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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
December 1, 2016

Colombia peace deal passed by Congress, ending 52-year war

Source: Colombia Reports

written by Reuters December 1, 2016

Colombias Congress approved a new peace deal with FARC rebels late on Wednesday, despite objections from former President and now Senator Alvaro Uribe, who said it was still too lenient on the insurgents who have battled the government for 52 years.

The agreement was approved in the lower house by 130-0, a day after the Senate ratified it 75-0. Lawmakers from Uribes Democratic Center party left the floors of both houses in protest just before voting began.

The ratification and signing last week begins a six-month countdown for the 7,000-strong FARC, which started as a rebellion fighting rural poverty, to abandon weapons and form a political party.

. . .

Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in October for his peace efforts, wants to get the deal implemented as quickly as possible to maintain a fragile ceasefire.

Read more: http://colombiareports.com/colombian-peace-deal-passed-congress-ending-52-year-war/

November 30, 2016

Colombia's Senate has approved a revised peace accord

Colombia's Senate has approved a revised peace accord

Lissy De Abreu, AFP

Bogota (AFP) - Colombia's Senate has approved a revised peace accord between the government and the FARC rebel group, taking a first step toward ratifying an agreement that was rejected by voters.

The text, which was renegotiated after an earlier version was given a thumbs down in the October 2 national referendum, now must be approved by the lower house of the Colombian Congress.

Members of the Centro Democratico, the right-wing party that has led the opposition to a peace deal, walked out of the Senate in protest before Tuesday night's vote.

The measure then passed by a vote of 75-0.


November 30, 2016

News of Castro death came by radio to his guerrilla hideout

News of Castro death came by radio to his guerrilla hideout

Karin Laub, Associated Press

Updated 4:35 pm, Tuesday, November 29, 2016

LA PLATA, Cuba (AP) — Word of Fidel Castro's death reached our hiking group in a bunkhouse in the Sierra Maestra mountains, just a few miles from the jungle command center where Castro led his guerrilla war against a U.S.-backed government 60 years ago.

Our local guide got the news on a crackling two-way radio, our only link to the outside world, before dawn on Saturday, several hours after the Cuban leader's death in Havana. Castro had been ailing for several years and his death at the age of 90 did not come as a surprise.

But our guide, Jorge Garcia, age 39, was subdued. He had only known life under Castro, and from 2008 on under Castro's younger brother Raul.

"It is very difficult to know what will happen in the future," said Garcia, who at the age of 4 had met Castro.


November 28, 2016

Cuba Leads the World in Lowest Patient per Doctor Ratio; How do they do it?

Cuba Leads the World in Lowest Patient per Doctor Ratio; How do they do it?

July 30th, 2012 by joannamae
by Joanna Mae Souers

*Paraguayan 5th year student participating in primary care in Havana, Cuba. (2011,by Joanna Mae Souers)

In early 2007, I began studying medicine at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba. I entered the program not knowing much about the Cuban healthcare system, other than that it was universal and free. “Now that’s a system I want to learn from,” I thought to myself, “It’s a system we could all learn from.” Five years later, what have I learned?

There are many subtle and not so subtle differences between the Cuban and the U.S. health care systems which have allowed the Cubans to equal the U.S. with respect to their health statistics, but at a much lower cost and with better preventative and primary care. In this paper I analyze just one of the reasons for the differences between the two systems; Cuba produces more primary care practitioners per capita. How do they do it? Medical education in Cuba is free, all doctors interested in specializing must first serve two years working in primary care, and graduating doctors are not driven to specialize by salary incentives. This socialist approach towards medicine and medical education assures the human resources necessary to provide universal and preventative healthcare to all.

People marvel at how Cuba has “accomplished so much with so little.” And they marvel with good reason. According to the World Health Organization, Cuba spent only $503 per capita on healthcare in 2009, the U.S. spent almost 15 times that sum. In fact we in the US spent $421 per person just on the administration of the private healthcare insurance system, almost enough to fund the Cuban system. [1] [2] Despite dramatically lower costs, Cuba has some of the best health statistics and health indicators of any country around the world.

Although people like to compare and contrast the health statistics of the U.S. and Cuba, I think this a bit preposterous. Cuba, a small island in the Caribbean, is being compared to one of the largest countries in the Americas with a very different history. So in the table below, I have shown some health statistics on Cuba and the U.S. as well as the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The Dominican Republic and Haiti are Cuba’s Caribbean neighbors; similar in size, history and geographic location.


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July 25, 2014
Socialist Cuba Exports Health Care, Gains Important Recognition

by W. T. Whitney

In Cuba recently press conferences and new reports celebrated the ten-year anniversary of Operation Miracle, known also as “Mision Miracle,” which occurred on July 8. This internationalized project aimed at restoring vision on a massive scale took shape within the context of ALBA, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America.

