Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Oh, The Humanity!

Sometimes you just have to read newspapers published outside the US to find some really good news. One of the posters at Eschaton pointed us to this article in the Scotsman.

THE upmarket tourists and their luxury yachts that once swarmed the idyllic Marina Hemingway complex in Havana now find everything is booked out for months ahead. More than a dozen Havana hotels have been temporarily closed to tourists.

The reason is not a political crisis but a massive influx of a different kind of visitor to Cuba as Venezuela's petro-dollars fund "Operation Miracle" - a remarkable undertaking to take planeloads of the poor to Cuba for eye-surgery.

...Since July 25, more than 3,000 people from ten Caribbean countries have had eye operations in Cuba funded by oil-rich Venezuela. Other patients from Central and South America bring the total to 100,000 free eye operations this year.

...But one of Castro's most respected achievements is the establishment of a comprehensive health system producing one doctor for every 170 people, compared to 188 in the US and 250 in the UK. Teams of Cuban doctors assess applicants for eye surgery before sending patients to Havana on special flights from ten Caribbean countries and more than 15 Latin American nations. On August 20, Cuba achieved what is almost certainly a world record - performing 1,648 eye operations at 20 hospitals in a single day.

All flights, accommodation and food are funded by the Venezuelan government as a result of various trade agreements. Cuba has been paying for vital shipments of 90,000 barrels of Venezuelan oil a day by helping President Chavez establish a free national health service in his country with the aid of 17,000 Cuban health professionals.

Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez are two of George Bush's least favorite people. Of course, both men have enjoyed poking at Mr. Bush with a stick at every opportunity, most recently at the Free Trade Talks with Latin America that got almost nothing accomplished. Given the not so subtle attempts at undermining their presidencies by the Bush regime, one can hardly blame them.

Our media tends to protray both Castro and Chavez as clowns and dictators, even when generous offers are made to the American people by these neighbors. Chavez offered cheap heating oil to the US in anticipation of high heating costs. Castro offered 1,500 medical professionals to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. Our administration just sneered at the thought of "third-rate nations" offering their assistance.

Well, these "third rate" nations are providing health care to all of their people, something the US apparently is incapable of doing. It's unfortunate that our media isn't up to covering these kind of stories.


Blogger josh williams said...

Cuba has good health care.However this is a joke and a truth, you can not as an average Cuban, buy a cup of coffee. Way to much money.The country is in shambles.
Hugo and Fidel.Good couple one has money one has brains.
Fidel who will soon die from his current malady which will leave his brother, what is his name?
Che the psuedo hero who killed his own followers when he felt it was needed. Che lost it and like Fidel has murdered more people than, all the serial killers the USA can muster.
As you may have gathered I do not feel Cuba is perfect, it will soon fall and prosper, the sharp investors will soon be building empires on Fidels grand idea.Hugo could inspire N. Americans to come up with alternative fuels, quite simply so we can not be dependent on them. Thanks for the forum. JW

8:44 PM  
Blogger josh williams said...

So what are your thoughts on todays unions and their handling of NY/US (the rest of us, being them folk being the finacial capital)After all the hurricans we have NY attacked by a strike that is costing how much jing?Matewan was a great movie and so is the idea of big government, big unions and anyone thinking for the people.
On the other hand if we did not have other people thinking for us we would have a bunch of Mary Lou Retton(sp)Rocky, Bullwinkle statues cluttering our green spaces.

10:10 PM  

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