A burning topic nowadays. In Cuba the Human Rights are not violated.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Fidel Castro Receives Argentine Legislator Miguel Bonasso

Cuban President Fidel Castro met Wednesday at midday with Argentine legislator and journalist Miguel Bonasso and presented him with the first copy of the new edition of "Cien Horas con Fidel (One Hundred Hours with Fidel)" by Ignacio Ramonet, which will also be given to the heads of state and government attending the Non Aligned Movement summit in Havana.
Bonasso, who heads the Natural Resources and Environment Committee of the Argentine House of Deputies, is in Cuba as a personal envoy of President Nestor Kirchner for the Group of 15 meeting, which sessions on Thursday parallel to the 14th Summit of the Non Aligned Movement, taking place in the Cuban capital through Saturday.
Fidel Castro told Bonasso that revising the book was intense. He said he spent long hours on it amid his lead role in the country’s energy revolution as well as in important education and health programs Cuba is implementing. Fidel explained that the book became very important to him, not only because of the need for the content to be precise, but also because of the commitment that he had made to the people to go over it and publish a new edition to be distributed throughout the country.
The Cuban leader said he went over each chapter down to the last detail, working on it during his trip to Argentina, on the intense day of celebration on July 26, Cuba’s National Rebellion Day, and even during his recovery from surgery when he didn’t know how much time he had to do it. He said the result is a more complete edition, containing profound and important reflections and previously unpublished documents.
Fidel and Bonasso also exchanged opinions on diverse topics of regional interest such as the Operation Miracle eye surgery program that has seen some 400,000 operated on in just two years, mainly from Latin American and the Caribbean. Besides the advanced facilities on the island, where the majority of the patients have been operated on, Cuba has also installed ophthalmologic centers in Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti and Venezuela to treat patients from those and neighboring countries. In Bolivia, where several such centers are functioning, there is a capacity to return sight to 100,000 annually.
During their meeting, Bonasso presented Fidel with a travel briefcase as an expression of his confidence that he would continue to travel around the world taking the voice and message of Cuba. Bonasso told Fidel that he looked much better than he had imagined from previously published photos and that he saw him to have the same spirit and lucidity as in July in Cordoba, Argentina, when they shared several moments during the days of that visit.
Fidel thanked Bonasso for his presence in Cuba and his decisive support for the projects of Latin American integration, shown by his participation in several meetings of intellectuals from the region and his presence as a speaker at the mass rally at the Plaza of the Revolution on February 3 when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez received the International Jose Marti Award. Fidel also recalled Bonasso’s presence at the historic ceremony on April 29 when Bolivia joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) accords with Venezuela and Cuba. The ALBA promotes mutually beneficial social economic development with solidarity

by Granma.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Díaz-Balart confides that he feels respect and affection for terrorists

THE panelists on yesterday’s TV “Informative Roundtable” confirmed that Congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart confided to a Miami television station that he has profound respect and affection for terrorist individuals and their families such as Alvarez and Mitat, arrested for trafficking weapons, and that he and the two other Congress members of Cuban origin are making secret moves to have them released.
“They don’t go planting bombs in supermarkets,” Díaz-Balart cynically argued, responding to a journalist on a southern Florida TV station.
The death charges planted by terrorists like Posada Carriles, Santiago Alvarez and Osvaldo Mitat in Cuban hotels and restaurants are a good idea in the eyes of this Miami congressman. According to him, in those cases, the killers of innocent civilians are justified.
It is fitting to ask: Is there not an ethics commission in the U.S. Congress that would call them to task for acts like these?
The main leaders of the U.S. anti-Cuba policy are nonplussed by their failures and although they spend their time talking about a political transition on the island, they really should be thinking of a change of that kind in the United States itself, given that it is their anti-Cuba policy that has failed over the last 45 years.
Diego Sánchez, another capo of the Cuban Liberty Council, a clone of the Cuban-American National Foundation, called for a U.S. marine invasion of the island on another TV program.
They are still fuelling the rancor business in terms of the Cuban Revolution, ignoring the history and constitution of Cuba and its mechanisms of collective leadership.
A long history of intolerance and hatred has been fostered in Miami. And the worst part of that is that it has been encouraged by U.S. governments.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Cuba’s Doctors Help in Indonesia

