Lula (Fourth and last part)

February 1, 2008

I do not want to abuse the patience of the readers, or the exceptional opportunity Lula offered me to exchange ideas when we met. So I say that is the fourth and last of his visit.

When I spoke to him about Venezuela, he said: We intend to cooperate with President Chávez. I agreed with him. Each year I twice to Caracas and he will travel twice to Brazil so that no differences between us and, if any, to settle it right. Venezuela does not need money, expressly because it has many resources, but needs time and infrastructure.

I told him I was very glad of your position on that country, because we were thankful to that sister nation for the agreements signed that ensured to us a supply of fuel.

I can not forget that following the coup of April 2002, the slogan about our country that ousted the government was "not a drop of oil to Cuba." We became an additional reason for imperialism to try to blow the economy of Venezuela, although that was what they intended to do since Chávez took the oath of office as President over the moribund Constitution of the Fourth Republic, which later legally and democratically transformed into the V Republic.

When the price of oil rose sharply and became real difficult to buy it, Chávez maintained and even increased the supply. After the ALBA agreements that were signed in Havana on December 14, 2004, this remains honorable and beneficial conditions for both countries. Working there almost 40 thousand selfless Cuban specialists, most physicians, who with their knowledge, and particularly their internationalist example, is contributing to training the Venezuelans who will replace themselves.

I explained that Cuba had friendly relations with all countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, whether left or right. While we draw that line and not change it, any action in favor of peace between peoples are willing to support it. This is a thorny and difficult, but persevere in it.

Lula expressed again his respect and deep love for Cuba and its leaders. He added, immediately, I felt proud of what was happening in Latin America, and again said that here in Havana decided to create the Sao Paulo Forum and unite all the Latin American left and the left is coming to power in most countries.

This time, I remembered what Martí taught us about the glories of this world, which fit all in a grain of corn. Lula said: I tell everyone that in the conversations I had with you, never gave any advice that would go against the law, you always told me that I make too many enemies at once. And that is what is allowing things to go.

Almost immediately he added that Brazil, a big country with resources, had to help Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

We have been in Central America. Never a Brazilian President been to a country in that area with cooperation projects.

I ask: Do you remember, Lula, what I said in the informal and familiar dinner you offered to our delegation the day after your inauguration in January 2003? None of the children of the poor majority who voted for you will never executive of large state enterprises of Brazil, the
college is too expensive here!

Lula explains: We are building 214 technical and professional schools, we are also building 13 new federal universities and 48 campuses.

I ask you: why not pay anything, right? I answered quickly: We have created a program and have already included 460 000 young people from the periphery, poor, public schools, so they can attend college. The right wing accused me of trying to lower the level of education, two years later, 14 courses were investigated: the best students were those of the periphery. We are creating another program with 18 students on average, this will ensure that there are 250 000 young people in higher education.

Brazil's trade relationship with Latin America is higher than the U.S., I said. Went on to explain that if we were to establish close relations between both countries, not only as friends but as partners
in important areas needed to know the thinking of the leaders of Brazil, as in strategic areas we would be partners, and we had a rule meet our financial commitments.

We talked about other important issues, the issues on which we agreed and where not, as tactfully as possible.  I told him of various regions, including the Caribbean, and forms of cooperation that had developed with them.

Lula told me that Brazil should take a more active policy to cooperate with the poorest countries. Has new responsibilities, is the richest country in the region.

I told him, of course, climate change and the little attention paid to the issue many leaders of the industrialized world.

When I spoke with him the afternoon of January 15, I could not mention the article that was published just three days later, written by Stephen Leahy from Toronto. This article announces a new book called Mobilizing to Save Civilization by Lester Brown.

"The crisis is extremely serious and urgent and requires a mobilization of nations similar to that made during the Second World War (1939-1945)," argues the author, Lester Brown, President of the
Centre for Policy Studies Institute of the Earth , based in Washington.

"Climate change is happening much faster than scientists expected, and the planet will inevitably suffer a temperature increase of at least two degrees", Brown told IPS, "which would definitely place us in the danger zone."

"None of the presidential candidates in U.S. elections," to be held the first Tuesday in November, "raises the urgent problem of climate change.

"Emissions of greenhouse gases, partly responsible for global warming should be reduced by 80 percent by 2020."

This is a far more ambitious goal than that posed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore, who recommended a cut of between 25 and 40 percent of 1990 emission levels, according to the cable.

Brown estimates that the data used by the IPCC are outdated, as they would two years ago. More recent studies indicate that climate change is accelerating, he said.

Although confident that the IPCC will modify that recommendation in its next report, said that would not be released in five or six years. "Too late, we must act now," said Brown.

The Brown Plan B 3.0 recommends some measures to reach 80 percent reduction in emissions, which rely heavily on the efficient use of energy, renewable sources and the expansion of "shield" of trees on the planet.

"Wind energy can cover 40 percent of global demand with the installation of 1.5 million new wind turbines of two megawatts. Although the number seems high, occur each year 65 million cars in the
world. A more efficient lighting can reduce world electricity use by 12 percent.

"In the U.S., commercial and residential buildings account for 40 percent of carbon emissions. The next step should be to generate electricity in an environmentally friendly way for heating, cooling,
and lighting homes.

"The use of biofuels produced from grains such as corn and soy, are pushing up the prices of these foods and can cause a disastrous food shortage for the poor of the world.

"The annual addition of 70 million people to the world's population is concentrated in countries where water reserves are being depleted and wells go dry, forested areas are shrinking, soils are degrading, and grazing lands are turning into deserts.

