Reflections by comrade Fidel
Significant events have taken place in our country lately.
On October 28, at , the commemoration of the 50th
anniversary of the physical disappearance of Camilo Cienfuegos; the sad event occurred one stormy evening as he
was traveling in a light aircraft from
He had fought his last victorious battle against the
tyranny in Yaguajay, at the end of December 1958. The
mausoleum was dedicated in that area where the remains of those who fell during
the war in the Las Villas North Front or after January 1st, 1959
have been laid to rest; they will later be joined by those who fought with his
Invading Column or connected with it in the center of the island, and who are
still alive. Somebody then called him the Hero of Yaguajay
and the title sticked to him. But he was more than
that: he was the Hero of the Antonio Maceo Invading
Column. The brave commander was advancing
with his light column towards Pinar del
Following a decision of the Party and the Government, as of this 50th Anniversary his steel silhouette shines together with that of the Heroic Guerrilla from the Revolution Square, guarding the statue of Our National Hero Jose Marti.
Also on October 28, at in the morning, as fate would have it,
the debate started on the resolution introduced by
The discreet and supportive work of our people from
the first years of the Revolution, and its heroic resistance despite the
The irrefutable arguments of our Foreign Minister
Bruno Rodriguez sounded like a terrible pounding in that room sitting at the
very heart of
For the first time in many years of debate, every UN member state took part in the discussion of the thorny and compromising issue.
Even the European allies --members of NATO-- and the developed,
consumer-oriented and rich countries that make up the European Community felt
obliged to express their disagreement with the economic blockade of
When the President of the Assembly took a vote on the
resolution, of the 192 states present only three delegations voted against
However, as fate would have it, these were not the only remarkable events for Cubans that day. That evening marked the end of the visit to our Homeland of Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), accompanied by Mirta Roses, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Both represent the two most important international agencies taking responsibility for that crucial task. Last Tuesday I had the honor of meeting with them.
Since the issue of the A H1N1 influenza epidemic is
of such great interest to every nation, especially those of the
Despite the concern and efforts of our ministry of Public Health and its information programs intended for our people, I felt it could be advisable to delve into the epidemic subject.
Public health was one of the causes that made a
Revolution necessary in
Leaving out many data to make the story short, suffice it to remember in this Reflection that the dengue is transmitted by the mosquito but the A H1N1 influenza spreads more easily and directly through the respiratory tract.
Our people should know that at the end of World War I, an influenza epidemic took the lives of tens of millions of people at a time when the population of the planet hardly exceeded 1.5 billion. On the other hand, humanity had much less scientific and technical resources available than today.
This reality, however, should not lead us to be overconfident. When such epidemics break out, resources are needed to prevent and fight them, as it was the case with yellow fever, polio, tetanus and others, and the vaccines that for years have protected children and the population at large from many extremely harmful diseases.
Today, there are also other types of vaccines, especially those protecting the people from various flu viruses, which are given to those cases at greater risk due to permanent or temporary causes.
Our people should be mindful that it is more difficult to have vaccines against certain viruses because of their genetic mutations, as it is the case of those related to the A H1N1 flu and others.
The highly developed and rich countries have quite
sophisticated and costly laboratories. Even
Internationally, there is a logical fear of the
abovementioned flu, given its dissemination capacity and its effects on certain
more vulnerable persons. Aside from the aspects related to the international
cooperation offered by our doctors, who have given
Dr. Chan knows that wherever the Cuban doctors are, they will cooperate in the speedy vaccination of the people.
These are obviously positive news for our compatriots. However, we must bear in mind certain circumstances.
It will be several weeks or maybe two or three months before the first vaccines get here.
The main concern of the WHO is that the mutation capacity of the virus may quickly overtake the effect of the vaccines and then it would be necessary to start again the search for another effective vaccine. In my view, this determines the importance of an adequate network of medical services as we have in our country and of the systematic orientation to a population with high educational levels to obtain its cooperation in the relevant actions.
The lack of adequate medical services in many
countries, including the United States where nearly 50 million people do not have
access to medical care, raises considerably the number of potential victims.
That country has declared a state of Health Emergency. Two days ago, I listened
to a report that between November and March the A H1N1 flu could be the cause
of 90 thousand deaths in the
The initial symptoms of the A H1N1 appeared in
When the current
The first carriers of the virus here were travelers from overseas. Relatively few people were infected in our country and for months we had no virus-related deaths but as the virus extended to every province, mainly those with a higher number of relatives resident in the United States, it became necessary to purchase new laboratory equipment for the Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute and to multiply our efforts, while still fighting dengue.
So, we were faced with the intriguing situation that,
on the one hand, the United States authorized the traveling of the largest
number of virus carriers while, on the other, it banned the acquisition of
equipment and medication to fight the epidemic. Of course, I don’t think it was
the intention of the
With the equipment purchased elsewhere we are in a position to know, with absolute precision, the total number of people affected by the epidemic and those whose death may be related to the presence of the virus.
Fortunately, in addition to the services and the well-trained medical personnel in our country, there is in the international market an antiviral medication particularly effective when given to the people with clear symptoms of carrying the virus and to those providing direct care to them.
We have that antiviral and also the necessary raw material to continue producing a similar amount to that available; additionally, we shall spare no effort to have the indispensable doses.
Even if many countries fail to provide the international agencies with the relevant information about the epidemic, for lack of networks of services and medical personnel, we know that our government is determined to communicate with absolute accuracy to such agencies the number of cases and deaths related to the epidemic, as we have always done with the public health data of Cuba.
Fortunately, our country has an extensive network of healthcare services. The possibility to provide immediate care to those afflicted by the disease is real; we also have a sufficient number of medical doctors with quality training, many of whom have fulfilled honorable and unforgettable internationalist missions.
Fidel Castro Ruz