Cuba

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Cuba has a long history and tradition of international solidarity with other countries in the health sector that dates back to the 1960s, when we started sending healthcare workers to help other countries. From then on, more than 400,000 Cuban doctors and health professionals have provided services in 164 countries. We have helped strengthen local healthcare systems, provided services in remote areas and trained doctors. ~Josefina Vidal Ferreiro
This country … abounds in that Cuba is a heaven in the spiritual sense of the word, and we prefer to die in heaven than serve in hell. ~ Fidel Castro
For many, Cuba was something of an appendix of the United States. Even for many citizens of this country, Cuba was a colony of the United States. ~ Fidel Castro
They want Cuba to abandon what Cuba is, to abandon its principles, and to submit Cuba again to the desires of the U.S. But that won’t happen....
These people are saying we control Venezuela? No... It’s very frustrating that once again they have chosen hostility instead of co-operation ~Josefina Vidal Ferreiro

Cuba, also known as the Republic of Cuba, is a country that consists of the island of Cuba (the largest of the Greater Antilles), the Isle of Youth and adjacent small islands. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean at the confluence of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Cuba is south of the eastern United States and the Bahamas, west of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Haiti and east of Mexico. The Cayman Islands and Jamaica are to the south.

Quotes[edit]

  • If an apple, severed by the tempest from its native tree, cannot choose but fall to the ground, Cuba, forcibly disjoined from its unnatural connexion with Spain, and incapable of self-support, can only gravitate towards the North American Union.
    • John Quincy Adams, Letter to Hugh Nelson (28 April 1823) included in Message from the President of the United States in Reference to the Island of Cuba (1852); paraphrased by several other American political commentators
  • Did you know that of the nearly 1200 health professional Cubans involved in fighting COVID-19 around the world, more than half are women? Join the campaign to award them the Nobel Prize. https://cubanobel.org #CubaNobel
  • Fidel Castro said that instead of investing so much in the development of increasingly sophisticated weapons, those with the resources should promote medical research and put science at the service of humanity, creating instruments of health and life, not death. #cubanobel
  • Did you know that of the nearly 1200 health professional Cubans involved in fighting COVID-19 around the world, more than half are women? Join the campaign to award them the Nobel Prize. https://cubanobel.org #CubaNobel
  • Cuban doctors arrive in Martinique to fight coronavirus. "The only thing that motivates us is to save lives, that's the most important thing in the eyes of a Cuban doctor.” That’s why they could get the Nobel Prize. (27 June 2020)
  • Warfare is a means and not an end. Warfare is a tool of revolutionaries. The important thing is the revolution. The important thing is the revolutionary cause, revolutionary ideas, revolutionary objectives, revolutionary sentiments, revolutionary virtues!
  • This country … abounds in that Cuba is a heaven in the spiritual sense of the word, and we prefer to die in heaven than serve in hell.
    • Fidel Castro, speech at the First World Congress on Literacy (2 February 2005) paraphrasing John Milton's Paradise Lost; reprinted in Granma
  • If we're leaving our fate to sociopathic buffoons, we're finished... you don't see that when the U.S. imposes sanctions, murders, devastating sanctions, that's the only country that can do that, but everyone has to follow... Now Cuba has been suffering from it from the moment where it gained independence, but it's astonishing that they survived but they stayed resilient and one of the most ironic elements of today's virus crisis, is that Cuba is helping Europe. I mean this is so shocking, that you don't know how to describe it. That Germany can't help Greece, but Cuba can help the European countries. If you stop to think about what that means, all words fail, just as when you see thousands of people dying in the Mediterranean, fleeing from a region that has been devastated... and being sent to the deaths in the Mediterranean, you don't know what words to use... The Crisis, the civilizational crisis of the West at this point is devastating... it does bring up childhood memories of listening to Hitler raving on the radio to raucous crowds... it makes you wonder if this species is even viable.
