[News] Cuban and Venezuelan Presidents Say Socialism Is Humanism

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 23 08:52:17 EDT 2005

Agencia Cubana de Noticias (AIN)

Cuban and Venezuelan Presidents Say Socialism Is Humanism

Havana, Aug 22 (AIN) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel
Castro highlighted the humanistic nature of the socialist system in the
weekly Venezuelan TV/Radio program "Alo Presidente," broadcast Sunday from
western Cuba.

The two leaders spoke about joint initiatives established between the two
nations and focused on the successes of health care projects. On Saturday
evening, the Venezuelan president attended the first graduation ceremony of
the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), which this weekend saw its
first 1,610 doctors graduate. The new physicians are from 28 countries and
the vast majority comes from low-income families.

The Alo Presidente program was characterized by frequent relaxed exchanges
between the two presidents as well as with other participants in the
audience and numerous callers..

Detailing some recent results from the joint Venezuelan-Cuban efforts,
President Chavez said that 60 comprehensive diagnostic centers are now up
and running in Venezuela which have attended to more than 78,000 patients
and performed some 300,000 patient examinations since opening.

Chavez pointed out that the goal is to reach 600 of these centers in
Venezuela to guarantee medical assistance to those most in need that
previously had no access to good health care.  He assured that he will keep
on working relentlessly to reach this goal and announced the creation of a
Cuban-Venezuelan company that will study ways to improve the project.

The Venezuelan president noted that this type of cooperation and programs
are the socialism of the 21st Century, noting that all health care services
are offered completely free of charge.

For his part, Fidel Castro spoke about the newly acquired medical equipment
that is being installed and used in all the health clinics in Cuba as well
as the new health centers in Venezuela.

The two heads of states talked by phone to the director of the Cuban
Ophthalmology Institute, Dr. Reinaldo Rios and to Angel Quintero, patient
number 50,000 of the Operacion Milagro Project, a program which offers free
eye surgery in Cuba.

Speaking about Operacion Milagro, Fidel Castro noted that every year some
half million people go blind from treatable eye diseases and that there are
close to five million people in need of eye surgery in Latin America. He
stated that it is very possible that this year alone the program will
perform 100,000 operations.

The Venezuelan Minister of Health and Social Development, Francisco Armanda,
explained that one of the principal problems facing the healthcare system in
Venezuela stems from a lack of diagnosis and prevention; not only in the
case of vision disorders but in other ailments such as HIV-AIDS. To address
this problem, the minister stated that in Venezuela a wide- reaching
prevention campaign is underway along with the opening of free treatment and
diagnostic centers.

In this area, President Castro spoke about the importance of prevention
programs, especially for potentially catastrophic diseases such as HIV-AIDS,
citing the horrific AIDS epidemic facing Africa as an example.

The Cuban president added that these catastrophes underline the importance
of forming doctors, as is successfully being undertaken by the Bolivarian
Revolution in Venezuela.

President Chavez intervened to acknowledge the support of the Cuban
Revolution in several of these projects underway in Venezuela including the
Operacion Milagro Project and others aimed at health care and adult

The Venezuelan president repeated his commitment to create a new Latin
American School of Medicine in Venezuela, modeled after the one in Cuba,
with the purpose of educating an "army" of doctors.

Fidel Castro stated that this sort of idea, to create universities intended
to create massive amounts of doctors in Latin America, is not a dream, but a
reality, focused not on making money but on saving lives.

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