Cuba and Venezuela launched ALBA in late 2004. Latin American and Caribbean nations belonging to ALBA engage in mutually beneficial trade-offs of educational and medical services, scientific projects, even commodities. They are referred to as solidarity exchanges. ALBA exemplifies Cuba and Venezuela’s central role in promoting regional integration.

Under Operation Miracle, Cubans and Venezuelans benefit from surgical eye care, as do tens of thousands of foreign nationals who’ve traveled to Cuba for treatment. Cuban ophthalmologists serving in Venezuela took the lead in establishing 26 eye care centers throughout that national territory. Staff consisting of eye surgeons, nurses, technicians, and other physicians have served Venezuelans and also vision- impaired people from 17 Latin American countries plus Italy, Portugal, and Puerto Rico. More recently organizers established centers in 14 Latin American and Caribbean nations. Ten years after its start the project operates in 31 countries, some in Africa and Asia.

Those receiving diagnosis and treatment through Operation Miracle had gone without eye care because of poverty and/or geographic inaccessibility. The most common cause of reduced vision the teams deal with is cataract. They provide treatment also for glaucoma, strabismus, retina problems, and abnormal ocular growths. Corrective lenses are provided. Services are available for patients at no personal cost, as are transportation and accommodations.


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Cuba’s extraordinary global medical record shames the US blockade

Seumas Milne

Wednesday 3 December 2014 15.07 EST
Last modified on Friday 11 November 2016 08.46 EST

Four months into the internationally declared Ebola emergency that has devastated west Africa, Cuba leads the world in direct medical support to fight the epidemic. The US and Britain have sent thousands of troops and, along with other countries, promised aid – most of which has yet to materialise. But, as the World Health Organisation has insisted, what’s most urgently needed are health workers. The Caribbean island, with a population of just 11m and official per capita income of $6,000 (£3,824), answered that call before it was made. It was first on the Ebola frontline and has sent the largest contingent of doctors and nurses – 256 are already in the field, with another 200 volunteers on their way.

While western media interest has faded with the receding threat of global infection, hundreds of British health service workers have volunteered to join them. The first 30 arrived in Sierra Leone last week, while troops have been building clinics. But the Cuban doctors have been on the ground in force since October and are there for the long haul.

The need could not be greater. More than 6,000 people have already died. So shaming has the Cuban operation been that British and US politicians have felt obliged to offer congratulations. John Kerry described the contribution of the state the US has been trying to overthrow for half a century “impressive”. The first Cuban doctor to contract Ebola has been treated by British medics, and US officials promised they would “collaborate” with Cuba to fight Ebola.

But it’s not the first time that Cuba has provided the lion’s share of medical relief following a humanitarian disaster. Four years ago, after the devastating earthquake in impoverished Haiti, Cuba sent the largest medical contingent and cared for 40% of the victims. In the aftermath of the Kashmir earthquake of 2005, Cuba sent 2,400 medical workers to Pakistan and treated more than 70% of those affected; they also left behind 32 field hospitals and donated a thousand medical scholarships.


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How Cuba Mobilises To Defeat Public Health Emergencies
By Don Fitz
February 13, 2012

“I’m on pesquizaje”, my daughter Rebecca told me. “All of the third, fourth and fifth year medical students at Allende have our classes suspended. We are going door-to-door looking for symptoms of dengue fever and checking for standing water.”[1]

As a fourth year medical student at Cuba’s ELAM (Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina, Latin American School of Medicine in Havana), she is assigned to Salvadore Allende Hospital in Havana. It handles most of the city’s dengue cases. Although she has done health canvassing before, this is the first time she has had classes cancelled to do it. It is very unusual for an outbreak of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness, to occur this late in the season. She remembers most outbreaks happening in autumn, being over before December, and certainly not going into January–February.

Groups of medical students are assigned to a block with about 135 homes, most having two to seven residents. They try to check on every home daily, but don’t see many working families until the weekend. The first sign of dengue they look for is fever. The medical students also check for joint pain, muscle pain, abdominal pain, headache behind the eye sockets, purple splotches and bleeding from the gums.

What is unique about Cuban medical school is the way ELAM students are trained to make in-home evaluations that include potentially damaging lifestyles — such as having uncovered standing water where mosquitoes can breed.


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Why Does Health Care in Cuba Cost 96% Less than in the US?

January 6, 2011 Don Fitz

When Americans spend $100 on health care, is it possible that only $4 goes to keeping them well and $96 goes somewhere else? Single payer health care advocates compare American health care to that in Western Europe or Canada and come up with figures of 20–30% waste in the US.

