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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:05 PM
Original message
Cuba: Before and After the 1959 Revolution
Edited on Sun Dec-14-08 11:06 PM by Mika
Seeing that the 50 year anniversary of the Cuban Revolution is upcoming, there will be an onslaught of dis-info and anti Cuba propaganda propelled at us, so I thought a little background info would be helpful.

Before the 1959 revolution

  • 75% of rural dwellings were huts made from palm trees.
  • More than 50% had no toilets of any kind.
  • 85% had no inside running water.
  • 91% had no electricity.
  • There was only 1 doctor per 2,000 people in rural areas.
  • More than one-third of the rural population had intestinal parasites.
  • Only 4% of Cuban peasants ate meat regularly; only 1% ate fish, less than 2% eggs, 3% bread, 11% milk; none ate green vegetables.
  • The average annual income among peasants was $91 (1956), less than 1/3 of the national income per person.
  • 45% of the rural population was illiterate; 44% had never attended a school.
  • 25% of the labor force was chronically unemployed.
  • 1 million people were illiterate ( in a population of about 5.5 million).
  • 27% of urban children, not to speak of 61% of rural children, were not attending school.
  • Racial discrimination was widespread.
  • The public school system had deteriorated badly.
  • Corruption was endemic; anyone could be bought, from a Supreme Court judge to a cop.
  • Police brutality and torture were common.

    ___



    After the 1959 revolution
    It is in some sense almost an anti-model, according to Eric Swanson, the programme manager for the Banks Development Data Group, which compiled the WDI, a tome of almost 400 pages covering scores of economic, social, and environmental indicators.

    Indeed, Cuba is living proof in many ways that the Banks dictum that economic growth is a pre-condition for improving the lives of the poor is over-stated, if not, downright wrong.

    -

    It has reduced its infant mortality rate from 11 per 1,000 births in 1990 to seven in 1999, which places it firmly in the ranks of the western industrialised nations. It now stands at six, according to Jo Ritzen, the Banks Vice President for Development Policy, who visited Cuba privately several months ago to see for himself.

    By comparison, the infant mortality rate for Argentina stood at 18 in 1999;

    Chiles was down to ten; and Costa Rica, at 12. For the entire Latin American and Caribbean region as a whole, the average was 30 in 1999.

    Similarly, the mortality rate for children under the age of five in Cuba has fallen from 13 to eight per thousand over the decade. That figure is 50% lower than the rate in Chile, the Latin American country closest to Cubas achievement. For the region as a whole, the average was 38 in 1999.

    Six for every 1,000 in infant mortality - the same level as Spain - is just unbelievable, according to Ritzen, a former education minister in the Netherlands. You observe it, and so you see that Cuba has done exceedingly well in the human development area.

    Indeed, in Ritzens own field, the figures tell much the same story. Net primary enrolment for both girls and boys reached 100% in 1997, up from 92% in 1990. That was as high as most developed nations - higher even than the US rate and well above 80-90% rates achieved by the most advanced Latin American countries.

    Even in education performance, Cubas is very much in tune with the developed world, and much higher than schools in, say, Argentina, Brazil, or Chile.

    It is no wonder, in some ways. Public spending on education in Cuba amounts to about 6.7% of gross national income, twice the proportion in other Latin American and Caribbean countries and even Singapore.

    There were 12 primary school pupils for every Cuban teacher in 1997, a ratio that ranked with Sweden, rather than any other developing country. The Latin American and East Asian average was twice as high at 25 to one.

    The average youth (age 15-24) illiteracy rate in Latin America and the Caribbean stands at 7%. In Cuba, the rate is zero. In Latin America, where the average is 7%, only Uruguay approaches that achievement, with one percent youth illiteracy.

    Cuba managed to reduce illiteracy from 40% to zero within ten years, said Ritzen. If Cuba shows that it is possible, it shifts the burden of proof to those who say its not possible.

    Similarly, Cuba devoted 9.1% of its gross domestic product (GDP) during the 1990s to health care, roughly equivalent to Canadas rate. Its ratio of 5.3 doctors per 1,000 people was the highest in the world.

    The question that these statistics pose, of course, is whether the Cuban experience can be replicated. The answer given here is probably not.

    What does it, is the incredible dedication, according to Wayne Smith, who was head of the US Interests Section in Havana in the late 1970s and early 1980s and has travelled to the island many times since.



    No one can say with any credibility that universal education and universal health care needs to be forced on any population. Castro didn't give it to them either. Together, nearly all Cubans worked hard to create the infrastructure and systems that they felt were essential for any progressive system.

    The Cuban people wanted universal health care for all Cubans, and they have it. They pushed for government that represented their ideals, and organized and formed infrastructure that enabled Cubans to create a fair and complete h-c system.

    The people of Cuba wanted universal education for all Cubans, and they have it. They pushed for government that represented their ideals, organized and formed infrastructure that enabled Cubans to create a complete and world class ed system, and they have it.

    Cubans want to assist the world's poor with doctors and educators, instead of gun ship diplomacy.. and that is what they have done WITH their government, not at odds with their government.

    Can Americans make this claim about their own country? I'm afraid not.


    Cubans want normalization between the US and Cuba, and they have thrown their doors open to us, but, it is our US government that prevents what the majority of Americans want their government to do - normalize relations. Worse yet, the US government forbids and has criminalized travel to Cuba by Americans - something that Cuba hasn't done.



    Viva Cuba!

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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:10 PM
    Response to Original message
    1. The system in Cuba is based upon universal adult suffrage for all those aged 16 and over.
    http://www.poptel.org.uk/cuba-solidarity/democracy.htm
    This system in Cuba is based upon universal adult suffrage for all those aged 16 and over. Nobody is excluded from voting, except convicted criminals or those who have left the country. Voter turnouts have usually been in the region of 95% of those eligible .

    There are direct elections to municipal, provincial and national assemblies, the latter represent Cuba's parliament.

    Electoral candidates are not chosen by small committees of political parties. No political party, including the Communist Party, is permitted to nominate or campaign for any given candidates.



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    Doctor Cynic Donating Member (965 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:47 AM
    Response to Reply #1
    40. Yes, everyone 16 and over have the right to suffer. No one ever doubted that.
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    liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 10:50 AM
    Response to Reply #1
    55. What the hell good does that do when they
    do not have free and fair elections and when they're forced to accept Fidel and now Raul or else? Jesus Christ, get real.
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    Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 11:15 AM
    Response to Reply #55
    57. There are DU'ers who have been in Cuba during their voting seasons.
    They haven't seemed to share your view, since they only have their own personal experience to go on. They've written about their observations here for years.

    You seem to be unacquainted with their voting system altogether, unfortunately, yet you've got a loud personal opinion of it, leading you to revile and mock others for their opinions. In this case, some of the opinions you're mocking are connected to people who have been to Cuba many times.
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:13 PM
    Response to Original message
    2. Fidel Castro was president of Cuba from 1976 - 2006
    http://www.bartleby.com/65/do/Dorticos.html

    Dortics Torrado, Osvaldo
    191983, president of Cuba (195976). A prosperous lawyer, he participated in Fidel Castros revolutionary movement and was imprisoned (1958). He escaped and fled to Mexico, returning to Cuba after Castros triumph (1959). As minister of laws (1959) he helped to formulate Cuban policies. He was appointed president in 1959. Intelligent and competent, he wielded considerable influence. In 1976 the Cuban government was reorganized, and Castro assumed the title of president; Dortics was named a member of the council of state.



    Raul Castro named Cuban president
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7261204.stm


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    Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:15 PM
    Original message
    Except for the hurricanes, I'd live there. n/t
    :kick: & R


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    liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 10:49 AM
    Response to Original message
    54. Really? Because you wouldn't be able to
    dissent against the government and you sure as shit wouldn't be able to vote for your leaders. I don't recall the public being able to vote for Fidel for the forty-seven years he was in control and I don't recall the public being able to vote on Raul as his successor. And most human rights groups give it a very low grade in terms of how they handle political dissenters and protestors. Why do you think so many people risk their lives every year just to come here?

    It's amazing to me that a democratic site such as this that rightfully leads the charge against American vote fraud and gets the word out about stolen elections is always fawning over Cuba.
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    Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:03 PM
    Response to Reply #54
    58. LOL!
    :rofl:
    You mean if someone were to object to something a "leader" was saying, he might be tazed or beaten and arrested, possibly tortured, and charged with a number of crimes and imprisoned? Even disappeared? They do things like lock up protesters away from sight, suppress their message, throw them in jail with no charge and deny them access to counsel?

    I've never had a chance to vote for any "leaders" in my life, only to decide between which flavor of corporate product I find less distasteful, neither of which is going to do anything for me. The temporary right to pretend to vote in a blatantly corrupt "election" system in exchange for some measure of social justice doesn't look so bad at this point.

    Exchange my "freedom" for education, health care, and sharing the poverty I already have, in a tropical paradise?


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    leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-19-08 01:37 PM
    Response to Reply #58
    143. you forgot an important one
    big brother everywhere spying on us, wiretaping peace groups including the Quakers, you know, all of those terror suspects. And you see how many have been tried and convicted since our reps we voted for rescinded all of our rights in a so called "Patriot Act". No Habeas Corpus.

    I would love to move to Cuba at this point in this farce of a democracy. Cuba has much more to be proud of than the killing and Pillage around the world the US is best known for.

    Methinks someone has had some corporate kool aide.
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 06:06 PM
    Response to Reply #54
    66. You don't recall?
    Edited on Mon Dec-15-08 06:06 PM by Mika
    So, you've lived in (or visited) Cuba? Please do tell us about it.

    Also, maybe you should read this thread, because most all of your questions have been answered here prior to your somewhat feverish post.


    "It's amazing to me that a democratic site such as this that rightfully leads the charge against American vote fraud and gets the word out about stolen elections is always fawning over Cuba."

    This might be among the most ridiculous post quotes here. :rofl:



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    tsuki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-24-08 08:14 AM
    Response to Reply #54
    154. What would they do, round you up like they did in St. Paul? nt
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    John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-24-08 10:22 AM
    Response to Reply #54
    157. Just out of curiousity, when was the last time you were in Cuba? Thanks!
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    Billy Burnett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 12:04 AM
    Response to Original message
    81. Probably the safest place for riding out a hurricane is Cuba.
    See post #27 in this thread --> here.




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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:15 PM
    Response to Original message
    3. The Cuban government was reorganized into a variant parliamentary system in 1976
    The Cuban government was reorganized (approved by popular vote) into a variant parliamentary system in 1976.

    You can read a short version of the Cuban system here,
    http://members.allstream.net/~dchris/CubaFAQDemocracy.h...

    Or a long and detailed version here,

    Democracy in Cuba and the 1997-98 Elections
    Arnold August
    1999
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/096850840...



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    jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:26 PM
    Response to Reply #3
    10. It is important to remember that democracy is the form of government
    you live under while capitalism and communism are the economic system. Either economic system can exist in a democracy.
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    Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:15 PM
    Response to Original message
    4. Cuba seems to get a bad wrap
    something about imprisoning people, and not liking free speech...

    at least economically they're doing well.
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:20 PM
    Response to Reply #4
    7. Every time I've been there people had no problem speaking freely.
    And that includes criticism of the the government.

    My experience in Cuba totals several years, including an entire election cycle.

    Yours?



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    Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:23 PM
    Response to Reply #7
    8. Then why for years did Cuba have the highest incarceration rate
    per capita? Just asking
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:27 PM
    Response to Reply #8
    11. Higher than China and the USA? Sez who?
    Edited on Sun Dec-14-08 11:31 PM by Mika
    Keep in mind that HRW and AI get their reports about Cuba from USAID USNED funded, Miami based, exile operated Cubanet "independent journalists", not from their own research.


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    Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:30 PM
    Response to Reply #11
    12. True, but isn't it hard to believe a communist government about detainees?
    Especially seditious crimes?
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    IMPERIUM V Donating Member (42 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:32 PM
    Response to Reply #12
    13. No harder than to believe foreign-funded NGOs and Cuban exiles...
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    Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:44 PM
    Response to Reply #13
    19. The people were running from something, right?
    Obviously there is corruption everywhere, not trying to say Cuba is still run by mobsters or anything, appreciate the dialogue
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:48 PM
    Response to Reply #19
    22. No. They're running to better wages, just like the other democracies in the Latin Americas.
    Edited on Sun Dec-14-08 11:48 PM by Mika
    Cubans are granted special immigration perks that are offered to no other immigrant group seeking entry into the US.

    Immigrants come to the US from all over the world - from democratic countries. They come here for opportunities to earn more money than they could back at home. They come to work so that they can send a little of their earnings back to their relatives. It has little to do with "despotic' regimes, it has more to do with earning power.

    Cuba is a special case though, in that it is the US's Helms-Burton law (and a myriad of other sanctions) that are intended to cripple the Cuban economy. This is the stated goal of the US government, as evidenced by the Bush* admin's latest 'crackdown' on family remittances to Cuba and increased sanctions on the island and US & foreign corporations that seek to do business with Cuba.

    The USA currently offers over 20,000 LEGAL immigration visas per year to Cubans (and Bush has announced that the number would increase despite the fact that not all 20,000 were applied for in the last few years). This number is more than any other single country in the world. The US interests section in Cuba does the required criminal background check on the applicants.

    The US's 'wet foot/ dry foot' policy (that applies to Cubans only) permits all Cubans, including Cuban criminals and felons, who arrive on US shores by illegal means to remain in the US even those having failed to qualify (or even apply) for a legal US immigration application.

    Cubans who leave for the US without a US visa are returned to Cuba (if caught at sea - mainly in smuggler's go-fast boats @ $5,000 per head) by a US/Cuban repatriation agreement. But IF they make it to US soil, no matter who they are or what their criminal backround might be, they get to stay in the US and enjoy perks offered ONLY TO CUBAN IMMIGRANTS (via the US's Cuban Adjustment Act and a variety of other 'Cubans only' perks)

    For Cuban migrants ONLY - including the aforementioned illegal immigrants who are smuggled in as well as those who have failed a US background check for a legal visa who make it here by whatever means - the US's Cuban Adjustment Act instantly allows any and all Cuban migrants who touch US shore (no matter how) instant entry, instant work visa, instant green card status, instant social security, instant access to welfare, instant access to section 8 assisted housing (with a $41,000 income exemption for Cuban expats only), instant food stamps, plus more. IOW, extra special enhanced social programs designed to entice Cuban expatriation to Miami/USA.

    Despite these programs designed to offer a 'carrot on a stick' to Cubans only, the Cubaphobe rhetoric loop repeats the question "why do Cubans come to the US then?".

    First the US forces economic deprivation on Cubans, then open our doors to any and all Cubans illegal or not, and then offer them a plethora of immigration perks and housing perks not even available to native born Americans.

    But yet, more immigrants come from Mexico and the Latin Americas than do Cubans, and they have no such "Adjustment Act" like Cubans do. But they still pour in.

    Plus, Cuban immigrants can hop on a plane from Miami to Havana and travel right back to the Cuba that they "escaped" from for family trips and vacations - by the hundred of thousands annually (until Bush's recent one visit every 3 yrs restrictions on Cuban expats living in the US).

    Recognizing the immorality of forced starvation and forced economic deprivation is a good reason to drop the US embargo on Cuba, the US Cuban Adjustment Act, and the US travel sanctions placed on US citizens and residents. Then the Cuban tourism economy (its #1 sector) would be able to expand even faster, thereby increasing the average wage and quality of life in Cuba. It would make products, goods, and services even more accessible to both Cubans and Americans. It would reduce the economic based immigration flow from Cuba. And it would restore our own constitutional right to travel unfettered to see Cuba for ourselves.




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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:35 PM
    Response to Reply #12
    15. THE CUBAN PRISON SYSTEM
    LESSONS FROM OUR NEIGHBORS TO THE SOUTH:
    THE CUBAN PRISON SYSTEM - REFLECTIVE OBSERVATIONS
    http://afrocubaweb.com/elijah.htm
    by Prof. Soffiyah Elijah
    Clinical Instructor
    Criminal Justice Institute
    Harvard Law School


    Since the island nation of Cuba experienced its successful revolution in 1959 its prison system has been evolving. Despite accusations of harsh human rights abuses from its neighbors to the North, Cuba today maintains a prison system that is in many respects far more humane than Western propaganda would have the uninformed public believe.

    My study of the Cuban prison system began in 1987 when I first visited the country to attend a conference co-sponsored by the American Association of Jurists and the Cuban Association of Jurists. I was pleasantly surprised during the trip when the opportunity arose to visit a men's prison. A group of conference attendees traveled by bus to the prison and when we arrived we were not searched and our belongings were not checked. We did not sign in or out. Nobody asked to check our identification. Having visited numerous prisons in the U.S. I have never entered any of them without a thorough search of my person and my belongings. Government issued photo identification is always required.

    Although we were given a tour of the prison we were free to wander off and talk with the prisoners unmonitored. We walked all around the facility and were allowed to go into cells, work areas, the cafeteria, hospital, classrooms, recreation area and any other space we chose. This we were allowed to do unaccompanied. The prisoners wore street clothing.

    Although one might think that this must have been a minimum or medium security prison, there are no such institutional classifications. Prison institutions are not characterized by security level. Rather prisoners of varying security levels are all housed in the same facility. The four levels of security classification for prisoners are maximum, high, moderate and minimum. The distinction in their security classification is borne out in the frequency with which they are allowed family and conjugal visits, mail, phone privileges and furlough availability. All prisoners, regardless of security level, are afforded at least four family and conjugal visits a year. Prisoners with the lowest security classifications are afforded more frequent family and conjugal visits than higher security classified prisoners.

