Havana, Jun 24 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Fidel Castro announced Thursday evening that more than 800,000 health and education workers here will receive raises in salaries as of July 1st.
Twenty times more Doctors in Cuba now than in 1959
Fidel Castro: Cuba Will Continue Fighting Terrorism
The president made the announcement during a publicly broadcast meeting with ministers of education and health, leaders of State, government, the Communist Party of Cuba, the armed forces and representatives of social organizations, as well as the general public.
Labor and Social Security Minister Alfredo Morales Cartaya explained the increase will benefit 857,400 employees of public health, education, and higher education in addition to the pension, retirement and minimum wage increases of May 1st, which more than doubled (100 to 225 pesos) basic salaries and is benefiting more than half a million workers.
President Castro explained the raises are possible due to the improved economy of Cuba, when the national currency has revalued with respect to the dollar and other legal tender, and is a response to the strong, positive quality transformations in health and education.
He remarked on Cuba´s trend "to improve and improve," in spite of international conditions, high oil prices and problems of the world economy.
Recalling that Cuba has more physicians per capita than anywhere else on the planet and is forging ahead with reparation and remodeling of numerous health installations and high-tech equipment, the president pointed out that these will also benefit millions of people in other nations.
The statesman commented on the country´s efforts to buy supplies to create medicines and the high level of research center participation contributing to the government"s projects to improve people´s health.
Specifically in education, President Castro highlighted the increase in the number of people choosing teaching careers and the growing social recognition of the contributions of educators, and pointed to Cuba"s personalized education for students, with teacher student ratios at 1:20 in elementary schools and 1:15 in junior highs.
He commented also on the particular significance of making higher education more accessible, with programs now placed in 169 Cuban municipalities.
In his closing remarks, Fidel Castro affirmed that Cuba is now in a position to dedicate itself to economic and social development while continuing the fight against terrorism.
"We dedicate the time necessary for everything," he asserted, and recalled the recent international conference in Havana at which political and union leaders, social activists, human rights defenders and academics from 70 countries tackled the issue of combating terrorism.
The Cuban leader also called for justice in the case of Luis Posada Carriles, now held in the United States solely for migratory issues, in spite of his long terrorist record and the extradition request by Venezuela.
"The manipulations and lies of the Empire will become clear," he said, emphasizing that Cuba is in this battle, not for prestige, but for the Cuban thirst for justice and respect for principles, especially regarding terrorism.