Cuba a major benefactor to strife-torn Haiti

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Cuba a major benefactor to strife-torn Haiti

Post by admin » Tue Apr 27, 2004 9:39 am


The State [South Carolina]
http://www.thestate.com

April 25, 2004

Cuba a major benefactor to strife-torn Haiti
By WILLIAM STEIF

Special to The State

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -

Killings and chaos have been the main news out of this poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere in recent months.

But something positive is happening. The problem is its source - Cuba, which turns off many folks automatically.

What's positive is aid from Fidel Castro's nation, whose eastern tip is only 48 miles across the water from northwest Haiti.

Cuba isn't coughing up any money, says Cuban ambassador to Haiti Rolando A. Gomez Gonzales. But, he ad
ds, "There are 579 Cuban health specialists in Haiti now, most of them doctors."

"We can't offer financial assistance because we're also a blocked country" - a reference to the U.S. embargo on Cuba -"but we can give our human resources."

Haiti is in a Maryland-sized country of 8.5 million people with fewer than 2,000 physicians total, concentrated mainly in its capital.

In addition, says Gomez, "Our collaboration supports veterinary services. Cuba is training 628 Haitian doctors in Haiti and Cuba. We have a program to combat illiteracy here. We've revived the abandoned Haitian sugar industry, and we're aiding the fishing industry by stocking 7 million fish and hope to reach 15 million a year."

Gomez says 705 Cubans are working in Haiti. "The cooperation i
sn't motivated by ideology or politics. We're helping the Haitian people who've suffered so much in the last 200 years."

COOPERATING AGAINST POVERTY

Cuba had no diplomatic relations with Haiti after Castro took over at the start of 1959.

"There were hardly any contacts" during Haiti's Duvalier dictatorships, Gomez says, even though many people in eastern Cuba are descended from Haitians who crossed the water.

The Duvaliers were overthrown in early 1986, and relations between Cuba and Haiti resumed in 1996, at the end of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's first term.

"Today, it's different," says Gomez. "After 1996, both countries began intergovernmental cooperation ... to combat the extreme poverty here."

Gomez adds: "We're working in 95 percent of Haiti's 133 municipalities. We consider our cooperation exemplary. It's
disinterested, unconditional support."

Haitian public health services "have no specialists in the main cities - no surgery, no anesthesia, no obstetrics," Gomez says.

That may be one reason Haiti's infant mortality rate - deaths in the first year of life - is about 93 per 1,000 live births. Cuban and U.S. rates: 7 per 1,000 births.

In a press conference at the United Nations in New York, Cuba's permanent representative, Orlando Requeijo Gual, said Cuban doctors provide health care for 75 percent of Haitians.

He says Cuban medical efforts saved nearly 86,000 Haitian lives in the last five years. In early March, for example, a Cuban medical team set up a canvas hospital next to Port-au-Prince's University Hospital and, in five days, helped 406 patients, 33 with gunshot wounds, the U.N. representative says
. This came after a Feb. 11 Cuban shipment of 12.2 tons of medicines.

Gomez says Haiti pays the salaries and transportation costs of the experts it sends to Haiti. It also provides food and lodging, and $100 a month per person as "spending money."

Cuban professors are on Haitian faculties and Haitians are on scholarships at Cuba's Santiago de Cuba university. "We have a triangular program to fight AIDS with France and other programs with the Pan American Health Organization and UNAID," says Gomez.

Cubans arriving in Haiti learn Creole, the Haitian language, in about three to four months, Gomez adds.

Gomez says Cuba spends $520,000 a year to supply its experts to Haiti, a tiny sum compared to what U.S. State Department Lou Fintor says the United States spends.

"The U.S. is the largest donor since Aristide was restored to power (in 1994), maki
ng more than $850 million in donor funds available to Haiti in fiscal years 1995 to 2003," Fintor said, speaking by phone from Washington. "All U.S. grants in 2003 totaled more than $70 million to promote health care, nutrition, education, sustainable agriculture, micro-enterprise and democracy programs."

Haitian Embassy spokesman John Kozyn, speaking by phone from Washington, says "most of that (U.S.) money has been funneled through NGOs and PVOs" - non-government organizations and private voluntary organizations.

Kozyn says the money "does not go to the government," it mostly goes through outfits like Catholic Relief Services or Lutheran and Baptist projects.

Aristide's recent ouster isn't likely to affect Cuban aid to Haiti, says Requeijo Gual.

. Cuban workers have been instrumental in reconstruction of a big sugar mill at Darbonne.

. 20 Cuban veterinarians and technicians are putting together a sanitary control program while training Haitian s
taff.

. 10 Cuban technicians are helping with a national aquaculture program.

. Eleven Cuban agricultural specialists are working as part of the Food and Agriculture Organization's food security program.

. Cuba also is cooperating in a road-building program.

