In an interview with RT, the son of the leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart, spoke about his student years in the USSR, where he lived under an assumed name. Fidelito, as he is called in his homeland, commented on the recent election of Latin American Jorge Bergollo by the Pope and shared his opinion on the future of the Island of Freedom.
Q: Hello. You are watching the Interview program. Today, we talk with the son of Fidel Castro, the Cuban nuclear physicist Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart, who is also known as Fidelito.
Good day. Thank you very much for your time. You do nuclear physics. When it comes to the future of our planet, the international community has high hopes for the latest energy technologies. How do you assess the achievements in this area and how they are applied?
A: When it is necessary to analyze the world energy balance and especially the crisis that exists due to the lack of different types of energy, it is necessary to delve into other problems of our time. For example, take into account several parallel crises that overlap each other. In addition to energy, we are witnessing crises in the financial, food and medical fields. They all relate to the state of humanity as a whole. 7 billion people live on Earth. We lack food and water. And especially important is the energy that ensures the existence of modern civilization. Currently, 85% energy production is dependent on oil, coal and gas. About 6% accounts for nuclear energy and hydropower. A small amount, about 3%, belongs to biomass and other sources of renewable energy. Therefore, when we talk about modern technologies, we very much hope to find the optimal ratio. But in order to change the existing energy balance, we will need dozens of years. Technology must mature. And I think that in the next 50-100 years we will continue to depend on the same energy sources.
Q: Yes, but in principle, the development of technology carries some danger. For example, when we talk about nuclear energy. People see danger in it. Is it true or myth?
A: You know, I wrote a lot on this topic. I wrote a whole book that was translated into several languages: “Nuclear power: a threat to the environment or a solution to the energy problem of the 21st century?”. And my position is as follows: like any modern industrial activity, nuclear power involves risks. The development of technology in recent 60 years has made it possible to create new third-generation reactors with a high level of internal security. They are fed not from external sources, but due to the basic physical principle - the force of gravity. When these reactors gradually begin to be put into operation, the balance in the use of atomic energy and the attitude towards it in society will change. One can cite the example of Fukushima in order to understand the level of safety at modern NPPs. Reactors of the second generation 60-70-ies, which can withstand the 7-magnitude earthquake, withstood the earthquake of nine points. They were designed to withstand the waves with a height of nine meters, and weathered and 15-meter waves. They stopped only when the tsunami was so powerful that water poured all the diesel systems. This was all the danger. And I ask myself, what kind of industrial structure would be able to withstand everything that this nuclear power plant could withstand? The only thing that was missing was that the meteorite also fell, as recently in the Urals. The station held out. Therefore, the conclusion is: like any human activity, energy and other technologies are dangerous. But we also risk stopping in development. According to statistics, by now nuclear power has caused fewer casualties than other technologies. I think that nuclear power is the way of development of industrial societies that have an industrial base, financial and human resources that can develop these technologies. Fortunately, Russia is one of the countries developing nuclear energy. And it will continue to do this, just as China and the United States, which have the most nuclear power plants in the world. The Americans decided not to close their 104 reactor, but to extend their service life from 30 years to 50 and 80. These reactors are already old, but nevertheless, they continue to work. This practice needs to be stopped, and this has let Fukushima down. The Japanese nuclear power plant extended life, and experience shows that this can not be done. We need to be more careful, to develop international cooperation in the field of security. I would like to emphasize the following: it is very important that we have maximum openness, so that society is involved in everything; not only political parties, but also various public organizations. It is necessary that they can assess the situation and give their consent or disagreement on the use of nuclear energy.
Q: Ordinary people who do not have deep knowledge in this area often associate nuclear energy with an atomic bomb. How to divide these concepts in the representation of people?