    Needless to say I was a bit taken aback at this very different approach. For the next thirteen years I built on this experience and conducted further research on the Cuban prison system.

    In 1988 I returned to Cuba to attend the International Womens Conference hosted by the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC). Another opportunity arose to visit a prison, this time it was a womens facility. My impressions were very similar to those I had when I visited the mens facility. In a nutshell, the Cuban system still impressed me as being more humane than what I had observed in the United States.

    Prisoners in Cuba are incarcerated in the province in which they live. A province is the geographic equivalent to a county as we know it in the United States. This is done to facilitate regular contact between prisoners and their families. This contact is seen as an integral part of the prisoners rehabilitation. Families are incorporated through joint counseling into the rehabilitation process. Each prison is staffed with professionals who are trained to assist the family and the prisoner plan for his or her re-entry into the community. The focus is on rehabilitation as opposed to retribution and punishment.

    Prisoners or their families may request conditional liberty passes. These are similar to furloughs and are granted to allow the prisoner to tend to his or a family members health. The furlough time is counted as part of the sentence.

    Prisoners are not obligated to work. Work is considered a right of the prisoner so that he can earn an income. Prisoners are allowed to work in the same sort of employment as they held prior to their incarceration if it is available at the facility where they are being held. They are compensated for their labor at the same wage that free workers are compensated. They are not charged room and board no matter how much they earn. Similarly, they do not have to pay for their education, medical, dental or hospital care or any other activities they experience. Social security benefits and pensions are available to all prison laborers. In the event of a prisoners death, his family will receive his pension. A portion of the prisoners earnings is sent to his family. Even if a prisoner does not work, his family will be cared for by the State.

    Once a prisoner has served at least half of his sentence he can request a conditional release if he is a first offender. A positive conduct record is the primary factor considered in granting the request for relief. The request for conditional release is made to the sentencing tribunal. The district attorney is given an opportunity to be heard with respect to the request. All prisoners are released after serving two thirds of their sentences.

    In 1997 the availability of alternatives to incarceration was expanded to cover all defendants sentenced to up to five years incarceration. Previously these alternatives were only available to defendants sentenced to up to three years. The expansion of the availability of alternatives to incarceration to all defendants facing up to five years incarceration covered almost 95% of Cubas prisoners. The recidivism rate for those prisoners released pursuant to the use of alternatives to incarceration is less than 15%. These alternatives include a form of probation, conditional release (similar to parole) and suspended sentences.

    The conditional release program is very interesting. The defendant lives for twelve days in a residence located near a farm or industrial center. He works at the farm or industrial center during these twelve days. Then he has three days off where he can leave the residence and go home to his family. On the fourth day, the defendant returns to the work site and the residence. The defendant works side by side with non-incarcerated workers who are not informed of his status. He is paid the same wage as his co-workers and is afforded the same benefits and privileges. He works the same shifts and wears civilian clothing. Work alternatives can be revoked if the defendant fails to adhere to the rules and conditions of the program. The sentencing tribunal is informed if the defendant fails to meet the conditions and it can decide to return the defendant to prison.

    The goal of the Cuban prison system is to return people to the community as productive contributors as soon as possible. Therefore the focus is not on punishment, but rather on rehabilitation and re-education. Perhaps this goal would be a useful addition to the prison system that has evolved in the United States.

    (c) 2000 by Soffiyah Elijah. May not be reprinted without premission.


    Permission granted directly by author for me to post.


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    Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:47 PM
    Response to Reply #15
    21. Thanks for posting that
    Was unaware of the civility in Cuban prisons.
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:50 PM
    Response to Reply #21
    23. Most Americans seem to be completely unaware of most everything about Cuba.
    That's one reason I wanted to post this thread.

    :hi:


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    Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:53 PM
    Response to Reply #23
    24. One wonders why wages aren't better in Cuba
    If it is such a good place to live, it can't be the threat of natural disasters holding down demand. I live in Florida and that doesn't stop us from having thousands move here weekly... what are your thoughts on that? Is the Cuban economy too agragarian based and not enough high-paying technological or skilled worker based?
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:06 AM
    Response to Reply #24
    29. The US extra territorial sanctions were designed to cripple the Cuban economy.
    Edited on Mon Dec-15-08 12:07 AM by Mika

    Mission almost accomplished.

    Spend a little time researching the extra territorial nature of the US sanctions on Cuba and perhaps you'll gain some more insight on this matter.

    More people pour into the US from other Latin Americas and Caribbean countries than from Cuba, and they have no such thing as a Cuban Adjustment Act.

    See post #22.


    I live in Miami.
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    Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:11 AM
    Response to Reply #29
    30. If its as you say
    That less than 20,000 leave Cuba and head to the US, why is their economy not doing better? Are the ones who do leave better educated, more skilled, or just more lucky? Considering there is free education, even continuing education, why isn't there better jobs there? Does the Cuban government not provide subsidies to scientific research? I understand your post that the US offers many benefits to Cuban ex-patriots, but isn't there a sense of nationalism that would surely make some high-paying jobs stay there?
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:22 AM
    Response to Reply #30
    32. Over 11 million Cubans choose to stay.
    Edited on Mon Dec-15-08 12:22 AM by Mika
    That less than 20,000 leave Cuba and head to the US, why is their economy not doing better?

    The extra territorial sanctions designed to cripple the Cuba economy.


    Are the ones who do leave better educated, more skilled, or just more lucky?

    Yes and no.


    Considering there is free education, even continuing education, why isn't there better jobs there?

    Better, or higher paying?


    Does the Cuban government not provide subsidies to scientific research?

    Yes.


    I understand your post that the US offers many benefits to Cuban ex-patriots, but isn't there a sense of nationalism that would surely make some high-paying jobs stay there?

    Yes. Over 11 million Cubans choose to stay.





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    Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:29 AM
    Response to Reply #32
    33. Well
    by better I would say yes, higher-paying.

    Why isn't Cuba a venture capitalists dream? Does the government restrict private investment that would spur economic growth?
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:47 AM
    Response to Reply #33
    39. Every venture in Cuba is a joint venture with the Cuban government.
    By Cuban law, majority share is possessed by the nation of Cuba. All development of land/property is owned by Cuba. Still, there are joint ventures in Cuba with companies of almost every nation, except the US (prevented by US law).

    Selling off Cuba and exporting jobs and off-shoring profits isn't the primary goal of their economy, unlike corporatism in the US.


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    Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:48 AM
    Response to Reply #39
    41. Slow and steady wins the economic race I suppose
    Thanks for the discussion, get to bed its almost 2am!
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:50 AM
    Response to Reply #41
    42. Indeed.
    Time to call it a day for me too.

    :hi:


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    Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 04:15 PM
    Response to Reply #39
    100. Wow
    Nothing like being free to operate a business without permission from the government... :eyes:
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 06:29 PM
    Response to Reply #100
    101. I own two businesses in the US. Both require a license or I'm in jail.
    Edited on Tue Dec-16-08 06:30 PM by Mika
    I don't know anyone who owns a business here without some federal or state or county or city licensing or permitting required.

    Got any examples of legal businesses that don't?


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    Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-17-08 09:13 AM
    Response to Reply #101
    104. There is a big difference
    ...between government giving you a permit to do business and government being part of a "joint venture" in your business. As a business owner, I would think you'd understand that.
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    treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 11:05 AM
    Response to Reply #100
    147. Isn't that what we complain about here, often, though?
    That the big corporations are quite free to do as they please, regardless of the effect on the workers or the populace.

    We expect the government to come in and bail out failed businesses so those people who work there can keep their jobs, regardless of the market.

    Why wouldn't it be better for the government (representing the people) to own half right out? Then if it fails, it can be dealt with in a more realistic manner and before it becomes a crisis.
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    Billy Burnett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 12:31 PM
    Response to Reply #147
    148. When the economy collapsed in Cuba (the special period) not one Cuban lost their home in foreclosure
    Nor did any lose their health care.


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    Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 03:23 PM
    Response to Reply #30
    91. Why are you so obsessed with all things economic? I thought it was the
    Cubans who were supposed to be the atheist materialists. Consumerism is worse than a dead end.
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    mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 05:26 PM
    Response to Reply #24
    64. two words....
    U.S. embargo
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    Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 04:09 PM
    Response to Reply #24
    128. As of last year (the last time I read up on this), Cuba was the only country on earth
    that didn't submit the maximum number of allowed immigration applications.

    Also, bear in mind that those income measurements are skewed to minimize any "communist" nation's statistics. Can't have the sheeple getting the idea that rapacious theft of other's labor and endless debt might not be the only way to run a country.


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    anaxarchos Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 07:05 PM
    Response to Reply #8
    69. The United States has the world's highest....
    ... incarceration rate. It's entirely different, though. Everyone in jail here is a common criminal while everyone there is a political prisoner.

    And, and...
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    Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 04:01 PM
    Response to Reply #69
    125. Measured by both percentage of population and total numbers.
    But we're the "beacon of freedom" for the world. :eyes:


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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:17 PM
    Response to Original message
    5. Cuban National Assembly in terms of ethnic composition
    Cuban National Assembly in terms of ethnic composition (2003)
    black and mixed race 32.96%
    women 35.96%


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    Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 04:09 PM
    Response to Reply #5
    99. Question
    What percentage of the National Assembly are members of the Communist Party?
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 06:32 PM
    Response to Reply #99
    102. The answer has already been posted in this thread.
    Answer posted earlier in this thread here.

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    Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-17-08 09:21 AM
    Response to Reply #102
    106. Let me ask it a different way
    Is the paragraph below part of the Cuban Constitution?

    ARTICLE 5. The Communist Party of Cuba, a follower of Marts ideas and of Marxism-Leninism, and the organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, is the highest leading force of society and of the state, which organizes and guides the common effort toward the goals of the construction of socialism and the progress toward a communist society,

    Would you be comfortable modifying the US Constitution so that it declared the Democratic Party to be "the highest leading force of society"? I wouldn't.

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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-17-08 05:40 PM
    Response to Reply #106
    109. Did you read the actual constitution in Spanish?
    Edited on Wed Dec-17-08 06:14 PM by Mika
    If so, it would appear that your (or the translator's) Spanish reading comprehension is not quite up to snuff.

    What Article 5 of the Cuban constitution actually says is the following:

    The Communist Party of Cuba, Martiano and Marxist-Leninist, organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, is the superior directing force of society and of the State, which organizes and guides the common efforts toward the high goals of the construction of socialism and the advance toward a communist society.


    Nowhere in this Article does it state that the Communist Party has absolute or perpetual power over the nation and the State. In fact, it only states that the Communist Party is a "guiding" force. Actually, the word "dirigente" should be translated as "directing" or "guiding" as opposed to "governing". I'm guessing you weren't aware of the subtle, yet very important, difference. In addition, if you had bothered to continue reading the constitution, you would have come across the following Articles:

    Article 69 states that the National Assembly, which represents the sovereign will of the people, is the organism of supreme power of the State.
    Article 70 states that the National Assembly is the only organism with constitution and legislative power of the Republic.
    Article 71 states that the National Assembly is composed of officials that are elected by free, direct and secret vote of the electors.
    Article 72 states that the National Assembly is elected for a term of five years.
    Article 73 states that the National Assembly elects from its rank its President, Vice president, and Secretary.
    Article 74 states that the National Assembly elects from its rank the Counsel of State which is composed of a President, a First Vice president, five Vice presidents, a Secretary and 23 members. The President of the State Counsel is the Chief of Staff and the Chief of Government. The State Counsel is responsible to the National Assembly and must account for all of its activities.

    --

    Aside the dissection of the Cuban constitution, it is the Cuban people's constitution. It is their duty to change it if they desire such change. They have the capacity and the democratic processes to do so. Cubans have overwhelmingly affirmed their desire to maintain their socialist state in election after election.

    Wether or not Americans want to do so is of no significance in this discussion.
    If you want to start a thread called America: Before and After the 1776 Revolution, I will be happy to participate in it. :thumbsup:







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    Billy Burnett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 12:56 AM
    Response to Reply #109
    112. I'd like to participate in that thread also.
    Edited on Thu Dec-18-08 12:57 AM by Billy Burnett
    Just think, in a thread "America: Before and After the 1776 Revolution" there could be posts documenting ethnic genocide, slavery, child labor, women treated as chattel and with no voting rights, poll taxes and tests, and so on - all 100+ years after the US Revolution. The US government didn't fully legally emancipate African Americans and become a democracy for 188 years after America's founding. (Don'tcha just love to hear US politicians and other historically stunted Americans talk all warm and fuzzy about America being the world's bastion of freedom and democracy for "over 200 years"?)

    Cuba has done quite well in the comparatively short years since it's Revolution. Much more socially progressive than the US.




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    New Dawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:17 PM
    Response to Original message
    6. K&R
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:23 PM
    Response to Original message
    9. Representative Fidel Castro was elected to the Assembly as a representative of District 7, Santiago
    Representative Fidel Castro was elected to the National Assembly as a representative of District #7 Santiago de Cuba.

    Here's a list of some of the other candidates on the 2003 slate for Santiago de Cuba (Castro's home district).


    http://www.granma.co.cu/secciones/candidatos/prov-13.ht...
    JUAN ALMEIDA BOSQUE

    Nivel Escolar: Universitario. Ocupacin: Miembro del Bur Poltico, Vicepresidente del Consejo de Estado, Comandante de la Revolucin. Se incorpor a la lucha revolucionaria desde el 10 de marzo de 1952. Particip en el Asalto al Cuartel Moncada. Form parte de los expedicionarios del Granma. Fue ascendido a Comandante y en marzo de 1958 organiz el III Frente de Operaciones en la Sierra Maestra. A partir del 1o de Enero de 1959 ha ocupado distintas responsabilidades. En octubre de 1965, al constituirse el Comit Central del Partido Comunista de Cuba, fue designado miembro del mismo y de su Bur Poltico. En septiembre de 1968 fue designado Delegado del Bur Poltico para la atencin al sector de la construccin y en septiembre de 1970 Delegado del Bur Poltico en la provincia de Oriente. Es presidente de la Asociacin de Combatientes de la Revolucin Cubana. Se le otorg el ttulo de Hroe de la Repblica de Cuba y la Orden "Mximo Gmez" de 1er. grado. Municipio: Santiago de Cuba

    --

    ADRIN FONSECA QUESADA

    Nivel Escolar: Medio Superior. Ocupacin: Estudiante. En la Enseanza Primaria y Secundaria alcanz resultados docentes satisfactorios y ocup diferentes cargos en la organizacin pioneril. Presidi la FEEM en Bayamo e integr su Secretariado Nacional. Particip en el XIV Festival Mundial de la Juventud y los Estudiantes. En el SMG obtuvo varios estmulos y condecoraciones. Estuvo al frente del trabajo de la UJC en su compaa y perteneci al Comit UJC de la Brigada. Comenz sus estudios universitarios en la Universidad de Oriente estudiando Comunicacin Social, en 1er. ao fue Secretario General de su Comit de Base, integr el Consejo de la FEU en la Universidad, siendo su Vicepresidente, y al comenzar el 2do. ao fue Presidente. Municipio: Santiago de Cuba

    --

    FIDEL CASTRO RUZ

    Nivel escolar: Universitario. Ocupacin: Primer Secretario del CC del PCC. Presidente de los Consejos de Estado y de Ministros. Comandante en Jefe de las FAR. Desde 1945 se integr a las luchas polticas estudiantiles. Concibi y dirigi el asalto al Cuartel Moncada. Fundador del Movimiento 26 de Julio. Organiz la expedicin del Granma y dirigi la guerra de liberacin que culmin con el Triunfo de la Revolucin el 1o de Enero de 1959. Dirigi y particip en la defensa de Playa Girn. Fue Presidente del Movimiento de Pases No Alineados. Ha impulsado y dirigido la lucha del pueblo cubano por la consolidacin del proceso revolucionario, el avance hacia el socialismo y la unidad de todas las fuerzas revolucionarias. Ha sido electo Diputado a la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular desde la creacin de aquella en 1976 y desde entonces ha ocupado por eleccin los cargos de Presidente del Consejo de Estado y Presidente del Consejo de Ministros. Es el principal impulsor y organizador de la intensa Batalla de Ideas que hoy libramos, dirigiendo las campaas, programas y acciones que desarrolla nuestro pueblo. Municipio: Santiago de Cuba

    --

    CARLOS ALBERTO CABAL MIRABAL

    Nivel Escolar: Universitario. Ocupacin: Director de Biofsica Mdica. En 1971 inici su vida laboral como Jefe del Departamento de Fsica Electrnica en la Escuela de Fsica, en este mismo ao fue promovido a Subdirector de la escuela y luego a Director. Fue Subdirector de la Unidad Docente de Moa; Decano y fundador de la Facultad de Fsica Matemtica, jefe de grupo de RMN. Desde la fundacin del centro de Biofsica Mdica en 1993 ha sido su Director. Milita en el PCC desde 1976. Desde 1991 es miembro del Comit Provincial del Partido. Fue Delegado al IV Congreso del PCC y Delegado Directo al V Congreso. Ha participado como ponente y autor en ms de 70 eventos cientficos a nivel nacional e internacional. Desde 1993 es Diputado a la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular. Municipio: Santiago de Cuba

