Cuban doctor speaks to trade union delgates

Campaign News | Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Cuba at Communications Workers conference

MORE than 80 delegates attended the CWU's inaugural Latin American fringe


The event, held in Bournemouth where the union is holding its annual

conference, included representatives from a number of organisations

dedicated to promoting solidarity with progressive social movements in Latin


Chaired and organised by Jane Loftus, who this week will be confirmed as

CWU's President, the successful meeting focused on Cuba, Nicaragua, Colombia

and Venezuela.

Billy Hayes, CWU's General Secretary, opened the meeting and said: "Latin

America offers great encouragement for those of us in Europe who live in

societies which suffer from the grave misapprehension that wealth is created

by the wealthy.

"We send our best wishes to President Fidel Castro, Chavez is creating

socialism for the 21st century and it's great to see Daniel Ortega and the

FSLN back in power in Nicaragua."

Dr. Juan Carlos Dupuy Nunez, head of Cuba's rapid response health teams,

spoke on behalf of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.

He said: "Our medical teams are working abroad in more than 70 countries and

I have served in Africa, Pakistan and Guatemala.

"We are able to undertake such great efforts because it has been state

policy right from the beginning of the revolution to share what we have with

those who need it.

"I was privileged to manage our teams in Kashmir after the earthquake struck

in 2005, and it was an incredible experience to be able to help treat 1.7

million patients during a nine month period in a country with which we had

had no previous contact."

Dr Francisco Dominguez, Head of Latin American studies at Middlesex

University, spoke on behalf of the Venezuela Information Centre.

He said: "I want to personally thank the doctor because it is Cuban teams

who have now established a free healthcare system in Venezuela, which means

for the first time in the country's history that 18 million people - out of

a population of 26 million - are receiving free health care.

"Many millions of those had never seen a doctor.

"This is socialism of the 21st century, the people are being empowered and

Venezuela is undergoing a profound political transformation."

Gerard Kelly, former NAFTHE President, spoke on behalf of Justice for

Colombia, and applauded CWU for donating money to support an organisation

which looks after torture victims in the war-torn country.

He added: "There is a tremendous amount of work to be done in Colombia, but

each time I have visited the country I have been humbled by the people who

daily risk their lives to fight for a better system."

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