A: I think the main problem is that nuclear energy was born as a result of original sin. They learned about it because of the Holocaust in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which was absolutely unnecessary, because Japan was already defeated. This is an image of an invisible destructive force, from which it is impossible to escape. Of course, he left an indelible mark in the consciousness of humanity. And, unfortunately, the development of such technologies continues. There are five nuclear powers in the world, 28 thousand units of nuclear weapons. And I think that people are not only worried about what happened over 60 years ago, but also the creation of a new, more powerful weapon and the consequences of its use. I think it’s very difficult to separate these two concepts. Unfortunately, there are organizations that sow panic. In my opinion, an attempt to explain to people that there are two types of energy, good and bad, is doomed to failure. In ancient Chinese philosophy there are concepts of "yin" and "yang." Good and evil are always together, but you should always be smarter, you need to develop good ideas and eradicate bad ones.
Q: You are the son of the leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro. And at that moment, when you chose your future profession, the fate of your country was decided. The word "revolution" was not an empty sound. Why did you decide to do science?
A: The revolution had manifested itself long before that in the field of education, science, and the health care system. Back in 60, my father said that Cuba should depend on scientists, thinkers. But this required big changes in the field of education, it was necessary to eradicate illiteracy, to develop universities. We had three universities and they were inaccessible to most people. Only those who had the means for it could study in them. We had racial and class discrimination, discrimination based on gender. Today in our country 64 University. This revolution in education has awakened interest in knowledge, has affirmed the importance of science for the development of the country. One of the clearest examples is the National Center for Scientific Research. It was created in 1965 year. And in the 80-ies, when there was a boom in biotechnology, its specialists became world scientific leaders. They studied in other countries, collaborated with them. This is a prime example of how basic science leads to economic development. Today, a biotechnology complex is operating in Cuba, one of the best in all developing countries. Biotechnology in Cuba - in second place in terms of investment. Since childhood, I have always been interested in knowledge in this area. We had the opportunity and the advantage to study this science in the USSR.
Q: You studied at the Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov also relate to the Kurchatov Institute. What memories do you have about life in the USSR?
Q: These years are remembered with special tenderness. During his studies, a person can better know the country where he gets an education. I am happy not only because I now have such an interesting and useful profession, but also because I was able to get acquainted with life, with the culture of the Russian people. With a Russian soul.
A: Do you understand her?
Oh yeah. I think yes.
Q: According to the press, you studied in the USSR under a different name - José Raul. Did your university friends know who you really were? Or did you manage to hide it?
A: Well, actually, I was young and outwardly not very similar to my father. I was one of many. And I could live and work with everyone. At the same time, none of the students knew about my relationship with Fidel Castro. Knew only some of the authorities. Therefore, even today, sometimes I have to provide evidence that that person is me. Because my first diploma was issued for a different name, as well as the diploma of the candidate of sciences.
Q: Also in the name of Jose Raul?
Oh yeah. And I published more 30 works under this name. And I had to confirm that these are my works and my documents. But now I understand that it was my advantage to be part of normal human life. I don’t think it hurt me at all. Including, I had the opportunity to receive a diploma from the hands of the Rector of the Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov, and then - the degree of doctor of science at the Kurchatov Institute. I keep these documents with great love. I think that the main thing is not a name, but a person.
Q: However, the fact that you are the son of Fidel Castro influenced your life?
A: Well, it's quite difficult to find a person whose life would not be affected by the fact that he is the son of his father, wouldn’t he?
Q: Someone more, someone less ...
A: Naturally. Fortunately, in my family there was no scientific tradition before. She started with me, and now my sons have continued her. But not because I made them. Just because the joint life, education, intellectual and cultural values that are transmitted in the family, can in a certain way affect the formation of a person.
Q: Speaking of family influence, could you recall any conversations with your father? What values did he instill in you when you were young?
A: It is no secret that during my youth in Cuba there was a very difficult situation. The situation inside the country was very tense: the US operation on Playa Chiron, the Caribbean crisis, problems with armed units in the mountains, the need to develop industry, education. And, of course, my father and other leaders of the country had very little free time. They did not have such an opportunity as ordinary people - to quietly come home after work and chat with their families. My father gave a lot of power to the country. A lot of energy was spent on youth development, and this atmosphere greatly influenced me. I also read certain literature. From childhood I liked to study mathematics, physics. After all, there are many indirect ways to influence the fate of a person. But this could not be called ordinary communication. My destiny was formed gradually. The Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset said: "I am my circumstances." So can say anyone, including me. Certain favorable circumstances gave me the opportunity to learn and devote my life to my chosen profession.