    --

    MISAEL ENAMORADO DGER

    Nivel Escolar: Superior. Ocupacin: Primer Secretario del Partido en la provincia. De 1977 a 1981 trabaj como Ingeniero y Jefe de Mantenimiento de la Empresa de Automatizacin del MINAZ, del municipio de Palma Soriano. Luego labor como inversionista del Central Tunas 1. De 1985 a 1988 se desempe como Jefe del Departamento de Industria del Partido Provincial de Las Tunas y fue Director de la Empresa Estructuras Metlicas. Desde 1992 a 1994 ocup el cargo de Primer Secretario del Partido del municipio de Las Tunas. Teniendo en cuenta los resultados de su trabajo fue promovido a Miembro del Bur Provincial. En el IV Congreso del Partido fue electo miembro de su Comit Central. Fue elegido como Primer Secretario del Partido de la Provincia de Las Tunas desde 1995 al 2001. En el V Congreso fue elegido Miembro del Bur Poltico. Desde octubre del 2001 se desempea como Primer Secretario del Partido en la provincia de Santiago de Cuba. Es actualmente Diputado a la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular. Municipio: Santiago de Cuba

    --

    JULIO CHRISTIAN JIMNEZ MOLINA

    Nivel escolar: Universitario. Ocupacin: Vicepresidente Primero del INDER. Desarroll su etapa estudiantil con excelentes resultados hasta alcanzar el ttulo de Lic. en Ciencias Polticas, destacndose por su participacin activa en el deporte, especialmente en baloncesto, donde ha participado en eventos nacionales e internacionales durante toda esa etapa. Integr el Equipo Nacional de Baloncesto hasta ocupar distintas responsabilidades en la Direccin Nacional del INDER, otras instituciones y escuelas pertenecientes al deporte hasta agosto del 1997, que es designado Vicepresidente Primero del INDER. Fue militante de la UJC e ingres al PCC en 1978. Ha cumplido diferentes misiones gubernamentales por lo que fue seleccionado en el 2000, Cuadro Destacado del Estado. Municipio: Santiago de Cuba

    --

    LUIS ENRIQUE IBEZ ARRANZ

    Nivel Escolar: Universitario. Ocupacin: Presidente de la Asamblea Municipal. Fue dirigente de la UJC a todos los niveles y dirigente del PCC hasta 1992 que es promovido a Primer Secretario en el municipio de Julio Antonio Mella. En 1996 fue designado Vicepresidente del CAM hasta el 2001. Posteriormente, fue elegido Presidente de la Asamblea Municipal del municipio de Santiago de Cuba. Particip como Delegado al IV Congreso de la UJC e invitado al IV Congreso del PCC. Es el Vicepresidente del Consejo de Defensa del municipio de Santiago. Por su trayectoria revolucionaria y los mritos acumulados ha recibido varias condecoraciones y reconocimientos. Municipio: Santiago de Cuba

    --

    VIRGEN ALFONSO RODRGUEZ

    Nivel Escolar: Universitario. Ocupacin: Secretaria General FMC Provincial. Ingres en el ISP "Frank Pas", de Santiago de Cuba, donde obtuvo los sellos de Oro y de Plata, fue dirigente de la UJC en el Comit de Base y de la FEU a nivel de aula. Particip como Delegada al XIV Festival de la Juventud y los Estudiantes y a su regreso fue promovida a Directora Municipal de Cultura en ese territorio. Se traslad al municipio Songo-La Maya como Metodloga de Espaol-Literatura desde 1991-1994. Al finalizar este ao fue promovida a Cuadro de la FMC, donde se desempea actualmente como Secretaria General de la provincia. Pas la Escuela Provincial del PCC en el ao 2002. Ha sido condecorada con el Sello Educadora Ejemplar, Medalla por 5 aos de trabajo ininterrumpido como cuadro de la FMC y Medalla 30 Aniversario de los CDR. Municipio: Santiago de Cuba

    --

    LARIS CORRALES ROBERT

    Nivel Escolar: Superior. Ocupacin: Primer Secretario del PCC Municipal. De 1981 a 1983 cumple misin internacionalista en la Repblica Popular de Nicaragua. Labor como maestro en la escuela "Jos Mart Prez". En 1984 fue promovido a Director de la Escuela Primaria "Rubn Daz", labor que realiz hasta 1987, en que pas a ocupar el cargo de Metodlogo Inspector de la Direccin Municipal de Educacin en Palma Soriano. En 1993 fue promovido a trabajar como cuadro profesional del Partido, desempendose como Instructor y luego como Miembro Profesional del Bur de Palma Soriano. En 1997 fue promovido a Primer Secretario hasta octubre del 2001. que pas con igual funcin al Comit Municipal en Santiago de Cuba, es miembro no Profesional del Bur Ejecutivo del Comit Provincial. Fue Delegado al V Congreso del Partido. Municipio: Santiago de Cuba.

    --

    ERNESTO STIVENS LAGART

    Nivel Escolar: Superior. Ocupacin: Ingeniero en Minas de Cobre. En 1984 ingres al SMG en la U/M 3227 de la provincia de Holgun, estando en las FAR fue designado a cumplir misin internacionalista en Angola donde le fue otorgada la militancia de la UJC. A su regreso a Cuba, se incorpor a trabajar en la empresa minera del cobre, manteniendo una actitud destacada, motivo por el cual curs estudios superiores, incorporndose en 1989 al ISMM de Moa a la especialidad de Ingeniera de Mina y se gradu en 1994. A partir de entonces se incorpor a la empresa nuevamente en el cargo que ocupa. Ostenta la medalla de Combatiente Internacionalista de 1era. clase, distincin Servicio Distinguido, medalla Victoria Cuba- Angola. Es miembro de la ACRC. Municipio: Santiago de Cuba

    --

    VILMA LUCILA ESPN GUILLOIS

    Nivel escolar: Universitario. Ocupacin: Presidenta de la Federacin de Mujeres Cubanas y Miembro del Consejo de Estado. Fue una de las primeras mujeres que se gradu como Ingeniera Qumica Industrial. Una de las ms cercanas colaboradoras de Frank Pas en la lucha revolucionaria. Miembro de la Direccin Nacional del 26 de Julio, y Coordinadora Provincial de Oriente, hasta que pas al II Frente Oriental "Frank Pas". Ha sido elegida, Congreso tras Congreso, como Presidenta de la FMC. Es miembro del Comit Central del Partido desde 1965. Fue elegida suplente del Bur Poltico en el II Congreso y efectivo en el III, y ratificada como miembro del Comit Central en todos los Congresos. Actualmente preside la Comisin Nacional de Prevencin y Atencin Social; la Comisin Permanente de Atencin a la Niez, la Juventud y la Igualdad de Derechos de la Mujer y orienta el Grupo de Educacin Sexual. Es Diputada a la Asamblea Nacional y del Consejo de Estado desde 1976. Se le otorg el ttulo de Herona de la Repblica de Cuba y la Orden "Mariana Grajales". Municipio: Santiago de Cuba

    --

    SONIA DURN ROJAS

    Nivel Escolar: Universitario. Ocupacin: Metodloga Provincial de Educacin. Comenz su vida laboral en la Escuela Vocacional Antonio Maceo en 1981, donde ocup varias responsabilidades, entre ellas: Jefa de Departamento de Literatura y Espaol. Particip en diferentes eventos Municipales y Provinciales de Pedagoga, Lingstica y Comunicacin. En 1991 fue promovida a Metodloga Provincial, donde ha obtenido resultados positivos. Ha sido Presidenta de la Comisin de Ingreso a la Educacin Superior desde el ao 1991 hasta la fecha. Es Profesora Adjunta del ISP Frank Pas Garca. Recibi la Distincin por la Educacin Cubana. Es Delegada de circunscripcin. Municipio: Santiago de Cuba

    --

    ALBERTO LEZCAY MERENCIO

    Nivel escolar: Superior. Ocupacin: Presidente de la Fundacin Caguayo para las Artes Monumentales Aplicadas. Es fundador de la televisora Tele Rebelde, donde inici su vida laboral como pintor escenogrfico, as como del taller de diseo y textos del DOR. En 1973 se gradu en Escultura en la Escuela Nacional de Arte y en 1979 de Maestro en Arte, Academia de Escultura, Arquitectura, Pintura y Grfica "I. Repin" en Leningrado. Fue nombrado miembro de la UNEAC y de la Asociacin Internacional de Artistas Plsticos. Es autor de varias obras de arte. En 1981 pas a Director del Taller Cultural en Santiago de Cuba y en 1982 dirigi el equipo multidisciplinario para el proyecto de la Plaza Monumento Antonio Maceo. En 1985 fue delegado al XII Festival Mundial de la Juventud y los Estudiantes en Mosc. Ha participado en eventos nacionales e internacionales. Municipio: Santiago de Cuba

    --

    JOS RAMN BALAGUER CABRERA

    Nivel escolar: Universitario. Ocupacin: Miembro del Bur Poltico del Partido y del Consejo de Estado, fundador del PCC. En 1958 se incorpor como Combatiente al Segundo Frente Oriental "Frank Pas", tomando parte en varios combates. Al triunfo de la Revolucin ocup los cargos de Segundo Jefe y Jefe de Sanidad municipal en La Habana. Ms tarde fue designado Director General ejecutivo y Viceministro de Higiene y Epidemiologa del Ministerio de Salud Pblica. A partir de 1962 ocup varias responsabilidades en el MINFAR. Fue Primer Secretario del Comit Provincial del Partido en Santiago de Cuba y delegado del Bur Poltico en Granma. En 1985 fue promovido a miembro del Secretariado del Comit Central. Fue Embajador de Cuba en la URSS. Es miembro del Comit Central del Partido desde 1975 y Diputado a la Asamblea Nacional desde su constitucin. En reconocimiento a su labor, le han sido otorgadas varias condecoraciones. Municipio: Santiago de Cuba



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    AlphaCentauri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:33 PM
    Response to Original message
    14. doctors hippocratic oath
    Cubans doctors must honor their oath
    not the insurance desires
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:38 PM
    Response to Reply #14
    16. Local clinic in EVERY neighborhood. House visits are standard M.O.
    Among the most dedicated health care professionals I've ever met.


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    AlphaCentauri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 11:14 AM
    Response to Reply #16
    56. I'm guessing they have one of the most effective preventive medicine programs
    do you any stats about it?
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 10:52 PM
    Response to Reply #56
    80. Healthcare in Cuba
    Edited on Mon Dec-15-08 11:05 PM by Mika
    A pretty good look at the Cuban health care system. LOTS of great links to follow in these articles also.


    Healthcare in Cuba (long, and with some stats)
    http://wapedia.mobi/en/Healthcare_in_Cuba



    Cuba's 30-Year Track Record in Community-Based Health Care
    http://www.medicc.org/publications/medicc_review/II/pri...



    PRIMARY CARE IN CUBA: LOW- AND HIGH-TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS PERTINENT TO FAMILY MEDICINE
    http://www.cubasolidarity.net/waitzkin.html



    Family Medicine in Cuba: Community-Oriented Primary Care and Complementary and Alternative Medicine
    http://www.jabfm.org/cgi/content/full/18/4/297



    Global Health, Cuban Health Cooperation and Disasters. (You'll need to scroll down and resize text)
    http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:z1yT3rmp_CgJ:www.bi...





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    anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:39 PM
    Response to Original message
    17. On the other hand, it only recently became legal to buy a DVD player in Cuba
    They've achieved a lot of good things for their people, but the Cuban system is far from perfect. The dignity of education and health are very valuable. So is the dignity of being allowed to make your own economic choices. Here we have a lot of the latter and not enough of the former. In Cuba, the reverse is true. And unfortunately, it's not like it's free of corruption today.

    I'm absolutely supportive of normalizing relations with Cuba and not perpetuating this stupid economic isolationism we've practiced towards them. But the country is far from perfect, and they need to make some moves too. It's really not a democracy since only the Communist party has any legal existence, and this shows up the limitations of the 'permanent revolution' idea.

    I am hopefully for the upcoming 4 years. I think Cuba and the USA have a lot to offer each other, and Cuba does deserve credit for what they've got right.
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:45 PM
    Response to Reply #17
    20. The communist party only holds about 15% of the seats in the National Assembly
    The communist party only holds about 15% of the seats in the National Assembly (the Cuban Parliament).

    http://www.poptel.org.uk/cuba-solidarity/democracy.htm
    There are direct elections to municipal, provincial and national assemblies, the latter represent Cuba's parliament.

    Electoral candidates are not chosen by small committees of political parties. No political party, including the Communist Party, is permitted to nominate or campaign for any given candidates.


    Here are some of the major parties in Cuba. The union parties hold the majority of seats in the Assembly.

    http://www.gksoft.com/govt/en/cu.html
    * Partido Comunista de Cuba (PCC) {Communist Party of Cuba}
    * Partido Demcrata Cristiano de Cuba (PDC) {Christian Democratic Party of Cuba} - Oswaldo Paya's Catholic party
    * Partido Solidaridad Democrtica (PSD) {Democratic Solidarity Party}
    * Partido Social Revolucionario Democrtico Cubano {Cuban Social Revolutionary Democratic Party}
    * Coordinadora Social Demcrata de Cuba (CSDC) {Social Democratic Coordination of Cuba}
    * Unin Liberal Cubana {Cuban Liberal Union}



    I've been in Cuba during an entire election cycle. I've attended nomination caucuses, witnessed elections, and ratification of elected candidates.

    Have you? (Just asking politely, because you're stating something as fact that is known to be false.)



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    anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:00 AM
    Response to Reply #20
    25. No, I haven't been there. I'm just pointing out the legal situation
    Technically speaking, the other parties you mention don't heave legal standing, and just exist by sufferance. I agree with you that there's much to admire about Cuba, and that the way it's portrayed in the media here is usually deeply misleading. I think of a country as a benign semi-dictatorship, one which is definitely better off for the revolution they've had; but I do think that they've run up against the limitations of their chosen system too, and that there's room to evolve further. I expect eventually they'll come to resemble a European democracy.

    I'll be sad when Fidel Castro dies. It might have been better for the country if he had retired earlier, but maybe you need people like that to act as a bridge between past and future. He's done a hell of a lot better than Kim Jong Il, who I think can't can't die soon enough.
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:14 AM
    Response to Reply #25
    31. Oh, please.
    They have no legal standing, but operate openly and freely and members run for election?

    Its just too easy to state such things without any experience in Cuba, and so few with experience to refute them. Speaking of legal standing, Americans are banned from traveling there to see for themselves by the US government, not Cuba. Shameful.


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    anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:00 AM
    Response to Reply #20
    26. duplicate
    Edited on Mon Dec-15-08 12:00 AM by anigbrowl
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    Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-14-08 11:42 PM
    Response to Original message
    18. I'm always blown away by the illiteracy figures from Cuba
    From near 30% to practically ZERO nationwide.

    Not to mention that their rural medicine policies are a marvel and sought after by MANY south american countries.

    And their emergency management (hurricanes, etc.) procedures prevent HUNDREDS of deaths per year.

    Florida and the rest of the US should be ashamed at such civil progress.
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:00 AM
    Response to Reply #18
    27. OXFAM America: DISASTER PLANNING ESSENTIAL FOR MINIMIZING RISKS
    DISASTER PLANNING ESSENTIAL FOR MINIMIZING RISKS
    http://www.oxfamamerica.org/whatwedo/emergencies/asian_...
    Oxfam America recently studied the experience of Cuba in its development of disaster prevention and mitigation programs. Situated in the Caribbean Sea, Cuba frequently stands in the way of serious hurricanes. While its neighbors are battered, losing lives and property, Cuba is unusually good at withstanding these calamities, and suffers much fewer dead.
    Oxfams report, entitled Weathering the Storm: Lessons in Risk Reduction in Cuba cites a number of attributes of Cubas risk reduction program that can be applied by other countries. Three in particular are transferable to Asia and other regions:

  • * Disaster Preparedness: Cuba was especially good at mobilizing entire communities to develop their own disaster preparations. This involves mapping out vulnerable areas of the community, creating emergency plans, and actually simulating emergencies so people can practice evacuations and other measures designed to save lives. When disaster strikes, people know what to do.

  • * Commitment of Resources: Cubas strong central government prioritizes resources for its civil defense department. This helps the country to build up a common understanding of the importance of saving lives, and the citizens trust that their contributions to the government are well used for this purpose. Their collaboration on developing emergency plans helped build confidence in the government, so people trust in the plan they helped develop.

  • * Communications: The communications system for emergencies in Cuba builds on local resources. Using local radio stations and other media to issue warnings on potential hazards also reinforces the disaster preparations. Since the local population is already involved in mapping risks and creating emergency plans, they are more inclined to act on emergency bulletins. Good communications, packaged simply, and built on existing, commonly used resources, is another way to build trust in disaster preparations.

    Cuba is a unique example. There is a strong central government committed to protecting all its citizens, even the poorest and most isolated who are typically the most at risk. The most common natural disaster in Cuba is a hurricane, a threat visible for days and even weeks in advance. Yet building a culture of disaster preparedness, and involving local communities in mitigating risks, are strategies that can be applied in many other places, regardless of how rich or poor a country might be.




