The lesson of Haiti.

January 15, 2010

For two days, almost at 6 pm, when Cuba, and at night in Haiti by geography, television stations began to broadcast the news that a violent earthquake measuring 7.3 on the scale Richter, was severely beaten in Port au Prince. The seismic phenomenon originated in a tectonic fault located in the sea, just 15 kilometers from the Haitian capital, a city where 80% of the population inhabit fragile homes built of adobe and mud.

The news continued almost without interruption for hours. There were no pictures, but stated that many public buildings, hospitals, schools and more solid construction were reported collapsed. I read that an earthquake of magnitude 7.3 is equivalent to the energy released by an explosion equal to 400 thousand tons of TNT.

Tragic descriptions were transmitted. The wounded in the streets were crying out for medical help, surrounded by ruins families buried. No one, however, was able to broadcast image for several hours.

The news took everyone by surprise. Many have frequently heard about hurricanes and severe flooding in Haiti, but did not know that the neighboring country ran the risk of a major earthquake. This time it emerged that 200 years ago there was a large earthquake in that city, which would have a few thousand inhabitants.

At 12 pm was not mentioned even a ballpark figure of casualties. Senior heads of United Nations and several heads of government discussed the moving events and announced the dispatch of emergency crews. Troops are deployed there by MINUSTAH, United Nations forces from various countries, some defense ministers talked about possible casualties among their staff.

It was actually Wednesday morning when they started to get sad news of enormous human losses in the population, and even institutions like the United Nations mentioned that some of their buildings in that country had collapsed, a word that says nothing in itself or could mean a lot.

For hours news continued to arrive increasingly traumatic situation in that sister nation. Figures were discussed ranging fatalities, according to reports, between 30 thousand and 100 thousand. The images are bleak, it is evident that the catastrophic event has received world wide coverage, and many governments, sincerely moved, making efforts to cooperate to the extent of their resources.

The tragedy has genuinely moved large numbers of people, especially those of natural character. But perhaps very few stop to think why Haiti is so poor. Why its people depend almost 50 percent of family remittances sent from abroad? Why not analyze the realities that led to the current situation in Haiti and enormous suffering?

The oddest thing about this story is that nobody says a word to remember that Haiti was the first country in which 400 thousand African slaves and trafficked by Europeans rebelled against 30
thousand white owners of plantations of sugar cane and coffee, holding the first great social revolution in our hemisphere. Pages of insurmountable glory were written there. The most eminent of Napoleon was defeated. Haiti is the net product of colonialism and imperialism, of more than a century of use of their human resources in the toughest jobs, military interventions and the extraction of its wealth.

This historic oversight would not be as serious as the real fact that Haiti is a shame of our time, in a world where the exploitation and plunder of the vast majority of the inhabitants of the planet.

Billions of people in Latin America, Africa and Asia are suffering similar shortages although perhaps not to such a degree as in Haiti.

Situations like this country should not exist anywhere on Earth, where there are tens of thousands of cities and towns in similar or worse conditions, under an economic and political unfair international tax world. The world population is not only threatened by natural disasters such as Haiti, which is only a pale shadow of what can happen on the planet with climate change, which was really the object of ridicule, mockery and deception in Copenhagen.

It's just to say to all countries and institutions that have lost citizens or personnel because of the natural disaster in Haiti: no doubt that in this case, the greatest effort to save lives and alleviate the pain of this suffering people. We can not blame the natural phenomenon that has taken place there, although we disagree with the policy in Haiti.

I can not express the opinion that it is now time to look real and lasting solutions for that sister nation.

In the field of health and other areas, Cuba, despite being a poor country and blockaded for years been cooperating with the Haitian people. Around 400 doctors and health services free of charge to the Haitian people. In 227 of the 237 communes of the country are working every day our physicians. On the other hand, no less than 400 young Haitians have trained as doctors in our country. Now work with the reinforcement that traveled yesterday to save lives in this critical
situation. Can be mobilized, therefore, no special effort to a thousand doctors and health specialists are almost there willing to cooperate with any other State that wishes to save Haitian lives and
rehabilitate the injured.

Another large number of young Haitians are currently studying medicine in Cuba.

We also cooperate with the Haitian people in other areas that are within our reach. There will, however, no other form of cooperation worthy of being described as such but to fight in the field of ideas and political action to end the limitless tragedy suffered by a large number of nations like Haiti.

The head of our medical brigade reported: "The situation is difficult, but we are already saving lives." He did this through a brief message hours after his arrival yesterday in Port-au-Prince with additional medical reinforcements.

Late at night, he reported that Cuban doctors and the Haitian ELAM graduates are being deployed throughout the country. They had already seen in Port au Prince over a thousand patients, emergency and putting into operation a hospital that had not collapsed and using tents where
necessary. Prepared to quickly install other urgent care centers.

We feel a healthy pride for the cooperation in these tragic instances, Cuba doctors and young Haitian doctors trained in Cuba are offering our brothers in Haiti!

Fidel Castro Ruz

January 14, 2010

8 and 25 pm