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Cuba's aid ignored by the media?

By Tom Fawthrop in Havana

After the quake struck, Haiti's first medical aid came from Cuba [GALLO/GETTY]

Among the many donor nations helping Haiti, Cuba and its medical teams have played a major role in treating earthquake victims.

Public health experts say the Cubans were the first to set up medical facilities among the debris and to revamp hospitals immediately after the earthquake struck.

However, their pivotal work in the health sector has received scant media coverage.

special report

"It is striking that there has been virtually no mention in the media of the fact that Cuba had several hundred health personnel on the ground before any other country," said David Sanders, a professor of public health from Western Cape University in South Africa.

The Cuban team coordinator in Haiti, Dr Carlos Alberto Garcia, says the Cuban doctors, nurses and other health personnel have been working non-stop, day and night, with operating rooms open 18 hours a day.

During a visit to La Paz hospital in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, Dr Mirta Roses, the director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) which is in charge of medical coordination between the Cuban doctors, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and a host of health sector NGOs, described the aid provided by Cuban doctors as "excellent and marvellous".

La Paz is one of five hospitals in Haiti that is largely staffed by health professionals from Havana.

History of cooperation

Global medical teams raced to provide urgent aid to Haiti after the earthquake
[GETTY]
Haiti and Cuba signed a medical cooperation agreement in 1998.

Before the earthquake struck, 344 Cuban health professionals were already present in Haiti, providing primary care and obstetrical services as well as operating to restore the sight of Haitians blinded by eye diseases.

More doctors were flown in shortly after the earthquake, as part of the rapid response Henry Reeve Medical Brigade of disaster specialists. The brigade has extensive experience in dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes, having responded to such disasters in China, Indonesia and Pakistan.

"In the case of Cuban doctors, they are rapid responders to disasters, because disaster management is an integral part of their training," explains Maria a Hamlin Zúniga, a public health specialist from Nicaragua.

"They are fully aware of the need to reduce risks by having people prepared to act in any disaster situation."

Cuban doctors have been organising medical facilities in three revamped and five field hospitals, five diagnostic centres, with a total of 22 different care posts aided by financial support from Venezuela. They are also operating nine rehabilitation centres staffed by nearly 70 Cuban physical therapists and rehab specialists, in addition to the Haitian medical personnel.

The Cuban team has been assisted by 100 specialists from Venezuela, Chile, Spain, Mexico, Colombia and Canada and 17 nuns.

Havana has also sent 400,000 tetanus vaccines for the wounded.

Eduardo Nuñez Valdes, a Cuban epidemiologist who is currently in Port-au-Prince, has stressed that the current unsanitary conditions could lead to an epidemic of parasitic and infectious diseases if not acted upon quickly.

Media silence

However, in reporting on the international aid effort, Western media have generally not ranked Cuba high on the list of donor nations.

One major international news agency's list of donor nations credited Cuba with sending over 30 doctors to Haiti, whereas the real figure stands at more than 350, including 280 young Haitian doctors who graduated from Cuba. The final figure accounts for a combined total of 930 health professionals in all Cuban medical teams making it the largest medical contingent on the ground.

Another batch if 200 Cuban-trained doctors from 24 countries in Africa and Latin American, and a dozen American doctors who graduated from Havana are currently en route to Haiti and will provide reinforcement to existing Cuban medical teams.

By comparison the internationally-renowned Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or Doctors without Borders) has approximately 269 health professionals working in Haiti. MSF is much better funded and has far more extensive medical supplies than the Cuban team.

Left out

But while representatives from MSF and the ICRC are frequently in front of television cameras discussing health priorities and medical needs, the Cuban medical teams are missing in the media coverage.

Richard Gott, the Guardian newspaper's former foreign editor and a Latin America specialist, explains: "Western media are programmed to be indifferent to aid that comes from unexpected places. In the Haitian case, the media have ignored not just the Cuban contribution, but also the efforts made by other Latin American countries."

Brazil is providing $70mn in funding for 10 urgent care units, 50 mobile units for emergency care, a laboratory and a hospital, among other health services.

Venezuela has cancelled all Haiti debt and has promised to supply oil free of charge until the country has recovered from the disaster.

Western NGOs employ media officers to ensure that the world knows what they are doing.

According to Gott, the Western media has grown accustomed to dealing with such NGOs, enabling a relationship of mutual assistance to develop.

Cuban medical teams, however, are outside this predominantly Western humanitarian-media loop and are therefore only likely to receive attention from Latin American media and Spanish language broadcasters and print media.

