Bravo To Cuba's Revolution Day!
Fifty-four years ago today, Fidel and Raoul Castro, along with about 150 supporters, attacked the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. The attack was a miserable failure but this action was the formal start of the revolution in Cuba.
Bravo to the Cuban people for surviving fifty years of vicious military and economic attacks by the world's major superpower! Bravo to those countries (including Canada for a change) that simply ignore America's outrage at the business and tourism links that have grown over the years! Let us all smoke fine Cuban cigars in celebration.
Sicko Is Superb, Should Bring Revolution
I suspect that, with a single major exception that I'll discuss below, most of us -- and most Americans -- already know about the failures of the US healthcare system. What Sicko does is to contrast and compare it, in depth, with the successful systems in Canada, the UK, France and Cuba. The differences will probably come as a true shock to most Americans (because they have been lied to by both politicians and insurance carriers): every other Western country has universal and free medical coverage, with complete choice of doctors and procedures, paid for with a tax system that is no more onerous (perhaps less) than what Americans pay for taxes plus incomplete insurance today. And every other Western country has smaller percentages of their populations afflicted with the major diseases than does the US, and their populations live on average several years longer.
Michael Moore's interview with that old British Labour warhorse Anthony Wedgewood-Benn was perhaps the most important segment in terms of explaining the differences. Benn recounted how, in 1948, the British National Health System was established. Remembering the billions upon billions of dollars the Brits had managed to raise to defeat the Germans in the War, he recalled that the post-war leadership realised that if one could spend that kind of money to kill people, then you could equally well spend that kind of money to make people better. And thus was born the concept of free health coverage for everyone, rich or poor.
It was also Tony Benn, I believe, who pointed out that the significant political difference between Europe and America is that in Europe the politicians are afraid of the people, while in the States most people are afraid of the government. As he said, even that generally-insensitive doyen of the British right wing, Maggie Thatcher, would never have dared to try to eliminate the National Health Service.
My only complaint about the movie is in the marketing. The ads have one viewer saying it is "hilarious", and another saying that he couldn't stop laughing. Well, I have no idea what movie they saw. Moore is often sarcastic and certainly likes to point up the ludicrousness of the American situation but, in a crowded theatre yesterday, I heard nothing even approaching a chuckle. The situation is simply too dire for that. Moreover, the section of the movie where Moore takes American 9/11 first responders who cannot get treatment in the States to a Cuban hospital actually brought me to tears. The compassion shown by the superb Cuban medical team is in such stark contrast to the terrible treatment these people suffered in the States that I was overwhelmed.
I mentioned above that generally the bad state of American healthcare is well known. Most of us can recall reading stories about US insurers refusing treatment. However, I suspect that most of us will be shocked to the core, as was I, to see elderly and desperately sick patients being dumped out of cars in the Los Angeles' skid-row neighbourhood by a hospital who had evicted them for inability to pay. The picture of an elderly woman, very sick and completely disoriented, shuffling along the street wearing nothing but a thin hospital gown should be branded on the foreheads of every HMO CEO.
If the American people don't see this film and use it as the kickoff to a mighty revolution in US healthcare then, frankly, they don't deserve anything better than the crappy system they have today.
1st May 1961
Today is the 46th anniversary of the first US hijacking. Puerto Rican Antuilo Ramierez Ortiz hijacked a National Airlines plane at pistol-point and ordered it to fly to Cuba where he received asylum.
Hypocrisy As Irony
As regular readers of this sheet will know, I am an anarchist and, therefore, I care nothing for socialistic totalitarianism. However, at the same time I am a strong admirer of Fidel Castro and the Cuban people who have stood up to the might of American imperialism for many decades. I admire their grit, their determination to be independent, and I admire the social benefits that Castro has brought to the Cubans in the form of health care, education and the like. And all this in the face of the tightest economic blockade any nation has had to overcome.
Commenting today on the state of Castro's help, US Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon said that it was important that Cubans "define their own future". To help this, the Americans -- not themselves Cubans as I recall -- will spend a further $60 million. In other words, a foreign power will spend a bunch of money to try to force the Cubans to move in the direction the foreign power wants. And this in the name of allowing Cubans to define their own future. The irony is of course lost on Mr. Shannon and all those around him.
Happy New Year
We wish all our readers a happy and productive new year!
And massive congratulations to the Cuban people who today celebrate the 47th anniversary of the overthrow of the US- and Mafia-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista. Despite almost half a century of unremitting pressure from the world's superpower bully, the Cuban people today enjoy perhaps the best health and education anywhere south of the Rio Grande. And still they are free from the American capitalist yoke! Bravo!
The Bay of Dead CIA Pigs
Forty-four years ago today the heroic Cuban people began to throw back the illegal invasion of their country by US-sponsored and armed mercenaries.
Such great days are the ones we need to remember and celebrate at this time when the American Empire believes it can just sweep across the world as it wants!
The Unilateral Embargo Against Cuba
During the Vice-Presidential Debate against John Edwards, Dick Cheney announced himself firmly against the imposition of unilateral embargos and sanctions. They don't work, he said:
"What happens when we impose unilateral sanctions is, unless there's a collective effort ... you don't have any impact."Which only goes to prove that the forty years of unilateral and globally despised US sanctions against Cuba are there only as a punishment of the Cuban people -- they serve no other purpose. I was reminded of this while I was away at the end of last week, when I read that the United Nations had, once again, voted essentially unanimously to condemn the US's sanctions. The vote was 179 to 4. The only four countries in the entire world who opposed the motion were the United States and three of of its financial dependencies -- Israel, the Marshall Islands and Pulau.
We know they won't listen, but we can only join with Jamaica's Ambassador to the UN who, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community "urged the United States to respect the verdict of the international community and end the embargo."