Cuba

An Open Letter to David Anderson, MP for Cypress Hills-Grasslands

Dear David Anderson,

I am writing to express my disgust with your false and outright disgraceful polemic in the House of Commons recently about the death of Fidel Castro and the revolutionary government of Cuba.

I’d like to respond to some of your criticisms of Castro and of the Cuban “communist regime.”

Quoting an unnamed ‘Cuban friend’ of yours you claim that Cuban healthcare, far from being the ‘model of the world’ like that pesky organization called the United Nations says it is, is unable to provide the most basic services. According to this ‘friend’, Cuban hospitals don’t even have any aspirin!

Did it ever occur to you or this ‘friend’ that Cuba’s economic difficulties could be attributed to the U.S. embargo on this small island nation rather than being indicative of the failure of the Cuban social system? U.S. policy towards Cuba has always been to make life as unbearable as possible since the overthrow of Batista, the ‘good dictator’. Does Operation Northwoods or the Bay of Pigs Invasion sound familiar to you? Those operations certainly were in no way intended to benefit the masses of Cuban people. According to a 1997 report by the American Association for World Health, the 54-year-old U.S. embargo “has dramatically harmed the health and nutrition of large numbers of ordinary Cuban citizens,” causing “a significant rise in suffering-and even deaths-in Cuba.” The same reported applauded the Cuban government for averting a “humanitarian catastrophe” by maintaining “a high level of budgetary support for a health care system designed to deliver primary and preventive health care to all of its citizens.” I have included the link here to that report for you to share to your ‘friend’ and for you to read for yourself.

Your ‘friend’ claims that Cuban hospitals lack the most basic medicines and medical supplies, and this you use as evidence of the failure of Cuba’s healthcare system. Yet, despite the Cuban healthcare system’s apparent inability to provide its people with such basic medicines like aspirin, Cuba has managed to achieve a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S, the richest country in the world! Quite an impressive achievement for a country lacking painkillers, wouldn’t you say? A case could be made that if Cuba’s healthcare system is as you and your ‘friend’ describe and it has nevertheless achieved a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S., then this is indicative of the failure of the U.S. healthcare system, which by the way your Party and its former leader Stephen Harper enthusiastically support, not the Cuban.

Your criticisms of Cuba’s human rights record and lack of Western-style democracy are about as laughable as yours criticisms of Cuba’s healthcare system. With all do respect, you are far from being qualified to lecture the Cuban government about democracy and human rights! Let me remind you of the democratic and human rights achievements of the former Harper government, which you so dutifully served in as the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Foreign Affairs:

  • First government in the whole Commonwealth to be found in contempt of Parliament.
  • Largest mass arrests in Canadian history.
  • Passed the most repressive security legislation. A Canadian citizen can now be arrested on the mere suspicion of future dangerousness!
  • Your government cozied up to apartheid Israel. Regardless of what you might think of Cuba’s human rights record, in no universe has Cuba committed a fraction of the heinous crimes the Israelis have committed against the whole Palestinian nation. Nobody, not even you with your flawed and distorted logic, can accuse the Cubans of genocide.
  • Your government systematically undermined Indigenous rights, medicare, environmental protection, democratic debate, and the right to collective bargaining.
  • Your government formed a majority government with 38% of the popular vote! On what planet is that a democracy? The Foreign Minister you served couldn’t even provide an answer to a Jordanian reporter that asked how a government could hold all the power with 38% of the popular vote?

With a record like this you are hardly in any position to be criticizing the Cuban political system.

As for Cuba’s human rights, are you aware that at no time under the rule of the man you called a “tyrant,” Fidel Castro, was Cuba’s incarceration rate as high as that in the U.S.? Neither has Cuba, unlike the U.S. and Canada, been bombing other countries back to the stone age and torturing people abroad in U.S.-run torture camps. There wasn’t a war in the world your government didn’t like, and your government aided and abetted the illegal incarceration and torture of one of its own citizens. Finally the United Nations slammed your government for “increasingly serious violations of civil and political rights in Canada.” Among these “violations of civil and political rights” were your government’s refusal to take action on the 1, 200 missing and murdered Aboriginal women, repressive security legislation, and the use CRA audits to shut down charities not in line with your government’s ideology among many other serious violations.

I hope that you do some research and fact-checking next time before you decide to fulminate in the House of Commons.

Best Regards,

T.J.

Cuba Reports Lower Child Mortality Rate than US and Canada

For the sixth year in a row, Cuba has reported success in reducing its child mortality rate, reporting five deaths for every 1,000 births, according to local media Wednesday.

The numbers come from a new report released by the Cuban health department, noting this year’s results of the Mother-Child Program.

The program has proved successful because of the Medical Genetic program, which since 1983 has been revamped and improved, as well as the country’s Immunization program, which distributes 11 different vaccines to children for 13 preventable diseases.

Health officials say this is the sixth year in a row that Cuba has seen under 5 deaths per 1,000 births, a number that ranks lower than both Canada and the United States, say officials.

“This has contributed to the fact that, for several years now, the Caribbean nation exhibits an infant mortality rate below five, lower than the one of developed countries like the United States and Canada,” said the Cuban News Agency Granma.

According to statistics by the World Health Organization in 2013, the United States stood at 5.2 child deaths per 1,000 births and Canada stood at 4.78.

The Cuban Health Ministry also reported that for the fourth year in a row more than 1 million surgeries were performed throughout the country, and some 7,000 Cubans were beneficiaries of complex treatments such as cell therapy in regenerative medicine, orthopedic disorders, angiology, orthopedics and dentistry.

Cuba’s public health care system is focused on preventative medicine and is renowned worldwide for its excellence and efficiency.

Source: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Cuba-Reports-Lower-Child-Mortality-Rate-than-US-and-Canada-20151224-0012.html

Nuclear Weapons and Climate Change Biggest Challenges for Humanity

From the Communist Party of Finland

Nuclear weapons, along with climate change, now constitute the biggest challenges facing humanity.

The mere existence of nuclear arms is a threat against humanity. The use of a tiny part of the over 16,000 existing nuclear weapons, of which 4,000 are operational, would have catastrophic consequences for our planet.

The idea of “nuclear deterrence” as the basis for unsustainable and unacceptable military doctrines must be definitely abandoned; far from contributing to nuclear disarmament, they stimulate the perpetual possession of those weapons.

The use of nuclear weapons implies the flagrant violation of international standards related to the prevention of genocide and protection of the environment. My country, Cuba, maintains that the use of nuclear weapons is illegal, immoral and cannot be justified under any security concept or doctrine.

It is unacceptable that in today’s world more is being spent on measures to wage war than on promoting development. Just to give an example, in 2013 the astronomical figure of 1.75 billion dollars in global military spending was reached.  A great part of that money being dedicated today to maintaining and modernizing nuclear arsenals should be used to benefit humankind, to promote the economic and social development of countries, to definitely eradicate poverty and to provide a decent life for all human beings without exception.

Many International Conferences have contributed to a greater international understanding about the serious risks and catastrophic humanitarian consequences associated with the existence of nuclear arms. But that is not enough, nor can it be the final objective.

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