Sunday, January 17, 2010


In the U.S., it's always Groundhog Day

In the movie Groundhog Day, history begins anew every day. So it is in the United States, where the idea that there is something called history is a foreign concept (other than history like 9/11 which can be invoked as a magical incantation to influence the present, and of course that's the U.S. "9/11", not the Chilean 9/11). Listen to President Barack Obama:
"I pledge to the people of Haiti that you will have a friend and partner in the United States of America today and going forward."
Or Secretary of State Clinton:
"As President Obama has said, we will be here today, tomorrow and for the time ahead."
Was the U.S. helping in Haiti yesterday? Was it hurting? (you all know the answer to that question) Oh, let's not think about that, let's just restart the clock today, shall we?

Cuban aid to Haiti didn't begin "today", or a week ago, it began years ago. 400 Cuban medical personnel were already working in Haiti at the time of the earthquake, and more than 400 Haitians have been trained or are being trained as doctors in Cuba. And unlike the situation in Venezuela, where Cuba does get some, excuse the capitalist term, "ROI" (Return on Investment) for its provision of medical personnel, in Haiti, Cuban aid is a pure act of solidarity. As is its training of doctors from all over the world, including Venezuelans, who once they graduate will reduce the (again excuse the capitalist terminology) "market" for the Cuban "product" (medical personnel).

And even more important than the material (which includes human) aid is political aid. While the U.S. wants the world to focus on the future, former Cuban President Fidel Castro wants to make sure we remember how we got here, and what that means going forward:

Haiti is the net product of colonialism and imperialism, of more than one century of the employment of its human resources in the toughest forms of work, of military interventions and the extraction of its natural resources.

This historic oversight would not be so serious if it were not for the real fact that Haiti constitutes the disgrace of our era, in a world where the exploitation and pillage of the vast majority of the planet’s inhabitants prevails.

Billions of people in Latin American, Africa and Asia are suffering similar shortages although perhaps not to such a degree as in the case of Haiti.

Situations like that of that country should not exist in any part of the planet, where tens of thousands of cities and towns abound in similar or worse conditions, by virtue of an unjust international economic and political order imposed on the world. The world population is not only threatened by natural disasters such as that of Haiti, which is a just a pallid shadow of what could take place in the planet as a result of climate change, which really was the object of ridicule, derision, and deception in Copenhagen. [Ed. note: shades of Danny Glover!]

But I have to express the opinion that it is now time to look for real and lasting solutions for that sister nation.

There can be no other form of cooperation [more] worthy of being described as such than fighting in the field of ideas and political action in order to put an end to the limitless tragedy suffered by a large number of nations such as Haiti.
Update: From The New York Times:
The World Food Program finally was able to land flights of food, medicine and water on Saturday, after failing on Thursday and Friday, an official with the agency said. Those flights had been diverted so that the United States could land troops and equipment, and lift Americans and other foreigners to safety.

“There are 200 flights going in and out every day, which is an incredible amount for a country like Haiti,” said Jarry Emmanuel, the air logistics officer for the agency’s Haiti effort. “But most of those flights are for the United States military."
Update 2: CNN (video) finally runs a piece on the Cuban medical effort in Haiti - mentioning the word "Cuba" a grand total of once and without any context whatsoever (i.e., that there were hundreds of Cuban medical personnel in Haiti before the quake, and that more, as well as Haitians being trained as doctors in Cuba, began arriving the day after the quake). But it was more of a mention that anywhere else in the media!

Why stop here? There's more...

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