[Marxism] A Pakistani report on the Cuban doctors in that country

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 12 05:02:29 MST 2005

One of the wonders of the internet is its ability to bring people
and opinions from all over the planet together in the quickest way.

Not long ago I received an invitation to join the Pakistan CMKP list
which I did. I've posted a few items about Cuba's medical aid program
to Pakistan ln light of the earthquake there. Yesterday this terrific
report came from that list which I know CubaNews readers and others 
will enjoy reading as well. This list has seventeen hundred readers.

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews

From: cmkp_pk at yahoogroups.com  
On Behalf Of Hassan Nasir   redpak2000 at yahoo.com
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2005 7:26 AM
To: cmkp_pk at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [cmkp] Cuban Doctors

A few days ago I requested Dr. Fahim to visit the Cuban doctors 
(in addition to all the other work he has been doing with the 
Quake affected people). I was hoping he could interview them since 
he spoke Spanish. I got this letter from comrade Dr. Fahim who made 
contact with the Cuban Doctors. I thought I would forward it to our 
list. I'll also forward the article that is referred to in the letter. 



I was in the earthquake affected areas on Wednesday and went up a
valley somewhere to the right off the Karakoram Highway beyond
Shinkiari. The area lies between the KKH and Balakot. Enormous
destruction and lots of work to do.

However I am writing to you concerning the Cubans and also with
reference with the article by Aasim Sajjad in the Dawn yesterday
about the Cuban doctors. After our visit to the quake affected area
(Iqbal Bali was with me) we went to visit the Cuban team at their
local qeadquarters in Abbotabad. The little guest house was easy to
find and apart from a couple of local police, who were there for
security, there was no presence of intelligence people. We met the
Cubans. There were four of them. Two of them were rather busy and so
we talked to the "leader" Mario and his wife.

They were very friendly and were very pleased that they found
somebody (me) who could speak Spanish, although I was a little bit
embarrassed because of my rusty Spanish after a long lay-off. Mario
told me that there were 200-300 Cuban doctors spread throughout the
quake affected region. They brought all their own equipment and
medecines. They had set up their own surgical centres but were also
working in teams in several hospitals in Balakot, Muzzafarabad and
other places. According to Mario they looked at a total of about 3000
patients in a day and performed about 100 operations daily. They said
that they would stay here as long as they were needed.

Although their English was not great but they knew enough to get
along and they had also picked up a smattering of Urdu of which they
were rather proud. According to them they have excellent support from
the Pakistani government and the army. They said that they had not
faced any problems working alongside other nationalities, including
Americans. However he did say that many of the injured patients
prefer to see Cuban doctors, even while other nationalities are
present, because they had a more sympathetic attitude and were more
friendly. As for access to remote area they said that usually there
was no problem but curiously the Army did not allow them to go to the
area where we had been earlier in the day.

I don't know how much of all this is true.

They were very polite and of course do not want to create any
problems which would hinder their work which is primarily to help the
people. When I told him directly that some Communists and
progressives would like to meet him he rather discouraged me and I
think quite rightly. He said that they were here as doctors and did
not want to get involved in politics and they would like to
concentrate on their relief work. They do not want any complications
which would hinder this.

I would have preferred to stay longer to talk to them but dinner was
served at this time so we decided to leave after exchanging mobile
telephone numbers. They do not have time to come down to Islamabad
but if they do they will give me a call.

On the way out they gave a couple of excellent Cohiba Cuban cigars to
Bali. (I don't smoke!). To me they gave a recent copy of "Granma" the
official Cuban newspaper. They were amused and glad when I said good
bye with "Patria or Muerte! Venceremos!"

So what to make of Aasim Sajjad's article. Is this just exaggeration?
Do we really want to jeopardise the Cuban doctor's valuable
contribution by making a fuss about perhaps some small incident in

With best regards,
P.S. I don't think I have enough material to write up as an interview

CMKP Website:- http://cmkp.tk
CMKP YahooForum:- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cmkp_pk
CMKP News:- http://cmkp_pk.blogspot.com 


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