There have, however, been notable exceptions to this reporting syndrome. On January 19, a CNN reporter broke the silence on the Cuban role in Haiti with a report on Cuban doctors at La Paz hospital.

Cuba/US cooperation

When the US requested that their military plans be allowed to fly through Cuban airspace for the purpose of evacuating Haitians to hospitals in Florida, Cuba immediately agreed despite almost 50 years of animosity between the two countries.

Cuban doctors received global praise for their humanitarian aid in Indonesia
[Tom Fawthrop]
Josefina Vidal, the director of the Cuban foreign ministry's North America department, issued a statement declaring that: "Cuba is ready to cooperate with all the nations on the ground, including the US, to help the Haitian people and save more lives."

This deal cut the flight time of medical evacuation flights from the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba's southern tip to Miami by 90 minutes.

According to Darby Holladay, the US state department's spokesperson, the US has also communicated its readiness to make medical relief supplies available to Cuban doctors in Haiti.

"Potential US-Cuban cooperation could go a long way toward meeting Haiti's needs," says Dr Julie Feinsilver, the author of Healing the Masses - a book about Cuban health diplomacy, who argues that maximum cooperation is urgently needed.

Rich in human resources

Although Cuba is a poor developing country, their wealth of human resources - doctors, engineers and disaster management experts - has enabled this small Caribbean nation to play a global role in health care and humanitarian aid alongside the far richer nations of the west.

Cuban medical teams played a key role in the wake of the Indian Ocean Tsunami and provided the largest contingent of doctors after the 2005 Pakistan earthquake. They also stayed the longest among international medical teams treating the victims of the 2006 Indonesian earthquake.

In the Pakistan relief operation the US and Europe dispatched medical teams. Each had a base camp with most doctors deployed for a month. The Cubans, however, deployed seven major base camps, operated 32 field hospitals and stayed for six months.

Bruno Rodriguez, who is now Cuba's foreign minister, headed the mission - living in the mountains of Pakistan for more than six months.

Just after the Indonesian earthquake a year later, I met with Indonesia's then regional health co-coordinator, Dr Ronny Rockito.

Cuba had sent 135 health workers and two field hospitals. Rockito said that while the medical teams from other countries departed after just one month, he asked the Cuban medical team to extend their stay.

"I appreciate the Cuban medical team. Their style is very friendly. Their medical standard is very high," he told me.

"The Cuban [field] hospitals are fully complete and it's free, with no financial support from our government."

Rockito says he never expected to see Cuban doctors coming to his country's rescue.

"We felt very surprised about doctors coming from a poor country, a country so far away that we know little about.

"We can learn from the Cuban health system. They are very fast to handle injuries and fractures. They x-ray, then they operate straight away."

A 'new dawn'?

The Montreal summit, the first gathering of 20 donor nations, agreed to hold a major conference on Haiti's future at the United Nations in March.

Some analysts see Haiti's rehabilitation as a potential opportunity for the US and Cuba to bypass their ideological differences and combine their resources - the US has the logistics while Cuba has the human resources - to help Haiti.

Feinsilver is convinced that "Cuba should be given a seat at the table with all other nations and multilateral organisations and agencies in any and all meetings to discuss, plan and coordinate aid efforts for Haiti's reconstruction".

"This would be in recognition of Cuba's long-standing policy and practise of medical diplomacy, as well as its general development aid to Haiti," she says.

But, will Haiti offer the US administration, which has Cuba on its list of nations that allegedly "support terrorism", a "new dawn" in its relations with Cuba?

In late January, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, thanked Cuba for its efforts in Haiti and welcomed further assistance and co-operation.

In Haiti's grand reconstruction plan, Feinsilver argues, "there can be no imposition of systems from any country, agency or institution. The Haitian people themselves, through what remains of their government and NGOs, must provide the policy direction, and Cuba has been and should continue to be a key player in the health sector in Haiti".

Comments

  • One2gofstOne2gofst Posts: 583
    A news story complaining about lack of media attention? Ironic, much?

