Archive for the ‘human rights’ Category

HUMANITY AGAINST THE COUP IN BRAZIL

May 16, 2016
-HumanidadContraElGolpe_en
The undersigned, intellectuals, artists, writers and researchers from all over the world denounce the coup underway in Brazil and stand in solidarity with President Dilma Rousseff who was elected by 54 million Brazilians only one year and a half ago.

This is not a traditional “political trial”, as the Globo Group is attempting to present it. Michel Temer, the visible face of the coup, has already expressed his intentions to bring the private banking sector into the public sphere and to focus in particular on a social policy of austerity for the poorest 5% of the country, which would mean to exclude the 36 million people from the Bolsa Familia. In addition Temer intends to move toward agreements with the United States and the European Union “with or without the Mercosur”. In short his perspective is a Government for the elite of his country distanced from the majority and to wipe out forever the experience that the country had under the government of the Workers Party.

Temer envisions himself to be the “new Macri” of Brasil, using the new government of Argentina as his model and advancing toward the dismantling of the state rarely seen in Argentina. It is not surprising then that the Foreign Ministry of that neighboring country has shamelessly supported the coup in Brazil under the guise of supporting its institutions. For everything that the coup makers have expressed and with their links to big business we consider the coup of the President de facto Michael Temer illegitimate and illegal. He has long ago proven that he is a corrupt politician who takes his orders from the darkest parts of the predatory oligarchy of that country.

We are appealing to UNASUR to apply the established Protocol stating a Commitment to Democracy adopted by all the countries of the organization that could put the brakes on the breakdown of the democratic thread in Brazil. We also demand that the presidents and governments of the world do not recognize Temer and to demand the return of the legitimately elected President Dilma Rousseff. They should also end the political crisis by calling for an immediate presidential election – made by the President herself – so that the Brazilian people can once again express themselves by democratic means and not by an imposed coup d’état by a questionable and corrupt Congress.

Nao vai ter golpe!

To add to the statement send your name to: contraogolpenobrasil@gmail.com

Executive Secretariat REDH

Carmen Bohórquez (REDH General Coordinator)
Alicia Jrapko (REDH USA)
Ángel Guerra (REDH Cuba/México)
Ariana López (REDH Cuba)
Atilio Borón (REDH Argentina)
David Comssiong (REDH Barbados)
Fredy Ñañez (REDH Venezuela)
Hugo Moldiz (REDH Bolivia)
Juan Manuel Karg (REDH Argentina)
Katu Arkonada (REDH Basque Country/Bolivia)
Luciano Vasapollo (REDH Italy)
Marilia Guimaraes (REDH Brazil)
Nayar López Castellanos (REDH México)
Omar González (REDH Cuba)
Roger Landa (REDH (REDH Venezuela)

Signatures: Total 833 

http://cuba-networkdefenseofhumanity.blogspot.be/2016/05/humanity-against-coup-en-brazil.html,

Cuba, EU Normalization Agreement Imminent

February 25, 2016

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The two parties sit down for a seventh round of talks next week.

European Union officials are set to resume talks toward normalizing relations with Cuba next week. The EU consulate in Havana reported Tuesday that an agreement is likely to be reached soon.

Representatives for both countries will meet in Havana March 3-4 for a seventh round of talks. These talks will be led by the EU’s Christian Leffer and Cuban deputy foreign minister Abelardo Moreno. The parties have failed to reach a consensus on human rights and trafficking issues in previous talks.

Cuba is calling on the European Union to scrap its two decade-long “common position” mandate, under which Cuba would be required to adopt democratic and economic reforms as a predicate to the restoration of full diplomatic and economic ties. The EU has eased its position on democratic reforms by Castro’s regime, following Havana’s historic July 2015 détente with Washington.

The EU formally expedited processes toward normalizing relations with the island country in mid-2014, after Washington began talks with Cuba. The July agreement between US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro, the younger brother of the revolutionary Cuban leader Fidel Castro, fully restored US-Cuban diplomatic relations.

Cuba is the only Latin American country without full diplomatic and economic relations with the EU. In 2003, the EU suspended relations following Havana’s efforts to crack down on foreign journalists and activists investigating humanitarian conditions in the island country.

The restoration of ties with leading Western governments is seen by many as a positive step for the dictatorship, a government mired in poverty after decades of trade restrictions and embargoes left the island country resource-strapped.  Some worry, however, that the restoration of relations with leading Western economies may come at a steep cost for the Cuban people, with foreign multinationals likely to profit on cheap labor, pristine natural resources, and tourism.

Cuban relations with the West serve vital security imperatives. The island is a mere 145 kilometers (90 miles) from the US, and, during the Cold War, Soviet-Cuban relations presented a strategic threat. Cuba functioned at the time as a regional hub for possible missile launches against the US. Culminating in the notorious Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Cuban Missile Crisis, these early-1960s incidents chilled American-Cuban relations for over two decades after the dissolution of the Soviet state.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/world/20160225/1035306393/cuba-eu-normalization-imminent.html#ixzz41BiVTbTj

Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes

February 9, 2016

Ana Belén Montes

Posted By W. T. Whitney On February 8, 2016 

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/08/cuba-war-and-ana-belen-montes/print/,

The U.S. government has imprisoned Ana Belen Montes for almost 15 years. Now an international campaign on her behalf is gaining steam with committees active in Latin America, Europe, Canada, and the United States. Arrested by the FBI two weeks after September 11, 2001, and charged with conspiring to commit espionage for Cuba, this high – level analyst for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Service avoided a death sentence for treason by pleading guilty and telling all to the U. S. Justice Department.

Ana Belen Montes received no money. The former specialist in Cuban and Latin American affairs is serving a 25-year jail term.

Three petitions, accessible here, here and here, are circulating; one asks for her release, two for humane treatment. Defenders charge that in prison in Texas, Montes is isolated from the general prison population and prevented from receiving visitors, telephone calls and emails.

Advocates face an uphill battle. Documents relating to her trial and press reports then and since portray her as a U. S. citizen who took the wrong side in a U. S. war. Government officials probably despised one of their own who betrayed them. Maybe her family’s Puerto Rican origins gave rise to suspicions she sympathized with Cuba and Puerto Rico’s shared anti-colonial struggle. True or not, her fate stands as a warning for Puerto Ricans.

With U. S. war against Cuba continuing, the U.S. government likely will resist both easing up on her prison conditions and releasing her. For the new solidarity movement she is a hero, but really she’s a special kind of hero: a prisoner of war true to her cause.

There was a war. While the U. S. government shied away from military invasion after the failed Bay of Pigs venture in 1961, warlike aggression was the norm until the 1990s. At one time or another, U. S. government agents or proxy warriors carried out sabotage, armed thuggery in the Cuban hinterlands, microbiological warfare, bombings of tourist facilities, and miscellaneous terror attacks throughout the island. Few would deny that the bombing of a fully loaded Cuban passenger plane in 1976 was an act of war.

The U. S. economic blockade, engineered to deprive Cubans of goods and services essential for their survival, caused yet more distress. U. S. government leaders believed misery would induce Cubans to overthrow their government. Aggressors within the George W. Bush administration had a replacement government waiting in the wings.

