[News] Fidel - A Brilliant and Courageous Statement

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 5 11:28:33 EDT 2011

Reflections by Comrade Fidel


Attending to other matters that are now top 
priority, I momentarily strayed from the 
frequency with which I had been writing 
reflections in the year 2010; however, Hugo 
Chávez Frías’ proclamation last Thursday the 
30th, obliges me to write these lines.

The president of Venezuela is one of the men who 
has done the most for the health and education of 
his people; since these are subjects where the 
Cuban Revolution has accumulated the most 
experience, we gladly collaborate to the maximum 
with this sister country in both areas.

It is by no means a matter of that country 
lacking doctors; quite the opposite. They had an 
abundance of doctors, among them there were even 
first-class professionals, just as in other Latin 
American countries.  It is a social matter.  The 
best medical doctors and the most sophisticated 
equipment could be placed at the service of 
private medicine, as it is in all capitalist 
countries. And often not even that, because in 
underdeveloped capitalism, like the type that 
used to exist in Venezuela, the wealthy class had 
sufficient means to go to the best hospitals in 
the United States or Europe, something that was 
and is customary and nobody can deny it.

Even worse, the United States and Europe have 
been noted for seducing the best specialists from 
any exploited Third World country to abandon 
their homeland and to emigrate to the consumer 
societies. Training doctors for that world in the 
developed countries implies fabulous sums of 
money that millions of poor Latin American and 
Caribbean families would never be able to pay. In 
Cuba, that used to happen until the Revolution 
took up the challenge, not just of training 
doctors capable of serving our own country, but 
also the other peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean or the world.

Never have we stolen the intelligences of other 
peoples. On the contrary; in Cuba we have trained 
tens of thousands of doctors and other top-level 
professionals, for free, in order to send them back to their own countries.

Thanks to the profound Bolivarian and 
Marti-inspired revolutions, Venezuela and Cuba 
are countries where health and education have 
been extraordinarily developed.  Every citizen 
has the real right to receive general education 
and professional training at no cost, something 
that the United States has not been able to 
ensure for all its inhabitants. The reality is 
that the government of that country invests a 
billion dollars every year on its military 
machine and its war adventures. Furthermore, it 
is the greatest exporter of weapons and the 
instruments of death and the greatest market for 
drugs in the world.  Because of this traffic, 
tens of thousands of Latin American lives are lost every year.

It is such a real and well-known fact that more 
than 50 years ago, a president having military 
origins bitterly denounced the decisive power 
accumulated by the military-industrial complex in that country.

These words would be superfluous if it were not 
for the intervention of the hateful and repugnant 
campaign unleashed by the massive Venezuelan 
oligarchy media, at the service of that empire, 
using the health problems being experienced by 
the Bolivarian President.  We are united to the 
President with close and indestructible bonds of 
friendship that came into being from his first 
visit to our homeland on December 13th, 1994.

Some were surprised by the coincidence of his 
visit to Cuba with the necessity of seeking 
medical care. The Venezuelan President visited 
out country with the same aim that took him to 
Brazil and Ecuador. He had no intention of 
receiving medical care in our homeland.

It is well-known that for a few years now, a team 
of Cuban health specialists are providing their 
services to the Venezuelan President who, loyal 
to his Bolivarian principles, never considered 
them to be undesirable foreigners, but sons and 
daughters of the Great Latin American Homeland on 
behalf of which The Liberator fought, right up to his last living breath.

The first contingent of Cuban doctors left for 
Venezuela when the Vargas Stadium tragedy 
occurred, taking thousands of this noble 
country’s lives. This action of solidarity was 
nothing new; it made up a tradition 
well-established in our country from the first 
years of the Revolution, from the time almost 
half a century ago when Cuban doctors were sent 
to recently-independent Algeria.  That tradition 
grew stronger while the Cuban Revolution, in the 
midst of a cruel blockade, was training 
internationalist doctors.  Countries such as 
Peru, Somoza’s Nicaragua and other countries in 
our hemisphere and in the Third World were 
suffering from tragedies as a result of 
earthquakes or other causes that required Cuba’s 
solidarity.  So, our country became the nation in 
the world that had the highest rate of doctors 
and specialized health personnel, with extremely 
high levels of experience and professional capabilities.