    Cuba can do good things, as can any nation. JUST, IMO, it doesn't make up for the atrocities committed. Cuba does have certain resources, but is sorely lacking in others. The Cuban government could rectify this almost instantly, to the benefit of everyone except the govt. However, they won't because they refuse to give up power. After all, thats what it was about in Cuba from the start, no matter what bleeding hearts and sympathizers would have one believe.
  • VulchorVulchor FloridaPosts: 4,844 ✭✭✭
    I wish a few US newpapers would take note of this, and the fact it has been hapenning for a few years now. It seems that in catering to our older population who remember Cuba only in terms that my generation read in history books---we have done a disservice to people living there today and may have as much to do with tension between the govt's as ol' Fidel does. Too much money to be made on both sides of the Caribbean to not get on some sort of trading and travel terms. I wish I could make the arguement for the human side or cultural benefits---but money seems to be what talks and there is a load to be made on both sides if we each got beyond the 1960's.
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    FOX news reported on Cuba's contributions, CNN too I think; then they mentioned that while Cuba sent a few field hospitals, the US sent around $100 mill worth of food/medicine aid, which is expected to rise to about $1 billion (not counting charitable donations). In other news, this is the breakdown by country of aid pledged: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/jan/14/haiti-quake-aid-pledges-country-donations#data

    I find it hard to believe that a country that imprisons its own people and jails/executes political dissidents has top-notch doctors and engineers when most of its population isn't allowed to leave the island, either for the US or for Europe
  • laker1963laker1963 Posts: 5,046
    xmacro:
    FOX news reported on Cuba's contributions, CNN too I think; then they mentioned that while Cuba sent a few field hospitals, the US sent around $100 mill worth of food/medicine aid, which is expected to rise to about $1 billion (not counting charitable donations). In other news, this is the breakdown by country of aid pledged: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/jan/14/haiti-quake-aid-pledges-country-donations#data

    I find it hard to believe that a country that imprisons its own people and jails/executes political dissidents has top-notch doctors and engineers when most of its population isn't allowed to leave the island, either for the US or for Europe
    I am not surprised that you don't believe or have a hard time believing this information.

    It will blow your socks off then to learn that Cuban's have a longer life expectancy then people living in the US. They have always had fine medical services and they have been exporting this expertise around different parts of the world for years now. Our "News" agencies are just catching up, and grudgingly giving some credit where major credit is due.

    Like our politicians, our news agencies tend to spend an innordinate amount of time navel gazing.

    In fact just like the original post says, the list on the page you linked did not even include the Cubans.

    They sent a LOT more then "a few field hospitals", had over 300 medical professionals in the country already when the earthquake struck, and were the first country to respond by sending more medical teams and supplies immediately after the quake.
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    Does it ever occur to you, that maybe the news organizations in third world countries aren't exactly reputable? That maybe, just maybe, the cuban news agencies have an agenda in mind when they run stories (like the fact their Gov't will imprison or kill any journalist if they report anything negative about the regime)? That maybe Michael Moore's documentaries aren't the most reliable source?

    Anyway, if you had read my post, I never said I wasn't surprised about cuba's contributions; I said that I find it hard to believe that cuban doctors from a third-world country measure up to first-world doctors educated in Europe or the US.
  • xmacro:
    Does it ever occur to you, that maybe the news organizations in third world countries aren't exactly reputable? That maybe, just maybe, the cuban news agencies have an agenda in mind when they run stories (like the fact their Gov't will imprison or kill any journalist if they report anything negative about the regime)? That maybe Michael Moore's documentaries aren't the most reliable source?

    Anyway, if you had read my post, I never said I wasn't surprised about cuba's contributions; I said that I find it hard to believe that cuban doctors from a third-world country measure up to first-world doctors educated in Europe or the US.
    i agree. well said sir.
  • laker1963laker1963 Posts: 5,046
    xmacro:
    Does it ever occur to you, that maybe the news organizations in third world countries aren't exactly reputable? That maybe, just maybe, the cuban news agencies have an agenda in mind when they run stories (like the fact their Gov't will imprison or kill any journalist if they report anything negative about the regime)? That maybe Michael Moore's documentaries aren't the most reliable source?

    Anyway, if you had read my post, I never said I wasn't surprised about cuba's contributions; I said that I find it hard to believe that cuban doctors from a third-world country measure up to first-world doctors educated in Europe or the US.
    WTF dewd? Xmacro, what is the problem? My comments were not intended for you personally. When I said "I am not surprised that you don't believe or have a hard time believing this information", I was making a general statement. not one directed to you personally. Sorry if there was confusion there. I think you are taking our disagreement on some issues a little too personal bro'.

    I DO NOT watch Michael Moore movies, and I resent the fact that again you question something in a post I submitted, with nothing more then your opinion, and try to discredit something I say by throwing out a remark about Michael Moore?

    I was trying to post some information that would NOT have been readily available to many BOTL on this forum. For education purposes, not to cause another arguement with you.

