By Glen Ford
Revolutionary Cuba has always been a miracle and gift to all humankind.
Two weeks ago, the nations of the world – with two savage exceptions (U.S. & Israel) – instructed their emissaries at the UN General Assembly to tell the world’s self-designated “indispensable” country to end its 54-year-long trade embargo against Cuba.
The virtually unanimous global rebuke to the American superpower, in combination with the extraordinary breadth and depth of acclamation accorded Havana, tells us that it is Cuba, not the U.S., which is the truly “exceptional” nation on the planet.
It was the 23rd time that the UN has rejected the embargo. The outcome was identical to last year’s tally, with only the United States and Israel voting against the non-binding resolution.
Although the list of American allies on the Cuban embargo issue could not possibly get any smaller this year’s political environment was even less deferential to the reigning military colossus. In recognition of its singular commitment to the fight against ebola in Africa, Cuba soared, once again – the hero nation.
Despite having suffered cumulative economic damages of more than $1 trillion at U.S. hands over the last half-century, the island nation of 11 million people has made itself a medical superpower that shares its life-saving resources with the world. No country or combination of nations and NGOs comes close to the speed, size and quality of Cuba’s response to the ebola crisis in West Africa.
With 461 doctors, nurses and other health professionals either already on site, Cuba sets the standard for international first-response, while few of the 4,000 U.S. military personnel to be deployed in the region will ever lay a well-protected hand on an ebola patient. Instead, the troops build field hospitals for others to staff.
In sheer numbers, the Cuban medical posture in Africa is surpassed in scope only by the armed presence of AFRICOM, the U.S. military command, which has relationships with every country on the continent except Eritrea, Zimbabwe and Sudan. The governments of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone collaborate militarily with AFRICOM but the heavily-armed Americans were of no use when ebola hit.
For Cuba, service to oppressed and exploited peoples is a revolutionary act of the highest moral caliber. That’s why, when the call went out, 15,000 Cubans competed for the honor to battle ebola in Africa.
Doctors like Leonardo Fernandez were eager to fulfill their moral and professional mission. “We know what can happen. We know we’re going to a hostile environment. But it is our duty. That’s how we’ve been educated.”
For the U.S., military adventure and the imperative to seize other countries’ natural resources or strangle their economies, are defining national characteristics – in complete contrast to Cuba. On this issue, the world’s biggest economic and military power could neither buy nor bully a single ally other than the Zionist state deformity.
Even Djibouti, a nation that hosts the biggest U.S. (and French) military base in Africa, spoke against the embargo as did Lithuania, a rabidly anti-Russian Baltic state, Ethiopia, Washington’s henchman in the Horn of Africa and tiny Fiji; Cuba’s neighbors in CARICOM, the Caribbean Economic Community.
Once a year, the world salutes the Cuban model. For a moment, humanity’s potential to organize itself for the common good illuminates the global forum.
This year, the model glows brightly in the darkness of microbial pestilence. When 15,000 Cuban health care workers do not hesitate to step into the ebola pit, the New Man and Woman may already exist – and there is hope for the rest of us.
Glen Ford is executive editor of U.S- based Black Agenda Report.