[Homestead] Castro and Chavez continue the Cuban attitudes and programs of effective, economical healthcare
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Sat Feb 5 08:55:50 EST 2005
It is preposterous but unfortunately true that impoverished Cuba, and
temporarily oil-rich Venezuela can provide more bang for the medical
buck than the U.S.
The Cubans grCastro and the Cubans that didn't, both share a common
belief that health is their most important possession.
Cubans in Florida brought with them the dual concepts that they should
pay their health organizations to keep them healthy as well as provide
surgical intervention, and that both be affordable---concepts totally
foreign to the U.S. healthcare system.
The "Miracle" of Cuba; Chavez Proposed for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize
January 25, 2005
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez waves to the crowd during a political
rally in Caracas on January 23, 2005. (Victor Johnson / AFP-Getty Images)
It was a normal quiet evening in the Rosales household in the barrio El
Canton in Venezuela's main port of La Guaira on the Caribbean coast. Mr.
Gregorio Rosales Mujica was watching the baseball game between the
Aragua Tigers visiting the Caracas Lions, which turned out to be one of
the most electrifying and tense encounters of the season.
Mr. Rosales could not see the game perfectly due to his vision problems
and suddenly, at precisely 10:00 p.m., during the sixth inning, the
It was a voice that Mr. Rosales did not recognize and he was informed
that the next day he should present himself at Simon Bolivar
International airport, just down the road from where he lives, since he
was being sent to Colombia.
Rather puzzled, Mr. Rosales hung up the phone and told his daughter,
Ingrid, that some one from the government or the Health Ministry has
called telling him that he was being sent to Colombia the following day
on a Cuban Airlines flight. Bearing in mind that Mr. Rosales was born on
the island of Margarita, in the state of Nueva Esparta, 84 years ago,
his daughter, Ingrid, realized that her father had somehow mistaken
"Colombia" for "Cuba" and that the call was to confirm that Mr. Rosales
would go to Cuba the next day for eye surgery in the context of Mission
Miracle (Mision Milagros), accompanied by his daughter.
Mission Miracle is one of the many humanitarian projects set up between
Caracas and Havana to benefit the historically excluded and downtrodden
in Venezuelan society, who could not afford medical treatment in the
Venezuelan jungle of corrupt hospitals and the private mercantilist
(mercenary?) system. In some cases, the medical treatment required was
not available in Venezuela. Mission Miracle concentrates exclusively on
restoring lost vision and tackles all type of ocular problems by sending
the patients and an accompanying family member to Cuba for the
In the case of Mr. Rosales, he had been visited at his home in Calle
Soublette, Sector El Canton, La Guaira in December by his local Cuban
doctor working in the "Barrio Adentro" (Into the Neighborhood) primary
health care program. It was the first time in his 84 years that Mr.
Rosales recalled a doctor ever being in his home and it was a result of
this visit and examination that the phone rang during the sixth inning
of the ball game, at 10:00 p.m. on Jan. 18.
There was great joy in the Rosales family that the response to send
their father to Cuba had been so swift, considering that the
consultation took place in mid December, and double joy for Mr. Rosales
himself as his team, the Aragua Tigers, won the ball game after a "grand
slam" by Miguel Cabrera in the 8th inning.
Ingrid Rosales phoned her brother, Ubaldo, to inform him of the good
news. Ubaldo works in one of the National Identity Offices (Oni-Dex) in
the center of the country. He knew from his own experience that patients
due to go to Cuba for medical treatment were issued passports in the
context of Mission Identity, as well as one family member, to facilitate
a prompt departure to Cuba when the long awaited phone call arrived.
Since Dec. 10, his I.D. office had issued a total of 150 passports to
Mission Miracle patients and their family members, as they obviously
receive priority over normal tourist or business applications. Thus,
Mission Identity works hand in glove with Mission Miracle for the
benefit of those most in need.
