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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 97 23:09:40 CDT
From: jjvaldes@ix.netcom.com
Subject: Cuba admits ecological disaster at the Earth Summit
Article: 13698

Cuba admitted the country's ecological disaster at the Earth Summit

By Ariel Remos, published (in Spanish) on Friday 27 June 1997, in Diario Las Americas

The Castro regime acknowledged the existence of the country's ecological disaster mire in a published, profusely-illustrated pamphlet discreetly distributed by the Cuban delegation during the +5 Earth Summit held at the UN headquarters in New York.

As reported to this newspaper by engineer Andres Solares, an adviser to the Cuban Environmental Association who attended the Summit, the Cuban delegation distributed three pamphlets. The most extensive among them was one titled "National Environmental Strategy" which essentially confirms the 450 violations that the Association had denounced at the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro as well as at the present Summit.

"Ever since going into exile 9 years ago, we have been denouncing through different means the growing contamination of the environment in Cuba: air, soil, sea, water, cities," states Mr. Solares.

"This is the first time, to my knowledge, that we are faced with the surprising development that Cuba has presented a document, prepared with financial assistance from the embassies of the Low Countries, that almost 100% corroborates the main denunciations we have made about Cuba's ecological disaster. "Meanwhile, the president of the [Cuban] delegation, [Ricardo] Alarcon, delivered his political speech, containing a negative message, without mentioning the real situation," he added.

Distributed in a very discreet manner, the pamphlet represents the most eloquent argument against Cuba's environmental degradation, the full extent of which is revealed. It even "confirms that 60% of the national territory in on its way to becoming a desert."

Solares shows us the pamphlet, which is inarguably a totally uncharacteristic admission for the regime to make and which makes us remember the judicial maxim that a party's confession substitutes for proof.

In the pamphlet, the regime declares that:

  • The sewage treatment plants are inoperative.
  • The water and sewer pipeline network is in shambles.
  • There is almost no trash pickup; there are garbage dumps everywhere and medical wastes are mixed with trash.
  • Environmental laws are not enforced and industrial facilities are causing air pollution all over the country.
  • Bays and bordering seas are increasingly being contaminated.
  • During recent years, monitoring of environmental and contamination problems has been eliminated.
  • Facilities that handle hazardous wastes lack treatment and safe disposal.
  • Forests are irrationally being use for fire wood, which is causing an accelerated pace of deforestation and, at the same time, a lost of biological diversity.
  • The depletion of farmable soils requires urgent measures because agricultural lands are disappearing.
  • Environmental health conditions have deteriorated to such a degree in human settlement areas that they are virtually creating a total crisis for the lives of the populace.

For Solares, the environmental damage that the regime has caused is almost irreparable and it will take years to achieve a return to normalcy.

Accompanied by the Executive Director of AMAC, Nestor Penedo, and Alina Fernandez, daughter of Fidel Castro, Mr. Solares offered a press conference in New York, attended by the news media and representatives on non-governmental organizations, to denounce the environmental harm caused by the [Cuban] regime. At that press conference, the dictator's daughter stated that neither her father nor the regime's hierarchy is interested in environmental matters. They also had the opportunity to meet with the president of Nicaragua, Arnoldo Aleman, to brief him on the dangers posed by the Juragua [nuclear power] plant.

Unfortunately, the [Cuban] regime's own admissions about the country's ecological disaster, and the absence of any proposed strategy to resolve it, have gone virtually unnoticed.

Translated for CubaNet by Jose J. Valdes