On Purpose of Cuba and international cooperation (I)

_1-Médicos-de-la-Brigada-Henry-Reeve

By José Luis Rodríguez

International collaboration provided by Cuba to other countries is an issue whose objective analysis abounds in the media all over the world. However, in recent times have appeared references to the subject in several works that challenge the collection of services to a group of Nations that are in condition to offset their higher costs. It gives the impression that this kind of considerations seeks to move the image that the country pursues millionaire winnings with the medical or educational assistance provided to other peoples, or that it’s acquiring influence policy in exchange for these services.

In this regard, it is important to remember that after the triumph of the Cuban revolution there has been evidence, more than 50 years of humanist vocation and solidarity that denies other interpretations which aims to judge marketing services of qualified labor force that the country exports today.

Since Cuba formed a medical Brigade to help the victims of a strong earthquake that struck Chile in 1960 – in the midst of the mass defection of 50% of the country who marched to the United States – until last year, the country sent 836 142 civilians 167 different Nations to help deal with serious shortcomings, especially in the area of health. That figure currently remain working more than 64 362 specialists in 91 countries, some 270 48 as health personnel, including around 20% of physicians in the country.

During the first years of the revolution, medical care was awarded primarily to those countries that were fighting for their liberation and which – in turn – presented critical health situations. Thereby, two of the most important medical brigades of those years went to Guinea and Tanzania. This line of action in Africa would be extended until the years 70 and 80 of the last century, with the outstanding participation of our medical staff in Angola and Ethiopia.

The comprehensive health program, which was a more effective approach to the assistance provided by Cuba, was established in the 1990s including medications, medical equipment and training staff.

Natural disasters from hurricanes that struck Central America and Haiti in 1998-99, as well as flooding in the State of Vargas, in Venezuela, generated the deployment of Cuban medical brigades composed of hundreds of specialists who allowed us greater efficiency in health care work.

A more specialized structure in the emerging confrontation of natural disasters the Henry Reeve Brigade was created in 2005, which offered its services to the Government of the United States to deal with the effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. This initial offering was not accepted but the Brigade served until 2012 twelve missions in different countries, especially in Pakistan, with 2 250 troops to deal with the consequences of a major earthquake, and again due to a terrible hurricane in Haiti, with 923 participants in 2010-2011.

Concerning the preparation of the medical personnel by Cuban specialists between 1976 and 2005 Cuba founded schools of medicine in Yemen, Guyana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Gambia, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Guinea Bissau and East Timor. To the creation of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in 1999, which has graduated more than 20,000 doctors since then, and the program of training of physicians Venezuelans, who had an enrollment of 30,000 young people in 2012, among the larger projects would be added.

In addition to the above, in the field of international cooperation provided by Cuba not can be overlooked that also in the field of education has been given an important contribution. It is enough to point out more than 1 200 teachers who taught in Nicaragua at the beginning of the 1980s and the 21 thousand teachers that integrated the Che Guevara pedagogical internationalist task to teach between 1978 and 1984 in Angola. To this should be added the implementation of literacy method “Yes I can”, which has benefited at least 8.1 million people in 29 countries.

Until 2004, all these missions were taken mostly with resources provided by Cuba. So, following the methodology used then to calculate the official aid to development (ODA), estimated that in the 1980s Cuba went to that goal the 0.72% of its GDP, a figure that would rise to 2 percent in 2004, well above the 0.7% commitment assumed by the more developed countries of the world, but barely fulfilled only by a small number of them.

The greatness of that effort was appraised in December 2004 when the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, proposed that massive medical assistance provided by Cuba to his country from previous years should become a tradable good and – therefore – were compensated monetarily from the resources of Venezuela as oil country.

It was that decision that – taking into account the amount of resources that were already used in the Venezuelan case, and considering the favorable economic conditions of that country — began to collect an important extent the medical services provided by Cuba, as well as other services in the areas of education and sport basically.

(To be continued)

The author is Advisor of the center of research of the global economy.
– See more at: http://www.cubacontemporanea.com/en/news/purpose-cuba-and-international-cooperation-i#sthash.dP390wZl.dpuf,

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