  • Aggression, pressure, conditions, impositions do not work with Cuba. This is not the way to attempt to have even a minimally civilised relationship with Cuba... There are also other functionaries, businessmen, that Trump has named, including in government roles, who are in favour of business with Cuba, people who think that the US will benefit from cooperation with Cuba, on issues linked to the national security of the US...
    These last two years show that many good things have been done not only for Cubans and for the Americans, but for others... Because when Cuba and the US cooperate in confronting drug trafficking, this is an important contribution to the region; or when Cuba and the US cooperate in confronting [viruses such as] zika, dengue and chikungunya, as we have been doing recently, we are making an important contribution to humanity. When Cuba and the US cooperated in Africa to fight Ebola, they made an important contribution to the health of the world.
  • As soon as the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in Cuba, our country mobilised all its resources to contain the spread of the virus.... Cuba has a long history and tradition of international solidarity with other countries in the health sector that dates back to the 1960s, when we started sending healthcare workers to help other countries... In response to the current pandemic, Cuba has dispatched 28 contingents of the Henry Reeve Brigade to help 26 countries... in addition to the more than 28,000 Cuban doctors, nurses and health professionals who were already overseas before the pandemic.
    The United States government has been trying to discredit Cuba's international assistance, including using pressure and threats against countries to force them to cancel these medical cooperation agreements. They have even tried to pressure governments to reject Cuba's help during the coronavirus pandemic. They claim the Cuban government is exploiting these doctors because in the case of countries that can afford to provide monetary compensation, a portion of it is kept by the Cuban government.... However, working overseas is completely voluntary, and the portion the Cuban government keeps goes to pay for Cuba's universal health system. It goes to purchasing medical supplies, equipment and medication for Cuba's 11 million people, including for the families of the doctors who are providing their services abroad. This is how we are able to provide free, high-quality healthcare for the Cuban people.
  • Instead of exacerbating conflict during a pandemic, our countries need to work together to find solutions... unfortunately, the Trump administration is wasting this opportunity by dismantling the limited progress made by Cuba and the US during the Obama administration... President Trump strengthened the 60-year US blockade against my country, implementing 90 economic measures against Cuba between January 2019 and March 2020 alone. These measures have targeted the main sectors of the Cuban economy, including our financial transactions, tourism industry, energy sector, foreign investments - which are key for the development of the Cuban economy - and the medical cooperation programmes with other countries... These unilateral coercive measures are unprecedented in their level of aggression and scope... In April, the Alibaba Foundation of China tried to donate masks, rapid diagnostic kits and ventilators to Cuba, but the airline contracted by Alibaba to transport those items to Cuba refused to take the goods because they were afraid the US would sanction them... A ship... decided not to unload because... of fear it would be sanctioned by the US government.... It is so important that people of goodwill around the world continue to raise the demand to end the blockade of Cuba and to forcefully assert that these are times for solidarity and cooperation, not sanctions and blockades.
  • The most significant thing of... Fidel's words before the largest body of the UN was ...his attack against the brutal philosophy of war. The denunciation of many actions by the U.S. government against the Cuban Revolution and the use of force through the growing arms race were the central arguments of the speech that provoked repeated ovations and applauses. Fidel criticized how war was used to monopolize underdeveloped countries and steal their resources, and attacked U.S. policy toward Cuba and other nations in Latin America, Asia and Africa. "From the beginning of human history, wars have arisen, fundamentally, for one reason: some people's desire to deprive others of their riches. Let the philosophy of plunder disappear, and the philosophy of war will have disappeared,' he said. He also showed how the arms race has always been a big business for monopolies, which like the crows 'feed on the corpses brought by wars." The hostility of the U.S. authorities towards the Cuban delegation was sustained until the last moment, when they confiscated the aircraft in which Fidel had to return to Havana, and Nikita Khrushchev offered a plane. In January 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower's administration cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba and in April of the same year, shortly after assuming as President, John F. Kennedy ordered to invade the Bay of Pigs. The attempt failed and it turned out to be for Cuba the victory of Playa Giron.