And despite the restoration of diplomatic relations recently, there is still war. The U. S. economic blockade remains; counterrevolutionaries inside Cuba still enjoy U. S. support and money; Cuban land in Guantanamo is still occupied; survival of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 testifies to undying cold war; and Ana Belen Montes, who took sides, is a prisoner in that war.

Official rhetoric on war with Cuba informed Montes’ prosecution and trial. Having surveyed Cuban espionage activities, a New York Times reporter in 2003, for example, communicated the opinion of some U. S. officials that, “Mr. Castro’s Communist government remains a threat to American national security.” State Department official Otto Reich charged that, “These activities and others prove that they are a hostile country.” A Wall StreetJournal writer in 2002 cited State Department reports asserting that, “Cuba has at least some bio-weapons technology and has expressed concern that Cuba could share the science with rogue states.”

Ana Montes was recently labeled as “one of the most damaging spies in US history. Her involvement in shaping US foreign policy on Cuba caused grave damage to the US national security.” This was a reference to a Defense Department report she authored in 1998 rejecting the idea of Cuba as a military threat to the United States. Montes is alleged to have covered up Cuba’s supposed chemical and biological warfare capabilities.

In communicating secrets to the Cuban Government, Ana Montes, already in a theater of war, already a combatant, became a soldier on Cuba’s side. In prison now under such circumstance, she is one for whom solidarity is of a different order than the same for other political prisoners.

What may be required is, in effect, to sign up for the same war she joined, and take the same side. That approach worked in securing the release of the Cuban Five anti-terrorist prisoners. For Montes, however, there is no Cuban government on the battle lines as there was for the Cuban Five.

Combatants in an uneven fight can take encouragement from Montes herself. She told her sentencing judge that, “I engaged in the activity that brought me before you because I obeyed my conscience rather than the law. … I felt morally obligated to help the island defend itself from our efforts to impose our values and our political system on it.”

In 2015, in an interview, she sounded like an unwavering captured soldier: “If I repent, I deny myself … It’s not within the framework of my logic. I always knew the possible consequences of what I did.”

“What matters to me,” she insisted, “is that the Cuban Revolution exists … What’s necessary is that there always be a Cuban Revolution … They, [the Cubans], have to take care of the Revolution. I tried to do that.”

Clearly, to be in solidarity with Ana Belen Montes and be effective is asking a lot, especially in a time of war. Montes herself voluntarily went to war in much the same way that compatriots did who joined the Republic’s side in the Spanish Civil War in 1936. That sort of internationalist commitment is what Montes needs now. Maybe it’s on the way.

‘In Cuba, a prisoner is another human being’

February 7, 2016

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The Militant
Vol. 80/No. 6 February 15, 2016
(feature article)

‘In Cuba, a prisoner is another human being’

Cuban Five: It’s different in US prisons, where the system
is organized to dehumanize you

“It’s the Poor Who Face the Savagery of the US
‘Justice’ System”: The Cuban Five Talk About
Their Lives Within the US Working Class
http://www.pathfinderpress.com/It-is-the-poor-who-face-the-savagery-of-the-US-justice-system, is a new book from Pathfinder. It
centers on a 2015 interview by Mary-Alice Waters and Róger
Calero with the Cuban Five in Havana. Each was incarcerated in
the U.S. from 14 to 16 years after the FBI framed them up for
activity in defense of the Cuban Revolution. The excerpt below
follows a discussion on how the capitalist rulers foster the
prevalence of drugs and gangs in U.S. prisons. Copyright ©
2016 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.

MARY-ALICE WATERS: We’ve had some experiences here in Cuba
that are the opposite of what you’ve been describing. We
have a friend in Matanzas, for example, a university professor
who also gives classes in prison and takes pride in it. She told
us about using some books Pathfinder has published in her classes
and the interest they generate. We’ve read about Silvio
Rodríguez and other musicians giving concerts inside the
prisons. …

We know things in Cuba are far from perfect. But social relations
— the way people relate to each other — are the
opposite of what you experienced in the US. And that’s
true in the prison system too. In Cuba the revolution carried out
by the workers and farmers eliminated the economic and social
system built on class exploitation, on retribution and
punishment, social isolation, punitive deprivation of medical
care, denial of culture and education. That’s why the US
government is so determined to punish the Cuban people and
destroy your example.

GERARDO HERNÁNDEZ: We were with many Cuban prisoners in the
United States who had been inmates in Cuba as well. …
They’d often say, “Yes, material conditions in
prison” — especially in the newer ones —
“are a lot better than where I was in Cuba.”

Obviously you can’t compare living conditions in the
richest country in the world with the economic resources in Cuba.
But most of them recognized that prison personnel here in Cuba
make a real effort to rehabilitate inmates, to help them. In the
United States, a prison counselor is someone who puts in his
hours at work and does his best not to ever have to see you.

The human part is essential. I often give the example of a young
neighbor of mine. When he was in high school, he was involved in
something that rarely happens in Cuba — what’s
known in the US as “bullying.” He was studying in
the countryside on a scholarship program and he was being
pestered and harassed. One day he took a knife, scuffled with the
other boy, and stabbed him in the wrong place, killing him.

That boy was sentenced to seven years. During that time he
completed high school and went on to university. … He took
classes all day, and the bus brought him back to prison. …

I recently had a conversation with a very prestigious young
artist here in Cuba, Mabel Poblet. She showed me some samples of
her work. One stood out to me — an installation with
hundreds of red plastic flowers. “Look at these
flowers,” she said. “They were made by a woman who
is a prisoner in Holguín.”

“We visited the women’s prison there and met an
inmate, Betsy Torres, who was making flowers,” Mabel said.
“I had in mind doing an installation using flowers, so I
asked her to make some for me — the ones you see here.
After she was let out for good behavior, I invited her to the
opening of my exhibition.”

This type of exchange is the opposite of the dehumanization that
takes place in the US prison system. …

FERNANDO GONZÁLEZ: Look at what the Bureau of Prisons calls
its Program Statement. It says the Bureau of Prisons encourages
social contact with the outside. But in practice it’s the
opposite. They put up obstacles to everything, including visits.

It’s not enough that the prisoner is 1,500 miles or more
from his family. It’s not enough that many families
can’t afford a plane ticket and a weekend in a motel to
come see you. On top of all that, the searches and other
alienating procedures family members and friends have to go
through to get into the prison, not to mention the tense,
uncomfortable layout of the visiting room. …

GERARDO HERNÁNDEZ: “The most important difference,
what I miss most,” some Cuban inmates in the US would tell
us, “is that in Cuba I had the right to conjugal visits,
or to get a pass to see my family.” But not in the United
States.

In federal prisons and in all but four of the fifty states,
something so elementary as conjugal visits are not permitted. If
they were, it would greatly reduce tensions. It would humanize
people. It would be an incentive for good behavior. …

RAMÓN LABAÑINO: They don’t care whether
there’s money in the budget for another handball court.
That’s a big issue I had, since — in addition to
reading, studying, and playing chess — sports was one of
the ways I handled all those years in prison. I exercised, lifted
weights, and played lots of handball. But prison officials
didn’t want to paint the floor of the handball court with
the kind of rubber compound that makes it easier on your knees.

