By Lisandra Romeo Matos and Lisandra Fariñas Acosta
Cubadebate journalist. Degree in Journalism (2011), Universidad de Oriente. Worked at the Cuban News Agency (2011-2018).
February 28, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
First Nations leaders and health technicians from Manitoba and Alberta in Canada expressed their communities’ interest in establishing cooperation links with Cuba in the field of health.
After a week in Havana, where they toured several institutions in the sector and held meetings with authorities in the field, including the head of the country, Dr. José Ángel Portal Miranda, they announced this Friday at a press conference their growing desire that the Island be able to provide them with professionals trained in basic health services, who can attend to the needs of these for decades marginalized communities.
Jerry Daniels, the great chief of the southern region of Manitoba, and of the Organization of the Chiefs of the South, which represents 34 of the more than 600 native nations of Canada, said at Hotel Nacional de Cuba that these peoples “have been limited in their access to health care provided by the government,” and that is why they demand health care providers and various services in these communities.
He said that these communities “are in the midst of a process of transformation of care services, aimed particularly at creating and facilitating access, not only in infrastructure, but also in decision-making and training of professionals.
What we all agree on is that we need many more providers and access to health care, quality services, and professionals to assist these communities, especially in the most remote ones,” he remarked.
According to Daniels, Cuba has a structure in place and is recognized for using it, in addition to having cooperation programs consisting of sending health professionals to various nations, where they do their work with quality and contribute to saving lives even in the most difficult to reach regions.
He added that the Cuban government “can help in two fundamental aspects: sending doctors and other professionals to work in our communities to provide health services, and training specialists at the Latin American School of Medicine to return and cover existing health needs.
We are pleased to imagine that hundreds of health professionals will come to our communities and heal women, children, the elderly and other vulnerable populations. It would be a truly promising future, the native leader argued.
According to Daniel, another impact would be that by improving access to health care in these communities, in a more just and professional way, the migration of these populations to the cities in search of these services would be reduced.
“We want our communities to have health posts, hospitals and other assistance centers, and I urge the other chiefs of the first nations to open up to this possibility of collaboration with Cuba, which we need so much,” he said.
He called for accelerating the process of finding solutions to reverse existing health problems in these locations, such as diabetes, cancer, among other factors. “That is why we are here and we call on all world leaders to help us find solutions to provide better, quality health systems,” he summarized.
For Chief Dave Ledoux of the Gambler Pueblo, the offer from Cuba to the native peoples in Canada corresponds to the Cuban health mission around the world since 1959.
The leader highlighted the recognition of the Island’s health system by the WHO, as well as the quality and its preventive and holistic model, which has allowed to achieve minimal infant mortality rates, and to increase the life expectancy of its population.
“Thousands of students from all over the world have come to Cuba to study the different medical specialties in the last 60 years,” he pondered, and emphasized that it would be an opportune moment for this offer of help, “since we are currently rebuilding our communities to get out of decades of systemic institutional oppression.
The health philosophy of this country and its values are very similar to the traditional medicine model of our peoples, said Deloux.
The more than 600 first nations in Canada include more than one million people who would benefit from these services, he said. He added that from these initial meetings in Havana they are optimistic and hope to apply the ideas, designs and organizational strategies observed in the Cuban health system.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Canada has not only financed and supported opposition parties in Venezuela, but has also openly allied itself with some of that country’s most undemocratic and extremist elements. The Canadian liberal government has openly supported the Voluntad Popular (VP) party’s offer to seize power by force since January 2019, although Ottawa has actually given its support for years to this electorally marginal party in the US nation.
The VP party that sponsors Juan Guaidó has an unfortunate history for Venezuelans. Shortly after Henrique Capriles, the presidential candidate of the opposition coalition Mesa Redonda de Unidad Democrática recognized his defeat in January 2014, its leader, Leopoldo López, launched the “La Salida” movement in an attempt to overthrow Nicolás Maduro, VP activists formed shock troops for the 2014 guarimbas protests that left 43 Venezuelans dead, 800 wounded and a large amount of property damage. Dozens more died in a new wave of VP-backed protests in 2017.
While VP has been effective in fuelling the violence, it has not, however, managed to win many votes. It occupied 8% of the seats in the 2015 elections, in which the opposition won control of the National Assembly. With 14 of the 167 deputies in the Assembly, VP won the majority of the four seats in the Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition. In the December 2012 regional elections, its vice president was only the sixth most successful party and performed somewhat better in the next year’s municipal elections.
Founded in late 2009 by Leopoldo Lopez, VP has always been known for its close contacts with the United States, especially its relations with U.S. diplomats, according to the Wall Street Journal.
López studied at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Internally, Lopez skillfully manages his distant relatives as great-great-grandson of Latin American independence leader Simón Bolívar, and his status as great-grandson of a president and grandson of a member of a presidential cabinet.
Between 2000 and 2008 he was mayor of Chacao, a Venezuelan municipality of some 65,000 inhabitants.
During the 2002 military coup, López orchestrated public protests against legitimate president and revolutionary leader Hugo Chávez and played a leading role in the “citizen’s arrest” of the Venezuelan interior minister. In 2014 Leopoldo López was sentenced and sentenced to 13 years in prison by the attorney general’s office and the Supreme Court of Justice for inciting, planning and leading violence during the guarimbas protests of that year.
Canadian officials are known to have had close contact with López’s emissaries after his conviction. In November 2014, his wife Lilian Adriana Tintori Parra, a well-known Venezuelan sportswoman and political activist, visited Ottawa to meet with Foreign Minister John Baird, his colleague in the conservative cabinet of Jason Kenney, Prime Minister of Alberta Province since 2019, and leader of the Conservative Party of that province since 2017. After meeting Lopez’s wife, Baird demanded the release of Lopez and other political prisoners of VP.
Three months later, Carlos Vecchio, National Policy Coordinator of the fantom government of Guaidó, visited Ottawa along with Diana López, Leopoldo López’s sister, and Orlando Viera-Blanco to speak before the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the United Nations Permanent Commission on Foreign Affairs and International Development. There, in a press conference, they attacked the Venezuelan government and in a forum at McGill University they spoke about the supposed “crisis due to the decline of democracy and the repression of human rights in Venezuela”.
The spectral government of Juan Guaidó named Carlos Vecchio and Orlando Viera-Blanco as its ambassadors to the United States and Canada, respectively. In October 2017, Vecchio and Congresswoman Bibiana Lucas attended an Anti-Maduro group meeting in Toronto.
Canada has undoubtedly strengthened the VP’s hard-line position within the opposition. A February Wall Street Journal article titled “What the hell is going on,” asks, “How did a small group seize control of the opposition?
As Montreal writer and political activist Yves Engler writes, Venezuelans did not need Canada to come and give impetus to a marginal party that can only help lead their country into an increasingly serious and complex conflict.
June 5, 2019.
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