Reflections of Fidel
OUR era is characterized by an unprecedented fact: the threat to human survival imposed on the world by imperialism.
The painful reality should not come as a surprise to anybody. We have seen it coming at an accelerated pace in recent decades, at a rate difficult to imagine.
Does this mean that Obama is responsible for or the promoter of that threat? No! It simply demonstrates that he is ignoring reality and neither wants to or would to able to overcome it. Or rather, he is dreaming of the unreal in an unreal world. "Ideas without words, words without meaning," as a brilliant poet once stated.
Although the U.S. writer Gay Talese, considered to be one of the principal representatives of the new journalism, affirmed on May 5 – according to a European news agency – that Barack Obama embodies the finest history of the United States in the last century, an opinion that could be shared in certain aspects, in no way does that alter the objective reality of the human destiny.
Events are happening, like the ecological disaster that has just occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, which demonstrate how little governments can do against those who control capital; those who, in both the United States and Europe, via the economy of our globalized planet, are the ones who decide the destiny of the peoples. We could take as one example measures coming from the U.S. Congress itself, published in the most influential media of that country and Europe, just as they have been circulated on Internet, without altering one word.
"Radio and TV Martí blatantly lie while broadcasting unfounded information, states a report by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which recommends that both stations be permanently moved from Miami and relocated in Washington and be ‘fully’ integrated into the propaganda framework of Voice of America (VOA).
"Besides deceiving the public… both broadcasting stations use ‘offensive and incendiary language,’ which discredits them.
"After 18 years, Radio and TV Martí have failed to ‘make any discernable inroads into Cuban society or to influence the Cuban government…’
"The report, which was circulated this Monday [May 3], recommends that the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) become part of VOA, the official propaganda radio of the U.S. government.
"’Problems with adherence to traditional journalistic standards, miniscule audience size, Cuban government jamming, and allegations of cronyism have dogged the program since its creation,’" recognized the committee, headed by Democrat John Kerry."
"The committee recommends urgently removing both stations from Miami, highlighting the need to hire personnel in a more balanced way to produce a ‘depoliticized and professional product.’
"In the report, Kerry makes reference to Alberto Mascaró, the nephew of Pedro Roig’s wife—Roig is the general director of Radio and TV Marti—who was hired as the director of VOA Latin America thanks to his relative.
"The document reports in detail how, in February 2007, the former director of the TV Marti programs, "along with a relative of a member of Congress" (who was not named), pleaded guilty in the Federal Court to receiving $112,000 in illegal kickbacks from an OCB contractor. "The former OCB employee was sentenced to 27 months in jail and fined $5,000 after being found guilty for taking as much as 50% of all monies paid by TV Martí for the production of television programming by vendor Perfect Image."
Up to here, the Jean Guy Allard article that appeared on the Telesur website.
Another article, by U.S. professors Paul Drain and Michele Barry, from Stanford University (California), translated on the Rebelión website, states:
"The US blockade on Cuba proclaimed after Fidel Castro’s revolution ousted Batista’s regime is 50 years old this 2010. Its stated objective has been to help the Cuban people to attain democracy but a U.S. Senate report from 2009 concluded that ‘the unilateral blockade on Cuba has failed.’
"…despite the blockade, Cuba has achieved better healthcare results than most Latin American countries and comparable with those of most of the developed nations. Cuba’s average life expectancy is the highest (78.6 years) and it also has the highest density of medical doctors per capita – 59 doctors to 10,000 people – and the lowest mortality rate for children under one year of age (5.0 per 1,000 life births) and infant mortality (7.0 per 1,000 live births) among the 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
"In 2006, the Cuban government allocated about $355 per capita for healthcare" … "The annual healthcare cost assigned to an American citizen that same year was $6,714… Cuba also assigned less funds to healthcare than most of the European countries. But, the low costs of healthcare do not explain Cuba’s successes, which could be attributed to a greater emphasis on prevention and primary care that the island has been cultivating during the American commercial blockade.
"Cuba has one of the most advanced primary care systems of the world. The education of its population in disease prevention and healthcare promotion has made the Cubans less dependent on medical products to keep the population healthy. The opposite happens in the United States, which is highly dependent on medical provisions and technologies to keep its population healthy, but at a very high economic cost.