That’s how I injured my knee, in fact. But medical care in
prison in the US is terrible; they don’t want to spend
money on that either. I went to the doctor and he told me,
“Take two aspirin. Put ice on it, keep your feet up, and
tomorrow you’ll be better.” They only really take
care of you when you’re on the verge of dying. …

There’s money in the budget to buy better food for the
cafeteria too, but it’s never fully used. I know. I worked
in the cafeteria several times.

Actually, I didn’t like working in the cafeteria, because
a lot of people take those jobs in order to steal food. But we
don’t steal. It’s not our philosophy, not the
social values we learned in Cuba. With what I ate I had enough.
Frankly, I’m no good at stealing.

Here in Cuba it’s different. Our officers may not have
resources, but they are trained to really help you. I’d
venture to say that ethic goes far beyond the framework of the
prison system to the broader society here.

In Cuba a prisoner is another human being. He’s someone
who made a mistake and is in prison for that reason. It’s
not like the US, where the prison population is the enemy
— just as uniformed officers there see the people as the
enemy. Why? Because on some level they understand there could be
a social revolution in the United States some day. And their job
is to contain that revolution, in order to protect the social
layer that’s in power.

That’s pretty elementary. You don’t even need
Marxism-Leninism to see that. But if you don’t understand
this, you’ll never see why things happen the way they do
in the United States. Why the police act the way they did in
Ferguson, Missouri, last year. Why there’s no solution
within that system. …

FERNANDO GONZÁLEZ: In Miami we saw women who were pregnant
when they were arrested. When the time came to give birth, they
were taken to the hospital …

RAMÓN LABAÑINO: …in chains.

FERNANDO GONZÁLEZ: Yes, in chains. They gave birth in the
hospital, and two days later they were brought back to their
cells without their baby.

Recently I visited a women’s prison here in Cuba. …
In the United States, you know from miles away you’re near
a prison. You see the walls, fences, razor wire, towers, lights,
surveillance vehicles. But in Guantánamo, as we got closer, I
asked, “Where’s the prison?” There was a
wall you could easily jump over. Even as fat as I am, I could
have jumped over it!

Inside, some rooms are like small apartments. If a woman is
pregnant — or becomes pregnant, because they have conjugal
visits — she can stay in one of those rooms until the baby
is a year old. It’s a small room with a kitchen, where she
can cook. The prison provides food for the baby and other
necessities. There’s also a sewing shop.

New Coalition for the Release of Ana Belen Montes and Oscar Lopez Rivera

February 5, 2016

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Born in West German on the 28th of February 1957, a Puerto Rican U.S
citizen who worked as official GS-14 for the Defense Intelligence
Agency  (DIA), Ana Belen Montes was charged with spying for alerting
Cuba to planned aggressions against her people, something which had no
National Security implications for the U.S. nor posed any threat to
it’s citizens.

At 22 years of age, Ana graduated from the University of Virginia in
1979 with a degree in International Relations, a subject in which she
later attained a Masters.

She was selected on the basis of her abilities by the DIA in 1985 and
posted to the Bolling Air Base in Washington, where she worked as an
intelligentce investigation specialist. In 1992  she was transfered to
the Pentagon where she worked as an analyst.

She spent a time in a “fake” post with the U.S. diplomatic mission in
Havana to study the Cuban military. She was sent by the DIA to the
island again in 1998 to “monitor Pope John Paul II’s visit”.

In addition to her pleasant appearance, sweet smile and charming
manner, Ana, who lived alone in a modest apartment to the north of the
U.S. capital, was considered to be exceptionally discreet.

At the Pentagon, she was promoted to the position of Senior Analyst,
where she had access to almost all data on Cuba collected by the
intelligence community.
She was aware of everything the Defense Department knew about the
activities of Cuban military personell.

Her rank ensured her membership of the ultra-secret “Inter-agency Task
Force on Cuba” which brought together the principal analysts from
federal agencies such as the C.I.A., The White House and the State
Department.

Whilst working as usual in her office in the DIA compound within the
Bolling Air Base in Washington D.C. on September 20th 2001, Ana was
arrested by F.B.I. agents.

She was charged with espionage on behalf of Cuba some days later.  She
was tried and transferred at some point to a Federal Prison for
criminals with mental or physical health problems, despite not
suffering from any such issues at the time of her imprisonment.

In keeping with the nobility that underpinned her actions, she openly
declared during her trial that “there is an Italian proverb that
perhaps best describes what I believe: “The whole world is just one
country. In this world country, the principle of loving others as
one-self is an essential guide  to harmonious relations between
neighboring states.”

“This principle implies understanding and tolerance of the different
ways that others act. It establishes that we treat other nations the
way we would like to be treated – with consideration and respect. In
my opionion, we have unfortunately never applied this to Cuba”.

“In doing what has brought me before the court, I put my conscience
above obeying the law. I believe our governmemts policy on Cuba to be
cruel and unjust and profoundly hostile. I felt morally obliged to
help the island defend itself against our efforts to impose upon them
our values and our political system”.

“We have  overtly displayed intolerance and disrepect towards Cuba for
four decades. We have never respected Cuba’s right to
self-determination or to define it’s own concepts of justice and
equality”.

“I do not know how we can continue to dictate how Cuba must select
it’s leaders, who should not lead the country and what laws are most
appropriate for their nation”.

“Why do we not let them decide how to mamage their internal affairs,
just as the U.S. has done for more than 200 years?”

“My greatest wish is to see Cuba and the U.S. enjoy friendly
relations. I hope that, in some way, my case encourages our government
to abandon it’s hostility towards Cuba and – inspired by a spirit of
tolerance, mutual respect and understanding —  to work together with
Havana”.

“We can see today more than ever that intolerance and hate – be it on
the part of individuals or Governments – results only in suffering and
grief. I hope the U.S. develops a policy on Cuba on the basis of
neighborly love, a policy that recognizes that Cuba, as any other
nation would, wants to be treated with dignity rather than disrepect”.

Ana Belen Montes is presently detained in the Carswell Federal Medical
Center, inside the militiary installations of the U.S. Marines Air
Station at Fort Worth, Texas in the United States.

Despite not suffering any illness, she is being held in a psychiatric
ward, where she is at risk from inmates who are in fact mentally ill.

Prolonged exposure to such an environment could of itself also affect
her own mental health.

She is locked up with some of the most dangerous women in the U.S.
prison system, such as a former housewife who strangled her pregnant
neighbor because she wanted the child, a nurse who murdered four
patients by administering massive adreniline overdoses by injection
and the notorious “Shrill” Lynette Fromme, a follower of Charles
Manson whom tried to asassinate president Gerald Ford.

Ana Belén Montes is not due for release until the year 2017, 11 long
years from now. She has already served 14 years in jail and is
subjected to harsh and cruel conditions of detention that include,

*A Federal Prison Bureau decree (due to her espionage conviction)
restricting contact to only her closest relatives

*A prohibition on inquiries about her health or the reasons for her
detention in a center for  the mentally ill, when she suffers no such
condition.

*A prohibition on the receipt of packages.

*Letters sent to her are returned by registered post to the sender.

*She is not allowed associate with other inmates.

*She is not allowed make or receive phone calls.

*She is not allowed read newspapers, magazines nor watch TV.