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    roody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:00 AM
    Response to Original message
    28. Pastors for Peace is planning a 50th yr anniversary
    Edited on Mon Dec-15-08 12:10 AM by roody
    Friendshipment. www.ifconews.org

    We call on citizens of faith and conscience
    throughout the North American continent to come
    with us, work with us, organize with us to ensure
    that this 20th caravan has the numbers, the aid,
    and the educational and media impact to make it a
    major focus for a broader push to end this blockade once and for all.

    BE PART OF THE CARAVAN

    In July we will travel in school buses, trucks
    and cars on 15 different routes to visit up to
    140 US and Canadian cities. At every stop we will
    educate people about the blockade while
    collecting construction supplies and tools for
    hurricane reconstruction, as well as medical,
    educational and cultural supplies.

    Our 9 days in Cuba from July 24th to August 2nd
    will be spent in fellowship with our Cuban
    brothers and sisters. In Havana and neighboring
    provinces we will attend cultural events and
    visit social projects such as organic farms,
    homes for the elderly and health centers
    including the Latin American School of Medicine.
    We will meet and learn from Cubans at every level
    about the problems caused by the blockade and how
    they have creatively responded, as well as how
    they are rebuilding after the hurricanes.


    In Cuba there will be an option for skilled
    building workers to spend about a week working
    alongside Cubans on a hurricane reconstruction
    brigade. And as an integral part of the caravan
    we are inviting Hiphop and related artists to
    participate and perform on caravan routes, and in
    Cuba there will be opportunities to meet, record
    and perform with Cuban artists.

    Pastors for Peace neither asks permission nor accepts permission to travel to Cuba.
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    burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:30 AM
    Response to Original message
    34. Good History!
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    gravity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:31 AM
    Response to Original message
    35. They are great except the human rights abuses
    I understand that the Cuban government has done some good things in respect to health care and education, but it doesn't mean that the country is a paradise to live in. Why do they actually prevent people from leaving the country?

    I still think the US should normalize relations with Cuba, but the country has serious issues with human rights and political freedom.
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    Billy Burnett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:38 AM
    Response to Reply #35
    37. I see no posts here claiming Cuba is a paradise.
    Where did you get that?



    I've been to Cuban enclaves in Canada, Mexico, France, UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, Guatemala, Panama, Jamaica, Bahamas, etc., etc., and many travel back and forth to Cuba regularly.


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    Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 03:29 PM
    Response to Reply #35
    92. Are you aware of your role in Iraq - not to speak of Afghanistan?
    Of how many people have been forced to leave the country, because it is so utterly broken, and dangerous to remain in?

    You people seem to swallow all the CIA propaganda completely uncritically. You must get all your information from the corporate news media.
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    Billy Burnett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:32 AM
    Response to Original message
    36. Thanks for posting this information.
    Hopefully the US government will end the egregious abridgment of American's civil rights and allow travel to Cuba.

    The US government/exile anti Cuba propaganda based questions would then be rendered meaningless.

    :hi:


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    Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 02:38 AM
    Response to Reply #36
    43. There'll be a whole lot of embarrassed people when the travel ban is removed, considering
    the hate Cuba industry which has been flourishing for decades in South Florida, the horrendous amount of money which has been taken from US taxpayers and offered to various pork projects in Miami,real, hungry black holes sucking in our tax dollars, and all that power the right-wing reactionary Cubans have wielded over Florida politics, and by controlling Florida's 25 electoral votes, over the nation, as well, at Presidential campaign time. Don't even mention the pilgrimages made to South Florida to talk tough about Cuba, and vacuum up those huge campaign dollars from the "exiles," people like Joe Lieberman, the Bushes, Dan Burton, who makes more of his funding from OUTSIDE his state, Ronald Reagan, Jesse Helms, Tom DeLay, Vermont Sen. Bob Smith, N.J. Senator Bob Torricelli, N. J. Senator Bill Bradley, John McCain, Clintons, etc., etc., etc.

    It's an undeniable circle jerk.

    All these people have wallowed in the mire of right-wing propaganda from the first, and they'll be the ones who lose all credibility once enough American citizens get to learn what has really been happening in Cuba all this time. Presumably they've all figured out their excuses, cover stories, etc., but they'll be exposed, regardless. They will most clearly lose credibility once the people who've been kept in the dark, and PLAYED all these years know what the score is, finally.
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    slipslidingaway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:44 AM
    Response to Original message
    38. Thanks K&R n/t
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    dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 04:35 AM
    Response to Original message
    44. Latest infant mortality figures
    show Cuba to be better than the USA. :fistbump:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_infan... (2005)
    That was last updated April '08.
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    Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 10:44 AM
    Response to Reply #44
    53. Interesting! Couldn't miss noticing the United Kingdom, Canada, and Ireland are all ahead of BOTH
    Cuba and the U.S.!

    Good work!

    This is especially wry when you recall (if you've had time to notice) right-wingers here, in their desperation, attempt to point to both Canada and the U.K. as examples that socialized medicine is actually just god-awful, so we can keep our situation exactly as it is, with many millions of people LOCKED OUT of even basic minimal health care of any kind whatsoever.

    Ah, ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa.

    Too many idiots. Perhaps if we had better health care some of that would be cleared up for us, edwardlindy!
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    Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 03:34 PM
    Response to Reply #44
    93. I think it has been for a long time. The US ranks very low on the scale
    relating to the provision of civilised living-standards for general population, pretty much across the board. And the UK doesn't rank much higher against European standards. I don't have the figures to hand, but they should be easy to Google.
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    CLG_News Donating Member (387 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 04:46 AM
    Response to Original message
    45. K&R! n/t
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    Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 04:51 AM
    Response to Original message
    46. What Cuba needs is democratic socialism, with an emphasis on labor co-ops. nt
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 08:33 AM
    Response to Reply #46
    49. That is the basis of Cuba's post revolutionary system.
    This book describes in great detail the emergence from the dark ages that Cuba undertook starting in 1959. It began with labor, co-ops, and labor unionization.

    Democracy in Cuba and the 1997-98 Elections
    Arnold August
    1999
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/096850840...




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    Billy Burnett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 09:35 AM
    Response to Reply #49
    50. Excellent book.
    I purchased it at your urging. Well worth the read. It has some great pictures I've never seen before also.


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    malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 04:56 AM
    Response to Original message
    47. Super post
    What's more, unlike Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, and USVI Cuba is not plagued by the cocaine trade and young men killing each other and terrorizing the society with American made guns.

    If you want a good comparison look at Jamaica since the Shock Doctrine days of 1978/79 and Cuba.
    One has gone backwards in nearly every area that counts.
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    bottomtheweaver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 05:05 AM
    Response to Original message
    48. Does anyone know the story on Carlos Moore?
    Apparently he's an anti-Castro Jamaican-Cuban born in Cuba and supposedly ostracized for exposing the racism in Castro's Cuba in a 1968 book.

    I ask because I heard him interviewed recently on a Pacifica station. Fascinating stuff, including the claim that Batista was an African passing for white, that Fidel was originally recruited by white business owners to topple him, that Fidel actively disrupted black political organizations, and other nasty business.

    Just wondering if he's telling the truth or just another propagandist brought to you by the Ford Foundation which he admitted receiving a grant from?



    his website: http://www.drcarlosmoore.com/index.htm
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    Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 10:35 AM
    Response to Reply #48
    52. Never have heard his name. Are you acquainted with Dr. Alfredo Jones, African Cuban American?
    Here's a helpful commentary from this excellent voice, whose grandfather was lured to Cuba from Jamaica long ago to work for the American-owned United Fruit Company, which later became Chiquita Banana:
    If they were only here? 6/1/08
    On July 4, 1961, my grandfather George Jones suffered an apparent heart attack that took the life of this modest, exemplary man, who lived a life filled with human values and principles, which have since hung over my life, carving and determining most of my life decisions.

    I am very grateful to life itself, for having this man decide in 1928 to leave his beloved Jamaica with my grandmother Rose Ann, my uncles Clifford, Joslyn and Ruby Mae, who later became my mother and relocated to Cuba.

    Responding to a massive promotion throughout the English speaking Caribbean islands and Haiti by the United Fruit Co., Guantanamo Sugar Co, Manati Sugar Co., and other US transnational, who portrayed Cuba as the Promised Land, propelled tens of thousands of emigrants from these islands to join this army of cheap laborers in the back-breaking, heat stifling, semi-slave conditions in the development of the Cuban sugar industry, which became the backbone of that countrys economy and the transformation of its physiognomy.

    Because of an historical black history pattern, in which records are not kept, ignored or destroyed, I am not sure if my grandparents landed in Santiago de Cuba, Cayo Juan Claro or somewhere in the Bahia de Nipe. Either way, they were herded to and settled in Banes, a sugar cane plantation community on the northern tip of what was then the province of Oriente.

    Restarting his life all over with a wife and three children in a foreign and somewhat hostile land, was a challenging proposition in itself. While most of these emigrants were employed in the cultivation and harvesting of sugar cane, my grandfather became part of the fortunate few, when he was given a year-round job as an orderly in the United Fruit Co. hospital, earning $0.50 per day.

    Ten years after this life changing experience, I was born on a hot and humid August morning, aggravating an intractable family feud between my grandfather and my uncles against my father, whom they had declared an unfit family member, since the birth of my brother, two years earlier.

    Our living conditions was limited to a tiny thatched roof shack that made me wonder, how did we all fit inside of it, without electricity, running water, sewer, schools or healthcare services. What we did have was widespread malnutrition seen predominantly in children with their disproportionate heads and distended abdomens filled with intestinal parasites, rampant infant and maternal morbid/mortality and an infamous gully with its putrid effluent winding through our neighborhood.

    There were always people from our community sitting in our backyard, waiting for my grandfather to return from his workplace. Some suffered diarrhea, cuts, burns or whatever, which my grandfather would cleanse and apply medications he stored in a coffin-life cabinet he kept in his bedroom.

    Although we did not live very far away from the hospital and no matter what the weather was like, my grandfather always carried a raincoat over his right arm. Years later, as I pieced these events together, it became clear to me, that the raincoat was actually a vehicle with which, this very religious, respectable man who was constantly preaching moral values, honesty and dignity to all, was in fact, stealing medicines and medical supplies from his workplace, as the only way to help others in his community, deprived of all basic means of survival.

    Banes was a highly segregated community in which the American neighborhood displayed its large chalet-type homes with circular verandah, running water, sewer, paved road, school, medical services, golf, polo courts and a private security force, ready to escort unwanted visitors out of the area.

    Downtown Banes can be described as the commercial and business district, where most Cubans of Hispanic ancestry lived, many occupied positions in the government administration, political system or mid-management in the United Fruit Company. They enjoyed similar social development as the American neighborhood, except for the courts and other playgrounds.

    Banes' best known infamous citizens are General Fulgencio Batista and the Diaz-Balart dynasty from which their sons, US Congressman Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart in close association with US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lethinen from the central province of Las Villas, are the culprit of most of Cubas past twenty years of pain, suffering and deaths.

    As a replica of the southern United States, there were black, white and American social clubs, public squares were partially segregated, churches were ethnically grouped, blacks were not employed in department stores, banks, office setting or any other relevant jobs. Our future was pre-determined at birth, deemed unworthy of social advancement and called a number of derogatory names such, as Jamaiquino, ladron de gallina o Negro de Mierda.
    More:
    http://www.afrocubaweb.com/albertojones/albertojones11.... ?

    http://www.afrocubaweb.com /

    Regarding the heritage of Fulgencio Batista, he was thought to have had a mixed background with Caucasian, African, Indian, and Chinese influences. He wasn't particularly "a" anything, other than Cuban.

    As for learning what you need to know about Fidel Castro, it would be a really good idea to spend some time doing a bit of research. What you have written about his place in Cuban history is more than mangled. It's unrecognizable.
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    Orwellian_Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 09:45 AM
    Response to Original message
    51. K&R
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    JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 12:17 PM
    Response to Original message
    59. And how does it compare to Latin American countries where...
    the US puppet military regimes remained in power most of the time since 1959, like Guatemala or El Salvador? Where did the average citizen live better the last 50 years, Chile or Cuba? How many casualties has this supposedly terrible dictatorship caused, compared to the generals in Argentina, or the US-backed death-squad narcostate of Colombia right now?
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    Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 01:35 PM
    Response to Reply #59
    60. And we just don't get any stories coming out from Cuba about people being thrown from airplanes
    into the ocean, the rivers, dropped into volcanoes, as in Chile, or government spies infiltrating groups of dissidents like Argentina did the mothers of young "leftist" women whose infants were delivered in prison, then given to favored officials, like prizes, as the mothers then were taken in chains to airplanes, and dropped out over the ocean. The mothers, by the way, the "Ladies in White," had their meetings infiltrated by military spies, and some of their members, even two French nuns, were taken away and tortured, and at some point flung from airplanes, one found washed up on a beach. Navy officer Alfredo Astiz, who was the one behind their disappearance no doubt had his comrades screaming with laughter when he coined his nickname for the two women, "The Flying Nuns," to celebrate the way he arranged for them to die.

    Our right-wing Presidents LOVED these governments, backed them to the hilt, plowed U.S. taxpayers' hard-earned money into them, counseled them, worked with them, conspired with them, and, in Chile's case, arranged the destabilization of Allende, the usurpation of the country's largest newspaper, El Mercurio at horrendous cost of millions of U.S. taxpayers' dollars, used electronic, other print media in a massive propaganda blitz against the man, tied up the nation's movement of goods in an enormous truck strike which kept food, and other necessities from reaching the stores, and ships backed up in the harbor, waiting to unload their merchandise, while the people suffered, desperate for food, being told by the media it was all Allende's fault, since he was a hated (to the U.S.) socialist, all preparatory to the bombing of the Presidential Palace, and the death of Allende, in order to plant Pinochet in his chair to initiate the blood bath which came immediately, removing dissidents, and scaring the remaining dissidents into hiding, into deep silence after that. No backtalk from Chileans after enough of them were murdered the hard way!

    No stories from Cuba of death squads using chainsaws to torture, terrorize, murder entire villages, as there are, have been in Colombia. We even supported Colombia through the bloody years of "La Violencia" while their government beat down, slaughtered leftists starting with the assassination of the leftist Presidential candidate in 1948, and the birth of the armed resistance.

    Nope. Death squads in Cuba had free reign during the U.S. supported puppet Batista's time. That, apparently, was just fine with the U.S., as we never heard any condemnation of those governing skills, either, no more than with Colombia's Uribe. We have heard a loud barrage of denunciations, on the contrary, from our filthy right-wing Republicans, who have raved and raged against Congressional Democrats for holding up the FTA on human rights issues. One even sees a constant running commentary against Congress's position on Colombia in the country's opinion sections from coast to coast of the corporately controlled newspapers. It's their view no one gives a flying #### about human rights issues when the President is a right-winger like Uribe, who even targets the human rights workers in his country: calling them out, singling them out, claiming they are working with the FARC. So damned typical of right-wingers. All ego, no depth whatsoever.
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    Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 03:44 PM
    Response to Reply #60
    94. Yes. Sad about that human rights record and all that. You know....
    what with all that repression and secrecy and everyone scared to speak.

    Halo Experiment was only commenting on it just now. Nothing gets past him. He has a real nose for human rights violations. I understand he's off to Iraq shortly to teach them about those freedoms they envy the US for. But he's going to wear one of those head-guards your grid-iron players wear. That nasty business of the shoe-throwing, you know.
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    Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 04:44 AM
    Response to Reply #94
    117. What a shame they all envy us for our special freedom, and, I must say, our saintliness.
    They should all feel privileged if we bomb the bejesus out of them to show them the error of their ways. It will only make them better heathens.

    Let's face it, cultures like ours are just too good for this world.

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    Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 06:23 AM
    Response to Reply #117
    118. Alas, pearls before swine, Judi.... No reverence at. all. for the swastika.
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    Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 04:12 PM
    Response to Reply #60
    129. Jimmy Carter wasn't a fan of the policies you speak of
    And the Democratic Congress in the 1980's refused to fund the Contras. Of course Raygun was kind enough to do it for them.
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    deaniac21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 01:54 PM
    Response to Original message
    61. The entire world dreams of the Cuban Dream. They have had
    to restrict immigration severly because of all the world's population trying to move there. It's is the first country most think of when wanting to start over and is the freest society on earth.
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    Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 02:12 PM
    Response to Reply #61
    62. There's a very large community of Haitians living in Cuba.
    As for dreams, it's often good to wake the #### up.

    Apparently you didn't bother to acquaint yourself with any part of Cuba's history BEFORE the revolution, leaving you with no grasp whatsoever of what it is you're attempting to discuss.

    After you make some effort to know more about where Cuba STARTED at the beginning of the revolution, you're going to find you really should have some grasp of what has happened to Cuba after, regarding the horrendous economic warfare from the U.S., of constant waves of terrorism against the citizens from the US since the very first, including biological warfare, as testified in a murder trial in 1984 by Cuban "exile" and former CIA agent, and Alpha 66 terrorist, Eduardo Arocena, in New York when he was on trial for his part in a murder of Cuban UN diplomat Felix Garcia Rodriguez, and discussed introducing that level of warfare in Cuba, himself.

    Involve yourself in learning about what has been happening, and you'll be able to recognize what you've smugly written, imagining yourself a phenomenal wit is simply pointless, uninformed gibberish.

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    deaniac21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 07:22 PM
    Response to Reply #62
    71. I would suggest that you involve yourself in learning to
    recognize scarcasm.
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    Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 03:50 PM
    Response to Reply #71
    95. Yes, but it was aimed at Cuba, Dumbo! How dumb are you .... thinking
    the word "sarcasm" was some kind of catch-all "get-out"?

