Cuba, Haiti Share History of Pain, Suffering & Survival

Alberto N Jones

HAVANA TIMES, Dec. 19 — Cuba’s impressive internationalist, solidarity contributions during the past fifty years in Algeria, Congo, Mozambique, Grenada, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia, Jamaica, East Timor, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and nowhere else like in Haiti, Angola and South Africa, supersedes, obliterates and debunk all questions, doubts or insinuations attempting to tarnish Cuba’s well established position in favor of the poor, ignored and abused, wherever they are.

Although it is clear, that Cuba has a monumental task at home to clean-up its racial inequality and lingering racism at the earliest date possible, the horrendous earthquake that flattened Port au Prince on January 12, 2010, causing over 250,000 dead, 300,000 wounded or maimed and left 1.5 million without shelter and exposed to a harsh tropical environment, compel all people of good will around the world to put on hold their national issues and focus on this unprecedented calamity.

Immediately following this disaster, I published “A moment of reckoning” 1/13/10, “Act now in Haiti before it is too late” 2/15/10 and “Will we allow Haiti to die” 11/5/10 to no avail.  Today, more than 100,000 victims have contracted Cholera and 2,000 have died unnecessarily, due to this foreseeable, preventable, transmissible disease outbreak.

As the world learned about the magnitude of this disaster, an incredible outpouring of solidarity took shape with nearly all countries offering every possible type of assistance.  Billions of dollars were pledged and two US ex Presidents were enlisted by President Barack Obama, to lead the recovery effort.

Eleven months after

Nearly a year after the earthquake, Haiti continues to be plagued by inefficiency, indolence and inaptitude in face of massive human suffering.  Many of those supposed to lead the recovery effort, have engaged in posturing, photo-ops, press releases, TV appearances and on radio talk shows.

The time has come for us, ordinary people to step up to the plate.  This tragedy is basically an American, Caribbean, African disaster, irrespective of all of the humanitarian support and kindness of the rest of the world.

As we write these notes, 200,000 school children are on the streets of Port au Prince without shelter, schools, healthcare, and food and seriously exposed to a host of transmissible diseases.

No country in the world except Cuba, has the infrastructure, human resources, expertise, commitment with the pain and suffering of the poor and the political will, to open its doors and confront a problem of this magnitude, which calls for the immediate relocation of thousands of these victims to a safe haven, where all basic means of survival will be available.

A proposal involving many nations and Cuba

Cuba is undergoing the most critical financial crisis in its 500 plus years history.  Cuban-Americans elected to the US Congress and Senate, have already put Cuba on notice of coming enhanced punitive measures, and determined to inflict greater suffering, destruction and death on its people.  No improved relations or détente between the US and Cuba can be foreseen during the present and following US administrations.

If we were only able to persuade, tens of thousands of Afro-Americans physicians, attorneys, accountants, businesspeople, churches, social organizations, farmers and educators, to provide a once a year nominal donation to save these children, we could do it!

If we were only able to persuade, millions of emigrants from the Caribbean, Africa and Latin America in the first world to do likewise, it could be achieved!

If we were able to persuade, each of our Caribbean Islands, Central American and African countries, albeit their own high levels of poverty, to make a public commitment of their level of financial or material contribution to this cause, it could be done!

If we were only able to persuade other nations, their citizens and institutions, that once and for all, to shelve temporarily all of our divisive sentiments and come together in the largest and most important humanitarian airlift in our hemisphere, this could enable the relocation of tens of thousands of Haitian children from their Port au Prince disaster zone, to fully refurbished and equipped schools on the Isle of Youth in Cuba, where they can receive a first class education.

This proposal may sound naïve, outrageous or undoable to those not related with modern Cuba’s history.  In the decade of 1960-70’s, over 40 thousands  students from war torn African countries, were safely relocated to the Isles of Pines (Now Isles of Youth), where they received shelter, education, food, healthcare, sports  and culture.

Thousands of these survivors can be found in their country or adopted countries around the world, sharing their mid or higher education expertise in every field of science, health or culture.

Haiti is no different from Africa or anywhere else.  Putting in motion a project of this nature, can not only save these children, but it can also open a path for that country’s development, leaving behind ignorance, backwardness and the scorn of others, by becoming  the shining light for which Toussaint L’Ouverture, Desalines and others fought and died.

Already and unbeknown to most, Cuba has graduated over 150 Haitians physicians, similar amount of nurses and medical techs, who are now with over one thousand healthcare professionals from the Latin America School of Medical Sciences in Havana,  on the frontline in Haiti,  battling this monstrous Cholera outbreak.