*Since her father died her only visitor is her sister, who is an
anti-Castro U.S government official.

*Other family members have, because of her commitment to the cause of
Cuba, rejected or refused to maintain contact with her, meaning that
Ana has been totally isolated from the world for more than a decade.

The U.S press has reported that “serving a sentence in the Carswell
treatment unit has become a death sentence for many female prisoners”.

Detainess there have suffered gross violations of their human and
constitutional rights, including documented cases of police abuse,
suspicious deaths — investigations into which have been blatantly
obstructed, deaths due to the denial of basic medical attention, rape
of prisoners by guards and exposure to toxic substances, all of which
place her life at risk.

Ana Belen Montes was not paid by Cuba for what she did and there was
nothing sordid or coercive about her recruitment.

She was not motivated by any desire for revenge or attraction to
power.  Despite full awareness of the personal risk arising, she acted
out of love, her sense of justice and a noble solidarity with Cuba.

She was accused of having helped convince both George Bush and Bill
Clinton that Cuba did not represent a miltary threat to the U.S., thus
preventing a war that would have resulted in a significant loss of
Cuban and North American lives.

For such a contribution to peace, she desreves the support of all who
identify with the Homeland of Jose Marti.

World Learning para Cuba, ¿nuevo programa de la CIA?

February 4, 2016

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No resulta una sorpresa para nadie que en el nuevo contexto de las relaciones entre Cuba y EEUU comiencen a aparecer sospechosos programas encaminados a rebuscar entre los jóvenes cubanos para crear una cantera de potenciales nuevos líderes “para el cambio” según los estándares de la guerra subversiva. En apariencia estos proyectos resultan atractivos e inocentes, pero en su trasfondo existe la malsana intencionalidad de adiestrar a dichos jóvenes en torno a los valores del discurso político capitalista y contrarrevolucionario. De esta forma acaba de aparecer una convocatoria de la organización no gubernamental World Learning, con sede en Washington, la cual ha abierto la matrícula de su “Programa de verano para jóvenes cubanos”, el cual se llevará a cabo durante treinta días, entre julio y agosto de 2016, en los EEUU.

El sitio World Learning (http://www.worldlearning.org/what-we-do/programa-de-verano-para-jovenes-cubanos/) da a conocer esta convocatoria que se iniciará el 1 de marzo del presente año y está dirigida, específicamente, a jóvenes cubanos entre los 16 y los 18 años de edad, los cuales deben estar estudiando en el nivel secundario o preuniversitario. Las bases para la captación aparecen en este sitio mencionado y, particularmente, la intencionalidad del mismo: “el desarrollo de habilidades en áreas que incluyan hablar en público, trabajar en equipo, negociar, fomentar consenso, resolución de conflictos, defender los derechos propios, y solución de problemas.”

El citado sitio refiere lo siguiente: “Nuestros programas ayudan a la próxima generación de líderes mundiales para obtener un mayor sentido de responsabilidad ciudadana, establecer relaciones a través de líneas étnicas, religiosas y nacionales, y desarrollar las habilidades y conocimientos para transformar sus comunidades y países.” Y puntualiza, además: “Los programas se centran en temas específicos, que van desde la participación ciudadana y el voluntariado para el desarrollo de liderazgo a través del deporte y el activismo.”

Obviamente, según puede verse en la dirección web de la mencionada ONG en cuestión: https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1789287, la directiva de esta ONG se reserva el derecho de selección luego de un meticuloso análisis de los solicitantes. A saber, aparentemente, el rendimiento académico, la habilidad para desarrollar proyectos que beneficien a la escuela y/o comunidad del solicitante y la de trabajar en cooperación en diferentes grupos, y entender -pero no necesariamente aceptar- las opiniones de otros. Sin embargo, se piden dos cartas de recomendación escritas por dos adultos en Cuba, sin especificar quiénes sean los mismos o su orientación política, lo que presupone una explícita trampa.

La ONG World Learning tiene su sede en el 1015 15th St NW, Suite 700, 20005, en Washington, Distrito de Columbia, EEUU. El campus principal de World Learning está situado en el norte de Brattleboro, según se destaca en la página https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Learning

 

Sin embargo, detrás de las “inocentes intenciones” existen las sospechas muy serias sobre el carácter subversivo del mismo y cómo resulta parte de la acción a largo plazo de una tapadera de la CIA.  Esta ONG está conectada en sus orígenes con los Cuerpos de Paz y es una nueva versión del Grupo Internacional de Delphi, involucrado en planes desestabilizadores por parte de la CIA y de sus tapaderas como la USAID y la NED. Se sabe que más de 40 programas de World Learning son financiados por la USAID.

El sitio www.topsecretwriters.com denuncia que esta ONG, antecesora del grupo Internacional Delphi, “no es nada más que una fábrica de propaganda de la CIA que se utiliza para que el gobierno federal puede lograr sus objetivos políticos generales en suelo extranjero.” Un ejemplo de esta implicación política, acentúa este sitio, fue durante la década de 1980, cuando el gobierno de Estados Unidos utilizó a Delphi International Group para “promover la democracia” en Nicaragua.

El 11 de junio de 2003 Philip Agee, ex agente de la CIA ya fallecido, desnudó cómo las tutoras de World Learning –entiéndase USAID, NED y la propia CIA– participaron en planes subversivos contra la Venezuela Bolivariana, en un artículo aparecido en  Red Voltaire (http://www.voltairenet.org/article125754.html)

 

Sea como fuere, se ha de andar con ojo avizor ante esta propuesta para Cuba, no solo por los antecedentes de esta ONG y por el hecho de sus vínculos directos con la USAID y la NED, máscaras de la operaciones subversivas de la CIA.

 

Percy Francisco Alvarado Godoy

Gerardo : We were subjected a grossly unfair trial

September 30, 2015

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An Interview with Gerardo Hernández one of the three Cuban agents
released following the Havana-Washington agreement.

We were subjected a grossly unfair trial

Eduardo Febbro
<http://www.rebelion.org/mostrar.php?tipo=5&id=Eduardo%20Febbro&inicio=0&gt;
Página/12
translated by Sean Joseph Clancy

*If there is a story within the story that might serve as a synopsis
of the bitter history between the U.S. and Cuba, it is that of Cuban
agents condemned to serve sentences in North American jails,
disproportionate to what they had actually done.

A few stops beyond the stairs to a station in North Brussels, where an
elderly orhestra are making an unholy mess of the “Besame Mucho” song,
one of three Cuban intelligence agents released as part of a
settlement partially mediated by the Vatican on the reestablishment of
diplomatic ties.

If there is a story within the story that might serve as a synopsis of
the bitter history between the U.S. and Cuba, it is that of Cuban
agents condemned to serve sentences in North American jails,
disproportionate to what they had actually done.

Gerardo Hernández is one of 5 Cuban intelligence agents who along with
Ramon Lanañino, Fernando Gonzalez Llort, Rene Gonzalez Sehewerert and
Antinio Guerrero Rodriguez who during the mid 1990’s  undertook
special missions within the U.S. in order to discover and prevent
terrorist actions, including attacks on hotel and tourist resorts and
sabotage by counter-revolutionary groups planned in Miami and later
carried out in Cuba.

