Targeting Cuba in Pakistan

Posted on February 3, 2010

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Targeting Cuba in Pakistan
The Nation, Pakistan – February 3

By Shireen M. Mazari

Sometimes events and issues that arise, may seem purely coincidental, but on closer scrutiny actually have a definitive pattern and purpose. And so it has been with the issue of Pakistani students being sent to Cuba for medical degrees – all paid for by the Cuban government. This arrangement, a major boon for the average Pakistani seeking quality medical education, came about after Cuba extended extensive assistance in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake. That exposed the Pakistani nation to the dedication and commitment of the Cuban people to other developing nations. Not only did Cuba send assistance, but a team of doctors stayed with the earthquake-hit people along with a minister for seven months. It was not simply of sending over excess supplies through huge excess delivery capacity but a people-to-people commitment that compelled the Cubans, with their limited resources to extend assistance to Pakistan.

The fact of the matter is that since Castro’s revolution in Cuba, when the country finally rid itself of the US imperialist hold that had been established through the notorious Platt Amendment appended on to the Cuban Constitution, Cuba has used its resources to help other oppressed and poor nations worldwide, with no conditions of race or religion. So we saw Cuba help the Angolans in their nationalist struggle against colonialism and we saw Cubans coming to Pakistan in its moment of need in 2005, and presently the Cubans are in Haiti helping the calamity-stricken people. Unlike superpower America, they have no agenda such as exploiting the poverty of the locals and kidnapping Haitian children out for adoption by Americans – just to put things in the proper perspective.

After the earthquake, the Cubans offered 1000 scholarships in the medical field for low-income Pakistanis and this gesture opened a potential gateway to success for these families – after all, none of them could afford medical education abroad in the normal course and few could afford it even in Pakistan. But since that time, periodically, a hue and cry is created about these students, despite the fact that issues raised have been settled. So is this a mere coincidence or is there a pattern to this periodic targeting of a nation that has truly reached out to the Pakistani masses?

After all, who would target Cuba and seek to destroy its relations with Pakistan? The answer requires little contemplation. The US has been trying to undermine the Castro regime since the success of the Revolution. It has continued to hold on to a piece of Cuban territory, Guantanamo Bay, effectively illegally, and has sought to unsuccessful military interventions in that country. Since 1959, it has continued to impose a financial and trade blockade of the Island nation, despite successive UN General Assembly resolutions demanded an end to this economic warfare against a member of the United Nations. These resolutions have been almost unanimous with the majority of the international comity of nations on one side, and the US, Israel and Marshall Islands on the other.