Alberto N Jones
March 20, 2018
Upon my return from an 18-month specialized training course in the German Democratic Republic in 1966, we were debriefed at the Veterinary Medical School in Havana about our training and experience. Among the non-academic issues I discussed was the high living standard, impeccable education, rigid discipline and overabundance of food and personal goods, in which only tropical produce was scarce or missing.
Speaking with other Cuban students in other socialist countries, I learned, that the situation was similar to the GDR, for which I was proposing Cuba could tap a 500 million people market without competition, to provide these needed goods, while creating thousands of jobs and millions of dollars for the Caribbean and Central America.
I was harshly rebuked by those who could not see a Cuba transformed into a tropical garden nor an importer of these products from neighboring countries without access to millions in the socialist camp. Today, other countries, not Cuba, are the providers of these highly-demanded agricultural products.
Fifty-two years later, history repeats itself. This time, it is gun violence that is devouring the United States and after the Parkland massacre on February 14, 2018, it has brought to the forefront, the vulnerability, dangers, and the likelihood, that many school children have substantial odds, of not making it through high school.
This tragic reality should elicit a response from Cuba, which has educated tens of thousands of students on the Isle of Youth in the 70’s. Today, it still trains thousands of students from over 100 countries around the world for free, knowing none of them will die of gunshots in Cuba.
On the other hand, Cuba’s economy is in a shambles and the moral and material needs of the population is at its peak. Salaries are insufficient, the population’s satisfaction is at its lowest level and the development of basic infrastructure is stalled for lack of funds.
Cuba can guarantee the lives of millions of students, while earning hundreds of millions of dollars, by educating these children for profit, by hiring tens of thousands of active and retired educators, doctors, psychologists, arts and sports trainers, desperate to earn a decent salary.
Up until the mid 19,
60’s, professionals in Cuba held 2, 3 or more jobs, displaying an unparalleled level of productivity, until it was mistakenly decided that each person could hold just one job, encouraging laziness and loss of morale.
Hundreds of abandoned middle schools in the countryside, other large buildings in cities that once were schools or office buildings, can be refurbished quickly or built, to begin offering parents in the US, a safe haven for their children.
Tourism is so far, one of the country’s main sources of income. Education and Health, well-compensated, encouraged and managed, can easily surpass all others.
Viet Nam is one of Cuba’s closest allies. It underwent its worst economic disaster with famine, boat people and more, following its 1975 collectivization until that was changed in 1986. The Doi Moi or Renovation policy was adopted at the 6th Party Congress. and has transformed Viet Nam into the second largest producer of Coffee and Rice in the world with a 138 billion dollars GPD. By 2015, it is expected to become the 21st largest economy in the world with an average 6-8% annual growth and having reduced a 70% unemployment in 1975 to 9% today.
Cuba has all the ingredients to become the Viet Nam of the Caribbean. No one needs to reinvent the wheel nor copy from others. Viet Nam laid out a successful plan that has turned it into the fastest growing country in Asia, which Cuba should explore.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Washington, Mar 24 (PL) New calls to strengthen gun control in the United States will emerge today during the March for Our Lives in this capital and hundreds of other U.S. cities and countries.
The initiative, which will begin here at noon near the Capitol, is organized by the Never Again movement, which was born out of the will of survivors of the deadly February 14 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in the city of Parkland, Florida.
On that day, former student Nikolas Cruz, 19, killed 17 people and wounded the same number with a legally acquired AR-15 rifle.
A pro-gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety, is also helping students plan and coordinate the event, which has among its demands restricting the sale of large quantities of ammunition.
According to the official website of the march, for which celebrities such as George Clooney and Steven Spielberg have contributed monetary resources, the idea is also to create a law banning assault weapons used in mass shootings.
It also seeks to strengthen the system of background checks for buyers of such devices, including those who obtain them online or at gun shows.
The day before, Marjory Stoneman Douglas students met in Washington D.C. with Congress members, who were demanded many more actions against guns.
“America, we are your future. Why won’t you protect us?,” asked student Demitri Hoth during a press conference at the Capitol with dozens of colleagues.
In his opinion, the politicians still have ‘time to do the right thing’, and he insisted that ‘we students have been victims of the obvious inaction of our government, but never again’.
Other students also attended a vigil at the National Cathedral and a concert led by the rock band Fall Out Boy, according to press reports.
‘This is a time for action. We need the support of Parkland youth and children across the country,’ said Pete Wentz, a bass player in the group, in a statement.
We support them and we must demand that our legislators do more to end this gun violence crisis,’ he added.
Some Democratic legislators in favor of the Never Again movement’s stance attended the press conference and argued that student pressure has made a difference.
Specifically, they referred to a proposal included in the spending plan for government operations through September that will encourage state and federal authorities to report more data to the background check system for weapons buyers.