The Five were uncovered and arrested in 1998. Later in what was one of
the longest trials in North American judicial history, the Cubans were
issued sentences which essentially were political punishments
orchestrated by the U.S. administrations obsession with Cuba.
Gerardo Hernandez, accused of “conspiracy to commit murder” was given
two life sentences.

Generally speaking, cases involving unregistered foreign agents
discovered operating in a foreign territory are dealt with behind
closed doors and resolved by negotiation. The case of the Cuban Five
was the polar opposite. Amid espionage and other outrageous
accusations, they were tried by a court in Miami and used as
implements of political manipulation.

Free today, the refreshing intelligence of Gerardo Hernandez reveals
no trace of the 16 years spent in North American penitentiaries, the
abuses suffered nor the long months of detention in rigorously imposed
solitary confinement.

Thanks to interventions by U.S. senator Patrick Leahy, one of those
who has most fervently  advocated for the lifting of the U.S. blockade
of Cuba, Hernandez had a son while still in prison.

The senator helped organize for Gerardos wife, Adriana Perez, br
artificially inseminated.
Following 18 months of secret negotiations with Pope Francis as
guarantor, the seemingly impossible dreams of freedom of the three
agents still behind bars in U.S. jails – Antonio, Gerardo and Ramon –
became a reality on the day of the historical declarations, December
17th 2014.

–The theme of the Cuban agents was what had been blocking, but that
also eventually unlocked the key to, negotiations with the U.S.

–Yes, exactly, our case remained very much in the air because of more
than 50 years of adversarial or non-existent relations with the U.S.
which are what led to the politicized nature of the trial of the Cuban
Five and what underpinned the cruel nature of our treatment.

Remember, there was a case a few years ago regarding the arrest of
Russian spies.  That was speedily dealt with  by negotiation and they
were repatriated without ever having to stand trial.

Our case was complicated by the history of conflict between the U.S.
and Cuba, which is paradoxically what eventually facilitated a
resolution.

For certain, the resolution of our case cannot only be attributed to
the negotiations, because the solidarity we experienced over so many
years was also relevant.

The Five of us had become very well known, there were presidents, and
religious, cultural  and political personalities, all calling for our
release.

Ours had become a most embarrassing case for the north Americans. It
had taken a lot of work for us to develop any awareness of our case.

It had been one of the longest in U.S. legal history; lasting 7 months
during which more than 100 witnesses testified. The press however
maintained an amost blanket silence.

Little by little the solidarity work of comrades who took to the
streets  protesting became necessary.

–Today we know that the Pope played a leading role in the agreement.
The Vatican was the  guarantor of the liberation process. Were you
aware of the Vaticans intervention?

–No, I did not know about it. It came as a surprise because we were
removed from that entire negotiation process. I did not know about the
role played by the Vatican.  It was afterwards that I learned about
the parts played by various cardinals, amongst them the Archbishop of
Havana and Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who I hold in high esteem. We are
truly grateful.

We have always accepted the help of all persons of goodwill. It must
be remembered that in addition to the political connotations
surrounding our case that there was a profound human tragedy also
unfolding. I am glad that  Pope Francis, being a Latin American was
conscientious.

I can honestly express great admiration for him. He has demonstrated a
very courageous attitudes, worthy of respect. On behalf of the Five
and our families, beneficiaries of this attitude, I send him our
thanks.

–If one examines the terms of negotiation, Cuba did not really concede
anything at all. Washington always maintained that they would never
deal with Cuba in the present political context, but did so
nevertheless.

–My personal opinion is that for a very long time the U.S. held that
line, that as long as there was a Castro in power in Cuba –which is
how they refer to the Revolution with the Cuban people in power – and
that they would also  never negotiate with Cuba while the Communist
Party remained in power and the Revolution remained.

All of these conditions still exist and we nevertheless have talked
under the only condition always imposed by Cuba, that the talks are
between equals and absolutely respectful  of our independence and
sovereignty.

–Did you at any point feel the weight of history on your shoulders?
The Five were, to a very great extent , the key to the knot

–I never saw the case as being of that magnitude. More towards the
end, when there were rumors of a solution, and especially when our
release was announced I began to feel it somewhat. I did then —
without knowing the extent of the progress — imagine that this might
be the route to further progress. When Raul Castro spoke with our
family members by his side is when I fully realized.

The three released Cubans knew nothing about the talks. We were
informed one day prior to our releases and we learned about the
reestablishment of diplomatic relations through Raul’s speech.

–Your case in an example for the world about the use of the justice
system as a weapon in a conflict with another state.

–Yes, the case of the Five was a revenge attack against the Cuban
Revolution and Cuban Revolutionaries. The U.S. saw an opportunity to
score a point and did so by taking Five men hostage. We accepted that
we had, by possessing false passports and operating as foreign agents
unregistered with the State Department, violated U.S law.

Ok, but we had a legal right to enter a “necessity” defense and to
outline why, but that was not permitted. The trial was held in Miami
where we, in reality, had no rights whatsoever. This was a totally
biased trial.

We were found guilty and given the maximum possible sentences on every
count. They thought that by punishing the Five meant punishing the
Cuban Revolution.

Their initial plan was to have all of us betray Cuba and mount a media
show against the Revolution.

That did not happen and so came 17 months initially — and later many
more —  in punishment cells without ever hacing committed and
indiscipline. This is why our wives were denied visits.

–Paradoxically, while you were being condemned , there were people
distributing a very thick manual in Miami.

–Incredible! The US claims to wage war against terrorism.  Young North
Americans serve in the Army and die in other countries in the name of
this war on terror. But the terrorists are here!

Luis Posada Carriles remains at liberty to stroll around the Miami
streets despite being responsible for the attack on  the Cubana
Airlines plane in 1976 in which 73 people lost their lives and the
bombing of hotels in Havana in which a young Italian man was killed.

He has an long record of terrorism but freely walks the streets.
Carriles and others were trained by the CIA to bring down the Cuban
Revolution. There have been points in history when the CIA had nothing
to do with them, but during these they turned a blind eye to them as
they continued uninhibited to do as they wished.

–Was this the mission you were dispatched to Miami on, to investigate
such groups?

–Yes, to investigate terrorist groups such as Alpha 66, The F4
Commandos, Brothers to the Rescue… and these groups still exist,
still have their training camps there

Cuba had certainly complained many times to the US Government about
the activities of such groups, but they continued to carry on with
impunity, creating the necessity for Cuba to send agents to monitor
and infiltrate them and to send information back to Cuba to prevent
acts of terrorism.

–Have your views on the US or the Revolution changed?

–They have changed in that today my character and my revoltionary
convictions are more solid now, as is my love for the Cuban people.

I lived for 16 years in those jails and that society and during that
time encountered within the prisons a great number of experiences,
human dramas,  young people – barely twenty years of age — who might
have been doctors or engineers condemned to life sentences. This is
because there is a system that, from the moment of their birth,
instills in them that they must aquire more, that they should walk
over anyone to get ahead in life and get what they want.

This is absolute brutalization, it is truly a human tragedy. Those
years spent in the US, both on the streets and behind bars have
reaffirmed my conviction that, no matter what problems we may have in
Cuba, we must continue to work to improve our system and our
socialism.

