Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Nadie se va a morir...menos ahora -Cancilleria de Cuba

Follow the link for a video of how Cuba is dealing with covid-19:

Thursday, March 19, 2020

What the Covid-19 virus revealed about national mindsets across the world and how Cuba came out on top by helping...
In a sign of true global solidarity, writes Ahmed Twaij, Cuba allowed the MS Braemer, a British cruise ship, to dock on Cuban shores despite carrying at least five confirmed coronavirus cases on board and 52 additional passengers showing symptoms. The ship carrying over 600 mainly British passengers had no Cuban nationals on board. Nevertheless, Cuba accepted their plea for help and allowed the MS Braemer to dock. The MS Braemer had been anchored in the Caribbean for five days searching frantically for a place to dock with no positive response. Diplomats from the British Foreign Office urged US officials to allow the ship to dock on American soil but they found obstacles. Cuban officials, however, accepted the request saying stopping the pandemic must be “a shared effort.” The Cuban response added that humans were suffering, and, regardless of the passport they held, they deserved help. Until then Cuba had only five confirmed cases of Covid-19 and was aware that the ship docking could threaten to increase that number exponentially.
This is not the first time the Cuban government and Cuban health care providers stepped in to help during global emergencies: Cuban doctors deployed in West Africa during the Ebola crisis and also during the Haitian earthquake emergency in 2010. This government program which emerged in the wake of the Cuban revolution sending Cuban healthcare professionals across the world during humanitarian situations and crises, has been recently at risk because of the US unrelenting blockade, made more virulent by the Trump Administration.

The coronavirus pandemic is serious and should unite the world. Cuba has for years run a celebrated universal healthcare system with outcomes equal to those of developed countries, argues Twaij, and Cuba has one of the world’s highest life expectancies. On the other hand, Twaij argues, the US continues to push profiteering from coronavirus through a private healthcare system that abandons its most vulnerable citizens. The US health care system early failure to even provide adequate testing kits to its population speaks volumes, he said.  Spain, in a dramatic announcement, nationalized all its private hospitals this week in an effort to contain the impact of the virus and showing privatization is not a good option. A public health care is more effective, affordable and accountable than a private one.  This crisis proves that a nationalized public system works better and keeps citizens safer.
Rather than battling to close borders and fueling xenophobia, by referring to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus,” the president of the US should show leadership during time of crisis proving he is capable.  Still, Mr. Trump continues to ask for wall building achieving nothing, Twij argues. Is there still room for humanitarian goodness? Remember he says when we treat others, regardless of where they are from, as we would wish to be treated. Well Iran has borne the brunt of US protectionism and sanctions which had accelerated the spread of the virus in the country. One thing to learn about a global world: global economies and global epidemics cannot be treated in isolation. A car bomb in Iraq affects the stock prices in the US. Covid-19 has caused a financial contagion worse than the 2008 credit crunch. This is no longer about making America great again, says Twaij, a theory that has already collapse. It is about saving the world again. If this US Administration fails at this, other countries have proven they can and will step in.  

Brazil’s far-right government requested the return of thousands of Cuban doctors to help fight the coronavirus. Months ago, President Jair Bolsonaro smeared the doctors as “terrorists” and expelled them.

