http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/the-us-cuba-and-haiti/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

The US, Cuba and Haiti

Posted January 16, 2010 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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Sarah Stephens | Huffington Post

After a sub-par performance in Latin America during 2009, the Obama administration has truly risen to this occasion with its forceful response to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti. President Obama has ordered his agencies to put this disaster on the top of their agendas, and has already committed $100 million in U.S. assistance. But the President, wisely, has cautioned it will take some long days before the full measure of U.S. relief can arrive in Haiti and show results.

These efforts will move faster because of an agreement with Cuba’s government made public today that the United States can operate relief flights destined for Haiti over Cuban airspace.

No one should be surprised by Cuba’s decision; they have a decades’ long commitment to international cooperation in the face of national disasters, and our government has previously received cooperation from Havana on over-flights for weather detection and fighting hurricanes, on matters relating to security, and during disasters in Venezuela and Pakistan.

But the President should think about this: If Cuba is willing to cooperate with the United States in the air, shouldn’t we cooperate with Cuba on the ground on initiatives that reflect our countries’ shared interests in helping the people of Haiti? Doing so would quickly multiply the force of our efforts.

Let’s not forget, Cuba is already there.

Haiti and Cuba signed a medical cooperation agreement in 1998. Present in Haiti before the earthquake struck were 344 members of the Cuban medical brigade who have been providing primary care, obstetrical services, and operations to restore the sight of Haitians with various eye diseases. Earlier this week, Cuba sent 30 more physicians along with food, medicine, plasma, and other items.

According to Spanish press reports, this contingent is already providing emergency medical care across Haiti for patients that Cuban doctors had already been treating for many years. Immediately following the earthquake, these doctors opened up two make-shift clinics in their residences because local hospitals were destroyed. Cuban doctors then moved to reopen the “Social Security” hospital and started operating on the injured. A day ago, the Cubans reopened the national hospital and started to treat people.

Their work could form the foundation for broad Cuban-U.S. cooperation.

First, as U.S. AID and military teams roll into Haiti, the U.S. government should make it clear that our personnel should cooperate, coordinate, and work with the Cuban medical personnel in Haiti. They know Haiti, they’ve been providing health care in Haiti since 1998, and they have been running a highly effective medical response since the earthquake occurred.

Second, the U.S. can help expand the reach and impact of the Cuban medical brigades. When they experience supply shortages, we should offer the Cubans medicines and other necessary assistance to help with their effort. Gary Maybarduk, a veteran of relief efforts with experience in Haiti, has urged lending the Cuban brigades durable medical equipment and using U.S. helicopters to transport them to inaccessible locations.

Third, we’ve seen reports that injured Americans - and possibly, injured Haitians - are being airlifted to the medical facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Our colleague at the New America Foundation, Col. Larry Wilkerson, has proposed that we open up Guantanamo to Cuban doctors.

Cuban doctors should be welcomed on to the base to assist in treatment and operations. Our armed forces - which have lengthy experience in cooperating with the Cuban military - could allow Cubans to come pick up (or they could transport) victims to Cuban hospitals for treatment. Our militaries carry out exercises to practice for fires and other big accidents near the base that require joint efforts to treat the victims - this would be effective and it would assure quicker attention for the wounded.

Fourth, global leaders are calling for a summit to coordinate global responses to the Haiti tragedy. That summit could take place in Cuba, which is ideally located. If it doesn’t happen there, Cuba should be invited and encouraged to play a leadership role in the coordination of response efforts.

President Obama knows the Cubans can do more than open up airspace to American flights. When he attended the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago last year, he made a public statement about the respect shown Cuban doctors by the heads of state he met at the Summit, and conceded that the U.S. had to engage in efforts like medical cooperation to reconnect our country to the people of the region.

The previous administration couldn’t bring itself to do this. After Hurricane Katrina, Cuba’s government offered to send 1,586 doctors and 25 tons of medical supplies to buttress what was obviously an insufficient response to the suffering of American citizens on our own Gulf Coast. Bush being Bush, his administration not only declined the offer but insulted the qualifications of Cuban doctors.

We need to be Samaritans and not silent or sarcastic about what Cuba has to offer. We have seen the better angels of Obama’s nature, and we’re hopeful that he would seriously consider cooperating with the Cuban government especially if it meant saving Haitian lives.

This tragedy is about Haiti, not Cuba or President Obama, and I recognize that. But we can help Haitians by enlisting with the Cubans in a joint effort to speed and magnify aid our efforts. Doing so would set a new example for U.S. diplomacy that will return long-standing benefits to our nation and our relationships across the Western Hemisphere. And possibly even set a new tone for the U.S.-Cuba relationship. We need it.

