Archive for October, 2014

Letter of november to Obama

October 31, 2014


Mr. President Obama November first, 2014
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington DC 20500 (USA)

Mr. President,

In 1973, Henry Kissinger, the American Secretary of State, received the Nobel Peace Prize and, thirty-six years later, in 2009, it was you, Mr. President, who received it.
The world is waiting, to say the least, on the part of such a Nobel prize-winner, a political policy turned towards Peace!
Last October first, when the National Achieves had just been declassified, we found out that, three years after having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Henry Kissinger had seriously envisaged crushing Cuba. This was under the Gerald Ford presidency. It does not surprise us, we already knew that at this time the CIA enlisted mercenaries, such as Luis Posada Carriles to organize attacks against Cuba.
Among the exchanges between Kissinger and Ford, a conversation evoked the American government’s project to invade Cuba, after the Cuban government had decided to send military forces to Angola during Angola’s war for independence.
According to the declassified documents, Kissinger told Ford, “I think we are going to have to smash [Fidel] Castro”. When Ford approved his plan, he added:  
“The circumstances that could lead the United States to select a military option against Cuba should be serious enough to warrant further action in preparation for general war”. Then he treated President Fidel Castro as “a little runt” because of his military aid in Angola, all the while promising to “demolish the Cubans”. 
Luckily for Cuba, as well as for Africa and the United States, President Ford was not reelected, and his successor, Jimmy Carter, did not launch the United States in this mad project.
Cuba’s intervention during the civil war in Angola was decisive in putting to rout South Africa’s and Zaire’s racist troops, which were armed and trained by the United States, fighting alongside Angola mercenaries. The independence of Angola put an end to apartheid and thusly permitted Namibia, and then South Africa to finish with their racist regimes.

Concerning you, Mr. President, during your stay in South Africa in July of 2013, during a private visit to his family, you declared that Nelson Mandela was a source of personal inspiration for you and for the entire world. Such a declaration seems to be light-years away from those of Henry Kissinger.
Nevertheless, your political policy towards Cuba is extremely deceiving. Of course you’re not calling for a direct military intervention, but your interference in this little country is a reality. You have not lifted the blockade against Cuba despite the almost unanimous vote of all the countries belonging to the U.N.

Your government is financing, through the USAID program among others, campaigns to destabilize Cuba, under the fallacious pretext of “a return to democracy” on the island.

You are keeping three Cubans locked up in prison for more than sixteen years now in your country.
René Gonzalez, Fernando Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino and Antonio Guerrero came to Florida to infiltrate the terrorist underworld so as to avoid terrorist attacks against their country, attacks that were fomented with the complicity of the United States government. If the first two on the list have served their sentence, it is not the same for the last three, who were more heavily sentenced. The destiny of these five patriots has a lot in common with that of Nelson Mandela.

Cuba is proposing to you a humanitarian exchange between Alan Gross and these three Cubans, still imprisoned.
Alan Gross, subcontractor for the USAID, smuggled into Cuba highly sophisticated communications equipments, such as undetectable cell phones equipped with SIM cards. This kind of technology is usually used by the Defense Department and the C.I.A. Arrested in 2009, Gross was judged and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The missions of Alan Gross and that of the Cubans was not the same!
Don’t stay on the wrong side of History, Mr. President, and accept this humanitarian exchange without further delay.
Please receive, Mr. President, the expression of my most sincere humanitarian sentiments.

Jacqueline Roussie
64360 Monein (France)

Translated by William Peterson

Copies sent to: Mrs. Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Kathryn Ruemmler and to Mr. Joe Biden, John F. Kerry, Rand Beers, Harry Reid, Eric Holder, Denis MacDonough, Neil Eggleston, Rick Scott, and Charles Rivkin, United States ambassador in France.

LA NOTICIA DEL AÑO: Cuba podría haber encontrado la cura definitiva contra el cáncer.

October 31, 2014

Los médicos cubanos han presentado este miércoles, en La Habana, el resultado de 14 años de investigaciones, una solución de péptidos antitumorales cuyo análogo natural es capaz de ofrecer una dinámica positiva en los tratamientos oncológicos.

