First published on 20 October 2014 by New York Times
Cuba is an impoverished island that remains largely cut off from the world and lies about 4,500 miles from the West African nations where Ebola is spreading at an alarming rate. Yet, having pledged to deploy hundreds of medical professionals to the front lines of the pandemic, Cuba stands to play the most robust role among the nations seeking to contain the virus.
Cuba’s contribution is doubtlessly meant at least in part to bolster its beleaguered international standing. Nonetheless, it should be lauded and emulated.
The global panic over Ebola has not brought forth an adequate response from the nations with the most to offer. While the United States and several other wealthy countries have been happy to pledge funds, only Cuba and a few nongovernmental organizations are offering what is most needed: medical professionals in the field.
Published on 12 October by The Guardian
The island nation has sent hundreds of health workers to help control the deadly infection while richer countries worry about their security – instead of heeding UN warnings that vastly increased resources are urgently needed
As the official number of Ebola deaths in west Africa’s crisis topped 4,000 last week – experts say the actual figure is at least twice as high – the UN issued a stark call to arms. Even to simply slow down the rate of infection, the international humanitarian effort would have to increase massively, warned secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
“We need a 20-fold resource mobilisation,” he said. “We need at least a 20-fold surge in assistance – mobile laboratories, vehicles, helicopters, protective equipment, trained medical personnel, and medevac capacities.”
But big hitters such as China or Brazil, or former colonial powers such France and the UK, have not been stepping up to the plate. Instead, the single biggest medical force on the Ebola frontline has been a small island: Cuba.
That a nation of 11 million people, with a GDP of $6,051 per capita, is leading the effort says much of the international response. A brigade of 165 Cuban health workers arrived in Sierra Leone last week, the first batch of a total of 461. In sharp contrast, western governments have appeared more focused on stopping the epidemic at their borders than actually stemming it in west Africa. The international effort now struggling to keep ahead of the burgeoning cases might have nipped the outbreak in the bud had it come earlier.
Published on 27/09/14 by Prensa Latina
An international workshop on the development of renewable energy sources, mainly gasification of forest biomass, will be held on Oct. 6-8, said organizers.
It is the most important project implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) in Cuba, ongoing in the special municipality of Isle of Youth, explained in a press conference Maria Tomas, commercial specialist of energy, research, development and services.
Jorge Luis Isaac, a specialist of public service firm Union Electrica de Cuba, said that the project includes the use of wind energy and the technology of gasification of forest biomass in the Isle of Youth, considered for its size as a very climate change-related vulnerable site with difficulties for energy supply.
This technique means the conversion of forest industry wastes into fuel gas through a thermochemical process to generate electricity or heat for the industry. At least 1.5 kg of biomass is needed to produce 1 kilowatt.
The project was signed in 2005 and went through several phases up to now, including the training or staff, the creation of firms to promote renewable energy sources and the transfer of technologies for the design, production and operation of forest biomass gasifiers.
To introduce this technology in Cuba, Unido donated a forest biomass gasification plant, located in Cocordilo town, in the Isle of Youth, to supply energy to a community of 80 houses and 230 inhabitants from waste generated by cleaning the forest.
The project, worth some 5.3 million USD, is supported by the Global Environment Fund under the United Nations Environment Program to implement actions to mitigate the effects of climate change and develop renewable energy sources.
Published 11 September by Prensa Latina
(Editors note - Cuba's commitment been reported in mainstream media, including even Forbes Magazine)
Given the history of Cuban international collaboration, particularly in the health field, we have been asked to join the group of countries that will give initial response to an urgent call against Ebola in Africa, said Cuban Health Minister Roberto Morales after a meeting in Geneva with World Health Organization director general Margaret Chan.
Minister Morales visited Geneva in response to a call by the World Health Organization and the United Nations to fight Ebola, according to PL news agency.
At present, Cuban health workers, including over 2 500 doctors, are offering their services in 32 African countries, said Morales and added that Ebola must be fought in a comprehensive manner, under the coordination of the World Health Organization, to achieve a significant impact on the affected regions.
The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the worst ever in the world so far with nearly 4 thousand cases and over 2 thousand deaths.
During a working session, Margaret Chan expressed the need to learn from the Cuban experience in the treatment of emergency cases and thanked President Raul Castro because Cuba has been the first country to respond to the UN and the WHO call to fight Ebola in Western Africa
On 27th August Rene Gonzalez was again denied a visa to visit the UK. This decision was taken despite the fact that 29 MPs had invited him to speak at a meeting at the Houses of parliament on September 10th. On 5 September, he suffered a further miscarriage of justice when the British courts failed to overturn the decision.
The Cuba Solidarity Campaign has launched a letter writing campaign which you can join here
Olga Salanueva, wife of released Miami Five prisoner René González, will speak at emergency meetings on 8-10 September to protest at the British government’s denial of an entry visa for her husband.