    However your comment regarding the competence of Cuban Dr's. is just not accurate. I encourage you to read about the situation in Cuba. You will find (if you believe it, that is) that the Cuba you hear about in the mainstream media is NOT accurate in many ways, and overblown in many other ways.
    There are a LOT of good things going on in Cuba, but that never gets reported on, because it flies in the face of what our political leaders tell us about life inside Cuba. While things in Cuba are far from perfect, they are just as far from the unlivable conditions reported in mainstream media here in N. America. I was NOT attacking you personally xmacro
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    When you say "you don't believe", and directly quote my post, it's natural to assume you're addressing me personally/directly. I'm not attacking you personally - I'm attacking your ideas and the articles you post as either outright false, or blatantly biased. You keep posting these stories but you never consider the source of the reporting or why the report was published in the first place.

    Your points about cubans having superior healthcare and living longer were the same "facts" that Michael Moore spouted off in his documentary. Also, your information is skewed - you posted this article without ever considering the source, or what the author's agenda was.

    If life in cuba is so good, why is it we keep getting refugees washing up on shore on doors and planks of wood? What does cuba keep jailing and executing its political dissidents? Why do journalists who don't toe the Gov'ts agenda keep disappearing? The simple fact is, cuba is not free, and has not been for many decades; so long as the castro dictatorship is in power, the cuban people will be oppressed

    Lastly, you're dead wrong about the "unreported" things that "our political leaders telll us" - the simple fact is that we have freedom of the press in this country, our political leaders don't tell us anything nor do they have any say in regulating what gets reported on, the journalists do. Freedom of the press means they can report whatever they want, without fear of censure or reprisal; cuban journalists on the other hand, have every reason to report their country is a paradise, the alternative to this positive reporting being a firing squad.

    I don't doubt that cuba has donated a good part to Haiti, and I don't doubt that there things that are underreported; but while there are many journalists in the US with a partisan axe to grind, I'll still take a US journalists word over a cuban journalists word any day, for the simple reason that the US journalist isn't threatened with execution when they report something the Gov't doesn't like

  • laker1963laker1963 Posts: 5,046
    xmacro:
    When you say "you don't believe", and directly quote my post, it's natural to assume you're addressing me personally/directly. I'm not attacking you personally - I'm attacking your ideas and the articles you post as either outright false, or blatantly biased. You keep posting these stories but you never consider the source of the reporting or why the report was published in the first place.

    Your points about cubans having superior healthcare and living longer were the same "facts" that Michael Moore spouted off in his documentary. Also, your information is skewed - you posted this article without ever considering the source, or what the author's agenda was.

    If life in cuba is so good, why is it we keep getting refugees washing up on shore on doors and planks of wood? What does cuba keep jailing and executing its political dissidents? Why do journalists who don't toe the Gov'ts agenda keep disappearing? The simple fact is, cuba is not free, and has not been for many decades; so long as the castro dictatorship is in power, the cuban people will be oppressed

    Lastly, you're dead wrong about the "unreported" things that "our political leaders telll us" - the simple fact is that we have freedom of the press in this country, our political leaders don't tell us anything nor do they have any say in regulating what gets reported on, the journalists do. Freedom of the press means they can report whatever they want, without fear of censure or reprisal; cuban journalists on the other hand, have every reason to report their country is a paradise, the alternative to this positive reporting being a firing squad. While there are many journalists with a partisan axe to grind, I'll still take a US journalists word over a cuban journalists word any day, for the simple reason that the US journalist isn't threatened with execution when they report something the Gov't doesn't like

    Ummm, you may want to go back to my original post and read the name of the author. Tom Fawthrop is a freelance foreign correspondent based in south-east Asia, he is not Cuban and does NOT live in Cuba. Therefore your coments about him being unable to report freely and accuratley is not an issue.

    You can believe whatever you like bro'. The flock never questions the shepard, and trusts the shepard completely.

    For some of us tho, information from as many sources as we can find is what we call a balanced view.

    As for Michael Moore also stating these "facts"? Does this mean that if Michael Moore states soemthing then it is automatically innaccurate? I would assume that he may get some facts right sometimes, no?

    I think at this point you would argue and disagree with me on just about anything I posted. Maybe with time, you will get over it, then again, maybe not. I don't take this $hit personal, so I have a hard time understanding someone who does. Just saying there is a world of information out there. Why rely on a single world view to determine things for yourself. Peace bro'.
  • PuroFreakPuroFreak Posts: 4,131 ✭✭
    laker1963:
    xmacro:
    Does it ever occur to you, that maybe the news organizations in third world countries aren't exactly reputable? That maybe, just maybe, the cuban news agencies have an agenda in mind when they run stories (like the fact their Gov't will imprison or kill any journalist if they report anything negative about the regime)? That maybe Michael Moore's documentaries aren't the most reliable source?

