REFLECTIONS BY THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF
BUSH, HEALTH AND EDUCATION
by Fidel Castro
July 14, 2007
I will not refer to Bush’s health and education, but to that of his
neighbors. It was not an improvised declaration. The AP agency tells
us what his opening words were: “Tenemos corazones grandes en este
país” (We have big hearts in this country); he said this in Spanish
in front of 250 representatives of private and religious groups,
foundations and NGOs who had come to Washington with all expenses
paid by his government. Of these, some 100 came from the United
“The meeting, called the White House Conference on the Americas, is
part of the ideas outlined by Bush as he began a tour of five Latin
American countries at the beginning of March about what his
government was hoping to do for the region in the short time still
remaining of his term in office.”
“Bush called the conference in order to discuss several subjects,
especially education and health. ‘It’s … in the interests of the
United States that our neighborhood be healthy and educated’, he said
in improvised declarations during a chat with six of the attendees,
from Guatemala, the United States, Brazil, Haiti and Mexico, who sat
at the table with him in a colloquium”, the press agency added.
He said some incredible things, like “the hard work we’re doing in
Bush spoke, as did the Secretary of the Treasury, the Under Secretary
of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and the Under Secretary of
State for Public Affairs. Together with them, several members of the
Cabinet chaired the working groups in which the meeting was arranged.
They all talked until they were blue in the face.
They mentioned that Bush had created a training center in Panama that
graduated more than 100 doctors from six Central American countries.
They very emphatically referred to the Comfort, “one of the best
medical ships in the world that had just called on port in Panama
after visiting Guatemala”.
“Bush dedicated 55 minutes of his time to this activity which took
place in a hotel in the city of Arlington, Virginia, on the outskirts
of Washington D.C.”
Then, as bold as you like, Secretary of State Condolezza Rice, joined
the voices to speak about Cuba.
According to another news agency, when our Council of State,
complying with constitutional norms, had just called the elections,
she declared that “the United States hopes that the Cubans themselves
will decide their future”, and she added: “Washington will not
tolerate the transition from one dictator to another”.
In his opening speech, Bush addressed really unusual concepts for the
head of a planetary global empire, very conscious of his power and of
his personal role, reported in detail by the Spanish press agency
EFE: “The President of the United States, George W. Bush, today urged
the governments of Latin America to be honest, transparent and open.”
(…) “The leader affirmed that societies which are open and
transparent are those which will lead to hopeful tomorrows.”
“We expect governments to be honest and transparent (…) We reject the
notion that it’s okay for there to be corruption in government…”
“It is also in our interest to help a neighbor in need. It renews our
soul. It lifts our collective spirit. I believe to whom much is
given, much is required. We’ve been given a lot as a nation, and
therefore, I believe we’re required to help,” he insisted.
Bush knows that he is lying and that his tall tales are hard to
swallow, but he doesn’t care. He is confident that if he repeats it a
thousand times, many will finally believe him. Why so much trickery?
What essentially torments him? When did all this rushing come up?
Bush is discovering that the economic and political system of his
empire cannot compete with Cuba in vital services, such as healthcare
and education, although this country has been attacked and blockaded
for almost 50 years. Everyone knows that the United States’ specialty
concerning education is the brain drain. The International Labor
Organization has indicated that “47 percent of people born abroad
that complete their Doctorate in the United States stay in that
Yet another example of the plunder: “There are more Ethiopian
physicians in Chicago than in all of Ethiopia.”
In Cuba, where healthcare is not a commodity, we can do things that
Bush cannot even dream of.
Third World countries do not have the resources to set up scientific
research centers, while Cuba has created these even if her own
professionals have often been enticed and encouraged to defect.
Our Yes I Can method of teaching people to read and write is today
available to all Latin American countries, free of charge, and the
countries that choose to use the program receive support to adapt it
to their own characteristics and to produce the printed materials and
the corresponding videos.
Countries such as Bolivia are implementing the program in Spanish,
Quechua and Aymara. The numbers of those who have learned to read and
write there in just one year exceed the number of those who have been
taught to read and write by the empire in all of Latin America, if
indeed there is anyone. And I am not speaking about other countries
like Venezuela which has accomplished veritable heroic deeds in
education in a very short time.
