Why Is Cuba’s Health Care System the Best Model for Poor Countries?
by Don Fitz
Furious though it may be, the current debate over health care in the US is largely irrelevant to charting a path for poor countries of Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific Islands. That is because the US squanders perhaps 10 to 20 times what is needed for a good, affordable medical system. The waste is far more than 30% overhead by private insurance companies. It includes an enormous amount of over-treatment, making the poor sicker by refusing them treatment, exorbitant over-pricing of medications and medical procedures, creation of illnesses, exposure to contagion through over-hospitalization, and disease-focused instead of prevention-focused research. 
Poor countries simply cannot afford such a health system. Well over 100 countries are looking to the example of Cuba , which has the same 78-year life expectancy of the US while spending 4% per person annually of what the US does. 
Drs. María Concepción Paredes Huacoto & Johnny Carrillo Prada, Peruvian doctors trained in Cuba, by Consultorio No. 2 in Pisco, Peru, December, 2010. Photo by Don Fitz.
The most revolutionary idea of the Cuban system is doctors living in the neighborhoods they serve. A doctor-nurse team is part of the community and know their patients well because they live at (or near) the consultorio (doctors’ office) where they work. Consultorios are backed up by policlínicos which provide services during off-hours and offer a wide variety of specialists. Policlínicos coordinate community health delivery and link nationally designed health initiatives with their local implementation.
Cubans call their system medicina general integral (MGI, comprehensive general medicine). Its programs focus on preventing people from getting diseases and treating them as rapidly as possible.
This has made Cuba extremely effective in control of everyday health issues. Having doctors’ offices in every neighborhood has brought the Cuban infant mortality rate below that of the US and less than half that of US Blacks.  Cuba has a record unmatched in dealing with chronic and infectious diseases with amazingly limited resources. These include (with date eradicated): polio (1962), malaria (1967), neonatal tetanus (1972), diphtheria (1979), congenital rubella syndrome (1989), post-mumps meningitis (1989), measles (1993), rubella (1995), and TB meningitis (1997). 
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Damning Evidence Reveals Radioactive Contamination of St. Louis Citizens
by Sandy Griffin
While conducting research for a doctoral thesis last year, Lisa Martino-Taylor uncovered "patterns" and "puzzle pieces" that together create strong evidence that thousands of St. Louisans were unknowingly contaminated with radioactive dust as part of government-approved military tests in the 1950s and 1960s. Martino-Taylor, a sociology professor at St. Louis Community College at Meramec, revealed her findings to the public for the first time on September 25 in a power-point presentation titled "Behind the Cold War: Military Tests on Vulnerable Populations Without Consent in St. Louis."
“Radiation,” original art by Sandy Griffin
Martino-Taylor, who in previous years has researched dioxin and lead poisoning, explained to a standing-room-only crowd at Meramec that she had uncovered "compelling evidence." She called her findings "profoundly troubling" and said that there are now "many more questions" that need to be asked and answered.
Her interest in this topic began when two acquaintances told her that they had been sprayed with unknown substances on the playground as children as part of "an Army experiment." One had breast cancer and the other a brain tumor. Neither knew each other but both were wondering whether their illnesses were related to the "Army experiment."
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A Reader Writes…
Why don’t the Green Party
and the Peace and
Freedom Party merge into
one progressive party? Why split the already meager progressive vote?
What significant and irreconcilable differences exist between these
Why isn’t there a big campaign, even in progressive circles, to institute ranked-choice, instant runoff voting in national elections? What rational arguments can be produced against such a common sense reform? Especially since it’s already used successfully in some places, such as San Francisco. It seems to me that, without this reform, third-party voices will never be widely heard, and the current two-party stranglehold on our political system will endure forever.
And how about a campaign to replace our crazy, complicated, and archaic state-by-state presidential election system with a simple one-person, one vote national system? Again, what rational arguments can be advanced against such a reform? Surely everyone would agree that it is unconscionable for a candidate to win an election with only a minority vote. What can be done to bring this issue to the forefront of national discussion?
Reflections on the November Elections: They were not talking about the real issues.
by J. Kadir Cannon
The politicians are actors who strut upon the stage bellowing sounds and fury, signifying not much. And the throngs cheer and clamor in adulation, mouthing the slogans they’ve been indoctrinated with.
Elections are a sad day in Mudville. Instead of celebrating the winners (or mourning the losers), elections should really be a day of sorrow when we grieve for the loss of democracy. The true winners are the powers that run the government, and the losers are the American public. The winners (the plutocracy) have been successful in defining the parameters of the political debate through a very expensive advertisement campaign (the elections). The general public are the losers because once again they have been snookered into believing in an illusionary democracy.
The political elections have become an expensive national sports event to distract us from the real issues. We’re voting for the quarterbacks, who have some skill and some discretion in how to play the game, but they get their orders from the coaches, who in turn get their orders from the general managers, who get their orders from the team owners and investors, who control and own both teams. For them it really doesn’t matter which team wins as long as they put on a good show and bring in the big bucks.
