Cuba is the only country in Latin America and the Caribbean that is successfully developing its own vaccines against Covid19. Those who do not know the island of Martí and Fidel cannot understand how a small nation, vilified, attacked and blocked by the most powerful empire in the history of humanity, has been capable of such a feat. They should know that the roots of this feat lie in the very origins of the revolution when, in the trial that followed Fidel and his companions after the attack on the Moncada Barracks in July 1953, the young lawyer in his defense statement before the The court - which later became known as "History will absolve me" - would clearly point out the right of Cubans to endogenous development of industry and technology.
After the triumph of the revolution, Fidel turned to make the "Moncada Program" a reality. As early as January 1960, he pointed out that the future of Cuba had to necessarily be a future of men of science and thought because that is what the revolution would sow: "opportunities for intelligence." Likewise, thinking about the future, he assured that now scientists and researchers would have all the opportunities to serve their people and their country, because in the coming years the scientific institutions to which he hoped would be joined by many Cubans who not only should increase their knowledge but, the most important thing, was that they should be put at the service of justice and the homeland.
In this way, with a unique vision, he proposed a strategic task for young people, urging them to research, think and understand, since Cuba lived moments “in which the role of thought is exceptional, because only thought can guide people in the moments of great transformation and in the moments in which great companies like this are undertaken ”.
As in all the actions crystallized by Fidel, the speech was always accompanied by the facts. Thus, in 1962 the Cuban Academy of Sciences was created, research centers were organized in different institutions linked to the economy and services and in July 1965, with its decisive orientation, the National Center for Scientific Research (CNIC) was inaugurated. formally beginning the creation of institutions that were to constitute the backbone of the Cuban scientific system.
Years later, on March 13, 1969, during a speech delivered at the University of Havana, he established the need to produce a link between universities and research. He said in this regard: "The university must be linked to research, and universities must be research centers of all kinds (...) we mean that teachers must participate in research and research centers must participate in the training of future technicians ”, with which he proposed to take a leap in the process by formulating the need to further massify research efforts. Likewise, it established a practice that from then on had to be assumed by the Cuban leaders, stating that it was “the obligation of any man of public responsibility to try to have the minimum of knowledge to be able to evaluate what scientists, technicians, specialists may indicate one way or another ”.
Along with this, he projected for scientists, the sentiment and imperative of the Cuban revolution to serve society and internationalism: “To have access to modern production and master advanced technologies, it is essential to instruct men and women that they are going to handle them, train them for the greater knowledge of their specialties and endow them with a social, patriotic and internationalist conscience that allows them to carry out both their own economic and social projects as well as contribute to the development of the most urgent part of humanity that suffers in worse the consequences of the colonial past ”.
Under his wise guidance, Cuba, a small country with scarce resources, incessantly attacked by the United States, developed its own scientific community of the 1st. world. Thus, in 1976 the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the State Committee for Science and Technology were created. In 1981 the so-called "Biological Front" was founded in which the work of all scientists and institutions related to the subject was combined from the cooperation, integration and generalization of the processes.
In 1982 the Center for Biological Studies (CIB) began its operation and four years later the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), an institution of 1st. level and emblematic center of biotechnology in Cuba with the aim of becoming an institution that links research and production, characterized by the continuity of all the specialized scientific activities and topics that had been initiated at the CIB. Likewise, new research centers arose and biotechnology was given a special boost. Examples of all this were the National Center for Biopreparations; the Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK); the National Library of Science and Technology; the “Carlos J. Finlay” Institute for the development of vaccines; the Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM) specialized in obtaining monoclonal antibodies; the Center for Molecular Chemistry (CQM), dedicated to the production of synthetic antigens; and the Immuno Assay Center (CIE) among other research institutions of which there are offices in several provinces. In each of these centers, the personal stamp imposed by the Commander-in-Chief was present.
In 1984, the CNIC conceived the MEDICID-03, the first automated EEG with continuity in the NEUROCID-M, to record electrical activity in skeletal muscles. To this, the AUDIX, electro audiometer, (first in the world) and the SUMA, Ultramicro-analytical System, were added in 1990.