"Year after year the number of 'failing states', which constitutes an' early warning of the fall of a civilization," Brown said.

"Rising oil prices should be added to the list of problems. Rich countries will have all they need, while poor countries should reduce their consumption.

"Population growth and poverty demand special attention from the developed world.

"Time is our scarcest resource," the renowned scientist.

Can not be expressed more clearly a danger that threatens humanity.

But it is not the only news published after my meeting with Lula. Just two days ago, anathematizing and tearing up Bush's speech to Congress, The New York Times in its editorial, expressed this idea in one line: "The world Horrifying dangers awaits the civilized."

China, a country which is 87 times greater than our island and they live 117 times more inhabitants than in Cuba, has just been hit by an unusual cold snap that hit Shanghai, the most developed, and the rest of the southern and central part of this great country. The authorities report on the international emergency broadcast from the West-AFP, AP, EFE, DPA, and ANSA others spread: "Heavy snow forced to close power plants and reduce by half the reserves of coal, the main
source country's energy, which has created a serious energy crisis. "

"... In the most affected area, seven percent of the total energy, stopped operating, according to the Energy Commission.

"... 90 plants, which produce an additional 10 percent of thermal electricity, could close in the coming days if the situation does not improve ...

"Coal reserves have been reduced to less than half, say the authorities ...

"The main problem is transportation. More than half of trains engaged in hauling coal, so the network paralysis has caused many problems, said Wang Zheming, expert of the State Security Commission.

"Wang recalled that coal transportation is facing these days the competition for passengers, because due to the holidays there is a railway transportation exodus of almost 180 million people in just one

"It is difficult for China to use another energy source. Ideally,nnatural gas, but deposits are not yet sufficient, said the expert. "

It should also be noted that the Yangtze basin and other areas of central and south in recent months suffered the worst drought in half a century, affecting hydropower production.

"The snow will continue to fall in the next three days," according to the China Meteorological Association.

"The whole country has mobilized to meet the emergency. In the city of Nanjing, 250 000 people were assigned to remove snow from the streets.

The cables speak of "460 000 soldiers from the People's Liberation Army, deployed in the Chinese provinces to help millions of people affected by weathering the worst cold of late, and a million
enforcement agents to help restore transit and services.

"The Ministry of Health sent 15 000 doctors to assist the victims.

"Premier Wen Jiabao addressed in the city of Canton to a crowd of travelers whose trains were paralyzed.

"An estimated 80 million affected. Damage to agriculture and food production are discussed. "

The BBC says: "The Government of China reported that a severe drought caused the water level in a part of the country's largest river, the Yangtze, fell to its lowest level since records were begun 142 years ago.

"In the port city of Hankou in central China, water levels decreased by 13.98 m in early January, which had not been seen since 1866, according to local media."

In Viet Nam the cold wave was approaching its territory with unusually low temperatures.

Such reports give an idea of ​​what climate change may mean that so worries scientists. In both examples I have referred to are revolutionary countries, perfectly organized, with great human and
economic strength, where all resources are immediately put at the service of people. It is not about hungry crowds abandoned to their fate.

On the other hand, a wire agency Reuters, January 29, reports that "France is planning to modify its policy on use of biofuels, due to concerns about the impact of so-called" green fuels "on the
environment, said on Tuesday, Secretary of State for the environment.

"France has become one of the largest producers of biofuels in Europe, after adopting an ambiguous policy that anticipates in two years the European Union's objective of blending biofuels with standard fuels.

"To achieve its goals of fuel mix ... France established a system of quotas that enjoy reduced tariffs, to make them competitive with standard fuels.

"That policy encouraged many companies to invest in the sector, building ethanol and biodiesel plants across the country."

Everything I have said, that although conceptually planned is a new addition of new elements occurred in such circumstances probably will demand from Brazil, fortunately unaffected by these huge climate calamities, major steps in its trade policy and investment. In the short term, its international impact is growing.

Clearly, a number of factors complicate the situation on the planet. We could list several:

1. Growth in oil consumption, a non-renewable and polluting, by squandering of consumption societies.

2. Shortage of food due to several causes, including the exponential growth of human population and animals which turn directly into increasingly demanded proteins.

3. Overexploitation of the seas and pollution of their species by chemical waste from industries which are incompatible with life.

4. The macabre idea of ​​turning foodstuffs into fuels for leisure and luxury.

5. Inability of the dominant economic system for rational and efficient use of science and technology in the fight against pests and diseases which attack human life, animals and crops that sustain it. Biotechnology transforms genes, and transnationals manufacture and use
their products, maximizing profits through advertising, no security for those who consume or access to those most in need. Among these products, the newest molecules, the term nanotechnology is relatively new, that are disorderly by the same pathways.

6. The need for rational growth plans family and society as a whole away from hegemonic and power.

7. The almost total lack of education on issues that are crucial for life, even in nations with higher levels of schooling.

8. The real risks arising from weapons of mass destruction in the hands of irresponsible people, which the aforementioned The New York Times, one of the most influential organs of the United States, as horrifying dangers.

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 do not be afraid to talk to Lula? It was impossible to tell everything. In this way it is easier to discuss the news that came later.

I reminded him of trying to recover from two accidents: the Villa Clara and the illness that came after my last trip to Argentina.

Near the end I said, "You are invited to go to Brazil this year." Thanks, I answered, at least I'll be there in thought.

Finally I said, I will tell your colleagues and friends you have in Brazil, which is fine.

We walked together to the exit. Won the game really worth.

Fidel Castro Ruz

January 31, 2008

Time: 6:32 pm