Writing my experiences and knowledge hopefully into some type of guide, diary or now blog, is not that easy as it is necessary to explain the history so that readers can understand the current situation that exists in context.
In 1978, the year before I was born, Jorge Dominguez, a Cuban born professor at Harvard University said: “Cuba is a small country, but it has a big country’s foreign policy. It has tried to carry out such a policy since the beginning of the revolution, but only in the second half of the 1970s did it have conditions to become a visible and important factor actually shaping the course of events.”
In the same year Henry Kissinger, a United States politician, said: “It is time to overcome the ridiculous myth of the invincible Cubans. Whoever heard of Cubans conducting a global foreign policy?”
So let’s be clear, Cuban medical programmes alone have reached more people around the world than all of the G8, World Health Organisation and Médecins Sans Frontieres programmes combined, and have been doing so since the early 1970s. This is well documented in Studies of the Americas - Cuban Medical Internationalism by John M. Kirk and H. Michael Erisman and is known throughout the world. However, it is not necessarily reported by Western media.
Cuba trains more doctors from around the world than any other country. ELAM (Latin American School of Medicine) may be the largest and most diverse medical school in the world, with almost 20,000 students attending from around the world and training to be doctors for free. Yes, really, that’s seven years of free medical training.
Don’t believe it? Sure listen to Gail Reed talk to T.E.Dx
This is summed up best by Fidel Castro. He said: “It lies in the fact that human capital can achieve far more than financial capital. Human capital implies not only knowledge but also crucially important political awareness, ethics, a sense of solidarity, truly human feelings, a spirit of sacrifice, heroism and the capacity to do a lot with very little.”
Cuban initiatives have been largely ignored by the West and the Western media, and this continues to be the case – it’s not in their best interest to acknowledge them.
I was inspired to write by the Cuban people in Cuba, especially the country’s independence leader and national hero Jośe Marti and his work One World, One Nation, Our Americas. I was also influenced by the following women: Celia Sánchez, Vilma Espín, Haydeé Santamaria, Tamara Bunke Bider, better known as “Tania”, Anne Frank and Alice Walker, author of the The Colour Purple. The Cuban bands Los Van Van and Gente de Zona’s, song Bailando is played every minute of the day and helped me along the way.
I also owe a debt to the brilliant Irish author, Dervla Murphy, who has been writing adventure travel books for over 40 years. Her book The Island that Dared; Journeys in Cuba, chronicles a family holiday that the writer took with her daughter and three young granddaughters. It’s a little dated now but it’s still very informative and relevant.
Finally, was the desire to improve my Español at Habana University. #FortuneTraveller