News on Cuba - April 2, 2012 Print

Reflections by Fidel Castro:  The Wonderful World of Capitalism

The search for the political truth will always be a difficult task even in our times, when science has placed in our ands a huge amount of knowledge. One of the most important was the possibility to know and study the fabulous power of the energy contained in matter.

The person who discovered that energy and its possible use was a peaceful and amiable man who, despite being against violence and war, asked the United States to develop it. The US president back then was Franklin D. Roosevelt, a man who had adopted a well-known anti-fascist stand; he was the leader of a country that was going through a deep crisis and helped to save the nation by adopting strong measures that earned him the hatred of the extreme right of his own class. Today, that State imposes on the world the most brutal and dangerous tyranny ever known to our fragile species.

The news received from the US and its NATO allies refer to their misdeeds and those of their accomplices.  The most important cities in the United States and Europe are the theatre of continued pitched battles between demonstrators and a well-trained and well-fed police, equipped with armored cars and helmets, beating and kicking and throwing gases against women and men, twisting the hands and the necks of people, young and old, showing to the world the coward actions that are committed against the rights and the lives of the citizens of their own countries.

How much longer these barbaric acts would last?

I will not expand on this, since these tragedies will continue to be seen, more and more, on television and in the entire press; they will be like the daily bread that is denied to those who have less.  I will just quote the news received today from an important western news agency:

“Much of the coast of Japan in the Pacific Ocean could be flooded by a tidal wave of more than 34 meters (112 feet) that would be generated if a powerful earthquake hits its coastline, according to revised estimates of a government panel.

“Any tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9 earthquake in the Nankai Trough, which extends from the main Japanese island of Honshu to the southern island of Kyushu, could reach 34 meters high, the committee said.

“A previous estimate in 2003 estimated that the maximum height of the wave would be less than 20 meters (66 feet).

“The Fukushima plant was designed to withstand a tsunami of 6 meters (20 feet), less than half the height of the wave that hit the plant on March 11, 2011.”

But, there are no reasons to worry.  Another piece of news dated two days ago, on March 30, could give us some peace of mind.  It was published by a really well informed media.  I’ll summarize it in just a few words: “If you were a soccer player, and Arab sheik or an executive of a big multinational, what kind of technology would make you sigh?

“Recently, some famous luxury shops in London inaugurated an entire section dedicated to technology-lovers with bulging wallets.

“One million dollar TV sets, Ferrari camcorders and individual submarines are some of the fetish to delight millionaires.”

“The one million dollar TV set is the crown jewel.”

“In the case of ‘Apple’, the company has committed to deliver its new products on the same day they are launched in the market.”

“Let us suppose that we have left our mansion and we are already tired of hanging around with our yacht, limousine, helicopter or jet.  We still have the choice to buy an individual submarine or a submarine for two persons.”

The offer goes on to advertise cells with stainless steel casings; 1.2 GHz and 8G memory processors; NFC technology to make payments through cell phones and Ferrari camcorders.

Capitalism, compatriots, is a truly wonderful thing! Maybe it is our fault that not every citizen has its own private submarine at the beach.

It was them, not me, who mixed up the Arab sheiks and the executives of the big transnationals with the soccer players. The latter, at least, entertain millions of persons and are not enemies of Cuba; I should state that very clearly.

Fidel Castro Ruz

April 1st, 2012

8:35 p.m.

 

The New York Times Recognizes Cuban Contribution against Cholera in Haiti

HAVANA, Cuba, Apr 2 (acn) An extensive report published on Sunday by The York Times recognizes that Cuba’s contribution was essential in the detection of the first cases and also in the treatment of the cholera epidemic that began in Haiti in 2010.

The article points out that, at first, only the Cuban Medical Brigade and Doctors without Borders, both self-financed, “handled the majority of cases.”

“It made no sense. Everybody was in Haiti. It was the biggest density of humanitarian actors in the world, and the two organizations were dealing with 80 percent of the cholera,” said Yann Libessart, spokesman for Doctors without Borders.

The newspaper report adds that the Cuban health professionals dispensed antibiotics —free of charge— to all cholera patients and preventively to their relatives, which prevented the death of thousands of Haitians.

The New York Times recalls that “world health authorities, concerned with cost and drug resistance, initially said antibiotics should be reserved for severe cases.”

According to the article, after 17 months, cholera has killed more than 7,050 Haitians and sickened more than 531,000, or 5 percent of the population.

Cuban health professionals have been making their contribution in Haiti for 13 years, an initiative that has been silenced or ignored by most mainstream media outlets.

 

Haitian President Attends Literacy Program’s Graduation

HAVANA, Cuba, March 31 (acn) The Haitian President Michel Joseph Martelly attended Saturday the graduation ceremony of 650 fellow citizens who learned to read and write in Creole thanks to the Cuban Yes I Can method.

This group represents the 99,672 who have passed the literacy program since September 2011 until February this year. Financed by Venezuela since 2009, the program was resumed in September after been halted due to the earthquake that shook the country in January 2010.

A Prensa Latina report says the Cuban Literacy Brigade, made up of 14 members, is currently working on the fourth stage of the project that seeks to teach 67,500 people in all ten departments to read and write.

