December 21st, 2014
Presentation of Atlantic Members of CUPW
This picture is from a presentation that Atlantic members did on their solidarity delegation to the Colloquium to Free the Cuban Five. Very proud of our Union for all their work on the campaign to Free the Five. In particular, huge thanks to Don Foreman who has kept this struggle in the forefront for CUPW, as well as Jeff Callaghan, Beatrice Douglas, Scott Gaudet Anita Bock. However, all of our work on Cuba would not have happened if it were not for Sister Ruth Collins Larson (member of Nova Scotia Cuba Association) and many others who have been working in solidarity with Cuba for years. So congrats to you all for your dedication to this struggle.
Thank you all for your work on this! Solidarity!
Sunday, December 14, 2014
For Moment, the World Embraces the Cuba Model – and Slaps the Empire
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“For Cuba, service to oppressed and exploited peoples is a revolutionary act of the highest moral caliber.”
Revolutionary Cuba has always been a miracle and gift to all humankind. This week, the nations of the world – with two savage exceptions – instructed their emissaries at the UN General Assembly to tell the world’s self-designated “indispensable” country to end its 54-year-long trade embargo against Cuba . The virtually unanimous global rebuke to the American superpower, in combination with the extraordinary breadth and depth of acclamation accorded Havana, tells us that it is Cuba, not the U.S., that is the truly “exceptional” nation on the planet.
It was the 23rd time that the United Nations has rejected the embargo. The outcome was identical to last year’s tally, with only the United States and Israel voting against the non-binding resolution. Although the list of American allies on the Cuban embargo issue could not possibly get any smaller – Israel, after all, can only exist if joined at the U.S. hip – this year’s political environment was even less deferential to the reigning military colossus. In recognition of its singular commitment to the fight against Ebola in Africa, Cuba soared, once again – the hero nation.
Despite having suffered cumulative economic damages of more than $1 trillion at U.S. hands over the last half-century, the island nation of 11 million people has made itself a medical superpower that shares its life-saving resources with the world. No country or combination of nations and NGOs comes close to the speed, size and quality of Cuba’s response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. With 461 doctors, nurses and other health professionals either already on site or soon to be sent to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Cuba sets the standard for international first-response. The Cuban contingent of medical professionals providing direct treatment to sick people outnumbers that of the African Union and all individual countries and private organizations, including the Red Cross. (Few of the 4,000 U.S. military personnel to be deployed in the region will ever lay a well-protected hand on an Ebola patient. Instead, the troops build field hospitals for others to staff.)
“No country or combination of nations and NGOs comes close to the speed, size and quality of Cuba’s response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.”
Doctors Without Borders is second to Cuba in terms of health professionals. But the French NGO is a swiftly revolving door, churning doctors and nurses in and out every six weeks because of the extreme work and safety conditions. Cuba’s health brigades are made of different stuff. Every volunteer is expected to remain on duty in the Ebola zone for six months . Moreover, if any of the Cubans contract Ebola or any other disease, they will be treated at the hospitals where they work, alongside their African patients , rather than sent home. (One Cuban died of cerebral malaria, in Guinea, last Sunday.)
It goes without saying that the Cubans are committed for the duration of the Ebola crisis; they have been at Africa’s service since the first years of the revolution. President Raul Castro reports that 76,000 Cuban medical specialists have served in 39 African countries over the years. Four thousand were stationed in 32 African countries when the current Ebola epidemic broke out. (Worldwide, Cuba’s “white-robed army” of care-givers numbers more than 50,000, in 66 countries – amid constant U.S. pressures on host countries to expel them.)
In sheer numbers, the Cuban medical posture in Africa is surpassed in scope only by the armed presence of AFRICOM, the U.S. military command, which has relationships with every country on the continent except Eritrea, Zimbabwe and Sudan. The governments of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone collaborate militarily with AFRICOM, but the heavily-armed Americans were of no use when Ebola hit. (According to a Liberian newspaper account, the Americans caused the epidemic , a widely held belief in the region.)
Indeed, the Euro-American legacy in Africa, from colonialism (Liberia has been a de facto colony of the U.S. since the days of President Monroe) to western-imposed financial “structural adjustments” that starved public health systems, is the root reason Liberia and Guinea have only one doctor for every 100,000 people, and Sierra Leone has just two.