Según los especialistas cubanos, lo que hace única esta solución de péptidos es que puede actuar en aquellas zonas del cuerpo humano que son imposibles de operar o tratar con quimioterapia u otras terapias modernas.Un ejemplo claro del éxito del nuevo método es el niño Leo, que padece cáncer cerebral. Ahora el muchacho parece un chico común y corriente y es difícil adivinar a primera vista que hace solo unos meses le ganó una batalla a la muerte. 

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Death, Taxes and the Cuban Blockade

October 29, 2014


It Must End
Death, Taxes and the Cuban Blockade
by MATT PEPPE ( Counterpunch )

The famous expression about the only things that will happen with absolute certainty, death and taxes, is actually missing one: the annual vote in which 99% of the world’s nations declare that the blockade against Cuba is illegal and must end. Yesterday, for the 23rd straight year, the United Nations General Assembly voted to end the U.S. blockade against Cuba by the astounding margin of 188 to 2. The annual resolution may seem like mere political theater meant to embarrass the U.S. government, but in reality it is a sincere objection to an inhumane policy.

Washington will now ignore this resounding rejection, as it always does, and and go on breaking the law with impunity since there is nothing anyone can do to stop them. Don Corleone would be envious of their gall.

Since the last vote against the blockade, it was revealed that the top 10 recipients of U.S. aid all practice torture. During the last year, at least half of these allies have reportedly tortured people on a “massive scale.” This doesn’t even include the U.S.’s close ally Saudi Arabia, who in the last year has beheaded 59 people and sentenced a popular activist to death by crucifiction.

The lone supporter of the blockade, Israel, even tortures Palestinian children, who make up several hundred of the more than 5,000 prisoners held in military custody. All of Israel’s colonial subjects are subjected to “slow-motion genocide” and collective punishment.

Israel’s human rights violations drastically intensified this summer after they declared war on Hamas and carried out the slaughter of 2,150 Palestinians, including 578 children. Civilians accounted for at least 70% of all Palestinian deaths. Recently, the jury of the Russell Tribunal in Brussels found evidence of “war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of murder, extermination and persecution and also incitement to genocide.” Israel is the number one recipient of U.S. aid – receiving $3.1 billion per year from Uncle Sam to carry out its criminal atrocities, in violation of U.S. law and international law.

Torture does happen in Cuba as well – but only at the Guantánamo Bay detention center. U.S. military personnel there practice “torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” of prisoners who are denied protections of the Geneva Conventions. It would hardly be fair to hold Cuba responsible for the war crimes of the U.S. military, which is illegally occupying the country.

Cuba is the only country the United States applies the Trading With the Enemy Act to because the blockade has never had anything to do with human rights. From the beginning, the blockade was instituted to cause “disenchantment and disaffection and hardship” in order to “bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government,” wrote former State Department official Lester Mallory. These savage measures were necessary, Mallory reasoned, because “the majority of the Cuban people support Castro. There is no effective political opposition.” [1]

The blockade against Cuba has been strengthened over the course of the last half century to include various extraterritorial provisions that violate the sovereignty of impartial countries. These include sections of the Torricelli Act that prohibit subsidiaries of U.S. companies in third countries from trading with Cuba. Ninety percent of such trade with Cuba consists of food and medicines. Additionally, the Helms-Burton Act prevents international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, from granting credit to Cuba. This violates the policies of these institutions as well as those of other international organizations. [2]

Many foreign companies have been caught in the U.S.’s illegal, extraterritorial web of laws in the past year. An Argentina-based travel agency settled for $2.8 million fine for offering services to people who traveled to Cuba. A large Dutch travel company settled for $5.9 million for similar charges. A Canadian subsidiary of the insurance giant AIG, which sold policies to people traveling to Cuba, was levied a $279,038 fine. Energy drink maker Red Bull was forced to pay a $90,000 fine for sending seven people to Cuba to make a documentary.