Speaking at the ceremony,at the city council of Delmas, the Haitian president thanked the Venezuelan government for helping financing important social programs in education and health; and extolled Cuban collaborators for carrying them out.

 

Cuba Makes Upcoming Good Friday a Holiday

HAVANA, Cuba, March 31 (acn) Honoring an appeal by Pope Benedict XVI, the Cuban Council of Ministers has decided to make this year’s Good Friday a holiday, according to a communiqué published Saturday by Granma newspaper.

The official announcement says that during his meeting March 27 with President Raul Castro, the Supreme Pontiff requested that those involved in non indispensable activities be exempt from work on Holy Week Fridays in honor of the Christians’ passion and their commemoration of Jesus Christ's death.

Before leaving for Rome, the Cuban President confirmed that the government was happy to make this year’s Good Friday a holiday in honor of His Holiness and his successful visit to Cuba; the communiqué says that the Cuban Council of Minister will decide later whether to make the holiday permanent.

 

The WHO and Cuba Sign Cooperation Agreement in the Health Sector

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 30 (acn) Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization  (WHO), and Roberto Morales, Cuban Public Health Minister, signed on Friday in this capital a  Strategic Note that establishes cooperation agreements for the next four years.

The Minister announced that the document includes the cooperation priorities and modalities to  be followed between the two institutions, with the purpose of continuing to perfect Cuban  public health, and show what the island can do in the field of cooperation, stressed the top  official.

Doctor Chan highlighted that this agreement between the two parties devises the strategy to be  adopted, and asserted that the WHO is willing to work with the Cuban Public Health Ministry to  maintain health indicators, and to achieve the effectiveness and sustainability of the  national health system.

Likewise, she acknowledged Cuba’s public health model, described as an example, from which,  she underlined, many countries should learn.

The distinguished visitor said she was inspired by the work carried out by the health staff  and scientists on the island, and thanked the Cuban government for the priority it gives to  the matter, making human beings the focus of its attention.

 

Cuba To Expand Forest Area by 2015

Havana, Mar 31 (Prensa Latina) Cuba will expand its forest area by 2015 as part of a reforestation project of over 270 hectares which includes the planting of production and conservation species.

Today the island has 26.7 percent of its area covered by forests and the initiative will raise that figure to 29.3 over the next three years highlighted Granma daily.

The program, sponsored by the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, will increase tree planting to meet the demand for wood and its derivatives, among others.

Protection forests will be created for the conservation of existing renewable resources such as water and soil, watersheds, coastlines and coastal areas, the article says.

For the Cuban researcher Peter Henry to reforest and create a forest help breathing of the planet, because through photosynthesis, trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which is essential for life.

Other benefits are the protection of soil against erosion, not only water but also wind, he explained.

In coastal areas reforestation manages to mitigate the effects of climate change, since these species are natural barriers to slow the rise of the mid-level of the sea, stressed Henry.

 

Protocol on Health and Aging Signed in Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, March 31 (can) A Protocol of Intention of the University Consortium on Public Health and Aging for Latin America and the Caribbean was signed in Havana by the Pan American Health Organization and the and Inter-American Center for Social Security Studies (CIESS, Spanish acronyms).

PHO and CIESS respective directors, Mirta Roses and Angel Fernandez signed the document with the goal of developing the training of human resources to assist the needs of the elderly.

Likewise, the protocol will foster leadership in this field, scientific and academic exchange among the nations making up the CIESS; as well as the creation of research networks and more importantly the creation of a unique regional master’s program in public health and aging.

The Consortium groups 13 universities from different nations, among them Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Peru and Cuba, said Lilian Rodriguez, deputy director for education and research of the Cuban Research Center on Longevity, Aging and Health.

Rodriguez told ACN Cuba was chosen for the creation of the group because of its strengths in the training of human resources in both undergraduate and postgraduate education for the assistance to people older than 60, which in Cuba add to 18.1 percent of the population.

The signing of the Protocol was attended by WHO general director Margaret Chan and Cuban Health Minister Roberto Morales, who participated on Friday in the closing of the Eighth National Congress of Geriatrics and Gerontology.

CIESS is the educational, training and research organ of the Inter-American Conference of Social Security headquartered in Mexico.  It carries out academic activities in Mexico, through distance programs and in interested countries.

 

London Subway Stations Renamed for Olympics

London, Apr 1 (Prensa Latina) On the occasion of the imminent celebration of the Olympic Games, the 361 subway stations in London, capital of Britain, were temporarily renamed on Sunday with the names of famous athletes, including seven Cubans.

Natives and tourists will recognize, from this date, the Cutty Sark station by the name of Caribbean boxing legend Teofilo Stevenson, three-time Olympic champion and world champion.

"We love sports, we love London, so there was nothing better than selecting 361 of the greatest athletes the world has seen to include them in our subway map," designers Alex Trickett and David Brooks said in a statement.

The organizing committee also honored boxers Felix Savon, Mario Kindelan and Angel Herrera, track athlete Alberto Juantorena, and the legendary baseball players Orestes Kindelan and Omar Linares.

The London subway map also includes, among others, the names of tennis players Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and American swimmer Michael Phelps, all world stars still active and with a serious chance to extend his record at the Olympics.