I do not anything like I witnessed in the U.S. for Cuba. But I do not
feel any resentment or bitterness to the U.S. No, I feel compassion
and no hatred for anybody.

–You were also confronted by the great change that the one time great
enemy of Cuba might be transforming, even into a potential ally.
The Cuba of your time in prison is not the Cuba to which you been freed.

–For sure! It would be strange if it were the same Cuba because that
would require a denial of our own we would be denying our own dialect.
I am happy that Cuba has changed and that most of the changes are for
the better.

No revolution can remain static. We are confident that the Cuban
people can confront the challenges posed by this process. They are
significant challenges. There are thise who suggest that they (the
U.S.) will attain by the embrace of a bear what they could not during
more than 50 years of Blockade, aggression and threats….

Soldiers of the Bridge: Cuba’s New Fortress

September 23, 2015

For 54 years the United States has waged war against Cuba, in a futile effort to strangle and starve the Cuban population into mutiny against the Revolution.  Ten different presidents tried to asphyxiate Cuba, by blockading the island, causing suffering, as well as human and financial loss in the billions of dollars.  Now things appear to be changing.  President Barack Obama, the 11th US President since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, seems intent on changing Washington’s strategy for dealing with Cuba.

On December 17 of last year, President Obama began building a bridge between the two countries.  The first stone he laid at the base of the bridge was to free Gerardo, Ramón and Tony from US jails, where they had been unjustly held for over sixteen years. He also used his presidential authority to issue licenses to poke holes into the blockade.

Yet the bridge is still under construction. Each of us is helping to build it: stone by stone.  Many of us want a friendship bridge that would bring the two nations together.  Some want simply to flood the island with consumer goods that will yield enormous profits for American corporations.  Others see it as a way to hasten the demise of socialism in Cuba.

But have no doubts. Just as Cuba learned to defend itself from foreign military incursions, terrorism, biological warfare and a brutal blockade for over five decades, the Revolution will learn to defend itself from those who would now want to cross a newly built bridge across the Florida straights with foul schemes against Cuba.

There is a lot of work to be done here—on this side of the bridge. The blockade is still in place, and only the United States Congress can overturn it.  We need to reach out to Americans of good faith to help us convince the Congress to do just that.

However, there is also a lot that the President can do.  He has already done some very important things. He knows that to build steel bridges, we must first build people bridges.  When Americans travel to Cuba and meet Cubans on the island, they make friends.  Some of those friendships become lasting friendships, and some collaborate to create projects that benefit both countries.  So President Obama changed the regulations and granted a general license for people to people travel to the island.

Some of the changes announced by the Obama Administration include an increase in the amount of remittances allowed, licenses to trade with the private sector in Cuba, allowing travel agents and airlines to provide authorized travel to Cuba, permitting US insurance companies to provide coverage for health, life and travel to the island, an OFAC general license will facilitate the establishment of commercial telecommunications facilities, authorizing the commercial sale of certain consumer communications devices and related software, permitting the use of certain American credit cards in Cuba, heck we can now bring back $100 worth of the finest cigars in the world.  All of this, President Obama announced last December 17th.

The 20th of July saw diplomatic relations restored between the United States and Cuba, but the bridge between the two nations will not be finished until there are truly normal relations.  Relations cannot be normal as long as the economic, financial and commercial blockade against Cuba remains in place.

But the blockade has not deterred each side from building a bridge across the troubled waters of US-Cuba relations.  The work continues. In the coming weeks and months, there will be bilateral talks on issues such as the environment, the natural disasters, health, civil aviation, drug trafficking, copyrights, patents, and one of the thorniest of all issues: compensation.  The US claims that Cuba ought compensate US companies that were nationalized after the triumph of the Revolution, and Cuba claims to be entitled to compensation for the damages caused by the US blockade against the island: fifteen years ago, Cuba calculated those amounts to be $121 billion in economic damages and $181 billion in human damages.

Things are moving in a positive direction.  We welcome President Obama’s call that Congress lifts the blockade and his discretionary use of presidential authority to try and turn the blockade into Swiss cheese. But we need to hold President Obama´s feet to the fire to make sure that he continues to move forward towards full normalization.  We also need to make sure that the bully tactics of Cuban-American politicians who oppose the lifting of the blockade do not continue to intimidate today’s Congressmen and Senators.

Learn from history.  Past attempts to improve relations failed because of the many traps purposely laid along the way.  Those who oppose normalization, whether in Langley, Foggy Bottom, the Pentagon or Miami, have historically conjured up ways to impede normalization.  The downing of a Cuban passenger plane in 1976 by Luis Posada Carriles was an effort by Cuban-American terrorists and others in Washington to scuttle the secret negotiations that were ongoing between the Ford Administration and Cuba.  Another weapon of choice that some in Washington have used historically to stymie normalization is mendacity: the lies that US State Department officials fed newspapers about the alleged Cuban role in the Shaba II military incursion in Angola, the myth of the Soviet “Combat” Brigade in Cuba, and the boldfaced lies of Under Secretary of State, John Bolton, who claimed in 2002 that Cuba was making weapons of mass destruction (i.e., biological weapons) on the island. A pathology of power permeates this country.

We have to be on guard. We need to learn to defend this bridge, as it will inevitably come under attack.  There’s an election coming up in this country, and we don’t know who will become President.  Some of the Presidential candidates and some congressmen would love to see the movement toward normalization with Cuba blow up like the bridge over the river Kwai.  We cannot let this happen.  This bridge is Cuba’s new fortress.  We need to be its soldiers.

As José Martí wrote, bridges are the fortresses of the modern world. Better to bring cities together than to cleave human chests. Today, all men are called upon to be soldiers of the bridge.”

José Pertierra delivered these remarks on December 18, 2015 at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. at a conference entitled “The Impact of the US Blockade Against Cuba”

CUBA-USA: ACTUALLY, HE DOES NOT HAVE WHAT IT TAKES

September 22, 2015

US-cuba-handshake-755x490

By:  Dr. Néstor García Iturbe

A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann

Historical coincidences are always interesting and especially in connection with September 11 there are quite a few. 

Today, the Nobel Peace Prize Winner signed a Presidential Determination” exercising his authority to keep Cuba, until September 14, 2016, under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

In doing so, he makes a mockery of his Secretary of State, John Kerry, who recently said here in Havana that the United States and Cuba were not enemies or rivals, but neighbors. He also provided a sample of poor political acumen by signing this determination on September 11th, when he could have signed it on the10th, or the 12th, to avoid coinciding with other events which occurred on September 11th, in which the United States has been involved.

On one September 11, another US President, from the same oval office where the Nobel Peace Prize Winner works, made the Presidential Determination to launch a coup d’etat against the constitutional government of Chile. This resulted in the death of thousands of Chileans, including President Salvador Allende, and humiliation and torture suffered by thousands of others. The United States never described all those atrocities as human rights violations by the perpetrators of the coup; because, of course, it participated in their commission.

On another September 11, the events that resulted in the destruction of the World Trade Center, known as the Twin Towers, occurred.

