Chomsky: Cuba’s Internationalism is dramatic
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- United States
- Health and Medicine
- Politics and Government
- 03 / 10 / 2010
The Cubans were already there before the earthquake. They had a couple hundred doctors there. And yes, they sent doctors very quickly; they had medical facilities there very quickly, said Chomsky to assess the tragedy that has lived the Haitian people after the earthquake of last January 12th.
The intellectual also noted Venezuela’s cooperation, which "sent aid quickly and was the first and only country to totally cancel the debt. Haiti had a considerable debt to Venezuela because of Petrocaribe."
It’s rather striking that Venezuela and Cuba were not invited to the donors’ meeting in Montreal.
In the urgent summit held in Canada, as Chomsky describes in the interview, the prime minister of Haiti, Bellerive, went out of his way to thank three countries: the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Venezuela for their rapid provision of aid.
And he recalled, at the interviewer’s mention, the collaboration of Cuba in Pakistan after the earthquake that devastated that country: “in that terrible earthquake a couple of years ago, the Cubans were really the only ones who went into the very difficult areas high up in the mountains where it’s very hard to live. They’re the ones who stayed after everyone else left. And none of that gets reported in the United States."
But the fact of the matter is, whatever you think about Cuba, its internationalism is pretty dramatic. And the people who’ve been working in Haiti for years have been awestruck by Cuban medical aid as they were in Pakistan, in fact.
“That’s an old story. I mean, the Cuban contribution to the liberation of Africa is just overwhelming. And you can find that in scholarship, but the public doesn’t know anything about it”, he said.
In his view, “it’s just been a core part of the Cuban revolution to have a very high level of internationalism. I mean, these cases you’ve mentioned are cases in point, but the most extreme case was the liberation of Africa.”
(…) the Cubans sent forces, and furthermore they sent soldiers and they defeated a white mercenary army, which not only rescued Angola but it sent a shock throughout the continent — it was a psychic shock — white mercenaries were purported to be invincible, and a black army defeated them and sent them back fleeing into South Africa.
One of the most striking aspects of it is that they took no credit for it. They wanted credit to be taken by the nationalist movements in Africa. So in fact none of this was even known until an American researcher, Piero Gleijeses unearthed the evidence from the Cuban archives and African sources and published it in scholarly journals and a scholarly book, and it’s just an astonishing story but barely known — one out of a million people has ever heard of it.