Yes I Can is of benefit to other societies outside the Western
Hemisphere. Suffice it to say that New Zealand is using the program
to eradicate illiteracy in their Maori population.
Instead of having one training center for medical professionals in
Central America, which has trained about 100 –and we’re glad for
this– our country today has tens of thousands of students from Latin
America and the Caribbean on full scholarships who spend six years
training as doctors in Cuba, free of charge. Of course, we do not
exclude any American youth who take their education very seriously.
We cooperate with Venezuela in the education of more than 20,000
youths, who study medicine and train in clinics in the poor
neighborhoods, tutored by Cuban specialists, so that they can get
acquainted with their future and difficult job.
The Comfort, with over 800 people on board, that is, medical staff
and crew, will not be able to look after great numbers of people. It
is impossible to carry out medical programs episodically. Physical
therapy, for example, in many cases requires months of work.
Cuba provides permanent services to people in polyclinics and
well-equipped hospitals, and the patients can be cared for any time
of day or night. We have also trained the necessary physical therapy
The eye surgery also requires special skills. In our country
ophthalmologic centers perform more than 50,000 eye surgeries on
Cubans each year and look after 27 kinds of diseases. There are no
waiting lists for cornea transplants which need special arrangements.
Let an active investigation be done in the United States and you will
see how many people really need to be operated on there; since they
have never been examined by an ophthalmologist they will attribute
their eye problems to other causes and run the risk of becoming blind
or of having their vision seriously impaired. You would find out that
there are millions.
In the abovementioned figure I did not include the hundreds of
thousands of Latin Americans and Caribbean people some of whom are
operated on in Cuba, but most in their respective countries, by Cuban
ophthalmologists. In Bolivia alone, they are more than 100,000 each
year. In this instance, Bolivian doctors educated in the Latin
American School of Medicine (ELAM) take part in the surgeries
alongside our Cuban specialists.
Let’s just see how the Comfort will make out in Haiti, providing
health services for a week. There, in 123 of the country’s 134
communes there are Cuban doctors working alongside ELAM graduates, or
Haitian students in the last year of medical school, fighting AIDS
and various tropical diseases.
The problem is that the United States cannot do what Cuba is doing.
On the contrary, it brutally pressures the manufacturing companies of
the excellent medical equipment that is supplied to our country to
prevent them from replacing certain computer programs or some spare
parts that are under United States patents. I could cite concrete
cases and the names of the companies. It is disgusting, even though
we have solutions that make us more invulnerable in this field.
Less than six months ago Bush had not yet invented the idea of making
fuel production universal, from foodstuff inside and outside the
United States. Those of us who are aware of the value of fats and
protein foods for human nutrition know what the consequences are for
pregnant women, children, teenagers, adults and the elderly if they
lack these. The brunt of the scarcity will fall on the shoulders of
the least developed countries, in other words, on the largest part of
humanity. It will surprise no one that this will be accompanied by
increased prices for basic foodstuffs and social instability.
Yesterday, Friday 13, the price of oil was 79.18 US dollars a barrel;
another consequence of the money rush and the war in Iraq.
Barely 48 hours ago, the United States Secretary of Homeland
Security, Michael Chertoff, said that “he had the gut feeling that a
terrorist attack could happen in the country during the summer”. The
Secretary of State, and subsequently the President of the United
States himself, said something similar. But while they were giving
information about a potential risk, they were also taking great pains
to calm public opinion.
The government of the United States sees and hears all, with or
without legal authority. Furthermore, it possesses numerous
intelligence and counterintelligence services that are provided with
copious economic resources for espionage. It can obtain all the
security information it needs without kidnapping, torturing or
murdering persons in secret prisons. Everybody knows the real
economic purposes pursued through world violence and force. They can
prevent any attack on their people, unless there is some imperial
need to deliver a bang so that they can carry on with and justify the
brutal war which has been declared against the culture, religion,
economy and independence of other peoples.
I must conclude.
Tomorrow, Sunday, is Children’s Day. I think of them as I write this
reflection. I dedicate it to them.
Fidel Castro Ruz
July 14, 2007