cigarettes are code for proletarian

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Dec 11 12:15:24 PST 1998

>As for the relation between smoking and capitalism, what was Fidel thinking
>during all those decades he smoked cigars?

>From a 1994 speech:

We can continue advancing, with the resources we have of this system of primary health care, which no one else has, through the family doctor program. We have to learn to work. We have to say that we have not learned how to make it work. We have not learned how to work with it yet. We have to improve the work of the family doctors' system. We are sure that, with the quality of life that our country has, with the diet our country has, and with these possibilities, life expectancy will continue to increase. But, furthermore, I believe that all of us, beginning with me, we have to change our conduct and lifestyle. The habit of smoking is still very widespread here in our country. We have a high percentage of doctors that still smoke in this country. We were saying to the comrades in Sancti Spiritus that despite all of their achievements, 34 percent of the doctors in that province are smoking. We cannot be an example that way....

>From a 1993 speech:

For many years, Cuba has been fighting for the Third World at the United Nations, independent of our interests; defending issues that many times went against our national interests. I can cite an example: Cuba immediately supported the campaign against smoking. However, tobacco is one of Cuba's most important sources of hard currency. We did not hesitate to support the global health campaign because it was in the interest of mankind's health. And like this, there are many other things for which Cuba has waged a consistent battle all through the Revolution. We have been preventing problems. We have been foreseeing them; unfortunately, they are becoming ever greater realities.

>From a 1991 speech:

The struggle is very difficult. The least we can say regarding the circumstances is that we should all struggle in our countries, in our fields, to improve medical care and health conditions of the population. We need to continue to struggle a lot. We need to continue perfecting what we have and overcoming the deficiencies we still have. They can be other types of battles; they are no longer technological. They can be social in nature or regarding education; for example, the battle against smoking that we have to wage. It is big, simply big. What education measures can we adopt? What type of economic measures? In spite of the fact that we have never followed the policy of low prices for alcohol or tobacco. On the contrary, we have followed the policy of low prices for milk and foodstuffs but not for these vices.

What type of arrangement can we have to get better success in this battle? [Words indistinct] we watch the alcoholism matter quite a bit, and we are willing to prevent this from being a problem here, of course. We have problems with early pregnancy. This is a battle we are waging. We have not won it completely. Progress is being made, according to what family doctors said here.

Louis Proyect


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