Three months have passed since a powerful earthquake devastated a large portion of the island of Java and the members of Cuba’s International Henry Reeve Contingent were swiftly dispatched to Indonesia to help the victims. They are still deployed in the most remote areas of the municipality of Klaten, one of the hardest hit by the disaster.
The pathologies related to the earthquake have started to dwindle, but the precedent established by the Cuban medical brigade in central Java goes beyond all types of borders.
Today, Cuban field hospitals are not only visited by the inhabitants of Klaten, but also the residents of he heavily populated neighboring province of Yogyakarta, as well as people from remote surrounding villages. People make long journeys by nights to arrive early in the morning to the waiting areas of the Cuban hospitals to be assisted by the island’s personnel.
"Termia kasik, terima kasik, terima kasik" Niki repeated over and over again. She is the mother of a six year old girl who was thanking the orthopedic team that operated on her daughter who had an open femur fracture from when her house collapsed after the earthquake. "We did not know that there could be people so different, so unselfish," an emotional Niki told the Cuban specialists who took care of her daughter.
By August 20, I a little more than two months after their arrival in Indonesia, the Cuban medical brigade has assisted a total of 89,550 of low-income or extremely poor patients. Of those, 47,451 were seen on field calls and 1,865 underwent surgery in the two Cuban field hospitals.
The first Cubans with a lot of work in the operating room were the orthopedic experts who had to deal with open fractures, hip prosthesis and external fixtures implants, as well as other innovations of Cuban medicine, brought to this humanitarian mission.
The picturesque district of Wedi, bordering Gantiwarno, in Klaten, is a valley covered by lush vegetation. Its quite and peaceful atmosphere was suddenly disturbed on the fateful morning of May 27. The earthquake destroyed most of its villages and turned them into piles of rubble. 75% of the houses were destroyed and three out of every four inhabitants sustained injures. In Wedi, there are still makeshift bamboo beds, while many elders lie without roofs exposed to the sunlight. The damage in the area was more severe due to its proximity to the earthquake epicenter.
The surgical team working at the hospital in Gantiwarno
Nani is a friendly 10 year old girl. She is still visibly shocked when she recalls the events she witnessed. Although she starts her story with a calm tone, suddenly she pauses and losses all her serenity: "I was very scared!" she exclaims with sad eyes. "What hurt me the most was to lose my school". But her sadness dissipates when she reminisces about the time she spent at the Gantiwarno Camp, aided by Cuban personnel who carried out activities to cheer up the children of the community: "Now I’m happy because the doctors have come to visit us, they vaccinated my little sister and other children from my school."
Just like Nani and her sister, the Cuban Medical Brigade in Indonesia has also conducted prevention and education drives. Some 10,000 inhabitants from Klaten have been vaccinated by the Cubans against tetanus.
"Thanks to God and the Cuban medical doctors my husband is alive. I didn’t have the money to pay for the blood he needed," said Rianti, the wife of the first Indonesian who received Cuban blood, from Hectico, as everyone calls him. "Keep on saving lives and keep on helping the poor as you have done here in Indonesia," said Rianti while she kissed and gave a tight hug to this nurse, who has become the contingent’s symbol.
Vonny is a joyful Indonesian young lady of 25 who has voluntarily joined the Cuban contingent as an interpreter. She is the leader of a group of 10 locals who share with the Cuban personnel intense hours in the hospitals and on the field visits.
It was Vonny who taught us some of the history and traditions of the people here. "Women here give birth in their homes," she explained surprised after witnessing how Dr. Angelita assisted the first delivery 45 days after the brigade’s arrival in Indonesia. Today, Vonny is still astonished. Fidelia was the first to be born, Mariana followed, then Celia, Ernesto, Vilma… By August 20, thirty one children had been born in the Cuban field hospitals. "I am following the pregnancy of 104 women," said Dr. Angela del Toro, a few minutes before having to leave her lunch intact to rush to perform an urgent caesarean.
"At first I was skeptical, I thought that no woman would come to deliver in the hospital, but now I am proud to see that they trust us." Prenatal care has become one of the top priorities of the Henry Reeve Brigade in Indonesia. Today, 107 expecting women are being taken care at the field hospitals of Prambanan and Gantiwarno.
"We are here exclusively for humanitarian reasons," Dr. Luis Oliveros Serrano, chief of the medical brigade, told CNN. "Authorities from the Indonesian government have been cooperating with us all the time and they have voiced their profound appreciation for our work. The visit of their foreign minister to the hospitals, as a well as those by other high ranking officials brings a lot of satisfaction to us. It is a sincere demonstration of respect to Cuba and to our people."
The mission in Pakistan after another devastating earthquake in October 2005 blazed the trail for the "Henry Reeve" International Contingent, which was formed shortly before to offer Cuba’s assistance to the victims of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, but rejected by George W. Bush.
The 96 members of the brigade in Indonesia, who also worked in the Himalayan Mountains, spend time recalling anecdotes of an experience that marked their lives forever. Now they continue planting seeds in another part of the world.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Uncomfortable Witness