Cubans also are pushing literacy in Haiti, where 49 percent of the citizens are illiterate, according to Cuba's Fernando Fernandez Rodriguez.

Normally a university teacher at Holguin, Cuba, Fernandez has been in Haiti since October 2002, leading 20 other Cubans "training Haitians who run the national literacy program."

The Haitians conduct radio classes "at homes, workplaces, schoolrooms," says Fernandez.

"We finished a term last July, taught literacy to 109,000 people," he said. "This is very significant because all other literacy programs here have failed. Now, we're giving litera
cy to a quarter-million people who must learn to read and write in Creole."


William Steif, a retired journalist, lives in Blythewood.

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Post by admin » Tue Apr 27, 2004 11:03 pm


And for that I say: "Thank you, CUBA!" and "Thank you, Fidel!"

Now, it did not have to be that way. You could have held a grudge against us since Haiti was instrumental in denying Cuba a seat at the Organization of American States. The American ambassador bought our vote, for a cool $5,000,000 (five million dollars). It is said that François Duvalier used that money to build the International Airport in Port-au-Prince... but who knows?

Here's how it happened:

[quote]
Extracted from THE FISH IS RED - The story of the secret war against Castro, by Warren Hinckle and William Turner.

The Punta del Este daily, El Día, had an interesting item that had readers letting their soft-boiled eggs get cold on a February morning in 1962:
"Ambassador Morrison has turned in his expense account for the day:
Breakfast, $1.50;
Taxi in the morning, $2;

Lunch, $2.50;
Afternoon taxis, $3;
Dinner with the foreign minister of Haiti, $5,000,000."

The ambassador was the United States Ambassador to the Organization of American States, DeLesseps S. Morrison. The rather dear dinner was actually a pledge to Haiti to build an airport in Port-au-Prince sufficient to bring Haiti into the jet age. The pledge was, in fact, a bribe, in return for Haiti's voting to oust Cuba from the OAS. DeLesseps Morrison was the Kennedy administration's point man for the not inconsiderable task of cutting off Cuba from the rest of the hemisphere. This involved both a diplomatic offensive and some skulduggery that were carried out in coordination with the Secret War... A dashing widower, Morrison was frequently seen in nightclubs with ladies of the dazzle of Zsa Zsa Gabor. His politics were Kennedy politics: On domestic issues he was a liberal, one of the original voices of the New South, but when it came to communism, Morrison could have been mistaken for a John Bircher.


Although Morrison carried the title of Ambassador to the Organization of American States, he w as in fact a roving JFK troubleshooter. After the Trujillo assassination he became JFK's Johnny-on-the-spot in Ciudad Trujillo to make sure that Trujillo's son kept communist fingers out of the power-sharing pie. Ambassador Morrison waterskied, drank, and danced aboard the Trujillo family yacht Angelita. He was not told that El Jefe's body was stored in the refrigerator compartment belowdecks for fear of a Mussolini type of desecration...

The conference began in the Uruguayan resort on January 30, 1962. It was clear from the start that Morrison would gain no easy victory. He was palpably upset when the Brazilian delegate "begun by talking 'coexistence,'" putting the analogy "Why do we not consider Cuba to us as Finland is to the Soviet?" Mexico and Argentina--with Brazil, the three countries representing two-thirds of the people of Latin America--felt the same way. Morrison, who had been selling de
mocracy, found himself having to woo such repressive regimes as Paraguay, Nicaragua, and Haiti to get the necessary two-thirds majority to oust Cuba.

That was when Morrison had his $5 million dinner with the foreign minister of Haiti. Democratic Haiti cast the deciding vote that ousted Cuba.

It was an emotional moment for Chep Morrison. Dean Rusk gave the closing speech replete with such lines as "Whenever Communism goes, hunger follows." Tears welled up in Morrison's eyes.

"I confess I was never prouder to be an American," he said.[/quote]

What a shameful story! It is fortunate that Fidel Castro understood that this was not to be construed as an act of enmity from the Haitian people (which he had come to know and appreciate since childhood) but for what it really was: the result of negotiations between two corrupt regimes, one called a dictatorship, the other called a democracy.

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Literacy

Post by admin » Wed Apr 28, 2004 7:03 am


[quote]
Cubans also are pushing literacy in Haiti, where 49 percent of the citizens are illiterate, according to Cuba's Fernando Fernandez Rodriguez.

Normally a university teacher at Holguin, Cuba, Fernandez has been in Haiti since October 2002, leading 20 other Cubans "training Haitians who run the national literacy program."

The Haitians conduct radio classes "at homes, workplaces, schoolrooms," says Fernandez.

"We finished a term last July, taught literacy to 109,000 people," he said. "This is very significant because all other literacy programs here have failed. Now, we're giving literacy to a quarter-million people who must learn to read and write in Creole."
[/quote]

We must keep an eye on any new development or "phasing out" in this matter.

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