction by the United States in the midst of the 190 representations meeting there and after 12 days of negotiations, the secretary general of the United Nations said on Friday the 14th, Cuban time —when it was already Saturday in Bali— that the human species could disappear as a consequence of climate change. Then he left for East Timor.

That statement turned the conference into a buzzing beehive. By the twelfth day of sterile efforts at persuasion, the Yankee representative Paula Dobriansky, sighing deeply, stated: “We join the consensus.” It is obvious that the United States maneuvered to deal with its isolation, although it changed absolutely nothing in the empire’s dark intentions.

The big show came: Canada and Japan immediately joined the United States in response to the other countries, which were demanding serious commitments on the emission of gases that cause climate change. Everything had been anticipated beforehand among the NATO allies and the powerful empire which, in a deceptive maneuver, agreed to negotiate in 2008 in Hawaii, U.S. territory, for a new proposed agreement that would be presented and approved in the Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009, to substitute the Kyoto agreement when it expires in 2012.

In this theatrical solution, the role of savior of the world was reserved for Europe. Brown, Merkel and other leaders of European countries spoke, asking for international gratitude. An excellent Christmas and New Year’s gift. None of the eulogists mentioned the tens of millions of poor people who continue to die of disease and hunger every year given the complex realities of today, as if we lived in the best of all possible worlds.

The Group of 77, comprised of 132 countries fighting for their development, had reached a consensus to demand that, by 2020, the industrialized countries should reduce gases that cause climate change from 20% to 40% below the level reached in 1990, and from 60% to 70% by the year 2050, which is technically possible. They also demanded the allocation of sufficient funds for technology transfer to the Third World.

It should not be forgotten that those gases lead to heat waves, desertification, the melting of glaciers and higher sea levels, which could cover entire countries or large parts of them. The industrialized nations share with the United States the idea of turning food into fuel for luxury cars and other wastefulness in consumer societies.

What I am affirming was demonstrated when, on Saturday, December 15, it was announced at 10:06 Washington time that the United States president had asked the Senate, and the latter had approved, $696 billion for military spending in the fiscal year 2008, including $189 billion allocated for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I experienced a healthy sense of pride in recalling the dignified and serene manner in which I responded to the hurtful proposals made to me in 1998 by then-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. I harbor no illusions.

My deepest conviction is that the answers to current problems in Cuban society, which has an average educational level of about 12th grade, almost one million university graduates and the real possibility of education for its citizens without any discrimination, require more varied responses for each concrete problem than the contents of a chessboard. Not one single detail can be ignored, and it is not going to be an easy road if the intelligence of human beings in a revolutionary society is to prevail over their instincts.

My essential duty is to not cling to posts, much less block the way for younger people, but to contribute experiences and ideas whose modest value comes from the exceptional era in which it was my destiny to live.

I think, like Niemeyer, that one must be consistent until the end.

Please include this letter in the “Roundtable” program announced for today about Bali.

Fidel Castro
December 17, 2007