2 Letters On Cuban Measures Against The Swine Influenza Epidemic
By May 11, 2009 9:13 AM
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Letter to La Jornada of a Mexican scholarship student in Cuba
Havana, Cuba May 8, 2009
As a Mexican scholarship student of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Cuba, I respectfully write you to make the following comment.
The measures taken in the island are merely precautionary, because the virus causing the disease is absent [from this territory], there has been no discriminatory measure of any kind on the part of any citizen or Cuban authority to Mexican students currently living here. It is indeed unacceptable that the Mexican people remain so poorly informed and that this situation is used to attack and to discredit the Cuban people. The Cuban people have never rejected us under any circumstances. On the contrary, we have been accepted very generously and as brothers and sisters. I am enormously grateful for this.
The campaign to slander Cuba must cease immediately. Such manipulation against a people like the Cubans must stop. Cubans have shown the world that it is not necessary to be under foreign domination to succeed. They have imprinted the meaning of dignity in each of its citizens. .
Orquídea Marván García Ayala
response to an email received from a comrade
In response to your email, I would like to make the following commentary:
Cuba has always responded with strong and decisive preventive measures to any disease, especially in the case of this virus, whose patterns and trends were not clear at the beginning of the epidemic. This was so in the case of AIDS, for example, or with the internationalist cooperationists returning from developing countries. In all cases, the priority was to protect the health of the people in spite other considerations and sensitivities, also taking care of the individual rights of the people.
In the case of Cuba, it is easier to do, because of the quality and dimension of its health system and the fact that the country is an island (the advantage from a sanitary point of view, of being surrounded by water). And here it is more urgent that we do so, because Cuba is under an embargo and can not purchase medicines on the closest market , the American, nor in any other country if the patents or components [of the pharmaceutical] are of U.S. origin.
Furthermore, with the damage the three hurricanes that hit the island in September and October last year caused the Cuban economy (with losses estimated at 10 billion dollars, equivalent to 30% of the country’s gross domestic product), it is particularly vulnerable to additional losses caused by an epidemic.
In the case of the influenza, the national and local governments (DF) of the affected country (Mexico), took drastic measures (closing schools, restaurants, workplaces, cinemas, etc..) and even the president advised the people not to leave their homes. It is not surprising then that other countries also reacted with strong measures.
By the way, Cuba offered to send medical technicians, scientists and epidemiological doctors to Mexico. But of course, Cuba can not send them without the consent of the government of the country concerned, nor is it the role of Cuba to determine whether the measures taken by Mexico were correct or not.
Also, remember that Mexican citizens in Cuba (residents or the more than 1,200 scholarship students) have not suffered any discrimination, not from the government nor from the local population. Unlike other countries, where Mexicans have been confined or have suffered various attacks.
This is a health measure, no more and no less.