    As a matter of fact, a lot of people would like to move to Cuba. And when Wall Street's best endeavours have borne their bumper harvest, there will be a lot more wishing they lived there. By the grace of God, you included.
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    Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 04:19 AM
    Response to Reply #95
    114. Some Americans have looked into it, as in moving there after retirement, and learned the US gubmint
    will not send them their Social Security checks after they retire. Flat out refuses. Odd, isn't it? They are American citizens.

    Speaking of American citizens, there's the case of Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo who has lived in Miami for years, and moved back to Cuba, with the intention of creating his own political party, Cambio Cubano, which he has accomplished. He has been getting threatened by the Bush administration over his choice. How odd it THAT?
    Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo threatened by US for living in Cuba
    Published: Wed February 09, 2005

    By Anthony Boadle | Reuters

    A U.S. resident who had spent 22 years in a Cuban prison for opposing communism and returned to the island to work for democracy now faces a U.S. jail threat for violating travel restrictions.

    Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, a Cuban exile who returned in 2003, has been warned by the U.S. Treasury Department that he could be fined $250,000 or sent to prison for 10 years for staying in Cuba in violation of sanctions intended to isolate the government of Fidel Castro.

    They dont understand: I am not a tourist in Cuba, I am an activist working to establish a legal space for an independent opposition, Gutierrez Menoyo said on Tuesday in an interview.

    It is illogical. Im here seeking freedom and the United States comes and tells me I face a 10-year prison sentence, he complained.

    Gutierrez Menoyo fought alongside Castro in the guerrilla movement that toppled U.S-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959. But he fell out with Castro over Cubas turn to the left and spent 22 years in jail after a failed insurrection.

    After his release in 1986, the former guerrilla commander lived in exile in Miami, where he has a wife and three U.S-born children, and retains permanent U.S. residency.

    But in August 2003, Gutierrez Menoyo announced on a visit to Cuba that he was staying in Havana to try to open an office for his political group, called Cambio Cubano, and build a moderate opposition to what he calls Castros socialist dictatorship.

    The Cuban government has not legalized his status, but it tolerates his presence and invited him to a conference on Cuban migration. It renewed his Cuban passport and allowed him to travel twice to the United States.

    U.S. authorities did not take lightly to Gutierrez Menoyos return to Cuba, and froze the bank account of his Miami-based political group.
    More:
    http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/eloy_gutierrez_... /





    Che Guevara, Aurelio Nazario, friend, and Eloy Gutierrez
    Menoyo, in Las Villas, December 1958.
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    anaxarchos Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 07:14 PM
    Response to Reply #61
    70. Horatio Alger, is that you?
    The entire world dreamed the Roman Dream. They had to restrict immigration severely. It had to do with wealth... not freedom.


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    deaniac21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 07:24 PM
    Response to Reply #70
    72. Yes, it is I but I am now dead. Breathe deeply and CHANNEL!
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    EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 04:33 PM
    Response to Original message
    63. K&R
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    mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 05:29 PM
    Response to Original message
    65. Viva Cuba! K&R!
    The most telling statistic of all, IMO, is that despite decades of economically crippling embargo, Cuba can provide low cost (free) universal health care for all its citizens and the U.S. can't. Yes, you can be a wealthy capitalist in the U.S. But unless you REALLY are wealthy, better not get sick.
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    JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 06:23 PM
    Response to Original message
    67. A lot of people could stand to read this thread several times.
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    noiretextatique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 06:55 PM
    Response to Original message
    68. great post, Mika
    thanks for all the information you post here about the real Cuba :hi:
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 07:27 PM
    Response to Original message
    73. Cuba is a world leader in organic and alternative farming methodologies.
    Edited on Mon Dec-15-08 07:30 PM by Mika
    The Big Green Experiment: Cuba's Organic Revolution
    http://westgatehouse.com/art9.html
    The world's greatest organic farming experiment is going on right now and everyone who eats food should know about it. Cuba, our island neighbor to the south, has been undergoing a radical agricultural and economic revolution as it seeks to dramatically increase its food production using organic methods.

    Cuban agriculture was Latin America's star performer, relying on the latest chemical pesticides, fertilizers and farm equipment from the Soviet bloc. It was farming Central California style with huge monocrops nourished by agrochemicals.

    This highly industrialized, capital-intensive farming practice came to a screeching halt in 1989 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Cuba lost 85 percent of its foreign trade, including food, agricultural imports and petroleum. Already crippled by the U.S. embargo, the country was financially devastated with its food supply hit hardest.

    The Cuban response was to go organic, a much cheaper alternative to conventional chemical farming that doesn't rely on imports. The state's priorities shifted to food production, the scientific community began focusing on organic practices and city dwellers were mobilized as urban farming became a vital source of food.

    Amanda Rieux, instructor for the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners' Gardening and Composting Educator Training Program, has just returned from a trip to Cuba with a Food First Sustainable Agriculture delegation. For Rieux, this was an opportunity to see organic practices in use on a nationwide scale and a chance to assess the implications for all of us.

    "In America, the work I do is on the fringe, says Rieux. "Organic farming is still perceived as unusual and far from the norm. It was exciting to be in a place where the efforts of the entire government are behind sustainable agriculture. (Sustainable agriculture refers to an integrated system whereby the gardener works within natural biological cycles and uses only naturally occurring resources.) The idea of the small urban farm being highly productive, sustainable and the source of a nice income was heartening to see. Cuba proves it's feasible, it's happening.

    With limited gasoline to transport, refrigerate and store food from the countryside, food production was brought to the cities. Cuba now has one of the most successful urban agriculture programs in the world. The State is making unused land available to fledgling urban farmers and thousands of empty lots have been turned into organic oases.

    In Havana alone there are 8,000 organic gardens producing a million tons of food annually. The gardens range in size from a few meters to several hectares. The urban farmers primarily grow lettuce, bok choy, onions, chard, radishes, tomato, cabbage and broccoli. Gardens can employ anywhere from one to 70 people depending on the size of the garden. And people from all walks of life are participating.

    Rieux says, "At one garden I visited, there was a construction worker, a mechanic, an engineer and a mathematician: all these people are working in the urban garden. You can make more money as an organic farmer than you can as an electrical engineer right now."

    The state is supporting the new urban gardeners through extensive university research into sustainable organic practices, including soil health and fertility.

    Cuba's scientific community is also developing breakthrough biological fertilizers and pesticides using naturally occurring organisms and insects.

    According to Food First executive director Peter Rosset, there are more than 200 biotech centers in Cuba producing and distributing cutting-edge, non-toxic biofertilizers and pesticides based on local microorganisms. Biological controls, such as Bt, a common organic pesticide, are available in the U.S., but Rosset says by focusing so much of its research resources in this arena, Cuba is way ahead of the rest of the world.

    In Havana, the Urban Agriculture Department was formed to educate and assist the neophyte city gardeners in implementing these new techniques. Small state run stores were established to sell seeds, hand tools, pots and some biological controls and serve as educational sites, offering workshops and advising the urban farmers and gardeners.

    "Cuba is not a commercial society. You can't think, 'Gosh, I'd like to grow something. Let me go to the hardware store and buy seeds and get myself some compost.' There were no stores. The State had to provide shops with inexpensive goods to promote urban agriculture," Rieux said.

    The Cuban gardeners incorporate some traditional organic practices, such as the use of worm compost-castings (worm poo) from redworms fed a diet of kitchen scraps. Worm compost is generated quickly and is higher in nitrogen that is more quickly accessible by crops than regular compost.

    They also rely heavily on interplanting--where diverse crops are planted together--which discourages the pests that accompany monocrop farming. This is a major shift from contemporary industrialized farming, with its acres of corn that provide a veritable buffet for bugs, as well as monocropping's inherent dependency on pesticides.

    The gardeners are also experimenting with their soil by leaving their crop residue (the stalks, vines, and anything else left after the harvest) on the field instead of clearing it off. A layer of worm compost is added on top to create rich soil another old-fashioned organic idea.

    Riew says the Cuban farmers are now very articulate about healthy ecosystems. "When they find a problem in their garden, they'll watch closely, noticing if there is a check in their system that might pull the problem back. For instance, if they're having aphids, they might wash their plants off and watch for a day or two to see what happens. Does a parasitic wasp come for the aphids? Will a lady beetle show up? Will something come and work within the system and deal with the aphids? Working within a whole ecosystem is a given. That was something that the conventional agricultural methods had completely obliterated."

    The city farmers are also tackling the lack of medicine in Cuba. A casualty of the trade embargo, Cuba can import neither medicine nor the ingredients to make it. Even aspirin is a rarity in Cuba. Rieux says she saw a lot of people growing green medicine in their urban gardens.

    "I saw a beautiful green medicine garden grown by one man," she says. He's growing oregano, marjoram, lemon grass, sage, tila (a kind of sedative), chamomile, calendula, aloe. The herbs are processed as teas and tinctures. In half an hour he had eight or nine customers, a steady flow of business."

    The state needed a dramatic incentive to stimulate interest in urban food production. And money is just as stimulating to Cubans as it is to us. So major economic changes were instituted to support the organic transition in the cities.

    Prices were deregulated and the state created farmers markets, which legalized direct sales from farmers to consumers.

    Farmers markets popped up all around the city on the garden sites. Some of the urban gardens, called organiponicos, were established as employee-owner cooperatives with the members sharing in all the profits made.

    Today, farmers can make three times more than professionals by selling their produce direct to consumers. Reason enough for engineers to abandon their calculators for hoes.

    Cuba's advanced organic farming techniques have led to major cultural shifts as many city-dwellers have become farmers. But what happens when the Cuban economy shifts and the embargo is lifted? Now that they are such capable organic growers, will they revert to chemical farming? Rieux says no.

    "Yes, there are people who believe some of the gardeners will revert to the old practices, but many people will still farm organically. Even when the embargo lifts, the small farmer will make more money organically because he spends so little. He's not going to start buying chemicals. He won't have to. He has the knowledge now.

    For the rest of the food-eating world, the Cuban agricultural greening shows that when a government decides to, it can put its strength behind sustainable, profitable, non-toxic agriculture. "The shift towards sustainable agriculture has been very successful in Cuba, people are eating better there now than they did five years ago," says Rieux. "And, there is an understanding that these methods have social and environmental values, as well as economic. It has been an empowering movement for the Cuban people.

    Granted, Cuba was in a tough, hungry place that made willingness to experiment essential. But at a time when we are dumping ever-increasing amounts of chemical pesticides on our crops, poisoning our aquifers and sterilizing our soil, this large-scale experiment should be watched by all.





    CUBA: ORGANIC FARMING IMPROVES LIVES
    http://www.oxfam.ca/what-we-do/where-we-work/central-am...
    Organic farm on outskits of Guantanamo provides livelihoods, nutrition and community pride.

    Oxfam has helped the Cuban Association of Agriculture and Forestry Professionals (ACTAF) convert 13 hectares in the urban periphery surrounding Guantanamo into an organic, urban agriculture farm. 106 stable jobs were created - 51 of the workers are women. The majority live in the neighbourhood and their new union is now pushing for a day-care center for their kids.

    The people like this work because its close to their homes. Theyre better paid then in other jobs, they can buy affordable fruits and vegetables for their families and they feel theyre doing something important, said Oscar Borges, the Project Coordinator for ACTAF in the province. For us it has been a great experience to work with Oxfam because there was always dialogue, flexibility, comprehension and respect.

    The fruits and vegetables are grown without any chemical inputs. Instead, the farmers produce their own fertilizer using organic compost and worms. They produce their plants in a new greenhouse. The project has contracts with government institutions to deliver produce to hospitals, child care centers and workplaces throughout the neighbourhood of 55,000 people. Their excess produce is sold to local people at affordable prices in a small shop on the farm and by bicycle around the community.

    Odalys Puente manages the farm after years as an agricultural worker. For her our goal is not to maximize our own benefits, but to contribute to good, healthy and available food for our people and be able to live our life with dignity.

    A class room has been built and equipped and is used for training farm workers as well as ACTAF members in the province. The project provided input and funds for a new edition of a technical manual for this kind of organic agriculture that will be used across the country.



    Much much more on Cuba's organic revolution here.


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    Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 03:58 AM
    Response to Reply #73
    83. Superior information on the organopnicos in your links. Here are some photos which might
    help develope the image of what has been going on there, which has attracted American students and their teachers for YEARS, along with people from the rest of the world, in study programs. Anyone searching for material on organopnicos is destined to run into personal websites describing their experiences going through the organic gardens in Cuba, trying to learn what it is they've been doing which produces such great results.



    Organoponico plaza, Havana, Cuba. Photograph: James Pagram

    Cuba's organic revolutionThe collapse of the Soviet Union forced Cuba to become self-reliant in its agricultural production. The country's innovative solution was urban organic farming, the creation of 'organoponicos'. But will it survive a change of government?
    Ed Ewing reports
    guardian.co.uk, Friday April 04 2008 01:02 BST \

    when the USSR collapsed in 1990/91, Cuba's ability to feed itself collapsed with it. "Within a year the country had lost 80% of its trade," explains the Cuba Organic Support Group (COSG). Over 1.3m tonnes of chemical fertilisers a year were lost. Fuel for transporting produce from the fields to the towns dried up. People started to go hungry. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) estimated that calorie intake plunged from 2,600 a head in the late 1980s to between 1,000 and 1,500 by 1993.

    Radical action was needed, and quickly. "Cuba had to produce twice as much food, with less than half the chemical inputs," according to the COSG. Land was switched from export crops to food production, and tractors were switched for oxen. People were encouraged to move from the city to the land and organic farming methods were introduced.

    "Integrated pest management, crop rotation, composting and soil conservation were implemented," says the COSG. The country had to become expert in techniques like worm composting and biopesticides. "Worms and worm farm technology is now a Cuban export," says Dr Stephen Wilkinson, assistant director of the International Institute for the Study of Cuba.

    Thus, the unique system of organoponicos, or urban organic farming, was started. "Organoponicos are really gardens," explains Wilkinson, "they use organic methods and meet local needs."

    "Almost overnight," says the COSG, the ministry of agriculture established an urban gardening culture. By 1995 Havana had 25,000 huertos allotments, farmed by families or small groups and dozens of larger-scale organoponicos, or market gardens. The immediate crisis of hunger was over.

    Now, gardens for food take up 3.4% of urban land countrywide, and 8% of land in Havana. Cuba produced 3.2m tonnes of organic food in urban farms in 2002 and, UNFAO says, food intake is back at 2,600 calories a day.

    Organoponico plaza
    A visit to Havana's largest organoponico, the three-hectare Organoponico Plaza, which lies a stone's throw from the city's Plaza de la Revolucin and the desk of Raul Castro, confirms that the scheme is doing well. Rows of strikingly neat irrigated raised beds are home to seasonal crops of lettuces, spring onions, chives, garlic and parsley.

    More:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/apr/04/organ...



    Fig. 3. Prof. Philip Jones of Rothamsted Research and Dr. Yaima Arocha of CENSA, Cuba
    share a curious delight in finding a confirmed phytoplasma disease on basil in a
    Havana organopnico.


    Organic Honey Production Increases in Cuba
    More than 40 tons of environmentally friendly, organic honey in high demand in the international market was produced.

    More than 40 tons of environmentally friendly, organic honey -in high demand in the international market- was produced. The increase in the production was achieved thanks to good weather conditions with perfect temperatures and rains that favored fields in the municipalities of Guantanamo, San Antonio del Sur and Imias.

    The increase in the output goes hand in hand with a rise in the quality of the organic honey.

    A representative of the Agricultura de Montaa group, Fernando Trenzado, told that before the end of this year, 2008, more than 100 tons of ecological honey are expected to be collected in Guanatanamo, the first province in the country to produce it.

    More:
    http://www.cubaheadlines.com/2009/06/01/11484/organic_h...



    Organopnico, Sancti Spiritus, Cuba


    Cuban Organoponico

    Overview
    Prior to 1990 urban gardens were virtually non-existent in Cuba as they were perceived by many to be a sign of poverty and underdevelopment . For years Cuba had been dependent on trade subsidies and imports from their Soviet allies. With the collapse of the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1989, Cuba was plunged into a serious economic crisis known as the Special Period. By 1990, Cuba had lost 85% of its imports including both agricultural inputs and food. Food imports had accounted for 57% of Cuban caloric intake. Before the Special Period, Cubas agriculture was based on an intensive monoculture approach that was heavily dependent on agrochemical imports. The demise of the USSR devastated Cubas agriculture due to the loss of 80% of its fertiliser and pesticide imports . The lack of agricultural imports forced Cuba to diversify farming practices and to adopt methods of organic agriculture. Most importantly, this crisis exposed Cubas heavy dependency on imports and seriously threatened food security. The passing of the Cuba Democracy Act in 1992 and the Helms-Burton Act in 1996 (by the US Congress) exacerbated the economic crisis. In response to this crisis the Cuban government launched a nation wide urban agriculture movement as an alternative source of food security.

    Organoponicos are the most common type of garden found in Cuba since the majority of urban soils is of poor quality.

    The establishment of organoponicos in Cienfuegos has been possible because of readily available spaces within the city. In the municipality of Cienfuegos there are approximately 102 organoponicos, 63 are semi-private operations and 39 are managed by state enterprises. Every neighbourhood in the city except one has at least 2 and in some cases as many as 21 organoponicos . In Cienfuegos, organoponicos began appearing in the early 1990s.