    Anyway, if you had read my post, I never said I wasn't surprised about cuba's contributions; I said that I find it hard to believe that cuban doctors from a third-world country measure up to first-world doctors educated in Europe or the US.
    WTF dewd? Xmacro, what is the problem? My comments were not intended for you personally. When I said "I am not surprised that you don't believe or have a hard time believing this information", I was making a general statement. not one directed to you personally. Sorry if there was confusion there. I think you are taking our disagreement on some issues a little too personal bro'.

    I DO NOT watch Michael Moore movies, and I resent the fact that again you question something in a post I submitted, with nothing more then your opinion, and try to discredit something I say by throwing out a remark about Michael Moore?

    I was trying to post some information that would NOT have been readily available to many BOTL on this forum. For education purposes, not to cause another arguement with you.

    However your comment regarding the competence of Cuban Dr's. is just not accurate. I encourage you to read about the situation in Cuba. You will find (if you believe it, that is) that the Cuba you hear about in the mainstream media is NOT accurate in many ways, and overblown in many other ways.
    There are a LOT of good things going on in Cuba, but that never gets reported on, because it flies in the face of what our political leaders tell us about life inside Cuba. While things in Cuba are far from perfect, they are just as far from the unlivable conditions reported in mainstream media here in N. America. I was NOT attacking you personally xmacro
    Not to debate or argue you at all Laker, but I have actually watched Sicko, by Moore. I know you're shocked! lmao It's funny because he rants and raves about how much better Cuba's medical system is than that of the U.S. but in a list he shows, the U.S. is ranked ABOVE Cuba's in quality of medical care. It was funny as hell but you had to really be paying attention to catch it. Like I said I wasn't trying to debate ya man, just made me think of a funny moment in that movie.
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    laker1963:
    Ummm, you may want to go back to my original post and read the name of the author. Tom Fawthrop is a freelance foreign correspondent based in south-east Asia, he is not Cuban and does NOT live in Cuba. Therefore your coments about him being unable to report freely and accuratley is not an issue.

    You can believe whatever you like bro'. The flock never questions the shepard, and trusts the shepard completely.

    For some of us tho, information from as many sources as we can find is what we call a balanced view.

    As for Michael Moore also stating these "facts"? Does this mean that if Michael Moore states soemthing then it is automatically innaccurate? I would assume that he may get some facts right sometimes, no?

    I think at this point you would argue and disagree with me on just about anything I posted. Maybe with time, you will get over it, then again, maybe not. I don't take this $hit personal, so I have a hard time understanding someone who does. Just saying there is a world of information out there. Why rely on a single world view to determine things for yourself. Peace bro'.
    A foreign journalist may not be in line for castro's firing squad, but that doesn't mean he isn't on the payroll. Believe it or not, there are a lot of journalists out there who report favorably for whoever pays them the most. As I said before, question your sources more - just because someone outside your country someone says it, doesn't make it true (same for journalists inside your country).

    I disagree with your views, no two ways about it - you base your world view on unreputable sources, people who have a vested interest, and in general on journalists who give out favorable reports about some of the most oppressive regimes on the planet. Cuba is brutally oppressive when it comes to any dissent, yet I'm supposed to believe this journalist when he claims they have world-class doctors and superior healthcare to a first world country like the US? No way, not gonna happen
  • laker1963laker1963 Posts: 5,046
    PuroFreak:
    laker1963:
    xmacro:
    Does it ever occur to you, that maybe the news organizations in third world countries aren't exactly reputable? That maybe, just maybe, the cuban news agencies have an agenda in mind when they run stories (like the fact their Gov't will imprison or kill any journalist if they report anything negative about the regime)? That maybe Michael Moore's documentaries aren't the most reliable source?

    Anyway, if you had read my post, I never said I wasn't surprised about cuba's contributions; I said that I find it hard to believe that cuban doctors from a third-world country measure up to first-world doctors educated in Europe or the US.
    WTF dewd? Xmacro, what is the problem? My comments were not intended for you personally. When I said "I am not surprised that you don't believe or have a hard time believing this information", I was making a general statement. not one directed to you personally. Sorry if there was confusion there. I think you are taking our disagreement on some issues a little too personal bro'.

    I DO NOT watch Michael Moore movies, and I resent the fact that again you question something in a post I submitted, with nothing more then your opinion, and try to discredit something I say by throwing out a remark about Michael Moore?

    I was trying to post some information that would NOT have been readily available to many BOTL on this forum. For education purposes, not to cause another arguement with you.