This year the blockade has cost Cuba an estimated $3.9 billion in foreign trade, which brings the inflation-adjusted total to $1.1 trillion lost since the blockade was implemented 55 years ago, according to the Cuban government.

It is civilians in Cuba, especially children, who are suffering the worst. Many antiviral medications are unavailable to minors because of the blockade. North American companies who make these medications don’t respond to requests for their purchase or claim they cannot sell them to Cuba, according to diplomat Jairo Rodríguez, who recently testified at the UN.

Nearly 80 percent of patents in the medical sector are held by American corporations and their subsidiaries. Cuba cannot gain access to these pharmaceutical medications and medical equipment because of restrictions imposed by the U.S. government. [3]

To purchase Braille machines, the Cuban Ministry of Education has to pay triple the price it would cost to purchase them from the United States, as they have to buy them from third countries for a much higher price, according to CubaInformació

The nickel industry in Cuba suffered more than $50 million in losses in the last year, according to Cuban officials. Not only are they deprived of a huge market close to their borders, forcing them to ship much farther away, but products made in foreign countries containing Cuban nickel are not allowed by the U.S. to be imported there. [4]

The U.S. denies Cuban baseball players visas to play in Major League Baseball if they reside in Cuba. Mexico, on behalf of the U.S. government, enforces the same policy for their professional league. If they want to play in the Major Leagues, Cuban athletes must seek refugee status in the U.S. and give up living in their native country. When they do, it is used as propaganda. The press declares a “wave of defections” while purposefully omitting the context.

The blockade is selectively enforced, allowing for a Cuban like Yoani Sánchez who parrots Washington’s ideological position to operate her Web site. Companies like Paypal, GoDaddy, IBM and Akami appear to violate the blockade by providing financial and technological support to a Cuban national, facilitating the subversion of Cuba’s socioeconomic system.

But when companies do business with Cuba without trying to destabilize the country, the U.S. government uses its full power to punish them. In June, the Justice Department levied the largest fine in the history of the blockade against French bank BNP Paribas, who paid $9 billion to settle criminal charges brought against them for transactions with Cuba and other countries. For comparison, there has not been a single criminal charge brought against an American bank for the subprime mortgage crisis that would have collapsed the entire financial system if the government had not stepped in with a taxpayer bailout.

The BNP Paribas case demonstrates how enforcement of the blockade has significantly increased under President Barack Obama. During the last 5 years, 130 extraterritorial actions were taken against Cuba resulting in $11.4 billion in fines. With the case against the huge French financial giant setting a precedent, the door is open to fines possibly even greater in the future.

French Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said in June “the U.S. has an unfair advantage in the global ‘economic war’ because of a law that authorizes prosecution of foreign companies for activities outside American soil. He called for fair and equitable treatment of the bank,” according to USA Today.

The French complaint is not a new one. It was pursued by European countries nearly two decades ago but never settled. In May 1996, the European Economic Community argued against the Helms-Burton Act in the World Trade Organization. President Bill Clinton, eager to pander to reactionary Anti-Castro voters in Florida and New Jersey, a strategic group important for his re-election, had signed the bill into law that year.

The European Committee “claim(ed) that U.S. trade restrictions on goods of Cuban origin, as well as the possible refusal of visas and the exclusion of non-U.S. nationals from U.S. territory, are inconsistent with the U.S. obligations under the WTO Agreement.”

The U.S. government took the illogical position that the Helms-Burton Act was a matter of “American national security,” of which the WTO “has no competence to proceed” and stated they would refuse to take part in the proceedings.

The U.S. didn’t end up invoking its national security exemption, which the European countries feared would wreak havoc on the whole international trade system, as negotiations continued. In the end, the European countries backed down and the WTO panel convened on the matter was suspended with the issue unresolved.

Salim Lamrani writes that French President Francois Hollande was mistaken to accept the argument that BNP Paribas had committed a crime even though no such crime exists in the French legal code.

