Reflections by Comrade Fidel
THE FIGHT AGAINST CHOLERA
I have taken a pause among several important analyses occupying my time these days to refer to two subjects of which our people must be made aware.
The UN, at the instigation of the US, creator of poverty and chaos in the Republic of Haiti, had decided to send its occupation troops into Haitian territory, the MINUSTAH (UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti), which in passing introduced the cholera epidemic into that brother country.
As for the OAS Secretary General, he decided, at the beginning of 2009,
to appoint as his personal representative in
Seitenfus who at that time was working in his country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Seitenfus was enjoying well-deserved prestige in diplomatic and
government circles in the Haitian capital because of the seriousness and
openness with which he was dealing with the problems. In 1993 he had written a book called “
Two days ago, on December 25th, the information agencies spread the news that the OAS special representative had been dismissed abruptly from his job.
What was the cause of the drastic measure?
Interviewed several days ago by Le
Very briefly, I shall explain what happened, using the actual words, according to the information available on the Internet and translated from French.
The first question from Le Temps was:
“Ten thousand blue helmets in
Ricardo Seitenfus’ answer:
“The system for the prevention of strife within the UN framework is not adapting to the Haitian context. Haiti is not an international threat. We are not in civil war conditions. […] the Security Council […] imposed the blue helmets in 2004 after the exit of President Aristide. […] For the UN it was a matter of freezing the power and transforming the Haitians into prisoners on their own island.”
“What prevents normalization in the case of
“Ricardo Seitenfus: For
two hundred years, the presence of foreign troops has alternated with that of
the dictators. It is force that defines
international relations with
“Is it not resignation to view
“Ricardo Seitenfus: Part of
“Ricardo Seitenfus: Emergency aid
is effective; but when it becomes structural, when that aid substitutes the
State in all its missions, a lack of collective responsibility is
The January 12th earthquake and the
subsequent cholera epidemic have only accentuated this phenomenon. The international community feels that every day
you have to re-do whatever was completed the day before. [...]
I was hoping that, before the tragedy of January 12th, the
world would understand that it had made a mistake with
“What role do the NGOs play in this disaster?
“Ricardo Seitenfus: Starting
with the earthquake,
“What errors have been made after the earthquake?
“Ricardo Seitenfus: In
the face of massive importing of consumer goods to feed the homeless, the
situation of Haitian agriculture had become worse. The country offers free rein to all
humanitarian experiences. It is
unacceptable from the moral point of view to see
“Ricardo Seitenfus: It
is the concentrate of our dramas and of the failures of international
solidarity. We are not up to the
challenge. The foreign press comes to
“Besides acknowledging the failure, what solutions do you propose?
“Ricardo Seitenfus: In
two months I will have completed a two-year mission in
One can agree or not with each of these words spoken by the Brazilian Ricardo Seitenfus, but it is without question that he uttered solid truths in his answers.
I think it is convenient to add, and also to clarify:
Our country not only sent hundreds of doctors to our neighbouring brother country of Haiti, but also thousands of doctors to other countries in the Third World, especially in natural disaster situations, and it contributed to the formation of tens of thousands of doctors in our Homeland and abroad.
The medical collaboration with
When at the end of the 1990s the tyranny of Duvalier and the Tonton Macoutes ceased to exist, -imposed for decades by the United States – and a government elected by the people assumed the leadership of Haiti, Cuba sent 100 doctors to provide services to that country, and the first contingent of young Haitian high school graduates travelled to Cuba to begin medical studies in 1999.
In turn, in 2001, we began collaboration with the
The Cuban Medical Mission continued, however, to provide its humanitarian
In August of 2005, the first 128 Haitian sixth-year medical students returned
to their country for the practical part of their courses, side-by-side with the
Cuban doctors who were providing their services in
From the second half of 2006 until the second half of 2010, 625 young Haitian doctors have graduated: we admire them immensely. Of these, 213 are at work in the Haitian governmental medical institutions; 125 are working at the Cholera Medical Control Centres or in brigades being sent out to the sub-communes along with Cuban and Latin American ELAM graduates who are fighting the cholera epidemic; 72 are working in NGO or private medical centres; 20 are at the so-called “Mixed Centres”; 41 are continuing their studies in a second specialty in Cuba; 27 new graduates are already in Haiti, awaiting their postings; 14 are unemployed because of personal problems such as pregnancy and maternity; another four are at unknown locations and one has died.
Finally, 104 are at work abroad, basically in
The official figure of those dying from cholera reaches 2,707, for a death rate of 2.1%.
For three consecutive days, there has not been one single death from cholera among the people being looked after by the Cuban Medical Mission. The death rate has been lowered now to 0.57 among the 47,537 patients being treated by them. The epidemic can be eradicated, avoiding that it becomes endemic.
At the Round Table TV programme tomorrow, at in
the evening, we shall be hearing fresh and interesting news about the fight
against cholera in
I shall continue on Tuesday the 28th with the second point.
Fidel Castro Ruz
December 27, 2010