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Monday, October 16, 2006


Shooting ourselves in the foot

The United States has been engaged in active economic warfare against Cuba for more than 45 years, warfare which costs Cuba an estimated $4 billion a year.

But what of the effects on Americans? Aside from preventing Americans from visiting Cuba and seeing for ourselves the reality of life in Cuba, there are other, very real, very concrete effects. The Cuban drug Citroprot-P is one example. Citroprot-P is a drug which is used in the treatment and prevention of diabetic foot ulcers. Now this may come as a surprise to you as it did to me, but in a recent year 82,000 people had their feet or legs amputated due to diabetic foot ulcers. Citroprot-P is a newly-developed Cuban drug which has an 85% success rate is treating such ulcers and preventing amputation. Amputation also decreases life expectancy, so it can be expected that Citroprot-P will also increase the life expectancy of its recipients.

Americans, however, won't be sharing in that success, thanks to the U.S. blockade of Cuba. If you or a friend or relative loses a foot to a diabetic ulcer, you'll know who to blame. And it won't just be George Bush.

Incidentally, "Mexican Americans are 1.8 times as likely, non-Hispanic Blacks are 2.7 times as likely, and American Indians are 3 to 4 times as likely to suffer from lower-limb amputations." It's fairly obvious these statistics have nothing to do with genetics, but instead reflect rather strikingly the class-based nature of the U.S. health care system.

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