“Instead of defending national sovereignty and condemning the extraterritorial and illegal application of American law against the fundamental interests of the nation, Paris limits itself to pleading for a less severe punishment,” Lamrani writes. “By folding so docilely to Washington’s orders, France renounces its independence and tarnishes its image on the international stage.”

It is not just the rest of the world that is against the blockade. A majority of Americans – even a majority of Cuban Americans – favor lifting the blockade and normalizing relations with Cuba. The U.S. government cannot even claim the political support of its own population to justify its policy.

With the human cost and the economic cost growing every day, there is a possibility that in the near future the unanimous opposition to the blockade will manifest itself in a stronger challenge than a non-binding measure without teeth. When the blockade is finally removed, many years later than it should have been, the expression can go back to being just “death and taxes.”

Matt Peppe writes about politics, U.S. foreign policy and Latin America on his blog. His writing has appeared in CounterPunch, MintPress News, Dissident Voice, Latino Rebels, and other outlets. You can follow him on twitter.

Works Cited
[1] Lamrani, S. (2013). The Economic War Against Cuba: A Historical and Legal Perspective on the U.S. Blockade. Monthly Review Press.
[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid

At the UN: The World Condemns the US blockage against Cuba

October 29, 2014

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

Cuba's Foreign Minister Rodriguez addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York

Votes in support of ending the blockade:  188
Votes against the ending of the blockade:  2 (USA, Israel)
Abstentions:  3 (Palau, Marshall Islands and Micronesia)

The blockade is the longest in the history of humankind and has imposed economic, financial and commercial restrictions on Cuba for 50 years and was enacted as a tool for U.S. foreign policy to oust a government that it opposed. It has failed to do so and has only imposed harsh restrictions on goods that have a detrimental effect on the lives and health of Cubans.

Representatives from the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, the G77 + China, CELAC, Mercosur spoke on the topic at the U.N. today. The General Assembly also heard from several representative from individual countries throughout the world.

Juan Carlos Mendoza, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 countries, stated “Human lives are threatened and public health is debilitated due to the blockade…

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Will Ebola Finish Off the US blockade of Cuba?

October 27, 2014


A Creature of Its Own Making
Will Ebola Finish Off the US blockade of Cuba?
by W.T. WHITNEY Jr., MD ( Counterpunch )

The New York Times October recently praised Cuba for sending health workers to West Africa to fight Ebola. “Cuba stands to play the most robust role among the nations seeking to contain the virus,” the Times said, adding that “Cuba’s contribution (…) should be lauded and emulated.”

More than that: “[O]nly Cuba and a few nongovernmental organizations are offering what is most needed: medical professionals in the field.” Indeed nations “with the most to offer” have held back. The newspaper has some advice. “Washington (…) is diplomatically estranged from Havana, the boldest contributor. [Therefore,] the benefits of moving swiftly to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba” are clear.

The week before, the Times had also called for the U.S. government to establish normal relations with Cuba. But this time the editors added urgency to their plea and left out earlier qualifications.

The United Nations has secured pledges for almost $1 billion, but aid flows slowly; $50 million were in hand as of October 21. According to the Times, “19,000 doctors, nurses and paramedics are needed by December1.” The United States and Britain are sending soldiers and building field hospitals.

The U.S. government is stymied. “Up until now”, reports conservative Times columnist David Brooks, “aid has been scattershot [and] [c]oordination has just not been there. At root, this is a governance failure.” In a subsequent column, he blames out-of control fear, which is a “function of isolation.” And, “We live in a society almost perfectly suited for contagions of hysteria and overreaction, (…) a segmented society, [with widening] gaps between different social classes.” “[T]hings that are supposed to keep you safe, like national borders and national authorities, seem porous and ineffective.” Ebola “exploits the weakness in the fabric of our culture.”

On the other hand, with 15,000 volunteers to choose from, health authorities in Cuba selected 461 doctors and nurses for a three-week long training course aimed at preparing them for anti-Ebola missions in Africa. On October 2, 165 health workers flew to Sierra Leone, and 19 days later 91 more traveled either to Guinea or to Liberia; another 205 remain in Cuba waiting for assignments. Most of the volunteers have already served on overseas health care missions.