By Ben Norton, Greyzone
The coronavirus pandemic has overwhelmed the health infrastructure of countries around the world. Desperate to contain the deadly virus, hard-hit countries, including even rich European nations like Italy and Britain, have reached out for expert medical help from Cuba, China, and Venezuela.
Even Brazil, currently under the control of a far-right administration that has joined the US in demonizing Cuba’s socialist government, has fallen back on the small nation for much-needed medical support — requesting help from the very same Cuban doctors it expelled months ago.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly called for the restoration of the military dictatorship, threatened his political opponents with violence, and backed terrorist attacks on Venezuela.
Bolsonaro has also taken aim at Cuba, praising the far-right military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet for supposedly preventing Chile from becoming like Havana.
Before Bolsonaro was elected president in 2018, 10,000 doctors Cuban doctors were inside Brazil, working in some of the poorest, most remote regions of the country. Their assistance arrived thanks to an agreement between Havana and the country’s left-wing Workers’ Party government, which sought Cuban help to treat those that the Brazilian health system had long failed to reach.
Throughout his presidential campaign, Bolsonaro slammed the Cuban doctors in his country as a nefarious fifth column, denigrated them as “terrorists,” and pledged to expel them.
When he took power following a US-backed soft coup against the Workers’ Party government, Bolsonaro made good on his promise. He kicked out many of the Cuban doctors, leaving impoverished rural regions without medical personnel.
By February 2020, however, the Brazilian government began to reverse course. The Bolsonaro administration had been unable to find doctors who would serve in these remote areas, so it agreed to allow the 1,800 Cuban doctors who remained in the country to return to the communities they had previously served.
And now, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Brasilia’s right-wing occupant has done a complete about-face.
In a press conference on March 15, Brazilian Secretary of Health João Gabbardo beseeched Cuba to send back the doctors who were expelled to prevent the country’s health system from collapsing as it battled a spreading pandemic.
Gabbardo declared that 5,000 of the Cuban doctors re-deployed to Brazil will be assigned to primary care centers across the massive country.
The Bolsonaro administration’s reversal was particularly embarrassing considering that, just last year, the president claimed the Cuban doctors were not real medical experts, but ideological brain-washers training poor Brazilians to become communist guerrillas.
“The PT [Workers’ Party] sent about 10,000 costumed doctors to Brazil here, in poor places, to create guerrilla cells and indoctrinate people. So much so that, when I arrived, they left, because I was going to go after them,” Bolsonaro claimed in a conspiratorial screed in 2019.
The grim reality of the coronavirus crisis has forced even Cuba’s sworn enemies to seek help from its world-renowned medical system.
Brazil has the fifth-largest economy on Earth, as well as the sixth-biggest population, with more than 210 million people. Cuba, meanwhile, is a relatively poor country with just around 11 million people, and is suffering under a suffocating US sanctions regime. But thanks to its socialist system, Havana has highly skilled and ethically committed doctors to spare – even to nations that have assisted the US bid for regime change against it.
The Workers’ Party responded to the news in an official statement: “President Bolsonaro owes apologies to the Brazilian population and to all the Cuban doctors who were practically expelled from Brazil facing attacks, lies, and fake news.”

Sunday, February 2, 2020

In Cuba, cleaner rivers 
follow greener farming

When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990's, food production on the island of Cuba was disrupted—as the supply of Russian fertilizers, pesticides, tractors, and oil dried up. Under the stress of an imminent food crisis, the island quickly rebuilt a new form of diversified farming—including many urban organic gardens—that depended less on imported synthetic chemicals. Over the last two decades, Cuba blossomed into a world-class showcase of conservation agriculture, with improved soils and cleaner water.
At least that's been a popular story among journalists.
Now—for the first time in more than fifty years—a team of Cuban and U.S. field scientists have worked together to rigorously test a key aspect of this story: the impacts of contemporary agriculture on water quality in Cuba's rivers. Despite centuries of sugarcane plantations and other intensive farming, the international team discovered that none of the rivers they explored show deep damage.
Instead, the scientists measured much lower nutrient concentrations in all the twenty-five Cuban rivers they studied than are found in the U.S.'s Mississippi River. And they think Cuba's transition toward sustainable agriculture—and its reduced use of fertilizers on cropland—may be a primary cause.
"A lot of stories about the value of Cuba's shift to conservation agriculture have been based on fuzzy, feel-good evidence," say University of Vermont geologist Paul Bierman, who co-led the new research, "this study provides hard data that a crucial part of this story is true."
Bierman and geoscientist Amanda Schmidt from Oberlin College led the American half of the international team, while Rita Yvelice Sibello Hernández, a scientist with CEAC (Centro de Estudios Ambientales de Cienfuegos), an ecological research group, headed up the Cuban effort with CEAC science director Carlos Alonso-Hernández.
The new study, "¡Cuba! River Water Chemistry Reveals Rapid Chemical Weathering, the Echo of Uplift, and the Promise of More Sustainable Agriculture," was published January 30, in the early online edition of the journal GSA Today, the leading publication of the Geological Society of America.
Conversely, "Cuba has been having a forced experiment in organic agriculture since the late 1980s," says Oberlin's Amanda Schmidt. "So Cuba is a very interesting place to look at the effects of both conventional agriculture and the effects of organic agriculture at a national scale,"—and may suggest pathways to improve U.S. agriculture. Fertilizer use in Cuba peaked in 1978 and has been lower since, according to World Bank and other data. U.S. fertilizer use spiked after the 1960s and has remained at more than twice the Cuban use rate.
"There's a takeaway we bring back to the U.S.: our river waters do not need to look the way they do," says Paul Bierman—a professor in UVM's Geology Department, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and Gund Institute for Environment—"we can manage fertilizer differently." There are, of course, complex questions about yields, farm policy and more, but this newly reported data on the low levels of nutrient pollution found in twenty-five Cuban rivers, "suggests the benefits of Cuba's shift to conservation agriculture after 1990," the US/Cuban team writes, "and provides a model for more sustainable agriculture worldwide."

