The English submarine

The press dispatches bring the news; the submarine belongs to the Astute Class, the first of its kind to be constructed in Great Britain in more than two decades.

“A nuclear reactor will allow it to navigate without refueling during its 25 year of service. Since it makes its own oxygen and drinking water, it can circumnavigate the globe without needing to surface,” was the statement to the BBC by Nigel Ward, head of the shipyards.

“It’s a mean-looking beast,” says another.

“Looming above us is a construction shed 12 stories high. Within it are three nuclear-powered submarines at different stages of construction,” assures yet another.

Someone says, “It can observe the movements of cruisers in New York Harbor right from the English Channel, drawing close to the coast without being detected, and listen to conversations on cell phones.”

Another person declares, “It can transport special troops in mini-subs that, at the same time, will be able to fire lethal Tomahawk missiles for distances of up to 1,400 miles.”

El Mercurio, the Chilean newspaper, emphatically spreads the news.

The UK Royal Navy declares that the submarine will be one of the most advanced in the world. The first of them will be launched on June 8 and will go into service in January of 2009.

It can transport up to 38 Tomahawk cruise missiles and Spearfish torpedoes, capable of destroying a large warship. It will possess a permanent crew of 98 sailors who will even be able to watch movies on giant plasma screens.

The new Astute will carry the latest generation of Block 4 Tomahawk missiles, which can be reprogrammed in flight. It will be the first one not having a system of conventional periscopes and, instead, will be using fiber optics, infrared waves and thermal imaging.

“BAE Systems, the armaments manufacturer, will build two other submarines of the same class,” The Associated Press reported. The total cost of the three submarines, according to calculations that will certainly be below the mark, is $7.5 billion.

What a feat for the British!

The intelligent and tenacious people of that nation will surely not feel any sense of pride. What is most amazing is that with such an amount of money, 75,000 doctors could be trained to care for 150 million people, assuming that the cost of training a doctor would be one-third of what it costs in the United States. You could build 3,000 polyclinics outfitted with sophisticated equipment, 10 times what our country possesses.

Cuba is currently training thousands of young people from other countries as medical doctors.

In any remote African village, a Cuban doctor can impart medical knowledge to any youth from the village or from the surrounding municipality who has the equivalent of a 12th-grade education, using videos and computers energized by a small solar panel. The youth does not even have to leave his hometown, nor does he need to be contaminated with the consumer habits of a large city.

The important thing is that patients who are suffering from malaria or any other of the typical and unmistakable diseases will be seen by the student together with a doctor.

The method has been tested with surprising results. The knowledge and practical experience accumulated for years have no possible comparison.

The non-lucrative practice of medicine is capable of winning over all noble hearts.

Since the beginning of the revolution, Cuba has been engaged in training doctors, teachers and other professionals; with a population of less than 12 million inhabitants, today we have more Comprehensive General Medicine specialists than all the doctors in sub-Saharan Africa, where the population exceeds 700 million people.

We must bow our heads in awe after reading the news about the English submarine. It teaches us, among other things, about the sophisticated weapons that are needed to maintain the untenable order developed by the United States imperial system.

We cannot forget that for centuries, and until recently, England was called the Queen of the Seas. Today, what remains of that privileged position is merely a fraction of the hegemonic power of her ally and leader, the United States.

Churchill said: Sink the Bismarck! Today Blair says: Sink whatever remains of Great Britain’s prestige!

For that purpose, or for the holocaust of the species, is what his “marvelous submarine” will be good for.

Fidel Castro is president of Cuba. This article was originally published May 21 in the Cuban newspaper Granma.