Cuba knows colonialism well, having seen its independence struggle from Spain aborted by the United States in 1898, followed by six decades as a U.S. semi-colony. For Cuba, service to oppressed and exploited peoples is a revolutionary act of the highest moral caliber. That’s why, when the call went out, 15,000 Cubans competed for the honor to battle Ebola in Africa. As reported in The Guardian , doctors like Leonardo Fernandez were eager to fulfill their moral and professional mission. “We know that we are fighting against something that we don’t totally understand,” he said. “We know what can happen. We know we’re going to a hostile environment. But it is our duty. That’s how we’ve been educated.”
In the same way and for the same reasons, 425,000 Cubans volunteered for military service in Angola, from 1975 to 1991, leaving only after Angola was secure, Namibia had held its first free elections and South Africa was firmly on the road to majority rule. These Cubans were preceded by the doctor and soldier Che Guevara and 100 other fighters who journeyed to Congo in 1965 to join an unsuccessful guerilla war against the American-backed Mobutu regime.
“In sheer numbers, the Cuban medical posture in Africa is surpassed in scope only by the armed presence of AFRICOM, the U.S. military command.”
Cuba has been selfless in defense of others, whether against marauding microbes or imperial aggression. “We never took any natural resources,” said Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez , Cuba’s ambassador to the United Nations and a veteran of the war against white-ruled South Africa’s army in Angola. “We never took any salary, because in no way were we to be perceived to be mercenaries or on any kind of military adventure.”
For the United States, military adventure and the imperative to seize other countries’ natural resources or strangle their economies, are defining national characteristics – in complete contrast to Cuba. The U.S. embargo of its island neighbor is among the world’s longest-running morality plays, with Washington as villain. On this issue, the world’s biggest economic and military power could neither buy nor bully a single ally other than the Zionist state deformity.
Even Djibouti, the wedge of a nation between Eritrea and Somalia that hosts the biggest U.S. (and French) military base in Africa, spoke against the embargo on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Lithuania, a rabidly anti-Russian Baltic state, voiced the European Union’s objections to the embargo. Ethiopia, Washington’s henchman in the Horn of Africa, nevertheless opposed U.S. policy toward Cuba on behalf of the UN’s “Africa Group.” Tiny Fiji articulated the Group of 77 and China’s opposition to the trade blockade. Venezuela, Cuba’s major health partner in Latin America, voiced the anti-embargo position of Mercosur, the Common Market of the South.
Cuba’s neighbors in CARICOM, the Caribbean Economic Community, were represented by Saint Kitts and Nevis, whose ambassador pointed to Cuban-built hospitals and clinics throughout the region; the hundreds of Cuban doctors that have provided the only medical services available to many of Haiti’s poor before, during and after the catastrophic earthquake of 2010; and the thousands of Caribbean students that have benefited from free university education in Cuba.
Cuba’s exemplary conduct in the world has made the yearly UN vote on the U.S. embargo a singular opportunity for all the world body’s members, except one, to chastise the superpower that seeks full spectrum domination of the planet. It is the rarest of occasions, a time of virtual global unanimity on an evil in which the Empire is currently engaged. Once a year, the world – in both effect and intent – salutes the Cuban model. For a moment, humanity’s potential to organize itself for the common good illuminates the global forum.
This year, the model glows brightly in the darkness of microbial pestilence. When 15,000 Cuban health care workers do not hesitate to step into the Ebola pit, the New Man and Woman may already exist – and there is hope for the rest of us.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Source URL: http://www.blackagendareport.com/node/14493
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Canadian Network On Cuba (CNC) is launching the Cuba For West Africa Campaign to raise funds to assist the ongoing Cuban medical missions in the West African nations of Guinea-Conakry, Liberia & Sierra Leone that are engaged in fighting the Ebola epidemic. The Cuban medical mission is by far the largest sent by any country. Standing side-by-side with the peoples of West Africa, 461 Cuban doctors and nurses – chosen from more than 15,000 volunteers - have gone to West Africa and joined the struggle against Ebola. Jose Luis Di Fabio, a representative of the World Health Organization, underscored that “there are more human resources from Cuba than from many, many NGOs put together.”
