Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...

http://peaceandsocialjustice.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-progressive-program-for-real-change.html


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.


"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

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Contact info:

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Manila to host Cuba solidarity conference


·         Written by  Ken Fuller 
·         Tuesday, 04 April 2017 00:00
·         Daily Tribune
http://www.tribune.net.ph/images/columnist/an-outsiders.pngA short while ago, the discussion at the weekly meeting of the Tagbilaran Debating Society, composed of disputatious foreigners lubricated by beer in a restaurant close by the city’s pier, turned to the subject of healthcare.
With Trump’s supporters among the US expat community anxious to defend his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act against the guffaws of the rest of us, it is hardly surprising that the issue arose. Anyway, one of the European debaters made the point that healthcare is hotly-disputed all over the world, not just in the USA.
If you’re Swiss, he said, you can cross the border into Germany and buy drugs — manufactured in Switzerland! — at half the price you’d pay at home. The corporations — Big Pharma — were the villains of the piece, and the important thing was to control costs. 
Where in the world were the costs of medical care not a problem?
Cuba, I said.
Yes, he conceded, Cuba has an excellent healthcare system, and its doctors are among the best in the world, but are costs controlled?
They are, and for one very simple reason: In Cuba’s healthcare system there is no private sector seeking to profit from human need.
Quite apart from providing care for its people, of course, the Cuban system also sends tens of thousands of doctors and nurses to assist other countries — often where there has been a disaster, but also where the local system is simply unable to cope.
Last September, following a visit to Cuba by Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial, it was announced that Cuba was willing to provide doctors to serve in remote areas of the Philippines. I wonder what happened to that idea.
At the time of this announcement, the press here reported that Cuba has one doctor per 1,075 people, compared to the Philippine ratio of one per 33,000. Actually, the Cuban ratio is a great deal better than this. According to the CIA’s “World Factbook” (which is hardly likely to exaggerate the Cuban achievement), in 2010 Cuba had 6.72 physicians per 1,000 population.
In case you’re wondering, that compares to 2.45 per thousand in the USA (2011). If Trump’s plan had succeeded, of course, a further 24 million Americans would have lost insurance coverage, whereas in Cuba everyone has access to healthcare, which is free at the point of use.
Another way in which Cuba differs from many other countries is that, at a time when many are pursuing “austerity” regimes, it will often, when faced with a social problem, increase benefits.
One problem that Cuba is grappling with is that over the past 30 years the fertility rate has not been high enough to replace the population. In recent months, social benefits have been improved in an attempt to reverse this trend.
Thus, when a woman returns to work following her prenatal and postnatal maternity leave, she will now continue to receive her maternity benefit, in addition to her normal salary, until the child in one year old.
If a grandparent takes care of the child until the age of one, he/she will receive 60 percent of his/her average monthly salary over the previous year.
Should a woman have two jobs, she will receive the economic and social benefit provided in each of the employment contracts, proportionate to the time worked.
For mothers with two children in a day-care center or half-board school, the rate will be reduced by 50 percent and payment for a third or further child will be waived completely.
The personal income tax of self-employed women with two or more children under 17 is now halved. Similarly, self-employed childcare assistants or caregivers for the sick, elderly and disabled will see their monthly minimum tax payments halved.
Such achievements and initiatives by a third world country, and the fact that for over half a century Cuba has withstood all attempts by its “free market” northern neighbor to subvert its social justice regime, has elicited international admiration. This has often resulted in the formation of friendship and solidarity organizations.
Two such organizations in the Philippines are the Philippine-Cuba Cultural and Friendship Association and the Philippine-Cuba Friendship Society, which have come together to act as the organizing committee for the 8th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of Solidarity with Cuba.
Presided over by Francisco Nemenzo Jr. (president of the Philippine Organizing Committee) and Kenia Serrano (president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples and head of the Cuban delegation), the conference will be held next weekend, April 8 and 9, at the Holiday Inn Manila Galleria.
The first International Conference of Solidarity with Cuba was held in Havana in 1994, during one of the most difficult periods for Cuba as it came to terms with loss of trade and support following the fall of the socialist bloc in Eastern Europe.
Next weekend’s conference will be the first to be held in a country without a socialist, or socialist-oriented, government. Nevertheless, Mayor Joseph Estrada will host a dinner for the delegates at the Manila Hotel on April 8, and the following evening Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. will host cocktails at Malacañang Palace.
The conference will take the form of two commissions. One of these will discuss the role of friendship and solidarity organizations in the campaign to end the USA’s unjust economic, financial and trade blockade against Cuba, and for the return of the Guantanamo naval base to Cuban sovereignty; the other will consider strategies to strengthen the solidarity movement through alternative media, and the dissemination of truth concerning Cuba’s politico-economic and socio-cultural life and achievements.
Best wishes for a successful conference, compañeros!