Cuba’s regional leadership in fighting Ebola was on display October 20 in Havana at an emergency summit meeting of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA). The nine-member ALBA group of nations, formed by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004, provides for “solidarity exchanges” of commodities, educational and technical projects, and health care. Two other nations applying for ALBA membership were on hand, plus Haiti as a “permanent observer.”

Opening the summit, Cuban President Raul Castro highlighted Cuba’s close ties with Africa. “Over 76 thousand Cuban collaborators have rendered health services in 39 (African) countries, while 45 nations have had 3,392 physicians trained in Cuba absolutely free of charge. At the moment, more than 4 thousand Cuban healthcare collaborators are working in 32 African countries and (…) they are all joining in the preventive effort against Ebola.”

A comprehensive plan with 23 recommendations emerged from the summit. The ALBA nations resolved to coordinate actions and communications, enhance research and epidemiologic surveillance, protect and support health workers fighting Ebola in Africa and Latin America, and carry out public education campaigns. ALBA nations will maintain ample reserves of both medical personnel and supplies and act under the leadership of the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the Pan-American Health Association.

ALBA specialists and health leaders will hold a “technical meeting” October 29-30 in Havana. Health ministers will consider their recommendations in shaping a “Plan of Action” to be sent to heads of state no later than November 5.

The United States and Cuba are at opposite poles as they deal with Ebola. One seemingly is stuck in paralysis and a siege mentality. The other offers a confident, collective approach to calamity. As opposed to Cuba’s well-established ties of solidarity with African nations, the U. S. record is of helter-skelter private charities, military interventions under the aegis of the United States Africa Command, and sponsorship of global capitalism, plunderer in Africa.

For the epidemic to be halted and the U.S. population protected, the U. S. government seems to need Cuba. In his recent commentary “Duty Calls,” Fidel Castro offered cooperation with the United States in fighting the epidemic – not for “peace between the two states,” but for “peace in the world, an objective that can and must be tried.” Said the Times, editorializing most recently: “He’s absolutely right.”

Rarely, if ever, has the so-called “newspaper of record” said anything nice about Fidel Castro. On October 21, the U.S. government, according to the Times, announced it “welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with Cuba” in providing medical aid to West Africa.

The October 20 editorial statement was a breakthrough, especially in view of its effort the week previous. Then the Times skipped over any demand that Congress repeal legislation at the heart of the most repressive blockade regulations. The newspaper also recommended new U.S. Cuban policies allowing U.S. companies to operate in Cuba and do so with competitive advantages. That message recalled similar ones offered earlier in 2014 by the prestigious Atlantic Council think-tank and by retired government officials and business people signing an open letter to President Obama.

This time, however, the newspaper seeks normalization of relations in terms of benefitting all people. Surely, one assumes, Times editorialists accept the idea that protection of the safety and survival of citizens is the duty of government. If such is the case, then their suggestion as to U.S. government failure in this regard is serious business, but no less so than their vision of rescue by Cuba.

What’s apparent is a note of urgency in establishing decent relations with that island nation. Eventually it may prove that the Times just now took an important step towards altering U.S. behavior toward Cuba.

So far, the flood of U. S. enmity, injustice, and abuse toward Cuba has rushed on for over half a century. If the tide were to turn now, commentary in the future could well focus on the paradox that Cuba’s mission of human solidarity, long the object of U.S. sabotage, turned out to be of considerable benefit to Cuba’s oppressor.

There’s a pattern to the Ebola disaster and its context that Karl Marx and his followers elucidated in an earlier era. They counted on a new world emerging from the debris of the old; built-in contradictions there would generate new struggles. The “old world” in Africa entails privatization, cruel debt-recovery measures, and sway by transnational corporations. Within that context the Ebola epidemic advances because of impoverishment and feebleness of health-care infrastructures and public health capabilities in affected African nations. And, says Spanish health-care analyst and economist Vicente Navarro, the culprit is “Neoliberalism [which] has made this possible, both in West African countries and those of southern Europe.”

