There are not two different opinions on the issue of A H1N1.
Without any hesitation whatsoever, I supported the decision adopted by the revolutionary government of Cuba as soon as I knew of the existence of the epidemic.
Our country is accumulating a body of experience in protecting the people in cases of disasters, epidemics and plagues or other similar situations of a natural, accidental or intentional nature.
Our unvarying policy of cooperation with other peoples has been equally confirmed.
The criticism made of the government of Cuba and the threat of reprisals that it contained was totally unjust. Moreover, we were presented as a nation hostile to the people of Mexico.
What determined the measures was not related to tourist travel, but to the close to 400 young Mexicans who are studying Medicine in the Jagüey Grande school, just like approximately 24,000 young people from Latin America, the Caribbean and other peoples of the world – some of them coming from small and distant countries in Oceania – who are so doing in other faculties.
Cuba does not steal brains or extract doctors from other nations to the detriment of the other country’s health services and the loss of countless lives, as is the case of the United States, the United Kingdom and other developed and rich countries.
The measure adopted by Cuba’s Civil Aviation states textually, “To temporarily suspend regular and charter flights operating between Cuba and Mexico, beginning at 24:00 on April 29, 2009.”
“Once the causes that have led to such decisions are over, air operations will be reestablished, with the interested parties being opportunely informed.”
The measure was implemented six days after the drastic decisions taken by the Mexican authorities to suspend the classes of 33 million students and implement other similar measures that we cannot judge because only the Mexican authorities who knew the real situation could do so.
Our measures likewise implied sacrifices for Cuba. But what mattered to our government was to protect the population within established regulations.
The epidemic has now spread extensively throughout the United States, Canada, the UK, Spain, Europe in general and dozens of other countries. Methods of protection linked to the new reality will have to be taken.
Patricia Espinosa, the Mexican secretary of foreign affairs, had really been making efforts recently to improve relations between her country and Cuba which, due to irresponsible leaders – whom for known reasons I prefer not to mention now – seriously deteriorated when George W. Bush sought pretexts make “preemptive attacks” on our homeland as one of the “60 or more dark corners of the world.”
The Mexican Foreign Ministry stated that, despite Fidel Castro’s criticisms, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla signed a statement noting his recognition of the Mexican authorities at the meeting in Prague of the Rio Group and the European Union.
What Bruno exactly did in Prague was correct. He met for as long as needed to listen attentively to the secretary and talked with her. For his part, he explained to her everything related to Cuba’s conduct. I shall not go into details about that conversation and the opinion of it transmitted to the Cuban ambassador in Mexico by an important official at the Mexican Foreign Ministry, in order to avoid complications.
I will only add that the meeting in Prague between Bruno and Patricia was respectful and frank. Our foreign minister affirmed to the secretary Cuba’s solidarity with her country and its will to cooperate with the Mexican people in confronting the epidemic.
Bruno spoke during the ministerial meeting of the Rio Group and the European Union to clearly explain Cuba’s position, the measures adopted by our government to protect its people; the epidemics introduced into our country, including that of hemorrhagic dengue which caused the death of 102 children; the “Reflections of Fidel;” the close unity of revolutionaries; and Cuba’s international cooperation in the field of public health.
Resorting to intrigues, lies and threats is an unmistakable sign that the ideological adversary is losing the battle.
Fidel Castro Ruz
May 16, 2009