Member Comments

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On January 18, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Good comment by Sarah, I have only seen one other positive report by the north american media (CNN) about how Cuba is helping in this disaster.

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On January 18, 2010, paul wrote:

The previous administration couldn’t bring itself to do this. After Hurricane Katrina, Cuba’s government offered to send 1,586 doctors and 25 tons of medical supplies to buttress what was obviously an insufficient response to the suffering of American citizens on our own Gulf Coast. Bush being Bush, his administration not only declined the offer but insulted the qualifications of Cuban doctors.

LOL

Moonbats being moonbats, she omitted that we also offered aid to Cuba when they had their devastating hurricane, only to be turned down as well. The Castro mafia had the gumption to turn down the aid and ask for the credit blockade to be lifted instead.

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On January 18, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Oh but Paul Balart, they wanted to send some “people” (CIA spies) into Cuba first to just asess the situation instead of just commiting to help out in that disaster.

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On January 18, 2010, paul wrote:

Touche…the same can be said for those 1,586 communist doctors.

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On January 28, 2010, MiamiCuban wrote:

Well, believe it or not, those “communist doctors” are actually there to heal the sick.  I know because I have relatives in Cuba who are doctors and they, too, have been sent abroad.  They do it gladly because the philosophy of the healing profession in Cuba has an interesting twist…...it’s not about the money but about being of service to humanity.

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On January 29, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Cuba turned down US help for the simple fact that the US is responsible for a Genocidal Embargo for more than 50 years, an the first victims of this type of embargo are the children, we saw it with the same embargo against Irak. So how could you be that arrogant to offer us peanuts after staving us for 50 years?

You want to help us, lift the embargo

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On January 29, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

I am still convinced that they will use Haiti to invade Cuba

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On January 29, 2010, publisher wrote:

Goldbuster,

You’ve made Fidel’s point here. You have proved you are a good Communist so let’s move on from “Viva la Revolucion”, okay?

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On January 29, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Im not a communist, I just hate lies and deliberate bullshit that the likes of you spreads for 50 years now

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On January 29, 2010, publisher wrote:

Me spreading lies? That’s funny.

This place is a screen for bullshit and you, my friend, hit the screen.

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On January 29, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Pub,
Speeking of screening news, how is it that the north american news media is not even mentioning the fact that Cuba has over 400 medical personel helping out in Haiti and they have helped well over 25000 patients so far?

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On January 29, 2010, publisher wrote:

Probably because that is being reported by Cuban media which is not exactly unbiased or subject to any review.

If you show me that news from the BBC or even Al Jazera I’d give it some credibility.

Do I think the Cuban doctors are in Haiti? Yes. Is there any way for any of us to really know for a fact how many doctors are in Haiti? No.

Therefore we don’t have any facts and the US news media likes facts.

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On January 29, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

“Therefore we don’t have any facts and the US news media likes facts.”

—-Except for facts that dont go along with their propaganda goals.

Remember this: Castro bad bad OugaBougaBouga

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On January 29, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Pub
I guess you think the north american media is always telling you the truth then? You are living in a dream world Pub.

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On January 29, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Pub,
The BBC has had a few reports on Cuban doctores in Haiti. I have seen one little report of it on CNN. In fact BBC says the Cuban and American doctores are working together in some places.

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On January 29, 2010, publisher wrote:

#14 At least we have investigative reporting here, Freedom of Information Act and many more checks and balances.

#15 Any mention of 400 Cuban doctors? Where is that figure coming from?

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On January 29, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Pub,
I found one U.S. blog the Chicago Reader of tuesday Jan 19 2010 by Michael Miner on Cuban doctores in Haiti and the North American media reporting.

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On January 29, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Hows Freedom of Information Act have anything to do with lacking Journalistic Ethic ?

The term fake news has become synonymous with government and corporate sponsored pre-packaged news provided as video news releases (VNRs) and audio news releases (ANRs) to news outlets.

“Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed” ... The multi-media report tracked television stations’ use of selected VNRs over 10 months. The report summary states: “CMD identified 77 television stations, from those in the largest to the smallest markets, that aired these VNRs or related satellite media tours (SMTs) in 98 separate instances, without disclosure to viewers. Collectively, these 77 stations reach more than half of the U.S. population. ... In almost all cases, stations failed to balance the clients’ messages with independently-gathered footage or basic journalistic research. More than one-third of the time, stations aired the pre-packaged VNR in its entirety”

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Fake_news

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On January 29, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Freedom of information act Pub, you apply, you wait 4 years and then get a file with 75 % of the info blacked out. I don’t think you can quite call that freedom of information can you?