    However your comment regarding the competence of Cuban Dr's. is just not accurate. I encourage you to read about the situation in Cuba. You will find (if you believe it, that is) that the Cuba you hear about in the mainstream media is NOT accurate in many ways, and overblown in many other ways.
    There are a LOT of good things going on in Cuba, but that never gets reported on, because it flies in the face of what our political leaders tell us about life inside Cuba. While things in Cuba are far from perfect, they are just as far from the unlivable conditions reported in mainstream media here in N. America. I was NOT attacking you personally xmacro
    Not to debate or argue you at all Laker, but I have actually watched Sicko, by Moore. I know you're shocked! lmao It's funny because he rants and raves about how much better Cuba's medical system is than that of the U.S. but in a list he shows, the U.S. is ranked ABOVE Cuba's in quality of medical care. It was funny as hell but you had to really be paying attention to catch it. Like I said I wasn't trying to debate ya man, just made me think of a funny moment in that movie.


    I AM SHOCKED PURO! DIid you do something afterwards to wash that left wing crap off? LMAO.

    Yeah, I never saw the film, and I don't watch Michael Moore movies anyway. I also NEVER said that Cuba's medical system was superior to the US system. What I said was that Cuban's enjoy a longer life expectancy then people in the US.

    This is NOT based on the medical system alone, obviously. It has to do with life styles, less disease from processed foods, chemicals, less stress etc.

    The US and countries like them spend boatloads more money on our medical systems, but we all know we don't get the best bang for the buck under our current systems as well. Even if you are not in favor of the present proposed system from the Obama administration, I think everyone agrees that there are changes which need to be made, to the current system as well.

    I don't understand why all the fuss about information which some may find interesting. It has nothing to do with politics. But I guess some BOTL here just feel like everything I put up here is political. Worse yet... LEFT WING politics, LOL.

    I guess information which counters a persons' already held beliefs is just too much for some people to discuss without things degrading into a pissing match. Sad.

    Puro... I expect some kind of EXTREME right wing statement from you, after your admitting to watching a Michael Moore movie bro'. You have a reputation to protect here you know ;)
  • fla-gypsyfla-gypsy Posts: 3,024 ✭✭
    Kind of like Jimmy Carter, they never find a two bit dictator they didn't love.
  • laker1963laker1963 Posts: 5,046
    fla-gypsy:
    Kind of like Jimmy Carter, they never find a two bit dictator they didn't love.
    More then just Carter, as far as US Presidents go, found a two bit dictator to be very useful at one time or another.

    The problem with Castro was he would not be anyone else's dictator. He kept the game all to himself, and played by his rules. That might make him only a one bit dictator even. ;)
  • PuroFreakPuroFreak Posts: 4,131 ✭✭
    laker1963:
    PuroFreak:
    laker1963:
    xmacro:
    Does it ever occur to you, that maybe the news organizations in third world countries aren't exactly reputable? That maybe, just maybe, the cuban news agencies have an agenda in mind when they run stories (like the fact their Gov't will imprison or kill any journalist if they report anything negative about the regime)? That maybe Michael Moore's documentaries aren't the most reliable source?

    Anyway, if you had read my post, I never said I wasn't surprised about cuba's contributions; I said that I find it hard to believe that cuban doctors from a third-world country measure up to first-world doctors educated in Europe or the US.
    WTF dewd? Xmacro, what is the problem? My comments were not intended for you personally. When I said "I am not surprised that you don't believe or have a hard time believing this information", I was making a general statement. not one directed to you personally. Sorry if there was confusion there. I think you are taking our disagreement on some issues a little too personal bro'.

    I DO NOT watch Michael Moore movies, and I resent the fact that again you question something in a post I submitted, with nothing more then your opinion, and try to discredit something I say by throwing out a remark about Michael Moore?

    I was trying to post some information that would NOT have been readily available to many BOTL on this forum. For education purposes, not to cause another arguement with you.

    However your comment regarding the competence of Cuban Dr's. is just not accurate. I encourage you to read about the situation in Cuba. You will find (if you believe it, that is) that the Cuba you hear about in the mainstream media is NOT accurate in many ways, and overblown in many other ways.
    There are a LOT of good things going on in Cuba, but that never gets reported on, because it flies in the face of what our political leaders tell us about life inside Cuba. While things in Cuba are far from perfect, they are just as far from the unlivable conditions reported in mainstream media here in N. America. I was NOT attacking you personally xmacro
    Not to debate or argue you at all Laker, but I have actually watched Sicko, by Moore. I know you're shocked! lmao It's funny because he rants and raves about how much better Cuba's medical system is than that of the U.S. but in a list he shows, the U.S. is ranked ABOVE Cuba's in quality of medical care. It was funny as hell but you had to really be paying attention to catch it. Like I said I wasn't trying to debate ya man, just made me think of a funny moment in that movie.