    Cultivation Methods

    Cultivation takes place inside containers or raised beds filled with an organic matter and soil mix. The organic matter is usually transported to the city from rural or peri-urban farms.

    More:
    http://www.organoponico.com/?page_id=28


    Revisted: Cuba's Urban Vegetable Farms

    ~snip~
    He gestured to the rows of vegetables--beets, spinach, chives, planted in neat beds. As we made our way through the herb garden, he then started explaining the benefits of the herbs to me: siempre viva is for headaches, chamomile helps with skin problems, anise is to give you a strong stomach. Or, as Nestor put it, "Le da animo." It gives you spirit.

    We stopped under the shade of fruit trees, where he showed me a passionfruit, still green on the tree, and then a noni fruit, pale yellow and naturally pocked. He picked a few small ripe bananas for me to try.

    "If this wasn't a garden, it would be filled with garbage. Instead, all year long we have food for the people," Nestor said, then added the distinctly Cuban phrase, "Tiene que resolver."

    "Resolver" has been Cuban's battle cry, chant, groan since the Special Period. It means to find a way to survive, to make the impossible, possible. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, Cuba lost 80 percent of its imports. Known as the "The Special Period," government food rations were cut in half, public buses didn't run, and blackouts rolled through the cities. Hoping to crush the government, the United States tightened the embargo by passing the Cuban Democracy Act (1992) that prevents the docking at a U.S. port of any ship that has docked in Cuba six months prior or that plans to visit Cuba within six months after. This further reduced food and medicine reaching the island.

    More:
    http://www.citydirt.net/2008/05 /


    Organic Farming Feeds A Nation
    by Renee Kjartan

    A recent report shows that organic farming--often considered an insignificant part of the food supply--can feed an entire country.

    Titled "Cultivating Havana: Urban Agriculture and Food Security in the Years of Crisis," the report found that in Cuba, many of the foods people eat every day are grown without synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides. The author, Catherine Murphy, works with the Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First. Based in Oakland, CA, the group works for sustainable farming.

    How did Cuba's organic food movement begin? It took a severe crisis for this to happen.

    Before the revolution that threw out dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, and to some extent during the years of Soviet support for Cuba, the island followed a typical pattern of colonial food production: It produced luxury export crops while importing food for its own people. In 1990 over 50 percent of Cuba's food came from imports. Says the report: "In the Caribbean, food insecurity is a direct result of centuries of colonialism that prioritized the production of sugar and other cash crops for export, neglecting food crops for domestic consumption." In spite of efforts by the revolutionary government to correct this situation, Cuba continued in this mold until the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989.

    The withdrawal of Soviet aid meant that 1,300,000 tons of chemical fertilizers, 17,000 tons of herbicides and 10,000 tons of pesticides could no longer be imported, according to the report.

    One of Cuba's responses to the shock was to develop "urban agriculture," intensifying the previously established National Food Program, which aimed at taking thousands of poorly utilized areas, mainly around Havana, and turning them into intensive vegetable gardens. Planting in the city instead of only in the countryside reduced the need for transportation, refrigeration and other scarce resources.

    More:
    http://www.wafreepress.org/46/organic_farming.html

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    They have been teaching this method to Venezuelans!







    Workshops

    The garden - named after Mr Chavez's hero Simon Bolivar,
    the 19-Century independence fighter - holds workshops for
    university students and organises visits for schoolchildren.
    "They can then replicate what they've learnt in their homes,"
    Juan says.

    "Even if they do not have a garden, they can plant vegetables
    in boxes and put them on window sills or rooftops."



    Successful stall

    The harvested crops are sold from a stall by the garden.
    The prices are lower than in the supermarkets. Four organic
    lettuces, for example, cost less than half a dollar. The
    stall opens at 0830 each morning - by lunchtime, most of
    the vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers have been sold.

    Text: Nathalie Malinarich.
    Photos: Emma Lynch.

    Small photo journal:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/0...










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    Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 03:54 PM
    Response to Reply #83
    96. What happened to the palm-leaf shacks? Deaniac will surely want to know.
    He thinks everyone (at least in the Cosa Nostra) would have been flocking to Cuba when those old shacks were everywhere.
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 09:21 PM
    Response to Original message
    74. In 2006, UNESCO awarded Cuba Literacy Prize for "Yes I Can" literacy program
    Edited on Mon Dec-15-08 09:23 PM by Mika
    Cuba teaches the world to read
    Published Jan 7, 2007 8:52 PM
    In just 45 years a socialist revolution transformed Cuba from an impoverished U.S. colony to an international educational powerhouse. In 1961, Cuban rural illiteracy was 42 percent. In 2006, UNESCO awarded Cuba for its international literacy program.

    On Dec. 22, 1961, the Cuban Revolution marked the successful end of the initial phase of the National Literacy Campaign that brought basics of reading and writing to nearly a million Cubans, many in isolated rural areas. In less than a years time an army of 268,420 teachers, new graduates and high and middle school student volunteers laid the foundation for the doctors, clinics and medical schools Cuba shares with the world today. Women comprised more than half of the brigadistas and youth aged 10 to 19 numbered 100,000.

    Fidel Castro explained the long range importance of the national campaign that reduced the 42 percent illiteracy rate to 4 percent: This literacy campaign will give opportunities to those who were denied an education for economic and social reasons. ... They must be helped; they must be persuaded that they can study. Some people at first had bad eyesight and they got eye examinations and free glasses. There can and must not be any obstacle. ...

    The literacy campaign directly benefits the poor. This is the great injustice which the revolution is correcting. At the same time, it is of vital importance for the country. There can be no progress without education. It is necessary if we are to carry out the great projects in science and the economy, which the revolution plans. If we are to eradicate poverty and raise our living standard, this is necessary.

    In 2006, UNESCO awarded Cuba the King Sejong Literacy Prize for working through an innovative literacy method with more than 15 countries to use literacy to advance individual and social potential. Although several other countries were awarded for their internal literacy work, the Latin American and Caribbean Pedagogical University of the Republic of Cuba (IPLAC) received the only award for assisting other countries.

    The Cuban Yo s puedo (Yes I can) method combined with the political will of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela recently ended illiteracy there, teaching 1.5 million people to read in two years. In Ecuador several Indigenous mayors adopted the method.

    Cuba implemented the literacy programmes in different social and cultural contexts covering all levels of society including indigenous peoples, those in rural and urban areas, those serving prison sentences, people with special educational needs, migrants, ethnic minorities, at the same time paying special attention to womens education. (UNESCO)

    Bolivia aims to end illiteracy by 2008 with the support of Cuba and Venezuela. In both rural and urban areas the Aymara and Quechua Indigenous people are learning to read and write in their own languages.

    A report to the 14th Summit of the Non Aligned Movement revealed that 2.3 million people in 15 countries, including Mexico and New Zealand, are presently studying under the program. Currently there are requests from Gambia, Nigeria, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and from the city of Seville in Spain for Cuba to send advisors to start the method.

    Although the mass mobilization for the National Literacy Campaign started on April 15, 1961, preparation began earlier. On Jan. 5, 1961, Conrado Bentez Garca, a young Black man who was one of the early volunteer teachers, and peasant Eliodoro Rodrguez Linares were murdered and mutilated near Trinidad on the south coast of Cubas Sancti Spritus province. The youth brigades named in honor of Conrado Bentez mobilized just days before the direct CIA invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs (Playa Girn), an invasion originally planned for the Trinidad area.

    The 1961 Cuban school year ended early; it did not resume in the fall until the national literacy campaign was completed in December. Through the Central Organization of Cuban Workers (CTC) 30,000 workers were mobilized to help the campaign without hurting production.

    In 1961 Fidel Castro told CTC members in Havana province, Imperialism offers educational plans to be carried out in 10 years, they claim; but they will not be fulfilled. The Cuban revolution will show that it can be done in one year.

    Some 45 years later, in a country that spends billions to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, Fidels words ring true. As school districts across the United States struggle with unfunded mandates for the No Child Left Behind program, Detroit has an illiteracy rate of 47 percent. A Dec. 15 U.S. Department of Education press release stated, The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), released today by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), found little change between 1992 and 2003 in adults ability to read and understand sentences and paragraphs or to understand documents such as job applications.

    The National Adult Literacy Survey found a total of 21 to 23 percent or 40 to 44 million U.S. adults, 16 years and older, are at the lowest literacy level; 21 million of those cannot read at all.





    Cuba proposes literacy model for poor countries
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...





    Much more on Cuba's global "Yes I Can" literacy program here.



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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 10:09 AM
    Response to Reply #74
    90. 3.6 million Latin Americans have become literate using the Cuban method
    3.6 million Latin Americans have become literate using the Cuban method
    SOME 3.6 million Latin Americans have become literate using the Cuban Yo s puedo (I Can Do It) method. At present, another 385,000 people from 24 countries are learning with this system, which further advances students with Yo s puedo seguir (I Can Do More), based on the principles of the literacy campaign undertaken on the island in 1961.

    These facts were presented by Dr. Jorge Gonzlez Corona, advisor to the Ministry of Education (MINED), in a press conference on the Cuban Revolutions impact on education and the islands international cooperation in this sphere.

    Gonzlez Corona stated that Cuba currently has a matriculation of 3.5 million students and 350,000 teachers and professors. Speaking on the subject of higher education, which has produced one million professionals, he noted that the country has 65 central universities with more than 3,000 municipal university satellites.

    Similarly, the MINED advisor emphasized the help Cuba has received in the training of human capital from other countries in the socialist camp, and highlighted the educational training of students from African and Latin American countries. Currently approximately 30,000 of them are studying for various degrees in Cuba. In the 50 years of the Revolution more than 30,000 Cuban educators have dedicated their services to Third World nations, a collaboration which Gonzlez Corona affirms "has enriched us on the professional, scientific, and human level." Countries like Nicaragua, Angola, Venezuela and Bolivia have received help from Cuban teachers.

    Justo Chvez, doctor of Pedagogy, detailed the role that pedagogy conferences have played in Cuba since 1986.

    According to Dr. Chvez, these events constitute milestones for exchanging experiences and, for him, they are also meetings of educators for the political, social, and scientific importance of Latin American unity.



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    AlphaCentauri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 09:25 PM
    Response to Original message
    75. In "eat local" movement, Cuba is years ahead
    After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba planted thousands of urban cooperative gardens to offset reduced rations of imported food.

    Now, in the wake of three hurricanes that wiped out 30 percent of Cuba's farm crops, the communist country is again turning to its urban gardens to keep its people properly fed.

    "Our capacity for response is immediate because this is a cooperative," said Miguel Salcines, walking among rows of lettuce in the garden he heads in the Alamar suburb on the outskirts of Havana.

    Salcines says he is hardly sleeping as his 160-member cooperative rushes to plant and harvest a variety of beets that takes just 25 days to grow, among other crops.

    As he talks, dirt-stained men and women kneel along the furrows, planting and watering on land next to a complex of Soviet-style buildings. Machete-wielding men chop weeds and clear brush along the periphery of the field.

    Around 15 percent of the world's food is grown in urban areas, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a figure experts expect to increase as food prices rise, urban populations grow and environmental concerns mount.

    Since they sell directly to their communities, city farms don't depend on transportation and are relatively immune to the volatility of fuel prices, advantages that are only now gaining traction as "eat local" movements in rich countries.

    ROOFTOPS AND PARKING LOTS

    In Cuba, urban gardens have bloomed in vacant lots, alongside parking lots, in the suburbs and even on city rooftops.

    They sprang from a military plan for Cuba to be self-sufficient in case of war. They were broadened to the general public in response to a food crisis that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba's biggest benefactor at the time.

    They have proven extremely popular, occupying 35,000 hectares (86,000 acres) of land across the Caribbean island. Even before the hurricanes, they produced half of the leaf vegetables eaten in Cuba, which imports about 60 percent of its food.

    "I don't say they have the capacity to produce enough food for the whole island, but for social and also agricultural reasons they are the most adequate response to a crisis," said Catherine Murphy, a U.S. sociologist who has studied Cuba's urban gardens.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE4...

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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 10:01 PM
    Response to Reply #75
    78. When I was in Cuba in the mid-late 70's ..
    I spent some time cutting sugar cane with a foreign brigade. I gained such respect for how hard that work is. Hot as hell. Dirty. I was young, but I fell in love with how pleasant and sharing the Cuban cutters were to all of us no matter how old or where we were from. I did it for several weeks at a time over the next couple of years. Cubans, by and large, respect and value manual labor. A semester of high school spent in some agricultural endeavor is part of the curriculum. It is a priceless commodity to understand how hard farm labor is, and it is never looked down upon by any Cuban in Cuba that I've met.


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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 09:28 PM
    Response to Original message
    76. Operation Miracle: Cuba's Gift to the World
    Edited on Mon Dec-15-08 09:31 PM by Mika
    Operation Miracle: Cuba's Gift to the World
    http://cubajournal.blogspot.com/2008/11/operation-mirac...
    Almost half a million poor people from 28 Caribbean and Latin American nations have benefited from Operation Miracle, a highly successful programme started by Cuba that provides free surgery to low income patients.

    Cuban Public Health Ministry official, Elia Rosa Lemus, presented a report at a recent parliamentary hearing, in which she revealed that a total of 485,476 patients have been operated on, including 290,000 Venezuelans. In her review of the programme, she stressed that Operation Miracle, created by Cuba and supported by Venezuela, has turned into a giant humanitarian campaign.

    Lemus noted that one in every 87 Venezuelans has already been treated, as well as one in every 213 Bolivians and one in every 60 citizens from Antigua and Barbuda.

    The legislators heard about the progress of Operation Miracle as part of the agreements under the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), which promotes solidarity and mutually beneficial social and economic development.

    The initial eye operations took place exclusively at Cuban hospitals, but with the objective of extending the program, similar surgical facilities have been set up in other nations, always under the supervision of Cuban medical personnel.

    Today, 13 ophthalmologic centers are in service in Venezuela, and similar facilities are providing services in Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Bolivia.





    Cuba celebrates Operation Miracle milestone
    A ceremony held on Jan. 26 celebrated the achievements of Operation Miraclea Cuban program providing free eye surgeries in Latin America that has now restored vision to over one million people.

    The three-year-old program was developed within the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), a mutual cooperation agreement developed in response to the U.S.-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas. The FTAA was intended to siphon wealth from Latin America into U.S. coffers. Originally signed between Cuba and Venezuela, ALBA has since expanded to include Bolivia, Nicaragua and Dominica.

    The benefits of Operation Miracle have extended well beyond ALBA signatories. Dr. Elia Rosa Lemus Lago, a staff member of the Cuban Council of State, said the project has created a network of 49 ophthalmologic centers with 82 operating rooms in 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.






    Much more on Cuba's "Operation Miracle" international eye surgery program here.


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    Billy Burnett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 09:46 PM
    Response to Original message
    77. This is a thread with meat on it's bones. K and R!



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    Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 04:06 AM
    Response to Reply #77
    84. No kidding! It would be a real shame to not save this one for files.
    Great photo.

    Have read about Cuba's efforts to reverse desertification for years. Here's a quick google grab to illustrate the level of involvement of the island in trying to stop the process, and reclaim land:
    Cuba to host the Sixth UNCCD Conference of the Parties
    Havana, 23 May 2003 - The government of the Republic of Cuba formally signed an agreement today to host the Sixth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 6) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which is expected to be the largest gathering ever of high-ranking officials and experts to discuss and decide on concrete actions to fight desertification.

    More than 180 countries, NGOs and international organizations, represented at the highest level, are expected to convene in Havana from 25 August to 5 September 2003. Members of parliament and intellectuals will also have the opportunity to convey their messages on concrete commitments to reach sustainable development and environmental goals. It is the first time that the Conference is being held in a Caribbean country and in an island state. It will also mark the first time that the COP of an international environmental convention is being hosted by Cuba.

    "As the first Conference of the Parties being hosted by a country in the Caribbean, all of which are affected by land degradation, we are pleased that a country as active as Cuba in the implementation of the Convention, has offered to host the Conference," said Hama Arba Diallo, Executive Secretary of the Convention.

    Cuba has been an active Party to the Convention since its inception and was one of the 105 states that signed the Convention in 1994 in Paris. It has participated in numerous regional and subregional meetings, as well as in the past sessions of the COPs (Rome, Dakar, Recife, Bonn and Geneva) and its subsidiary bodies. It also hosted the Third Regional Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean in 1997, during which the Regional Action Programme was adopted. In addition, Cuba set up a National Coordinating Body to combat desertification and drought in 1995 and finalized its National Action Programme (NAP) for the implementation of the Convention in 2000.

    Fourteen percent of the agricultural land in Cuba is affected by desertification and 76 percent is affected by some form of land degradation. Drought has doubled in frequency in the last decades and other major factors leading to desertification in Cuba are erosion, salinization and loss of soil fertility. In order to reverse this trend, reforestation projects were initiated since 1960, resulting in an increase of forests from 14 percent in 1959 to 22 percent in 2001.
    http://www.unccd.int/publicinfo/pressrel/showpressrel.p...
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    Billy Burnett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 08:13 AM
    Response to Reply #84
    86. Shameful that so many Americans think that Cuba is isolated ...
    When actually it is America that seems to be in an information bubble.