Saturday, February 1, 2020

1961 Literacy Campaign in Cuba:
The first Brigadistas

Monday, January 6, 2020

From Havana:
Arnold August, Trudeau: Venezuela,
Cuba, Chile, Bolivia, Haiti.

Cuba’s Revolutionary Origins: a Personal Reflection

January 2nd, 2020.
Some time ago in another late December my partner in life commented that she liked beginnings in reference to the approaching new year. I became immediately aware that other traditions may have a calendar different from the Gregorian calendar and the beginning of their new year may take place at a different time. But the notion of “beginning” intrigued me, especially because I had another upcoming beginning in my political mind.
A beginning can mark any event, like for instance the start of a special day that we acknowledge with some ritual. There may be beginnings that are ominous like those of natural disasters or traumatic experiences; others can be unique and personal like the beginning of life at birth; yet others are uplifting like the beginning of a relationship. Whichever event we go through, often we remember its beginning as an anniversary or worthy of celebration.
For me at this time of the year it is inevitable to remember the momentous day when the protracted revolutionary process in Cuba came to fruition on January 1, 1959 marking the triumph of the Cuban Revolution with the ousting of the dictator Fulgencio Batista and the attaining of the long overdue independence from foreign and oligarchy dominance. That is an historic beginning that I inevitably remember and personally celebrate every year. My celebration is not with fireworks or public display but more like a time for introspection and reflection on some of the events that led to that new start. Although I was too young to have been aware of that historical moment at the time, I am quite acquainted with Cuba and I have come to know some of the historical leaders of the Cuban Revolution. I consider myself privileged to be a contemporary of those personalities.
The modern history of Cuba is quite rich and full of human episodes. Its retrospective study gives an insight in the determination of Cubans to resist any foreign intervention. After long years of fighting the Spanish colonisation in the 19th Century, Cuba was close to achieving its independence goal militarily, but a false flag incident of the explosion of the US battleship Maine in the Havana Bay in February 1898 – blamed to the Spanish – was used by the US as a pretext to intervene in the Spanish-Cuban war. “False flag” acts are frequently used today but it’s an old military tactic. There is another infamous false flag act committed later in April 1961 when the US-sponsored invasion of Cuba at Bay of Pigs was carried on with planes painted with the colours of the Cuban air force to deceive the population and the revolutionary government itself as if it were a mutiny. The invading mercenaries were eventually defeated and taken prisoners in less than 72 hours.
In 1898, despite the Cuban troops’ advantage over the Spanish, and despite the Cuban troops’ protection of the US landing of its army, Cubans did not receive any recognition. They were in fact ignored. Spain surrendered to the US in the Paris Treaty of December 1898. On January 1, 1899 the possession of Cuba was transferred from Spain to the United States. An inauspicious beginning that would rather be forgotten, but history is there so we don’t forget. And Cubans didn’t.
The importance of Cuba for the US was, and still is, mostly strategic for its geographic position as a virtual protective gate to the gulf of Mexico. Cuba also was used for economic exploitation of its vast sugar cane and other produce plantations mostly in the hands of US corporations. That was sufficient for the US government to turn a blind eye to the extensive mafia gambling activities, tax haven and other illegal dealings taking place in Cuba. The different puppet regimes governing the country had a total disregard for the well-being of Cubans who lived in extreme poverty and abject conditions especially in the rural areas.
This was the social situation under the corrupt regime of Fulgencio Batista that the revolutionary movement of Cuba in the mid-20th century was attempting to overturn. The first major attempt took place on July 26, 1953 when Fidel Castro led an attack at the military garrison in Santiago de Cuba that failed. The struggle continued including more than two years of guerrilla warfare. In the words of Fidel Castro “five years, five months and five days” passed from that day until victory was finally achieved liberating the whole country of six million Cubans.
In my personal reflections I always respect the moral qualities of Fidel Castro exemplified by his modesty. He always discouraged the personal idealisation towards him and I think that he set the standard from the very beginning. While revolutionary commanders Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos entered into Havana on January 1 and took over the two large military garrisons without resistance winning over the majority of the soldiers, Fidel was still in Santiago de Cuba, almost a thousand kilometers away. He did not rush to the capital to be acclaimed. He took the trip by road stopping at every major Cuban city to connect with the people who had been his supporters and had been the most ignored historically. He arrived in Havana eight days later.
Following his death in November 2016 a funeral procession carried the casket with his ashes symbolically travelling the same route back from Havana to Santiago de Cuba. Large crowds stood along the way to pay their final respects. His brother, Raul Castro, stated one of Fidel’s dying wishes: that his image and name never be used in public places, from streets and parks to government institutions. Legislation to that effect was passed by the Cuban National Assembly.
January 1, 2020 will mark the 61st anniversary of this legendary revolutionary beginning, and the term beginning is very appropriate because it indicates a continuous process of transformation of what is called today: a Revolution in motion. At every step, a true social advancement is made. The human and social development of this small nation is outstanding by any stretch of the imagination while subjected to the most crushing economic and financial blockade by the United States from 1962 to this day. The UN Human Development Report of 2019 states, “Cuba’s HDI [Human Development Index] value for 2018 is 0.778— which puts the country in the high human development category— positioning it at 72 out of 189 countries and territories…above the average of 0.750 for countries in the high human development group and above the average of 0.759 for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
I am truly convinced that be it a personal change or a social revolution a true transformative beginning must be marked by a creative process and a radical change with the profound conviction that a better world is possible.

