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posted 27 Oct 2014, 09:11 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 27 Oct 2014, 09:12 ]
Sierra Leone's government welcomes the first batch of Cuban health-care workers who came to fight Ebola
"Cuba leads the way in Ebola response'' was the lead story on the BBC Latin American segment on Thursday "Divali' October 23, even as the head of the Red Cross/Red Crescent condemned the idea of banning flights and visitors from countries affected by the disease as panicky and non-productive. Cuba has sent in over four hundred and fifty health workers, not soldiers like Britain and the USA, soldiers who have medical training and can set up field hospitals.

The Cuban attitude is based on a principle of "we cannot see our sisters and brothers in Africa suffer and stand by with our arms folded'', a re-affirmation of their established policy of extending international solidarity from an earthquake stricken Pakistan to earthquake and cholera ravaged Haiti, where they succeeded in bringing that U.N. 'gift' under control. It is interesting to note that their President saw them off and none have been reported as asking for $million dollar insurances.

The U.N and other Western agencies have been forced to concede that the Cuban response supersedes that of other countries with much greater resources whose responses have been generally to sew panic and keep the Africans out in the hope that in a few months a vaccine can be found and sold at exorbitant profit to the affected countries..

Why has Ebola in its 38th year of discovery taken off like this? The areas primarily affected have been opened up through investments by Western capital. Go look at the movie "Blood diamond' to understand how these countries 'develop'. It is not about infrastructural development but rather 'extractive mining' something which does not require much investment in health care and other forms of social development; nor do the attendant wars help.

Note also Liberia is the original client state of the USA in Africa and seems to be the hardest hit.

Reading all this has cleared up for me what the Trinidad /Tobago response will be. As in Sierra Leone, the police and army will be sent in to lock down the area. Then, for a price, some privatised medical agency will go in accompanied by a choir of media induced panic: assuming by then we have not begun to shoot Nigerians or anybody with a bad cold. Entering West Shore or St. Clair Medical will prove more difficult than obtaining a U.S. visa.

On the other hand one has no doubt if the relative of a government minister or party financier fell ill that person will be sent to Cuba, or Liberia to find a Cuban doctor.

The ultimate truth is that the population does not trust Minister "Mr Kublalsingh is in perfect health'' Fuad Khan. It is a legacy of their political practices and the way they have run the country. There is a flabbiness in their responses which seem to be led by travel bans rather than visible moves which will re-assure the public.

Are we to hope, again, that God is a Trini and this will pass and let us have Carnival? We may need more, a lot more, than that this time around.