René, the first of the Miami Five to be released, was due to speak at meetings in Liverpool and London to mark the 16th anniversary of their arrests. Despite an invitation from 29 British MPs to address a meeting in parliament and by the TUC to address their Congress in Liverpool, the British government has refused three legal appeals to overturn their decision to deny him entry to the country.
Rene is currently in the middle of visits to Portugal and France, both countries having granted him a visa without issue.
Emergency meetings with Olga Salanueva
Published on 1 September 2014 by Workers World
“The banks are a tool of Wall Street rule!” Is this political accusation just an abstract, educational slogan?
Not in the case of Cuba. On July 3, The Irish Independent reported that international transactions to or from Cuba would no longer be processed by the Bank of Ireland. The announcement coincides with the largest bank in France — BNP Paribas SA — agreeing to pay a negotiated settlement nearing $9 billion for violating international sanctions unilaterally imposed by the United States on third countries, including handling $1.75 billion for Cuba. (bloomberg.com, July 9)
But even according to the governor of the Bank of France, BNP Paribas “had broken no European or French rules.” (Financial Times, June 2 )
Neither did the Bank of Ireland. So what is the problem? The “Single European Payment Area” is a financial system to facilitate and standardize the electronic flow of capital across European borders to be fully in place by Aug. 1. But SEPA is not isolated from the global flow of money.
The Bank of Ireland claims it depends on an overseas bank to process transactions under the SEPA umbrella. On Aug. 25, the Irish Times quoted a bank spokesperson’s explanation, “‘As it happens, [the bank which processes] all Sepa transactions is a leading U.S. bank who must comply with its own regulatory requirements and obligations and to avoid a possible exposure to regulatory sanctions and penalties.’ Because of this the Irish bank says it is ‘not in a position to process such transactions’” to Cuba. In other words, it faces the specter of a BNP Paribas type fine.
Since 1992, the United Nations General Assembly has annually and overwhelmingly passed resolutions condemning the U.S. blockade of Cuba. All European Union representatives and Ireland supported these resolutions.
Simon McGuinness, the national coordinator of Cuba Support Group Ireland, said, “On the one hand we have the EU voting as a single bloc against the blockade and on the other they introduced financial regulations which facilitate it.” (irishtimes.com, Aug. 25)
The globalization of U.S. imperialism’s financial network relies increasingly on technology for the split-second transfer of capital to every corner of the earth. It is a shadowy weapon against sovereignty and independent development for formerly colonized areas in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Bank of Ireland’s decision to eliminate transfers to and from Cuba is an example of how unelected proponents of imperialism in the corporate and financial boardrooms shape financial regulations to enforce their political goals — while giving the illusion of objectivity.
"The countries of ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance of the People of Our Americas, integrated by Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, and various Caribbean nations) express their solidarity with the African descent communities of the United States," the statement added.
Published on 28 July by www.revolutionarycommunist.org
At the 6th BRICS summit held on 15-16 July 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil, the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) announced the creation of a New Development Bank and multilateral reserve fund. This is a direct alternative to the dominance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank and represents a significant challenge to the US and EU. The new bank gives countries like Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, which are explicitly building and working towards socialism, access to trade, credit and investment without having to accept the dictates of US and EU imperialism.
The BRICS countries represent one fifth of the world economy, almost 50% of world GDP growth in the last 10 years, and 40% of the world's population. With the New Development Bank they are claiming an international role which reflects this. The bank is due to begin lending in 2016 and within five years will hold US $100bn of pooled capital (reported World Bank capital was $223bn in June 2013). This will be underscored by $41bn from China, $18bn from Brazil, India and Russia and $5 bn from South Africa. The reserve fund is aimed to support its members against economic crisis and global financial crises, a welcome alternative to the debt-ridden structural adjustment programmes of the IMF. Whilst the main stakeholders will remain BRICS countries, other nations will also be invited to become members of the bank.
Rock around the Blockade unreservedly condemns the barbaric Zionist onslaught of Israel on Gaza.
As the Cuban government said, 'Israel uses its military and technological superiority to implement a policy of collective punishment with a disproportionate use of force that causes loss of innocent civilian lives and massive property damage'.
We condemn the imperialist support for Israel, in particular in Britain where the ConDem coalition government continues to arm Israel and the British Labour Party in opposition pledges its support for Israel.
We stand with the Palestinian people and reiterate the words of Fidel Castro who expressed his 'solidarity with the heroic people who defend the last sliver remaining of what was their homeland for thousands of years'. We give our unconditional support to all resistance in Palestine
Resistance is justified when Palestine is occupied!
We take up the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's call for urgent international solidarity.
Join us on the streets for political activity as part of the Boycott Divestment and Sanction movement.
Long Live Gaza! Long Live Palestine!