Such is the magnitude of Cuba’s solidarity with Africa that even the corporate media, usually unduly harsh in their views concerning Cuba, had to give the Caribbean nation plaudits for its actions. For example, the New York Times, recognizing at last Cuba’s virtue, has been moved to editorialize its position that the U.S. economic embargo against the island should end and the three Cubans still imprisoned in the U.S. as fighters against terrorism should be freed. Also, on October 9th, the Wall Street Journal stated: “Few have heeded the call, but one country has responded in strength: Cuba.” As Jorge Lefebre Nicolas, Cuba’s ambassador to Liberia, declared: “We cannot see our brothers from Africa in difficult times and remain there with our arms folded.” Havana’s contribution is to be contrasted with that of Washington, which dispatched thousands of soldiers, instead of more desperately needed healthcare personnel and resources.
The Cuban doctors serving in West Africa are motivated not by financial gain but by the profound internationalist values of solidarity inculcated since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. Since 1959, more than 300,000 Cuban medical workers have served in 158 countries. Currently, 50,000 Cuban doctors and nurses are serving in 66 countries across Latin America, Africa and Asia. Indeed, before the Ebola epidemic there were more than 4,000 Cuban healthcare personnel treating people in 32 African countries. As Dr. Jorge Perez Avila, the director of the Pedro Kouri Institute for Tropical Medicine in Havana - where those going to fight ebola get three weeks of intensive specialized training before going overseas - noted: "Our principle has been to share what we have."
In 2010 Cuba rose to the immense challenge of helping the heroic people of Haiti after the earthquake that inflicted such horrendous suffering. In response, the CNC launched the Cuba For Haiti Campaign as the best way by which Canadians could help Haiti. The success of the Cuba For Haiti Campaign demonstrates the confidence and respect that Canadians have for the people for Cuba. The respect and confidence increase the better we know Cuba.
In 2014, as it has always done, Cuba is taking up the cause of humanity in Guinea-Conakry, Liberia & Sierra Leone. Africa has called and Cuba has answered.
At the September 16, 2014 meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Cuban representative Abelardo Moreno declared: “Humanity has a debt to African people. We cannot let them down.”
The CNC is asking Canadians to support the invaluable work of the Cuban medical mission by donating to the Cuba For West Africa Campaign. You can support the Cuba For West Africa Campaign by sending a check to the Canadian Network On Cuba. The cheques should be made out to the Canadian Network On Cuba, writing Cuba for West Africa Campaign on your cheque’s memo line. Your donation should be mailed to: THE CNC, Attn: S. Skup, 56 Riverwood Terrace, Bolton, ON L7E 1S
- Isaac Saney, Co-Chair & Spokesperson, Canadian Network on Cuba, November 14, 2014 -
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Concert at Patchwork House Concerts
with Augusto Enriquez
Jeff Goodspeed, Silvio Pupo, David Burton, Danny Parker
November 10 at 8 pm
Where? 30 First Avenue, Bedford
Reserve your spot by firstname.lastname@example.org
or by calling 902 434-8355
Augusto sings every style imaginable, has played all over the world with the likes of Pavarotti but he loves to do house concerts in Nova Scotia because it is such an intimate performance experience.
We’d love it if you RSVP’d – it helps us plan. And we’d love it if you tell all your music-loving friends about Patchwork and bring them with you to a show. RSVP via email (mleblanc.patchwork@.) or by calling
A Patchwork House Concert is a special experience. It’s a chance to really listen to live music by great Canadian and international artists in a relaxed, intimate setting. It’s kind of like having your favorite artists play in your living room. Heck, that’s exactly what it is! We invite musicians in fairly regularly and our audiences listen…
‘Tickets’ average $20 however we do not sell tickets per se. We ask for guests to make a8 pm) so we begin welcoming guests around 7:30pm to allow everyone time to get a soft drink (or if you have brought your own, something stronger), grab a snack, find a seat and get comfortable. commitment to attend and bring their contribution with them. Shows generally start early (at
Usually we have 2 sets with a break in between for enjoying some refreshments, socializing, and maybe having a chat with one of the artists. CDs and other musician merchandise are often available for purchase so it is wise to bring a little extra cash to pick up a cd or two for your music collection. At the break, we also collect money for the show.
Cuban president Remarks in ALBA Summit on Ebola
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 20 (acn) Cuban President Raul Castro addressed the Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Trade Treaty of the Peoples (ALBA-TCP) and its observers that gathered in Havana in a Special Summit on Ebola.