  • Fidel Castro died this day 2016. He liberated Cuba played a decisive role in destroying Apartheid in South Africa Sought to liberate Latin America from fascism. He stood with the fighters in Vietnam and Congo. He turned Cuba from a casino and bordello into an icon to all. RIP.
  • The victory of the Cuban Revolution will be a tangible demonstration before all the Americas that peoples are capable of rising up, that they can rise up by themselves right under the very fangs of the monster.
  • It is with regret that I have again to announce a continuance of the disturbed condition of the island of Cuba. No advance toward the pacification of the discontented part of the population has been made. While the insurrection has gained no advantages and exhibits no more of the elements of power or of the prospects of ultimate success than were exhibited a year ago, Spain, on the other hand, has not succeeded in its repression, and the parties stand apparently in the same relative attitude which they have occupied for a long time past. This contest has lasted now for more than four years. Were its scene at a distance from our neighborhood, we might be indifferent to its result, although humanity could not be unmoved by many of its incidents wherever they might occur. It is, however, at our door. I can not doubt that the continued maintenance of slavery in Cuba is among the strongest inducements to the continuance of this strife. A terrible wrong is the natural cause of a terrible evil.
  • Douglas was a radical expansionist. Both parts of the Democratic Party in 1860 called for the annexation of Cuba. And there were 100,000 slaves in Cuba, and Cuba was the place that slaves were still being brought from Africa and then resold in the United States. So under a Douglas presidency, we would have taken over the rest of Mexico and Central America whenever we had the resources and the appetite to take to do so.
  • Kennedy would have ordered nuclear retaliation on Cuba — and perhaps the Soviet Union — if nuclear weapons had been fired at United States forces.
    • Robert McNamara, U.S. secretary of defense under President John F. Kennedy, according to The New York Times; On the Brink of Nuclear War, Awake! magazine, May 22, 1992.
  • Today, Cuba is still governed by the Castros and the Communist Party that came to power half a century ago. Neither the American, nor Cuban people are well served... It was a Cuban, Carlos Finlay, who discovered that mosquitoes carry yellow fever; his work helped Walter Reed fight it. Cuba has sent hundreds of health care workers to Africa to fight Ebola... I'm under no illusion about the continued barriers to freedom that remain for ordinary Cubans.
  • We are coming, Cuba, coming; we are bound to set you free! We are coming from the mountains, from the plains and inland sea! We are coming with the wrath of God to make the Spaniards flee! We are coming, Cuba, coming; coming now
    • Louis A. Pérez., as quoted in The War of 1898: The United States and Cuba in History and Historiography. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1998. Print.
  • A few moments ago, the body was treated to a report from the senator from Iowa about his recent trip to Cuba. Sounded like he had a wonderful trip visiting, what he described as, a real paradise. He bragged about a number of things that he learned on his trip to Cuba that I'd like to address briefly. He bragged about their health care system, medical school is free, doctors are free, clinics are free, their infant mortality rate may be even lower than ours. I wonder if the senator, however, was informed, number one, that the infant mortality rate of Cuba is completely calculated on figures provided by the Cuban government. And, by the way, totalitarian communist regimes don't have the best history of accurately reporting things. I wonder if he was informed that before Castro, Cuba, by the way, was 13th in the whole world in infant mortality. I wonder if the government officials who hosted him informed him that in Cuba there are instances reported, including by defectors, that if a child only lives a few hours after birth, they're not counted as a person who ever lived and therefore don't count against the mortality rate.