Contrary to what some may believe, the Cubans in Haiti are not newcomers, they have been there sharing the plight of the Haitian people for the past 10 years.  The Caribbean School of Medical Sciences in Santiago de Cuba presently has approximately 1000 Haitian Medical students in different levels of training, with a goal of graduating at least 100 per year, for the next 20 years.

Do we need  to depend on hundreds of millions of dollars that were donated for relief purposes, most of which are sitting in mega banks, paying exuberant wages to bureaucrats, lavish lifestyle or on luxury office space rentals?

Can any one of us picture a Haiti, the rest of the Caribbean Islands, Latin America and Africa, becoming part of this humongous educational development project that could be capable of graduating 5,000-10,000 higher education professionals per year, in every field of knowledge?

Now is the time for the entire world to begin to address the un-payable debt of gratitude it contracted with Haiti, for all that Haiti has taught us about freedom, liberty and human dignity and for its unique ability to forgive the indescribable pain and suffering, so many nations have inflicted upon this victimized country.

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3 thoughts on “Cuba, Haiti Share History of Pain, Suffering & Survival

  • Dear Cimarron, for unknown reasons I missed your powerful, enlightening response, of which we need so more. Like you, I agree and have tried much less eloquent than you have, to highlight Cuba’s inequality and obsession with a certain sector of the population to occupy key positions in the country.
    I you are still able to read this five years after you took the time to construct such a beautiful response, I say to you, how much I would love to be personally in touch with you, for us, with minor differences or not, pull together in what was and has since become evident, the most intractable and dangerous conflict confronting our nation. Un abrazo.

  • I have never been a fan of Castro,but sometime it takes a man like him to reveal certain truth, Fidel has never felt ashamed to say alot of nice about Haiti,he always mentioned about Haiti’s contribution to Cuba wheter it’s music,history or culture,but United States has always felf ashamed to mention Haiti’s contribution to their independence.

  • Alberto, I have read your columns on Afrocubaweb and know that you can be very emotional sometimes as in the case of Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez whom you characterized practically as some sort of Nazi. With all due respect to you as a Cuban, a highly-accomplished medical professional and an erudite columnist, I have one piece of good advice to you, quoting Fidel: “Be dialectical”!!!

    The endless tendency of sweeping under the rug or apologizing for the internal contradictions of the Cuban revolution, specifically as it regards the racial question, by highlighting the positives of external policy – Cuba’s noble internationalism – is non-dialectical and counterproductive. Cuba does not have the luxury of time in rectifying the racial policy contradictions for, as has occurred all over the former Soviet and East European bloc countries, the same forces of national chauvinism, ethnic hegemony, zenophobia, and outright racism are the same circles that will be a bridgehead to capitalist restoration and neo-colonial dependency! Cuba is teetering on the brink of self-fulfilling the prophecy by Fidel several years ago in the Aula Magna of the University of Havana that the revolution risks its reversal by its own internal failures. And this is the whole point when some of us make criticisms – even at this time when Cuba needs more solidarity than ever, when the external subversion has increased. Precisely because the Cuban Revolution is not immune to internal corruption and pro-imperialist in-roaders: witness Lage and Perez Roque. Yet Cuba keeps making the same mistake: restricting appointees to state power to a certain exclusive inner circle from a particular gene pool. Where is the democratic centralism, poder popular and participatory democratic organs that should guarantee the widest availability and selection of talent and competence reflecting Cuba’s demographics at every stage of state power? Robaina disgraced and removed, Perez Roque ditto, Lage ditto. Will Bruno Rodriguez be any different? Are the “white boys” the only ones qualified all the time? How can Cuba promote unbreakable national unity of its peoples especially from now until 2012 when the right-wing, anti-Cuba, revanchist forces are guaranteed to exert their power stronger than ever in US foreign policy, as you rightly acknowledge?

    I have watched Cubavision Internacional on a local Spanish TV channel here in the US as well as on the web and I find the racially-imbalanced image portrayed highly disturbing, really backward and not worthy of the Cuba we know that sacrificed the blood of its sons and daughters for African liberation, that is simply the only country consistently on the ground actually helping the Haitian people’s health needs. There are other nations that feed off of Cuba like shameless parasites. Cuba needs to stop spending even a single centavo on countries like Angola and Guine Ecuatorial ruled by the most criminal kleptocrats Africa has seen.

    Nothing supersedes the need for Cuba to fully acknowledge its Black citizens as equal partners in government and in all state institutions at the highest levels.

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