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On January 29, 2010, publisher wrote:

At least you are not branded a dissident and thrown in jail for asking.

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On January 29, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Cuba dont throw people in Jail for asking for the truth, they throw you in jail for your terrorist activities, but unlike us they dont waterboard you into confession.

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On January 29, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

To be read fully…

http://embacu.cubaminrex.cu/Default.aspx?tabid=16690

“Cuba, just as it had done under similar circumstances, when Hurricane Katrina caused huge devastation in the city of New Orleans and the lives of thousands of American citizens were in danger, offered to send a full medical brigade to cooperate with the people of the United States, a country that, as is well known, has vast resources.  But at that moment what was needed were trained and well- equipped doctors to save lives. Given New Orleans geographical location, more than one thousand doctors of the “Henry Reeve” contingent mobilized and readied to leave for that city at any time of the day or the night, carrying with them the necessary medicines and equipment.  It never crossed our mind that the President of that nation would reject the offer and let a number of Americans that could have been saved to die.  The mistake made by that government was perhaps the inability to understand that the people of Cuba do not see in the American people an enemy; it does not blame it for the aggressions our homeland has suffered.

Nor was that government capable of understanding that our country does not need to beg for favors or forgiveness of those who, for half a century now, have been trying, to no avail, to bring us to our knees.

Our country, also in the case of Haiti, immediately responded to the   US authorities requests to fly over the eastern part of Cuba as well as other facilities they needed to deliver assistance, as quickly as possible, to the American and Haitian citizens who had been affected by the earthquake.

Such have been the principles characterizing the ethical behavior of our people.  Together with its equanimity and firmness, these have been the ever-present features of our foreign policy.  And this is known only too well by whoever have been our adversaries in the international arena.

Cuba will firmly stand by the opinion that the tragedy that has taken place in Haiti, the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, is a challenge to the richest and more powerful countries of the world.”

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On January 30, 2010, paul wrote:

Goldbuster, MiamiCuban and Pipefitter are on a roll. Too bad for you that the credit blockade is here to stay. At least that’ll keep giving you some purpose in life.

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On January 30, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Paul Balart, hows your daddy?
Don’t be too sure about that blockade Paul, did’t you hear your president the other night talking about having to increase trade with south america?

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On January 30, 2010, paul wrote:

Well yeah we’ll increase trade, one way that is. We are already Cuba’s main supplier of many goods, and we’ll continue trading with them…on a cash basis.

http://www.cubatrade.org

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On January 30, 2010, Leida wrote:

Hmmmm…..I wonder what would happen in the U.S. if we were put on “cash basis.”  I wonder if we’d survive 40 years.

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On January 31, 2010, paul wrote:

They trade with the rest of the world, received countless funds from the defunct USSR, and still receive below market value goods from their ideological buddies.

In addition, they are known for not paying debts to other countries and nationalized industry of the country they want the credit blockade to be lifted from.

I just spiked the ball for marek/pipefitter/goldbuster…have at it.

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On January 31, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

“they are known for not paying debts to other countries and nationalized industry…”

Funny Castro offered to pay for all US assets but that was decline. The Cubans/US oil refineries dont want to process orders? Well they gonna be nationalized.

You dont want to pay your taxes? Your assets will be seased.

This is reality in every country in the world, not different in Cuba.

Cuba cannot afford not paying its bills and be banned from the few providers and distributors who dont believe the Miami Fugitives lies, so cut the bull please

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On January 31, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Paul Balart, looks like you spiked the ball and it blew up in your face.If I were Cuba, I think I would try to shift all my trade away from the U.S.

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On January 31, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

U.S. stopped humanitarian flights from Haiti with severely injured patients because they want to know who is going to pay for them. Looks like cash basis is working well in the U.S.

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On January 31, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Pub and Paul Balart, Here is some investigative reporting that you might find interesting on the haiti effort.
http://www.newstatesman.com/international-politics/2010/02/haiti-pilger-obama-venezuela

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On January 31, 2010, publisher wrote:

I will say that is an interesting article but let’s call it what it is, an op/ed piece, certainly not an “investigative report”.

It says the US got formal approval from the UN to take over Haiti.

1. What power does the UN have over Haiti?

2. What is your suggestion for an alternative? I suppose these tens of thousands of man hours and millions of dollars and resources makes the US evil?

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On January 31, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

CNN had their camera ready and rolling before the dropping of the supplies, and they did what they did in Irak with the set-up of Saddam Husein statue, they had pick up a little crowd and out of nowhere in a desert field they all jump hands in the air in camera range praising Obama!