The then-president was at that moment visiting an elementary school and when he heard the news, made the Presidential Determination to spend more time talking to the children and going over their notebooks, as if he had been prepared for what was taking place. We all know the story that has been spun around these events, including the plane which struck the Pentagon, the remains of which were never seen, and the one that was going to attack the White House which disappeared without further explanation.

Also on a September 11, in New York City, terrorists who were residents in the US shot dead the Cuban diplomat Felix Garcia. The terrorist who was accused and convicted of the crime is already free; perhaps as a result of another Presidential Determination. 

Mr. Obama, history judges men by the determinations they make at any given moment. If they act rightly and courageously, according to justice, or if they act wrongly and capriciously, as if justice and the world were meaningless to them.

In the context we are describing, it is impossible not to remember Comandante Juan Almeida Bosque, who died on a September 11 and who –in the middle of a fierce struggle against the forces of the Batista dictatorship, indeed supported by US determination uttered his famous: “Nobody here surrenders… cojones!“.

Mr. Obama, our national poet Nicolas Guillen, in one of his famous and well-known poems, repeated something very consistent with the Cuban Revolution, when he wrote that I now have what I should have always had.”

In your case, by making this Presidential Determination to keep Cuba under the Trading with the Enemy Act until September 14, 2016, you have shown that you do not have what it takes.

 

TEXT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION: 

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 11, 2015

 September 11, 2015

 Presidential Determination

No. 2015-11  

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE

THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY

 

SUBJECT: Continuation of the Exercise of Certain Authorities Under the Trading With the Enemy Act

Under section 101(b) of Public Law 95-223 (91 Stat. 1625; 50 U.S.C. App. 5(b) note), and a previous determination on September 5, 2014 (79 FR 54183, September 10, 2014), the exercise of certain authorities under the Trading With the Enemy Act is scheduled to terminate on September 14, 2015.

I hereby determine that the continuation for 1 year of the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba is in the national interest of the United States.

Therefore, consistent with the authority vested in me by section 101(b) of Public Law 95-223, I continue for 1 year, until September 14, 2016, the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba, as implemented by the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 515.

The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.  

BARACK OBAMA

Cuban health care draws worldwide praise

September 21, 2015

Health care for Cubans and the care Cuba extends to the world have gained high praise. Cuba’s health care reforms, in the making for 50 years, became the basis for health care planners and providers to be able to extend medical care, medical education, and disease prevention throughout the world. This report surveys Cuban health care both at home and abroad.

1.     Health Care in Cuba

Numbers and narrative alike tell the story of a health care project comprehensive, effective and accessible to all Cuban people.  Actual health care in Cuba and public health – for U.S. health care planners, a separate entity – are identical. Both the community and individual are at once objects of care in Cuba. Payment for care is not an individual responsibility. Cuba has emphasized provision ofhealth facilities, services, and practitioners to rural areas in response to deprivations there prior to the Revolution. Health authorities have emphasized data collection, prevention strategies, health education for all, biomedical research, and medical-education capabilities. Cuba has devised full-spectrum health care, from specialty hospitals for complicated and unusual illnesses, to mid-level centers providing consultations, emergency care, and laboratory services, to thousands of family doctor-nurse teams providing first – contact care in rural areas and crowded cities alike. In developing their system of care, health care leaders frequently have resorted to improvisation, taking advantage of innovative examples elsewhere.

Article 50 of Cuba’s revised 1976 Constitution proclaims that, “Everyone has the right to health protection and care.” Political commitment is what drives planning. In 1965, Fidel Castro led 475 new doctors, the first to be educated under the Revolution, to the summit of Pico Turquino, Cuba’s highest mountain. There the students vowed “to expand rural medical services, to promote preventive health care among the population and to providing selfless aid to needy peoples.” (1)  Describing “RevolutionaryMedicine” to a group of soldiers in 1960, Che Guevara established the duty of the state, “to provide public health services for the greatest possible number of persons, institute a program of preventive medicine … and to orient the creative abilities of all medical professionals toward the tasks of social medicine.”

The role of political leadership was clear in 1983 when Fidel Castro urged specialists at Cuba’s principle infectious disease institute to make certain that the oncoming HIV/AIDS epidemic “does not constitute a health problem for Cuba.” (2) Thus preventative measures were already in place when Cuba’s first case of the disease was diagnosed two years later. Infection rates are still the lowest in the region.  

Data from the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization confirm Cuba’s own figures on health outcome. (3) Estimates of infant mortality rates (IMR) during the 1950’s, prior to the Cuban Revolution, vary widely, from 65 babies dying in their first year of life (out of 1000 births) to 39 infant deaths (in 1960).  Life expectancy at birth was 64 or less, according to varying tallies. Cuba had one medical school, eight small nursing schools, and 6286 practicingand teaching physicians, two thirds of whom were based in Havana. Within two years 3000 physicians would leave for foreign exile.

Data from the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization confirm Cuba’s own figures on health outcome. (3) Estimates of infant mortality rates (IMR) during the 1950’s, prior to the Cuban Revolution, vary widely, from 65 babies dying in their first year of life (out of 1000 births) to 39 infant deaths (in 1960).  Life expectancy at birth was 64 or less, according to varying tallies. Cuba had one medical school, eight small nursing schools, and 6286 practicing and teaching physicians, two thirds of whom were based in Havana. Within two years 3000 physicians would leave for foreign exile.

In 2013 Cuban life expectancy was 78.5 years (79 in the United States).  Cuba’s 2014 IMR was 4.2. The U. S. rate in 2011 was 6.1 and is unchanged since, with black infants dying at twice that rate. (The IMR for Canada was 4.8 recently – 15.7 for all of Latin America.)  Cuba’s rate of child deaths under age five, per thousand births, was 5.7 in 2014; the most recent U. S. rate was 7.1.  Cuba has recently spent 10 percent of its GDP on health care; the United States 17.6 percent; Canada 11.4; and the UK 9.6 percent. Cuba has one physician for 149 persons, 85,563 in all; the U. S. rate is one per 413 persons. Cuba, with 24 medical schools, graduated more than 10,000 physicians in 2013; the United States graduated 18,154 that year.  

Cuban health care extends to biomedical research and production, also export of multiple vaccines, diagnostic test kits, and generic drugs – including anti-HIV agents. That sector has prioritized immunotherapy products and anti-cancer vaccines. “In one section of Havana,” an observer notes,” there are 24 research and 58 manufacturing facilities, employing some 7000 scientists and engineers, and [that] accounted for $711 million (USD) in export earnings in 2011.”  (4)    Cuban scientists have developed innovative products, among them: interferons, a vaccine against Type B meningococcal meningitis, a drug directed at foot ulcers caused by diabetes, recombinant streptokinase used for myocardial infarctions, and epidermal growth factor helpful in the treatment of burns.  

2.     Cuban International Medical Solidarity

It started in 1960. Cuba sent a relief team of health workers to Chile after an earthquake there. They went to Algeria in 1963 to establish a public health system. Since then, according to Professor John M. Kirk of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, over 325,000 Cuban medical personnel have provided assistance in 158 countries. (5) Indeed, the Cuban Constitution refers to “proletarian internationalism, brotherly friendship, help, cooperation, and solidarity with the peoples of the world.”

