Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up

Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up
Tuesday July 26, Los Angeles, CA
Screening and Release to the Public
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A brilliant and valiant statement

ATTENDING to other matters currently priorities momentarily took me away from the frequency with which I wrote Reflections during 2010; however, the proclamation by the revolutionary leader Hugo Chávez last Thursday, June 30, obliges me to write these lines.

The President of Venezuela is one of the men to have done most for the health and education of his people; given that these are subjects in which the Cuban Revolution has accumulated the most experience, we were happy to cooperate to the maximum in both fields with this sister country.

It is absolutely not the case that that country lacked doctors; on the contrary, it possessed them in abundance, including quality professionals, as in other Latin American countries. It is a social question. The finest doctors and the most sophisticated equipment might be, as in all capitalist countries, in the service of private medicine. Sometimes, not even that, because within underdeveloped capitalism, like the capitalism which existed in Venezuela, the wealthy class had sufficient income to have recourse to the best hospitals in the United States or Europe, something which was habitual and which nobody can deny.

Worse still, the United States and Europe were and are characterized by seducing the best specialists from every exploited Third World country into leaving their homelands and emigrating to the consumer societies. Training doctors for that world in the developed countries implies fabulous sums that millions of poor families in Latin America could never ever pay. That happened in Cuba until the Revolution accepted the challenge, not only of training doctors capable of serving our country, but also other nations of Latin America, the Caribbean and the world.

We have never stolen the intelligences of other peoples. Instead, tens of thousands of doctors and other high-level professionals have been trained free of charge in Cuba in order to return them to their own countries.

Thanks to their profound Bolivarian and Martí revolutions, Venezuela and Cuba are countries in which health and education have been exceptionally developed. All citizens have the real right to receive general education and professional training free of charge, something that the United States has not been able nor will be able to guarantee to all its inhabitants. The real fact is that the government of that country invests one trillion dollars in its military apparatus and its military adventures every year. Moreover, it is the largest exporter of weapons and instruments of death and the largest drug market in the world. Due to that trafficking, tens of thousands of Latin Americans lose their lives every year.

This is something so real and so well known that, more than 50 years ago, a president of military origin condemned, in bitter tones, the decisive power accumulated by the military-industrial complex in that country.

These words would be too much if it were not for the odious and repugnant campaign unleashed by the Venezuelan oligarchy’s mass media in the service of that empire, utilizing the health difficulties that the Bolivarian President is experiencing. We are bound to him by a close and indestructible friendship, which emerged out of his first visit to our homeland on December 13, 1994.

Some people were surprised that his visit to Cuba coincided with the need that arose for medical attention. The Venezuelan President visited our country with the same objective that took him to Brazil and Ecuador. He did not come with any intention whatsoever of receiving medical services in our homeland.

As is known, a group of Cuban health specialists have been providing their services to the Venezuelan President who, faithful to his Bolivarian principles, never saw them as undesirable foreigners, but as the sons and daughters of the gran Patria (Greater Homeland) for which the Liberator Simón Bolívar fought until his last breath.

The first contingent of Cuban doctors left for Venezuela at the time of the tragedy in the state of Vargas, which cost the lives of thousands of noble Venezuelans. This action of solidarity was nothing new, it has been a rooted tradition in our homeland since the early years of the Revolution; ever since, almost half a century ago, Cuban doctors were sent to the recently independent Algeria. That tradition deepened as the Cuban Revolution, in the midst of a merciless blockade, continued training internationalist doctors. Countries like Peru, Somoza’s Nicaragua and others in the hemisphere and in the Third World, suffered tragedies due to earthquakes or other reasons which required Cuba’s solidarity. Thus our country became the nation with the highest rate of doctors and specialized health personnel in the world, with a high degree of experience and professional capacity.

President Chávez went to great pains to attend to our health personnel. Thus the bond of confidence and friendship was born and developed between him and the Cuban doctors, who were always very appreciative of their treatment by the Venezuelan leader who, for his part, was capable of creating thousands of health centers and furnishing them with the equipment needed to provide services free of charge for all Venezuelans. No other government in the world did so much, in such a short time, for the health of its people.

A high percentage of Cuban health personnel provided services in Venezuela and moreover, many of them taught certain subjects as part of the training of more than 20,000 young Venezuelans who are beginning to graduate as doctors. Many of them began their studies in our country. The internationalist doctor members of Battalion 51, graduated in the Latin America School of Medicine, have earned sound prestige in fulfilling complex and difficult missions. My relations in that field with President Hugo Chávez developed on those bases.

I should add that throughout the more than 12 years since February 2, 1999, the President and leader of the Venezuelan Revolution has not rested for one single day and, in that respect, he occupies a unique place in the history of this hemisphere. He has devoted all his energies to the Revolution.

It could be affirmed that for every extra hour that Chávez dedicates to his work, a president of the United States rests for two.

It was hard to believe, almost impossible, that his health would not suffer some kind of breakdown and that happened during the last few months.

As a person used to the rigors of military life, he stoically endured the pain and problems affecting him with increasing frequency. Given the relations of friendship developed and the constant exchanges between Cuba and Venezuela, plus my personal experiences in relation to health, which I have lived through since my July 30, 2006 proclamation, it is not strange that I would notice the President’s need for a rigorous health check. It is too generous on his part to attribute any special merit to me in this context.

I admit, of course, that the task which I imposed on myself was not an easy one. It wasn’t hard for me to notice that he was not in good health. Seven months had passed since his last visit to Cuba. The medical team dedicated to attending to his health had asked me to make that move. From the very first moment the President’s attitude was to inform the people, with total clarity, of his state of health. For that reason, being already at the point of returning, he informed the people about his health up until that moment via his Ministry of Foreign Affairs and promised to keep them informed in detail.

Every treatment was accompanied by the rigorous cellular and laboratory analyses undertaken in such circumstances.

One of the examinations, a number of days after the first operation, produced results that indicated more radical surgical measures and special treatment for the patient.

In his dignified message of June 30, the President, notably recovered, speaks about his state of health with total clarity.

I admit that the task of telling our friend of the new situation was not an easy one. I could appreciate the dignity with which he received the news which – for him, with so many important tasks on his mind, among them the commemorative event for the Bicentenary and the formalization of the agreement on Latin American and Caribbean unity – much more than the physical suffering implied by radical surgery, signifies a test, as he expressed it, comparable to the hardest moments that have befallen him in his life as an unyielding combatant.

Together with him, the team of people treating him, people who he described as sublime, have waged the magnificent battle to which I have been witness.

I unhesitatingly affirm that the results are impressive and that the patient has unleashed a decisive battle which will lead him, and with him, Venezuela, to a great victory.

His plea has to be communicated precisely in all languages, but above all translated and subtitled in English, a language which can be understood in this Tower of Babel into which imperialism has converted the world.

Now Hugo Chávez’ internal and external enemies are at the mercy of his words and his initiatives. Doubtless, there will be surprises for them. Let us give him the strongest support and confidence. The lies of the empire and the betrayal of the traitors will be defeated. Today there are millions of combative and conscious Venezuelans who the oligarchy and the empire can never subjugate again.

Fidel Castro Ruz

July 3, 2011

4:12 p.m.

Translated by Granma International