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    Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 04:37 AM
    Response to Reply #86
    116. So sad. Years ago, I was speaking with someone in either my Congressman's or Senator's office, who
    said the guy was in Havana (both the Rep. & Senator have been there multiple times, to my astonishment (considering the Senator is a Republican)) and hailed a cab, spoke with his English-speaking cab driver, and was very surprised to learn, after a bit of conversation, that the cab driver knew exactly what Cuba-related legislation was pending at that very moment in Washington, D.C.

    Said it totally stumped him that some ordinary Cuban citizen actually had that much awareness of American politics.

    I've heard from other Cuba travelers, too, and I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever you've discovered very alert, aware people who are completely conscious of world politics in Cuba.

    One woman whom I've known at 2 other message boards, as well as D.U. said she met a Cuban woman who even knows the names of the columnists at the Miami Herald, is familiar with their writing.

    And of course, they get Spanish speaking American tv and radio in Cuba with simple antennas. A DU'er from Canada has written that she learned you can get American radio walking down the street in Havana, on your Walkman. And of course you know they also get radio and tv and magazines from Central and South America, as well as the other islands.

    You bet we're in a thick, soundproof information bubble, by all means!

    People should start keeping track of what it is we hear about Latin America HERE, paying real attention to what is being fed to them in what they perceive to be "news". Our biggest weakness is the bad habit, starting in childhood, of swallowing everything the corporate media and racist right-wingers tell us about other peoples, other countries, other governments, not even knowing our perception has been molded for us, from the first, and only WE can climb out of that idiotic trap.
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    fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-15-08 10:03 PM
    Response to Original message
    79. k/r -- fascinating threat
    :kick:
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    apocalypsehow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 12:38 AM
    Response to Original message
    82. All the way with JFK. n/t.
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    Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 06:18 AM
    Response to Original message
    85. Kicking.
    :kick: :kick: :kick: :kick:
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 09:39 AM
    Response to Original message
    87. New vaccine plant at the Finlay Institute in Cuba. We want to serve more
    New vaccine plant at the Finlay Institute in Cuba. We want to serve more
    http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_29067.sht...
    A letter addressed to the Finlay Institute from the World Health Organization in July 2006, asking for help in producing millions of doses of the anti-meningitis vaccine, was the motive for the inauguration at that renowned center of Cuban biotechnology, of a plant with a production capacity of up to 100 million doses annually of active components for that purpose.

    The operation of the modern plant holds greater significance, given that the WHO request outlined "an emergency," because the transnational pharmaceutical companies that supply the vaccine against meningitis serogroup A for using in the so-called "meningitis belt" in Africa "were no longer going to produce it, because sales were not profitable for them."

    Meningococcal meningitis is a serious infectious disease produced by a bacterium called meningococcus.

    The serogroup A strain is the one that principally affects the so-called "meningitis belt" that comprises 21 African countries, where about 400 million people are at risk, with an annual incidence of up to 1,000 affected per every 100,000 inhabitants during epidemic years. Most of the victims are under 15 years old.

    The problem is aggravated by the lack of healthcare infrastructure, and international agencies believe that up to 50% of meningitis patients die in that impoverished continent; a similar percentage of those who survive suffer from severe after-effects, such as metal retardation, deafness and blindness.

    The Finlay Institute is a vaccine and serum research and production center in the western Havana scientific complex, where a highly effective vaccine against meningitis B was discovered and developed. That vaccine has saved many lives in Cuba and in the region.

    The new plant features cutting-edge installations and equipment, with a standard of quality that meets rigorous international demand. It will be operating 24 hours around the clock with 81 specialists, and is capable of responding to the production volume needed by the WHO.

    Key to this is the level of development attained by Cubas biotechnology sector over more than 20 years, and an Engineering and Projects Center that guaranteed the plants design and construction.

    This production enables the Finlay to complement its potential, in association with the Bio-Manguinhos Immunobiological Technology Institute, attached to the Osvaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro which, in a demonstration of true South-South cooperation, will guarantee the immediate delivery of vaccine to Africa.

    LOOKING BACK

    Officially created on January 15, 1991 via a resolution signed by Fidel, the Finlay Institute, the initiator of large-scale biotechnological production in Cuba, has produced millions of doses for fighting meningitis B in many countries all over the world, and its contribution and development hence its international prestige have increased over the years in response to the growing demand for vaccines to prevent infectious diseases.

    With highly-trained scientific personnel, the Institute produces vaccines against meningitis B and C; leptospirosis; typhoid fever; tetanus; diphtheria and whooping cough, the latter three being components of combined vaccines produced by other biotechnological centers in the western Havana scientific complex. The Institute also provides these centers with other elements for anti-cancer vaccines now undergoing clinical trials, and carries out joint research with them on, for example, an anti-cholera vaccine, in an endless scientific search for new ways to benefit the health of many.

    It is no coincidence, therefore, that the ideas of Jos Mart are so dear to Cuban scientist Concepcin Campa Huerga, director of the Finlay Institute. Paraphrasing him, she says, "If we have served for anything up until now, we that is forgotten already; what we want to do is to serve more."



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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 10:01 AM
    Response to Original message
    88. Cuba Announces New Co-op Proposals
    Cuba Announces New Co-op Proposals
    Santiago de Cuba, Dec 8 (Prensa Latina) Cuba announced new cooperation proposals in the 3rd CARICOM Summit Monday for the fields of public health, education, energy and natural disaster prevention and facing.

    Among the new cooperation proposals, there is the opening of new sanitation and public health services in Haiti and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, with the installation of 10 diagnosis centers in Haiti, and one in Saint Vincent, with the contribution of Cuban and local specialists.

    The collaboration programs include the creation of a wide ophthalmologic net with three new surgery units in Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Guyana, which will be added to two already working in Haiti, to supply capacity to operate 215 daily patients.

    More than 50,000 Caribbeans will be able to restore or improve their vision annually, with this material and human infrastructure.

    In the field of education, 480 university scholarships will be opened next year, 150 of them to study Medicine.

    The recent Cuban initiatives include ending a program to supply saving bulbs in these aforementioned nations, and foster selling of the bulbs in these places.

    Advisory in university studies, market information, use of renewable energy and training personnel to maintain and operate electricity generation plants and electrogen groups, are also included in the Cuban proposals.

    The cooperation to create centers for risk reduction, advisory to prevent and mitigate the destructive effects by natural disasters, post graduate courses, promotion of regional technical workshops and strengthening of national and regional capacities, are other choices proposed by Cuba.




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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 10:07 AM
    Response to Original message
    89. More than 78,000 doctors trained in solidarity to 100 countries throughout the world.
    More than 78,000 doctors trained
    Cuban doctors have worked in 100 countries in the world during these 50 years of Revolution

    CUBA has managed to train more than 78,000 doctors and reach out in solidarity to 100 countries throughout the world. Currently, that collaboration is being offered to 78 nations, something only possible with a Revolution that is about to mark its 50th anniversary despite the blockade maintained by 10 U.S. administrations.

    That was the affirmation of Doctor Roberto Gonzlez Martn, deputy minister of public health in the final session of the 10th Cuban Surgery Congress, which took place on December 5 at the International Conference Center, and had the participation of 302 Cubans and 73 foreigners from 21 countries.

    We owe these figures fundamentally to our Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro, the inspiration, guide and constant incentive for the achievements of our public health, both inside and outside of Cuba, Gonzlez Martn said.

    Jos Ramn Machado Ventura, first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, and Health Minister Jos Ramn Balaguer were presented with the medal for the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Cuban Surgery Society, which is this coming January. The medal was also conferred on more than 40 outstanding figures in Cuban medicine.

    Honorary membership of that society was granted to doctors Jos Luis Garca Sabrido and Fernando Noguerales Fragua, of the Gregorio Maran teaching hospital in Madrid and the Prncipe de Asturias Hospital of the University of Alcal de Henares, respectively. Likewise, three other Spanish doctors were made members: Antonio Alvarez Kindeln, Javier Nuo and Salvador Morales.

    The next national congress of that discipline is scheduled for November 1-5, 2010 in Havana, according to Dr. Jos Miguel Goderich Laln, president of the Cuban Surgery Society.




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    Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 03:58 PM
    Response to Reply #89
    97. "We want the palm-leaf shacks!" Come on now! All together, Deaniac and
    Edited on Tue Dec-16-08 03:59 PM by KCabotDullesMarxIII
    Halo Experiment. "Bring back the palm-leaf shacks!" And don't forget those intestinal parsites those 30% plus of the rural population had! How they must be missing those freedoms!
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    Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 04:00 PM
    Response to Original message
    98. Pitiful Progress I'd Say
    Take a look at what South Korea was like in 1959 compared to today and you'll see what real progress looks like.
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-08 08:42 PM
    Response to Reply #98
    103. You're joking, right?
    The US has pumped trillions of dollars of money into SK as well as military bases. US corporations and "free trade" prop up the sweatshop economy there (not to mention that SK tariffs US made products to protect it's own production).

    Compare that to the treatment Cuba, a small island some 90 away, has gotten from the US since 1959. Sanctions. Invasions. Cold war. Trade sanctions. Terrorist attacks. Travel sanctions. Constant foreign (US) funded anti government ops. Axis of Evil accusations and actions. Expanded extra territorial trade sanctions, and on and on.

    Nonetheless, Cuba outperforms the US in general social welfare and infrastructure.


    If Americans are going to declare Cuba's progress as pitiful in some areas of their economy they only need to look in the mirror to see why.


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    Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-17-08 09:15 AM
    Response to Reply #103
    105. No it hasn't
    Billions, yes, trillions no. Trillions is an overstatement and you know it. Regardless, the reality is that the Soviet Union pumped billions into Cuba too, and it is a far, far smaller country than Korea.
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-17-08 07:25 PM
    Response to Reply #105
    110. How about addressing the extra territorial sanctions aspect of your comparison.
    Notice that SK has no such draconian actions taken against it to deal with. Seeing as how that is Cuba's major economic impediment, why do you choose to ignore that?


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    Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 10:49 AM
    Response to Reply #110
    120. Cuba is free to trade
    With Latin American, Europe, Africa and the rest of the world. What are you trying to say, that it has completely failed economically because it can't trade with the evil Capitalistic United States?

    Also, I have to ask, if Cuba is such a paradise, when are you moving?
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 12:00 PM
    Response to Reply #120
    122. No it isn't.
    Edited on Thu Dec-18-08 12:08 PM by Mika
    Countries don't manufacture and trade goods and services. Corporations do. The sanctions are aimed at corporations and entities that trade with Cuba, not countries. Thus, the sanctions are extra territorial in action.

    For example: Bayer AG can't sell Aspirin in Cuba IF Bayer wants to sell its products in the US market. Unlikely that Bayer would give up the vastly larger market in the for-profit US health care market. They haven't, so Bayer doesn't sell Aspirin in/to Cuba.

    You would be doing yourself a great favor engaging in a wee bit of research into the subject you are attempting to "debate".

    The two main pillars of "the embargo" - Helms-Burton Act and the Torricelli Act.


    Please point out the posts here claiming that Cuba is a paradise.

    I have lived in Cuba, and I would like to move there if and/or when US laws open up to allow it again. I do have in-laws living there. Cuba is one of my favorite places in the world, and I dearly love my friends and family living there.

    What would be nice is for the US gov dictate banning Americans from going to Cuba to be lifted, then sparsely informed persons like you could travel there to see for yourself, since you seem to be interested (but not interested enough to move your PC mouse around to do some elementary reading prior to make broadly uninformed pronouncements).




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    JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 04:03 PM
    Response to Reply #122
    126. "Please point out the posts here claiming that Cuba is a paradise."
    Edited on Thu Dec-18-08 04:07 PM by JackRiddler
    No kidding!

    See, strawmen is what they've got. If you're against the US war on Cuba (and that is what it has been since 1959), then you must love the "dictator." The war doesn't exist, Helms-Burton and the other policies don't exist, no, it's all some kind of vacuum where you're making choices for or against "the dictator," and they're being moral by being against him.

    The intellectual level of these zero-nuance, know-nothing responses is indistinguishable from Freepers in the old days claiming that critics of the 9/11 regime's policy were "Bush haters" or had "Bush derangement syndrome."
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    Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 04:29 PM
    Response to Reply #122
    131. Title III has actually been waived every 6 months by both Clinton and Bush
    Edited on Thu Dec-18-08 04:30 PM by Hippo_Tron
    Because they know that it's completely unenforceable and a blatant violation of WTO rules. Nonetheless it still greatly encourage people from doing business with Cuba simply out of fear.

    I don't know if we can expect Obama to end the embargo but I seriously hope we can get him to support repeal of the Helms-Burton Act.
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 05:32 PM
    Response to Reply #131
    132. Title III is about suing Cuba over Cuban property in US courts. That's all.Nothing to do with trade.
    Edited on Thu Dec-18-08 05:44 PM by Mika
    All other aspects of Helms-Burton are enforced.

    Considering the US's new eminent domain rulings, suing Cuba over its use of eminent domain would be ridiculous.

    Cuba has settled with any and all who had property taken over via eminent domain in international arbitration courts except US corporations, citizens and residents. For them, settlement would violate the US's Trading With the Enemy Act.

    This is a strawman that the US government (and ill informed Cubaphobes and anti Cuba propagandists) uses to claim that the evil island of Cuba stole property and has never settled.



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    JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-17-08 12:56 PM
    Response to Reply #98
    107. Hm, how many protesters has Cuba gunned down?
    Edited on Wed Dec-17-08 12:59 PM by JackRiddler
    And why do you have to reach all the way to East Asia for a comparison?

    How about the Carribbean? How are things in Haiti or Jamaica or the DR, despite their having had a number of US-backed or US-installed governments? How's life in El Salvador, or Guatemala, or Honduras, or Nicaragua under the Somozas, all US client states? What about Chile or Colombia? Tell us about progress in these countries since 1959, compared to Cuba!
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    apocalypsehow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-17-08 01:20 PM
    Response to Reply #98
    108. Excellent post - and note those burbling like orgasmic teenagers over Cuba's "paradise" conveniently
    find themselves residing in the United States...

    The most hilarious post in this thread is a "K & R" from a poster who is a self-professed Kennedy family obsessive - apparently she didn't get the historical memo that no one on the face of the planet despised the Cuban regime more than John F. Kennedy when he was alive.
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    JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 12:50 AM
    Response to Reply #108
    111. That's setting the bar pretty low.
    Note how many of those thirsty for the blood of Castro (and for the property and livelihood of the 11 million who chose to stay in Cuba) also conveniently reside in the United States.
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    apocalypsehow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 01:04 AM
    Response to Reply #111
    113. All the way with JFK.
    :thumbsup:
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    JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 04:28 AM
    Response to Reply #113
    115. Totally relevant.
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 09:31 AM
    Response to Reply #108
    119. Excellent post? Typical is more like it.
    Like most of the Cubaphobic posts here on DU, #98 is simply more unhitched rhetoric and devoid of substance.

    Similar to another poster on this thread, I'm still looking for those posts "burbling like orgasmic teenagers over Cuba's "paradise" ".



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    JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 11:22 AM
    Response to Reply #119
    121. Don't complain...
    I'm totally serious that I'd like to see this post go for a year. It's performing an important function for many readers. Think of how many on this board are young, or new to politics. They come in every day!

    So if a couple of morons give free kicks with throwaway insults utterly void of substance, and if they expose their poverty in the process, that's okay too.
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    apocalypsehow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 03:12 PM
    Response to Reply #121
    123. Boy howdy, me too. I love people to see morons praise a gay-hating tyrant and then see sensible
    people challenge their dictator-worship (and man-oh-man, the dictator cuddlers sure do get cranky about their beloved leader).

    :thumbsup:
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    JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 03:57 PM
    Response to Reply #123
    124. Good work...
    Do you live in the United States?
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 06:13 PM
    Response to Reply #123
    134. Cuba has approved sexual reassignment surgery as part of their healthcare system.
    This year the National Assembly will take up a gay marriage bill.

    The president's daughter, Mariela Castro, is the leading advocate for GLBT rights in Cuba as the head of Cuba's National Center for Sex Education.

    Castro champions gay rights in Cuba
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7314845.stm

    http://www.thegully.com/essays/cuba/010621gay_cuba.html
    JUNE 21, 2001. A few hours before floats, rainbow flags, and a sea of humanity filled Sao Paulo's central Avenida Paulista last Sunday for Latin America's biggest ever Pride Parade, Agence France Presse reported that, in Cuba, two gay male couples also made history by publicly holding the first gay wedding there.


    When it comes to gay rights, is Cuba inching ahead of USA?
    http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2007/02/post_72.html

    Cuba: Celebrations of advancing gay rights
    http://www.greenleft.org.au/2008/760/39274




    Mariela Castro
    "In the early years of the
    revolution much of the
    world was homophobic.
    It was the same here in
    Cuba and led to acts
    which I consider unjust.
    "

    I've shaken hands with this amazing woman in the late 90's when she addressed, in place of her uncle, a H-C seminar that I attended.

    Cuba has never been perfect. Never will be. GLBT-phobia and mistreatment is unconscionable, but we (Americans and Cubans) are evolving.

    But when it comes to health issues (namely AIDS/HIV), Cuba has never been discriminatory in its treatment of all people. Unlike during the Reagan era, when RR wouldn't even utter the word or acknowledge AIDS as it was wiping out wide swaths of Americans, Cuba dealt with an unknown epidemic (at that time) that could have overwhelmed their health care system head-on with treatment, care and development of successful treatment strategies.

