Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Capitalism has no interest in abolishing ignorance

Capitalism has no interest in abolishing ignorance
• States President Fidel Castro during the closing session last night of the International Literacy and Post-Literacy Seminar

BY MARIELA MARTIN—Granma daily staff writer—

"IF we teach people to read and write we will have hundreds of millions of revolutionaries, of fighters capable of changing the world," affirmed President Fidel Castro during the closing session of the International Literacy and Post-Literacy Seminar that brought together more than 700 delegates from 33 nations at the International Conference Center.

The leader of the Revolution stated: "Capitalism has no interest in abolishing ignorance. It can be confirmed that there is no will to educate people just as we can demonstrate that we want to and can combat ignorance," he assured.

Fidel condemned the consumerism being promoted by the media in the service of capitalism, which focuses more on commercials than looking at the army of the poor and illiterate or preparing the new generations to confront the challenges of this century.

He gave the example of Third World children not attending class because they do not have teachers or educational centers or because they are working in the worst occupations.

The usurpation of a large part of Mexican territory by the United States was noted by Fidel, who condemned the way in which the powerful empire is combating immigrants from that country, despite the fact that they are an essential element of the workforce in the development of the U.S. economy. Throughout history justice has never come or will come until it becomes a survival necessity of the human species and that time is now, he noted.

Thanks to the Cuban "Yes, I Can Do It" educational method more than 1.9 million people in more than 15 countries have become literate; however, Fidel stated that that was a modest merit of the Cuban people. "Our method is no better than the rest," he clarified, "but it has passed a test that validates it and we cannot wait until 2015 to reduce by 50% an illiteracy indicator in excess of 770 million persons.

The fact that the first 1,000 people have recently graduated via the Cuban method and another 120,000 are presently being taught was highlighted by the Cuban president, who affirmed that the goal is to end illiteracy in that sister country within 30 months.

He pointed to the aid loaned by Cuba in the field of health to the Latin American countries and the number of patients to undergo ophthalmological operations from the start of Operation Miracle to date.

Finally, he proposed a discussion on the issues of illiteracy, health and energy policies on sustainable bases at the upcoming Non-Aligned Movement Summit, to be hosted by the island.