Kirk believes that,  “Cuba has provided an example for the planet, showing how its successful medical collaboration programs have been far more successful, and more far-reaching, than anything provided by all of the G-8 countries’ efforts combined. For over fifty years Cuban medical personnel have served the poorest and most neglected areas of the world, going where other doctors refused to go. At present they are looking after the well-being of some 70 million people.”

He adds that, “As of January 2015 there are 51,847 Cuban medical personnel (of whom 50.1% are physicians) working in 67 countries–mainly in the developing world … [I]n Africa over 4,000 medical personnel are working in 32 countries”  The situation, he says, is comparable to  “having 223,000 US doctors serving in developing countries.”

Some notable examples:

·        Cuban medical teams went to Sub-Saharan Africa in the 1970’s in conjunction with anti-apartheid military actions there.

·        Beginning in 1990 Cuba developed comprehensive medical-care programs centered in Tarará, Cuba, for the 21,874 children and 4,240 adults who were victims of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Cuba provided medical care and provisions at no cost.

·        During the 1990’s, disaster relief efforts culminated in help given to Haiti and Central American countries following Hurricanes George and Mitch in 1998. The latter took tens of thousands of lives.

·        Hundreds of Cuban doctors remained in Haiti and were there when the disastrous 2010 earthquake occurred. New physician arrivals took the lead in providing care and rehabilitation for injuries and responding to the cholera epidemic that followed. They stayed; currently 700 Cuban doctors are working in Haiti. In all 11,000 Cuban health workers have served there since 1998.

·        Cuban doctors have cared for patients in East Timor since 2003; 350 were there in 2008, and four years later hundreds of that country’s young people were training as physicians in Cuba, also in an East Timorese medical school established and staffed by Cubans.

·        From 2004 on, as part of “Operation Miracle,” Cuban eye surgeons with logistical support from Venezuela have performed sight-restoring surgery, mainly for cataracts and glaucoma, for 3.4 million patients in 31 countries.

·        In 2005 in Pakistan within two weeks of an earthquake that killed 250,000 people, over 3000 Cuban medical personnel were caring for the injured in 32 field hospitals, in the snow and mountains. They stayed for six months. 

·        Earlier that year Cuban disaster-relief teams working abroad became the “Henry Reeve Brigade,” named in honor of a young U. S. soldier who joined rebel forces in Cuba’s first War for Independence.  Some 1500 Cuban doctors preparing to go to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina – The U. S. government turned them down. – were the first contingent to be so designated. By that time 36 disaster relief teams had already worked in 24 countries.

·        In late 2014, 251 Brigade members traveled to East Africa to combat the Ebola epidemic. Recruited from 15,000 volunteers, they stayed for six months. For its anti-Ebola contribution, Norway’s Conference of Trade Unions in February 2015, nominated the Henry Reeve Brigade for the Nobel Peace Prize.  

·        “Brigade 41” of the Brigade, with 49 health workers, arrived in Katmandu, Nepal, in May 2015 to deal with suffering caused by a major earthquake.  This was the 41st mobilization of the Brigade since its formation in 2005.

·        In August 2015, 16 Cubans – physicians, nurses, and epidemiologists – were on the Caribbean island of Dominica helping victims of flooding caused by Hurricane Erika. They brought 1.2 tons of medical supplies and provisions. 

·        Since 2005, Cuban physicians, usually from 12,000 to 15,000 at a time, have served in Venezuela as practitioners and medical teachers. In return, Cuba gains an assured, reasonably priced supply of Venezuelan oil.

·        Some 11,000 Cuban physicians, the majority of them women, have been working since 2013 in underserved areas of Brazil, whose government reimburses its Cuban counterpart.

Medical education is a big part of Cuban medical internationalism.  Kirk reports that in Africa, for example, 5,500 Cuban professionals were working there in 2012, and also that “40,000 Africans have graduated from Cuban universities and there are currently 3,000 studying in Cuba.” 

Cuba has established medical faculties in 15 countries and provided teachers for 13 of them.  According to <spanstyle=”” id=”yui_3_15_0_1_1442845244782_1020″>journalist Salim Lamrani, Cuba annually provides training in medicine, nursing, or medical technology for some 29,000 students from over 100 foreign countries. (6)  Every year half of Cuba’s medical graduates are foreign students. Cuba-Venezuela cooperation has resulted in some 25,000 Venezuelans now studying medicine under Cubans’ tutelage as part of an innovative program that has students studying in their own communities. Kirk reports that Cuban teachers have helped train “more than 80,000 midwives, 65 health promoters and 3,000 nurses” in developing countries.

The jewel in the crown of Cuba’s overseas medical work is the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).  Formed in 1999, the Havana-based institution, which utilizes teaching hospitalsacross the island, provides medical education at no personal cost to students who arrive from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and from the United States – almost 100 counties in all. Up to 1500 students graduate from the School every year and, as of August 2015, some 23,000 physicians have returned to their own countries, where, as promised, they will be serving where they are most needed. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, visiting the School, told students, “ELAM does more than train doctors.  You produce miracle workers.”

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Cuban health care relates to the community orientation of practitioners and teachers alike, in Cuba and abroad. 

<fontcolor=”#1e1c11″>Kirk quotes El Salvador’s Public Health Minister María Isabel Rodríguez:  “The Cubans treat them [their patients] as individuals, recognizing their human quality, and spending time with them. Their medical treatment is different – the Cuban doctors respect their patients and listen to them.”

Kirk suggests that patients “are not seen as suffering from a singular ailment … instead they are viewed in the wider bio-psycho-social context.”  And, “the system is based upon medical training in which ethical considerations and the responsibilities of professionals are emphasized far more than in medical schools of the industrialized world. … The result is that the Cuban system has developed a cost-effective, pragmatic, highly ethical and sustainable system of public healthcare.”

In January 2015 Professor Kirk wrote to the Norwegian Nobel Committee indicating he was “delighted to nominate the Cuban medical internationalism program for the Nobel Peace Prize.” Ban Ki-moon would concur: Cuban “doctors are with communities through thick and thin – before disasters strike … throughout crises … and long after storms have passed. They are often the first to arrive and the last to leave.”

Notes:

1. http://www.banderasnews.com/0511/hb-cubadoctors.htm

2. http://www.hhrjournal.org/2013/09/06/hivaids-in-cuba-a-rights-based-analysis/

3. The web site www.medicc.org is a valuable resource providing access to epidemiologic data from the Cuban Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and the Pan American Health Organization.

4. http://aaaspolicyfellowships.org/sci-fly/cuban-biotech-and-medicine-waiting-introduce-themselves-us

5. http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/14/medical-internationalism-in-cuba/ The research and observations of Professor Kirk are fundamental to an understanding of Cuban medical internationalism

6. http://www.cubadebate.cu/opinion/2012/08/04/cuba-forma-hoy-en-un-ano-mas-medicos-que-el-total-que-tenia-en-1959/#.VfbYtv_lu1s

7. http://www.nnoc.info/nomination-of-the-cuban-medical-internationalism-programme-for-nobel-peace-prize%E2%80%8F/

8. http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocus/sgspeeches/statments_full.asp?statID=2125#.VfbWqf_lu1s

http://peoplesworld.org/cuban-health-care-draws-worldwide-praise/,


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