Called upon to become a basic pillar of the economy, Cuban science celebrated its day with a renewed commitment to contributing more to the wellbeing of society and developing full technological sovereignty.
Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, selected January 15 for this celebration, because on that date in 1960, during a speech he gave at the 20th anniversary of the Speleological Society of Cuba (SEC), held in the auditorium of the Royal Society of Medical, Physical, and Natural Sciences in Havana, he said, “The future of our Homeland must necessarily be a future of men of science, of men of thought, because this is precisely what we are cultivating most; what we are seeding most are opportunities for intelligence.”Amidst activities commemorating the event, Granma International shares the opinions of several members of Cuba’s scientific community, explaining why workers in the sector, in their majority, will vote to approve the new Constitution, in the referendum set for February 24.
RESEARCH FOR THE COUNTRY
“It is very gratifying for scientific workers that the basic principles of the new Magna Carta include educational, scientific, technical, and cultural development, as well as the construction of a society based on information and knowledge.“We believe that the priority of scientific research must be the solution of problems that concern the country and the general public. We will support a Constitution in which science is addressed not only as part of the state’s essential purpose, of educational, scientific, and cultural policy, but also of its economic foundations.“Cuban scientists know that, in an economy based on knowledge and advanced technology, enterprises will be a key tool in our development as a nation.“Almost 60 years ago, Fidel noted that the future of Cuba must necessarily be a future of men of science. Today, those of us who work in the field strive to be worthy heirs of that trust. By casting a Yes vote, we honor the legacy and teachings of the Comandante en Jefe.” (Dr. Tania Crombet Ramos, researcher and clinical director of the Molecular Immunology Center).“The continuity and changes that we as a people will endorse have the virtue of being the product of collective analysis and popular wisdom. But at the same time, we must recognize that this is wisdom in which many factors converge, given the high levels of political commitment in favor of the path chosen since the early 1960s, and the extraordinary political culture developed within our society.“For me, working in the field of social sciences and humanities, it is very gratifying to note that in the text we will support with our individual votes on February 24, included are numerous suggestions and proposals from research centers, universities, and the debates held at the Academy of Sciences plenary session of October 27. Several of these are the product of various studies related to political power of a popular nature in the process of constructing socialism, carried out under conditions of economic underdevelopment and harassment by our bad neighbor to the north.“This, and many other reasons that I cannot summarize in a brief space, motivate me to vote in favor of the new Constitution, which not only reaffirms the path of socialist transition toward a communist horizon, but also contributes to the continuity of that chosen path under new historical conditions.” (Dr. Olga Fernández Ríos, vice president of the Cuban Academy of Sciences)“The Constitution we will vote for on February 24 contains the legitimate aspirations of the Cuban people, which many others in the world would like to see reflected in their respective constitutions. I would like to highlight, for example, what is stipulated in Article 16, subsection f, which asserts that the state promotes the protection and conservation of the environment, and combats climate change, which threatens the survival of the planet, based on the recognition of common, but differentiated responsibility.“It also establishes, at a later point, that creative and investigative activity in science is free, and that research is encouraged with a focus on development and innovation, prioritizing research aimed at solving problems related to the needs of society and the people’s wellbeing.“Likewise, the new Magna Carta puts the country in line with current times and the future, in the most diverse facets of national life, maintaining the essence of the Revolution and without renouncing one iota of the independence we have won. So, my vote is a Yes.” (Dr. José Rubiera Torres, meteorologist)“As a Cuban woman born after the triumph of the Revolution and a worker at the National Aquarium for more than 20 years, to say yes in the referendum is first of all a gesture of gratitude, because our center was created by Fidel, and the validity of his thought is decisive in the institution’s work and accompanies us every day as we do science.“Approving the Carta Magna means ratifying the foundations of the socialist state, including, among other objectives, promoting sustainable development to ensure individual and collective prosperity, based on the nation’s scientific progress.“I will give my conscious vote in favor of the new Constitution, since along with setting guidelines for the road ahead and resulting from an unparalleled exercise of genuine participatory democracy, it once again highlights devotion to the full dignity of Cubans.” (MSc María de los Ángeles Serrano, director of the National Aquarium of Cuba).WISDOM FOR THE COMMON GOOD“This Constitution guarantees us full freedom of creation and action in society, with the only limitation being not infringing on that of others, which is only fair. Science needs freedom to create knowledge, and society, in turn, requires that its members become cultured, learn, and create wealth, without any limitation whatsoever.“One of the highlights of this final text, enriched in the process of extensive discussion by the entire people, is the inclusion of an article confirming that the state promotes the advancement of science, technology, and innovation, as elements essential for economic and social development.“Beyond containing many advanced concepts in the field of science and technology, the new Magna Carta establishes a very constructive legal framework in which we can legislate, and effectively, freely do everything that leads to the good of society and each one of its members, using knowledge. That is why I will support it with my vote.” (Dr. Luis Alberto Montero Cabrera, president of the University of Havana’s Scientific Council)“I’m certain that the scientific community will overwhelmingly express itself with a Yes in the February 24 referendum.“On a personal level, I will do so to ensure that our children can dream, and become men and women of science, with no other requirement than their vocation, effort, and talent; so that Cuban women continue to be worthy representatives of the country’s human potential; so we continue to build an inclusive science, technology, and innovation system at the service of society, where strategic national and territorial development coexists in harmony.“So that the exercise of science in Cuba continues to be free; so that research agendas are built on the basis of the people’s priorities and the motivations and talent of our researchers; so that science contributes to the permanent improvement of our socioeconomic system; and so that doing science continues to be a historical condition and necessity to making the Revolution, as Fidel taught us in his foundational words of January 15, 1960.” (MSc Alberto Rodríguez Batista, director of Science, Technology and Innovation at the Ministry of Science, Technology, and the Environment).