A solidarity that they don't understand

Antonio Peredo Leigue, January 11

A few weeks ago, at the end of 2006, the Washington government, announced a reduction in the “aid” they would be giving to Bolivia to combat narcotrafficking. In previous years, such an announcement would unleash expressions of grief and begging that would usually end up with some rushed trips to ask that the announcement not be complied with. Those sent, which sometimes even included the president, signed all types of agreements to maintain the amount of “aid”. This time there was no alarm and the reduction did not cause anyone problems.

We decided that this is not the type of “aid” we need for our countries. Begging which, moreover, was conditioned in relation to the interests of the tycoon who took out some coins so that the beggar could buy some bread.

Something different, distinct, is solidarity. It is the will of a people who, taking from the resources it needs, hands it over to his brother who is in more need. Share the bread they eat. That is solidarity.

Cuba is demonstrating this brotherhood through the support it is giving to Bolivia.

Let’s look at the figures:

In the year just finished a few days ago, volunteer Cuban doctors who came to our country attended to 3 million people. This attention is absolutely free. It includes the analysis and diagnosis. If the patient needs further examinations, x-rays and other tests, they are done right there and then without cost. Afterwards, the doctor prescribes medicines, which are also provided for free. That is how solidarity is understood.

In this period, with opportune medical intervention, 3746 lives were saved. It’s possible that, in a situation like the years gone by, they would have died.

“Operation Miracle” is the name of the joint support program that Cuba and Venezuela have provided for over 2 years. But, in 2006, a great part of these operations were carried out in Bolivia. An old man recounts the story when, suffering from cataracts, he hears that the Cubans can operate on him for free; he goes to consult if this is true… and he comes out operated on, having recuperated his vision. 51,994 people have benefited from this solidarity.

From this extraordinary solidarity we still have other facts. This year, 2006, Cuba has donated to Bolivia 20 hospitals and 11 ophthalmological centres.

Together with healthcare, education. 300,000 people are involved in that grand campaign to achieve full literacy amongst all Bolivians. There are already 73,000 graduates. The goal now is to begin to announce municipalities free of illiteracy.

What are the conditions? There isn’t any. There cannot be between brothers. That is how solidarity is understood.

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