Cuba Marches On! Cuba Resists! Cuba Wins!

Isaac Saney, CNC Spokesperson, January 1, 2020

Sixty-one years! It is sixty-one years since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. Sixty-one years in which Cuba definitively and defiantly embarked on a path that established authentic self-determination, placing the Cuban nation firmly in the hands of its people.

It is profoundly poignant that the Cuban Revolution has not only outlasted 11-U.S. presidential administrations but has also existed longer than the U.S. neocolony that was imposed on the people of Cuba in 1898 when Washington militarily intervened in that heroic island nation just as Cuba's liberation fighters were on the verge of throwing-off once-and-for all the yoke of Spanish colonialism.

The Cuban Revolution is a culmination of the struggles for national independence and social justice, first launched on October 10, 1868 by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, carried forward and deepened by José Martí in 1895, and revived periodically throughout the first-half of the 20th century when Cuba languished under U.S. hegemony. It is, therefore, the crystallization and consummation of the historical aspirations of the Cuban people, manifested time and time again in their re-affirmation and determination to defend, strengthen and perfect the revolutionary project.

However, the empire has never accepted the verdict of the Cuban people; it has waged an economic war and a campaign of destabilisation aimed at restoring U.S. imperialism's domination and tutelage.

In the face of unceasing and escalating U.S. hostility, the Cuban Revolution has made an invaluable contribution to the global struggle for justice, social development and human dignity.

Cuba holds an admirable place in the international community regarding the protection and promotion of the rights of its citizens. Cuba is not a haven for the economic violence that reigns in so many countries.

In Cuba everyone is guaranteed an education and access to universal and free healthcare.

In Cuba no one is “disappeared” or the victim of extra-judicial execution.

In Cuba there are no homeless roaming the streets, no one left to fend for them-self, eking out an existence in a dog-eat-dog society.

Besieged by imperialism, the heroic island nation has made invaluable contributions to the well-being of the world’s nations and peoples, having established an unparalleled legacy of internationalism and humanitarianism.

More than 400,000 Cuban medical personnel  have served in 164 countries fighting disease.

More than 2,000 Cubans gave their lives in the struggles to liberate Africa from the scourge of colonialism and apartheid.  

What Cuba has done nationally and internationally is no small feat. It's impressive achievements have occurred in the midst of an all-sided  brutal aggression by Washington. The U.S. economic blockade - the principal obstacle to Cuba’s social and economic development - has cost the island nation in excess of $1 trillion U.S. dollars, constituting a flagrant violation of the human rights of the people of Cuba.

Washington’s objective is the negation and extinguishing of Cuba’s right to self-determination and independence.  

Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1st, 1959, the Cuban people have resisted all attempts to take away their independence and freedom, and re-impose foreign domination. They have repelled the unceasing economic, financial and propagandistic assault by Washington, including the April 1961 mercenary invasion.

Cubans have never wavered in their revolutionary resolve and commitment. As Cuban President Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez declared in his December 21, 2019 address to Cuba's National Assembly: "United we have won! United we will win!"

Long Live the Cuban Revolution!
¡Viva la Revolución Cubana!