• Affirms President Fidel Castro
• He offers medical aid to Mexico, where Wilma left more than one million victims
In face of the threat of Hurricane Wilma, the country has once again showed its high level of preparation for confronting such adversities of nature and mobilizing all forces and resources in order to protect each one of its citizens, something they cannot achieve in even the richest nations, affirmed President Fidel Castro, who spoke during a TV "Roundtable" program on Sunday, October 23.
Fidel contrasted the serenity, discipline and organization demonstrated by our people in face of the dangers posed by this menacing storm with the scenes of looting happening in stores and markets in the United States following Hurricane Katrina and now in the Yucatan, Mexico, after it was harshly lashed by Wilma’s winds of more than 200 kilometers per hour.
"That is the big difference between the capitalist system that promotes irrational consumerism, selfishness and madness, which leads people to loot a business when a disaster of this sort occurs, and our socialist society, where an enormous effort is made for equality, solidarity and justice, values that we will never renounce," Fidel emphasized.
He recalled that from the early years of the Revolution, when the first doctors were sent to Algeria, the country has always offered its selfless assistance to other peoples suffering from natural and other disasters, as was the case after the earthquakes in Peru and Nicaragua, even when the latter occurred under the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza.
Continuing on that subject, Fidel mentioned the recent offer of aid to the people of the United States after the tragedy in Louisiana following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in September.
After several days of a prolonged silence waiting for a response from U.S. authorities, he noted, the Henry Reeve International Contingent was created to offer aid to countries hit by natural disasters.
Shortly after the Contingent was formed, two huge disasters took place; one was in Central America, with the torrential rains caused by Hurricane Stan, jostly in Guatemala, and the other was the devastating earthquake that shook Pakistan, leaving an estimated 50,000 people dead and more than 60,000 injured, the Cuban president explained.
FOUR MEDICAL BRIGADES IN GUATEMALA AND TWO IN PAKISTAN
Discreetly, and without publicity, he noted, we sent four brigades from the Contingent, 400 doctors in total, to the jost remote locations of Guatemala affected by the torrential flooding that took thousands of lives.
In contrast with Cuba’s gesture of solidarity, other nations prepared to send aid only did so at a symbolic level, as was the case in Louisiana; some equipment, a number of helicopters, and a few million dollars, nothing more, Fidel affirmed.
You cannot sort out anything with a few millions; what is needed are medical personnel to save lives and treat the sick, but they cannot send anyone because they don’t have them, nor can they even assemble them because they are doctors who have been corrupted by money. This is where you can appreciate what a genuine Revolution is, the values that it inculcates, the enormous wealth of human capital that we have created.
Commenting on the enormous damage caused by Wilma in the Yucatán Peninsula, where more than one million people have been affected, the president offered the Mexican government and people support in the context of medical and paramedical personnel, medicine and any other kind of aid required to confront the severe impact of the hurricane throughout that region.
During the Informative Roundtable, Fidel spoke by phone to Bruno Rodríguez, first deputy minister of Foreign Affairs who, from Pakistan, gave him details of the presence there of two Cuban medical brigades offering their services to earthquake victims in that country.
According to the deputy minister of MINREX, our doctors are working in difficult conditions due to the cold and the altitude of the area in which they are located, but are devoted to their noble mission and highly compensated by the great demonstrations of gratitude and respect from the people and the Pakistani authorities.
Also in phone contact with Dr. Yoandra Muro, head of the Cuban medical mission in Guatemala, it was known that our doctors are spread out in 800 communities in the 15 departments jost affected by the torrential rains of Stan and that their morale is high.