When Americans spend $100 on health care, is it possible that only $4 goes to keeping them well and $96 goes somewhere else? Single payer health care advocates compare American health care to that in Western Europe or Canada and come up with figures of 20–30% waste in the US.

But there is one country with very low level of economic activity yet with a level of health care equal to the West: Cuba.

Life expectancy of about 78 years of age in Cuba is equivalent to the US. Yet, in 2005, Cuba was spending $193 per person on health care, only 4% of the $4540 being spent in the US. Where could the other 96% of US health care dollars be going?


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Cuba Is Good for Your Health

By davidswanson - Posted on 11 February 2015

"It's behind us," Fernando Gonzales of the Cuban Five said with a smile when I told him just a few moments ago that I was sorry for the U.S. government having locked him in a cage for 15 years. It was nice of the New York Times to editorialize in favor of negotiations to release the remaining three, he said, especially since that paper had never reported on the story at all.

Gonzales said there is no ground for the United States keeping Cuba on its terrorist list. That there are Basques in Cuba is through an agreement with Spain, he said. The idea that Cuba is fighting wars in Central America is false, he added, noting that Colombian peace talks are underway here in Havana. "The President of the United States knows this," Gonzales said, "which is why he asked for the list to be reviewed."

Medea Benjamin recalled coming to Cuba back in an age when the United States was apparently trying to kill not only Cubans but also tourists who dared to come to Cuba. This, she said, is what the Cuban Five were trying to stop. So we're glad, she told Gonzales, that we can come here now without worrying about Obama putting a bomb in the lobby. A crazy worry? It wasn't always.

Earlier today we visited the Latin American School of Medicine, which is now misnamed as it educates doctors from all over the world, not just Latin America. It began in 1998 by converting a former navy school into a medical school at which to give free education to students from Central America. From 2005 to 2014, the school has seen 24,486 students graduate.


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Cuba's Cure

Why is Cuba exporting its health care miracle to the world's poor?

Sarah van Gelder posted May 11, 2007

Cubans say they offer health care to the world's poor because they have big hearts. But what do they get in return?

They live longer than almost anyone in Latin America. Far fewer babies die. Almost everyone has been vaccinated, and such scourges of the poor as parasites, TB, malaria, even HIV/AIDS are rare or non-existent. Anyone can see a doctor, at low cost, right in the neighborhood.

The Cuban health care system is producing a population that is as healthy as those of the world's wealthiest countries at a fraction of the cost. And now Cuba has begun exporting its system to under-served communities around the world—including the United States.

The story of Cuba's health care ambitions is largely hidden from the people of the United States, where politics left over from the Cold War maintain an embargo on information and understanding. But it is increasingly well-known in the poorest communities of Latin America, the Caribbean, and parts of Africa where Cuban and Cuban-trained doctors are practicing.


November 26, 2016

My resignation has to do with a political issue I know that is the case

‘My resignation has to do with a political issue — I know that is the case’
Friday, November 25, 2016

By Santiago Del Carril
Herald Staff

The country’s largest ongoing human rights trial is at a standstill after lead prosecutor Mercedes Soiza Reilly resigned from her post under pressure.

The largest ongoing legal case in the country — the third ESMA “mega-trial” investigating crimes against humanity committed against thousands of victims who were forcibly detained under the last military dictatorship (1976-1983) at the clandestine detention centre at the former ESMA Naval Mechanics School — is at a standstill. And it has been ever since state prosecutor Mercedes Soiza Reilly resigned her post last July.

If such a development was a lone, single incident, perhaps it would not garner much attention. But Soiza Reilly’s decision to stand down came after she was pressured to resign, following complaints from the Judicial Employees’ Union that were made against her regarding the alleged harassment of employees.

It’s a situation that echoes the fate of Judge Carlos Rozanski, who led the La Plata crimes against humanity trial and stepped down on October 20 after being accused of similar wrongdoing.

Although President Mauricio Macri’s administration has publicly declared its support for human rights investigations, emphasising that they are a state policy, several other incidents have sparked concern among human rights activists.

In an interview with the Herald, Soiza Reilly — who now is part of the Attorney General Alejandra Gils Carbó’s unit probing state terrorism under the Junta’s leadership — discussed her experience of leading the ESMA trial, the pressures she and others had to endure, and what is necessary in order for such trials to continue and why they are important.

When did you begin participating in trials addressing crimes against humanity?

About seven years ago when the Attorney General’s Office appointed me to the Automotores Orletti (clandestine detention centre) crimes against humanity trial. This case investigated a clandestine detention centre that held political activists from other countries who had escaped to Argentina before the 1976 coup d’état. Uruguayans, Chileans, Bolivians, amongst others, were held there. Reciprocal agreements with other countries supported our investigation, in concrete terms by collaborating with the declassification of documents from the Armed Forces of countries in the Southern Cone region. In this trial four military officials, who had worked with the former SIDE Intelligence agency military squadrons, were convicted.


