Cuba, the “criminal” country

cuban doctors

Cuba is the “criminal-country”. That’s central reason that pushes imperialism to punish Cuba. Following imperialism’s directive and advice, a number of countries have rejected Cuba’s offer for medical help during those countries’ hours of need, when natural disasters battered parts of the countries on different occasions.

Now, in the latest series of punishing Cuba, imperialism backed coup-authorities in Bolivia harassed Cuban medical volunteers providing services to the people there. The Cuban Medical Brigade – physicians – was detained in Bolivia. And, the news-“neutral” mainstream media (MSM) have “forgotten” the news to telecast/broadcast.

The Cuban physicians detained included Dr. Yoandra Muro Valle, coordinator of the Brigada Médica, and Jacinto Alfonso Pérez, in charge of logistics of the group.

The Cuban authorities have said that police from Interpol Bolivia went to the home of the head of the medical brigade in Bolivia, and without legal reason arrested the Cuban medical mission leadership. Cuba has also claimed, “a car from the United States embassy was parked near the house.” A “beautiful” duet it is!

Isn’t it a “strange” world order? How it’s “strange”? An authority engaged with robbing the people of the people’s democratic rights detained a number of persons providing medical treatment to a people in need of medical aid; and the persons engaged with humanitarian effort were not detained in any war-front. They were detained in a country going through political conflict created by rightists, reactionaries, imperialism-trained soldiers. Even, in war-fields, physicians are not detained.

The Cuban government has denounced the detention. Bruno Rodríguez, the Foreign Minister of Cuba, has demanded the immediate release of the detained Cuban doctors. The Cuban FM has demanded ensuring security of the Cuban medical personnel.

The Bolivian rightists have made strange claim: The Cuban medical workers were “encouraging anti-coup protest.”

It’s truly a fascinating fact: A few medical workers from a far-away land are so “efficient political leaders” that they could encourage protest while military and police, in thousands, and the Bolivian fascist hoard, in thousands also, are failing to silence the protest. Should anyone accept the “fact” sold by the reactionaries?

And, during the detention of the Cuban doctors, the “normal” presence of the imperial power was also been cited by the Cuban FM in his twitter account: U.S. Embassy vehicle plate 28-CD-17 participates in #Bolivia police operation detained Cuban doctors in Ave Enrique Herzog, Achumany, South Zone, La Paz. US Embassy participates in an instigation of violence against Cuban doctors.

A day earlier, a Bolivian army officer entered the house of one of the Cuban medical workers with the claim that the medical person worker was possessing arms. Television crews with their cameras were in the scene of intrusion. The intruders found no arms. The intruders admitted this in front of TV cameras. “So”, the logic of the rightists goes on, the Cuban doctor’s possessions were requisitioned.

These actions were not based on any court order.

Immediately after the coup, four Cuban physicians were detained on November 13 in El Alto, Bolivia. The members of the Medical Brigade were traveling with money withdrawn from a bank to pay for basic services and rentals. They were arrested with the claim that the money would be used to finance protests that rejected the coup d’état. Later, the representatives of the Bolivian police and the Public Ministry visited the headquarters of the Medical Brigade in El Alto and La Paz. The Bolivian officials confirmed, based on documents, payrolls and bank details, that the amount of money were equal to the amount regularly collected from bank by the Cuban Medical Brigade. Despite that finding, the Cuban doctors were sent to prison. The same “logic”, actually no logic or imperialist logic was upheld.

Cuban journalists in Bolivia were also harassed.

Therefore, everything is present in the plot there: master, sepoys, detention of persons engaged with humanitarian initiative, false claims, intimidation, and no respect to law. Imperialism and its hirelings follow this rule everywhere, from Indonesia to Guatemala, from countries targeted for intervention to countries already devastated by intervention.

There’s now another country in the region, Ecuador, in the same style: No to Cuban medical assistance.

The Ecuador government has terminated six health related collaboration agreements with Cuba.

According to a report, Cuban medical cooperation in Ecuador began in 1992. In June of 2006, a cooperation agreement was signed. The agreement opened way for participation of 153 Cuban professionals to collaborate with Ecuador. Under this program, 168,543 surgeries including 4,609 to remove cataracts were performed. [Anyone can compare the propaganda regarding Orbis, an aero plane-based eye hospital visiting a few countries for a few days, and the no-information in the MSM regarding Cuba’s massive eyesight restoration work to the huge number of people in countries.] In January and June of 2009, two agreements were inked. One of these agreements was related to a psycho-social, pedagogical, and clinical genetic study of people with disabilities. Under this agreement, more than 800,000 persons were assisted, and of them, more than 35,000 were provided neurophysiology or otolaryngology consultations. Some 21,062 patients underwent clinical genetics studies. Under another agreement signed between Cuba and Ecuador, about 300 Cuban doctors provided medical assistance in 52 units of an Ecuadorean Institute. Moreover, Cuba’s medical assistance in emergencies and disasters in Ecuador included in 1986 after a heavy downpour, in 2001 due a dengue epidemic, and in April 22016, to the victims of an earthquake. Cuba’s medical collaboration with Ecuador included more than 3,000 health professionals’ services in 23 of 24 provinces of the country, about 7 million medical consultations, more than 200,000 surgical interventions, more than 3,000 births assisted, and more than 100,000 vaccinations.

