Our meetings are open to all
3rd Wednesday of each month
Note: Usually we meet in Brunswick, but ocassionally at other locations around the state, so contact us just to be sure.
mail (at) letcubalive.org
Let Cuba Live
On August 26, Maine newspapers carried an Associated Press Story on Cuban Health care. At least two Maine people responded.Judy Robbins of Sedgwick wrote to the Ellsworth American. She says:
In reading a recent AP article (Cuba Squeezed by Health Care Costs, Portland Press Herald August 26) about Cuban healthcare and its current fiscal woes, I find the approach to the topic skewed. The authors seek to make the case that Cuba wants to reduce citizen health benefits. I first learned about the unique nature of the Cuban system in the 1970s when a group of Maine health care workers traveled to Cuba to see firsthand a revolutionary program. Since then my frequent travels to Cuba have informed my understanding of what is indeed an exemplary health/medical infrastructure.
Cubans enjoy free, accessible, high-quality healthcare by design, because the Cuban government considers good health a human right (it is written into the Cuban Constitution). Healthcare does in fact include not only immunizations and health monitoring, but the most advanced curative procedures such as transplants. The Cuban health program has its foundation in a philosophy of wellness: each citizen has ready access to preventative care and referrals. No expense is spared.
The Cuban Revolutionary Government believes so profoundly in the value of healthcare that it is exported to friendly states as a longstanding foreign policy. Cuban doctors serve in 102 countries; these are countries whose poorer populations are desperately in need of quality medical attention or are experiencing natural disaster or disease epidemic (Haiti as an example). Cuba bears the expense of this effort, and as well has been providing free medical education to 24,000 students from 116 countries.
Recently Cuba has experienced economic suffering similar to the rest of the world, except in the case of Cuba exacerbated by the 52-year-old US economic blockade, at an estimated cost to the Cuban economy of one trillion US dollars (a blockade that continues in the current administration). A national response has been to examine the costs of Cuban medical practices. Is this not similar to any country attempting to manage its economy? The big difference is that in Cuba health is not a for-profit enterprise.
William T. Whitney, M.D. of South Paris wrote to the Portland Press Herald:
It's as if:
• Twenty-four thousand students from 116 countries aren't presently studying medicine in Cuba at no personal cost.
• There weren't one doctor for every 148 Cubans (one for every 370 people in the U.S.). • Some 132,000 Cuban health workers haven't served in 102 countries over 50 years.
• Last year, Cuban and Venezuelan ophthalmologists didn't perform 2 million sight-saving (mainly cataract) operations in 35 countries.
• A total of 2,500 Cuban doctors and nurses weren't working in Pakistan two weeks following the earthquake there in 2005 -- and they stayed six months.
It's as if Cuba's money problems aren't related to a U.S. blockade costing $1 trillion over 50 years.
And, lastly, it's as if Cuba never had to fight off a U.S. assault best described by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Lester D. Mallory in 1959:
"The majority of Cubans support Castro. (We need) a line of action that, if carried very cleverly and discreetly, would achieve major progress in denying Cuba money and supplies (and) thereby cause hunger, desperation and the collapse of the government."