    I AM SHOCKED PURO! DIid you do something afterwards to wash that left wing crap off? LMAO.

    Yeah, I never saw the film, and I don't watch Michael Moore movies anyway. I also NEVER said that Cuba's medical system was superior to the US system. What I said was that Cuban's enjoy a longer life expectancy then people in the US.

    This is NOT based on the medical system alone, obviously. It has to do with life styles, less disease from processed foods, chemicals, less stress etc.

    The US and countries like them spend boatloads more money on our medical systems, but we all know we don't get the best bang for the buck under our current systems as well. Even if you are not in favor of the present proposed system from the Obama administration, I think everyone agrees that there are changes which need to be made, to the current system as well.

    I don't understand why all the fuss about information which some may find interesting. It has nothing to do with politics. But I guess some BOTL here just feel like everything I put up here is political. Worse yet... LEFT WING politics, LOL.

    I guess information which counters a persons' already held beliefs is just too much for some people to discuss without things degrading into a pissing match. Sad.

    Puro... I expect some kind of EXTREME right wing statement from you, after your admitting to watching a Michael Moore movie bro'. You have a reputation to protect here you know ;)
    Well listen here you left wing commie Canadian jackass! haha Ok, there, I feel better now. lol Just messin with ya bro.
  • hey laker. thanks for posting this as i didnt know cuba was even involved in the haiti relief effort. i thought it was very informative ;)
  • laker1963laker1963 Posts: 5,046
    Alex Williams:
    hey laker. thanks for posting this as i didnt know cuba was even involved in the haiti relief effort. i thought it was very informative ;)
    Thanks Alex. I was hoping some might find it informative. Wasn't looking to rock anyone's world.
  • laker1963:
    Alex Williams:
    hey laker. thanks for posting this as i didnt know cuba was even involved in the haiti relief effort. i thought it was very informative ;)
    Thanks Alex. I was hoping some might find it informative. Wasn't looking to rock anyone's world.
    well that's good! You know, I don't hate all you left wing nut jobs, just a few (under a million or so), and I actually find you tolerable sometimes! Hahaha.
  • laker1963laker1963 Posts: 5,046
    Alex Williams:
    laker1963:
    Alex Williams:
    hey laker. thanks for posting this as i didnt know cuba was even involved in the haiti relief effort. i thought it was very informative ;)
    Thanks Alex. I was hoping some might find it informative. Wasn't looking to rock anyone's world.
    well that's good! You know, I don't hate all you left wing nut jobs, just a few (under a million or so), and I actually find you tolerable sometimes! Hahaha.
    That's all we ask for. Some tolerance some of the time. As for left wing nut job? I prefer right mind thinking wing nut, thank you!

    Do you ultra conservative right wing hacks, always have to twist things? LMAO
  • laker1963:
    Alex Williams:
    laker1963:
    Alex Williams:
    hey laker. thanks for posting this as i didnt know cuba was even involved in the haiti relief effort. i thought it was very informative ;)
    Thanks Alex. I was hoping some might find it informative. Wasn't looking to rock anyone's world.
    well that's good! You know, I don't hate all you left wing nut jobs, just a few (under a million or so), and I actually find you tolerable sometimes! Hahaha.
    That's all we ask for. Some tolerance some of the time. As for left wing nut job? I prefer right mind thinking wing nut, thank you!

