Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reflections of Fidel Castro: The Nuclear Winter

Havana August 24, 2010

Reflections of Fidel: The Nuclear Winter

(Taken from CubaDebate)

I feel embarrassed to be unaware of the subject, one that I have not
even heard mentioned before. On the contrary, I would have understood much earlier that the risks of a nuclear war were far more serious than I imagined.

I assumed that the planet would be able to withstand the explosion of hundreds of nuclear bombs calculating that, in both the United States and the USSR, countless tests have been carried out over the years. I had not taken into account a very simple reality: it is not the same thing to explode 500 nuclear bombs over 1,000 days as it is to do the same thing in one day.

I was able to learn more about it when I requested information from
several experts on the subject. One can imagine my surprise when I
learned that we do not need a nuclear world war for our species to

A nuclear conflict between the two weakest nuclear powers would be
sufficient, such as India and Pakistan – who nevertheless possess far
more than 100 weapons of this kind – and the human race would

I will think carefully about the elements of judgment given to me by
our experts on the subject, taken from what has been presented by the
most eminent scientists in the world.

There are things that Obama knows perfectly well:

"…a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union would produce a ‘nuclear winter."

"The international debate regarding that prediction, led by astronomer
Carl Sagan, forced the leaders of the two superpowers to face up to
the possibility that their arms race had not only placed themselves at
risk but also the entire human race."

"…‘models drawn up by Russian and U.S. scientists showed that a
nuclear war would result in a nuclear winter which would be
tremendously destructive for life on Earth; knowing this, for us, for
people with morals and honor, signified a tremendous incentive…’

"…regional nuclear wars could unleash a similar global catastrophe.
New analyses reveal that a conflict between India and Pakistan in
which 100 bombs – just 0.4% of the 25,000-plus warheads in the world –could be dropped on cities and industrial areas would generate enough fallout to destroy the world’s agriculture. A regional war could
result in the loss of lives even in countries far removed from the

"With modern computers and new climatic models, our team has
demonstrated that not only were the ideas of the 1980s correct, but
that the effects would last for at least 10 years, far longer than was
previously believed […] the fallout from a regional war would be
heated by the sun and would rise and remain suspended in the upper
atmosphere for years, masking the sunlight and cooling off the Earth."

"India and Pakistan, which – between the two of them – possess more
than 100 nuclear warheads…"

"Some people believe that the theory of nuclear winter developed
during the 1980s has fallen into disrepute. Perhaps that is why they
may be surprised by our assertion that a regional nuclear war between
India and Pakistan, for example, could devastate agriculture across
the entire planet.

"The original theory was thoroughly validated. Its scientific base was
supported by research undertaken by the National Academy of Sciences, studies sponsored by the U.S. Armed Forces and the International Council for Science (ICSU), which included representatives from 24 national science academies and other scientific bodies."

"Perhaps the cooling off does not appear to be something of particular
concern. But it is worth knowing that a slight drop in temperature
could lead to serious consequences."

"The total amount of grains being stored on the planet today could
feed the world population for a couple of months (see ‘Could Food
Shortages Bring Down Civilization?’ by Lester R. Brown; INVESTIGACIÓN Y CIENCIA, July 2009)."

"Sometimes the smoke from major forest fires penetrates the
troposphere and the lower stratosphere and is dragged over great
distances, generating a cooling off. Our models also agree with those

"Some 65 million years ago, an asteroid crashed into the Yucatán
Peninsula. The resultant dust cloud, mixed with smoke from the fires,
concealed the sun, killing the dinosaurs. Massive volcanic activity
which occurred in India at the same time could have aggravated the

"…the growing number of nuclear states increases the possibility of a
war breaking out, either intentionally or unintentionally.

"North Korea has threatened war if its ships are stopped and searched
for nuclear materials."

"Some extremist leaders in India proposed attacking Pakistan with
nuclear weapons as a result of the latest terrorist attacks on India."

"Iran has threatened to destroy Israel, already a nuclear power, which
in turn has sworn never to allow Iran to become a nuclear power."

"The first two nuclear bombs shocked the world so deeply that, despite
the massive increase in those weapons since then, they have never been used again."

A nuclear war is inevitable from the moment that the UN Security
Council term has expired; anything could happen when the first Iranian
vessel is inspected.

"Within in the framework of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty,
the U.S and Russia have committed themselves to leaving their arsenal of deployed strategic nuclear weapons at 1,700 and 2,200 by the end of 2012."

"If those weapons were to be used on urban targets, they would kill
hundreds of millions of people and a vast cloud of smoke – of 180
teragrams – would inundate the earth’s atmosphere."

"The only way to eliminate the possibility of a climatic disaster is
to eliminate nuclear weapons."

At midday, I met with four Cuban experts: Tomás Gutiérrez Pérez; José
Vidal Santana Núñez; Col. José Luis Navarro Herrero, head of the
Science and Technology Secretariat of the MINFAR; and Fidel Castro
Díaz-Balart, with whom I analyzed the issue I am dealing with in this

I requested the meeting yesterday, August 22. I didn’t want to lose a
second. Without any doubt, it was a productive encounter.

Fidel Castro Ruz
August 23, 2010
5:34 p.m.

Havana August 23, 2010

Reflections of Fidel: I Am an Optimist on Rational Grounds

(Taken from CubaDebate)

THE days are passing by. One after another, they are going by rapidly.
Some people are getting anxious. I, on the other hand, am calm.

I share with our workers the results they are achieving in their work,
in the midst of the blockade and other accumulated necessities.

Our country is one of those that is most prepared to confront
obstacles, and not only has it demonstrated tremendous altruism but
also solidarity with other peoples, such as the efforts that it
undertook in Haiti prior to the earthquake and much greater efforts

Some days ago, I had honor of receiving the members of the heroic Moto Méndez Solidarity Mission, which complemented the work of the Cuban Medical Brigade in Bolivia, which has provided more than 40 million medical consultations and had performed, up until yesterday, 543,629 eye operations. They are overcoming the ravages of climate change, where tremendous heat alternates with the most intense cold.

We are very well aware of what Russia is suffering with the heat and
the hundreds of forest and peat fires, the suffocating clouds of
smoke, the belated rains and, to cap it all, snow in the summertime.

We have seen the images of rivers overflowing in Pakistan and the vast ice floe that has become detached from Greenland. All of this is the result of alterations to natural conditions, caused by human beings

But I am optimistic on rational and solid grounds. The future worries
me but I also increasingly believe that the solution is within our
grasp, if we manage to carry the truth to a sufficient number of
people among the billions that inhabit the planet.

Fidel Castro Ruz
August 20, 2010
1.17 p.m.

Translated by Granma International

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