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Latest info > News > Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart: “It is unethical to accuse the south of polluting, because it is the north that has relocated its polluting technologies there”


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07 / 06 / 2004
Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart: “It is unethical to accuse the south of polluting, because it is the north that has relocated its polluting technologies there”

Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart today took part in the Forum’s 141 questions (29): “Does north and south understand sustainability in the same way?” which has received a great deal of interest from visitors at the Forum Site. The talk focused on the different perspectives of northern and southern countries regarding sustainability. In the opinion of Castro Díaz-Balart, it is the north that has to provide solutions for the planet’ sustainable development

By quoting from abundant statistical data, Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart intended to show how in his opinion that it is the countries in the northern hemisphere that have to provide solutions for the sustainable development of the planet.

On several occasions Castro Díaz-Balart referred to the need to take into account the new mechanisms for evaluating social wealth, in reference to the new indicators put forward by the French philosopher Patrick Viveret, who has recently taken part in the Dialogues organized at the Forum. “We can’t talk about sustainability without giving it its full name, we have to take into consideration education, culture, Man’s aspirations, etc., a lot of elements that are not present in GNP indicators. Sustainability goes beyond technological development. In addition, in order to establish the criteria of development we have to bear in mind the geopolitical context”.

“The limits facing sustainable development have been dealt with in the Dialogues organized by the Forum over the last few days: water, energy, health, etc. Some 80 % of the world’s population lives in the south, where 900 million people are illiterate. In the south, however, only 20% of the planet’s energy is consumed. And as of the year 2015, agriculture in the Third World will no longer be sustainable. It is still to be seen whether or not the green revolution will be a response for these countries”. He went on to add, “there are no universal solutions, no single recipes for success. The international talks held in Kyoto and Johannesburg have not produced definitive solutions”.

Castro Díaz-Balart is now senior researcher and professor of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, and advisor to various government ministries in his country and to the President of the Council of State. In his response to a question from the audience he said “it is neither ethical nor correct to accuse the countries of the southern hemisphere of allowing pollution, after the northern hemisphere has relocated its polluting technologies there”. He declared, “above all, there is a need to put an end to traditional illiteracy as well as computer illiteracy”. Access to information, in his opinion, will be vital in guaranteeing the development of southern hemisphere countries in the coming decades.

In his speech, and in response to another question from the audience, Castro Díaz-Balart confirmed his position in favor of a peaceful use for nuclear energy. He claimed that “technically the nuclear waste problem can be solved, but politically and socially it cannot”. As a nuclear physicist trained in the USSR and in Cuba, Castro Díaz-Balart was executive secretary of the Cuban Atomic Energy Commission between 1980 and 1992, the year when the régime in Cuba abandoned the construction of its nuclear energy reactor. Castro Díaz-Balart is also author of the book Nuclear Energy: Danger to the Environment or Solution for the 21st Century? (1997), originally published in English and translated into Spanish, French and Italian, in which he defends Cuba’s aspirations to have a nuclear energy facility.

More information about 141 questions