[Marxism] Saints in Haiti

gdunkel at mindspring.com gdunkel at mindspring.com
Sun Mar 14 12:55:31 MST 2004

Searching Lexis-Nexis for information on Cuban doctors, I came across 
this gem from the Seattle Times (March 12):

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti At the height of the bloody revolt in 
    this country, all the hospitals and clinics in the capital closed but 
    one, a makeshift emergency room operated entirely by Cuban 
    "We're here to help the people," said Juan Carlos Chavez, chief of 
    a 535-person Cuban medical brigade in Haiti. "We don't take 
    sides. We don't get mixed up in politics." 
    Over the past 41 years, the Cuban government has sent tens of 
    thousands of doctors to dozens of nations as part of its vaunted 
    doctor diplomacy program. Some say it's evidence of the Castro 
    government's unselfish commitment to health care. But others 
    charge that doctor diplomacy is simply a way for Cuba to bring in 
    desperately needed hard currency. The bulk of the money paid by 
    the nations goes to the government, not the doctors, they say.
    "These doctors are in essence slave labor. They're sold on the 
    international market to fill a need in the Third World. But the net 
    beneficiary is the Cuban regime," said Joe Garcia, head of the 
    Cuban American National Foundation, an influential anti-Castro 
    group in Miami.

Given that the wage of the most experienced Haitian doctor in Port-
au-Prince's general hospital is about $45 a week, and that most of the 
Cuban doctors were serving outside of Port-au-Prince, where wages 
were lower, I doubt Cuba got much from Haiti, if anything.  Haiti had 
nothing to give.

Well, that's not entirely accurate -- it offered a popular resistance to 
US imperialist domination that was stubborn and persistent and kept 
on electing someone the rightwing in this country thoroughly detested -
- Jean Bertrand Aristide.

The visit of US Chief-of-staff Gen. Richard B. Meyers to Haiti, and 
the fact that the U.S. was able to line up a deal with France, another 
imperialist with long standing interests in the Caribbean plus a two 
hundred year history of neo-colonialist involvement in Haiti (along with 
the US) in my opinion signal that Haiti is being used a a laboratory for 
further imperialist penetration in Latin America.

In particular, Venezuela, Colombia and Cuba are the current targets.

Could say more but I've got to get to work.


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