    Do you ultra conservative right wing hacks, always have to twist things? LMAO
    HAHA. that may be what you prefer, but i speak the truth! you cant always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might just find, everyone else gets what you need and you pay for it in taxes :) doesnt flow the same but i like it better than the original song!
  • Hawk55Hawk55 Posts: 846
    So X...did you say something about self-serving... Go figure.
  • Hawk55Hawk55 Posts: 846
    Hey Laker...what you hyped up on...Chill Bro!! LOL
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Cuba is also a place for fine women. I'm just sayin'.
  • fla-gypsyfla-gypsy Posts: 3,024 ✭✭
    urbino:
    Cuba is also a place for fine women. I'm just sayin'.
    and political prisoners galore who feel the need to starve themselves to death to get the world to pay attention to what is going on there in the peoples utopia.
  • PuroFreakPuroFreak Posts: 4,131 ✭✭
    urbino:
    Cuba is also a place for fine women. I'm just sayin'.
    I saw a poster for Cuban cigars one time with the most amazing Cuban woman rolling cigars on her inner thigh... I know most of the women, or probably none of them, look like that woman on the poster, but every time I put one to my lips, I picture that cigar being on THAT woman's thigh!
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    PuroFreak:
    urbino:
    Cuba is also a place for fine women. I'm just sayin'.
    I saw a poster for Cuban cigars one time with the most amazing Cuban woman rolling cigars on her inner thigh... I know most of the women, or probably none of them, look like that woman on the poster, but every time I put one to my lips, I picture that cigar being on THAT woman's thigh!
    I used to believe that . . . until I went on a cruise and stopped over in Honduras. There they had a book that had the process cubans went through, from leaf to cigar. It was quite informative, showing the growers, the plants, how everything was fermented, etc. This book also had pictures . . . pictures of big, fat, middle-aged men with huge beer guts, dressed in loin-clothes rolling cigars between their sweaty hands. That was the end of my love affair with cubans.

  • kaspera79kaspera79 Posts: 7,259 ✭✭✭
    xmacro:
    PuroFreak:
    urbino:
    Cuba is also a place for fine women. I'm just sayin'.
    I saw a poster for Cuban cigars one time with the most amazing Cuban woman rolling cigars on her inner thigh... I know most of the women, or probably none of them, look like that woman on the poster, but every time I put one to my lips, I picture that cigar being on THAT woman's thigh!
    I used to believe that . . . until I went on a cruise and stopped over in Honduras. There they had a book that had the process cubans went through, from leaf to cigar. It was quite informative, showing the growers, the plants, how everything was fermented, etc. This book also had pictures . . . pictures of big, fat, middle-aged men with huge beer guts, dressed in loin-clothes rolling cigars between their sweaty hands. That was the end of my love affair with cubans.

    Yeah, I try not to think about the whole "hand rolled" part of cigars. And up until today I have gone for several months without some mental pictures of the lack of " please wash hands before returning to work" signs in the rolling shops rest rooms. Thanks guys (jfk)
  • PuroFreakPuroFreak Posts: 4,131 ✭✭
    kaspera79:
    xmacro:
    PuroFreak:
    urbino:
    Cuba is also a place for fine women. I'm just sayin'.
    I saw a poster for Cuban cigars one time with the most amazing Cuban woman rolling cigars on her inner thigh... I know most of the women, or probably none of them, look like that woman on the poster, but every time I put one to my lips, I picture that cigar being on THAT woman's thigh!
    I used to believe that . . . until I went on a cruise and stopped over in Honduras. There they had a book that had the process cubans went through, from leaf to cigar. It was quite informative, showing the growers, the plants, how everything was fermented, etc. This book also had pictures . . . pictures of big, fat, middle-aged men with huge beer guts, dressed in loin-clothes rolling cigars between their sweaty hands. That was the end of my love affair with cubans.

    Yeah, I try not to think about the whole "hand rolled" part of cigars. And up until today I have gone for several months without some mental pictures of the lack of " please wash hands before returning to work" signs in the rolling shops rest rooms. Thanks guys (jfk)
    Yea, the women that really roll the cigars probably look more like this
    wow Pictures, Images and Photos

    Than this
    latina Pictures, Images and Photos
  • gmill880gmill880 Posts: 5,947
    PuroFreak:
    kaspera79:
    xmacro:
    PuroFreak:
    urbino:
    Cuba is also a place for fine women. I'm just sayin'.
    I saw a poster for Cuban cigars one time with the most amazing Cuban woman rolling cigars on her inner thigh... I know most of the women, or probably none of them, look like that woman on the poster, but every time I put one to my lips, I picture that cigar being on THAT woman's thigh!
    I used to believe that . . . until I went on a cruise and stopped over in Honduras. There they had a book that had the process cubans went through, from leaf to cigar. It was quite informative, showing the growers, the plants, how everything was fermented, etc. This book also had pictures . . . pictures of big, fat, middle-aged men with huge beer guts, dressed in loin-clothes rolling cigars between their sweaty hands. That was the end of my love affair with cubans.

    Yeah, I try not to think about the whole "hand rolled" part of cigars. And up until today I have gone for several months without some mental pictures of the lack of " please wash hands before returning to work" signs in the rolling shops rest rooms. Thanks guys (jfk)
    Yea, the women that really roll the cigars probably look more like this
    wow Pictures, Images and Photos

    Than this
    latina Pictures, Images and Photos

    I bet if you knew for sure the second one rolled it sales would go up even if it tasted like a **** !!! LMAO
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