In this scenario, the old guard is unable to deal with a creature of its own making – that is to say, Ebola. That sector gives in; it reaches out, a little, to foot soldiers in the service of all humanity. Turmoil around Ebola has ushered in socialist human solidarity, with Cuba in the lead. A new world puts in an appearance.

Another teaching from the same source also turns out to have been right. Realities – that which actually happens – supposedly operate to propel historical change. The force of ideals, alone, is not enough. And so the blockade hangs on. Agitation around ideas of cruelty, illegality, and immorality has fallen short. But now Ebola, as real a phenomenon as there can be, intrudes and may create circumstances that sap away at U.S. intransigence.

W.T. Whitney Jr. is a retired pediatrician and political journalist living in Maine.

Uganda: Let’s Learn Something From Cuba

October 27, 2014

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

The Observer (Kampala)

Cuba is a small country of just over 11 million people.

fidel raul y cheBut that has not stopped it from daring to defy the mighty United States, its neighbour, and living to tell the story. This has been achieved because of sheer determination of the Cuban leaders.

That Cuba is now the single biggest provider of health workers in the Ebola-hit West African countries, many more than those so far sent by far richer nations, according to the World Health Organisation, is just admirable.

raul bids farewell to cuban doctors leaving for west africa oct 24 2014According to reports, the president, Raul Castro, shook hands and embraced the 83 doctors and nurses who waved Cuban flags as they boarded a government jet bound for West Africa, arriving in Liberia and Guinea on Wednesday. These joined another 165 health workers sent to Sierra Leone a few weeks ago.

Cuba first came to Africa’s aid in the 60s and 70s

This is…

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Is Cuba a Democracy? An American View

October 22, 2014


A book review was published in the International Journal of Cuban Studies (International Institute for the Study of Cuba), written by David Grantham of the United States. Grantham, after six years as a Commissioned Officer and Special Agent with the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations, accepted a full-time appointment from the Department of History, PhD Program, at Texas Christian University. He is now an Adjunct Instructor and PhD Candidate in Modern Latin American History with supporting fields in Modern Middle East History and Modern U.S. Diplomacy at Texas Christian University. Given Grantham’s background in the United States Air Force, widely considered to say the least as a “conservative” institution as part of the U.S. official apparatus, what was his evaluation of the book? Did it help in further opening his eyes to democracy and the political process in Cuba?

At this time, in October 2014, the debate on normalizing U.S.–Cuba relations is erupting in American public opinion once again, perhaps more forcefully and widespread than ever since the 1959 Revolution.

As a public explanation for the U.S. vote, the government typically cites, as it did again in 2013, American “democratic ideals” as a measuring rod and the need for “political freedoms in Cuba.” In my view, the main issue here is the right of Cuba as a sovereign, independent nation to determine its own political and economic system and overall destiny. The U.S. has no right to dictate to Cuba the type of system that it should adopt.

However, let us debate the issue of what the nature of the Cuban political process is in reality and its own approach to democracy. An interesting basis for this discussion is the book review by the former Special Agent with the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations, David Grantham.

For the full blog including David’s book review, visit:,

Cuba: Special ALBA Summit on Ebola ends with 23-point statement

October 21, 2014

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

Oct 20 2014

alba summit on ebola 2The Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Trade Agreement of Peoples (ALBA-TCP) approved unanimously a 23-point statement to wrap up the Special Summit on Ebola held in Havana today.

Declaration of the Extraordinary ALBA-TCP Summit on Ebola

The member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America –Peoples’ Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP in its Spanish acronym), meeting in Havana on October 20th of 2014, on the occasion of the Extraordinary Summit to deal with the Ebola epidemic.

Profoundly concerned about the humanitarian catastrophe in West Africa caused by the Ebola epidemic which has been considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a “public health emergency” of international concern, with the threat of spreading to other countries and regions of the world.