The fact that Mr. Rosales is 84 years old and has been sent so promptly
to Cuba to solve his sight problem and improve his quality of life is
just one small example of the non-discriminatory, humanistic quality of
the social revolution taking place in Venezuela.
To be blunt, with his 84 years of accumulated youth, Mr. Rosales would
have simply been thrown "on the scrapheap" even back in 1998, or at any
time before President Chavez was democratically elected in his now
legendary nine consecutive landslide electoral and referendum victories.
Ubaldo commented to me that my article on President Chavez being
nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize really hit the nail on the
head, when analyzing the humanistic missions being spread throughout
Venezuela. He also said in an even more telling tone, that it is
precisely due to social programs such as Mission Miracle, that the march
on Jan. 23 will be an overwhelming success in support of President
Chavez and in defense of national sovereignty.
It is an odds on bet, that the whole of the Rosales family will be
marching in Caracas next Sunday, as will be thousands upon thousands
whose lives have been touched by the Bolivarian Social Revolution.
Chavez Proposed for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize
Last November on Venezuelan National Radio (RNV) I learned that there
are moves afoot to propose President of the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela, Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias as a leading candidate for the 2005
Nobel Peace Prize.
For many people throughout the world whose information about Chavez is
conditioned by mainstream news media, the immediate reaction to this
news could be: "How could a 'firebrand' like Chavez ever be considered
for such an internationally prestigious award?"
I can already imagine the radical opposition thinking this and cannot
believe that such a thing could conceivably happen. The next stage will
be gnashing of teeth and frothing at the mouth!
Readers will recall that, two years ago Chavez won the "Man of the Year
Award" in an internet vote run by bbcmundo.com against all comers ...
including George W. Bush.
The reaction in 2002 by opposition figures was to send thousands of
insulting and threatening e-mails to bbcmundo.com, accusing the BBC of
rigging the outcome, and alleging ... without any evidence ... that the
Venezuelan government had "paid" for the results.
This was just a non-scientific poll on the internet and not something as
prestigious as the Nobel Peace Prize ... so why is Chavez a candidate
and likely winner of the Nobel Peace Prize?
Looking at the Nobel Web site I see that the 2004 winner, Wangari
Maathai of Kenya, was awarded the prize "for her contribution to
sustainable development, democracy and peace."
If these three qualities are key to winning the Nobel Peace Prize then
Chavez has all these in abundance and more ... he must be the world's
leading democrat having been to the polls nine times since 1998 ... he
promotes peace by asking for troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, so that
these sovereign nations can exercise self-determination and define their
own path in the future.
Sustainable and endogenous development is one of the corner stones of
the Bolivarian revolution -- thus alleviating poverty medium to long term.
Other accomplishments which have been pushed by Chavez' personal
leadership in Venezuela are the Social Missions, all grouped under the
humanitarian banner of Mission Christ.
The primary ones are:
Mission Robinson -- teaching more than 1.3 million people to read and
write in the space of 16 months, a world record in this field.
Mission Ribas -- secondary education for just over 1 million people so
far, who were denied this basic human right during the 4th Republic.
Mission Barrio Adentro (Into the Nieghborhood) -- to provide free
primary health care for more than 10 million people up to now, and who
did not have access to health care in the past -- unless they paid for it.
Mission Simoncito -- care and education for pregnant mothers and their
children from gestation to kindergarten, to ensure a healthy start to life.
Bolivarian Schools -- integral schooling including free health care and
meals, with the objective of inculcating patriotic, humanitarian values
in the upcoming generations.
There may be other accomplishments I have omitted to mention, and am
certain that opposition spokesmen will try to shoot down all these
accomplishments in the usual manipulative format and with their
well-known semantic bile. However, it does not matter what they think
... but what the Nobel Foundation in Oslo considers to be true and of
real value to human development and peace.
The reaction of the United States and especially that of Condoleezza
Rice will be interesting to observe. Let us hope that the Nobel
Foundation with its 105-year history will have the courage and
independence of thought to consider President Chavez for this world
shattering accolade, without outside interference.
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