Years later, in the gallery of the 1st. Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 Fidel made a premonitory call in order to avoid the disaster that he saw coming: "Use all the science necessary for a sustained development without pollution," he said in a message that still resonates in the ears of The humanity.
The disappearance of the socialist camp in 1990 was a severe blow to Cuba and its economy. Scientific development was not immune to the difficult imprint that was imposed from the radical change in the political structure of the planet. To adapt to the new situation, the "West Havana Scientific Pole" was created in 1992 with the intention of producing a leap forward from the structural point of view that would allow a positive response to the difficult working conditions that had arisen.
Since then, the development of Cuban science and technology has had to adapt to the dizzying changes that have been unleashed in the last thirty years. It must be said, however, that the work never stopped, not even during the thorny moments of the Special Period that Cuba suffered during the last decade of the last century as the fundamental basis of its international sustenance crumbled, at the same time that imperialist aggressiveness increased. assuming that the island would not withstand the onslaught of this cataclysm. Thus, finally, more recently, Cuba has adopted the inclusive concept of the Science and Technological Innovation System. (SCIT).
In particular, the System of Science and Technological Innovation for Health (SCITS) organized into 37 science and innovation entities: 16 research centers, 3 scientific-technological services and 18 development and innovation units was transformed into the new structure that modernly, the already powerful Cuban system of science and technology has assumed.
BioCubaFarma was created in 2012, a superior organization for business management, which integrated the research, development and production centers of biotechnology, the pharmaceutical industry and high-tech medical equipment. BioCubaFarma —with its 32 companies, 70 production facilities, 10 research centers, 11 research and development units and a scientific-technological service center is also part of the SCITS. BioCubaFarma products and technologies are part of the Basic Table of Medicines and other applications of the Ministry of Health.
Today it can be said that only through the CNIC, over 50 years, more than 30 thousand specialists have passed, who have surpassed themselves in their departments and laboratories, 389 of them obtained their degree of Doctor of Science, many became leaders scientists and it is common to find in the remaining centers, managers trained in this emblematic institution, mother of Cuban scientific development.
Every process has its times. Those were those in which the Cuban revolution was led by combatants, guerrillas, and social fighters who rose up in the face of shame. The leaders went to Moncada, to jail, to exile, they returned to the homeland to climb the mountains and achieve the end of the dictatorship. Fidel and Raúl for 60 years faced and defeated the colossus of the north, but the fight continues with new challenges. Today, resistance is also manifested in other areas and Miguel Díaz-Canel has assumed it with the same responsibility that Cuban leaders have always had. For this reason, today its Moncada, its Sierra Maestra and its Playa Girón are produced in other trenches.
Continuing the work and thought of Fidel and to follow up in the most effective way the deed of the Commander-in-Chief, the President of Cuba successfully defended his thesis “Government Management System based on Science and Innovation for sustainable development in Cuba ”in order to apply for the title of Doctor of Science from the Central University of Las Villas. Díaz-Canel was born three months after that January 1960 when Fidel, referring to the revolution that was beginning, pointed out with his extraordinary vision of the future that: “… only thought can guide the people in moments of great transformation and in times when big companies like this are started ”.
Cuban vaccines are called "Sovereign" claiming a provision and a decision, "Abdala" so that the apostle never dies or his memory is ever extinguished as Fidel said in the Moncada Trial, and "Mambísa" in homage to the man of the earth , worker and patriot who won the first independence from the hand of Máximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo.
Because he himself wanted it to be like that, none of the Cuban vaccines will bear the name of Fidel, but all will have his humanitarian spirit and his vocation to make a revolution for those excluded from the earth, for those who have no right to anything, or even a vaccine against the pandemic.
When all Cuban men and women and millions of men and women in dissimilar parts of the planet are immunized with Cuban vaccines, they should know that this has been possible because that maker of revolutions, that one who overcame death because "to die for the country is ”, The one who made a small island in the Caribbean become a giant exporter of life and health, he dreamed of it, he thought so and he did it.
NOTE: I appreciate the invaluable contribution of my dear friend Luis Rojas Núñez, without whose help it would have been impossible to carry out this work.