Cuba’s health care collaboration with other  countries, it’s assistance in true sense, is not limited to only the two countries mentioned above – Bolivia and Ecuador. Dozens of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America including Pakistan and Haiti have benefitted/are benefitting from Cuba’s medical assistance, the initiative the island-country terms Solidarity. Cuban medical experts strictly follow terms and standard mentioned in the agreements under which they work in the countries receiving their assistance, and uphold altruistic spirit. Moreover, they uphold principles of the World Health Organization.

Now, following the decision of the current Ecuadorian leader, Lenin Moreno – a stooge of imperialism – Cuba is withdrawing its medical professionals from that country as Quito is now behaving like a lackey of Washington.

There’s sustained campaign by the Empire to discredit Cuba. The money-stuffed MSM bragging objectivity in its reports, analyses and editorial comments carry out the campaign; and the campaign begins with decades-old Soviet cars on Havana streets. They present their Havana-reports in a way as if people eat cars, people wear cars, and people live on cars, and cars are needed to consume people. But, the MSM forget their own stories: their problem with medical facilities, homelessness, corruption, bribe, misspending of public money by big companies. A recent report on homeless citizens in Las Vegas is a fraction of a fraction of the entire story of poverty in capitalist economies rich with exploitation of its people and of peoples in other countries.

But, the island-country, despite many limitations including natural resource-scarcity, have made exemplary achievement in the area of health care and medical science, in the area of assisting people in countries in health care and aid in times of natural calamities. This is now internationally recognized fact. The country striving hard in the face of the Empire’s economic blockade continues to say: “The peoples of Our America and the rest of the world know that they can always count on the humanist and solidarity vocation of Cuban professionals.” One Granma report (“ELAM: 20 years true to Fidel’s humanist thought”, November 14, 2019) presents a few facts, mentioned below.

The report said:

More than 400,000 health professionals have provided services in 164 countries over 55 years.

More than 29,000 health professionals are working in 65 nations today.

Under a program with Venezuela’s financial help, Cuban doctors have restored eyesight to more than three million people in 35 countries.

Medical assistance was provided to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, and the following epidemic of cholera, and to Pakistan following an earthquake hitting remote mountain region.

Twenty-eight Medical Brigades worked in 21 countries including the struggle against Ebola in West Africa.

Medical treatment was provided to victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (in the former USSR), with more than 26,000 patients, mostly children, treated.

Genetic and psychosocial study was conducted to evaluate more than 1,200,000 individuals with disabilities, in six ALBA member-countries.

The Mas Medicos program in Brazil, with Cuba’s assistance and participation, ensured access to health services for more than 60 million people.

From the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), founded by Fidel on November 15, 1999, 29,749 students from 115 nations have graduated as doctors. About 7,000 graduates have earned advanced degrees in Comprehensive General Medicine and 2,135 in other specialties from the ELAM.

The ELAM graduates have provided support in the wake of many natural disasters including those in Haiti, Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, and the Amazon.

A significant number of ELAM graduates have participated in Operation Miracle, the eyesight restoration project, in several countries, with assistance from the Cuban medical brigades.

These are only a small portion of many activities by Cuba’s medical professionals. To Cuba, health care and medical science is not a trade to profit. Cuba’s medical and health care don’t bribe physicians to prescribe certain drugs. Cuba’s medical science doesn’t experiment with harmful drugs and chemical on people of other lands. Cuba’s medical endeavor and research are not tied to military plans/plans for subjugating other people/manipulation of medicinal drugs markets. Imperialist media and intelligence have not found any such example from Cuba’s medical-solidarity work.

Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, during the recent 20th anniversary celebration of the ELAM, described the ELAM as “a visionary project founded to improve the quality of life of those who were born and died without having the opportunity to see a doctor.”

It’s the people, the poor, the exploited in countries, regularly forgotten by the MSM, the mainstream academia and a part of left directly or indirectly engaged in collaboration with the right, extreme-right and imperialism, who have no or least opportunity to see a physician.

ELAM rector Dr. Antonio José López Gutiérrez, in his remarks in the ceremony, said that the ELAM promotes the concept – “the patient is not a client, nor is medicine a commodity”.

The concept – Patient is not a client, medicine is not a commodity – is thrown to trash bins everyday in all economies with capitalism as their motto. In this term, in the mirror of capitalist-imperialist concepts, Cuba is a “criminal” state. The “crime” is easily perceived if anyone minutely looks at the medical-industry-business complex in the Empire, in other capitalist countries, even in countries brutalized by poverty, exploitation and loot in the global South as Cuba is breaking the barrier profit suckers continue to erect for patients.

A spectacular fact tells the humane spirit of the Cuban medical workers. They restored eyesight of the person, who years ago murdered Che in Bolivia. That man, old during the eye operation, told that it’s the Cuban doctors, who made it possible for him to see this blue sky, this beautiful world.

It’s the same world for which Che stood in courage and with sacrifice, with love and solidarity; and, it’s the same world where imperialism is carrying on its anti-Cuba campaigns, sabotages; and it’s the same world, when the Bolivian fascists are killing people on streets, harassing the Cuban doctors, detaining them. During this time, Cuba issues call not to defend Cuba, but to defend Bolivia. Cuba recently called on all people: DEFEND BOLIVIA.

Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.




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