    I was there. I saw it with my own eyes.


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    Billy Burnett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-22-08 08:41 AM
    Response to Reply #134
    150. Another canard shot down.
    :thumbsup:


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    Celeborn Skywalker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 04:07 PM
    Response to Original message
    127. Cuba's not perfect.
    But it's a damn sight better than most other Latin American governments that the USA has actively thrust into power. Can anyone truly say that Mexico and Guatemala are better than Cuba or Venezuela? I don't think anyone can.
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    Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 04:21 PM
    Response to Reply #127
    130. Seems like a lesser of two evils
    When a Latin American country adopts Western European style Social Democracy I predict that will be proven the clearly superior model to any of their current governments. But that's just a prediction and I don't claim to be an expert on Latin Ameica.

    That said, I don't want the United States trying to "help" them do that. Really we should stay the fuck out of Latin America unless we are invited. And it's far past time that we lift that ridiculous embargo against Cuba.
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    Kitty Herder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 05:43 PM
    Response to Original message
    133. I'm jealous of their doctor to patient ratio. In the county where I live,
    we have one doctor for approximately 10,000 people. We also have a P.A. and an F.N.P., so if you include them, that works out to 0.3 doctors for every 1,000 people in my county, compared to Cuba's 5.3 doctors per 1,000 people.

    But the U.S. has the best health care in the world. And Cuba is a backwards, third-world country. :eyes:

    Thanks for sharing these stats, by the way. It's great stuff to know.
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    Sophree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 06:26 PM
    Response to Original message
    135. End the Embargo, Normalize Relations
    And let me travel there and see for myself what it's really like!!!

    I should have that right, as a student, an academic, and an AMERICAN!!!
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-19-08 07:55 AM
    Response to Reply #135
    137. It completely changed my previously myopic view of Cuba.
    I will be on one of the first flights back there as soon as it is legal!


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    JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-19-08 10:17 AM
    Response to Reply #137
    142. mornin' kick
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    Sophree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-19-08 04:15 PM
    Response to Reply #137
    144. How did you get to go?
    I'm actually working on a project at work that has me immersed in Cuba and American travel restrictions- it's a collection donated by someone who did go 4 or 5 times over the course of her life. She had her passport taken away after the 2nd trip, fought it in court and somehow got her passport back. She got to go back, I think in a round about way through Europe.

    I want to go, perhaps as a researcher or student. Are there things we can do to lift the embargo and travel ban?

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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 08:50 AM
    Response to Reply #144
    145. Sophree, check your DU messages.

    Campaign finance reform is the only thing I can think of to change US/Cuba policy. There's too much money needed to run a US campaign, and politicians on both sides of this issue need to retain the stand-off to keep the issue active for campaign funding reasons. Its not a repug or Dem issue either. A mixed bag of politicians from both sides of the aisle are pro or against the sanctions. The status quo rules - to maintain the cash cow the issue represents to their fund raising efforts.

    I hope you can get to go.

    :hi:

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    fascisthunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 06:27 PM
    Response to Original message
    136. "Banks dictum that economic growth is a pre-condition for improving the lives ... is over-stated"
    Indeed...

    It is in some sense almost an anti-model, according to Eric Swanson, the programme manager for the Banks Development Data Group, which compiled the WDI, a tome of almost 400 pages covering scores of economic, social, and environmental indicators.

    Indeed, Cuba is living proof in many ways that the Banks dictum that economic growth is a pre-condition for improving the lives of the poor is over-stated, if not, downright wrong."

    I don't need communism or a form of communism to tell me this. Today's present form of U.S. capitalism already does.


    Irregardless, Great post!
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    mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-19-08 08:10 AM
    Response to Original message
    138. Yeah but the BFEE had a strategic asset before 1959:
    KEVIN PHILLIPS: George H. Walker was a real piece of work. I mean, he was a buccaneer. He was sort of a Joe Kennedy, but with a social register type qualification. He got involved in the 1920's with a bunch of Cuban companies, because of his ties to Percy Rockefeller and the National City Bank. They handled a lot of investments in Cuba. He was a director during the 1920's of eight or nine Cuban companies. George H. Walker had ties to the -- investment ties that were independent, so he had invested in some of these companies. One of them turned out several -- several turned out to merge into something called West Indies Sugar. West Indies Sugar became one of the major American companies in Cuba, and George H. Walker Jr., the son of George H. Walker and Prescott, Bush's cousin was a director, held a family seat on West Indies Sugar. Now during the late 1950's, West Indies Sugar was based in the Indy province in Cuba. That's where the Castro insurgency was developing. Castro and his people sort of shook down West Indies Sugar. They used their trucks and hit them up for money and so forth. They were unhappy with the Castro movement. In 1959 or 1960, I forget which year, Castro's people nationalized West Indies Sugar, and at this time George H. W. Bush's uncle was Director of West Indies Sugar. The value of West Indies sugar had been about $50 million and it wound up being virtually peanuts. I don't know how much their stake was. I couldn't begin to guess. It may not have been nearly as much as one would suggest from the bigger numbers. They were an unhappy set of campers when West Indies Sugar went bye-bye.

    -snip

    http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/01/12/144...



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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-19-08 08:29 AM
    Response to Reply #138
    139. Thanks for the link. Then there's Operation Zapata.
    Edited on Fri Dec-19-08 08:29 AM by Mika
    Zapata Petroleum was GHW Bush's oil exploration company.

    What a coincidence that the Bay of Pigs invasion was called .. Operation Zapata


    A tradition of terror
    Four generations of war
    and drug war profiteers
    are at the heart of America's
    power structure.


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    mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-19-08 08:32 AM
    Response to Reply #139
    140. Just another bu$h family coinky-dink-I'm sure
    :eyes:

    Robber barons just protecting what is "rightfully" theres. Why should the people of Cuba be entitled to their land?
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    blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 09:39 AM
    Response to Reply #139
    146. Well, maybe.

    Though it should be noted the the Zapata Cienega(swamp), famous among birders for it's endemic species, is located at the headwaters of the Bay of Pigs.
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    marshall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-19-08 09:30 AM
    Response to Original message
    141. Keep in mind that all countries have gone through significant changes in the last 50 years
    In my rurual area many people were still using outhouses fifty years ago and had wells in the backyard for drinking water. Now every single house has indoor plumbing complete with toilets.
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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 08:40 AM
    Response to Original message
    149. AP: Cuba, its people, government and economy
    Cuba, its people, government and economy
    Dec 20, 2008
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5imoci...
    By The Associated Press

    LAND Largest island in Caribbean, covers 44,344 square miles, about the size of Pennsylvania. Sierra Maestra mountains at eastern end, but mostly flat or slightly rolling countryside.
    ___

    PEOPLE Population 11.2 million. About half mixed-race, 35 percent white, 15 percent black, with scattering of people descended from Chinese and other non-European immigrants. Parts of population have traces of original Indian peoples, but indigenous cultures died out long ago. Life expectancy of nearly 77 years and infant mortality of about 6 deaths per 1,000 live births, lowest in Latin America.
    ___

    GOVERNMENT Head of government and state is president of the Council of State and president of Council of Ministers, positions Fidel Castro held until he resigned in February 2008. Castro's younger brother, Raul, elected by National Assembly to replace him on Feb. 24, 2008. The Communist Party is the only legal party in Cuba.
    ___

    ECONOMY _ Still recovering from economic crisis that began in 1990 after losing Soviet aid and trade, Cuba posted steady annual growth beginning in late 1990s. Cuba blames economic problems on U.S. trade embargo; detractors blame inefficient centralized planning. Government experimented with modest economic reforms in mid-1990s to survive, but by 2004 reasserting more centralized control over economy. U.S. dollar, used widely for more than a decade, taken out of circulation as legal tender in 2004, replaced with convertible local currency. Important sources of income include health services exported to Venezuela, tourism, sugar, nickel, tobacco, citrus, coffee, pharmaceuticals.




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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-23-08 08:45 AM
    Response to Original message
    151. Cuba sees 2009 economic growth above 4 percent
    Cuba sees 2009 economic growth above 4 percent
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKN2249858420081...
    Cuba's economy will grow more than 4 percent in 2009 as new accords with foreign countries and economic reforms compensate for negative international factors, the country's economy minister said.

    Economy and Planning Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez said hurricanes and other factors would restrict 2008 economic growth to 4 percent, compared with the planned 7 percent.

    "We are going to grow more next year than this year," Rodriguez said in an interview broadcast on Monday by state-run Radio Rebelde.

    "The country has important cooperation agreements. Those signed with Venezuela, with Brazil and with Russia. Relations with China will continue and broaden," he said.

    Communist Cuba's economy, which grew 7.3 percent in 2007, is more than 90 percent controlled by the state.

    Cuba and Venezuela this month announced more than 150 cooperation agreements for 2009 valued at $2 billion, including continued expansion of a joint venture oil refinery and petrochemical complex in central Cienfuegos province.

    The presidents of Brazil, Russia and China all visited Cuba over the past few months and said economic relations would broaden in 2009. They gave no details.

    Cuba has restructured debt and delayed payments to various foreign companies in recent months, its coffers hit by three powerful hurricanes, falling nickel prices and the international financial crisis.

    Rodriguez said growth would also get a boost from reforms undertaken in agriculture and wage policy by President Raul Castro since taking over in February for his ailing brother, Fidel Castro.

    Raul Castro has decentralized agriculture, increased prices paid for agricultural products and begun distributing unused state lands with accompanying resources to private farmers, cooperatives and some state-run companies in an effort to reduce soaring food imports.

    "Without a doubt the agriculture policy and most importantly substituting food imports will impact the economy," Rodriguez said.

    He said the new wage policy that eliminated caps on earnings and tied wages more closely to individual performance would contribute to growth. Additional wage reforms are planned, the minister said without giving details.



    -


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    Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-23-08 08:49 AM
    Response to Original message
    152. In just months, Cuba back from storms
    In just months, Cuba back from storms
    http://www.tampabay.com/news/world/article946886.ece
    CONSOLACION DEL SUR, Cuba The two hurricanes that laid waste to this rural region of western Cuba this summer tested the communist government like nothing had since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Three-quarters of homes in the municipality of Consolacion del Sur were damaged, and 4,000 collapsed. High voltage towers were toppled, cutting power from the capital, Havana, 80 miles away. Local industry, dairy and chicken farms and the country's largest rice mill were put out of action. Hundreds of thousands of acres of food crops were lost.

    "I've never seen anything like it in my 58 years," said Maria Jose Fachada, who spent the night of Aug. 30 with 50 relatives and neighbors packed like sardines in her small single-story house. All their belongings TVs, fridges, sofas, mattresses, cooking stoves and children's toys were stuffed in four rooms. In the morning, after Hurricane Gustav had barreled through, "It looked as though the end of the world had come."

    A few days later, Hurricane Ike tore down what Gustav had missed, prompting widespread speculation that Cuba's communist government simply wouldn't be able to pay for the estimated $10-billion recovery effort. The 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, approaching on Dec. 31, loomed as a potentially huge embarrassment if the government couldn't muster resources to help its own citizens.

    But barely three months later, life is slowly returning to normal. Cuba has engineered a remarkable recovery that serves as a reminder of the organizational capacity of the Communist Party system.

    "The party is all about solidarity, and while it's true that we lack many things in Cuba, the hurricanes showed we still stand together," said Fachada.



    The timing of the hurricanes could not have been worse for Cuba's communists. Before taking over in February from his ailing brother Fidel Castro, Cuba's new president, armed forces chief Raul Castro, declared food production his number one priority.

    Cuba imports 80 percent of the food consumed by its 11.2-million inhabitants, making it highly vulnerable to the commodity price shocks and foreign currency swings in recent months. Cuba's imports this year are estimated at $2.5-billion, up 56 percent from last year.

    Even before the hurricanes hit, Raul Castro warned of the impact of the international economic crisis. "The goals of our people in terms of material goods cannot be very ambitious," he said in a speech July 26.

    Food scarcity after the storms has led to unpopular measures. To meet public needs, the Cuban government moved swiftly to curtail private farmers markets, forcing producers to sell directly to the government. Police also cracked down on the door-to-door black market upon which many Cubans depend.

    Milk, cheese and fresh fish became impossible to obtain, except in expensive state-run stores for imported goods where a liter of milk (roughly a quart) sells for more than 60 Cuban pesos, the equivalent of almost one week's salary.

    "It's impossible to live in Cuba without the underground economy," said Dagoberto Valdes, 53, a civic activist in Pinar del Rio. He described how his 22-year-old son was stopped in the central square a few days earlier after police found five oranges in a bag he was carrying.

    He was let go only after he explained that the oranges came from his grandmother's garden.

    "We are living in a virtual state of siege," Valdes said. "Everything is centralized and controlled as never before."



    Immediately after the storms, Cuban infantry soldiers were deployed to remove hurricane debris and clear roads. "We were ready when the storms hit, and we had a lot of roof tiles and emergency supplies in place," said Tania Licor, 34, the Communist Party ideological chief in Consolacion del Sur.

    Food was trucked in from other provinces. Crews from the state electricity company restored power throughout the province within 52 days. Large railcar-sized diesel generators were brought in to provide immediate power to some towns.

    "To make repairs we have used a strategy of better use of the resources we have," she said, describing how state-run businesses cannibalized damaged buildings to fix up others.

    "That roof is new," said Julio Silvino, 49, director of the large Bay of Pigs Victory rice mill, pointing to patched roofing on a damaged drying tower.

    Located eight miles from the coast, the mill recorded wind speeds of 155 mph. Despite losing 1,200 exterior panels, it was back at 50 percent capacity only 15 days after Gustav hit. By April, the mill expects its four drying towers to be fully repaired.

    Two "construction brigades," each with 200 workers, are working their way down a list of damaged homes.

    Today, new roofs cover most homes, albeit many only hastily patched with large rectangular sheet tiles made from a rigid cement fiber. The state supplies the 6-by-4-foot sheets at a heavily subsidized price of less than 30 cents each.

    "I am looking forward to moving back in," said paint-splattered physical education teacher Maria Luisa Garcia, as friends and neighbors hammered in the last roof tiles. She, her husband and their 10-year-old son have spent the last three months living with her in-laws.

    Food staples are back in markets. Towns have planted rows of vegetables by the roadside to provide emergency food for schools and hospitals. The tobacco fields are a resplendent green with new plants, and the harvest this year is expected to be of a high quality. New electricity poles line the highway from Havana, and most power has been restored.

    But for some Pinar del Rio residents, this year's hurricane season could be their last in Cuba.

    "My father is applying for family reunification with relatives in the United States," said Yovel Hernandez, 25, who lost his house to the storm.

    "When he gets there then I will start planning to leave the same way," he said. "Hurricanes or no hurricanes, I don't see any economic hope here."



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    Billy Burnett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-24-08 08:07 AM
    Response to Original message
    153. How travel restrictions to Cuba tightened under George W. Bush administration
    Edited on Wed Dec-24-08 08:07 AM by Billy Burnett
    How travel restrictions to Cuba tightened under George W. Bush administration http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/cuba/sfl-flacuba...

    Travel restrictions tightened under Bush
    Since 1962, the United States has had a trade embargo on Cuba. President Bush tightened travel limits for Cuban-Americans in 2004. Here's how:

    Cuban-Americans can visit only once every three years. Previously they had been allowed to go once every 12 months.

    Travelers are allowed to visit only spouses, children, parents, siblings, grandparents or grandchildren.

    Visits are limited to 14 days and require a license.

    Travelers can bring only informational materials into the United States. Previously they could return with up to $100 worth of merchandise purchased on the island.

    Travelers can spend only $50 per day, plus $50 per trip for transportation costs. This is a third of the previous allowance.

    Only 44 pounds of baggage per traveler is allowed.

    Money sent to the island is limited to $300 every three months; it can be sent only to immediate family members.

    Gift packages can include only food, medicine, vitamins, medical supplies and equipment, receive-only radios and batteries.




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    Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-24-08 08:26 AM
    Response to Original message
    155. Wall Street Has Controlled Washington, D.C. since the Civil War
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    lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-24-08 09:15 AM
    Response to Original message
    156. Error: you can only recommend threads which were started in the past 24 hours
    Pity this got drowned out in the brouhaha d'jour.
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    Orwellian_Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-24-08 11:14 PM
    Response to Original message
    158. Venezuela and Cuba, 1960-2008
    Then and Now
    Venezuela and Cuba, 1960-2008

    By SAUL LANDAU

    Watching Hugo Chavez orate on Venezuelan television rings old memory bells. Socialism. Revolution, Patria. Words I heard in 1960-61 in Cuba.

    Now, almost half a century later, in Venezuelas 5 million plus capital, I watched the local residents cheering and waving flags, a scene that looked almost identical to what I remembered in Havana when Fidel Castro launched his marathon exercises in exciting rhetoric.

    Like his Cuban mentor, Chavez offered examples of how imperialism -- his word for the United States -- had violated sovereignty, by backing the unsuccessful 2002 military coup against him and how Washington interfered in the internal affairs of smaller countries.

    What a difference the decades make! In the early 1960s, the CIA (using Cuban exiles) assassinated Cuban teachers and militia members, and sabotaged Cuban installations. I remember hearing explosions, shots, and screams from the street.

    <snip>

    http://www.counterpunch.org/landau12242008.html
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