President Chávez put a great emphasis in relating 
with our health personnel. This way, a bond of 
confidence and friendship was born between him 
and the Cuban doctors who were always very 
sensitive to the treatment of the Venezuelan 
leader; and he was able to create thousands of 
health centres and outfit them with the necessary 
equipment in order to provide free services for 
all Venezuelans. There was no other government in 
the world that did so much, in such a short time, 
for the health of its people.

A large percentage of Cuban health personnel 
provided services in Venezuela and many of them 
also acted as teachers in certain subjects that 
were being taught to train more than 20,000 young 
Venezuelans who began to graduate as medical 
doctors. Many of them began their studies in our 
country. The internationalist doctors, members of 
Battalion 51, graduates of the Latin American 
School of Medicine, have earned solid prestige in 
carrying out complicated and difficult missions. 
On these bases my relations in this field with 
President Hugo Chávez were built.

I should add that in the course of more than 
twelve years, since February 2, 1999, the 
president and leader of the Venezuelan Revolution 
has not rested one single day and thus he 
occupies a unique place in the history of this 
hemisphere.  All of his energy has been dedicated to the Revolution.

One could say that for every extra hour Chávez 
dedicates to his work, the president of the United States rests for two hours.

It was difficult, almost impossible, that his 
health would not suffer some sort of breakdown 
and this is what happened in the last few months.

He is a person used to the rigors of military 
life and he would stoically put up with the aches 
and pains that were plaguing him with ever 
increasing frequency.   Given the friendly 
relations developed and the constant exchanges 
between Cuba and Venezuela, added to my personal 
health experience that I underwent since the 
proclamation of July 30, 2006, it is not unusual 
that I should have noticed the need for a strict 
medical check-up for the President. He is far too 
generous in granting me any special merit in this matter.

Of course, I admit that it was no easy task that 
I set for myself.  It wasn’t difficult for me to 
notice that he had some health problems.  Seven 
months had gone by since his last visit to 
Cuba.  The medical team devoted to caring for his 
health had pleaded for me to take up the 
matter.  From the very first moment, the 
President’s attitude was one of informing the 
people, with complete clarity, about the state of 
his health.  That was why, at the point by then 
of returning, via his minister of Foreign 
Affairs, he informed the people about his health 
up to that instant and he promised to keep them informed in detail.

Each treatment was accompanied by rigorous 
cellular and laboratory analyses, of the kind 
that are done under such circumstances.

One of the tests, several days following the 
first surgery, showed results that determined 
more radical surgery and special treatment for the patient.

In his dignified message on June 30th, the 
noticeably recovered President speaks about the 
state of his health with absolute clarity.

I admit that it was no easy task for me to inform 
my friend about the new development.  I could see 
the dignity with which he received the news that 
--while his mind was dealing with so many 
important tasks, among them the celebrations 
commemorating the Bicentennial and the 
formalization of the agreement on Latin American 
and Caribbean unity – much more than the physical 
suffering that radical surgery would imply, 
signified a test, as he put it, that he compared 
to the difficult moments he had to face in his 
lifetime as an unyielding combatant.

Along with him, the team of persons caring for 
him and who he described as sublime fought a 
magnificent battle which I have witnessed.

With no hesitation whatsoever, I state that the 
results are impressive and that the patient 
fought a decisive battle that shall lead him and 
Venezuela along with him, to a great victory.

One has to make sure that his declaration is 
communicated word for word in every language, but 
especially it should be translated and subtitled 
into English; this is a language that can be 
understood on this Tower of Babel into which 
imperialism has transformed the world.

Now the external and internal enemies of Hugo 
Chávez are at the mercy of his words and his 
initiatives.  Without a doubt there shall be 
surprises in store for them.  Let us wish him our 
most steadfast support and trust.  The lies of 
the empire and the treason of the quislings shall 
be defeated. Today there are millions of militant 
and aware Venezuelans who shall never be made to 
submit to the oligarchy and the empire.

Fidel Castro Ruz
July 3, 2011
4:12  p.m.

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