Friday, May 26, 2006
Miracles You Can Touch
People are learning to read and write in dozens of countries in their own languages thanks to a Cuban method named "I can do it". For that the island has received recognition from UNESCO and, most of all, from people who have benefited from literacy campaigns which have extended the fame of Cuban teachers from Central America to New Zealand.
That is hardly all that Cuba is doing to make this a better world. Scientists of the island have made great advances in finding cures for head and neck cancers with monoclonal agents that are now undergoing clinical tests in Germany, Italy, Canada, China and India. In particular, the HR-3 is a product now patented and sold in Colombia, Argentina and Brazil.
Nothing material ties Cuban intelligentsia. Their personal pride and joy is to help other peoples besides their own countrymen, make their mark for generations to come. Being a country poor in energy and other natural resources, the Cuban government dedicated all its efforts to develop the country´s human resources and the love for all those who suffer over the world.
The big media does not care very much to reveal that face of Cuban reality. On the contrary, they find it more interesting to highlight if President Fidel Castro has so much money in bank accounts abroad. Coming from a landtenant family, Fidel and his brother Raul renounced their relatives´ wealth to fight for that which they thought was right. His modesty and austere lifestyle are proverbial. People would not have it otherwise, he has been an example in their strive to resist aggression, economic blockade and discredit campaigns.
Like a Cuban song goes, we don´t have a perfect society but try to improve our quality of life each day. Life expectancy is almost reaching 80 years, while infant mortality is below 6, health indicators similar or higher than those of many developed nations.
Our greatest wealth is passing on to other peoples what little knowledge we have or, when necessary, helping them rid themselves from something so denigrating as the apartheid regime.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Three for a Real Integration Alternative
The Free Trade Agreement for the Americas (FTAA) led by the United States is on life support. The wolf showed its large ears and voracious appetite and peoples in the region were fooled no longer. There is the good example of Mexico, whose agriculture was overrun in the last 10 years by subsidized American products.
A country full of natural resources is being sucked out of its riches. That is the reason for so many marches and protests all over the region, millions of people against ALCA (FTAA in Spanish).
The word of order now is ALBA -Alternativa Bolivariana para America Latina y el Caribe as it is known in Spanish- proposed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Already formed by Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba, ALBA has showed it works and short-term too.
Venezuela boasts today practically no illiteracy, universal medical attention, low unemployment rate, more profits from the oil industry to develop social programs, among other benefits of a socialism-oriented government.
Cuba has grown at unprecedented rates over the last two years, while participating in multinational entities like PetroCaribe to alleviate the energy bill of the region and in medical programs like Operation Miracle that has given back their sight to over a hundred thousand patients in a little more than a year, besides the literacy campaigns in Venezuela, Bolivia and a dozen other countries.
Now Bolivia will begin to profit from cooperation under ALBA and from the nationalization of its oil and gas industries.
The road to development is not free from obstacles. Domestic right-wing sectors favoring Washington´s interference, corporations hit by nationalist policies and the wide assortment of obstacles put forward by US policy are more than enough. But the desire to build a better world for these peoples will lead the way forward.