Fidel Castro at the United Nations (1960)[edit]

(Full text)

  • Much has been said of the universal desire for peace, which is the desire of all peoples and, therefore, the desire of our people too, but the peace which the world wishes to preserve is the peace that we Cuban have been missing for quite some time.... Are we, the Cuban delegates, the representatives of the worst type of Government in the world? Do we, the representatives of the Cuban delegation, deserve the maltreatment we have received? And why our delegation? Cuba has sent many delegations to the United Nations, and yet it was we who were singled out for such exceptional measures: confinement to the Island of Manhattan; notice to all hotels not to rent rooms to us, hostility and, under the pretense of security, isolation.
  • Now, to the problem of Cuba. Perhaps some of you are well aware of the facts, perhaps others are not. It all depends on the sources of information, but, undoubtedly, the problem of Cuba, born within the last two years, is a new problem for the world.
  • For many, Cuba was something of an appendix of the United States. Even for many citizens of this country, Cuba was a colony of the United States. As far as the map was concerned, this we not the case: our country had a different color from that of the United States. But in reality Cuba was a colony of the United States../ It was not because of its origins; the same men did not colonize the United States and Cuba. Cuba has a very different ethnic and cultural origin, and the difference was widened over the centuries.
  • Cuba was the last country in America to free itself from Spanish colonial rule, to cast off, with due respect to the representative of Spain, the Spanish colonial yoke; and because it was the last, it also had to fight more fiercely.
  • Spain had only one small possession left in America and it defended it with tooth and nail. Our people, small in numbers, scarcely a million inhabitants at that time, had to face alone, for almost thirty years, an army considered one of the strongest in Europe...
  • For thirty years the Cubans fought alone for their independence; thirty years of struggle that strengthened our love for freedom and independence.
  • But Cuba was a fruit — according to the opinion of a President of the United States at the beginning of the past century, John Adams —, it was an apple hanging from the Spanish tree, destined to fall, as soon as it was ripe enough, into the hands of the United States.
  • Spanish power had worn itself out in our country. Spain had neither the men nor the economic resources to continue the war in Cuba; Spain had been defeated. Apparently the apple was ripe, and the United States Government held out its open hands.
  • Several apples fell in to the hands of the United States. Puerto Rico fell — heroic Puerto Rico, which had begun its struggle for independence at the same time as Cuba. The Philippine Islands fell, and several other possessions. However, the method of dominating our country could not be the same. Our country had struggled fiercely, and thus had gained the favor of world public opinion. Therefore the method of taking our country had to be different.
  • The Cubans who fought for our independence and at that very moment were giving their blood and their lives believed in good faith in the joint resolution of the Congress of the United States of April 20, 1898, which declared that “Cuba is, and by right ought to be, free and independent.”... But that illusion was followed by a rude awakening. After two years of military occupation of our country, the unexpected happened... a new law was passed by the United States Congress... stated that the constitution of the Cuba must have an appendix under which the United States would be granted the right to intervene in Cuba’s political affairs and, furthermore, to lease certain parts of Cuba for naval bases or coal supply station.
  • ...Under a law passed by the legislative body of a foreign country, Cuban’s Constitution had to contain an appendix with those provisions. Our legislators were clearly told that if they did not accept the amendment, the occupation forces would not be withdrawn. In other words, an agreement to grant another country the right to intervene and to lease naval bases was imposed by force upon my country by the legislative body of a foreign country... Then began the new colonization of our country, the acquisition of the best agricultural lands by United States firms, concessions of Cuban natural resources and mines, concessions of public utilities for exploitation purposes, commercial concessions of all types. These concessions, when linked with the constitutional right — constitutional by force — of intervention in our country, turned it from a Spanish colony into an American colony...
  • The National General Assembly of the Cuban people condemns large scale landowning as a source of poverty for the peasant and a backward and inhuman system of agricultural production; it condemns starvation wages and the iniquitous exploitation of human work by illegitimate and privileged interests; it condemns illiteracy, the lack of teachers, of schools, doctor and hospitals; the lack of old-age security in the countries of America; it condemns discrimination against the Negro and the Indian'; it condemns the inequality and the exploitation of women; it condemns political and military oligarchies, which keep our peoples in poverty, prevent their democratic development and the full exercise of their sovereignty; it condemns concessions of the natural resources of our countries as a policy of surrender which betrays the interests of the peoples; it condemns the governments which ignore the demands of their people in order to obey orders from abroad; it condemns the systematic deception of the people by mass communications media which serve the interests of the oligarchies and the policy of imperialist oppression; it condemns the monopoly held by news agencies, which are instruments of monopolist trusts and agents of such interests; it condemns the repressive laws which prevent the workers, the peasants, the students and the intellectuals, the great majorities in each country, from organizing themselves to fight for their social and national rights; it condemns the imperialist monopolies and enterprises which continually plunder our wealth, exploit our workers and peasants, bleed our economies to keep them in a backward state, and subordinate Latin American politics to their designs and interests.
  • In short, The National General Assembly of the Cuban People condemns the exploitation of man by man, and the exploitation of underdeveloped countries by imperialists capital.
  • Therefore, the National General Assembly of the Cuban People proclaims before America, and proclaims here before the world, the right of the peasants to the land; the right of the workers to the fruits of their labor; the right of the children to education: the right of the sick to medical care and hospitalization; the right of young people to work; the right of students to free vocational training and scientific education; the right of Negroes, and Indians to full human dignity; the right of women to civil, social and political equality; the right of the elderly to security in their old age; the right of intellectuals, artists and scientists so fight through their works for a better world; the right of States to nationalize imperialist monopolies, thus rescuing their national wealth andresources; the right of nations to their full sovereignty; the right of peoples to convert their military fortresses into schools, and to arm their workers -- because in this we too have to be arms-conscious, to arm our people in defense against imperialist attacks -- their peasants, their students, their intellectuals, Negroes, Indians, women, young people, old people, all the oppressed and exploited, so that they themselves can defend their rights and their destinies.
  • Some people wanted to know what the policy of the Revolutionary Government of Cuba was. Very well, then, this is our policy. (ovation)

Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, USA (Ret) U.S. Cuba Policy: Ending 50 Years of Failure, Prepared Testimony to the Committee on Finance United States Senate (11 December 2007)[edit]

(Full text)

  • For almost half a century, U.S. policy with respect to Cuba has failed—miserably...Like the city planners in Marseilles, France, the Cubans are not driving people from their homes by renovating living quarters and putting them out of the financial reach of their previous occupants, they are renovating them and then bringing back in their original occupants. As a result, the city center is not simply beautiful, it is full of life and vitality, children and families...
    Yet, while we have significant relations on almost every level with Communist countries 10,000 miles away such as China and Vietnam, we have almost no relations with the 11 million souls on an island 90 miles off our southern coast where all this dynamism is beginning to show.
  • Because of our failed Cuba policy, we miss valuable opportunities to share Cuba’s rapidly growing store of knowledge and expertise in, for example, how to deliver high quality healthcare to deeply impoverished areas. Moreover, we are missing opportunities to explore mutual interests in vaccine development, to share in Cuba’s extraordinary wealth of experience in combating hurricanes and the floods that often accompany them, to explore together Cuba’s continental shelf for fossil fuels, and to sell our agricultural products in a more cost-effective and profitable way to an island population that needs these products and would benefit greatly from the shortened transits and thus reduced expenses.
  • A rapprochement with Cuba would create the same opening in Latin America that a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian situation would create in the Middle East. I am not sufficiently naïve to believe that either development would meet all regional challenges or solve all problems, but both would be a dramatic and effective start. Both would give America a decisive leg-up on regaining some of the prestige and power we have squandered in the past seven years.
  • Military power is the least likely instrument of national power to be successful if you decide to use it. A corollary truth with great relevance to Cuba is that sanctions, embargoes, closing embassies and withdrawing ambassadors, the silent treatment, branding other countries as evil and advocating and supporting regime change—all of these methods, even if actually backed by strong military power and the threat to use it, rarely work and, even when they appear to do so, the results they produce are usually negative and even when they are positive, are almost never long-lasting.
  • Let's examine just two of the extremely negative impacts of our almost half-century of failure vis-à-vis Cuba:*The U.S. has reconciled with the Communist governments in China and Vietnam. We support dictators throughout Central Asia under the strategic mantra of "contact and influence is better than isolation". We talked to the Communist Soviet Union for the duration of the Cold War. But we cannot bring ourselves to deal with Havana and have maintained that failed policy for almost half a century. It is simply absurd to continue to do so.
  • The export of revolution at the behest of the Soviets has been transformed into the export of healthcare at the behest of the Cuban people. When I visited Cuba this past March, this was one of the areas of Cuban activity on which I focused—the delivery of first-class healthcare to impoverished people in Cuba, in Venezuela and elsewhere in South and Central America, and increasingly in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • One of the most dramatic moments for me occurred when I visited one of Cuba's hospitals in Havana and plowed through a waiting room of people from all over the world—poor people who had come to this Cuban hospital largely to have eye surgery of some sort, many to have cataracts removed so their blindness or near-blindness would be eliminated. Speaking to some of them was, again, heartwarming. They all said that they were there because of Cuba's outreach. Again, this is powerful public diplomacy.
  • We could learn much from how the Cubans deliver healthcare particularly applicable to our rural areas and our inner cities where impoverished people predominate. And in the process, the contact would benefit Cubans. They would be able to study what is strong and robust about the U.S. healthcare system—the high technology components, for example—and at the same time learn that freedom and democracy are pretty good items too.

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