30 December, 2005

It begins ...

So many things to post about, so little time. For now, here's a short post on Evo Morales' first state visit to the failed socialist state of Cuba. This speaks volumes about not only Castro, but also Chavez and the influence both of these leaders wield over Morales' country. Read it for yehself. Castro's even calling him his "comrade." Perhaps some Bolivians see it differently.

Update: The vist is more telling than I estimated. After all, Morales will be back in Bolivia before New Year's tomorrow (think "New Year's Resolution"). While in Cuba, Evo took the time to make statements as to the "direction" of his "revolution" and the MAS party's goals in the country. Indeed, last September a delegation of MAS mayors flew to Cuba to sign agreements that would allow for Bolivian students to study in Cuba and for poorer citizens of that country to travel to that communist paradise for health services. Sounds harmless, right? To be fair, Venezuela has had similar programs in place for some years now, including the exchange of baseball coaches (think Guillen and the numerous Venezuelan players in the MLB). Cuba has been getting over 50,000 barrels of oil daily from Venezuela, partly in exchange for the health and education services it provides in Venezuela (whether or not the trade can be deemed fair, only Chavez and Castro may know). Of course, in Venezuela most of the health services dispensed by these Cuban doctors, esp. through the Barrio Adentro program, constitutes the few implements that may be used in a standard check-up examination, two chairs (one for the doctor, another for the patient), a table and a temporary roof in the form of a plastic awning. Meanwhile, Caracas' public hospitals struggle to maintain sufficient band-aid stocks.

Update 2: Morales' flight to and from Cuba was covered by the Cuban government. So much for sovereignty. Evo also called Castro a "wiseman" who "has governed with dignity." At the time these praises were emitted, many Cuban intellectuals probably turned in their jail cells. It should be added that Chavez participated in some of the talks between the two dignitaries. A holy Latin American triumvirate in the making? But, I digress. Staring January 22nd, Cuba will begin accepting 50,000 Bolivian patients annually for eye operations, as well as offering 5,000 spots for Bolivians seeking studies in Medicine.

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