Cuban News Agency now reproduces his remarks to open the debate:
Key address by the President of the State Council and the Council of Ministers of Cuba, Raúl Castro Ruz, at the Special ALBA-TCP Summit on Ebola
Esteemed heads of State and Government, and chiefs of delegations; His Excellency Mr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General; Her Excellency Mrs. Clarisse Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization; His Excellency Mr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the Organization of East Caribbean States
We welcome you to our country on the occasion of this Special ALBA Summit on Ebola convened on the initiative of President Maduro.
Ladies and Gentlemen, comrades;
A dreadful epidemic is advancing today on our fraternal peoples of Africa, and threatening us all. A high number of cases have been diagnosed with Ebola and many people have perished from the disease in several countries, including two outside the African continent.
This poses a huge challenge to humanity, one that should be met with utmost urgency. The action of the international community as a whole, under the leadership of the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization and the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, is much needed.
As part of the melting pot of Latin American and Caribbean cultures, African blood flows through the veins of ‘Our America’, contributed by those who fought for independence and helped in the creation of wealth in many of our countries and others, the United States included.
Africa and Cuba are bound together by deep affection. Over 76 thousand Cuban collaborators have rendered health services in 39 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, as our Public Health Minister will explain; they are all joining in the preventive effort against Ebola.
Last October 1st, in response to a request from the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, and UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, a specialized Cuban medical brigade traveled to Sierra Leone to take part in the struggle against that epidemic; and tomorrow, Tuesday, October 21st, two other Cuban brigades, whose leaders are already in the field, will be leaving for Liberia and Guinea.
The numerous alerts and concerns recently manifested over the insufficient resources contributed and the pace of the actions are a reflection of the growing universal awareness on the necessity to move ahead promptly in order to avoid a humanitarian crisis of unpredictable consequences.
I stand convinced that if this threat is not held back and resolved in West Africa, through an immediate and effective international response, with sufficient resources and coordinated by the World Health Organization and the United Nations, it may evolve into one of the gravest pandemics in the history of mankind.
Actually, such a noble and urgent endeavor demands the indispensable commitment and dedication of every nation in the world, to the extent of everyone’s possibilities.
We are of the view that this grave problem should not be politicized to avoid the risk of losing track of the main objective, which is helping to confront the epidemic in Africa and to prevent its expansion to other regions.
Following my conversation with the UN Secretary General last September 5th, instructions were given to our representatives in events called by the World Health Organization and the United Nations, to reaffirm that Cuba is willing work side by side with every country, including the United States.
The modest experience accumulated by the Cuban healthcare system indicates that an integrating disposition is required, along with the proper organization, planning and coordination, not only of the clinical and healing work but also of preventive measures. An inescapable complementation to this would be the systemic and permanent labors of the specialists who shall exercise great
discipline and severity in the observation of the medical protocols established. In the course of this meeting, we shall discuss the practical features of this matter.
In order to avoid being affected by the virus, we should prepare ourselves intensively, work together throughout the Americas on preventive measures, and be ready to deal with the disease and prevent its dissemination.
We wish to submit to the consideration of the member countries of ALBA and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) some collective proposals of cooperation that may help in training the healthcare personnel and designing and implementing comprehensive and effective preventive measures, giving a priority to Haiti and the Caribbean countries; we should all assist the most vulnerable states.
At the same time, we invite the countries of North America to also cooperate in this endeavor.
If the respective governments would agree, our healthcare collaborators currently working in Latin America and the Caribbean, could support, to the extent of their capabilities, the preventive actions and the training of local personnel, as well as offer advisory.
In summary, we have 45,952 Cuban healthcare collaborators working in 25 countries of Our America, 23,158 of them, that is, 50.4% are doctors, who along with their colleagues from the continent make up a powerful force capable of meeting such a challenge.
It’s worthwhile recalling that many countries of our region count on 23,944 doctors graduated in Cuban universities until today, basically in the past fifteen years.
Finally, on December 14th, we will host another Summit in Havana to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Alliance, the fruit of the will of our peoples in the region and of the actions of Hugo Chavez Frias and Fidel Castro Ruz. We look forward to that opportunity when we shall examine the implementation of what we agree here today.
Without further delay, we declare this Special Summit open.