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Tuesday, July 10, 2007


"Relatively modest Cuban medical programs"

The Miami Herald (in conjunction with George Bush) provides a nice laugh with a headline, "Bush turns on charm for Latin America," in which we learn that Bush just hosted a group of 150 Latin American community groups and 70 U.S.-based organizations in order "to tell the world that [the U.S.] really does care about Latin America." Nothing like P.R. to substitute for facts.

But this wasn't funny:

The administration often complains that many of its programs go unnoticed in the region while relatively modest Cuban medical programs or Venezuelan soft loans for oil purchases get big headlines in local media.
"Relatively modest Cuban medical programs," eh? Let's consider the news from just the last two weeks. Just yesterday, Cuba's Latin American School of Medicine graduated hundreds of new medical professionals from across Latin America, all educated at no charge. Also yesterday, Evo Morales inaugurated the fifth of 20 hospitals that Cuba is donating to Bolivia this year. Just a few days ago, we learned that 3200 Panamanians have had eye surgery in a facility donated to Panama by Cuba, and staffed by Cuban medical personnel. A week ago, a new facility was opened in Ecuador staffed by Cuban medical personnel; more than 16,200 eye operations have already been carried out in two other similar facilities. All told, Cuba's Operation Milagro eye-surgery project in Latin America has restored the sight to some 700,000 people with curable eye diseases.

"Relatively modest Cuban medical programs" indeed.

I think it's safe to say there are plenty of people in the United States who would be delighted to be on the receiving end of such "relatively modest" medical programs. Indeed, eight of them were - new doctors educated at the Latin American School of Medicine, who in turn will be transferring the benefits of those "relatively modest" programs to those they will serve in America's poor communities.

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