Aware of the urgency with which the international community…

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The Director General World Health Organization (WHO) Margaret Chan Sends Message to ALBA Summit on Ebola

October 20, 2014


(acn) The Director General World
Health Organization (WHO) Margaret Chan, sent a message
to the Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance
for the Peoples of Our America-Trade Treaty of the Peoples
(ALBA-TCP) that gathered in Havana for a Special Summit on
Ebola. Cuban News Agency now
reproduces the text of her message:
Greetings from the World Health Organization in Geneva,
I must begin by thanking the Cuban government for giving
the Ebola outbreak response so many highly experienced
Cuban doctors and nurses. I have seen the many news
photographs of these staff in their sparkling white lab
jackets, ready to help. This brings a most welcome face of
hope to what is otherwise a horrific outbreak.
I welcome this opportunity to address members of the
Bolivarian Alliance. I welcome the purpose of this
meeting: you are absolutely doing the right thing. You
want to step up your level of preparedness for an
imported Ebola case on the most urgent basis possible.
WHO working with PAHO are here to support you in any way
we can. Last month the Ebola
virus moved to your region. As experiences in Lagos,
Nigeria in July and now in the USA last month told us, any
country with an international airport is theoretically at risk
of an imported case of Ebola. We must all respect this
Ebola virus, which is one of the most deadly pathogens on
the planet.

This is an unforgiving virus that shows no mercy for
even the smallest mistake. It knows how to exploit every
single opportunity to flare up again or spread to new
areas. The Ebola outbreak in
West Africa is the most severe acute medical emergency
seen in modern times. Well over 400 healthcare workers have
been infected and more than half of them have died.
This has never been seen in any previous Ebola
outbreak. Like other parts of the world, countries in
this region are on high alert for any possible
importation of the Ebola virus in an air traveller.
Hardly a day goes by without rumors of an imported case
at an airport or in an emergency room somewhere in the
world. Governments are
right to bring out the protective suits and gear and
showcase their isolation rooms. This reassures their
citizens and their media crews that the country is
well-prepared to stop further transmission should an
imported case occur. This is understandable. The virus
is deadly. The disease is dreadful.

People are afraid. At the same time, we know that a
well-prepared country can defeat the Ebola outbreak.
On Friday, WHO will declare the outbreak in Senegal is
over. On Monday, we will do the same for the outbreak in
Nigeria, a feat that many health experts still find hard
to believe. But I can assure you WHO has full
confidence in this remarkable achievement.
Countries in the Bolivarian Alliance can and should do
the same. High-level political commitment and country
ownership make all the difference. Train your staff, use
drills to test performance, get protocols written
quickly, put systems in place, get your public and your
media behind you. Engage the community early to fight
fear with facts and understand the fundamentals of
infection prevention and control, especially in
healthcare settings. Protect against
mistakes. As recent instances of transmission of the
virus in Spain and the US show, wearing personal
protective equipment or PPE is not foolproof. It has to
be used in conjunction with excellent administrative,
environmental and engineering controls.
Let me repeat: on its own, PPE is not foolproof.
Last week, WHO issued new recommendations on PPE which
can help governments prepare efficiently and effectively.
As I said, WHO and PAHO are here to support you. I
sincerely wish you a most productive meeting.
Thank you.

Fidel: The Time of Duty has Come

October 19, 2014

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

Source:  Cuban News Agency
October  18 2014

“The Time of Duty,” as published by the

Fidel Our country did not take a single minute to give a response to the international agencies requesting its support to combat the brutal epidemic outbreak in Western Africa.

This is what our country has always done, without excluding anyone.  The Cuban Government had already given the relevant instructions to urgently mobilize and reinforce the medical personnel that were offering their services in that region of the Africa continent. An equally fast response was given to the United Nations, as has always been the case in an event of a request for cooperation.

raul bids farewell tomedical brigade heading for sierra leone Any sensible person would know that the political decisions that entail some risk for the highly qualified staff involve a high level of responsibility from those who call on them to fulfill a risky task.  This is something far more difficult than…

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