"Cuba has the highest rates of vaccination in the world as well as the highest number of births assisted by expert healthcare workers. The clinical care provided in doctors’ offices, policlinics and the largest regional and national hospitals are free of charge for patients…
"On March 2010, the U.S. Congress introduced a bill to strengthen healthcare systems and increase the number of healthcare experts sent to developing countries… "Cuba continues sending doctors to work in some of the poorest nations on the planet, something it started doing in 1961.
"Given the recent support for healthcare reform in the United States, the possibility exists of learning some good lessons from Cuba on how to develop a really universal healthcare system with an emphasis on primary care. The adoption of some of Cuba’s most successful healthcare policies could be a first step toward the normalization of relations. The U.S. Congress could instruct the Medicine Institute to study the successes of Cuba’s healthcare system and how to start a new era of cooperation between American and Cuban scientists."
For its part, the Tribuna Latina news website recently published an article on the new Immigration Law in Arizona:
"According to a survey published by the CBS network and The New York Times, 51% consider that the law is an appropriate focus in relation to immigration, while 9% consider that it should go even further on this matter. Opposing them, 36% think that Arizona has gone ‘too far.’"
"…two out of every three Republicans are backing the measure"… "while just 38% of Democrats say that they are in favor of the law…"
"On the other hand, one out of every two recognizes that, as a consequence of this regulation, it is ‘highly probable that persons from certain racial or ethnic groups will be detained more frequently than others,’ and 78% recognize that it will pose more burdens for the police.
"At the same time, 70% consider it probable, as a consequence of this measure, that the number of illegal residents and the arrival of new immigrants in the country will be reduced…’"
On Tuesday, May 6, 2010, under the headline "Arizona: a pretentious death from hunger," an article by journalist Vicky Peláez was published in Argenpress, which begins by recalling a phrase by Franklin D. Roosevelt: "Remember, always remember, that we are all descendants of immigrants and revolutionaries."
It is such a well-argued document that I do not wish to conclude this Reflection without including it.
"The huge marches of this May Day condemning the pernicious anti-immigration law passed in Arizona, have shaken all of the United States. At the same time, thousands of Americans, politicians, jurists, artists, organizations, civil organizations demanded that the federal government declare unconstitutional Law SB170, which resembles laws passed in Nazi Germany or South Africa in the apartheid period.
"However, despite fierce pressure against the pernicious law, neither their government nor 70% of the inhabitants of that state wish to accept the gravity of the situation that they have created in order to blame undocumented immigrants for the severe economic crisis that they are experiencing. Meanwhile, they are asking Barack Obama for money to pay 15,000 police; they are radicalizing their racist policies. Governor Jan Brewer stated that ‘illegal immigration implies rising crime and the emergence of terrorism in the state.’
"Placing undocumented immigrants on the same plane as terrorists authorizes the police to fire on people simply on the basis of the color of their skin, their clothing, what they are carrying in their hands or even their way of walking. Without any doubt, this will also affect the 280,000 Native Americans who live marginalized and in extreme poverty, as well as other minorities in addition to Hispanics, who have found refuge and work in this arid zone of the United States.
"Following the line of Republican Pat Buchanan, who says, ‘The United States must make a stronger crusade for America’s liberation from the barbarian hordes of hungry foreigners carrying exotic diseases,’ after hitting out at undocumented day laborers, construction workers, domestic employees, gardeners and cleaners, Governor Brewer has now directed her campaign against teachers of Hispanic origin.
"According to her new decree, teachers with a marked accent will not be able to teach in schools. But her crusade does not end there because, in all historical periods, ‘ethnic cleansing’ has always been accompanied by ideology. From now on, ‘ethnic studies and projects’ are abolished in schools. They are also banning the teaching of subjects that could promote resentment of a certain race or social class. This implies politicizing knowledge, converting myths created by the U.S. system into a reality. It also signifies exhuming the most respected thinkers in the United States such as Alexis de Tocqueville who, in 1835, said that ‘the place where an Anglo-American sets his boot is forever his. The province of Texas still belongs to Mexicans but soon there will not be one Mexican there. And that will happen anywhere.
"The sole consciousness of racists is hatred and the only weapon that can overcome it is the solidarity of human beings. This state was already defeated when it refused to make Martin Luther King Day a public holiday; the boycott was solid and overwhelming…"
Fidel Castro Ruz
May 7, 2010
Translated by Granma International