Obama and Romney put on a ‘good cop - bad cop’ puppet show. It’s understandable to vote for who one may think is the good cop (for short-term benefits). But one has to realize that the deep and primal motivations of the two candidates are one and the same. That is to facilitate wealth and power for the elites.
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The Answer Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) has announced
a march and rally at the White House Saturday April 13 under the banner
“U.S. Drones Out of Africa and Everywhere!” Activists will
assemble at 12 noon in Lafayette Park, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. For
updates on this event, visit the Answer Coalition
European Scientists Expose Health Dangers Introduced by Monsanto’s “Roundup”
UK-based GMWatch, a portal to the rest of Europe,
gives U.S. citizens a chance to keep up with important research into the
health consequences of GMO’s generally and Monsanto’s
Roundup weed killer (glyphosate) specifically.
Citing a peer-reviewed study
by scientists at Leipzig
University, GMWatch summarizes the researchers’ finding, stating
that “Monsanto's Roundup weed killer harms beneficial gut bacteria
while leaving highly pathogenic bacteria unaffected. This has clear
relevance to animals fed on Roundup Ready grains genetically engineered
to tolerate Roundup exposure. The GM industry has got around the problem
of consumer rejection of labelled GM foods by hiding them in animal
GMWatch’s article here.
Bulgarian-registered website Sustainable Pulse
cites the same Leipzig study and adds
video testimonies to the dangers posed by Roundup and GMO’s. Click
here and scroll down.
GMWatch and Sustainable Pulse are fighting an uphill battle against
well-funded and well-connected agri-business giants. In an article
titled “Smelling a corporate rat,” GMWatch founder Jonathan
Matthews documents the current campaign that has tried to force Food and
Chemical Toxicology to
retract a peer-reviewed paper that cites serious health problems in rats
that had been fed a Monsanto maize genetically engineered to be
resistant to the company's herbicide Roundup, as well as in rats just
fed low doses of the herbicide itself. Read that article here.
One More Time: Europe’s Scientists Don’t Bow to Corporate Chemistry
Jennifer Sass, writing for “Switchboard,” the staff blog of
the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), tells us that
European scientists, not so subservient to the biotech and agri-business
juggernaut as are too many of their American counterparts, have
uncovered and are publicizing the harmful effects of chemical agents in
modern pesticides marketed by Bayer and Syngenta.
In a blog post titled “European Agency concludes neonicotinoid
pesticides too dangerous for bees,” Sass neatly summarizes the
findings of a study completed and published in January 2013 by the
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Honeybee carrying pollen back to its hive. Photograph by Muhammad Mahdi Karim. Permission to use under terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.
Sass’s report here.
Read EFSA’s press
Green Social Thought: A magazine of synthesis and regeneration is the new name for
Synthesis/Regeneration is produced in St. Louis and sent to members of the
Greens/Green Party USA. GST-S/R
No. 60 is titled “Growth Is Plunder.”.
Article titles in GST-S/R No. 60 include
“Mr. 1%,” “The Politics of Bread in Egypt,” “Against Miserablism,”
and “Occupy Monsanto: Occupy the Dialectic.”
Rates for GST-S/R are:
1-4 copies, $3.95 each;
5-9 copies, $3.00 each;
10+ copies, $2.00 each.
Please make checks to “Synthesis Regeneration” and mail to
P.O. Box 300275
St. Louis MO 63130.
No postage charges if in US.
Non-US add 25% Canada, 80% other.
Subscriptions to GST-S/R (4 issues) are $15 (US).
Non-US subscriptions are $20 Canada, $30 other.
Did you know that membership in The Greens/Green Party USA brings with
it a free subscription to Green Social Thought: A magazine of synthesis and regeneration? You can join by
Colonialism and the Green Economy
by Daniel C Marotta and Jennifer Coute-Marotta
Reporting for Truthout, Daniel C. Marotta and Jennifer
Coute-Marotta tell what’s happening on the ground in Chiapas,
Mexico, as profiteers scramble to cash in on the international climate
change mechanism known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation
and Forest Degradation). As explained by Marotta and Coute-Marotta, REDD
creates a financial incentive to conserve forests through the
marketization of trees' natural ability to store carbon as biomass.
Originally taking the form of individual carbon offset projects, REDD is
morphing into national government programs in the Global South as the
World Bank, other multinational institutions and the United Nations
funnel money toward their creation.
The Truthout article features a local farmer in Chiapas and includes
interviews with a Mexican agricultural scientist and with Anne
Petermann, executive director of the
Global Justice Ecology Project. Peterman told the
interviewers that “communities that have traditionally cared for
the land are being faced with forced evictions or economic pressure to
convert their lands to biofuel plantations. Chiapas is yet another
example of the dangers of putting too much emphasis on forest carbon
offsets and biofuels as a means to mitigate climate change.”
Read the entire Truthout article here.