Hope we will hear from our Argentina specialist, forest444 again.

November 25, 2016

National Genocide Day

November 24, 2016
National Genocide Day

by Paul Edwards

It’s here. As the brisk North winds and sharply chill days announce winter’s arrival we gather joyfully with family and dear friends around tables laden with roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and homemade pumpkin pie, to give thanks and celebrate once again our annihilation of an entire race.

You say, Jesus, that’s a cold shot, nobody thinks of it that way. You’re right, of course, and that’s the point. The reality of the means of “settlement” of America has been so fantasticly transmuted by propaganda–now daintily deemed “perception management”, “framing the argument”–that the brutal ugliness of the story has been supplanted by a vacuous, insipid fairy tale created with stunning cynicism out of the infantile imagination of the State.

The historical narrative of American conquest and occupation is one of invasion and extermination, of relentless pressure relentlessly applied, with the use of every murderous method, means, and mechanism in the arsenal of violent barbarity, from the Hordes of Genghiz Khan on down.

Of course, it was not done on a formulated plan; nor was it accomplished in a single irresistible sweep such as Attila’s invasion of medieval Europe, that very nearly made our own ancestors Mongols. The total appropriation of America was incremental, tidal, but it was not less overwhelming for that.


November 25, 2016

Women in science pledge to combat hate

Source: BBC News

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News
27 minutes ago

Almost 10,000 women working in science have signed an open letter pledging to combat discrimination and "anti-science sentiment" following the US election.

. . .

In the six days since its publication, 8,800 researchers have signed the pledge, which rejects the "hateful rhetoric that was given a voice".

Dr Kelly Ramirez from Colorado State University was one of its authors.

She and her colleagues took aim at discrimination targeting "minority groups, women, LGBTQIA, immigrants, and people with disabilities".

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38094016

November 24, 2016

Riba architecture prize won by 'modern Machu Picchu'

Riba architecture prize won by 'modern Machu Picchu'

9 hours ago

Iwan Baan
The university is situated on the edge of a ravine in the Barranco district of Lima

A university building in Peru designed by a female-led Irish firm has won the first Royal Institute of British Architects global architecture prize.

The Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia (UTEC) in Lima was described by Riba as "inspirational" and a "bold new addition to the city skyline".

. . .

The high-rise UTEC building, designed by Dublin-based Grafton Architects, was described by the Riba jury as "a series of landscaped terraces with clefts, overhangs and grottos" which resembles a "modern day Machu Picchu".

. . .

UTEC's chief executive Carlos Heeren said: "Its open spaces push their ideas to new limits, its solid structure makes them feel safe to explore and take risks, and its elegant lines remind us all that beauty can be found even in concrete."




More images:

November 24, 2016

Ancient residential city, cemetery discovered in Abydos

Ancient residential city, cemetery discovered in Abydos

On Wed, 23/11/2016 - 15:36

Al-Masry Al-Youm

The head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector, Mahmoud Afify, announced Wednesday the discovery of a cemetery and a residential city dating back to 5,316 BCE, the beginning of an important dynastic period.

The discovery was made during excavations conducted by an Egyptian archaeological mission belonging to the Ministry of Antiquities, 400 meters south of King Seti I Temple at Abydos city in Sohag governorate.

The cemetery and residential city most probably belonged to senior officials who were responsible for building the cemeteries of the royal family in Abydos city.

Remains of huts and daily life tools were found in the site, including the remains of pottery and stone tools, which indicates that the residential city supplied the labor force engaged in the construction of royal tombs with food and drink, according to Afify.


November 23, 2016

Colombia paramilitary successors embark on cop-killing spree in Antioquia

Colombia paramilitary successors embark on cop-killing spree in Antioquia

written by Stephen Gill November 23, 2016

The northwestern Colombia province of Antioquia raised its state of alert to orange after paramilitary successor group AGC, a.k.a. “Los Urabeños,” allegedly assassinated four policemen in one week, mainly around province capital Medellin.

The group called the “Gulf Clan” by the authorities is responsible for the hit-and-run murders carried out while the group’s leadership is calling for inclusion in a peace process with their traditional arch enemies, the Marxist FARC guerrilla group, according to Antioquia’s top public security official.

“It is clear to the authorities and everyone that the Gulf Clan is behind these acts,” the top official said in a statement.

Calling themselves the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, the paramilitary heir has previously targeted policemen and at one point even offered a reward for every killed policeman, something not seen since slain drug lord Pablo Escobar reigned over Antioquia in the 1980s and 1990s.


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