Q: Another question about your personal life. I'm still interested. Suppose a person studied with you and did not know that you are the son of Fidel Castro. Surely you have any историяwhen one of your friends found out about this, and how did he react?
A: During my studies, this did not happen. I graduated from university and entered graduate school as José Raul. And so there was no injury for me or for other people. A few years later, many of those with whom I studied naturally found out and said: “Oh! Great! ” I am sure that the main thing for them was that they were familiar with me as a person, and not with a name or someone’s relative. Therefore, I have friends who did not feel either deceived or rejected, because it was something secondary for them.
Q: At that time it was much easier to hide who you really were, because there was no “yellow press” yet, and television was different. However, very little is known about the personal life of the Castro family. How did you manage to keep it a secret?
A: It is very difficult to talk about the whole Castro family, because it is very numerous. And each family member has his own destiny. As for the head of state, he managed to keep his personal space for many years, devoting himself to the main business of his life - work. But this did not prevent the majority of family members, each of us, to develop in their own way, without any particular disagreements. The influence of the press ... Yes, perhaps ... Different magazines with gossip are very popular in the West ...
Q: And now in Russia.
A: Yes, now in Russia. I do not know ... Perhaps, if your channel, RT, existed at that time, you would have revealed me.
Q: For the first time in history, a Latino was elected Pope. How could you comment on this choice?
A: The decision to choose the Pope from Latin America was made at a time when the Catholic faith, according to its representatives, needs reforms and transformations. The Latin American region is undergoing serious economic and social changes. Cuba is a secular state, but over the past 10-15 years we have twice hosted pontiffs. This is an unusual occurrence. From a political point of view, the Pope is the head of state of the Vatican. Through President Raul Castro, Cuba conveyed his congratulations to him. A high representative from our country, the first vice president, attended the inauguration ceremony of the new Pope. Politically, we wished him success. We cannot deny the importance of the Catholic religion. Over the past 500 years, there has been no occasion for the Pope to abdicate. But it happens sometimes, it happened five or six times in the history. This made it possible to elect a new Pope of progressive views. But they say that he is a Jesuit, which means that he is a conservative. Perhaps this is so, I am not an expert in this field. However, I read that he wants to create a church for the poor. Although some pontiffs did not accept such an idea. However, if the new Pope is interested in the social aspect, if he wants to bring the church closer to the needs of the poor, his work, no doubt, will be useful. And I wish him every success in his work.
Q: The leaders of the Cuban revolution had a special charisma. Do you think the new generation can continue the traditions of the Castro brothers?
A: The new generation in Cuba is more than 70% of the population. These people were born after the revolution. Cuban society is constantly changing. And these changes are the result of the country's historical development and its vision of the future. The newly elected Cuban parliament appointed a young man as first vice president. He has a technical education, he is an experienced specialist. He has charisma. And I am sure that not only the youth, but the people as a whole, accepted him well. That is life. Each country finds its own way. And depending on this path, it develops its society, economy. This is exactly what Cuba is doing, taking into account our peculiarities, the different nationalities that form the Cuban people. And I think that this is a very positive phenomenon that will continue in the next five to six years. President Raul Castro said that, despite certain constitutional changes, this would be his deadline. Before him, Fidel Castro also resigned from all his posts. Unfortunately, often such events are not covered in the world media ... And so it happens in many countries - the leaders follow each other. In Cuba, this is a gradual process. The leaders of the revolution resigned, there were many young people in leadership positions at the level of municipalities, provinces. Thus, I think that this is a natural process in which more and more young people will participate every year, they will lead various organizations. And that's fine. Sometimes this is attributed to some strange overtones, although it is absolutely normal that this happens. Today, almost 48% of the members of the last Cuban parliament are women. In the field of medicine, most of them. Two women became vice-presidents, several - ministers. At the level of municipal and provincial governments, women occupy leadership positions, and sometimes they also lead these governments. It `s naturally. And I think that their number will increase over time.
Q: Mr. Castro, thank you so much again for your time.
A: And you - for the interview, which made me remember so many good things from my past.