Wondering if a white US president could have done this without raising International questions.

He got his Nobel Peace price already

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On January 31, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Pub, the U.S. people are not evil but I listened to a radio station KGO from California last night and they are plenty pissed off about how the U.S. Gov. is handling the Haiti crisis. The program had a moderator a Dr Watenburg, a U.S. scientist who said the U.S. and other countries schould have used high altitude food and medical air drops like were used in Bosnia and I think he said Afganistan and other countries when a disaster like this happens. You have to get food to people as fast as you can and the best way to do this and cut out all the fighting over food etc. is to spread it out not try to distribute it with trucks. He explained that you can drop food from any altitude as it will only attain a speed of 500 feet because of air resistance. He said he tried from the onset to influence the government to do this but recieved no support. Meanwhile people are starving to death for no reason. Something is wrong here.

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On January 31, 2010, publisher wrote:

Some Obama conspiracy I suppose?

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On January 31, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Pub, “what power does the U.N. have over Haiti?” exactly, the U.S. schould have gotten permission from the pres. of Haiti, unless of course he is just a political figurhead installed by the U.S. as a yes man.

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On January 31, 2010, publisher wrote:

Then why didn’t he just say yes directly to the US?

I suppose you know what’s going on and you are convinced there’s a conspiracy?

What a nut.

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On January 31, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Obama is only one person,I know, but he seems to be having a problem controling the governments direction.

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On January 31, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Obviously the U.S. doesn’t think they have to ask the Pres. of Haiti for anything do they?

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On January 31, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

the real President of Haiti was Jean-Bertrant Aristide and He was victim of a kidnapping coup by the USA who appointed their own Haitian Batista.

The US do not require authorization from their puppet, you Cubans fugitives should know you were ready to cut the Island of Cuba in half because the US ask you to.

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On January 31, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

“you Cubans fugitives should know you were ready to cut the Island of Cuba in half because the US ask you to.”

Batista had authorized the USA to dig up a canal who would divide the island in half. 99 years lease for 1$ type of deal, that would have made the canal US waters and subject to US law, destroying Cuba Independence forever.


A little bit of history: http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1768.html

Batista returned to Cuba, after a brief retirement in Florida, in early 1952. After staging a military coup d’état, Batista became Cuba’s dictator in March. After Castro’s first unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Batista, Batista’s gangster friend Meyer Lansky turned Cuba into an international drug trafficking port. Batista was said to have received up to 30 percent of Lansky’s profits from casinos and hotels built there. At an inflated price, Batista approved contracts with U.S. corporations to build such projects as the Havana-Varadero Highway, the Rancho Boyeros airport, train lines, the power company, and a plan to dig a canal across Cuba.

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On January 31, 2010, publisher wrote:

Goldbuster,

Enough. Cut the crap. This is your last warning.

Stay on topic and stop being an idiot.

Try to contribute rather than disrupt.

Last warning.

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On February 01, 2010, MiamiCuban wrote:

Pub….let everyone say what’s on their mind, please.  We can decide what to believe or not believe.

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On February 01, 2010, publisher wrote:

Of course. I give people plenty of room to speak their mind until they are intentionally disruptive.

I’m happy to let goldbuster and pipefitter make ridiculous statements so we can all read what convoluted thinking is going on in their heads.

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On February 01, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

I know what you try to do Pub, that’s why I posted some facts to back up my statements.
Im not trying to be disruptive, I just try to show that its way more complicated than the simplistic view that Castro is the Boogieman scenario promoted for way to long here.

Thank you for understanding.

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On February 01, 2010, publisher wrote:

Funny that people on the far left AND people on the far right always tell me how it’s complicated.

That is just double talk to suck people into believing their side of the story.

There is nothing complicated about having freedom… freedom of [removed]and more) in Cuba and freedom to travel from the US to Cuba.

<b>Extremists hate freedom.</a> It scares them because they are afraid their “followers” will learn the truth and leave them.

That is true in Havana and in Miami.

I work everyday to promote freedom… even your freedom to be opinionated, propagandist and wrong.

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On February 01, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Im glad you like freedom as well as I do, remember that someone terrorist is someone else freedom fighter.

USA is denying the freedom of all Americans to travel to Cuba. Its time for a change. American people deserve the truth and mostly they deserve freedom to make their own mind.

Lift the embargo now!

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On February 04, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

Cubans helping in Haiti. http://www.thehavananote.com/2010/02/cubanhaitian_medical_teams_in.html#more