Spanish report on Cuban starvation (fwd)

Michael John Evans (g8726246@MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA)
Wed, 8 Jun 1994 09:16:20 -0400

I'm passing this posting along, since many of you are living and voting
in the U.S. Please feel free to forward it to other lists.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon Jun 6 08:13:53 1994
Subject: Spanish report on Cuban starvation

May 4, 1994
Olokun --

I read in El Pais last Sunday that a team of Spanish health
experts has returned from Cuba and given a report on health
conditions there -- they were working for ECHO, out of the
Madrid offices of that European Union aid organization. The
report says the Cuban health system is deteriorating and life
expectancy is decreasing dramatically. Apparently, health
conditions have worsened considerably in the last five years,
since Soviet aid began declining substantially. The situation is
much worse now than had been thought previously.

The team had six members: two doctors, two pharmacists, and two
diplomats. They determined that the average daily calorie
consumption in Cuba has fallen from 2,845 calories in 1989 to
1,780 in 1993. Normal intake is from 2,500 to 3,000 depending on
a person's weight.

They established that the mortality rate among men over 65 has
risen from 53 per thousand in 1989 to 57 per thousand in 1992.
The rate for women over 65 has risen from 43 to 47 per thousand.
Though no official figures are obtainable, the report says that
mortality rates have risen further during 1993 and the beginning
of 1994.

The team blamed the deteriorating health situation on problems in
food production and distribution and on the lack of electricity
in hospitals as much as on the scarcity of medicines. El Pais
says that in 1992 Cuba produced 69 percent less pork, 89 percent
less powdered milk and 82 percent less chicken than in 1989,
according to figures from the Cuban Central Planning Committee.
Dissemination of medicines has gone down by 50 percent over the
same period. Power is out for up to 10 hours a day, which means
hospital operating rooms can't be used as much. The team also
found poor sanitary conditions, such as hospital beds without
sheets and bathrooms without soap, towels, or toilet paper.

The Spanish team made its report to the EU's ECHO, recommending
$18 million in health aid for the coming year. European
Commission Vice President Manuel Martin has just returned from a
visit to Havana where he negotiated the terms of ECHO's aid
package. This package is due at the EU's Council of Development
Aid Ministers on Friday this week. Half of that aid will be for
food, while 25 percent will be for medicine, 20 percent for
hospital supplies, and 5 percent for making water drinkable.

I hope this gets known in the US. They really need to understand
the havoc they are causing with their embargo. It's like a
medieval siege, they want the old burgers from Calais to come out
so they can hang them. Bloody uncivilized. And of course the
Cubans are too proud to admit that they are starving -- you
actually hear them say that people are getting to skeletal status
by riding bikes! Between Latin pride and Yanquee pig-headedness,
you have a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, this report is just
the kind of official step required to trigger aid from NGOs, but
it has to be disseminated among them. I wonder if American NGOs
can help, those that are not dominated by US AID. Perhaps if
they get a copy of this report and act in concert with NGOs in
Europe, Canada, and South America.