It appears that the main witness in the case against Miami-based terrorists Santiago Alvarez and Osvaldo Mitat has made someone uncomfortable to the point of becoming the target of a drive-by shooting by "unknown persons" on a road northwest of Dade County.
An article in the Nuevo Heraldo Spanish language newspaper on Saturday reports that Gilberto Abascal’s pickup truck was shot several times as Abascal drove in the area known as Los Ranchos near Hialeah Gardens. "Something happened, but I’m fine…Saturday they fired on me," said Abascal who is supposed to be under the federal witness protection program.
The attack should come as no surprise. It can be explained by the climate in this southern Florida city and the fact that the individual involved is a key piece in the network involving Alvarez, Mitat and Luis Posada Carriles.
Gilberto Abascal knows very well how fugitive terrorist Luis Posada Carriles entered the United States: via the Santrina yacht in March, 2005. He was on the boat, as were Alvarez and Mitat. Therefore, his reports to the FBI are vital in this case, since the US authorities maintained for months that they had no knowledge of Posada’s presence or how he arrived to the US, actions that were repeatedly denounced by Cuba at the time.
But delimiting Abascal’s knowledge to this incident would be inaccurate. He also has other information on Posada and his associates that encompasses far more than the illegal entry. Delving into the past would provide key information on innumerable terrorist plans. Perhaps some of these would surface during the Alvarez-Mitat trial to be held starting September 11 in Fort Lauderdale, where the FBI will call Abascal as a prosecution witness.
As for the shooting incident, which occurred a few days before he was to take the stand in the Posada case, the defense lawyers refused to comment.
The game pieces have begun to move. After Abascal talked, "unknown persons" tried to kill him. This event adds to the claims made by Cuba. The terrorists are there. Maybe the US would be better off using the recently announced intelligence center —that will be used for spying on Cuba and Venezuela— to monitor the activities of local terrorists.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More US Students at Cuba Med School


"We are bringing young people who couldn’t fulfill their dreams in the United States," said Rev. Lucius Walker, as he accompanied a new group of US students to the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Havana.
ELAM began primarily as a center to train doctors from the Central American countries hit by hurricane Mitch in 1998. Soon after, it expanded to accept low-income students from around Latin America and more recently has also given underprivileged young people from the United States the opportunity to study medicine.
Rev. Walker said that the new students are themselves victims of "the values in our country" that turns medicine into a commercial product and of a deficient public health system. He noted that these young people haven’t lost their dreams and now can continuing dreaming thanks to Cuba.
"We have a marvelous task through Pastors for Peace —which each year sponsors a caravan to Cuba in defiance of the US blockade against the island—, but we have never been part of a project that brings so much joy as the Latin American School of Medicine, said Walker.
After expressing his gratitude for all that Cuba does, Walker asked that Fidel Castro be told "the immense appreciation we feel for him, for his ideas, and also reiterate to him our commitment to continue working together for this project."
The new US students, seven women and six men, were welcomed by ELAM President Dr. Juan D. Carrizo Estevez. With this new group, a total of 88 young people from the US are now studying medicine in Cuba.